He aquí los pensamientos aleatorios de un epistemólogo andante.

I dream of a world where chickens can cross the road without having their motives questioned.

피할수 없는 고통이라면 차라리 즐겨라

As of June, 2013, I have assumed a new identity: I am a cancer survivor. "Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose."

"A blog, in the end, is really not so different from an inscription on a bone: I was here, it declares to no one in particular. Don't forget that." - Justin E. H. Smith

재미없으면 보상해드립니다!

"All things are enchained with one another, bound together by love." - Nietzsche (really!)

Leviticus 19:33-34

Donc, si Dieu existait, il n’y aurait pour lui qu’un seul moyen de servir la liberté humaine, ce serait de cesser d’exister. - Mikhail Bakunin

Solvitur ambulando.

"Sometimes I wonder why I even bother to soliloquize. Where was I?" - the villain Heinz Doofenshmirtz, in the cartoon Phineas and Ferb.

"Do unto others 20% better than you would expect them to do unto you, to correct for subjective error." - Linus Pauling

Blogging online since 1965

Who Is Jared?

  • My name is Jared Way. I was born in rural Far Northern California, and became an "adoptive" Minnesotan. I have lived in many other places: Mexico City, Philadelphia, Valdivia (Chile), Los Angeles. And for 11 years, I was an expatriate living in South Korea. In the summer of 2018, I made another huge change, and relocated to Southeast Alaska, which is my uncle's home.
  • For many years I was a database programmer, with a background in Linguistics and Spanish Literature. In Korea, worked as an EFL teacher.
  • In June, 2013, while I was in Ilsan in South Korea, I was diagnosed with cancer, and underwent successful treatment. That changed my life pretty radically.
  • Currently, you could say I'm "between jobs," somewhat caretaking my uncle (to the extent he tolerates that) and getting adapted to life in rural Alaska after so many years as an urban dweller.
  • These bloggings, then, have been my random jottings on the subject of my mostly pleasant life among the Quasi-Confucian Cyber-Industrial Paleolithic Peninsulites of Lower Far Siberia.
  • I started this blog before I even had the idea of going to Korea (first entry: Caveat: And lo...). So this is not meant to be a blog about Korea, by any stretch of the imagination. But life in Korea, and Korean language and culture, inevitably have come to play a central role in this blog's current incarnation.
  • Basically, this blog is a newsletter for the voices in my head. It keeps everyone on the same page: it has become a sort of aide-mémoire.
  • For a more detailed reflection on why I'm blogging, you can look at this old post: What this blog is, and isn't.
  • If you're curious about me, there is a great deal of me here. I believe in what I call "opaque transparency" - you can learn almost everything about me if you want, but it's not immediately easy to find.
  • A distillation of my personal philosophy (at least on good days):
    I have made the realization that happiness is not a mental state. It is not something that is given to you, or that you find, or that you can lose, or that can be taken from you. Happiness is something that you do. And like most things that you do, it is volitional. You can choose to do happiness, or not. You have complete freedom with respect to the matter.
  • "Ethical joy is the correlate of speculative affirmation." - Gilles Deleuze (writing about Spinoza).

My Life Online

  • Like most people, I spend a lot of time online, although I try to limit it somewhat. Here is a somewhat-annotated list of the "places" where I spend time online.
    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
  • Knowledge and News
  • "Social Media"
    • I don't really "do" social media. I have a membership at Facebookland but I never log in there. I don't like it.
    • I have a membership at The Youtubes but I mostly use it for work. I also listen to music on youtube, frequently - I prefer it to typical streaming services, for example.
  • Humor and Cat Videos
  • A Diversity of Blogs - I read these a lot.
  • Blogs of people I actually know
  • Geofiction - this has evolved into a significant "hobby" for me. I like to draw imaginary maps, and there is a website that has enabled this vice.
    • I worked as a volunteer administrator for the site OpenGeofiction on and off for a few years. I created (but no longer maintain) the site's main wiki page: OGF Wiki. I am not currently working as administrator but I remain active on the site.
    • The above work has required my becoming an expert in the Openstreetmap system. Openstreetmap is an attempt do for online maps what wikipedia has done for encyclopedias. I have considered becoming an openstreetmap contributor, but I feel that my current location in Korea hinders that, since I don't have a good grasp Korean cartographic naming conventions.
    • Starting in April, 2018, I decided somewhat capriciously to build my own "OGF stack" on my own server. This was not because I intended to abandon the OGF site, but rather because I wanted to better understand the whole architecture and all its parts. I built a wiki on the Mediawiki platform (the same as wikipedia). This wiki has no content. I built a map tileserver and geospatial database, which contains a very low resolution upload of an imaginary planet called Rahet. And I built a wordpress blog, which is a separate, low-frequency blog intended to focus on my geofictional pursuits rather than this more personalized, general purpose blog. All of these things can be found integrated together on my rent-a-server, here: geofictician.net
  • TEFL - my "profession," such as it is.

October 2018

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Long Time Blogging


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I've tried to follow the election closely. A lot goes on that doesn't end up remembered or reported, which makes it a great experience to be able to observe up close, before the smoke clears and the Wiki writers have their way with what survives as summary for posterity. The street-level campaigning and political banners and demonstrations tell a story that is hard to summarize neatly.

This time I read as many of the streetside banners as possible and sought out demonstrations, trying to get a feel for what is going on. The demonstrations I saw were, perhaps not by coincidence given the political winds, by the Right. A new small party, the Korean Patriot Party (대한애국당), was particularly active; they present itself pretty well given its limited resources, and turned out pretty sizeable demonstrations given their marginal position. They did not have the resources to challenge the Liberty Korea Party. They also seemed aware that they are now hardcore dissidents within the Korea of Moon Jae-In, which probably energized them. The Korean Patriot Party's sloganeering was ideological, while Liberty Korea's Seoul mayoral candidate used exclusively inane slogans and frankly empty-sounding things that seemed unserious, like a promise to reduce traffic congestion (how was unstated) specifically so that you can drink more coffee in the morning, featuring with a big picture of a cup of ice coffee -- and another banner I recall promised to put up giant air purifiers around Seoul to reduce the small-particulate dust problem.

The third principal Seoul mayoral candidate, a plausible winner if political winds were different, was the now-perennial-candidate Ahn Chul-Soo (if Ross Perot had formed a party in 1992 and kept it running through the '90s with some success, this is Ahn's effort with what is now called the Bareun Future Party, which seems not likely to survive the year in present form). Ahn didn't win, of course, but received a similar vote share as he did for president in May 2017, again comparable to the Ross Perot vote share in '92, all around 20%.

I actually saw Ahn Chul-Soo on the street corner in Dongdaemun the night before the election. I didn't know he would be there but was passing by. It was around 11:15 PM. He was speaking at the top of his voice but due to noise laws had no mic or speakers; this would be his last appearance of the campaign because campaigning is banned on election day itself, which technically starts at 12:00 AM. I couldn't hear much despite being pretty close (he is not a natural orator).

I like Ahn, and have always sympathized with him since the 2012 campaign. He had a group of about one to two hundred around him, many of whom were just passersby like me as I could tell by some of the adjummas' giggles, though he also had core supporters who broke out in cheers at times. I was the only foreigner in this crowd. Ahn looked at me directly several times in the few minutes I stuck around, perhaps because I stood out. His security detail took an interest, too (it didn't help that I had a fairly full-looking backpack), one in the rear of the crowd grinning at me, wondering why I was there.

I tell Koreans that I, as a foreigner, have no right to support or oppose particular candidates or parties in Korea because I am a foreign guest in Korea, "but" that I can still analyze and observe; just because I say positive things about Ahn or negative things about Moon should be taken in that context. I do believe this, that foreigners should always be careful in any country of "engaging" in domestic politics, me included, and it would be inappropriate to do otherwise. That said, whenever I see a demonstration I nearly always try to go over and see what it is (and tend to hang around somewhat longer than may be advisable). This is just as true in the U.S. and other places I have been. I stuck around a Korea Patriot Party rally I stumbled upon in Shinchon for a goof half hour also on the night before the election. I could say more about that at another time but this comment is very long already.

The self-referential foreigners-in-politics caveat that I try to make before or during any political commentary with Koreans, is actually not entirely true in this case because, as far as I understand, non-citizen F-visa holders ARE now allowed to vote in local elections, but not for National Assembly or President. This is definitely t rue for local council elections; I am not sure about the Seoul mayoral race. (I am not an F-visa holder but could be, as could you, I think, with relatively minimal effort, based on their points system.) I know a few F-visa foreigners who voted. I saw one woman who seemed to be a SE-Asian interviewed in rudimentary Korean on TV who claimed to have voted. I presume that she is the wife of a Korean; she was with a child in a stroller, I thin, in her few-seconds of air time. Her comment in the clip on the TV news was "It's confusing because there are so many candidates; but voting is important."


One thing you didn't mention on the results: A large number of vacant National Assembly seats were also up for special election. I believe all or all but one were won by the Democratic Party (더불어민주당); though 더불어민주당 does not have a majority of seats despite these wins, if adding in the other parties of the Left, they do now reach 151 seats, a bare majority of the 300-seat body, which now also undermines Ahn Chul-Soo's Bareun Party's former position as decisive third force.

I believe that the Left has only had a majority of the National Assembly once before, when the RohMooHyun-oriented Uri Party in April 2004 won 151 seats; I am not sure if their majority survived the full four-year term due to party defections; even if it did, this was only a single four-year period in the 70 year history of the Republic of Korea. This newly-minuted, voter-approved, Left-majority status in the national legislature will continue for 22 more months until the general election of April 2020, when the Right may or may not come back. (In related news, it seems post-Park Liberty Korea leader Hong Jun-Pyo, who has been slammed in the North Korean state media near daily since late least year at least, and in their typical histrionic style, has now resigned as party leader following the party's poor performance in the election).

According to Brian Myers, now that Moon has won these elections, the next twenty-two months -- i.e., before the chance that he will lose at the polls -- will see a turbocharged push towards at least a defacto inter-Korean confederation, perhaps even a dejure one (http://sthelepress.com/index.php/2018/06/10/trends-in-south-koreas-nationalist-left-discourse-b-r-myers/).

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