Tiziano Terzani is an Italian journalist and writer who spent most of his life in Asia. In the late sixties he spent some time in North Korea. At the time he was correspondent of the German Der Spiegel and he wrote a long article about N. Korea. I remember the beginning, it went something like this: While the rest of the world is still struggling in the year 1969, people in North Korea live in the future, they are 15 years ahead in time. (If you don't get the point, do some quick adding, how much is 1969+15?) And on he went with descriptions of happy people marching for the glory of the loved leader and other similar crap. When translations of the Spiegel article arrived in North Korea, Terzani became the most loved foreign journalist by the government officials. They paraded with his article, bragging that he's the only foreigner who can see the deep truth of the communist system. Terzani was quite ashamed with the situation, but not for long. Someone decided to explain the meaning of irony to the officials. The very next day he was expelled from the country.
Irony is a very hard thing for most Asians, be it Koreans, Japanese, Chinese, you name it. It's a totally alien concept and I think it's because of the deep roots of Confucianism.
My posts used to be full of irony, if not sarcasm. Probably you noticed it's not so anymore. I'm afraid I can be taken seriously like it happened to Terzani. I'm afraid someone could be offended. It doesn't really sound like me, does it?
I fully realized what is happening to me just a few days ago. On FB I have a profile picture with the little chap on the bamboo stick. I took it the very last day the family was still here before moving. So, few days ago a friend commented that it's a nice picture. I replied saying that the pic is nice just because the chap is so cute and that I miss him so much since the family moved. And then it hit me. No, it struck me. I miss people that go. It's me who is staying. Transforming my home in a computer junkyard. Preserving vegetables, cooking jams and juices to stock them. Looking where to hang the 2012 calendar.
And last week I had a phone chat with the little chap, he is missing uncle Dag.
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