more random thoughts and memories of singapore

dan’s moment of awkward silence
i laughed to myself in the car on the way to ys this morning, remembering dan’s first awkward moment up front. this is the exact “transcript”…
Dan: so… if you’re from the states, you greet someone with “hello”, so, say “hello”… (marko comment: i’m thinking to myself, um, that’s how you greet someone in singapore also)
Crowd, compliantly: hello
Dan: and… if you’re from Minnesota, like tony, you say “howdy”. everyone say “howdy”… (marko comment: at this point I’m thinking, what the heck, no one in minnesota says “howdy”)
Crowd, compliantly and awkwardly: howdy
Dan: and if you’re a fan of the Ramones, you say “hey, ho, let’s go”, so say that…
Crowd, compliantly, awkwardly and reservedly: hey, ho, let’s go
Dan and crowd: awkward silence, crickets chirp

the new colonialism
very interesting comments from sivin and danny here, about the importation of american churchianity, what tony called “the new colonialism”. i’d love to hear more thoughts on this from asians (living in asia, not just asian-americans). or, frankly, from anyone in a non-caucasian-dominant country. i’ll be in guatemala later this week, and will bring this up with lucas leys (our ys spanish director), and junior zapata, the emergent-savvy local host of our event.

i guess i’m “the ho”
margaret cho, the korean commedianne, has a very funny bit proposing that anytime you see a trio of girlfriends, they fall into the same three roles — one is the smart one, one is the sweet one, “and then there’s the ho” (she goes on to say that if your last name happens to be ‘ho’, this doesn’t mean you fill that role). cho talks through a few famous female trios to show us how this works, like charlie’s angels and such. so, i was talking to my wife and her friends mindi and beth (the three of whom just wrote an article in youthworker journal about community) about this sometime ago, and they loved it, agreeing that beth is the smart one, jeannie is the sweet one, and mindi is the ho (which really isn’t true at all — it’s only funny because mindi is the single friend).

last night, in my kitchen, i was telling beth, jeannie and lilly lewin about a post i read by a guy who was at the event in singapore (the friday, july 8, post, if you look at the link), who spent a good deal of the post writing his impressions of “the three speakers”. but really, since dan and tony were the primary speakers thursday and friday (i spoke all-day saturday), and all i did was intros, Q&A, and lead games, he didn’t have anything to say about me. so, there’s a LONG description of tony as “the intellectual one”, and a pretty long description of dan as “shy” and “humble”. and, at the end of the post, he says “more on marko — the ‘funny’ one — tomorrow”. beth and jeannie started laughing, and both said, “you’re the ho!” i was confused. they clarified: tony’s the smart one, dan’s the sweet one… and then there’s the ho.

dan kimball w/o ‘the hair’
sunday afternoon, after all our duties were wrapped up, the three of us tried to get in a little shopping. but, for the first time all week, it was pouring rain. to be honest, this added to the experience. but we all got drenched. and as hard as dan tried to protect his hair, it was not fully possible. and by the time we were in cab on the way back to our hotel, he had limp-locks. it was wonderful! tony laid down the gauntlet and suggested dan wear it that way to dinner at morton’s later that evening. dan was reluctant. tony countered, “dan, you’re in singapore — where else could you wear your hair down if you can’t do it here?”

dan relented, and came to dinner with a neat little part-on-the-side comb-over style. it actually looked good on him; but it certainly made him look like a different person. unfortunately, dan is the only one who had a camera that night (and he DID take a pic of the three of us). but i doubt he’ll let that photo see the light of day, or the light of your computer monitor!

8 thoughts on “more random thoughts and memories of singapore”

  1. Wilson did a pretty summary of his impressions and it does help me see how some one from “Singapore” perceives the conference and its implications.

    interesting to know he did something on postmodernism during his college days. some students in Malaysia too are being more exposed to postmodern philosophers but that’s still a minority. MOst are into business studies, law, engineering, computer science, etc. The humanities departments in Malaysia to me seem less developed (and definately less popular – “what job can you get after a degree in philosophy?” someone would ask …)

    as you could see .. the “impression of the speakers” is as important as the “content” in which the speakers convey … in many ways, the participants (perhaps behind their minds) are unconsciously asking – “how do these guys live out what they believe?” – so in a less cognitive way – I read Wilson’s reflection as a cry in congruence with what Tony was trying to get at during one segment about … “practical knowledge” (which assumes a Michael Polanyi kind of “personal knowledge” IMHO).. so here in Asia there’s already an implicit “buy in” into what Tony is presenting .. what is lacking perhaps is some “lingo” or “languange” to articulate that our clearer so it won’t turn or be tempted into “pragmatism” in life and ministry.

    On a lighter note, if you are the “fun” one .. then I vote you genuinely live out what you believe! :-) I personally experienced that! Thanks for the link to Wilson

  2. through Wilson I got linked to another response from Singapore (it’s always interesting to see what is “perceived” by the audience – this is Reader Response theory for conference presenters huh? *grin*) http://mr-incredible.blogspot.com/2005/07/postmodern-youth-ministry-conference.html

    I think stuff written by Scott McKnight would very likely bridge the gap for further discussion
    http://jesuscreed.blogspot.com/ he’s been really at work with his posts on “Posts” and I like his twist on “Pros”

  3. The whole hair being flat, is a rare occurance that won’t be seen again for a while. Much like Spock only mates every seven years, or like in the movie Brigadoon where the enchanted village in the Scottish Moors materializes from the mists of time every 100 years for a single day – my hair shall not be seen flat and on the side again until some long-away future date.

  4. There has been this ‘marriage’ between the East and West, “for better or for worst.” When I visited UK a couple of years ago, some English people looked at me with this ‘apologetic’ look. It was as if they were saying, ‘I am sorry that we ruled over you and for destroying the culture.’ While, that might be true to a certain extend, I am indebted much to the West for bring the gospel to this land. Otherwise, I, for one would not be a believer. So for the record, let me say, how grateful I am for our brothers and sisters in the West for bring the gospel!
    I have been a Christian for about 25 years now. Initially, after receiving Christ, to my shame I wanted to have nothing to do with my old religion and culture. (I think this might be a natural tendency due to our own insecurity). But now, I think I am able to revisit my past and begin to filter between the good and bad from my own culture and background. (Don Richards in his book ‘Peace Child’ writes about how God works in every culture to provide links to the gospel)
    I think to a certain sense we cannot run away from this marriage but we need to work through some of these critical issues. The challenge for the churches in the East are: to think through what we download from the west and secondly, to share the gospel with those who are in the West.

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