Disillusionment and new plans

Sunday, 8 November 1998

What a year …

Four and a bit months in Johannesburg. What have I done so far? I have taken chances. I have done things, and am still doing things that I said I would never do. I moved to Johannesburg to do an office job. I took my boss/friend up on his offer to stay in the servant’s quarters on his property. I do sales … And what do I have? Bugger-all.

I keep myself busy “productively” – that’s all I can say. I read. I write. I can’t afford to go to a restaurant. Even if movies were free, I wouldn’t be able to get there. Even if there were a hundred women who posed possibilities for a man, it would only be of academic value because if they don’t live within easy walking distance of my house, I can’t meet up with them. And even if I had a car, I don’t have any money. I live in a backyard room like a student. I don’t even have a proper radio!

Does it sound like I just complain, while so many people are worse off than me? Fuck that. I have my own agenda. If I were happy with what I have for the simple reason that so many people are worse off than me, it would be an insult to those people because even they want a better life, not to mention that they would think I was an idiot if I didn’t want something better for myself!

I need money. I need a car. I need a computer. I need a decent place to live. All of these things are beyond my immediate reach in South Africa at this stage. Maybe in five years’ time … That’s it, I’m going to Taiwan. And I’m not coming back to South Africa until I can properly take care of myself.

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[Explanation: The South African guy who had met me at the airport in Seoul with the Korean man more than two years previously was in Taiwan by this time. We had exchanged a few e-mails. He had told me about his life in Taiwan, and I had told him about my situation in Johannesburg. By late October, he had offered to lend me money for a plane ticket to Kaohsiung – an offer I initially refused.]

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