(My) Revolutions and (my) credibility


What do I need, and what do I need to do for the March Revolution? I need to tell the three schools where I work that I am fucking off at the end of the month. I have to pack between twenty and thirty boxes and arrange for their shipment. I have to pay and cancel my phone bill. I have to confirm and pay my airline ticket. I need to call my sister and tell her I have problems she won’t understand. Then I have to withdraw all the money from my bank account and send most of it to my account in South Africa. Lastly, I have to greet my friends, write one or two final Taiwan pieces, and on the designated day storm the airport with my tired and battered troops.


This current incarnation of The Plan is obvious wild. It’s irresponsible, somewhat impulsive, with uncertain short, medium, and long-term consequences. But sometimes one needs something of this nature to normalise things that have gotten out of hand, or to take care of significant matters that have been delayed too long already.

* * *

I am currently experiencing something I’ve last experienced in 2000 when I imagined myself to be a musician: a credibility crisis. This time however, it is not about reality that is inconsistent with ambition; my identity as a writer is firmly entrenched behind enough finished text. The current crisis has been caused by too many plans formulated over the years and announced prematurely, and too much material written on the subject. If I don’t do something big now, it will make me appear to myself and to family and friends as someone who talks a lot, but whose guts completely abandon him when he has to act.

Some of my best friends become sceptical when I once again press on about my so-called plans, and why I believe an extraordinary life is within everyone’s reach in our own country. Even my family doesn’t get excited anymore when I recite dates and plans as if they’re serious business.

However, it is I myself who don’t know if I should believe myself when I say something like “Friday, June 4th” [the alternate date for March 4th]. This is dangerous. It is crucial that you believe yourself when you say something. How else can you expect others to take you seriously?


What, in all honesty, are the benefits of 4 JUNE? I will have more time to pack my boxes. […] And if friends and family have any patience left with me and my ever-changing plans, I will certainly have more time to convince them of the wisdom of my planned withdrawal from this part of the world.

However, there is a risk attached to 4 JUNE, just as there are risks attached to 4 MARCH. With the former I will definitely need to get a few extra classes to avoid seeing my existing capital dwindle to dust. If I do not improve my income over the next four months, and I fail to find a different way to accumulate more capital … then I won’t have much of a choice at the end of May other than setting ablaze all the material I have written the past few days. And as my most hated season begins in Taiwan – monsoon rains, drenching sweat, humidity – I’ll have to take on a lot more classes just to keep myself alive, with repatriation and trips to relatives in other countries not even a vague possibility.

Whatever I decide in the next few hours, one thing is certain: The price for the lifting of my exile has never been lower.