From a member who works at GU: Dear Ulsan Online Community Gyeongju University has put together a semester of open lectures running from May 13th till June 19th. All are welcome to attend the currently small selection of open lectures as the program is in its infancy stages with hopes for future development. Please take a look at the promotinal video:
Utopia Social Service Team, from Ulsan University are looking for volunteers to join them:
Date: January 13 – 17th
Day 1 (1/13)
•Ice-breaking : we will introduce ourselves and play some games to build a relationship with Korean students
•Play some games from other countries
Day 2 (1/14)
•Learn the locations and capitals of your countries
•Compare holidays of Korea and other countries
•Compare manners of Korea and other countries
Day 3 (1/15)
•The children will search about Korean culture and their city, then explain it to teachers
Day 4 (1/16)
•The children will watch an animation and study some phrases
•Review the phrases with some games
Day 5 (1/17).
•Sing a song of your country
•HIT THE ROAD
** You are requested to pay a fee of 50,000 won for food during 5 days. And travel cost is another fee as well
by Kim Chan Sook
A homemakers sense of beauty and style can be so homogenous because our options are limited. This means our cupboards are decorated with very similar dishes, cups and crockery. Sometimes I think that I fancy owning and decorating my kitchen with unique, original, valuable and meaningful ceramics. The ceramics which can be made ourselves, with our ingenious inspirations can be family heirlooms. We can also later share our experience, and reminisce with our descendants through our creations. Pottery usually is baked at a very high temperature, so its durability is very strong therefore we don’t have to worry about how we preserve them.
I searched everywhere for pottery lessons and then finally I found a wonderful place located very accessibly, near by the Nam-gu public office (Namgu Cheong) in Dal Dong.
The reason why I choose the gallery is that the potters provide various paper-templates, plaster-templates, gracious dyes, (specifically their dyes and shape of pottery is said to be elegant and attractive) and also the freedom they allowed me to find my own style. I think their non-excessive interference is good for our originality.
We just keep in mind and respect every potter’s tenacity for their style. They want the style to be inherited and to teach Korean types of pottery to everybody, regardless of nation and race.
Two or three months after we begin learning, and have mastered the basics, we can choose and make what we want. We can emulate our teachers products or we can create original pieces.
Because their products are so phenomenal, we bend over backwards to recreate their pieces, and we can do it by taking our teachers advice and direction.
We can learn about a distinguished potters craft. For reference they have an exhibition hall to sell their products and they also take orders from gorgeous restaurants.
After we are accustomed to the skills, we can buy a tiny kiln, which is just like an electronic rice cooker and then we can bake pottery in the house.
Whenever I put meals on my potteries, I’m proud of myself, the pottery upgrades the class of food and when I present my own creation to my precious friends their blissful gaiety adds to my pleasure, because the pottery which they were presented is the only one in the world, even though we take an inspiration though other potters.
The gallery is open from 10:30a.m. to 8p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday.
I usually stay for over 3 hours a day. When I am tired of working, I can take a rest and drink a cup of coffee at the well-landscaped Mun-hwa park which located just beside the gallery, and can make an appointment for my next lesson, and then I can create again.
In the same building as the gallery and workshop there is also a very famous Korean restaurant. The gallery is on the first floor and the restaurant which is second to none in wrapped-rice with lotus leaf is on the 2nd floor of the building.
If we’d like to eat in that restaurant, we usually have to book a table 1 or 2 days before. They put all of their meals on the potter’s products and they use 13 ingredients when they cook rice. The restaurant is remarkable for vegetarians too. This is because they serve vegetable-based meals. (there will on occasion be some fishy side dishes). The main dish is 12,000won per portion. The name is Sung-won-cha.
The restaurant also has a another room for tea ceremonies and for sells natural-dyed clothes, many pieces of accessories and bags.
If your spirit of creation is moved, shall we take pottery lessons to diffuse our wily emulation and for the day when we will be able to pass a finest heirloom down our pottery in Han Jin An gallery?
The name of gallery : Han Jin An ( 한 진 안)
Lesson fee : Once a week-100,000won, Twice a week-200,000won for each month.
Baking fee in the electronic kiln : 15,000won each kilogram according to our product’s weight.
Class schedule : Every Tuesday and Thursday from 10:30a.m. to 8p.m.
Starting time is up to you but before change your regular time, you should tell them about your schedule.
Preparation material : A set of gravers – which are easily and cheaply bought in Gu-am stationary store (location pinned on Interactive Map under “Shopping”) – and an apron.
Everything else is provided, and when you finish, out of politeness, you had better put tools back in their place.
Location : Near the Cultural Center/KBS Hall/ Namgu Office – (pinned on the Interactive Map under “Culture”
or look at this satellite view.
Telephone no : 052) 266. 9979
A survey of 21 advanced countries shows that student respect for teachers is lowest in Korea. Only 11% of Korean said students respected teachers. Korea was actually third from the bottom, above Israel and Japan.
Korea has privately run prisons. According to the Korea Times, The inmates of Somang often describe the prison as a “hotel” when compared to other prisons they’ve been in.
It appears to be working. The average national recidivism rate is 62%, whereas Somang prison’s target is 4%.
The difference between this and private prisons in the United States? Somang is not-for-profit.
Namdaemun is Korea’s largest traditional market. As such it attracts many foreign tourists already. What could make it better? turn it into a department store.
some folks are born silver spoon in hand,
Lord, they don’t help themselves, oh
It ain’t me, it ain’t me,
I ain’t one of the almost 200 high-ranking government officials who dodged mandatory military service.
An increasing number of Koreans who went to America to study are returning to Korea afterwards rather than working in America – due to how hard it is to get a job over there.
The accused Nakji murderer has been acquitted on his third appeal. The father of the victim says he no longer believes in the law.
Who’s that creep taking videos of girls on the subway? He’s the head of a large corporation.
In North Korean news, the Huffington Post has an article about marijuana in the hermit kingdom. Apparently, “it’s not a drug, man”.
And North Korea is accusing Switzerland of discrimination, specifically with regards to ski equipment, which falls under the UN sanction against exporting “luxury goods” to North Korea.
It appears North Korea might be right in this case. After all, poor and rich alike go skiing.
War propaganda from North Korea always has something of a robust quality to it.
Whether it’s “defending” their country from the ruthless American “invaders”, or protecting their cultural heritage, the unique and specific graphic style lends itself to any use at all.
Attack the mountain!
If you’re interested in joining the National Geographic Traveler photo contest, don’t go to North Korea. That’s one of the wastelands ineligible for the contest, along with Iran, Sudan, Syria, New Jersey, Vermont and Québec.
Up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a balloon with a poster about Kim Jong-Un’s wife being in a porno.
More on the busker busker controversy from Asian junkie.
It’s all based on his recent interview with VICE’s music arm, NOISEY.
My favorite quote:
““We were popular because we were on TV, but we couldn’t legally make money,” Moore says, underscoring a strange norm in Korean entertainment law. “We were at ‘amateur status’ in the broadcasting contract. So, like, Coca-Cola comes in and we spend all day doing a Coca-Cola commercial, but they pay the [show’s] company—not the artist. We were on the show for eight weeks straight, and we did commercials for eight weeks straight. We took home no money from that.””
I want this news update to start a regular weekly schedule again like I had planned to do last month.
First up, North Korean news. As we approach the 60th anniversary of the Korean War, that conflict and its belligerents come more and more readily to mind for people living outside of the country. The Hankoryeh hasa series of photos from the war in two parts.
North Korea has decided to pick the former ambassador to the UK, Ri Yong-ho to represent the DPRK at a regional peace conference.
The truce village hotline remains severed since Pyongyang disconnected it in March.
And North Korea is warning of a “catastrophe” if South Korean and American forces undertake their annual military drill in August. Yawn.
In Japan, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe won a resounding victory and renewed his claim to the disputed Diaoyu / Senkaku islands.
Earlier this year, he made Korean newspapers by posing in a jet fighter bearing the number 731.
And in May, he went with a bunch of lawmakers to pay homage to Japan’s WW2 war dead at the Yasukuni shrine.
And remember how the Saenuri Party had that transcript of the 2007 inter-Korean summit given to them by the NIS, and the Democrat Party wanted to see the original copy to make sure that it wasn’t being doctored? The one leaked by the NIS earlier this month in order to draw attention away from the election scandal?
A little bit more locally, police have arrested several gangsters right here in Ulsan. Translation coming soon.
As of earlier this month, the laws on rape have been updated. (korean article here) for example from now on, it is possible to punish the rape of a man, life sentences will be possible for the rape of children, and sex crimes are no longer subject to complaint, meaning they do not have to be reported by the victim themselves in order to be punishable.
Almost immediately after this law has come into effect, someone’s been arrested for one of the new crimes.
According to a survey from Transparency International, corruption is rife in South Korea and getting worse. In the rankings South Korea fares better than China, Indonesia and the Philippines, but worse than Thailand, the United States, and Japan.
Speaking of corruption, the prosecutors of finally released the list of suspects in the high profile bribery-via-sex “Wonju orgy villa” case. The list 18 members long includes former vice justice minister Kim Hak-eui, who spearheaded the “war on porn” in South Korea in the last few years.
I find it funny that the man who hates porn so much apparently starred in one. Quote: “Police also confirmed that they do indeed have three much-discussed video files that allegedly show Kim having sex with [a woman who claims she was enforced to have sex] at the villa.”
Just as English is based on Latin and Greek, and an understanding of Latin etymology (from the Greek etymon meaning “true sense”, and the suffix -logia meaning “study of” helps one understand English spelling and vocabulary, Korean is based on old Chinese, and an understanding of hanja helps one understand Korean spelling and vocabulary.
So should kids learn it in school? Parents groups and NGOs complain against the policy, whereas Korean netizens mostly claim it’s important to understand the roots of modern Korean despite its utter disuse in everyday life. For comparison, consider this newspaper from 1975. It’s practically unreadable without understanding hanja.
One last item of news today. Mr. Gusts of Popular Feeling has been providing an ongoing commentary on the Facebook video scandal here.
The video which you might have already seen, depicts some uncouth rogues from the United Kingdom playing with and assaulting a Korean girl.
The video was either staged or not staged. But it represents either profoundly bad judgment or sheer perverted malice against foreigners to take the video, re-edit it to make the participants look even worse, and publicly release it as fact. We have only to wait and see what happens.
by Kate Croft
Tuesday 10 AM – 1 PM
Wednesday 2-5 PM, 7-10 PM
Thursday 10 AM – 1 PM, 2-5 PM, 7-10 PM
Friday 7-10 PM
Saturday 10 AM – 1 PM
Prices: 150,000 won for a once-a-week course (5 times in one month) and 250,000 won for a twice-a-week course (10 times in a month).
It started because I was jealous. My Korean friend Eva started taking a painting class, and she showed off a photo of her first work over coffee. “It’s my first time painting,” she admitted. Her painting – a lively cluster of peonies in bloom – was truly lovely.
“Your first time? Really?” I asked her in disbelief. Eva is an exceptionally creative person, but this painting looked positively skillful.
“Oh, yes. It’s really quite easy,” she confided, and explained the process of her first 민화 (Minhwa) painting. Minhwa is a traditional Korean art form that typically combines black ink wash painting with Korean water-based paints, similar to watercolors. It sounded like very detailed work that might require some patience, but I thought maybe – just maybe – I could do it. Eva wholeheartedly agreed and invited me to visit the atelier (that’s French, and also Korean, for painting studio). “You’ll love my teacher,” she grinned. “She wants to practice English.”
Eva took me to 아틀리에 하루 (Atelier Haru), located in Samsan-dong. Haru is a lovely little one-room studio perched on top of a building near Hyundai Department Store, just a couple of doors down from Guam, Ulsan’s ultimate desintation for stationary and art supplies. We rode the elevator to the fifth floor, then got out to climb one more flight of stairs to the roof. Up there, it seemed like another world; potted flowers led the way to the studio, and the traffic sounds gave way to a rooster crowing (this is not a pastoral metaphor – apparently someone keeps chickens on top of Guam!). The studio has big windows on three sides, which flood the cozy little room with light, ideal for painting.
Eugene Choi, Haru’s owner and teacher, has a the bedside manner of a gentle breeze. She flutters by to offer instruction or guidance, but largely leaves you to concentrate on the intricate process of Minhwa, one of Korea’s longest-lived traditional art forms. Her English is limited (she confessed I was her first foreign pupil), but she communicates basic instructions well enough, and will always demonstrate first so you have an example to emulate. Her own outrageously beautiful paintings show true artistic integrity, from the hanji canvases she mounts herself, to the washes made from natural dyes, to the hand-chiseled stone stamps with which she signs her work. If you are a beginner, she will prepare your palette and brushes for you, and she always creates a peaceful, relaxing environment with pleasant music and occasionally coffee, so that the three-hour painting sessions fly by.
By the end of my fifth class, I had completed my first painting – peonies similar to Eva’s, which represent wealth and honor, and are a common subject in traditional Minhwa, along with lotuses, fish, turtles, dragonflies, butterflies, tigers, magpies and human figures doing everyday tasks, as well as the scenes and patterns often depicted on temple walls.
By the end of my third class, however, I had already bought my own set of Minhwa paints, brushes, Korean ink (수묵화, similar to the Japanese sumi-e) and an enormous roll of hanji paper to practice at home. Since then, I’ve completed several pieces on my own, in addition to the work I’ve done in class (which is, admittedly, far superior due to the teacher’s guidance). Minhwa is an excellent way to learn about Korean cultural traditions, and my time at Haru has greatly enriched my appreciation of Korean art and art history. I think I’ve found my new favorite hobby.^^
Studio Name: 아틀리에 하루 (Atelier Haru)
Owner/Instructor: Eugene Choi
Address: 30 Wangsaeng-ro66beon-gil
Location: Just West of Guam Stationary Store, 6th floor.
Map: http://goo.gl/maps/bDQfM (Also pinned on the Interactive Map under “Culture”)
Class information: Classes are purchased in packages of 5. Each class is three hours long. Most students seem to register for one class per week, on a designated day. Please note that the Saturday afternoon class is very popular (currently full).
Monday: No class.
Tuesday: 10:00AM-1:00PM; 2:00PM-5:00PM; 7:00PM-10:00PM.
Wednesday: 10:00AM-1:00PM; 2:00PM-5:00PM; 7:00PM-10:00PM.
Thursday: 10:00AM-1:00PM; 2:00PM-5:00PM.
Friday: 10:00AM-1:00PM; 2:00PM-5:00PM; 7:00PM-10:00PM.
Saturday: 10:00AM-1:00PM; 2:00PM-5:00PM.
Sunday: No class.
If you read Korean, there is a lot more information about Minhwa and the studio on her website. If you don’t, just enjoy the pictures – there are photos of each student’s completed works (mine is there!).
Contact: You can contact Ms. Choi by email at mimi8502 at naver dot com, or call/Kakao 010-4750-9243 (phone calls in Korean only, please!). I also recommend you stop by the studio during class hours to introduce yourself in person!
Author contact information:
In Korean news, this week:
As reported in the Hankoryeh last week, over half of South Korean convenience stores average under one million won in sales a day. One-quarter of all stores have sales under 100,000 won for overnight shifts.
The data is helpfully broken down by zoning. That family-run convenience store on the corner near where you live? They’re probably losing money, if they hire staff and don’t run it themselves. Convenience stores are the most popular type of franchise for new small business owners. The government has ordered that new stores should not be allowed to open within 250 metres of each other.
Fun fact: did you know that convenience stores are required to be open 24/7? And did you know that “marts” do not have this requirement?
Anyone who knows me knows I don’t like Myeongdong. It was one of the first places I was told about when I came to Korea – “oh, you should go to Myeongdong in Seoul. Many foreigners go there to enjoy shopping.”
Well, I did. But I hated it. Even Itaewon is better for the soul than Myeongdong’s overpriced faux-Korean style.
Well, Maze28 (aka 한국에 가자, or “let’s go to korea”) has been collecting photos of K-Pop idols in Myeongdong, and around Seoul and businesses like Tony Moly and outside of Seoul in Busan, for some unknown reason. I presume he collects these photos to atone for some past wrongdoing, or purely as an exercise in masochism.
If you’re one of the strange people who enjoy seeing advertisements with K-Pop Idols in them, then click the link above. Otherwise, consider it a warning not to go to Myeongdong.
Aside, if you’re interested in seeing the people that middle-school girls talk about, click on through and you can pair faces with names really easily.
For the Huffington Post, the Korean economy has a few problems – he’s predicting Korea may fall into the same trap of Japan’s “lost decades”.
He cites this as evidence:
1. an aging population and lowest fertility rate in the world.
2. too many university graduates
3. high youth unemployment
4. high private debt load
5. persistent social inequality
I have nothing meaningful to add, except that solving any of these problems may help solve the others – solving recent-graduate unemployment would create more revenue for the pension program and lower privately-held debt.
The title says it all, folks. Your friend and mine Gord Sellar was the one who made the parody video last year, after MBC decided to broadcast a hit piece vilifying interracial couples.
He had distanced himself from it until he had left Korea, which has a bad reputation when it comes to understanding western humour (i.e. satire).
In fact, Saturday Night Live Korea’s Weekend Update segment is being sued by Byun Hee-jae, the Korea Communications Standards commission reprimanded Gag Concert for not using honorifics when talking about the president, and depending on how these issues play out, we could start seeing either much better comedy in Korea or much worse.
I’m no Picasso posted something a month ago on international couples, and if you’re interested in a blog about such a thing, check hers out.
When it comes to reading, sex difference is smaller at the high end of the performance continuum. That means among those who are best at reading, or best at math, there’s a smaller difference between boys and girls. But at the bottom of the scale, quote: “in 2009, the bottom 5% of boys scored 50 points lower than the bottom 5% of girls”.
But the opposite is true in math. For those who do poorly in math, there is little difference between boys and girls. But at the high end, the difference is much greater.
From the study:
“Interventions that focus on high-achieving girls in mathematics and on low-achieving boys in reading are likely to yield the strongest educational benefits.”
Popular Gusts of Feeling has a really interesting article for those of us who wonder if the media really has it in for Foreign teachers.
Long story short, in terms of number of articles on national news, that American teacher who was wanted on a warrant he fled 8 years ago when he came to Korea got more media attention than a middle school teacher who attempted to rape one of his students, a high school teacher who repeatedly molested a student, an elementary school vice principal who molested nine children, a law school professor who was dismissed for touching a law student, and an elementary school teacher who broke into someone’s apartment and tried to rape them – the single foreign teacher who was wanted for (alleged) rape got more news coverage than all of them put together.
If you’re interested in reading more, check out Popular Gusts’ articles here, connecting the news with North Korean propaganda, and here, for his translation of a Kukmin Ilbo editorial.
According to the victim, immediately after the Park Geun-hye’s first meeting with Barack Obama, on May 7th Spokesman Yoon Chang-joong was drinking alone with the female intern for the Korean embassy. After drinking, he groped her. She brought a friend, which defused the situation. But later that night, Yoon summoned her to his room. She refused and he screamed insults at her over the phone. When she did finally go to his room, Yoon answered the door in his underwear. She left and called the police after talking with her friends at the embassy. Yoon packed his bags and took the first flight to Seoul. Upon hearing about all of this, the Blue House decided to fire him on the spot.
But like any of these stories, there’s two sides. Of course, Yoon claims innocence in the whole matter.
The Presidential Chief of Staff, even, has apologized deeply for these allegations, calling it very shameful and unacceptable.
I have this to say.
Note: the English Dong-a Ilbo uses the word “Contractor”, which carries connotations of manual work. Rather, he was a business-owner who bid on government construction contracts.
Construction magnate Yoon, accused of a sex-bribery scandal involving high-ranking officials and who’s who types, predictably denied everything.
Police also have testimonies from ten women who said they went to Yoon’s vacation home to provide sex for patrons.
On Monday, two idiots calling themselves the “anti-American, anti-fascist struggle committee” dropped off a bunch of leaflets and threw what was apparently a molotov cocktail made with a soju bottle at a kids’ hagwon in Daegu. Apparently, they mistook the hagwon for an official American cultural outreach centre, showing once again that radical South Koreans pose a greater threat to foreigners than the radical in Pyeongyang.
The police have released surveillance photos, which you can see here.
In South Korea, all objective measures show we’re enjoying one of the fastest Internet connection speeds in the world. The average connection is 14 Mbps. So why do Youtube videos take so long to load? The reason is they’re being forced to host their servers in Japan and China because South Korea has completely disregarded Net Neutrality.
1. YouTube tried to set up their server in South Korea. 2. Internet Service Providers pressured YouTube to pay fee since YouTube sucks up so much traffic. 3. YouTube responded with “why do I have to pay since users subscribe and pay Internet fees to watch our content?” and decided not to install their own server in South Korea. 4. As a result, YouTube in South Korea comes from servers in adjacent countries. 5. Now, Korean Internet service providers have to pay traffic fees to other foreign service providers. 6. The outcome: Korean YouTube slowed down and Korean Internet providers wind up paying lots of money to other nations.
The Grand Narrative brought my attention to these causes – an opportunity for volunteering and a way to involve oneself in changing Korean culture for the better.
The Korean Unwed Mothers’ Families Association is an organization that promotes the rights of children and the rights of unwed pregnant women, unwed mothers, and their children.
Based in Daegu, they have opportunities to voluteer in that city and in Seoul.
As well, May 10-11 in Seoul is the 3rd annual Single Mom’s Day Conference. They have much the same goals. Link Here.
And last, Jeju Island has a unique Korean culture all its own. History has isolated it from the peninsula, and it developed a shamanistic, shrine-based religion that is in danger of being forgotten forever as the number of believers rapidly declines.
Giuseppe Rositano is putting together a documentary that highlights and documents the Jejuan religion.
Myers is one of the foremost experts on North Korea – and Gusts of Popular Feeling has collected together some of the better interviews he’s done.
It’s really worth reading, if you want to know more about North Korea than most South Koreans do.
Meanwhile, The United States has rejected North Korea’s demand to be recognized as a nuclear power.
And as investigators deal with the mountains of evidence against the duo who bombed the Boston Marathon, North Korea felt it necessary to give the following statement: “Wasn’t us, we swear!”
The President, Park Geun-Hye, was elected late last year with support from moderates and leftists in Korea. She won their approval with her harsh rhetoric against the massive conglomerates, or Chaebols (재벌) that dominate the Korean economic landscape.
It appears she may be able to make good on her promises. The Fair Trade Commission’s Investigation Bureau is to be re-introduced after eight years of closure, bringing with it a new name: “Conglomerate Supervising Agency”.
The new agency will have the authority to examine internal company practices, investigate external dealings based on government regulations, and track down shareholding conflicts-of-interest.
Part-Time teacher Mr. A discovered that one of his students was listening to music in class. So he beat him severely, then went out into the hallway, dropped his pants, and masturbated furiously in front of many of his students.
A spokesperson for the police commented, in part: “…the teacher does not appear to have any mental problems…”
엥 애때리다가 흥분해서 애들 앞에사 자위한 놈이 정신적으로 문제가 없어보인다고?
요즘 세상 컨셉은 돌아이인가..
Even as we all know that the threat from the North is no more or less real than it is when they’re not making idle threats, the families of South Korean soldiers, especially the recent conscripts, are definitely feeling the tension more than most.
After all, for those in the military, reassurances about the complete air, ground, and naval superiority of the South’s armed forces in concert with the United States do nothing to allay the worry that’s only natural to feel for a loved one away from home in the army.
KoreaBANG has more here. Quotes from the article, that :
“My heart stops every time I hear the Jindo air sirens”
“for someone like me who has sent their only son to the military, I can’t even begin to describe my worry.”
and a couple little turds from the comments section:
“Bullshit…is it only your sons who go to the military??? Almost all of us have to go…the guys in there right now just have shitty luck.”
“I’m sorry to say this, but North Korea must be thrilled to see articles like this. They love to see South Koreans quaking in fear.”
As we know, family is everything in Korea. Many of our Korean friends and romantic interests, even into their 30s, live at home with their parents. But according to the latest statistics, 1 in 4 Koreans were living alone – this is an even higher rate than in the United States and Australia. The Grand Narrative has more here, but suffice to say that most of these singles are lonely middle-class workingmen or impoverished women in their 60s and older.
Putting aside the oft-cited collectivism of Korean society (excellent disagreement here), we must acknowledge a recent quadrupling of the number of people 65 and older committing suicide, written about in the New York Times.
The Korean Pension plan that we all pay into barely affords the elderly basic living costs. And if someone was already retired in 1988 when the KPP was enacted, they get nothing. Some who kill themselves out of feelings of betrayal, when their successful children elsewhere in the country do nothing to support them.
Meanwhile, the government has approved a higher retirement age, saying it will allow experienced workers to contribute longer and reduce pressure on pension funds.
Elder suicides remain the symptom of a greater problem here – as some parents drain their savings to pay for hagwon fees and send their children abroad to become fluent in English, one in five people between 15 and 29 is unable to find work. Even doctoral degree holders and graduates of famous universities overseas are taking unpaid internships.
These remain huge problems for South Korea. It’s totally wrong-headed to pin the blame on some vague claim of “changes to Korean society”, as some have. But I know South Korea will either solve these problems soon or wait twenty or thirty years until the baby boom generation dies off.
This week’s bonus content: a 2006 documentary about an American deserter to North Korea. Yeah, you read that right. Some South Koreans and Americans defected to the North. This guy’s been living there for 40 years now! Youtube Here.
This week: Korean XXXL (US Large) Edition
‘Extreme’ Hagwon Advertisements
We all know how important education is to Korean Culture – centuries of Confucian thought have held (rightly, I think) that education is the way to a better life.
But with differences between hagwons only being measured in things like “quality of teaching” and “personality of the director”, Hagwons are hard-pressed to make themselves stand out from the crowd.
It turns out it’s easy! Just check out these advertisements:
“Let’s make them study to death! / Only send them home to sleep!”
It’s frankly disgusting. It’s thinking like this that is why Korea ranks first in High School suicides.
But a little word of hope from a commenter:
내는 나주ㅇ에 저래안키운다
“I’m not gonna raise my kids like this.”
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PROOF THAT NORTH KOREA ISN’T BEING TAKEN SERIOUSLY
In the “North Korea doesn’t really pose a huge threat” department…
Last time, North Korea warned that inter-Korean relations are now in a “state of warlike readiness” – the equivalent of DEFCON 4, and one step below outright war.
The response from South Korea: “We’re already at war, idiot!”
Earlier, North Korea warned Britain to evacuate its diplomats from its North Korean Embassy. The response from the UK: “No thanks, we don’t feel like they’re in danger.” Full story here.
On Thursday, North Korea warned that it had instructed its military to attack the United States with nuclear weapons, and moved its mobile missile platforms closer to the coast.
Experts agree: “what nuclear weapons?”
What Kim Jong-Un wants most is to scare his neighbours into giving up aid in exchange for cooperation – just like his father had done multiple times.
He has the Americans’ attention – Google searches for “North Korea” have gone up like a rocket in the last month. And in newspapers, there’s been a 49 percent increase in articles about the Hermit Crab — I mean “Kingdom”.
For the last month, radio and tv news have rebroadcast every little thing Mr. Kim has said. Link here
Unfortunately for Kim, his plan of “threaten then capitulate in exchange for gifts” doesn’t seem to be working very well this time around.
Even barring South Koreans from entering Kaeseong, the joint inter-Korean
exploitative factory industral complex in North Korea, doesn’t seem to have rattled South Korean leaders. North Korea has not banned South Korean workers from leaving – and Seoul has not considered telling these workers to leave.
The Supreme Court ruled on March 31st that Flash Mobs must be registered and approved in advance under the Act of Assembly and Demonstration, Proving that the Supreme Court doesn’t understand what Flash Mob means.
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What happens when you let a foreign country’s media conglomerates write your laws? Well, South Korea is finding out. One of the laws that Korea adopted early was the infamous “three strikes” rule.
We’re starting to feel the effects, as 408 Korean Internet users are banned from the internet as a result. Half of those suspended were involved in infringement of material that would cost less than 90 cents.
Now the Korean National Human Rights Commission is calling for a repeal of these draconian IP laws.
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Sweet and Sour Pork – that delicious Chinese-Korean staple where sauce should be gently
poured on the – dipped into aww hell, which is it?
Korean netizens jokingly bickered:
Hey retard, ke ke ke ke ke ke, why don’t you say the WW2 broke out because Hitler poured the sauce on Sweet and Sour Pork, ke ke ke.
You have to pour the sauce for the real taste, ke ke. Dippers are barbarians, mhm.
Korea Customs has been inundated this year with “human flesh capsules”: pills and capsules containing dried, powdered human fetuses. According to Korean news, they are popular with the Chinese, who take them to improve their stamina. KoreaBANG has a translated article here with comments.
The amount of capsules captured has doubled since last year, with 23,898 human flesh capsules captured by Incheon Airport Customs so far.
Xenophobia on national TV is starting to pick up again. JTBC’s “We Are Detectives” (우리는 형사다) program had an episode about Foreign Crime on March 28th. It followed what’s becoming a usual script for these types of programs:
“We know that Chinese, Malaysians, and Filipinos are dangerous, but we need to be especially wary of Westerners because we trust them too much!”
Gusts of Popular Feeling has a 6-part (so far) series on this as it progresses. Go read it here.
After the footage and scenes of the audience gasping are shown, we’re then shown people on the street being asked what makes them uncomfortable about living in an area with lots of foreigners (there’s nothing loaded about that question!). One feels threatened when foreigners are together, a woman feels afraid walking the streets at night, a man says that if you see many foreigners getting drunk, at that time fights often break out. Another woman says that there are many sex crimes by foreigners these days. Yes, with 311 foreigners charged with rape in 2011, that’s almost one rape per day. Not quite the 48 rapes per day that Koreans committed on average in 2011, but we wouldn’t want to put any of this into context, now would we? Best to show shocking footage and ask leading questions. 잘 했다, JTBC!
Like before, the JTBC program uses the same (incorrect) Korean Institute of Criminality statistics that misrepresent foreign crime rates to be quite a bit higher than they actually are – inflating the numbers by including parking tickets and traffic violations in Foreign numbers and excluding them from Korean numbers, deciding to not count many Foreigners as living in Korea to make the crime statistic higher, and by other means.
At least the racism we face in Korea is more subtle than being verbally attacked on buses Video here of a Middle-aged Korean woman on a bus being shouted at by some asshole in a hat. “The Japanese bombed Adelaide!”, he says. The news announcer says he might have been mentally disturbed or drunk – but notices that very few on the bus were willing to stand up for the lady.
Let’s let it serve as a reminder that we should always remonstrate against behaviour like this.
Kim Jeong-hoon spoke out in the Washington Post about Korean Nationalism. He was a candidate for science minister who withdrew on March 4th after conservatives challenged his loyalty to Korea.
What he criticized as “Change-resistant forces in the political and bureaucratic circles” took issue with his dual citizenship (American and Korean) — and took issue with his part in the American CIA’s External Advisory Board.
The External Advisory Board’s job is to provide the CIA with input from intelligence recipients, the public, and businesses that are impacted by the CIA’s operations.
Following up on the Park Si-hoo rape case, he has now been officially charged with “quasi-rape (준강간/準强姦)”.
Long story short, it’s a separate category for sexual assault wherein the victim was unable to give consent.
Perhaps quasi-rape might be charged in cases of alcohol or substance abuse, but it has also been applied for the assault of the developmentally challenged…
And, on the other side of North Korea, the Shanghai Matchmaking Association is implementing credit checks of its male users to weed out people who are lying about their income.
This was prompted by a postgrad woman from Shanghai
to meet a man who claimed to be the chairman of a company. Everything was going swimmingly until she got pregnant with his child and found out he was actually a farmer. A married farmer.
A few newsworthy items from around Korea this week:
- South Korea finally made it into the exclusive club of nations who have sent objects into space. While most countries would be pleased, a number of citizens in Korea are detracting from their success because it was done with old technology (liquid fuel) and Russian parts. This is the fifth attempt to launch a rocket: two failed launches and two abortive launches. However, the Chosun Ilbo thinks that if this one had failed, it would have been the Russians who
would have suffered a huge dent to its reputation as a leader in space development
Because South Korea had nothing to do with it? Congratulations to South Korea. 삼세번 (Third time’s a charm)
- In what may be the beginning of a new era in fighting corporate crime, the chairman of SK Group is going to jail. Other executives of Korean chaebols, the family owned conglomerates that control the vast bulk of the Korean economy, have gotten ceremoniously wrist-spanked for their corrupt activities. Chairman Chey (Choi?) Tae Won was busted for embezzling approximately $40 million.
- The foreign workers in South Korea can now enjoy life a little better. The minimum wage was increased by 5.76% to the stunningly low rate of 36,640 won per eight hour day. I sincerely hope that absolutely no one is affected by this rate hike – the minimum is disgustingly low considering most of the foreign workers who are neither engineers or English teachers work the DDD jobs – dirty, dangerous and difficult. I hope they’ve all been getting far more than this rate, but given Korea’s bias towards immigrants with dark skin, I’m probably very wrong.
- And if you didn’t pay attention to my posts last year about the very low exchange rate that had been happening over the previous 12 months, you screwed up. I have been warning for several months that the exchange rate was far too low for the Korean exporting companies to make decent money. In December they would have had to incrase revenue by nearly 10% just to keep up with the falling exchange rate. We’ll, it’s back up now, as predicted. If you didn’t send your money home last month, you’re going to get a lot less this month when you do. I sent the vast majority of my cash home at around 1070 won to the dollar, just before it took a huge leap upward. I’m now patting myself firmly on the back for not waiting.
- Study hard in middle school and high school so you can get accepted to the good university. Go to the good university and you can get accepted at a good company. That’s been the mantra for Koreans for decades. But these days, 60% of Korean university graduates can’t find work here in Korea. They don’t want the DDD jobs the foreign immigrants take – and who would at those low wages. They want the good jobs. There just aren’t that many. But never fear, young Korean – there are hagwons to take more of your more money and train you for a job overseas.
- And finally, most of last year the US government tried to impose sanctions on Iran and even impose sanctions on nations doing business with Iran. Since Iran is one of the larger petroleum producing nations, it’s not something that most countries can do without. There just isn’t a replacement source to buy that oil elsewhere. The big players, like South Korea and Japan were granted waivers from the sanctions and continued to buy Iranian oil. However a large increase in purchasing of Iranian oil resulted in a shrug from the US. Options exist to impose new sanctions against Korea later this year when a review in May occurs. My bet is that the US will firmly tongue lash those countries that continue to buy oil from Iran (but won’t name names) and will be forced to accept the inevitable that oil is far too valuable to give up for a political cause of an ally.