In Korean news, this week:
Convenience Store market oversaturated
Is the world ending, or are people just making dire predictions about the Korean Economy?
Gord Sellar made that MBC Parody last year
Study of 1.5 million teenagers in 75 countries finds that girls are better at reading and boys are better at math
Is coverage of foreign teachers’ crimes really so much more? Yes, it turns out.
Yoon Chang-joong situation spirals out of control
“It wasn’t me”, says construction magnate accused of sex party bribes
And like a half dozen other things
CONVENIENCE STORE MARKET OVERSATURATED – ONLY HALF OF CONVENIENCE STORES ARE BREAKING EVEN
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?
BLOG POST CATALOGUES CELEBRITIES IN ADVERTISEMENTS IN MYEONGDONG. NEWS UPDATE EDITOR VOMITS.
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.
ALWAYS POPULAR TO PREDICT ARMAGEDDON
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.
IT TURNS OUT GORD SELLAR MADE THAT MBC PARODY LAST YEAR
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.
GIRLS BETTER AT READING, BOYS BETTER AT MATH
Well, not exactly. Don’t worry, it’s more nuanced than that. What they found is quoted here, at length. You can find the executive summary of the study too.
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.”
FOREIGN TEACHERS’ CRIMES GET REPORTED MORE THAN SIX TIMES KOREANS FOR THE SAME OFFENCE
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.
SO MUCH DRAMA IN THE CHEONGWADAE
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.
CONTRACTOR ACCUSED OF SEX PARTIES AS BRIBES SAYS “IT WASN’T ME”
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.
IN OTHER NEWS…
One-woman anti-multiculturalism protest actually stirs thoughtful debate.
New York Korean-American rapper Awkwafina raps about her vag in a new music video
Life is still not super great for gays in Korea
An article about the bittersweet, romantic story of a full passport
Sixth North American Workshop on Korean Literature deadline is July 31st
Analysts say Japan isn’t trying to devalue its currency
Popular Gusts thinks noses look like dicks