All posts by Linda Son

Video Roundup: Kindergarten Punk, Samsung's Tablet Concept, Pokemon

Here’s a look at some of the videos we are watching this week at KoreAm.

Kindergarten Class Singing a 70′s Classic

An adorable group of kindergarten students from the Sullivan School in Seoul, an English immersion school, belt out The Ramones’ song “Judy is a Punk.” The students jump and shout the lyrics back to their teacher, who strums the guitar for them.

Samsung’s Transparent and Flexible Tablet Concept

Samsung released a commercial for an awe-inspiring tablet concept. With a flexible and transparent AMOLED display, the tablet can be rolled up or folded up to be taken anywhere. It serves as a typical tablet that you can use to read books, watch videos, surf the Internet, communicate with hot French chicks, you know, the usual.

Two Foreigners in Korea

EBS Korea explores how Koreans treat a white tourist and a Southeast Asian tourist who are politely asking for directions. Early on, interviewees reply that there would be no difference between tourists and that natives would treat them the same regardless of race. Looking at the video, however, it is easy to see the stark difference in how the different tourists are treated.

“Lady Marmalade” by AppleGirl

Kim Yeo Hee, also known as the AppleGirl, shot up Internet stardom when a video of her singing Beyonce’s “Irreplaceable” went viral. Kim used three Apple iPhones for her musical instruments when she sang “Irreplaceable” and for her latest upload, Kim uses an Apple iPad to give her own spin to the hit from the “Moulin Rouge” soundtrack.

Herman Cain Quoting Pokemon

Often times, to add more to their speeches, politicians speak in quoted metaphors and sayings. These sayings may derive from the greatest literary minds, or, in Herman Cain’s case, it may come from an animated children’s movie from 2000. This video gives a side-by-side comparison of Cain’s speech and the theme song to “Pokemon: The Movie.”

If you have videos to share, email linda@iamkoream.com.

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Friday's Link Attack: Jennifer Yuh Nelson, Hettienne Park, Chef Debbie Lee


Angelina Jolie and ‘Kung Fu Panda 2′ Director Jennifer Yuh Nelson on Hollywood’s Female Director Deficit
Hollywood Reporter

I don’t think about the gender thing very much. But when I speak at schools, I’ve had female students say to me afterwards, “I never envisioned myself being a director, since I’ve never seen women do it.” But after seeing me, they can picture themselves directing, so maybe we’ll see more female directors. And half of these kids in art and animation schools are girls.


South Korea by Train: High Speed, Slot Machines and Monastic Calm
Telegraph (U.K.)

Dorasan, close to the border, was supposed to be a key stop on the route to reunification for North and South. But the idea of restoring a regular cross-frontier passenger service foundered. Dorasan station, though shiny with hope, remains no more than a 20 minute stop-off for sightseers on bus tours of the border. It sits on the edge of one of the world’s weirdest slivers of real estate – the Korean Demilitarised Zone, or DMZ, where the Z rhymes with C.

It is a scrubby slice of the 20th century preserved not in archive or museum but in camouflage, landmines and barbed wire. Around it has grown a sort of Cold War theme park, an edgy peep-show of a world almost at war, where instead of turnstiles there are guard posts and the guys on the gate are front-line soldiers. Their costumes and props – combat fatigues and automatic rifles – are real.


Nearly 7 out of 10 Koreans See Society as Corrupt
Yonhap News

More than half of the country’s ordinary citizens considered politicians the main culprits behind the corruption in the nation, followed by government agencies (30.3 percent), the judiciary sector (25.4 percent) and state-owned companies (22.5 percent), according to the poll.

While more than half of the ordinary citizens assessed the government’s anti-corruption efforts as insufficient, the share of the respondents who expect things to get worse reached 27.3 percent, up from 17 percent last year, it found.


Seminar’s Hettienne Park on Hitting the Theatrical Jackpot in Plays by Tony Kushner & Theresa Rebeck
Broadway.com

Growing up outside Boston, Park juggled music, dance and academics. Her parents had “the typical kind of Asian [outlook],” the Korean-American actress says. “They had me play every musical instrument; I started ballet when I was three but couldn’t pursue it because I was so busy with music, clubs and academics.” After studying flute and piano at the New England Conservatory, Park bowed to her parents’ wishes and entered college at the University of Rochester, double-majoring in economics and religion. “I don’t know what the hell I was thinking,” she says of her demanding load, which included Latin as her foreign language. By graduation, the over-achieving Park realized she was more interested in performing than business.


Exploring Koreatown’s Galleria Market with Chef Debbie Lee
KCET.org

Not every cook is familiar with Korean ingredients — but we’re lucky to have them in abundance in L.A. Lee herself likes to shop at the Galleria Market in Koreatown, which fills the ground floor of a three-story mall at the southeast corner of Western and Olympic. Explains Lee, “The Galleria Market is like the Pavilions of Koreatown. Everything you can imagine is under the sun, with the freshest ingredients. I prefer to shop at a market for variety, and the Galleria has just that.”


Fund Manager Kim Offered Six- to 18-Year Sentence for Alleged Ponzi Scheme
Bloomberg

Manhattan prosecutors said Kim told his clients they were investing in safe and stable securities while he generated losses trading highly speculative futures contracts and diverted customer money to himself. He created fake monthly performance statements to conceal the scheme from at least 45 victims, the government said.

Kim and his employees told prospective clients the fund generated returns of more than 240 percent, and they hid losses by making new investments look like profits, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission said in a civil suit.

Shopping trips in New York, skiing in Vermont and excursions to Atlantic City, New Jersey, were funded by improper withdrawals from the fund, the CFTC said. Kim “is the sole and managing member” of the New York-based company, the agency said in its complaint, filed in February.


Virginia Tech Settles Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Fairfax Times (Virginia)

Daniel Sun Kim, 21, was a 2004 South Lakes High School graduate who was a junior at Virginia Tech when the massacre occurred there on April 16, 2007. Kim killed himself on Dec. 8, 2007.

The lawsuit, filed by William and Elizabeth Kim of Reston, sought $43 million from the university’s “Care Team.”

The suit claimed an online gaming friend, Shuan Pribush, who was then a student at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., contacted Virginia Tech via email and warned counselors there of Daniel’s suicidal tendencies about a month before he killed himself.


Looking Back at 2011’s Asian Americans in Film
Hyphen Magazine

…the great number of breakout works from 2011 is a reminder that there is a very vibrant Asian American film community with many members working actively to produce timely and entertaining works. While we’ve yet to reach a time when, at any given month of the year, you can walk into a multiplex and find films with either Asian American leads or directors, progress is being made slowly but surely.

Additionally, in 2011 film festivals that heavily feature Asian American works continue to prosper. Hawaii (HIFF), Los Angeles (LAAPFF), San Francisco (SFIAAF), San Diego (SDAFF), and New York City (AAIFF) all enjoyed a very stellar year. Asian American films would be no where without the help of these festivals.

Wednesday's Link Attack: Kim Jong-un, Crazy Korean Hair, Hawaii 5-0

Kim Jong-un May Join Powerful Military Organization Next Year
Yonhap News Agency

The youngest son and heir apparent of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il could assume a powerful military post next year as the communist regime inches toward a third-generation hereditary succession, a South Korean report said Wednesday.

The Research Institute for National Security Affairs (RINSA) at the Korea National Defense University said Kim Jong-un could be named the first vice chairman of the powerful National Defense Commission next year. Kim Jong-il serves as the chairman of the organization.

The Hollywood Reporter’s Women in Entertainment 2011: Power 100 – #96
The Hollywood Reporter

Nelson doesn’t come across as terribly impressed with herself. Her last movie hit it big, she says, because “we got to explore these characters more deeply. Everyone working on the film — the cast, the crew — knows these characters so well. And everybody has such a great time doing it.”

That’s the case with a lot of movies and probably a lot of sequels. But not every movie sees the same scale of success as Kung Fu Panda 2: With worldwide box office of about $650 million, the animated 3D sequel to the 2008 original has become the highest-grossing film directed by a woman.

Derek Kirk Kim’s Same Difference: Slacker Korean-American Kids Come of Age in the Bay Area
Boingboing.net

Same Difference is the story of Korean-American 20-something slackers in San Francisco who wrestle with the stereotypes and ambitions that they feel guide their lives. It has the feel of vintage Douglas Coupland, a drifting ennui shot through with moments of human warmth and connection. And though it’s a quick read, it leaves a lasting emotional coal smouldering in its wake.

South Korea Sack Coach Cho
ESPN

And despite South Korea currently sitting top of their 2014 World Cup qualifying group, a shock 2-1 defeat to Lebanon in their last outing has left the 2002 World Cup semi-finalists precariously poised going into a crunch final game against Kuwait, who could qualify at their hosts’ expense if they win in Seoul.

KBS announced Cho’s departure on Tuesday and named Afshin Ghotbi, Choi Kang-Hee and Hong Myong-Bo as the Korean Football Association’s preferred replacements.

Seoul to let all Native English Speaking Teachers go by 2014
The Marmot’s Hole

A Seoul Metropolitan Council official said according to a poll, students and parents preferred Korean instructors fluent in English over native speakers, and that the council plans to slash Seoul Office of Education’s budget for personnel costs for native speakers.

In the next fiscal year, the city plans to reduce the 30 billion won budget for native speakers by 4.9 billion won; it appears 707 native speakers—57% of the 1,245 total—will leave their schools.

Oxford’s Kim at Home on the Court and in the Classroom
Rockdale Citizen (Conyers-Rockdale County, Ga.)

Kim also sports a 5.5 point-per-game average and scored a team-high 15 points in Oxford’s 89-63 victory on Sunday against the Greenville Titans. And while he’s one of the Eagles’ tallest players, he’s comfortable taking charge of the ball in transition.

“Sam’s a multi-purpose player,” Oxford coach Roderick Stubbs said. “He can play anywhere from point guard to center. And he’s an excellent passer and looks for people in the open court. And he’s our leading rebounder. He brings a lot to the table and helps us to function better.

“We put in a system where if you get the (defensive) rebound, then you’re the point. So he’ll go get it and can run the point and look for people in transition. He loves that.”

South Korea Steps up Enforcement of Cold War-era Law Banning Praise of North Korea
The Washington Post

Since a conservative government took power in 2008, indictments have shot up under a South Korean security law that makes it a crime to praise, sympathize or cooperate with North Korea. More than 150 were questioned and 60 charged in 2010, up from 39 questioned and 36 charged in 2007, officials say.

In another sign of stepped-up enforcement, a South Korean government agency launched a team on Wednesday that will examine Facebook and Twitter posts and smartphone applications to cope with what it says is a growing volume of illicit content, including violations of the security law.

South Korean Leaders Quit Party Posts in Vote Scandal
The Wall Street Journal

South Korea’s ruling political party fell into crisis as three of its seven leaders quit their posts and others tried to distance themselves from a scandal involving legislative aides who police say tampered with the government election agency’s computers during recent polling.

The Crazy Cutting Edge of Korean Hair
The Guardian (U.K.)

The Korea Hair Show in Seoul is a showcase for the most out-there developments in contemporary hairstyling. They’re unlikely to inspire many copycat styles – unless your name is Lady Gaga.

For more photos, check out the gallery.

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Access to caregiving can have barriers for immigrants
Baltimore Sun

Banghwa Lee Casado, an assistant professor at the University of Maryland School of Social Work, conducted a study of 146 Korean American caregivers in Maryland and northern Virginia to examine access barriers to using home- and community-based programs, such as respite care, adult day care, home health and transportation services.

Casado’s research found a good majority of her subjects had never used these services. A lack of awareness was the most cited reason for not accessing these services. For instance, more than eight out of 10 reported having no knowledge of respite care and caregiving support group.

“We know anecdotally they have limited resources,” said Casado, who presented her findings at The Gerontological Society of America conference last month in Boston. “But without the data, we can’t show evidence there is unmeet need.”

EXCLUSIVE First Look: A TV Wedding, ‘Hawaii Five-0′ Style
AOL TV

Yep, the ‘Hawaii Five-0′ wedding is almost here, and we’ve got the exclusive first look at the big day. In ‘Alaheo Pau’ole’ (Mon., Dec. 12, 10PM ET on CBS) — which translates to “Gone Forever” — Chin and Malia are tying the knot, but not before the Five-0 are called to investigate a crime or two. It seems a man was left for dead in an abandoned WWII bunker, and that is somehow tied to a Jane Doe case the Capt. Fryer (Tom Sizemore) is working on.

The National Film Society interviews Joy Osmanski
YouTube

Affable actor Joy Osmanski joins the National Film Society to talk headshots, Hollywood and Jonah Hill.

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Interview With Danny Kang Of Dance Troupe Fighting Gravity

by Linda Son

Hysterical laughter rang through the air behind a Redondo Beach, Calif., studio at 3 a.m. In the back alley, five or six young men armed with foam and papier-mâché gathered together to shape what would later become elements for an out-of-this-world stage setup.

With less than $100 and a handful of borrowed tools, members of dance troupe Fighting Gravity constructed cratered moons and life-sized rocks for their finale after finding out that “America’s Got Talent” didn’t have the budget to create certain props and elements the team need for the stage. Among the half dozen men there that night was 23-year-old Danny Kang.

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Kang, whose first love is investing in the stock market, stumbled into the world of dance when he and his fraternity brothers decided to perform in a school talent show. The Virginia Tech students utilize black lights and sheer creativity to create their hypnotic illusions.

Kang talked to iamKoreAm.com about the dance troupe, being runner-up for “America’s Got Talent” and what the future holds for Fighting Gravity.

What does the Fighting Gravity mean? Continue reading

Video Roundup: Crazy Korean Drivers, Spiral Art, Rappers Unite

Here’s a look at some of the videos we are watching this week at KoreAm.

Korean Tow Truck Breaking Traffic Laws

In South Korea, a camera mounted on a Korean tow truck captures the truck’s journey to an accident scene. The truck, however, didn’t just travel to the scene, it raced at least two other trucks to the accident scene. Along the way, the truck broke an outrageous amount of traffic laws by violently racing through the streets, crossing over into the opposing lanes, running red lights, nearly hitting other automobiles among other laws.

Spiral Artwork

Chan Hwee Chong, a Singaporean artist, uses a single black line to reproduce famous artwork from all over the world. His illustrations consist of a single black line spiraled into the likeness of a particular artwork.

Coast to Coast Collaboration

Asian American rappers from across the United States come together to collaborate on a new hip hop track. The black and white music video features the rappers rhyming about everything from music, women, life and other topics. New York’s Rekstizzy (a.k.a. KoreAm contributor David “Rek” Lee), Decipher from Philadelphia and Los Angeles’ very own Dumbfoundead put their own verses and experience into the song “No Apologies.”

India’s Toughest Warriors

The Warriors of Goja prove that they are some of toughest and most resilient men in India and, probably, the world. For an Indian talent show set up similarly to “America’s Got Talent,” this group of men showcase their talent of trying to destroy themselves. The Warriors violently attack themselves and each other with bricks, florescent bulbs, sledgehammers, spikes and even cars causing the judges to gasp in horror. In the end, all the men walked away battered, bruised and bleeding but that didn’t stop their smiles. This video is not for the weak-hearted.

South Korean Lawmaker Tear-Gases Parliament

Earlier this month, a South Korean lawmaker, Kim Sun-dong, tried to prevent a vote on a trade pact with the United States by releasing tear gas into the National Assembly chamber. This video captures the moment and chaos that ensued.

Chinese Pig Walks on Front Legs

In July of the year in Mengcheng County, Anhui Province, China, this piglet was born without its two hind legs. The piglet, called “Piggy the Strong” by the local villagers ways over 30kg. and mostly travels on his two front legs.

Have a video to share? Email linda@iamkoream.com!

Female Artist Lives With Pigs For Four Days


Photos via Daily Mail (U.K.)

When Miru Kim was a student at Columbia University in New York, her fascination for pigs developed after a university dissection.

“That is when I noticed that their anatomy and skin color is close to ours,” said Kim. “Pigs are sensitive, intelligent creatures and when I enter the pen with them on these farms they react with fear or curiosity at first.”‘

When Kim, the daughter of a Korean philosopher, read Michel Serre’s book, Five Senses: A Philosophy of Mingled Bodies, she was inspired by the book’s exploration of the characteristics of skin. The French philosopher’s book in turn inspired Kim to create her “I Like Pigs and Pigs Like Me” exhibit. Continue reading

Friday's Link Attack: Tiger JK, Sandra Oh, Margaret Cho

Asian Rapper Set to Roar Across L.A.
L.A. Times

Now, there’s no denying his talent. As MC Tiger JK (he declines to confirm his given name or age, though most fan sites refer to him as Seo Jung-Kwon), he’s perhaps the most popular Korean rapper in America, Asia and the world. By reinterpreting the brash appeal of L.A. gangsta rap for Korean audiences, he and his Drunken Tiger crew have alternately scandalized and intrigued their audience for nearly two decades.

Drunken Tiger’s Friday show at the Wiltern, “The Jungle Concert in L.A.” (featuring an extended bill of Korean hip-hop peers including his wife, Korean American R&B artist Yoon Mi Rae, rap acts Lee Ssang, Bizzy and vocalist Jung In), might codify a scene that thrives at a difficult flashpoint between many different cultures. They want to represent Korea and their genre without pandering to stereotypes about Asian pop, and they want to be taken seriously as rappers in America without relying on their outsider status.

Sandra Oh on North Korean Refugee Adoption Act
Channel APA

The North Korean Refugee Adoption Act, if passed, would allow Americans to adopt refugee orphans who have fled the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) to neighboring countries such as Mongolia, Thailand and other Southeast Asian countries. These children are struggling in harsh circumstances, and run the risk of being sent back to DPRK. According to the World Food Program, DPRK faces regular food shortages, and one in three North Korean children under five are chronically malnourished.

David Chang, the Rock Star of Ramen, Goes Global
USA Today

And now, only seven years after opening that first noodle bar in a former chicken wing joint the size of a one-car garage, Chang is going global.

He opened Momofuku Seiobo, his first eatery outside New York, late last month — going all the way to Sydney, Australia to do it. Next year, a Toronto outpost opens — it will be his sixth, not counting the four Momofuku Milk Bar bakeries run by his protege, Christina Tosi. The second edition of his admired food quarterly, Lucky Peach (that’s English for the Japanese “momofuku”), has just come out. He’s still tinkering with the iPad app.

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S. Korea HIV patients battle AIDS, and bias
CBS News

On Monday, UNAIDS appointed Hong Myung-bo, one of South Korea’s most famous soccer players, as an International Goodwill Ambassador to raise awareness on HIV/AIDS in Korea and the rest of Asia.

His appointment is promising news because people living with the disease in Korea are fighting an uphill battle against intangible forces that cannot be conquered with medicine and money alone.

As of December 2010, about 7,200 people in Korea were known to be living with the human immunodeficiency virus that causes AIDS, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In a country with a population of almost 49 million that means just 0.015% of South Koreans are living with HIV.

However, experts estimate that the actual number of people who live with the virus may be five to ten times greater than the official count.

Widespread misconceptions, stigma, and discrimination surrounding the illness have pushed HIV patients to the fringes of Korean society, say experts and activists. The fear of being exposed and ostracized is strong.

300 Homeless Men in Cleveland Enjoy Korean American Association Hospitality and Goodwill Gesture
Cleveland Plain Dealer

It’s the second year the Korean American Association has served dinner and provided clothing to Northeast Ohio’s homeless men. The idea was a brainstorm of association president Sam Kim.
“We did this last year and provided blankets for these men,” Kim said. “It was a joy for us to see how happy these men were then, and we knew we had to do this again. But we couldn’t do this alone . . . we had 10 Korean churches who helped support this event.”

Margaret Cho On Writing Comedic Music and Her New Cho Dependent DVD
OC Weekly

Margaret Cho might be known best from the laughs she’s provided over the years, but her talents extend beyond being funny. She has the passion to inspire and leaves you knowing that you have the right to do and laugh at what you want. From Dancing with the Stars to Drop Dead Diva and her new DVD Cho Dependent, Cho has blossomed into the total package.

From rags to riches, South Korea hosts forum on international aid
Los Angeles Times

For South Korea, the fact that the southern port city of Busan played host Tuesday to the start of a three-day forum on global aid strategies is no less than a “rags to riches” story.

In 1963, still reeling from a war that a decade earlier had ravaged the Korean peninsula, South Korea, with a per capita income of just $89, was a major recipient of global aid, making it one of the world’s least-developed countries.

That was then; this is now.

Today, Busan is the world’s fifth-largest commercial port and the nation’s economy is the world’s 13th largest.

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Musical Martial Arts

It’s not difficult to spot great dancers in Korea, especially since K-Pop has its fair share of talented movers and shakers. Although they are good at dancing, it is doubtful that any of Korean dancers we know have attempted to incorporate Taekwondo moves into their routines, let alone make it the focus of the choreography.

A group of young men and women mix pop music and a fighting style by putting Taekwondo moves to the tune of LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem.” When the tune switches over to 2PM’s “Hands Up,” the young men and women show off very skillful martial art moves. They spin and flip to break wooden boards and one young woman in particular has no fear of gravity as she runs upward to kick a board held extremely high in the air. The surprising mix of music and martial arts entertained the spectators as well as over a million online viewers.

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