All posts by Y. Peter Kang

Wednesday's Link Attack

South Korean pastor tends to flock of abused children
Los Angeles Times

For more than two decades, the 46-year-old minister [Hwang Chum-gon] has run a group called the Open Center Youth Foundation, which rescues South Korean children abused by their parents and other relatives.

From a nonprofit effort that started out of his home in 1990, Hwang went on to establish a series of nationwide centers to temporarily house and counsel 500 abused and homeless children.

It is one of South Korea’s little-known secrets: The society has a high rate of physical abuse against children, yet the problem has received limited public and professional attention, according to one Columbia University study.

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Life Expectancy for Korean Women 6th Longest in the World
Chosun Ilbo

Korean women can now expect to live 83.8 years, the sixth longest among the 32 OECD member countries. But life expectancy for Korean men is only 20th on the list.

According to analysis of OECD health data by the OECD/Korea Policy Centre on Tuesday, Korean women’s life expectancy surged 13 notches in 2009, up from 19th place in 2003, when it stood at 80.8 years.

Japanese people live the longest, followed by Spaniards, Swiss, French and Australians.

By Lampooning Leaders, Talk Show Channels Young People’s Anger
New York Times

Once a week, the four men sit around in a rented studio, laughing, blurting occasional expletives and making fun of South Korea’s leader, President Lee Myung-bak. Then they post a recording of their talk online.

Naneun Ggomsuda’s podcast is the most popular in South Korea. A recent event featuring the four-man crew sold out a 1,600-seat auditorium one minute after ticketing was opened on the Internet.

Their podcast is the most popular in South Korea, with each session logging as many as two million downloads.

The four men “dedicate” their show to Mr. Lee, or “His Highness.” But they call their talk show Naneun Ggomsuda, or “I’m a petty-minded creep,” borrowing a nickname Mr. Lee’s most vociferous critics apply to the president.

Who are the Korean Pin-up Grrrls?
The Grand Narrative

This is a very long but interesting piece about the evolution of female sexuality in the Korean media.

Key political risks to watch on the Korean peninsula
Reuters

Conciliatory gestures by both Koreas have raised hopes that long-stalled nuclear talks are back on the cards, but Seoul and Washington insist Pyongyang must first take concrete measures to disable its atomic program.

Winery In US Introduces ‘Dokdo Wine’
Arirang News

A winery in the United States introduced a new product that represents Korea’s easternmost Dokdo islets, which Japan also lays claim on. Korean-American dentist Ahn Jae-hyun who is also the founder of ‘Dokdo Winery’ in California, introduced the new wine, ‘799-805′ named after the islets postal code.

Premiere: Dumbfoundead “Cool & Calm”
Complex

We already touched on the success of Korean pop in America. It looks like Koreans are doing pretty well in hip-hop, too. Right now, the number one album on the iTunes hip-hop albums chart is by Tablo, a rapper from Seoul. The number two album is Dumbfoundead’s DFD. Under them are major label stars Wale and J. Cole.

Dumbfoundead is a Korean/American rapper from Los Angeles. You won’t find him in all the mainstream media outlets and he’s not signed to a major label, but check out his YouTube stats. He’s got hundreds of thousands of subscribers and millions of views on his videos, and he’s got no problem selling out concerts.

Forever 21 Gets In On Cultural Insensitivity Trend With “Oriental Girl” Necklaces
Jezebel

What’s particularly strange about Forever 21 using the outdated term “oriental” to refer to a necklace that seems to depict a geisha, is that as Styleite notes, the family that owns the company is Korean American. If you’d like to show your love of Asian cultures by wearing an offensive little pendant representing a tradition with no cultural link to most of the nations on the continent, we suggest you snap up this $1.50 necklace fast. We have a feeling it’s going to disappear from the website pretty soon.

Tuesday's Link Attack: Harold and Kumar, Yoon Mirae, SNSD

The Harold & Kumar worldview
Philadelphia Inquirer

[Kal] Penn points to shows like Modern Family and Community as evidence that the viewing culture has shifted. [John] Cho says he’s been getting different questions from journalists this time around.

For the first two movies, he says, the characters’ race “was all we talked about. I learned that’s what people clock first, the color of a person. This time, we’re not necessarily talking about the politics of race in America – I’m not sure actors are the best people to talk about that – and when we are, the questions don’t overwhelm the discussion.”

At 39, Cho is also substantially older than his Harold & Kumar character. But perhaps because of how the franchise’s audience skews, both actors feel like they’ve gained insight into the way younger people see the world, an experience that’s left them with surprisingly optimistic worldviews.

The success of the movies, Cho says, “speaks to a different tone in the country. For the first movie, it was months and months of justifying why there was a Korean guy and an Indian guy in a theatrical motion picture. There’s no need anymore. It’s been done.”

Redistricting offers Asian-Americans a political opportunity to gain fair representation
New York Daily News

Redistricting — the redrawing of political district lines — takes place every 10 years, after new Census data are released.

Elected officials and political insiders pay close attention to this arcane process of map-drawing, because they understand well that new district lines could result in major shifts of political power.

As civil rights advocates, we see redistricting as the once-in-a-decade chance for communities of color to secure political influence that is commensurate with their numbers.

New York City’s changing demographics, fueled by rising immigration, will now provide Asian-Americans a real opportunity to gain fair representation through redistricting.

Get It In by Tasha Reid (aka Yoon Mirae)
channel APA

Coming out of Korea is Tasha Reid’s (aka Yoon Mirae) homage to Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill with the music video for her single “Get It In.” Opening up into an unparalleled world of music and virtual mayhem, it features action packed bloody scenes with swordplay as she take on multiple enemies. She’s showing that she’s a true woman warrior.

Tasha, as the protagonist and heroine, controls the confines of her existence with the swing of her sword, kicking ass and fighting off tuxedo suited villains. Once she passes the underlings, Tasha faces the big boss Tiger JK of Drunken Tiger (who is her real life husband). He makes his defiantly late entrance, proceeding into a storm-struck battle of the-hip hop beaux. Complete with wire work and special effects, this is one high value big production.

With Park Gone, Korea Loses Its Trailblazer
Wall Street Journal

The search for three missing South Korean mountain climbers at Annapurna, one of the highest peaks in the Himalayas, ended Saturday after 12 days without success.

Park Young-seok, one of the country’s most renowned summiteers, and two fellow climbers went missing on October 18. His last message via satellite phone said his team had a hard time climbing down due to heavy avalanche.

Since the last contact, the Korean Alpine Federation and local Sherpas launched a risky search operation, believing that they might have been trapped in a crevasse, to no avail. The search team only found a rope and climbing nail buried under snow, both believed to belong to the missing climbers.

On Sunday, a memorial service was held at the Annapurna base camp at an altitude of 4,200 meters. It was attended by the search team and family members who flew in from Korea.

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Korea’s Diabetes Death Rate is Highest in OECD
Chosun Ilbo

Korea’s rate of diabetes-related deaths is the highest of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development nations.

Diabetes-related deaths per 100,000 persons were 35.5 in South Korea, more than twice the 13.7 average of OECD nations. Japan’s rate is 5.9 and England’s is 7.5. Korea’s rate is almost twice that of Germany’s 16.6 and significantly higher than the U.S.’ 20.9 even though both of those nations have high numbers of diabetes-related deaths.

Defector uses balloons to send socks to North Korea
Los Angeles Times

The oblong helium balloon rose into an ink-colored sky Saturday, released by a dozen hands just south of one of the world’s most fortified borders, its precious cargo bound for North Korea.

Yet unlike countless balloon launches that shower the north with pamphlets and political screeds criticizing Kim Jong-il’s secretive regime, this one carried a different kind of payload: socks.

In all, hundreds of pairs of foot coverings were lifted heavenward by 10 balloons: little pink baby footies and large black and blue ones for growing children and adults -– all headed for impoverished residents facing another winter.

The socks also carried a message: Hang on for dear life.

How to rock Ajumma style
Korea.net

Are you an ajumma (아줌마)? Ajumma is the familiar term for “married woman”, but also the general moniker in calling an older woman, regardless of marital status. It’s not just a name, though. It’s much more than that; it’s a title, a state of mind, a complete lifestyle. All Korean women seem to be born with the ajumma gene which surfaces naturally after 3 months of becoming one, and whose traits become stronger and stronger as time goes by.

Ajummas have their own distinctive style, something that also seems to be automatically released upon marriage, but if you’re an ajumma who just isn’t fitting in, or in need of some extra oomph, here are a few tips to make your outer (and inner) ajumma shine!

What does the United States think of Girls’ Generation?
CNNGo

With the girls’ U.S. album being released today, we asked a selection of Americans across the country what they make of all the K-Pop fierceness.

Winner of Taiwanese “Emmy”: “I’d like to thank my iPhone”
via Yahoo News

During the recent Golden Bell Television Awards last month in Taipei — Taiwan’s equivalent of the Emmy awards — Huang Ming-chan, who won one of the top prizes in the director categories, gingerly walked up to the stage and snapped a cellphone photo of himself (over the shoulder) while approaching the podium.

The 40-something director then took another cell phone from his other jacket pocket and started reading congratulatory email messages and smiling to himself, totally ignoring the audience before finally addressing the 5,000 people in the auditorium — and on national TV — by reading his acceptance speech from the screen of his iPhone.

Fort Lee man pleads guilty for role in Palisades Park-based fraud ring
Bergen County Record

This is the case that never ends. That’s what happens when 53 people are involved in an identity theft ring.

A Fort Lee man was among four people who pleaded guilty Tuesday in connection with an identity theft and bank-fraud ring that was the target of a federal investigation last year, authorities said.

Byung Jang, 47, pleaded guilty in federal court in Newark to conspiracy to commit credit card fraud and aggravated identity theft, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman said in a statement.

Asian Americans now country’s fastest growing racial group
Los Angeles Times

Increased immigration from South Asia helped fuel the rapid growth in the number of Asian Americans over the last decade as well as an influx of Asians to states such as Nevada, Arizona, North Carolina and Georgia, according to an analysis of U.S. Census data released Wednesday.

U.S. Soldier Jailed 10 Years For Rape In South Korea

An American G.I. stationed in South Korea was convicted of rape and sentenced to 10 years in prison, the harshest sentence for a U.S. serviceman in almost 20 years, according to news reports.

The 21-year-old U.S. Army private, who was not named, was accused of breaking into an 18-year-old woman’s low-budget apartment on Sept. 24 and repeatedly raping the woman while threatening her with a pair of scissors. Continue reading

Monday's Link Attack: Amb. Sung Kim, Harold and Kumar, Will Demps

For new U.S. ambassador, a mixed reception for a native son
Yonhap

Ambassador Sung Y. Kim, a Korean-American who immigrated to the United States at 13, speaks the Korean language fluently. But others think that his deep ties to Korea and his ethnicity could also pose challenges.

“A lot of Koreans will receive him as a returning son,” said a former Korean diplomat who asked to remain unnamed. “But such a sentiment of Koreans can work negatively on Kim’s ambassadorial performance.”

He said the incoming ambassador, like other Americans, is expected to pursue American values and interests in his post, which may disappoint Koreans. Moreover, he said, Koreans tend to be kinder to foreigners than to those with an ethnically Korean background.

“I am afraid that Koreans may not pay due respect to Amb. Kim,” said the former diplomat, who served in a top post in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

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Becoming an Iron Chef: Judy Joo
Columbia Engineering

In a wry 2009 Wall Street Journal essay, Columbia Engineering graduate Judy Joo described her life as the lowest of chefs in a London three-star Michelin restaurant. It was a male-dominated world of commanding profanities, testosterone-fueled temper tantrums, and confrontations that sometimes ended with shattered plates and trays.

Fortunately, Joo was used to it. She had worked on Wall Street.

Today, she is one of the four resident chefs on “Iron Chef UK” and executive chef of London’s swanky Playboy Club. It has been a surprising journey for the self-described “geeky” daughter of Korean immigrants who grew up in New Jersey wanting to be the next Madame Curie.

Rhee sets up shop downtown
Sacramento Bee

StudentsFirst, the group founded last year by Michelle Rhee, recently signed a lease for the second floor of the historic Hale’s building at Ninth and K and will move staff there in February following the completion of tenant improvements costing about $1 million.

The group has been operating out of temporary facilities in the Oak Park neighborhood and currently has about 30 staffers, many of them former colleagues of Rhee’s from Washington, D.C., where she was the district’s schools chancellor.

She moved here in June and married Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson in September.

‘The Walking Dead’ star Steven Yeun scares up South Florida fans
Accidental Sexiness

Yeun, who plays the role of Glenn on the hit AMC zombie drama, sat down with us for a special one-on-one interview where he told us a bit of what we can expect from his character during this exciting second season. So far we are starting to learn little bits and pieces about him and we’ve even met his soon-to-be love interest Maggie Greene (played by Lauren Cohan).

Korean-Americans hope to reunite with NK relatives
Korea Times

[Lee Cha-Hee] is one of an estimated 100,000 first-generation Korean-Americans who remain separated from their family members in the North, many of whom still yearn to see their parents, siblings or children living in the Stalinist state. With no official channels to contact them, they have long called on Washington to act on the issue and in some cases resorted to dodgy informal methods.

Their plight is gaining traction on the back of grassroots efforts as well as a forthcoming documentary, “Divided Families,” recently screened on Capitol Hill. The increased attention comes at an opportune time as Washington and Pyongyang discuss the possibility of holding some form of reunions.

Former NFL Player Will Demps
Asiance

Will Demps is undoubtedly one of the most handsome former football players of the NFL. A former San Diego State Aztec, Demps was signed by the Baltimore Ravens as an undrafted free agent in 2002, playing for the New York Giants in 2006 and eventually as a Houston Texan until 2009.

Born to a Korean mother and an African-American father, Will Demps is quite well-known. During his childhood, his family relocated to California where he would soon realize his dream of becoming an NFL football player.

An entrepreneur at heart, Will is involved with numerous businesses. Demps is the owner of a Wet Willie’s chain bar in San Diego, California, the first on the West Coast and features dishes influenced by his mother’s home cooking such as Seoul tacos. He’s also in the middle of developing a social network for celebrities.

Harold & Kumar are still wreaking silly havoc in their new 3D comedy
Detroit Free Press

And this is probably the first movie to have its 3D cake and eat it, too, by making fun of the cinematic gimmick while utilizing it in over-the-top, oh-no-they-didn’t ways.

Cho sounds philosophical about the raunchier aspects of the comedy. “When you sign up for a Harold and Kumar movie, you’ve got to prepare for the consequences,” he says. “I didn’t go in innocent.”

But no matter how gross the laughs may get, there’s something about Harold and Kumar’s likability and their enduring friendship that has made them pop-culture icons for the 40-and-under crowd.

Cho isn’t sure about the icon title. “I don’t necessarily think of Harold in those terms,” he says. “I just have a lot of affection for him. He’s like people I know. They wrote that script afraid that the studio would change the race of those characters. In the first draft, they wrote in scenes that would indicate that these guys cannot be played by anyone other than an Indian actor and a Korean actor, so there were all these scenes about them talking about their family background and their culture. Partly because of that, I just developed an affinity for Harold, because he seemed like friends I knew. He mirrored some of my background.”

Christmas movie trivia with Kal Penn and John Cho
Washington Post

The Washington Post’s Jen Chaney quizzes Kal Penn and John Cho, stars of the upcoming “A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas,” on their knowledge of Christmas movies.

Bobby Lee on Wedding Palace
YouTube

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Friday's Link Attack: John Cho, Joy Osmanski, Yuna Kim

Kal Penn and John Cho on Tonight Show with Jay Leno
channel APA

Actors John Cho & Kal Penn landed on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno to promote their upcoming film “A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas“. They start off chatting about their connections with President Obama from working at the White House to being invited there. The duo also talk about their very first press tour and the similarities to their Harold & Kumar characters. Watch a special clip from their movie.

Glendale man arrested on suspicion of stealing Korean Americans’ IDs
Los Angeles Times

A 49-year-old Glendale man has been arrested on suspicion of stealing the personal information, including Social Security numbers, of more than 90 Korean-Americans, police said.

Dong Ho Han, who is being held in lieu of $4.6-million bail, was arrested early Wednesday on suspicion of identity theft, possessing a forged driver’s license or identification card and possessing pills without a prescription, according to Glendale police reports.

“There is no indication of what he was going to do with them,” Financial Crimes Sgt. Harley Wing told the Glendale News-Press.

Police stopped Han about 2:30 a.m. at Los Olivos Lane and Moore Street for a traffic equipment violation when they discovered he was on probation for forgery in Santa Barbara County, Wing said.

During a search of Han’s car, police found dates of birth and Social Security numbers for more than 90 Koreans, he said.

Police also found prescription pills, including Oxycontin and Methadone, three or four signed blank checks and four passports in his name, but with different dates of birth, Wing said. Han also had $3,200 in cash, Wing added.

Illinois Fugitive Hyungkyu Choi
Chicago Tribune

On Sept. 28, 2011, a father told Naperville police that his 13-year-old daughter had been sexually abused by her martial arts instructor, Hyungkyu Choi.

Five days earlier, about 2 a.m., the girl told her dad, Choi drove her to one of the YK Martial Arts Studio locations in Naperville, and sexually abused her there.

A doctor interviewed and examined the minor that day, and the minor disclosed to him that she had a relationship with Choi over several months and they had sexual contact twice between July and September.

Choi was 26, twice the alleged victim’s age.

After meeting with police on Oct. 1, Choi fled the country for South Korea on Oct. 6.

joy osmanski’s in the new animated fox show allen gregory
angryasianman

Heads up. Our friend, actress Joy Osmanski, stars in the next FOX animated series Allen Gregory, which premieres this Sunday, October 30 as part of the network’s animation block (right after The Simpsons). Joy supplies the voice of Julie DeLongpre, Allen Gregory’s sister.

SKorea: Singer, judge discuss race prejudice
Asian Correspondent

A top star and a judge, both middle-aged, have joined hands in Korea and America to overcome the difficulties of being mixed-race. They have spent over 50 years of life in different places but when they meet their faces seem both similar and different. 54-year-old singer In Soon-yi, the child of a Korean mother and a black American father who was serving in the Korean war, and 56-year old Judy Draper, a Korean-American judge, met at a restaurant in Bangbae-dong, Seoul, on the 20th. Their meeting was arranged after the Ministry of Foreign affairs and Trade (외교통상부) brought Draper to Korea on the 17th after she became a well-known Korean-American after being made a circuit judge in St. Louis, Missouri. Judge Draper, who brought her multicultural son with her, came to know In Soon-yi when she learned were both doing similar work at the Pearl S. Buck Foundation Korea (한국펄벅재단) and requested that the Ministry arrange a meeting.

A spokesperson for In Soon-yi said that “as soon as in Soon-yi met Judge Draper they embraced… As mixed-race Koreans they each overcame discrimination and never gave up, working to be treated fairly, and each was touched by that.”

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Seoul, US cautiously move on 6-party talks
Korea Times

South Korean officials Wednesday remained mum on high-level talks between North Korea and the United States on how to resume nuclear disarmament negotiations but said the communist state had shown seriousness in a recent flurry of diplomacy.

A Seoul official said the government was waiting for a full briefing from Washington before making any comment. But he added on condition of anonymity that in two rounds of contact between the Koreas, running in conjunction with the U.S.-North talks, Pyongyang had been “quite serious.”

The cautious approach echoed that of U.S officials, who after the two-day session in Geneva earlier this week, said talks had been positive, while stamping down hope for an imminent breakthrough. Stephen Bosworth said the sides had narrowed differences on resuming six-party talks but did not elaborate on areas of progress.

Korean Skating Champ Yuna Kim Collaborates on Ceramics Line
ABC News

Figure skater and Olympic champion Yuna Kim is launching her own ceramic collection, “YUNA,” in collaboration with a Korean ceramic company.

“I wanted to do something with my career that could spread awareness of Korean culture,” said Kim at the YUNA showcase at Shinsegae department store on Thursday. “And I chose the most Korean brand.”

She referred to the porcelain manufacturer Kwangjuyo. The upscale, traditional, handmade pottery-maker is known for its drive to develop and introduce Korean food globally.

Faculty Spotlight: Born in Korea, Educated in America, Now Teaching In Singapore
Tisch Arts blog

SHINHO LEE
Assistant Arts Professor at Dramatic Writing Department
New York University Tisch School of the Arts Asia

Raised in: Born and raised in Seoul, South Korea

Courses I teach: Grad Screenwriting I, Thesis Screenwriting I & II, Screenwriting Lab, Collaborative Film for 2nd Year Writing Students & 3rd Year Film Students, Feature Writing for 3rd Year Film Students.

Educated in: New York (BFA NYU Tisch Film & Television 2000; MFA NYU Tisch Dramatic Writing Department 2002), Los Angeles (MFA American Film Institute Screenwriting 2003)

Proudest Professional Moment: The Red Snow, a screenplay that I wrote while at Tisch Dramatic Writing Department, won 2003 Hartley-Merrill Award that was announced at Cannes Film Festival; The Chaser, a Korean film, that I co-wrote became a hit in South Korea in 2008 and is expected to be remade by Warner Bros., starring Leonardo DiCaprio; Sayonara Itsuka, a Japanese language film, that I wrote became the highest grossing Korean film in Japan in 2010.

I’m Now Working On: A love story set in New York City to be produced by Terence Chang (Tisch alum; producer of Face/Off, Red Cliff, Hard Boiled); A US-Korea co-production project that deals with the rumored to be true story about a Korean soldier who had a fling with Marilyn Monroe in 1954; A suspense thriller set in Singapore to be produced in 2012; An action blockbuster film set in four Asian countries to be produced in 2012-2013.

’21 and Over’ begins shooting in China
Variety

The young adult comedy co-starring Justin Chon began filming in China.

Miles Teller (“Footloose”), Justin Chon (“The Twilight Saga”), Skylar Astin (“Taking Woodstock”) and Sarah Wright (“The House Bunny”) star in the pic, which follows two childhood friends who drag their straight-arrow buddy out to celebrate his 21st birthday the night before an important medical school interview, in an evening of debauchery that spirals out of control. But when one beer leads to another, the evening spirals into a wild misadventure of debauchery that none of them will ever forget.

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Thursday's Link Attack: Richard Park, North Korea, Snoop Dogg

Mayor Bloomberg Talks Kimchi In Queens
New York Daily News

After reminiscing about the years he traveled to Korea for business, enjoying good food and drink, Bloomberg took a series of questions ranging from immigration and restaurant inspections to language access and the paucity of Korean-American judges on the bench.

And since this is Queens, there was a complaint about parking.

But the first question at the Queens Library’s Flushing branch delved into the world of Korean food and restaurant inspections. The Mayor was told that Korean restaurant owners and small business owners feel they are treated unfairly and receive low grades.

Korean-American Voters Hear From District 37 Candidates
Patch.com (Teaneck, N.J.)

The Korean American Voters Council (KAVC) hosted a debate Tuesday for District 37 candidates at the Fort Lee Public Library following a forum the previous day with candidates for Bergen County office, in an effort to boost participation in the rapidly-growing Korean community.

The focus of both was on issues of particular concern to Korean-American voters, who tend to have a low turnout rate for elections, said moderator and KAVC staff attorney Chejin Park.

“The Korean population is really growing in Bergen County, but their participation is really low,” Park said. “The voter registration rate is less than 50 percent, and the participation rate—voter turnout—is less than 30 percent.”

Fairfax school board incumbent Ilryong Moon defends record
Washington Post

Critics have said the board doesn’t listen to parents and stubbornly defends Superintendent Jack D. Dale’s policies and decisions without asking tough questions.

Ilryong Moon, 54, the only at-large incumbent in the race, is one of the targets. In 2009, when the board voted 7 to 3 to extend Dale’s contract, Moon abstained. It was one of the most important votes of the last four years, and critics say Moon’s abstention showed a lack of leadership..

But Moon says he took a thoughtful and deliberative position, characteristics he says have defined his 12 years on the board. He says he abstained because he supported the contract renewal but disagreed with its four-year length — too long, in Moon’s eyes.

He says his institutional knowledge will be important for the school system’s stability as six other board incumbents retire, taking with them a combined 48 years of experience.

“I am very patient. I do not jump to conclusions and I am willing to consider all sides,” he said. “The next board needs to have someone with my background, experience and proven leadership.”

Weekes: Eight ‘non-stars’ impressing me
NHL.com

Richard Park, F, Pittsburgh Penguins — He’s always good. He’s just a good pro. How did the Islanders let a guy like that go? He’s versatile, cheap, a leader and a true pro. The Penguins value him and he’s a bargain at $550,000 on a two-way deal. They can play him on the third line, fourth line, power play, penalty kill. He’s a very skilled guy and a steal for Ray Shero.

North Korea bans citizens working in Libya from returning home
The Telegraph (U.K.)

North Korea has banned its own citizens working in Libya from returning home, apparently out of fear that they will reveal the extent – and final outcomes – of the revolutions that have shaken the Arab world.

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Koreans in US eager to vote
Korea Times

Kim Bong-nam always thought voting was more a chore than a privilege. But not anymore — not since he moved to the U.S. and no longer had an official say in Korean politics.

“It’s funny how the sense of feeling deprived kicks in when you know you can’t do something,” says Kim, who left his hometown Incheon for New York just over a decade ago.

For Kim and some 2.7 million overseas Koreans, next spring is when the days of deprivation ends.

Starting with the general elections in April 2012, Korean nationals living abroad will be allowed to cast ballots, as part of a revised election law in 2009.

The new law grants voting rights to overseas residents aged 19 and older, as long as they still retain Korean citizenship.

Happy Makgeolli Day
Wall Street Journal

Makgeolli, the Korean rice liquor once derided as the drink of farmers and manual laborers, has seen a resurgence in popularity in recent years, as beloved by the generation of South Korean President Lee Myung-bak as it is by twenty- and thirtysomethings.

So much so that Mr. Lee’s government has dedicated a national day to the tipple. Makgeolli Day celebrates the fruit of Korean country life’s rise to prominence.

Kim Ng has the resume to be the Angels’ general manager
Los Angeles Times

After working in major league baseball in many capacities, including assistant general manager of the Dodgers, she is highly qualified to fill the vacant job in Anaheim.

Why the Next Steve Jobs Will be Asian
Inc.

As Washington maneuvers on skilled immigration reform, the United States is losing its near-monopoly on entrepreneurship by forcing its educated Indian and Chinese immigrants to return home.

Pan-Asian girl band looks to Snoop Dogg for help
Reuters

The pan-Asian “girl band” Blush has been around for only 11 months but already has a track record more established groups might envy — a single that hit number-three on the U.S. dance music charts and rapper Snoop Dogg in one of their songs.

This week, the English-singing group, whose members hail from Japan, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Korea and India, will open for the Black Eyed Peas at their Manila concert. They appeared at a Justin Bieber concert in Hong Kong earlier this year.

“The goal for Blush is to become really the first Asian singers to make it big in the West,” said John Niermann, a former president of Walt Disney Co’s Asia-Pacific unit, who brought the band together last year after a broad talent search.

Welcome to the world, little one
Korea Times

Here’s a nice first-person piece about bringing a child into the world in multicultural America.

I don’t usually write about my personal life in this space, but this time I will. I hope that you will forgive me. But it won’t be all personal, I promise. I will manage to work in some over-arching and redeeming social construct out of this somehow.

As I write, I am sitting in a birthing room in an ultra modern hospital with my wife in a bed over yonder hooked up with all types of tubes and monitors.

She’s eyeing me with an unfriendly “Really?” look on her face as I begin pecking on my laptop. I tell her that I want to make sure that this moment is recorded in writing for our baby to read when he grows up, so that he would know how much pain and effort she went through to give birth to him.

San Francisco Restaurant Receives Two Michelin Stars

Photo by Vivien Kim Thorp

San Francisco restaurant Benu was awarded two stars by the prestigious Michelin restaurant guide released yesterday, making it one of only three eateries in the city to receive that distinction.

Benu, which means “phoenix” in Egyptian, was founded in August of 2010 by Korean American Corey Lee. The restaurant features Asian-influenced food and utilizes the sous vide cooking technique, pioneered by Lee and his former mentor Thomas Keller of world-renowned restaurant French Laundry.

“It’s a huge honor, and the whole thing feels a bit surreal,” Lee told iamKoreAm.com, in an email. “It’s an important thing for me because we are participating in a tradition that generations of chefs have participated in … You just do what you feel is best and hope Michelin recognizes that.” Continue reading