Could we be on the cusp of the second coming of Chan Ho mania?
The Los Angeles Dodgers submitted the winning bid for left-handed pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu, earning the exclusive right to sign the 25-year-old Korean star.
The Dodgers’ offer of $25.7 million was accepted by the Hanhwa Eagles of the Korean Baseball Organization, and the Dodgers now have 30 days to negotiate a contract with Ryu, who is being represented by big-name agent Scott Boras.
“We have watched Ryu pitch for a long time,” Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said, according to MLB.com. “He is another option to consider as we look to improve our team in 2013 and beyond. We look forward to meeting Ryu and beginning the negotiation process very soon.” Continue Reading »
by Korea Daily via New America Media
Kum Ho Lee, 64, is a naturalized American citizen from South Korea who was all set to vote for the first time this past week. According to a report in the Korea Daily, however, a poll worker turned the Atlanta resident away after questioning Lee’s citizenship.
The report noted that Lee was told to go to the county office, despite the fact that he produced a valid Georgia driver’s license and naturalization papers for the poll worker.
Lee, who has lived in the United States for 30 years, received his citizenship in 2010. He ultimately cast a provisional ballot. Continue Reading »
by NGOC NGUYEN of New America Media
After the election, media noted that Latino voters helped buoy President Barack Obama to a second term. Largely ignored, however, was the Asian American vote, which exit polls show trumped even Latino support for the president.
National exit polls show that more than 70 percent of Asian American voters broke for Obama, and that this voting bloc may have also played a pivotal role in swing states such as Nevada. The Asian American vote in Tuesday’s election underscores a key trend born out in a number of recent pre-election polls: The Asian American vote is changing, shifting more Democratic, even across subgroups.
Despite the trend, Asian American voters are not being courted as much as those from other ethnic groups, say community advocates. More than half of Asian American voters said they were not contacted by either campaign or third-party group during the election season, according to a pre-election survey by the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development (National CAPACD) and Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF). Continue Reading »
Defector couple returns to N. Korea
The Chosun Ilbo
In a rare publicity coup for the North Korean regime, a couple who defected to South Korea have apparently returned to the North.
The North’s official KCNA news agency on Thursday said Kim Kwang-hyok (27) from North Hamgyong Province fled to China in March 2008, while his wife Ko Jong-nam (29) followed him in September that year.
World Bank head holds out hope for Haiti
AP via The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
It was a whirlwind tour for World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, who helicoptered from the grounds of the demolished National Palace to his old stomping grounds in central Haiti where he once treated the rural poor as a doctor.
Then he flew off to visit a power plant north of Port-au-Prince and then spoke at a conference on poverty at a hotel that like the presidential palace down the hill is being rebuilt following its implosion in the 2010 earthquake.
Kim’s two-day trip to Haiti was no routine drop-in for the head of an international organization. This one carried special significance for Kim, a physician and anthropologist who is regarded for his pioneering work in development because of his ties to the Boston-based Partners in Health.
Cracks at South Korean nuclear plant raise safety concerns
Christian Science Monitor via Yahoo!
South Korea’s ambitious nuclear energy program is under intensive scrutiny and criticism after the discovery of microscopic cracks in the structure of a nuclear power plant and forgery of quality certificates vouching for thousands of components in at least two reactors.
Officials in all three major agencies responsible for monitoring the program said Friday there’s no danger to nuclear safety, but the government ordered the shutdown of the two reactors with the uncertified parts. At the same time, the head of the state company overseeing the program, Korea Electric Power Corp. has resigned for what he said were personal reasons.
‘Education key to sustaining hallyu’
The Korea Herald
The “triumph” of Psy and the smooth sailing of K-pop boy and girl bands in the international pop scene have heated the Korean cultural fever around the world more than ever.
A systematic and integrated approach is needed to retain the boom and develop it into other business opportunities now, said Yoo Jin-ryong, dean of Hallyu Graduate School at Catholic University. The school aims at cultivating businessmen with a sense of culture, based on their extensive studies into “hallyu,” or the Korean cultural wave.
Artist Song Byeok at Woolly Mammoth
Washington City Paper
Washingtonians might know Song Byeok from the small show he mounted at The Dunes back in April. But those who don’t need only glance at reproductions of North Korean propaganda art, and they’ll have an idea of what his work is all about. The painter, who defected after a devastating famine struck the Hermit Kingdom during the 1990s, once painted the ubiquitous socialist-realist images of heroic North Korean workers that are mandatory in many public and private spaces throughout the nation.
Psy brings ‘Gangnam Style’ to Oxford
Korean musician Psy spoke about the ups and downs of success before the prestigious Oxford University debating society.
A history of Korean girl bands
The Chosun Ilbo
K-pop girl groups have been captivating the public with with simple, catchy, lyrics and fancy choreography. Since the mid-2000s, thanks to the Korean Wave and K-pop fever, they have been admired elsewhere in Asia and beyond.
Counter Intelligence: The basics of life at Kang Ho-dong Baekjeong
Los Angeles Times
Meet Kang Ho-dong. Kang Ho-dong is a South Korean celebrity, a former wrestler turned TV personality whose ubiquity on Korean television approaches what you might get if you added Ryan Seacrest’s TV appearances to those of Charlie Sheen’s. Last year, before his career was briefly interrupted by accusations of tax evasion, since tossed out of court, Kang starred in four prime-time shows: three variety hours, plus a reality show that combined travelogue with aspects of “Celebrity Rehab.”
I spent a couple of hours last week watching Kang Ho-dong clips on YouTube, and I still find it no easier to explain the essence of his celebrity. He is an alpha-wolf extrovert who convulses with laughter at his own jokes. Like his near-look-alike Psy, the singer behind “Gangnam Style,” he is an uncouth, beefy man in a Korean pop culture that reveres exquisite beauty in its male stars. This week, he makes his triumphant reentry onto Korean television, after a 14-month-absence, returning as a host on “Star King.” The Korean gossip magazines can scarcely talk about anything else.
I bring this up because Kang Ho-dong runs a restaurant chain on the side, a dozen or so high-end Korean barbecue places in the motherland, plus restaurants in Honolulu and suburban Atlanta. His Los Angeles restaurant is in Chapman Market, a superb Art Deco complex designed in 1929 as a drive-through market but which is now a Koreatown wonderland of crowded nightclubs, year-round Christmas lights and beery restaurants.
North Korea, for better or for worse, has spent much of recent history being something of a punchline. From the goose-steppiest of goose-stepping soldiers, to the absurdly baroque placard-based animated scenes enacted during stadium events, to Kim Jong-il’s recurring role during his life as the feckless dictator du jour in everything from 30 Rock to Team America: World Police. Funny or not, North Korea as a meme obscures the ongoing humanitarian tragedy. To that end, the LA-based nonprofit Liberty in North Korea has launched SHIFT, a campaign to bring the focus back to the people. So watch the video above, and pass it along. Every view equals a 25 cent donation to the organization, which provides a host of services for North Korean refugees. The goal, according to president and CEO of LiNK, Hannah Song, is to help recruit as many “SHIFT talkers” as possible.
“The point of SHIFT is when the public talks about NK, it has to be about refugees plight,” she said.
If you’re interested in doing more, there’s more information on the LiNK website.