The Dictator’s Daughter
Time Magazine Asia (subscription req’d)
It’s a chilly November evening in the South Korean city of Kwangju, and a middle-aged group is waiting at the train station for 60-year-old presidential contender Park Geun-hye. Suddenly, the unmistakable riff of “Gangnam Style” throbs through the twilight. Wearing the crimson of Park’s ruling Saenuri Party, four young women in short shorts bound across the platform. As they perform the song’s distinctive riding and lassoing dance, many in the crowd look stunned, as if they have never seen the most watched video on YouTube or heard the tune that has become globally synonymous with South Korea.
South Korea: One of the World’s Great Success Stories Heads to the Polls
Sixty years ago, South Korea was an economic wasteland. Today, it is not only the world’s 11th largest economy, but also a vibrant democracy and an emerging cultural force. This transformation is the subject of a new book, Korea: The Impossible Country, by Daniel Tudor, Korea correspondent for the Economist. He argues that, thanks in part to its neighbors, South Korea is all too often overlooked. A pity, he says, since “South Koreans have written the most unlikely and impressive story of nation-building of the last century.”
In less than two weeks, on Dec. 19, South Korea’s story will take another turn with the election of a new President. To get a feel for what’s at stake, TIME talked to Tudor about the book, the election and, of course, Seoul’s unpredictable neighbor, North Korea.
North Korea Gets Ready for Launching
New York Times
The name of the satellite that North Korea will attempt to put into orbit as early as next week helps explain why the country’s impoverished regime wanted its own satellite project. Kwangmyongsong, or Shining Star, was also a title for Kim Jong-il — the late father of the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, and the man whose legacy of nuclear and missile programs his son must consolidate to justify his own hereditary rule.
North Korea’s state news media make it clear that the country’s rocket and nuclear programs have become integral to its self-image as a small, poor but militarily powerful country, which bigger nations must placate with economic concessions, and to its ruling party’s claim to political legitimacy. Thus, analysts say, North Korea will push ahead with its plan to launch the satellite despite international warnings of more sanctions.
Family, Friends Say Goodbye To Subway Push Victim
CBS New York
Friends and family said goodbye Thursday to a Queens man who was killed earlier this week after police said he was pushed in front of an oncoming train in the subway.
The funeral for 58-year-old Ki-Suck Han was held at the Edward D. Jamie Funeral Chapel in Flushing, Queens. A handful of mourners gathered at the chapel for the service, which was said in Korean.
Retired businessman still makes a difference in Korean American community
Northwest Asian Weekly
Interested in coming to the United States, [Jun Bae] Kim shut down his timber company and got a job as a branch manager for a company specializing in the manufacturing of fishing nets in 1982. He first moved to New Jersey, but then branched out to Los Angeles.
This year, more Asians than Latinos–but overall, immigration is down
Asian immigrants exceeded Hispanic immigration levels for the first time since 1910. Asians and Hispanics are the two fastest-growing groups in America. Each population group has grown by more than 40 percent since 2000.
Republicans now realize that in order to win a presidential election they will have to broaden their base and reach out to more Latino and Asian voters. The voter gap revealed after the past election is staggering. Exit polls indicate that around 70 percent of Asian-American voters supported President Obama, as did 71 percent of Latinos. Republican anti-immigration stances have hurt the party. Recently, some House Republicans tried to temper their image by voting to allow foreign students to acquire green cards while in pursuit of advanced science and math degrees at American universities.
Driver who fatally hit Fairbanks boy ordered to pay over $400,000 in restitution
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (Alaska)
A Superior Court judge on Thursday ordered an elderly woman to pay more than $400,000 to the family of an 11-year-old boy who the woman ran over and killed as he walked to school more than a year ago.
Yiki Kim, 69, is serving a 3 1/2-year sentence for criminally negligent homicide in the Aug. 30, 2011, death of Jamison Thrun, who was walking to University Park Elementary School with his younger brother. Kim failed to make a right turn, and her SUV jumped the curb and slammed into Jamison, who was standing about 30 feet off the road.
Kim originally was charged with manslaughter and reckless driving but agreed to plead guilty to criminally negligent homicide in exchange for a prison sentence of no more than four years in jail. She was sentenced in June.
Gangnam Nationalism: Why Psy’s anti-American rap shouldn’t surprise you
Nationalism is a complicated force, and it might not always mean the same thing within one culture as it does in another. Keep that in mind as you read about how Psy, the South Korean rapper beloved in the United States for his mega-hit Gangnam Style, participated in two anti-American performances a few years before he became a big star here. And keep in mind that this is bigger than just Psy and his performances, particularly as controversy is likely to build over President Obama and his family’s plans to attend a charity concert featuring the Korean pop star.
In 2002, Psy walked onto the stage at a massive performance meant to protest the large U.S. military presence in South Korea. He wore an outlandish, glittered red costume and gold face paint. As the crowd cheered him on, Psy lifted a large model of a U.S. tank and, to cheers and applause, smashed it against the stage.
Benu Wine Director Yoon Ha on Working With Corey Lee and Kimchi Anxiety
Master Sommelier Yoon Ha is the current Dining Room and Beverage Director at the two-Michelin star San Francisco restaurant Benu. Ha left his post at La Toque in Napa Valley to join chef Corey Lee, formerly of the French Laundry. Drawing on Lee’s Western take on Asian flavors, Ha has fashioned not only a smart list, but one of the city’s most respected pairing menus. In this interview Ha talks about meeting Lee, finding wines that can “expand” and “contract” with a dish, coming to terms with kimchi anxiety, and how Benu has allowed him the opportunity to reconnect with his heritage.
How did you meet Cory Lee and how did Benu come about?
We met in Napa Valley. Cory was working at the French Laundry and I was at La Toque. And, you know, to have to Korean Americans working in our field in Napa Valley was really rare. When Cory was thinking about starting up a restaurant we talked and talked and at first I was a little hesitant because I didn’t want to open up another restaurant. But tasting Cory’s food for a menu he had been thinking about during one of his last services at the French Laundry was eye opening. There were so many ingredients and flavors that sort of echoed my upbringing and my mother’s cooking. And you know there were so many parallels: The shared heritage, the fact that we came to the US at about the same age. It felt too powerful to ignore. So I knew that working with Cory would be something very, very special, and in the end I knew I had to be a part of it.
Check out our profile of Benu chef Corey Lee in the November 2011 issue of KoreAm.
Ryu Hyun-jin’s Agent Hopes Dodgers Go for Shorter-Term Deal
After Hanwha Eagles pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin’s contract negotiations with the Los Angeles Dodgers appeared to hit a wall this week, fans are starting to see new flickers of hope in his bid to join U.S. Major League Baseball.
General Manager Ned Colletti and Ryu’s agent Scott Boras are negotiating again as the latter proposed a shorter-term contract to the club as an alternative, according to the Orange County Register.
Controversial museum on Korean history finally faces opening
South Korea’s long-awaited national museum dedicated exclusively to the country’s turbulent contemporary history is expected to open its doors next month, despite lingering debate over the ideological partiality of the exhibits to be displayed.
The 45 billion won (US$41.3 million) National Museum of Korean Contemporary History is the culmination of a project begun four years ago by President Lee Myung-bak to construct a modern history museum where the culture ministry building was formerly located in Seoul’s central Gwanghwamun area.