In a music video that’s already raked in more than 2 million views, Malaysian YouTube darling Joyce Chu sings about what it’s like when everyone assumes you’re Korean when you’re not.
The fresh-faced, ukelele-playing 17-year-old, who lives in Johor Bahru (often called JB) in southern Malaysia, bemoans getting hit on by Korean dudes (“I beg you, oppa, oppa, oppa, stop bothering me”) and the fact that people think she’s had plastic surgery (“I know you’re actually criticizing me about my face, nose chin, eyes and dimples”). She believes that “Korean dramas are fake so stop being crazy about [them].” Oh no, she did-n’t.
Chu does love kimchi and K-pop—she’s done covers of Crayon Pop and her “idol” 2NE1. She just wants to proclaim that she’s a “Malaysia Chabor” (woman)—and proud of it. Fair enough.
Prepare for War in 2015, Kim Jong-un Tells Officers Chosun Ilbo
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has mentioned the possibility of a war breaking out on the Korean peninsula in 2015, it was revealed Tuesday. According to a source, Kim told military commanders earlier this year that an “armed confrontation could take place on the Korean peninsula in 2015″ and ordered them to stock up on strategic supplies and remain combat ready.
The comments were made at about the same time that Kim spoke about improving relations with South Korea during his New Year’s address.
At a loyalty rally in Pyongyang on Feb. 25, Kim also spoke about an “all-out war with the enemy in the name of revolution and final victory.” Last year, Kim told key officials his aim of “reunification through force within three years.”
North Korea demonstrated its ballistic missile capabilities by launching two midrange missiles on Wednesday, after the leaders of the United States, Japan and South Korea gathered in the Netherlands to discuss the North’s nuclear threats.
In North Korea’s first tests of midrange projectiles in nearly five years, two Rodong missiles blasted off from mobile launching vehicles from Sukchon, north of Pyongyang, early Wednesday and flew 403 miles before landing in the sea between North Korea and Japan, said Kim Min-seok, a spokesman of the South Korean Defense Ministry.
“By launching them from mobile vehicles which are difficult to monitor and allow North Korea to fire missiles from anywhere it wanted, the country appeared to show off its ability to attempt a surprise attack,” Mr. Kim said. “This is a serious provocation against South Korea and the international community.”
North Korea marked the fourth anniversary of the sinking of the South Korean warship Cheonan by repeating its assertion that it wasn’t involved in the incident and demanding Seoul lift related sanctions.
North Korea said Wednesday that South Korea was “beating the worn-out drum of escalating confrontation” with the issue and was hindering the improvement of bilateral ties.
The comments came hours after North Korea launched two mid-range ballistic missiles into the sea east of the Korean peninsula.
On March 26, 2010, the Cheonan was sunk in the Yellow Sea near the inter-Korean maritime border, leaving 40 dead and six missing, who are presumed dead.
For South Koreans, Ahn Jung-geun is a “national hero” – the independence activist who in 1909 assassinated the Japanese colonial governor of Korea. He struck at the embodiment of a hated imperial power and sacrificed his life for national independence.
To the Japanese, he is a criminal, the man who killed a seminal figure in their nation’s history, a leading light in the modernization of Japan, a four-time prime minister who ensured Japan’s survival in a hostile world.
Those views reflect the opposing historical perspectives that are deeply tied to Japan’s and South Korea’s national identities – and that stand in the way of a needed warming of ties. As two key democratic powers and US allies in an increasingly tense region, their rapprochement would shore up neighborhood stability and present a united front to an assertive China and unstable North Korea. A new kind of statesmanship is required to heal such entrenched divisions.
Wartime Sex Slaves Ask Abe to See Scars to Prove Japan Abuse Bloomberg
Yi Ok Seon, an 86-year-old survivor of Japan’s wartime use of sex slaves, rolled up her trouser cuff to reveal the scar that she said Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe should come to South Korea to see.
“I still remember vividly what they did to me,” says Yi, describing how military police slashed her right foot after she tried to escape from an Imperial Army brothel.
Yi, one of a handful of former “comfort women” residing at a shelter near Seoul, says she was abducted in 1942 at age 18 in the southeastern city of Ulsan while running an errand. “Beatings would follow if I resisted the rape,” she said. “I was helpless. When I look at my scars now, I am reminded how lucky I am to have survived those years.”
State Sen. Leland Yee was arrested on public corruption charges Wednesday morning in a federal investigation that also targeted Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow, a notorious former San Francisco gangster, officials said.
The arrest of Yee, who represents San Francisco and a part of San Mateo County and is a candidate for California Secretary of State, came amid searches of his office in Sacramento and his home in San Francisco.
Sources told The Chronicle that the predawn, multiagency raids involving hundreds of federal agents and local cops stemmed from a fatal shooting about five years ago.
FBI spokesman Peter Lee in San Francisco confirmed that Yee and Chow had been arrested. Both are to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Nathanael Cousins in San Francisco on Wednesday afternoon.
A fire that destroyed a Mountain View home this month was set by teenagers that had been hosting parties in the unoccupied house for several weekends, Mountain View police said Tuesday.
Twelve juveniles and two 18-year-old men were arrested on various charges of arson, burglary, car theft, drug possession and drug sale, according to police.
More arrests, investigators said, are expected.
Downtown New Haven deli shut over alleged wage violations New Haven Register (Connecticut)
A downtown deli was shut down Tuesday by the state Department of Labor after an investigation found alleged wage violations by its owners.
The Labor Department said two people worked at J&B Deli Grocery, 1147 Chapel St., for about 60 hours a week without being paid at least minimum wage or overtime.
The business is operated by John and Cheong Rhee of Hamden. A stop-work order was posted on the store’s door.
The department alleged in a press release that the deli owners were paying workers in cash, were not keeping required payroll records, failed to make legal deductions and could not show proof of carrying workers’ compensation coverage, which is required in Connecticut.
U.S. Warns Seoul Of Exporters’ Concerns About Free Trade Deal — The Ball’s In South Korea’s Court Forbes.com
The U.S. ambassador to South Korea, Sung Kim, a Korean-American who visited North Korea 13 times for negotiations before his current appointment, likes to warm up relations with influential South Koreans over games of tennis on the spacious grounds of the ambassadorial residence.
It was on one such occasion that he and Korea’s finance minister, Hyun Oh-seok, talked over grave problems surrounding the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, which took effect in 2012 after several years of arduous talks that showed deep, enduring problems on both sides.
Hyun didn’t reveal the outcome of the tennis game but did say he and Sung Kim had “met frequently” to try and arrive at “an effective outcome” to troubles over KORUS. “It may be a natural force to have issues over trade,” he said in response to my question after he gave a luncheon speech at the Seoul Foreign Correspondents’ Club on March 25 that omitted any mention of trade problems.
2NE1 to Appear On “America’s Next Top Model” soompi
Exciting news! The fabulous ladies of 2NE1 will be appearing on the final stage of the American reality survival program “America’s Next Top Model” season 21.
“America’s Next Top Model” is filming in Korea for Seoul’s fashion week, and according to broadcast and fashion industry sources, 2NE1 will be appearing on the final stage of the show’s activities in Korea. The final fashion show of the program will take place on April 2 at Banpo, and 2NE1 will be guests at that show. One source sated, “2NE1 was asked to be on the show because they are a representative K-Pop group and they are also well-known to be fashionistas.”
Don’t diss “Banshee” star Hoon Lee on Twitter, even if you’re just kidding.
Lee had tweeted about an upcoming guest appearance on an episode of “The Black List” and I replied, tongue in cheek, “You’ve been on my black list for years.” I was rewarded with a fan of Lee’s telling me to “Back the fuck up!”
After I assured the tweeter that I was only kidding and that I was writing a profile about him, she gushed, “Mr.Lee is an awesome actor! He takes you into the heart of the character.” She added, “and he’s CUTE as hell!” Others had similar thoughts.
After watching two seasons of Cinemax’s hit show “Banshee,” it’s easy to see why Lee has so many fans. Apart from his ample acting chops, Lee is the most imposing Asian male presence ever in an American series. The man is as muscular as an action figure and can hold the menacing gaze of a panther. Lee’s cut enough to go shirtless, but for “Banshee” he takes it to another level: He squeezes into tight skirts. Job, Lee’s character (pronounced the biblical way), is a cross-dressing hair stylist and genius computer hacker who snaps lines like, “Suck my tit!”
A documentary meant to dissuade at-risk teens from buying into the false gang life promises of quick cash and eternal loyalty premiered last week at the Edwards Stadium Theater in Santa Maria to a packed house of lawyers, judges, teachers, and city councilmembers, along with community leaders, area residents, and nonprofit groups. The 40-minute film, titled Life Facing Bars, was commissioned by the Santa Maria Police Department and created by Matt Yoon, a 2013 Cal Poly journalism graduate. It’s been uploaded to YouTube, and had attracted more than 25,000 views as of Monday afternoon.
Yoon said he was producing videos for his church last year when he was approached by Lieutenant Daniel Cohen. Interested in the prospect of interviewing ex-gang members — and needing to complete a senior project for his major — Yoon agreed to join forces for the unique crime-prevention venture and was soon headed to Kern Valley State Prison and Santa Barbara County Jail for notably unrestricted access to the facilities and their inmates.
LG Electronics has released fresh photographs of the G Watch, in an effort to sustain interest in the device that it hopes will help it make inroads into the steadily expanding market for smartwatches.
The South Korean smartphone maker is co-developing the smartwatch with Google and has said earlier that it expects to launch the device in the second quarter of this year. Google also has another smartwatch in the works dubbed the Moto 360.
While both LG and Google hope their smartwatches will be better than earlier offerings, it remains in question whether the G Watch will have a much bigger appeal than existing devices such as Samsung’s Gear watch and Sony Smartwatch, as it will function as an accessory to smartphones rather than as an independent product.
Top K-pop girl group 2NE1 is under fire from Muslim groups after it was revealed that one of their songs uses verses taken out of the Quran.
The Korea Muslim Federation demanded that record label YG Entertainment to “swiftly delete” the lyrics in the song “MTBD” or revise the song and make an apology to all Muslims, according to the Chosun Ilbo.
The questionable content consists of an audio sample of children reciting verses from the Quaran, providing background vocals to CL’s rapping. The 8-second snippet is reportedly from Sura 78, Verses 32-34 of the Quran, which describes heaven.
YG Entertainment said it sampled a track from another song but did not elaborate.
“I cant believe that you used our Holy Quran in this song,” one fan wrote. “Quran is not a joke. You need to respect our religion !!!!!! This song must be deleted !!!!”
YG Entertainment removed the live video of the song from YouTube and later uploaded an edited version that cut out the offending portion. It is unclear whether the label will re-release the album, which went on sale in late February.
Only a few months after SM Entertainment announced the opening of its SMTOWN Museum in Los Angeles, YG Entertainment has released news of its own outpost in California.
The South Korean entertainment company announced its plans today to open “YG Land” in Orange County’s Buena Park with partner M+D Properties.
Breaking into the American music scene has always been a difficult goal for Korean artists, but YG Land will give the company a tangible foothold in North America. Unlike SM’s venue, which is more focused on providing the Hallyu experience for visitors, YG Land will also be focused on promoting YG artists, including Big Bang, 2NE1 and PSY, as well as providing a launchpad for further U.S. activities.
The building will reportedly house a recording studio, practice room and even a theater for their artists to work on projects and it is expected to open sometime in 2015.
YG Land will be located in an outdoor mall called The Source at Beach, set to open later this year. Conveniently located in Buena Park, YG Land will be just up the freeway from Disneyland and less than an hour by car from Los Angeles, discounting traffic, of course.
Last April, when a car pulled up to the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Los Angeles, it became hard for those waiting in the crowd to breathe, let alone move, as throngs of young people flocked to the automobile.
The group of diehard fans of Korean pop music, or K-pop, whispered among themselves as they craned their necks and stood on tiptoes to get a clearer look into the car. “Who is it? Is it someone I know?” Their hopes were usually dashed as an average hotel guest would emerge from the car. But sometimes, the person in the car was actually the pop music celebrity they were waiting for to arrive and pandemonium would ensue.
The evenly dispersed group would transform into one enormous mass of people and many would find themselves being pushed into nearby strangers. Cameras would begin flashing and the air became filled with shouts of different Korean phrases: from simply calling out the artists’ name to declarations of love and adoration. Decked out in big sunglasses or hats to hide their makeup-less faces, the stars would try to make their way through the fans, sometimes stopping for a few autographs, never a picture, until their staff members or managers would usher them inside. When the star successfully made their way to the elevators, the crowd would simmer down until another car pulled up to the Sheraton, then the madness would start all over again and continue until the wee hours of the morning.
The hotel, famous for housing K-pop stars this time of year, sees this scene almost every April and this year was no exception to the fangirl madness as scores of people waited outside the Sheraton to catch a glimpse of their favorite singers. The reason? L.A.’s annual Korean Music Festival.
Nine years in the making, KMF, as it’s known to many of its patrons, has featured top K-pop acts such as TVXQ, Girls Generation, Big Bang, Wonder Girls and Super Junior. This year, the Korea Times and other sponsors brought out Jay Park, 4Minute, G.NA, U-Kiss, Secret, Sistar, Baek Ji Young, K.Will and DJ DOC among other singers of trot music and traditional Korean music.
“There is much more excitement in seeing the band you love live than through a computer screen,” said Ann Yang, a first-time attendee of KMF. For much of the show, Yang was up on her feet, dancing and singing to the songs she knew, along with the thousands of other fans in attendance.
G.NA and DJ DOC’s own Kim Chan Ryul played hosts for the star-studded event, which was seen by thousands of people who traveled from all over North America and beyond.
K-pop garnered more attention in 2011 than ever before. YouTube announced its official categorization of K-pop as a genre on its music page, providing easy access to videos. This year also showed K-pop’s popularity in the United States where a number of concerts were held and dozens of Korean artists not only delighted their overseas fans but also performed to sold out crowds or at venues that were near capacity.
The Korean Music Festival used to be the only concert where North Americans could travel a reasonable distance to see K-pop artists perform live. These artists, however, are more frequently stopping by the U.S. to perform for their international fans.
REPORTING FROM SEOUL -– Though brief, Tuesday’s meeting between North Korean and South Korean leadership families smacked of another historic get-together more than a decade ago that led to one head of state winning the Nobel Peace Prize.
Lee Hee-ho, center, and Hyun Jeong-eun, right, in Paju, South Korea, on their way to North Korea on Monday to pay respects to Kim Jong-il and meet the North's new leader, Kim Jong-un.
New North Korean Leader Meets South Koreans and Assumes Leadership of Party New York Times
South Korea had said it would send no official mourners to Kim Jong-il’s funeral, which angered North Korea as a sign of disrespect. But Kim Jong-un’s meeting with the private delegation of mourners, which included the former first lady of South Korea and a top businesswoman, appeared to be cordial.
The South Korean visitors, Lee Hee-ho, the widow of former President Kim Dae-jung, and the chairwoman of Hyundai Asan, Hyun Jeong-eun, which had business ties with North Korea, were the only South Koreans allowed by the government in Seoul to lead private delegations to Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, to express sympathy over the death of Kim Jong-il on Dec. 17.
From Dear Leader to Marilyn Monroe, defector mocks Kim Reuters
North Korean artist Song Byeok once proudly drew the “Dear Leader” in propaganda paintings. But he was sent to labor in one of the reclusive state’s notorious prisons after hunger forced him to try to flee.
Now a defector living in the South Korean capital, Seoul, Song has turned to mocking a ruler who led his country into famine, isolation and economic ruin.
“The day I finished this, he passed away,” Song said of his painting and the death of Kim on December 17.
The death of Kim Jong-il has disrupted an American plan to encourage North Korea to curb its nuclear arsenal, and the uncertainties surrounding the “dear leader’s” replacement mean US officials have little choice for now but to sit tight.
Before the announcement of Mr. Kim’s death Sunday, the US was on the verge of completing a deal to exchange humanitarian assistance for North Korean steps toward denuclearization.
But as Kim’s replacement and youngest son, Kim Jong-un, tries to establish himself in his father’s place, it will likely be months – and potentially tense and surprise-laden months – before the North Korean leadership will be ready to reengage diplomatically, many North Asian analysts say.
In its first interaction with visitors from South Korea since the death of its leader, Kim Jong-il, North Korea on Tuesday called for the implementation of the inter-Korean summit agreements, which would have brought massive South Korean investments had the South Korean leader, Lee Myung-bak, not scuttled them.
Recalling a Trip to North Korea Before the Death of Kim Jong-il New York Times
Mun Ho-yong placed the bouquet of flowers at the foot of the towering outdoor portrait of Kim Il-sung, the founder of North Korea. Then he turned to the Chinese businesspeople and tourists, and to the foreign journalists. “Now please bow to our leader,” he said.
Most of us had set foot in North Korea for the first time just hours earlier. We had no idea what protocol to adopt when faced with the “Great Leader,” as North Koreans call him. So we followed Mr. Mun’s lead. We bowed.
2NE1 and SNSD ranks in SPIN’s 20 Best Pop Albums of 2011 Soompi
Girl groups 2NE1 and SNSD are receiving worldwide attention.
The two groups, who are leaders in K-pop’s Korean Wave thanks to their unique performances and refined music this year, have been favorably noticed by famous foreign magazines. SPIN, a popular music magazine in the United States, announced their 20 Best Pop Album of 2011 on December 22 (local time) and the two groups were listed.
Five arrested including two members of Hawthorne Fire Department arrested after drug investigation
A month and a half-long narcotics investigation resulted in the arrest of five Hawthorne residents, two of whom are members of the Hawthorne Fire Department, on Dec. 21.
At sentencing, Choi apologizes for slaying three in a Tenafly home North Jersey
“We have three individuals who no longer walk the earth,” said Judge Donald Venezia. “You brought havoc to three individuals and to a community. Anything less than a life sentence and I’d be condoning what you did. There’s no way you’re getting a break. You did not give Mr. [Han Il] Kim a break.”
Before being sentenced, Choi apologized via his Korean translator.
“I’m very sorry to the victims and their families,” he said. “I’m sorry to my own family.”
James Kim: Recent College Grad Feels Pain Of Uncertain Job Market Neon Tommy
Kim, 23, is one of the “Millennials”- a group defined by a 2010 Pew Research study as 18- to 29-year-olds who are mostly newcomers to the American labor force and who, more recently, have become the last hired and the first to lose their jobs.
According to the study that surveyed 50 million Millennials nationwide, only 4 out of every 10 participants said they had full-time work, and the unemployment rate among the group was 37 percent – the highest it had been in over 30 years.
Who’s that bright and breezy young tenor playing Gastone in the current revival of La Traviata at Covent Garden?
He’s 28-year-old Ji Hyun Kim, currently a hard-working member of the Royal Opera’s Jette Parker Young Artists Programme.
Perilla, ggaennip, shiso: By any name, a fine addition to garden L.A. Times
It’s telling that with such limited ground — not even 20 square feet — the gardeners at the Korean Resource Center have dedicated a majority of their space to the perilla plant, a member of the mint family known as ggaennip in Korea and shiso in Japan.
‘Brazen’ contracting scam: Records provide a window into audacious swindle Washington Post
The plan was straightforward but effective: A tight team of savvy contractors and government employees allegedly inflated invoices by $20 million, approved them and split the proceeds.
And they lived large — on the taxpayers’ dollar. Porsches, real estate, flat-screen televisions and Cartier watches: The men bought it all with impunity, prosecutors say.
Taeyoon Choi isn’t at this Ikea, the second largest store location in the world, to buy a coffee table. He’s not there for delicious meatballs and lingonberry sauce, either. He’s in Ikea to create crazy-weird experimental noise machines.
Dana Choi, a Korean student at The University of New Mexico, admitted to etching the words Super Duper Dana’ into rock at El Morro National Monument in October. His graffiti covers a portion of an inscription that reads Pedro Romero 1758.’ Although officials at monument won’t talk about how they plan to erase the markings, the restoration costs have been estimated at nearly $30,000.
Here are some videos we’re watching this week at KoreAm.
North Koreans Weeping Hysterically Over the Death of Kim Jong-Il
The news of Kim Jong-Il’s death earlier this week rang through news stations across the world, causing shock for some and causing non-stop grief for the North Koreans in this video. Men, women and students all weep openly in large groups. In public squares and in front of huge statues of the former dictator, North Koreans cry and wail for their deceased leader.
Love them or hate them, it’s near impossible to avoid memes, if you frequent the world wide web. A man in Malaysia took his love, and his girlfriend’s love, for Internet memes a step further and allowed them to to do the asking when he had to pop the question. Tim used a variety of well-recognized memes and a small crew of cameramen to propose to his then-girlfriend, Audrey.
2NE1′s “I’m the Best” Christmas Light Show
Nothing says Christmas like a house decorated in bright, festive lights and we all know that one neighbor, or few neighbors, who have to go full out to be the best, the brightest, and the house with the biggest electricity bill. This house takes it to another level with an elaborate, dancing light show timed to 2NE1′s “I’m the Best.”
Pacman Frog Catches Touch Screen Bugs
The graphics of this touch screen phone must be extremely realistic, at least realistic enough to fool this African bull frog. The green amphibian unleashes its tongue in attempts to grab the onscreen insects but fail in its goal, although it scores on the app. In the end, it’s the frog’s owner that has to pay for teasing the frog.
Former Child Soldier Demines Cambodia With a Knife and a Stick
Aki Ra was forced into being a soldier of the Khmer Rouge regime where he learned to lay thousands of mines in the fields of Cambodia. As an adult, Aki Ra uses his skills to undo the damage caused by the Khmer Rouge. With no money for fancy demining tools, Aki Ra uses a stick and a knife to accomplish the task.
Best Table Tennis Shots of 2011
A British website compiles the best table tennis shots of the year. Matches of the world are featured with insane saves and crazy tricks to win the matches.
Seoul’s Balancing Expert
This Korean man can balance just about anything. As a part of the Visit Seoul campaign to promote tourism in South Korea, this man showcases his unique skill of balancing objects. From small cell phones to huge scooters, the man puts all sorts of items in unnatural positions.
If you have more videos, email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.