Tag Archives: Choi

Tuesday's Link Attack: North Korea, 2NE1, Opera Singer Ji Hyun Kim

North, South Korea exchange recalls previous historic meeting
Los Angeles Times

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

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.


Did Kim Jong-il death ruin breakthrough deal on North Korea nukes?
The Christian Science Monitor

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.

North Korea Presses South to Implement Economic Pact
New York Times

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

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

The Gazette (Hawthorne, N.J.)

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.

Ji Hyun Kim: New Face
The Telegraph (U.K.)

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.

The Strangest Man in Ikea

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.

7 best ski and snowboard resorts in Korea

Given that almost three-quarters of Korea is covered by mountains, it’s no wonder thousands of tourists fly in every winter to hit the slopes.

Now that it’s finally snowing, even in Seoul, here’s where to find the best snowy runs in Korea.

UNM students deface El Morro rock
Santa Fe New Mexican

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.


Cool Eats: ESPN Match Truck

GOOAALLLLL!! Combining two of my favorite things, ESPN’s Match Truck is a complete win. And with the trucks parked in L.A. and New York, international street food and football can be enjoyed on both coasts.

ESPN partnered with Roy Choi of L.A.’s legendary Kogi BBQ Truck to devise an international menu of snacks inspired by the nations in the tournament. For only a few bucks fans can chow down on Tortilla Espanola, Lamb Gyros, Kogi Ketchup Sliders, Yaki Mandoo Dumpings, among many other delicious items, while watching their favorite team on a large 55″ HD LCD monitor that is bolted down on top of the truck. Continue reading

“We Are Hokies”

By Corina Knoll

In the days following the Virginia Tech tragedy, Korean and Korean American communities across the nation united for a time of mourning and reflection, struggling to find solace amid a storm of questions and fears. At quickly organized vigils and church services, they shared sorrow for the 32 victims and their loved ones.

The gatherings also seemed to serve an added purpose: to regroup as a community. Virginia Tech had posed new questions and challenges to Korean Americans, including how to respond to a national tragedy when the killer had the same face as our own.

It was around 9:55 a.m. on April 16 when Virginia Tech junior Sara Hwang finished class and noticed several police cars on campus.

“There was someone telling students, ‘You have to stay in the building.’ But we didn’t think she was serious, so a lot of us just left,” recalls the 21-year-old biology major.

Hwang walked to War Memorial Hall, planning on getting in an early workout at the gym. She, along with 15 others, ended up getting locked in the building by campus security for three hours. Inside, the group struggled to connect the images of fear and horror on the TV news with their institution of higher learning.

“At that moment it didn’t seem like it was real,” says Hwang. “At first, the news reported that one person had passed away. But as we kept watching, within three hours, the number got all the way up to 32.”

Two days later, Hwang headed home at the urging of her parents. When she returned to the university the night before classes were to resume, she did not feel fearful, though her campus just a week earlier was scene to one of the most horrific shooting sprees in this country’s history. Instead, she felt relieved to be back in an environment where people could share in her experience and grief in the same way.

“[My family] wasn’t here when this happened,” she says. “They understand how tragic it was, but I guess I kind of enjoyed coming back to school because I have friends here, and I like being around people who were all on campus together when this happened. I feel like we’re more united now. I’m a true Hokie at heart.”

It’s a sentiment shared by others at Virginia Tech. Graduate student Seung-woo Lee, leader of the on-campus Korean student association, has fielded multiple calls from the media. His newfound responsibility as the voice of the school’s KA community has worn on him and the 35-year-old is tired of the correlations being made between Seung-Hui Cho’s act and his Korean roots.

“We are Hokies,” he emphasizes. “I don’t have any special feelings because he was Korean. I just feel sad. It happened on our campus — it could’ve happened somewhere else, but it happened on our campus.”

Senior Andrew Chang says walking on that campus now has made him more conscious of himself as a Korean American, mostly due to what he calls the media’s “unwarranted emphasis on his nationality.”

“It’s almost as if they’re saying him being a Korean citizen had something to do with his motive,” says Chang.

“I don’t know if it’s in my head, but if I just walk around and see someone looking at me, I kind of think twice about what he’s thinking. It’s just an effect I can’t control, but I do feel it.”

The 22-year-old Seattle native also says Cho’s identity struck an uncomfortable chord with him.

“I’m Korean, I’m also an English major like him, I’m also a senior,” he says listing the similarities between himself and Cho. “He was so close to me in a way. There was a good chance that I could’ve known him.”

Now, after the news camps and TV vans have left, students are seizing the opportunity to come to terms with what they experienced and figure out how to move on.

“Blacksburg is a really quiet town, and we never expected a thing like that to happen to us,” says junior Hanna Pak, a 21-year-old majoring in graphic design. “It’s just a reminder that life is really short.”


APRIL 16 — Many of my classmates died on campus this morning. They were gunned down in classrooms and dorms by a killer wielding two semi-automatic firearms and meticulous amounts of ammunition.

Not long after dawn, two of the victims lost their lives in a dormitory roughly five minutes from my own. On warmer days, I have left my windows cracked open — which would have been enough to hear the gunshots. Instead, most students in my building remained in isolated ignorance until the official news hit us. We could only imagine what had occurred when the e-mails were issued by our university two hours later: “Shootings reported in West Ambler Johnston. Stay indoors and away from all windows. All classes are canceled.”

Yet by the time this message had reached students, the shooter was already composing a second massacre in a separate building across campus. The news stations on television were broadcasting their own versions of the story through the halls. At the time, authorities had only reported one death and several injuries. To our growing dismay, however, the official death toll on campus rose to more than 20 bodies within the next hour. Our horror only escalated as these figures continued to rise in increments, ultimately amounting to the worst shooting massacre in U.S. history: 33 dead and 29 injured.

The violence impacted me on an intimate level. Shockingly, the shooter had shared many of my own characteristics: We were both Koreans as well as senior-year English majors attending the same school.

Before our timid little college town was flooded by satellites and cameras, Seung-Hui Cho was just another faceless nobody in an anthill of 27,000 young people. Sadly, it was not long before each one of us apprehended the hateful message of this sole individual. We suddenly felt the weight of 33 lifeless bodies on campus that attracted swarms of flies from all over: Maudlin reporters from MSNBC and Fox News encroached on our already fragile sense of security. The Westboro Baptist Church (infamous for picketing funerals and its stance that death is God’s retribution for “sodomite sins”) actually showed up at some of the local memorials of fallen Virginia Tech students. Television pundits pointed to our tragedy and spewed political debates over gun control.

Meanwhile, an angry ex-nobody became famous overnight. Sometime during the frenzy, our town closed its eyes and patiently waited for everyone to disappear. Time passed before we all fully awoke from our transient nightmare.

Thankfully, my peers remained courageously steadfast throughout the experience. I am especially proud of my colleagues for their sense of unity, even toward those who incidentally share the same sex and race as the shooter. Since the tragedy, both our Korean and English-major communities have extended their sincere compassion to the families of victims, as well as those of the perpetrator. Even with possible backlashes against our university, my professors, or Korean Americans, I remain focused on what matters most: my classmates who died on the morning of April 16.

Hokies will remember this date as a marker for how we overcame our greatest tribulation in history. This is the type of sincerity you will not find on any news station anywhere.

Andrew Chang is a senior majoring in English at Virginia Tech.