Wednesday’s Link Attack: Researcher Fakes AIDS Vaccine Results; NKorean Defectors Celebrate Christmas; Korean Grub in Memphis
Author: James S. Kim
Posted: December 25th, 2013
Filed Under: BLOG
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AIDS vaccine test results faked
USA Today

An Iowa State University assistant professor resigned after being accused of spiking rabbit blood to falsely show that an AIDS vaccine was working in the research animals.

Dong-Pyou Han was an assistant professor of biomedical sciences. He resigned in October after admitting responsibility, an ISU spokesman said.

The fraudulent results helped an ISU research team gain millions of dollars in federal money, according to James Bradac, who helps oversee AIDS vaccine grants for the National Institutes of Health.

More N. Korean defectors going back
Korea Times

More North Korean defectors are returning to their reclusive homeland, causing embarrassment for the South Korean government.

This trend could create a negative impression about living conditions here in the minds of the North Korean public, dampening their desire to seek alternatives to the dictatorial and hereditary leadership of Kim Jong-un.

Last week, North Korean media released an interview with a woman who returned home after defecting to South Korea in which she expressed contempt for her two-year stay here.

N. Korean Defectors Celebrate Christmas
Voice of America

North Korea, an atheist one-party state, does not allow celebrations of Christmas or other religious holidays. But, many North Korean defectors do mark the holiday, because they are rescued by Christian missionaries who convert them and bring them to South Korea.

A Christmas service is not unusual in heavily Christian South Korea but most of the Durihana church members are North Korean defectors.

In 14 years the church has rescued about 1,000 defectors, who flee through China to Southeast Asia, and many convert.

Korean scientists create a tool that can help separate fact from fiction on Twitter
Washington Post

Bigfoot was finally discovered in 2009 — at least according to rumors circulating on Twitter. With misinformation rife on social media, users could do with a tool that can sift truth from fiction.

Now Sejeong Kwon and colleagues at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology have designed an artificial intelligence system that, they claim, does this correctly around 90 percent of the time. If built into social networks, it could help people avoid embarrassing retweets or reshares of false information.

The system analyzed language used in more than 100 rumors — some later confirmed, others unfounded — that went viral on Twitter over a period of 31 / 2 years. The researchers found that false rumors were far more likely to contain negative terms such as “no” or “not” than positive terms such as “like” or “love.”

Korean noodle shop helps Memphis break character
Washington Post

This Mississippi River city is proud of its barbecue, its fried chicken, its soul food. But the food scene here is often stereotyped because of it.

Those foods are what tourists typically obsess over, standing in line at Central BBQ for smoky ribs or Gus’s Fried Chicken for juicy drumsticks. When told that there’s a place in Memphis that makes standout Korean food like soups and noodle dishes with meat and seafood, some may scoff.

But Crazy Noodle is real, and it might be proof that people in intensely Southern cities like Memphis, where collard greens are made correctly and macaroni and cheese is listed on some menus as a vegetable dish, are welcoming the cuisine of immigrant communities.

Experience Gangnam Style!
Korea Times

Gangnam, in southern Seoul, passes for a hip, savvy place in Korea among international visitors thanks to the popularity of K-pop sensation Psy’s music video “Gangnam Style.”

The song’s popularity is fading into history, but the district has become a tourist magnet, attracting internationals and K-pop fans alike. It has luxury brand stores and fancy restaurants lined along the streets. But, most of all, it is home to major entertainment agencies such as SM, JYP and Cube Entertainment. Some 150 small and big agencies prosper in the area.

Living up to its name, the Gangnam Tourist Information Center in Apgujeong offers K-pop fans unique experiences to feel closer to their beloved stars. While the first floor of its two-story building functions as a normal tourist center, the second is dedicated to “hallyu” or Korean pop culture.

Wednesday’s Link Attack: NKorean Defector Pleads With Dennis Rodman; Girls Generation Still Popular in Japan
Author: Young Rae Kim
Posted: December 18th, 2013
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Kim Jong-un Looks Pensive at Memorial Ceremony
Chosun Ilbo

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un appeared somber at a ceremony Tuesday marking the second anniversary of the death of his father Kim Jong-il.

He has plenty of reasons to be pensive after the purge and execution of his uncle Jong Song-taek and his cronies, but his mien at the event contrasted with the untroubled expression he wore as he toured a planned ski resort just after Jang was executed.

Kim was the first to appear at the memorial and sat in the center of the rostrum of guests. He applauded as he listened to speeches and eulogies by Kim Yong-nam, North Korea’s ceremonial head of state, and military Politburo chief Choe Ryong-hae.

How Dennis Rodman can help the North Korean people
Washington Post

Dear Mr. Rodman:

I have never met you, and until you visited North Korea in February I had never heard of you. Now, I know very well that you are a famous, retired American basketball player with many tattoos. I also understand that you are returning this week to North Korea to coach basketball and perhaps visit for the third time with the country’s dictator, Kim Jong Un, who has become your friend.

I want to tell you about myself. I was born in 1982 in Camp 14, a political prison in the mountains of North Korea. For more than 50 years, Kim Jong Un, his father and his grandfather have used prisons like Camp 14 to punish, starve and work to death people the regime decides are a threat. Prisoners are sent to places like Camp 14 without trial and in secret. A prisoner’s “crime” can be his relation by blood to someone the regime believes is a wrongdoer or wrong-thinker. My crime was to be born as the son of a man whose brother fled to South Korea in the 1950s.

Kim Jong-un’s Wife Reappears in Public
Chosun Ilbo

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s wife Ri Sol-ju made her first public appearance in 62 days on Tuesday when she accompanied her husband to the mausoleum of his father and grandfather.

The visit to the Kusumsan Palace of the Sun, where the bodies of nation founder Kim Il-sung and his son Kim Jong-il lie embalmed, came on the second anniversary of the latter’s death.

Rumors were rampant in the wake of the execution of Kim Jong-un’s uncle Jang Song-taek that she had also fallen victim to the purge, but her appearance on Tuesday puts them to rest.

Young North Korean defectors find unlikely home
AP via

The kids call him “uncle,” but he’s more of a mom and dad rolled in one. From one child that he began caring for in 2006, Kim Tae-hoon’s brood has grown to nine boys, all defectors from North Korea who have found their first real experience of family in his house.

As a single, 37-year-old raising nine youngsters, he’s a novelty in this conservative society. Local media have dubbed him “Bachelor Mom,” and he’s something of a celebrity, appearing on a popular TV lecture series to talk about life with the kids.

But he’s also an unusual success story in the South’s long struggle to assimilate North Korean defectors, who are often ignored or even resented amid perceptions that they’re uneducated, brainwashed burdens on society.

“He’s like a mom and a dad,” says Lee Eok-cheol, a first-year high school student who grins as he plays with a Rubik’s Cube in the living room of Kim’s home in Seoul. “I’m getting all the love here that I didn’t get growing up.”

Seoul Protests Mention of Disputed Islands in Tokyo’s New Security Strategy
Reuters via Voice of America

South Korea on Wednesday lodged a protest against Japan’s new security strategy, which includes a reference to disputed islands known as Takeshima in Japan and Dokdo in South Korea.

The Japanese cabinet approved the policy package on Tuesday. The plan consists of a national security strategy, defense program guidelines and a five-year defense build-up plan.

South Korea’s foreign ministry said the National Security Strategy (NSS) part of the package included a description of “our territory, Dokdo,” which it said should be removed.

“Our government severely remonstrates with the Japanese government for including a description of our territory, Dokdo, in the National Security Strategy which was announced on December 17th. And we urge the Japanese government to delete it immediately,” said South Korean foreign ministry spokesman Cho Tai-young.

Seahawks shutout makes one Korean American woman 35K richer
Korea Times US

A car dealer in Federal Way, Washington and the Seattle Seahawks made one Korean American woman and 11 others $35,000 richer.

Jet Chevrolet, located 25-miles south of Seattle, had a promotion last weekend – if the Seahawks shut out the New York Giants, 12 people would split $420,000 equally, and Yujin Oliver was one of the lucky ones.

Jet Chevrolet says they are glad it happened, because “the hype has been crazy since it happened,” and they took out an insurance policy on the shutout money giveaway anyway. Instead of the $420,000, it cost the dealer only about $7,000.

Jim Johnson, one of the owners of the dealership, however, admitted, “We never expected that we’d actually be giving away the money.”

He obviously hasn’t heard of World Furniture Mall in Plano, Illinois, and electronic retailer BrandsMart. According to ESPN, World Furniture had to give away about $300,00 worth of furniture, and BrandsMart in 1999 had to fork over about $425,000 worth of items.

Torrance native helps spread message of hope to North Koreans
Daily Breeze (Torrance, Calif.)

The situation in North Korea was never a foreign one to Amiee Kim.

Growing up in Torrance, her Korean parents had always told her about the aftermath of the Korean War, people they knew who were torn from their families, and stories about North Korean children her age. They expressed a hopelessness for the people there, a belief that Kim carried with her all the way through college.

One day when she was walking between classes at the UCLA, she noticed a flier advertising a speech by a North Korean defector.

“I did a double take,” Kim said. “I was completely floored that I could get the chance to hear a North Korean defector talk about his experiences.”

The person who spoke was Shin Dong-hyuk, the only North Korean believed to have been born in a political prison camp who escaped to share his story. Liberty in North Korea, a nonprofit organization that works to rescue and resettle refugees and spread awareness about the human rights issues in North Korea, had brought Dong-hyuk to UCLA. That night shook what Kim understood about North Korea and challenged her to delve further into the issue.

In 2010, Kim applied to be an intern with LiNK.

US? Meh, Girls Generation Still Big in Japan
Wall Street Journal

They were tipped for success in the U.S. that never materialized. Never mind, K-Pop’s undisputed goddesses are still milking it in a market that arguably matters more–Japan.

Girls’ Generation’s new album last week entered Japan’s official Oricon weekly album chart, the country’s equivalent to the Billboard tally, in top spot. The group’s third LP in Japan “LOVE & PEACE” sold nearly 130,000 copies between Dec. 9 and 15, edging out local acts Radwimps and Luna Sea.

Backed by one of Korea’s largest entertainment companies, Girls’ Generation has been one of the country’s most successful pop acts after their debut in 2007. The clicks and views of their diehard fanbase helped the group win the Video of the Year award at the first-ever YouTube Music Awards early November.

South Korea Breaks Record 200 Million Admissions
Hollywood Reporter

According to data released Dec. 17 by the Korean Film Council (KOFIC), theater admissions in South Korea crossed 200 million, setting a new record for local cinema.

Last year, local admissions reached about 195 million for the first time, and the number was expected to exceed 200 million in 2013.

This can be attributed to how ten movies brought in over 5 million admissions. Miracle in Cell No. 7 raked in 12.8 million admissions, while Snowpiercer and The Face Reader both drew in more than 9 million.

Kim Yuna says she’s only human
Korea Times

After all, two-time world figure skating champion Kim Yu-na, the “Ice Queen” with a perfect stage presence, is only human, saying that she is not a natural born talent, and neither is she always perfect.

“I get tired too, just like everybody else. Sometimes I tell people that, but all I get is people saying that being vulnerable and weak is just not like me.”

“I rarely get the response of emotional support I want. But sometimes I need it,” said Kim in an interview with a television program Sisa Magazine 2580 of Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) on Sunday.

She had the interview on Dec. 5, right after the Golden Spin of Zagreb in Croatia ㅡ a tune-up ahead of the Sochi Olympics in February.

“People expect that I’ll be just perfect on ice, and that’s not the case. I make mistakes, too. When I review my performance, sometimes I feel I did awful. That’s the whole part of the process of what people see when I’m performing,” she said.

Tenderloin Korean Hole-in-the-Wall Aria Doubles Its Menu for Winter
SF Weekly

I’m taking a deep breath as I write this, because if there is one hole-in-the-wall in San Francisco I genuinely (and completely selfishly) don’t want to become popular, it’s Aria. This tiny, ugly, clumsily laid out, two-table “Korean American Snack Bar” run by a sweet, late-middle-age couple on a gross stretch of Larkin Street is unfailingly delicious yet I’ve never once had to wait for a table to open up.

And now they’ve doubled the size of the menu, so I feel compelled to share as I eat my way through it. Both types of Korean fried chicken are always excellent — as is the dukboggi, a hot and spicy rice cake that comes swimming in a sauce that’s like a hot, seasoned tomato soup. (They have a strangely enchanting density I’ve been assured is in fact somewhat challenging to pull off.) Kalguksu, or knife-cut noodles, might not be the exact same thing as ramen, but they’re good for what ails you. I’m excited by the japchae (a dish of sweet potato noodles with stir-fried vegetables) as I am by the sundae (which would be pan-fried Korean sausage, not ice cream). Even the oyster and mushroom porridge calls out to me, to be kept in mind for the next cold snap.

The spicy squid, served on hot skillet, was not only a flavor bomb but had a fascinating texture: firm and chewy, but not rubbery. As Aria serves street food and not formal Korean cuisine, you don’t get bowl after bowl of banchan to accompany your order — although pan-fried fish cake, daikon kimchi and the like are available a la carte — but thus far there has not been a single misstep.

December Issue: Chef Roy Choi Used to Write for KoreAm, Now the Food Truck Pioneer Has a Memoir
Author: KoreAm
Posted: December 17th, 2013
Filed Under: Back Issues , BLOG , December 2013 , FEATURED ARTICLE
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Chasing Roy

The Ever-Busy Acclaimed Chef Roy Choi Talks About His New Book, a Revealing Memoir Interspersed with Recipes and Capturing the Flavors and Textures of L.A.


Roy Choi doesn’t sit still. He imbues a sense of propulsion. He is switching between the counter and the stove in the kitchen of a skyscraper, debating the merits of up-and-coming Korean rappers in the back seat of a taxi, getting up from a long table at dinner to step out into the cold and catch a breath, driving through Southern California while discussing his late-night writing regimen, running around the block just because he can.

You chase after Choi. You never quite feel like you’ve got him pinned down.  The renowned Los Angeles chef—with already three restaurants and a fourth on the way, along with the Kogi taco truck and a community-based café venture in South L.A.—paused long enough to talk about the launch of his new book, L.A. Son: My Life, My City, My Food, co-written with Tien Nguyen and Natasha Phan. It is the story of his life told through stories and recipes—both wholly devourable, yet ultimately unsatisfying. The more you get of Choi, the more the appetite grows. Here’s a taste.

You used to write for KoreAm. Now you have a book. Tell me about your evolution as a writer.

Back then, I thought I was a writer, but I was horrible. I used too many metaphors. I was going through a lot of stuff, and I felt like I had a voice and I just had to get it out. With the book, I got leaner. It helped me to have a team of co-authors and an editor. I learned to be confident in the power of the message. Letting it breathe. To not describe every single drop of blood in the fight scene. To leave some of that to the imagination. Continue Reading »

Wednesday’s Link Attack: North Korea’s Meth Trade; Dog Poop Murder Suspect; Wonder Girls’ Sohee to Leave JYP
Author: Young Rae Kim
Posted: December 11th, 2013
Filed Under: BLOG
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Breaking Kim Jong Un: How North Korea became a meth hub

Extradited from Thailand, the five suspects appeared before a New York court last month to face charges of a sensational plot: smuggling crystal meth from enemy number one, North Korea.

The five men — from China, the UK, the Philippines and possibly Slovakia — stand accused by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) of conspiring to sell 40 pounds of 99 percent pure methamphetamine to an undercover agent. The group pleaded not guilty. They will appear in court in early December.

You wouldn’t guess it, but North Korea — run by the world’s most infamous authoritarian regime — happens to be a colossal supplier of a highly potent but moderately priced form of crystal meth, experts say.

TV drama from South saturates black market in North Korea, bringing hope, and risk
CBS News

Chilling reports in early November that Pyongyang had publicly executed scores of citizens — some for the crime of watching South Korean videos — seemed to mark a disturbing turn in the dictatorship of Kim Jong Un. But if history is any guide, even the threat of death is unlikely to quell North Koreans’ hunger for illicit entertainment from south of the border.

“The spread of South Korean media — above all, South Korean videotapes and DVDs — inside North Korea might be the single most important development of the last ten years,” said Andrei Lankov, a history professor at Seoul’s Kookmin University.

Constant surveillance, heavily guarded borders and thorough indoctrination in North Korea have made it one of the world’s most secretive and least understood countries. But the “iron curtain” which once sealed off 24 million North Koreans from the rest of the world is frayed, thanks to the spread of illegal cell phones — and the ease of obtaining South Korean pop culture.

Dog Poop Slaying Suspect Chung Kim Had Long History of Murder Threats, Prosecutors Say
Dallas Observer

The way police told it, 76-year-old Chung Kim simply exploded. The couple who lived upstairs with their five children dumped dog poop on the back porch of his Abrams Road condo, so he pulled out a handgun and murdered them in cold blood.

In a series of jailhouse interviews, Kim gave a different version of events. He admitted to shooting the man, 31-year-old Jamie Stafford, but said that it was self-defense. Stafford had charged him with the gun, which Kim had managed to wrestle from his grasp. He maintained that he didn’t shoot the woman.

Scottsdale teen Eric Kim scores perfect score on AP calculus test
ABC Arizona

If you walk around Basis Scottsdale, it’s not rare to find a smart student. Newsweek Magazine recently ranked the school as the number three high school in the country.

However, one student has recently stood out from the rest. Eric Kim was one of more than 100,000 students to take the AP Calculus BC exam. The exam involves two sections. The first section involves 45 multiple choice questions. The second is a free response section where students must show their work and explain how they came to their answer.

Eric was one of only 11 in the entire world to receive a perfect score on the entire test.

Korean Air to offer full-course hanjeongsik meals starting in 2014
Yonhap News

Korean Air Lines Co. on Wednesday unveiled a new, full-course traditional Korean meal, known as hanjeongsik, that will be served to first-class passengers on long-distance flights starting next year.
South Korea’s largest flag carrier has prepared the meal service in cooperation with Cho Hee-sook, a culinary expert on traditional cooking.

The company said the meal will have a fruit appetizer, walnut porridge and fresh salad with special fermented soy bean “doenjang” dressing that will be followed by a main course made either of spicy seasoned pork or salmon.

Hanjeongsik literally means a complete full-course meal in Korean.

21 Racial Microaggressions You Hear On A Daily Basis

Photographer Kiyun asked her friends at Fordham University’s Lincoln Center campus to “write down an instance of racial microaggression they have faced.”

The term “microaggression” was used by Columbia professor Derald Sue to refer to “brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative racial slights and insults toward people of color.” Sue borrowed the term from psychiatrist Dr. Chester Pierce who coined the term in the ’70s.

Wonder Girl’s Sohee Will Not Be Renewing Her Contract with JYP

JYP Entertainment has published a press release that revealed that Wonder Girls’ Sohee will not be renewing her contract with the agency once it expires on December 21 of this year. They cite the reasons for this split due to her desire to focus on acting. Meanwhile the same press release has stated that fellow Wonder Girls members Sunye, Yenny and Yubin have agreed to renew their contracts pending some minor detail clarifications.

We had previously reported in our JYP contract length article that the contract for the original Wonder Girl’s members will end in December of this year. In what seems to be an attempt to put speculations about the future of the Wonder Girls to rest, JYP Entertainment posted a press release on December 11 to clarify what was happening with the contracts for the individual Wonder Girls members.

80s, 90s nostalgia spills over to pop music
Korea Times

Even as we live in the high-tech, cutting edge digital era, retro has always been part of the cultural code, various culture industry insiders have said.

But the trend toward retro in Korea prevails this year. What fueled this trend undeniably is “Reply 1994,” a drama currently airing on a cable network. Koreans’ move from rural communities to the cities is popular fodder for stories, and the drama recaptures that in a 1994 setting.

The girl group T-ara is showing off what it does best with the remake of “Do You Know Me?” The song is a 2013 version of the Korean band Sand Pebbles’ song that won it the top prize at the 1977 MBC Collegian Song Contest. One of the original Sand Pebbles’ members recently joined T-ara in the production of the music video.

Arizona Diamondbacks making strong play for Shin-Soo Choo
AZ Central

The Arizona Diamondbacks, fighting a dwindling fan base and apathy in the marketplace, are trying to steal a page out of the Seattle Mariners’ playbook by trying to sign free agent outfielder Shin-Soo Choo.

The Diamondbacks are a surprise entrant in the Choo sweepstakes, a high-ranking club official told USA TODAY Sports. Choo would become the highest-paid player in franchise history, eclipsing $100 million. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because talks are ongoing.

The Rangers also acknowledged that they are trying to sign Choo.

The Diamondbacks, 81-81, finished 11 games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West, and drew 2.1 million fans – the second-lowest attendance in the National League.

Jeremy Lin Isn’t the Only Christian Asian-American
Policy Mic

Two months ago, producer Christopher Chen released Linsanity, a documentary following Houston Rockets point guard Jeremy Lin’s rise to stardom which explores the basketball player’s commitment to Christianity. The film recently spurred an interesting discussion on Huff Post Live about how Asian-Americans practice their Christian faith on Huff Post Live. All of the guests, including Chen, rapper MC Jin and spoken- word artist Jason Chu, seemed to agree that the Asian–Americans practice of openly embracing theirone’s faith is a relatively new and misunderstood concept in America.

Jang: ‘The Very Definition of Korean Culture’
Food Safety News

We are sitting in one of the thematic conference rooms at the Sempio Foods Company research and development (R&D) center in Osong, south of Seoul, South Korea. Byung-serk Hurh, Sempio’s research director, is drawing a large cooking vessel on a white board as he tries to explain how Jang is made.

In one wing of the R&D complex, lab workers quietly come and go. They move from the labs to a large digital library-like room, where they sit while compiling data. In the other wing are offices and conference rooms designed in a variety of themes, such as a forest, a swimming pool, and even a giant produce farm with lettuce growing from the ceiling.

Smog from China Prompts Superstitious Koreans to Eat More Pork
Author: Steve Han
Posted: December 10th, 2013
Filed Under: BLOG
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There is a long-held superstition among Koreans that pork detoxifies lungs affected by air pollution. Although no scientific proof has ever been provided to support such a belief, the recent smog blowing in from mainland China has triggered a spike in South Korean pork consumption.

Korea’s largest retail chain, Homeplus, reported that the sale of pork belly, famously known as samgyeopsal in Korea, increased by 32 percent in the first week of December, selling over 150 tons, according to the South China Morning Post.

“There is also a popular belief that eating pork belly after doing a big cleanup or working at a dusty place can sweep away all the dirt in the throat,” said Kang Hyung-sik, a Homeplus livestock supplier. “[Samgyeopsal] is the favorite pork part of many Koreans. The consumption of pork belly in Korea is astronomical.” Continue Reading »

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