Fewer North Koreans fleeing to South Korea, U.N. rights envoy says
Marzuki Darusman, the U.N. special rapporteur on the situation in North Korea, said that in the first nine months of this year 1,041 North Koreans arrived in South Korea, compared to 1,509 people for all of 2012 and 2,706 people in 2011.
“This represents a reversal of the trend of steady increase in the number of annual arrivals since 1998, possibly due to recently tightened border control and increased incidents of refoulement,” Darusman wrote in a statement presented to a U.N. General Assembly human rights committee.
Darusman said the international law principle of non-refoulement – an obligation not to return asylum seekers or refugees to a place where their life or liberty would be at risk – clearly applies to North Koreans who have left without permission.
North Korea Bars Defector-Turned-Lawmaker From Kaesong
Wall Street Journal
A group of South Korean lawmakers who handle inter-Korean affairs made a rare visit to the jointly-run industrial park inside North Korea on Wednesday but left behind a colleague that Pyongyang singled out as unacceptable.
North Korea said last week that Cho Myong-chol, a member of the National Assembly’s foreign affairs and unification committee, couldn’t come into the Kaesong Industrial Complex. The North didn’t specify why, Seoul’s Unification Ministry said.
The reason was clear for all, however: Mr. Cho is a rare defector from Pyongyang’s upper echelon and now a prominent North Korea expert in the South. He became a lawmaker last year.
U.S. Promises to ‘Review’ Snooping on Korean Embassy
The U.S. government promised Korea to “review intelligence activities” after Seoul asked whether the National Security Agency wiretapped the Korean Embassy in Washington. This is seen as tantamount to an admission that it did.
“Seoul had demanded that Washington verify rumors about wiretapping and make its position clear,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Cho Tae-young said Tuesday. “The U.S. has said it understands allies’ worries and promised to review intelligence activities.”
Cho neither confirmed nor denied that this was an admission that wiretapping occurred but merely said, “It’s up to the U.S. to answer the question concerning the interpretation of the words.”
As Power Line Grows, So Does Fight Between Ancient and Modern Korea
New York Times
The traditional farming villages within Miryang city, like so many in South Korea, are nestled against forested mountains. Rice paddies spill out into the valley, and persimmon and apple orchards line the roads.
Wooden farmhouses with their tile roofs were replaced long ago with concrete homes, but the rituals of a more ancient Korea remain. The farmers plan their lives around the growing seasons, and when they die, they are buried in plots that dot the mountainsides.
Now, a more modern Korea — in the form of imposing electrical power lines — is encroaching on the villages, including their burial grounds. The villages lie in the path of a major transmission route expected to distribute nuclear-generated electricity. Already towers are built along the spines of some nearby mountains, and 50 more are scheduled to be built in Miryang, some of them in the mountains.
Aging to Challenge South Korea’s Economic Transformation
South Korea has one of Asia’s fastest-growing economies, but one looming roadblock threatens its path to becoming an international powerhouse: a rapidly aging population.
According to a report by the Korea Statistical Office, the number of people aged 65 and above has surpassed 6 million for the first time, accounting for 11.7 percent of the population. What’s more, the ratio of senior citizens to working age people – currently 1 to 6 – is projected to shift to 1 to 1.5 by 2050.
“The aging population is one of the most fundamental, structural shifts happening in Korea and affecting the growth prospects for the country,” said Wonsik Choi, Senior Partner at McKinsey & Company in Seoul. “Just to give you an example, the working age population in Korea will peak at 37 million in 2016, three years from now and will diminish thereafter,” Choi added.
Education in Korea Class Struggle
AS THIS week’s special report on the Koreas points out, South Korea’s education system is both inspiring and intimidating. The country’s 15-year-olds ranked fourth in science (excluding Shanghai and Hong Kong), second in maths and first in reading in the 2009 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). Its youngsters (aged between 16 and 24) did equally well in the OECD’s international survey of adult skills, released this month.
But South Korea’s enthusiasm for education has also been likened to a “fever”. Students spend long hours in hagwon, private cram schools, trying to outdo their peers in crucial exams and tests that have lasting consequences for their subsequent careers. In principle these tests are simply a measuring device, allowing universities and employers to rank students according to their underlying abilities. But the measure is fair only if everyone spends the same amount of time preparing for them. If one student spends his every waking hour (and some half-waking ones) preparing, then everyone else has to do the same, if they are to preserve their position in the rankings. Some of this competitive swotting no doubt improves students’ knowledge and abilities, to the benefit of society and themselves. But some of it is also a socially wasteful zero-sum game.
Professor Preserving Legacy of Emigrants
Korea Times US
A photo exhibition featuring the lives of early Korean emigrants overseas opened Tuesday at Kim Dae-jung Convention Center located in the southwestern city of Gwangju.
Professor Lim Chae-wan of Chonnam National University, who has been researching the Korean Diaspora overseas since 1991, organized the photo presentation project.
“I felt the urge to hold such an event as plenty of valuable, historic photos showing the developments of Korean Diaspora were stuck in a library and my research room. While databasing these materials, my colleague and I concluded that a photo exhibition could be a powerful presentation to show how early emigrants had lived in foreign lands,” Lim said during an interview.
Man in Wheelchair is Killed near Long Beach Intersection
Patch.com (Long Beach, Calif.)
A man in a wheelchair was killed Tuesday after he likely unexpectedly crossed in front of a motorist and was struck by the vehicle, Long Beach Police said today.
The crash was reported at 6:47 a.m. near the intersection of Orange and Alamitos avenues. Authorities identified the pedestrian as Bong Kim, 72, of Long Beach. He was a native of Korea, officials said.
Responding officers found Kim in the northbound lanes of Alamitos Avenue, according to a news release. Officers rendered medical aid until Long Beach Fire Department personnel arrived.
Woman dies after cosmetic surgery
A 22-year-old woman who had been in a coma for nine days after a cosmetic surgery procedure died Saturday, police in Busan said.
The college student only identified by her last name Kim received facial bone contouring surgery for more than five and a half hours on Oct. 7.
She was found unconscious by a nurse in the hospital’s recovery room that evening and immediately moved to a nearby general hospital.
Crackdown Needed on Substandard Plastic Surgeons
A 22-year-old university student died Saturday nine days after she underwent a bimaxillary or corrective jaw surgery in a cosmetic surgery clinic in Busan. In June this year, a woman in her 30s died a month after undergoing the same procedure in the hope of looking prettier.
Corrective jaw surgery is an extremely difficult procedure under full anesthesia that involves the use of surgical drills to carve away at bones, carefully avoiding muscles and nerves in the face.
The procedure was originally developed to treat patients with congenital defects that make it difficult for them to chew properly. But it has found more lucrative uses for people who want a slimmer jawline to conform to current ideals of beauty.
Musical move for Hangover star Ken Jeong?
London Standard (U.K.)
He is one of Hollywood’s best-loved comic stars, known for his outrageous humour. Now Ken Jeong has revealed he would like a new challenge — appearing in a West End musical.
The 44-year-old actor, best known as Mr Chow in The Hangover trilogy, was a doctor before getting his big break in 2007 comedy Knocked Up after doing stand-up in the evenings.
He told the Standard: “When I was in college, theatre was what I wanted to do.
Choi Division: Roy Choi, L.A.’s Street-Food King
New York Times
The Los Angeles chef and restaurateur Roy Choi was once a gambler and nearly a gangster, and a stoner from youth who was quick to fight, slow to wake. Born in Korea in 1970, he came to California two years later and grew up amid the dangerous currents of immigrant possibility: at his parents’ liquor store in Koreatown, until it failed; at his parents’ restaurant in West Anaheim, until it failed; at his parents’ jewelry store in Orange County, which made his family rich.
He was surrounded by latchkey knuckleheads, smart kids with bad attitudes, Armenian gem dealers, drug connects, college students, dishwashers, too many card players. It was a chef’s education — hardly obvious at the time — because even as he gambled, fought and schemed, he ate, voraciously, from every larder in town. Nothing fancy. Quite the opposite: his parents’ hot pots; dinners of ketchup-fried rice and Del Taco takeout; pho and cheeseburgers; kimchi and milkshakes at dawn. It was a life of late nights.
Eugene Ahn, a.k.a Adam WarRock, is used to being an outsider.
Growing up in Memphis, Tennessee, he was a “loner” caught between black and white in a region where racial tension is not uncommon. As a litigation lawyer with an Emory University degree, he was itching to get back to the music that inspired him.
It’s what one does with that angst that matters, believes Ahn. “I grew up pissed at the world,” he sings on his new album, “The Middle of Nowhere,” available Tuesday. “Now I put that (expletive) inside every MP3.”
Crayon Pop’s Unusual Road to Success Draws Media Interest
British weekly magazine the Economist published an article highlighting K-pop girl band Crayon Pop in its latest issue, which hit newsstands on Saturday.
As part of a 14-page special report on Korea, it wrote, “Crayon Pop are not a typical K-pop outfit. They look goofy rather than glamorous, like kid sisters not dream dates, and prefer plimsolls to stilettos.”
The success story of Crayon Pop’s song “Bar Bar Bar” was viewed as being different from that of other Korean girl groups. It “spread like a virus on YouTube,” the magazine wrote. “Whereas most songs peak early in the charts, then disappear, this one climbed to number one in some rankings months after its release.”
Samsung: We’re Too Big to Ignore
Wall Street Journal
At its first U.S. developer conference this week, Samsung Electronics005930.SE +0.67% had a message for Silicon Valley: We’re just too big to ignore.
Before some 1,300 software engineers and developers packed inside a San Francisco hotel ballroom, the Korean electronics giant trotted out a parade of executives and partners who introduced new tools to connect software with Samsung’s mobile devices and televisions.
Several executives came armed with statistics. Curtis Sasaki, a senior vice president of Samsung’s content and services business, noted that Samsung sold two televisions every second -– or some 7,200 by the end of the keynote. His message: stick with us — and our scale — if you want to reach customers.
Ice queen Yuna hones routines ahead of Sochi swan song
Informed she has taken a Korean Olympic Committee official’s seat by mistake, and her place is actually at the rear of the stage, the Vancouver Games gold medalist stifles an embarrassed smile and retreats to sit among her figure skating cohorts.
It might be the first time Kim has ever taken a back seat to anyone in South Korea.
With Wednesday marking the 100-day countdown to the start of the Sochi Games, the 23-year-old told reporters she was back skating and even doing jumps after taking time off to recover from a foot injury.
Kim, who blew away the competition in Vancouver to become the first South Korean to win an Olympic figure skating gold medal, said she was about “70 percent ready” and that she could return to competition in December.
Minnesota Twins keep tabs on Korean right-hander Suk-min Yoon
St. Paul Pioneer Press (Minn.)
Whether the Twins make a strong play for Korean right-hander Suk-min Yoon remains to be seen.
What seems clear is that Yoon, an international free agent represented by powerful agent Scott Boras, is on their radar.
“He’s got some talent,” Twins general manager Terry Ryan said recently.
Mike Radcliff, Twins vice president for player personnel, added recently that the team was “fully engaged” in the Yoon process after watching him pitch numerous times in Korea and on the world stage at such events as the Olympics and the World Baseball Classic.
Kenneth Bae’s mother tells of heartbreak after seeing, leaving imprisoned son
Walking into a Pyongyang hospital room to greet her imprisoned son, Myunghee Bae was overcome with emotion. Talking exclusively to CNN, Bae said it was a “very happy moment. At the same time, I could not believe he was a prisoner in North Korea; a new realization.”
Bae was granted a five-day visa to North Korea and three short visits with her son, Kenneth; a total of six hours, in which she says there was not one moment’s silence. “He said he’s being treated very fairly,” she said. “He was taken to a special labor camp, so he was the only prisoner, and a whole lot of people have to stay with him, guards and doctors.”
Kenneth Bae, an American citizen, was arrested in November of last year and sentenced in May to 15 years of hard labor. The North Korean regime says he was found guilty of “hostile acts” and attempts to topple the government. His mother says he has a profound love for the country and its people, and any offense he caused was not intentional.
Engaging with North Korea
Los Angeles Times
Pyongyang, North Korea — I became British ambassador to North Korea a year ago, and since then I have seen firsthand the nature of the regime. Its human rights record is appalling; it continues to develop its nuclear and ballistic missile programs and to sell its military know-how to other states. And yet, I’ve also seen that it is possible to engage with the regime constructively.
The United Kingdom is one of just a handful of Western countries that have diplomatic relations with North Korea (known formally as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) and that maintain embassies in Pyongyang. We are there because we support international efforts to encourage North Korea to engage positively with the outside world and to stop its provocative and repressive behavior. There is a better course for the government if it wishes to take it.
Make no mistake, North Korea continues to aggravate the international community in cycles of threat, provocation and conciliation that have become a familiar, even expected, theme.
MTA officer struck by car at Verrazano Bridge
ABC News (New York)
An MTA Bridges and Tunnels officer was critically injured when he was struck by a vehicle Sunday morning at the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.
Authorities say 61-year old Thomas Choi, a 10-year veteran, had parked his wrecker truck near the entrance to the Brooklyn-bound lower level of the bridge near the facility administration building when he was struck by a Nissan Maxima with New Jersey plates at around 7:45 a.m.
The 26-year-old female driver from Bayonne remained at the scene. The cause of the accident is under investigation by the NYPD Collision Investigation Squad. The driver and four passengers inside the car were not injured.
Mayoral Candidates Court Asian American Vote, Fill Up On Soda Ban Debate
NY1.com (New York)
Friday afternoon Bill de Blasio got a warm reception in Chinatown, picking up the endorsement of the Lin Sing Association, a coalition of Chinese-American groups and local elected officials, including Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.
“We’re going to make a very focused effort in the Chinese community,” De Blasio said.
It was a different scene in Flushing, where Republican Joe Lhota attended an Asian Americans for Lhota fundraiser at a Chinese restaurant. Attendance appeared to be sparse, though Lhota said many supporters were arriving later.
miss A’s Min gets embroiled in a racism controversy
Min recently posted a photo onto her Instagram that she apparently found funny – a photo that had Rick Ross’ head attached to Sunmi’s body. While that might not seem too offensive, the photo also included a fried chicken leg with the caption “Rick Ross – Lacking 24 servings”.
The fried chicken jab is a derogatory jab at many African Americans, and has a history back to when slaves would fry the leftover chicken from plantation owners to eat them.
The photo deeply offended many on the internet, and she has since deleted the photo from her Instagram. However, there are those defending Min since Rick Ross/chicken memes are popular. He is know for his love of chicken and even owns a chicken restaurant.
‘Konglish’ Is Pervasive in K-pop Songs
Finding a K-pop song with lyrics entirely in Korean is getting increasingly difficult. Behind the changes are musicians and producers who seem to regard the mixture of Korean and English as fancy, and more importantly, are trying to make K-pop more appealing to the global audience.
Yet English lyrics are not always worded properly. Many international K-pop fans say they are even frustrated by what they call “awkward” English terms or expressions in K-pop.
“They (international K-pop fans) become annoyed with strange English lyrics,” Mimsie Ladner wrote in an article she posted on the Huffington Post under the headline, “K-pop and the Future of Korea.” She went on to say they are also frustrated by “seemingly identical tunes that blare from just about every storefront of the country.” Another foreign K-pop listener echoed the view, saying, “If [K-pop musicians] are going to use English, they should use real English.” The listener, who refused to be identified, said, “It’s always random, meaningless words like ‘man,’ ‘girl,’ ‘you,’ ‘baby,’ ‘Come on,’ which only lower the quality of the songs.”
Accommodations | A New Hotel in L.A. Celebrates its Koreatown Surroundings
New York Times
In L.A.’s golden age, when streetcars clanged past urban orange groves and Carmen Miranda was Hollywood’s nod to ethnicity, the high life thrived on a stretch of Wilshire Boulevard near Vermont Avenue. Today, a generation after gang wars and riots sapped the life out of this district, it has re-emerged as the lively epicenter of the city’s Koreatown, bustling with restaurants, nightclubs and shops. The area has long been off the tourist map, but this is about to change with the opening of the Line in November.
The hotel’s creator, Andrew Zobler, is the man behind the Beaux-Arts-style NoMad Hotel in Manhattan and the cheap-chic Freehand Miami hostel. But the Line, designed by Sean Knibb, is something different for both Zobler and Los Angeles. Korean-American culture — or at least a high-end permutation of it — is the 388-room establishment’s organizing theme. ‘‘There is so much good stuff coming out of Korea today, and nobody has really captured that in a hotel,’’ Zobler says. Setting out to educate himself on Korean culture, he encountered the celebrated chef Roy Choi, who will preside over the hotel’s two restaurants: Pot, which serves a new take on hot-pot cuisine, and Commissary, a vegetarian eatery. The 24-hour thrum of the neighborhood inspired Zobler to make the hotel an all-hours social hub. There will be a late-night bakery, a newsstand that never closes and a nightclub that stays open until the wee hours, called Speek, created by the twin brothers Mark and Jonnie Houston, who grew up just four blocks from the hotel.
Shipbuilding in South Korea: Extreme drilling
SOUTH KOREA’S shipyards are having a busy time at the moment welding the behemoths of the shipping industry into shape. Clustered around Busan, the country’s second city, the big three yards—Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI), Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering and Hyundai Heavy Industries—are churning out Maersk’s “Triple-E” class, which at 400 metres in length are the world’s biggest container ships; an oil barge that at 460 metres long is just under half the height of England’s tallest mountain, Scafell; and some of the largest-ever jack-up oil rigs. Equally impressive are the latest “ultra-deepwater” drill ships. These are being built at SHI, and were described to your correspondent on a visit to the yard as “giant Black&Deckers” by one engineer. The first of these, the Viking, was christened recently by Maersk, the ship’s owner.
As inland and offshore wells nearer the coast run down after decades of exploitation, so Big Oil is being forced ever farther out to sea. The new type of drilling vessel is specifically designed to work in the very deepest of waters, mostly in the Gulf of Mexico or off the coast of west Africa. At 228 metres they are relatively short compared with the giant new container ships, but what they lack in length they make up for in technical wizardry. The Viking, which is going to be used by ExxonMobil, can operate in depths of more than 3,000 metres of water and then drill down through another 12,000 metres of earth.
Food Fair Highlights Health Benefits of Korean Food
Korean food and culture is based on health. And finding ways to incorporate foods such as seaweed into dishes—including ice cream, noodles, and other snacks—is a never-ending pursuit.
Seaweed is an extraordinary source of nutrients that includes protein, iodine, and vitamins. It has three times the amount of calcium than milk, according to the Korean Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corporation.
“I think the health benefits and varieties of Korean food is not very well known,” said Kim Jae Soo, president of the Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corporation. The Korean Food Fair, held in Times Square on Oct. 19–20, was organized by the corporation.
South Koreans Cut Back on Coffee
Wall Street Journal
The South Korean coffee frenzy seems to be waning, with data showing a drop in imports and average household spending on the popular beverage.
Almost every other building in Seoul and other cities houses a café, but South Koreans appear to have cut back on coffee as the country’s economic woes keep a lid on consumer spending.
Each household spent an average of 7,873 won ($7.4) on processed coffee or tea in the April-June period, down 1.8 percent from a year earlier. That was the second straight quarterly fall after a 1.4% drop in the January-March period, said Statistics Korea on Monday. The latest declines followed five years of nonstop quarterly gains until 2012.
14 Reasons Why Living in Seoul, Korea is Awesome!
1. Public Transportation in Seoul
Transportation in Seoul is very affordable. The 1050 won (approximately $1USD) base fare is the envy of commuters in other major cities with more expensive public transportation systems. Plus, public transportation in Seoul is super convenient. You can get to pretty much every corner of Seoul only relying on subways and buses. Public transportation is also very safe in Korea. Sure there’s a few crazies here and there, and some lines do tend to get more crowded than others, but that goes for any public transportation system in a major city. The majority of Seoul commuters are exhausted businessmen and students that just want to go home in peace. If you’re already living in Seoul, you know how valuable public transportation has been to you.
Gov’t Has ‘No Plans’ to Join U.S. Missile Defense
Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin on Wednesday played down suspicions that South Korea is about to join the U.S.-led missile defense program by the back door.
Kim told reporters South Korea “clearly will not participate in the U.S. missile defense program.” He said the military is not currently considering purchase of SM-3 or THAAD interceptor missiles that form the core of the program.
The SM-3 can destroy North Korean ballistic missiles at an altitude of 150 km and the THAAD at a lower altitude of 100 km.
What’s behind South Korean president’s new strategy on North Korea?
Christian Science Monitor
For nearly 20 years, South Korea and the world’s biggest powers have sought to pry from North Korea a promise – that it would keep – to end its nuclear weapons program.
They have used carrots and they have used sticks. As inducements, the powers offered to build North Korea a nuclear reactor, provided fuel, and gave food. When that failed they have tried punishments, freezing Pyongyang out of the world financial system and imposing sanctions to starve the government there of all sorts of goods.
Yet twin clouds of steam from North Korea’s Yongbyon nuclear reactor, spotted last month in satellite images, suggest all those efforts have come to naught, and raise questions about how the international community – distracted by Iran and Syria – can deter North Korea’s seemingly insatiable desire for nuclear weapons.
North Korea Slams South’s Claim Kim Wants Reunification by Force
North Korea bristled at comments by the head of South Korea’s intelligence service that leader Kim Jong Un will seek to reunite the two countries by force within three years.
The remarks are a smear campaign against North Korea, and the head of South Korea’s National Intelligence Service will “meet the most shameful end” for it, the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea said today in a statement distributed by the official Korean Central News Agency.
NIS chief Nam Jae Joon commented on Kim’s possible intentions earlier this month, according to South Korean ruling Saenuri party legislator Cho Won Jin. Cho didn’t say how Nam obtained his information.
N.Korea ‘Disguised Civilian Cargo Planes for Military Show’
North Korea flew civilian cargo planes painted in camouflage during a military parade earlier this year in an apparent attempt to make its arsenal seem bigger than it really is, U.S.-based website NK News said Tuesday.
The “Victory Day” parade on July 27 featured three Russian-made IL-76 military cargo planes, but they were actually civilian cargo planes owned by North Korean carrier Air Koryo, according to the NK News. The website claimed that they were recently spotted at an airport in Moscow with remnants of camouflage on their trail wings.
NK News said the ploy was designed to “exaggerate” the North’s military power.
Kim Tours South Korea, Lectures At Top Schools
Queens Gazette (N.Y.)
Assemblymember Ron Kim (D-Flushing), the first Korean American to be elected to office in New York state, accepted an invitation by the Overseas Korean Foundation to lecture at the number one women’s college, Ewha Womans University, and the top two high schools in South Korea (Cheong Ju Foreign Language H.S. and Korean Minjok Leadership Academy). His lectures mainly focused on the importance of developing leadership traits like determination, perseverance, and grit among our youth.
The Overseas Korean Foundation (OKF) is a department of the South Korean government that was founded 17 years ago to build and maintain close connections with Koreans all around the world. Every year, OKF sponsors political and public leaders worldwide to tour and lecture at some of South Korea’s top schools.
China, Spitting and Global Tourism
New York Times
That’s because spitting is a major reason Chinese tourists can feel unwelcome abroad, commentators say. And more are traveling: Chinese will make about 100 million trips next year, up from 82 million last year, and over 90 million this year, Shao Qiwei, the head of China’s National Tourism Administration, said in Chicago last week.
“In recent years the world has more and more opportunities to know China,” Sun Yingchun, a professor at the Communication University of China, wrote in Huanqiu magazine. “But discrimination and prejudice against Chinese people abroad hasn’t diminished,” he wrote. “Even though Chinese people bring tourist business with them they are also castigated by foreigners. Some foreigners don’t feel kindly toward Chinese tourists because they say they are ill-mannered.” He singled out spitting, loudness, line-cutting and littering.
No one agonizes about it more than some Chinese. Sun Yat-sen, the revolutionary leader and first president of the Chinese republic said in a 1924 speech, “Spitting, farting, growing a long fingernail’’ to pick one’s nose, ‘‘not brushing teeth,’’ in these things ‘‘all Chinese people are unrestrained.”
Anti-Bullying Programs Found to Produce Smarter Bullies and More Victims
Efforts to stop bullying in schools have produced unintended results, specifically more kids being picked on by smarter bullies.
Two academics examined bullying data involving 7,001 students from across the country, expecting to find that anti-bullying programs have mitigated this problem.
But Dr. Seokjin Jeong, a researcher and criminologist from the University of Texas at Arlington, and Byung Hyun Lee from Michigan State University were surprised to learn that the programs actually made things worse.
Their study found that students at schools with anti-bullying programs were more likely to be victimized than students at schools with no such programs.
What’s actually behind the low Asian-American obesity rate?
At first glance, it seems like most Asian-Americans pretty much have this whole obesity thing under control, by the looks of new national statistics. An estimated 11 percent of adult Americans of Asian descent are considered obese. Compare that to the nation’s obesity average as a whole, which stands steady at about 35 percent.
It’s the first time obesity estimates for Asian-Americans have been included in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a research program from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They haven’t been included before because people of Asian descent only make up about 5 percent of the population (though by 2042, that is expected to climb to 9 percent).
Why are Asian-Americans so much thinner? The answer may not be obvious, some experts say.
UCLA and Pepperdine Students Give K-Town Some Love
Students and staff members from UCLA School of Dentistry and Pepperdine University gave some love to Koreatown.
The UCLA School of Dentistry, in a collaborative partnership with Wilshire Bank, provided free dental care in Koreatown of Los Angeles last Saturday. The event took place at the Wilshire State Bank located at 3200 Wilshire Boulevard, and approximately 40 staff members and students from the UCLA School of Dentistry participated and treated about 250 Koreatown patients. 100 patients will receive follow-up care at the School’s Westwood clinic this Saturday.
Unemployment, Poverty Grow Among Asian Americans in Los Angeles County
Voice of America
More Asian Americans live in Los Angles County than anywhere else in the United States. A recent report by Asian Americans Advancing Justice L.A. found that, from 2000 to 2010, Asian Americans were the fastest growing group in L.A. County. The report also found that the number of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in L.A. County who are unemployed and living in poverty continued to grow. Long Beach, California, is home to the largest Cambodian community outside Cambodia.
Several Asian American communities have some of the highest poverty rates in Los Angeles County. Research analyst Kristin Sakaguchi said many people in Asian communities here diverge from the stereotype of Asian American success and easy assimilation.
“A lot of these communities are marginalized and not really focused on,” said Sakaguchi.
PSY And Steven Tyler Are Teaming Up
PSY took over the music listening world with the K-pop electro banger “Gangnam Style,” but the truth is that he looks to classic rockers for inspiration.
In an interview with Italy’s L’Uomo Vogue magazine, the singer said that he collaborated with Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler for a track on his new album.
“When I was in middle school, I literally cried when they were singing ‘Crazy’ or ‘Amazing’ or whatever, they were my lifetime role models, and now I am collaborating with Steven Tyler, what the fuck, man? I love my life,” PSY said.
Tom Hiddleston Dances, Sings His Heart Out On Korean TV Show
He may play the evil Loki in the “Thor” movies, but in real life Tom Hiddleston is all about sprinkles and sunshine — and these videos prove it.
The 32-year-old English actor channeled his inner Michael Jackson as he busted out his dance moves on a Korean television show, knocking over chairs and almost ripping his tuxedo pants while doing so.
But that’s not all …
The Art of Breaking Taboos
Wall Street Journal
For South Korea, Kim Ki-duk presents a dilemma. The internationally acclaimed director is one of the country’s best-known filmmakers. His films have collected a host of awards at some of the world’s most prominent festivals, including the top prize at last year’s Venice Film Festival for “Pieta.”
But his work often finds a warmer reception abroad than at home. Mr. Kim, whose other films include “Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring” (2003) and “3-Iron” (2004), has hardly been a box-office darling—or even the critics’ favorite—in South Korea. (He once threatened to stop releasing his films in the country.) He is known for courting controversial subjects. His latest film, “Moebius,” offers a stark example.
The film—which is devoid of dialogue—follows an adulterous husband, his vengeful wife, their teenage son and the woman whose relationship with the husband puts the story in motion.
Suk-Min Yoon rumors: Twins interested in Korean pitcher
The Minnesota Twins will have scouts at Korean pitcher Suk-Min Yoon’s upcoming showcase and are interested in signing him, reports Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN.
Strengthening the Twins interest is the fact that Yoon is a free agent and will not require a posting fee to sign with an MLB team. However, Yoon is represented by agent Scott Boras, who is known for driving up prices of his clients.
The 27-year-old has pitched for the Kia Tigers since 2005, working as a starter up until 2013, when a shoulder injury caused him to lose velocity on his fastball and moved to the bullpen. He would likely be looked at first as a starting pitcher by MLB teams.
The Chicago White Sox Should Acquire Shin-Soo Choo
Chicago White Sox general manager Rick Hahn must find someone to bat leadoff and play center field if they are going to be competitive in 2014 and beyond.
Since the farm system is not prepared to help out in either capacity for at least two more seasons, and Avisail Garcia is seemingly the only outfielder with any long-term upside, Hahn needs to sign Shin-Soo Choo to a free-agent contract. It is a signing that must be made, actually. There is simply no other choice right now.
Let’s take a deeper look at why Choo makes so much sense for the White Sox:
Park In-bee Under Pressure to Seal Golf Title
Wall Street Journal
As the U.S. women’s professional golf tour winds down with its late-season swing through Asia, this weekend’s KEB-Hana Championship in South Korea should have been a comfortable victory lap for Park In-bee in front of her home supporters.
Instead, she’s looking over her shoulder.
The 25-year-old Seoulite blitzed the field by winning the first three major tournaments this year and appeared to be cruising toward becoming South Korea’s first winner of the Ladies Professional Golf Association’s Player of the Year award.
S. Korea’s Park teeing it up one last time this week
Grace Park is coming out of retirement this week for a special farewell appearance in her South Korean homeland.
Park, 34, will tee it up Friday in the LPGA KEB-HanaBank Championship at Sky 72 Golf Club’s Ocean Course in Incheon, South Korea. She will be paired with fellow South Korean legend Se Ri Pak and American Cristie Kerr.
Park announced her retirement at the Wegmans LPGA Championship in 2012. She hasn’t played in an LPGA event since but was offered a sponsor exemption to play this week. She’s considered one of South Korea’s pioneers of women’s golf, having joined Pak, Hee Won Han and Mi Hyun Kim as trailblazers making impacts in the United States and internationally in the LPGA ranks.
Asia’s parents suffering ‘education fever’
Zhang Yang, a bright 18-year old from a rural town in Anhui province in China was accepted to study at a prestigious traditional medicine college in Hefei. But the news was too much for his father Zhang Jiasheng.
Zhang’s father was partly paralysed after he suffered a stroke two years ago and could no longer work. He feared the family, already in debt to pay for medicines, would not be able to afford his son’s tuition fees.
As his son headed home to celebrate his success, Zhang Jiasheng killed himself by swallowing pesticide.
Zhang’s case is an extreme. But East Asian families are spending more and more of their money on securing their children the best possible education.
In richer Asian countries such as South Korea and emerging countries like China, “education fever” is forcing families to make choices, sometimes dramatic ones, to afford the bills.
Ginko Trees in Seoul – Pretty, But The Stench is a Problem
Wall Street Journal
When the Seoul Metropolitan Government first named the gingko tree as its official tree more than 40 years ago and started to plant it widely along city streets, one problem was overlooked: the stench.
The trees help cut pollution and dust in the city, cast shade in sizzling summer, and are loved by Seoul citizens most of the year, but turn into a headache in autumn.
The gingko trees and their yellow leaves make for beautiful scenery but the nuts they drop get crushed by pedestrians, making for slippery streets and foul odors.
Cho presses Japan over sex slavery
Cho Yoon-seon, Minister of Gender Equality and Family, returned to Seoul on Sunday after wrapping up her five-day visit to the United States for the United Nations General Assembly Third Committee meeting.
During her visit, the minister called on the international community to act to resolve the decades-old issue of sex slaves during World War II.
On Saturday, Cho visited the “comfort women” monument set up in Bergen County, New Jersey to honor hundreds of thousands of wartime victims who were forced into sex slavery by the Imperial Japanese Army during the war.
S. Korea raises “comfort women” issue at U.N. human rights panel
Yonhap News via GlobalPost
South Korea’s gender equality and family minister on Friday raised the issue of women brought into sexual slavery for the Japanese military during World War II at the human rights panel of the U.N. General Assembly.
Although Cho Yoon Sun, the minister, did not specifically name Japan, she called on “the responsible government” to apologize and take responsible measures in her speech at the Third Committee, which oversees social and humanitarian affairs.
With the advancement of women on the committee’s agenda, the South Korean minister, speaking in English, devoted a substantial portion of her address to “the issue of the comfort women.”
Tabloids brimming with anti-Korea diatribes
For 11 consecutive days from the start of this month, every front page of the Yukan Fuji, a nationally circulated evening tabloid published by the Sankei Shimbun, was embellished with at least one negative reference to South Korea. Some headline excerpts:
•“S. Korea blasts into 20-year-long economic panic. President Park strays from her public commitment. Samsung shares plunge again.” (Oct. 1)
•“S. Korea’s President Park makes self-destructive remark in diplomacy with Japan.” (Oct. 2)
•“S. Korea’s President Park accelerates (her) tyrannical rule.” (Oct. 3)
•“List of toxic foods produced in S. Korea — insecticide found in ‘fresh cucumbers’ ” (Oct. 4).
•“Anti-Japanese radiation propaganda boomerangs on S. Korea’s own marine products industries.” (Oct. 5)
•“Kara breakup drama; final curtain goes down on the Hanryu boom” (Oct. 6)
And so on.
Int’l sex trafficking – Korea’s open secret
By the time Lee, a 30-year-old Korean sex worker in Melbourne, called for help in 2010, she’d been forced into prostitution in two foreign countries and piled up a huge amount of debt.
She says loan sharks, bar managers and even clothing shop owners in Busan conspired to induce her to borrow $20,000. They sent her to brothels in Japan and Australia, where she was forced to have sex with up to 10 clients a day.
Hong, a 26-year-old North Korean defector, thought she would be working in a karaoke bar singing with customers and borrowed $6,000 for a broker to arrange a working holiday visa and for travel expenses last year.
Fond Recollections of Dictators, Colored Later by the Lessons of History
New York Times
MONICA MACÍAS calls herself the daughter of dictators. Two of them.
Her father was Francisco Macías Nguema, the first president of Equatorial Guinea, whose rule was marked by the execution of thousands. But the man who became her guardian, and father figure, was even more infamous: Kim Il-sung, the founder of North Korea and creator of a real-life Orwellian dystopia of gulags and near-total information control.
Ms. Macías landed in Mr. Kim’s care when her father asked Mr. Kim to oversee three of his children’s educations. Like many in the cold war-era third world, the African leader looked up to Mr. Kim. Soon after, Mr. Macías was overthrown and executed, but Mr. Kim fulfilled the promise, educating the children at some of the North’s best schools.
S. Korean gov’t doing poor job of managing N. Korean defectors: lawmaker
Yonhap News via GlobalPost
South Korea is not keeping proper tabs on North Korean escapees, a local lawmaker said Monday, fueling criticism that policymakers are not interested in properly caring for these marginalized citizens.
Rep. Kim Sung-gon, of the main opposition Democratic Party, said as of this May 25,560 North Korean defectors have arrived in the country. The lawmaker said in a report released ahead of the unification ministry’s parliamentary audit set for Tuesday, that of all defectors Seoul was aware of the whereabouts of 23,075 of them, with there also being discrepancies in the information held by different agencies.
Kenneth Bae’s mother thanks N.K. for allowing meeting with son: report
The mother of an American man jailed in North Korea for unspecified anti-government crimes has expressed her gratitude to the North Korean government for allowing her to meet her son in Pyongyang, a news report said Saturday.
Kenneth Bae, a 45-year-old Korean-American known as a Christian missionary, was arrested in North Korea last November on charges of unspecified anti-government activities. In April, he was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor.
THE BOSS: You’d Better Have a Plan
New York Times
MY parents emigrated from South Korea to the United States when my father enrolled in graduate school here for a Ph.D. in physical chemistry. My mother makes the woman who wrote “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” look like a kitten. She had strong ideas on how to raise children and pushed my older sister, Lydia, and me.
Lydia and I learned to play piano, violin and guitar and took tennis, swimming and ice-skating lessons. If I got a 100 on a test, my mother wanted to know why I hadn’t gotten extra credit. Her teachings have been helpful in my professional life.
My father gave me math and science lessons. When I was about 4, he bought an early computer and wrote basic scripts for me to type so I’d feel I had programmed it myself. I’d watch my dad go to work every day and decided I wanted a job. After seeing him get his shoes shined, I pitched the idea that I should do it, and he agreed. I was probably terrible at it, which meant he put up with badly shined shoes. Later, his approach to any problem I had was to suggest I think about it differently. I’ve heard his voice when facing challenges.
Victim snaps pictures of crook in attempted robbery
Just a few snaps of a camera phone made a big difference in cracking an attempted robbery case. A suspect has been arrested for trying to rob Clarksville military supply store Army Town at gunpoint. The victim was able to get valuable clues to police when he shared pictures of the crook in his getaway vehicle.
Adam Yoon, of Clarksville, said a man in a mask burst into his Tiny Town Road business last week and pointed a gun at him.
“He aimed the gun at me and said, ‘Give me the money!’” said Yoon.
Yoon said he turned around and bolted out the back of the store with the masked man chasing behind him.
Google Jousts With Wired South Korea Over Quirky Internet Rules
New York Times
South Korea is one of the world’s most digitally advanced countries. It has ubiquitous broadband, running at speeds that many Americans can only envy. Its Internet is also one of the most quirky in the world.
A curfew restricts school-age children from playing online games at night; adults wanting to do so need to provide their resident registration numbers to prove that they are of age.
Until last year, commenters on the Web were legally required to use their real names. A simple Web search in Korean can be a fruitless experience, because the operators of many sites, including some government ministries, bar search engines from indexing their pages.
Punk Band No Brain Sign Deal with Famous U.S. Producer
No Brain, a Korean punk rock band that emerged from Seoul’s hip Hongik University area, have signed a recording contract with world renowned record producer Seymour Stein.
“No Brain [are] unique in performance. I think they have universal appeal,” said Stein, who serves a vice president of Warner Bros. Records and co-founder of Sire Records. He made the comments on Friday while delivering a lecture at MU:CON Seoul 2013, a world music market hosted by the Korea Creative Contents Agency.
The recording will take place in Los Angeles, he added.
IU Went on a Shocking Diet to Prepare for Her Comeback
IU revealed the shocking diet she underwent in order to prepare for her current comeback.
On October 12, KBS‘s “Entertainment Weekly” aired a special interview with IU through the program’s corner “Guerrilla Date.” The singer confirmed that she gained a lot of weight while filming KBS’s drama “You’re the Best, Lee Soon-shin.” IU also stated that she was most concerned with her weight as she prepared for her comeback.
Korean Franchises, Food Makers Expand in U.S.
Korean bakery franchises, coffee chains and food manufacturers are expanding their outlets in the U.S.
Paris Baguette on Sunday opened a four-story outlet in Manhattan’s Times Square, the second one in New York City after one in Koreatown in mid-town Manhattan. Next month, the bakery franchise plans to open two more, in mid-town and on the Upper West Side.
Caffé Bene has eight outlets in the U.S., including one in Times Square which opened in February 2012 and another near the Fashion Institute of Technology that opened in July this year.
Down 0-2 in NLCS, Dodgers place their fate in Hyun-Jin Ryu’s hands
Los Angeles Times
For the Dodgers to advance to the World Series, they’ll have to do to the St. Louis Cardinals what the Cardinals did to them.
“We have to beat their ace,” Adrian Gonzalez said. “It’s that simple.”
So, come Monday at Dodger Stadium in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series, Hyun-Jin Ryu will be asked to replicate the performances of Cardinals starters Joe Kelly and Michael Wacha in the first two games of the series.
Kelly kept up with Zack Greinke in Game 1 to set the stage for the Cardinals’ 13-inning, 3-2 walk-off victory. Wacha blanked the Dodgers for 6 2/3 innings in Game 2, allowing the Cardinals to beat Clayton Kershaw, 1-0.
Former NFL star Hines Ward completes triathlon
Former Pittsburgh Steelers star Hines Ward added a new title to his resume Saturday. Not content with the titles of football and dancing star, Ward now is an Ironman.
The two-time Super Bowl winner finished one of the world’s most challenging triathlon courses in 13 hours, 8 minutes and 15 seconds.
Ward was the 1,680th athlete to cross the finish line after a 2.4-mile ocean swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a full 26.2-mile marathon. He swam a 1:20:01, biked a 06:21:12 and finished off with a 5:12:56 run.
Pitcher Yoon Suk-min leaves for U.S. in hopes of starting gig in MLB
Former MVP-winning pitcher Yoon Suk-min left for the United States on Monday in pursuit of his first Major League Baseball (MLB) contract, saying he would like to earn a starting job.
The 27-year-old right-hander for the Kia Tigers in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) said he plans to stay in the U.S. for about three weeks to discuss future options with his agent, Scott Boras, and also to go through his offseason training program.
With nine KBO seasons under his belt, Yoon, who has bounced between the rotation and the bullpen throughout his career, is eligible for free agency this winter.
Don’t Go Pro, Lydia Ko
Amateur sensation Lydia Ko is turning pro and has asked the LPGA Tour to waive its age limit.
The 16-year-old from New Zealand already is a two-time winner on the LPGA Tour — both wins at the Canadian Women’s Open — and last year became the youngest winner in LPGA history. She also contended at the Evian Championship last month in the year’s fifth and final major championship.
The LPGA Tour confirmed that it received a petition from Ko asking that it waive its minimum age requirement of 18.
How ‘hanbok’ is influencing biggest fashion names
Compared with the Japanese kimono and Chinese cheongsam, Korea’s traditional dress — known as hanbok, and worn by women and men — has remained under the international fashion radar.
So much so that when Lee Young Hee, among South Korea’s most renowned hanbok designers, showed her collection in Paris for the first time in 1993, most of the fashion press alluded to her silhouettes as “kimonos” — to the horror of both the designer herself and everyone back in Seoul.
Why Koreatown Is L.A.’s Hottest Neighborhood
Conde Nast Traveler
Nobody walks in L.A.” So sings the one-hit wonder band Missing Persons, but they clearly never hung out in L.A.’s Koreatown. The three-square-mile district just west of downtown has recently exploded into a hub for creative types and a magnet for hipsters—and it’s actually pedestrian-friendly. Come November, the cool quotient goes up again with the opening of The Line hotel (from the team behind Manhattan’s NoMad), which brings the city’s best Korean-American tastemakers together to create the nabe’s next hot spot. The Line (213-381-7411; doubles from $240) will feature two restaurants (both helmed by Korean BBQ master Roy Choi), a swank retro-themed lounge from L.A. bar scene VIPs the Houston Brothers, as well as an outpost of local design shop Poketo from Angie Myung. But the hotel isn’t the only place these folks are making waves; they’re the force behind K-Town’s rise in general. That’s why we tapped them, along with another trendsetter, LACMA curator Christine Y. Kim, to share their personal picks for the area’s musts:
Frugal Find: Isaan Station in Koreatown
Los Angeles Magazine
Like its spicy grilled meats and tonsil-searing salads, the cuisine of Isaan, in northeastern Thailand, has caught fire in L.A. The eight-month-old Isaan Station, located in Koreatown’s neon-lit nightlife zone, puts a stylized spin on the region’s street food scene. Thai hip-hop blares and campy vintage radios decorate the walls, but the kitchen stays true to Isaan’s rustic classics. Goong chae nam pla is shrimp sashimi bathed in chili and garlic, sliced beef nahm dtok nue, or waterfall beef salad, arrives gritty with crushed roasted chilies, and a cockle salad unites shaved lemongrass and volcanic prik kee noo peppers.
Police officers confiscated 35 slot machines and $36,000 in cash from suspected Koreatown gambling houses on Tuesday afternoon, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. An on-site “gaming manager” was allegedly running the gambling operations.
Seven privately owned homes and duplexes in an area near Olympic Boulevard and Normandie Avenue allegedly ran gambling operations from midmorning to late at night. The police said the alleged gambling houses forced the residents to endure loud noises and congested street parking.
About 100 officers from the LAPD’s Asian Crime Unit, Gang and Narcotics Division and Olympic Division raided the area around 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday. The LAPD said 10 people were issued misdemeanor citations for illegal possession of slot machines although the investigation is ongoing. Continue Reading »