October Issue: Randall Park Approves This Message
Author: Randall Park
Posted: October 3rd, 2012
Filed Under: Back Issues , BLOG , October 2012
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I Approve This Message


Many years ago, I ran for senior class president at Hamilton High School in Los Angeles. I don’t know what compelled me. I was by no means a bastion of school spirit. I didn’t even have a platform. I guess I just wanted to feel loved.  And knowing that the election was essentially a popularity contest, I decided to run the dumbest campaign ever. Literally.  My campaign posters were pieces of paper pulled from trash cans and recycling bins, with crudely scribbled slogans:


For me, every crumpled piece of paper was an opportunity to tell a stupid joke. Soon, the hallways were littered with trash. The principal was not happy, but that only helped my cause.

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Monday’s Link Attack: South Korea Wins Gold in Archery, Daniel Henney, John Cho
Author: Crystal Kim
Posted: July 30th, 2012
Filed Under: BLOG
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Election 2012: Asian-American vote key for both parties

Though a majority of Asian-Americans are expected to back Obama again this year, the Romney campaign has made aggressive efforts to reach out to Asian business owners, who they say might warm to Romney’s jobs-focused message.

Romney himself has met privately with Asian-American small business owners here in Northern Virginia, as has Lanhee Chen, the campaign’s chief policy adviser. And aides say the campaign will soon roll out a coalition that will include “high ranking” Asian-American surrogates to “provide the face and voice of our efforts.”

Will Asian voters swing the election?

According to an April poll by Lake Research Partners, Asian Americans tilt Democratic and favor Barack Obama over Mitt Romney, but nearly a quarter of them remain undecided about the presidential race, and a much larger share of Asian Americans report never having been contacted by either presidential campaign — leaving many of them up for grabs. “Asian-Americans have, in the minds of the Democratic Party and Democratic candidates, gone from a marginalized community to the margin of victory,” California congressman and Democratic National Committee vice chairman Mike Honda recently told the Hill. Honda’s district is 49 percent Asian American, the largest such share of any district outside Hawaii.

Floods in North Korea Kill 88 and Leave Thousands Homeless
New York Times

Flooding in North Korea caused by torrential rains has killed 88 people and left 63,000 homeless, the country’s state-run Korean Central News Agency reported.

About 74,700 acres of farmland were said to have been damaged by 10 days of flooding, according to the agency’s report on Saturday.

Agricultural experts said North Korea remained ill-prepared to deal with floods and droughts, as well as the food shortages they cause.

Quinn Signs Law to Examine State Hiring of Asian-Americans
NBC Chicago

An advisory group to encourage more Asian-Americans to seek jobs in state government is set to be formed under a new law signed by Gov. Pat Quinn Friday.

“We’ve gotta go out there across Illinois and make sure our Asian-American population in our state, almost 5 percent of the people, is well-reflected in the ranks of our state government,” said Quinn.

The Strange Rise and Fall of North Korea’s Business Empire in Japan
The Atlantic

Since its 1950s founding, a Pyongyang-linked group called Chongyron has run everything from banks to newspapers, pushing propaganda out and pulling hard currency in. But now that’s ending.

Samsung’s Female Executives Shatter South Korea’s Glass Ceiling
The Daily Beast

In a management reshuffle earlier this year, Samsung—South Korea’s largest business group, with more than 210,000 employees and $200 billion in annual sales—promoted three women to executive positions. Notably, all of the women were longtime Samsung employees. While the company has hired female executives before, they’ve always been recruited from outside. But the three new executives were among the first women who joined Samsung after it removed gender discrimination in recruitment in 1992, for the first time in Korea’s corporate world. Chairman Lee Kun-hee’s decision was considered radical at that time. Yet thanks to that move, 56,000 women now work for Samsung, and many of them will soon follow in the footsteps of the three pioneers. “The promotion is a prelude to many more female executives at Samsung,” says Kim Sung-hong, a Samsung spokesman. “They will lead Samsung’s growth in the future.”

Welcome, Madame Kim! Please, Be Careful
The New Yorker

Rarely has a wedding announcement made for so much shtick. Comedy writer Chase Mitchell: “Kim Jong-Un proposed by getting down on one knee and saying ‘You will marry me.’ ” Conan O’Brien: “It’s reported that Kim Jong-un got married. He’s registered at the local, ‘Bed, Bath and Other Things They Don’t Have in North Korea.’ ” And the (fake and profane) Twitter feed ostensibly from Betty White: “Kim Jong Un is married. Why are the good ones always taken?” (Best of breed? Andy Borowitz’s take on the nuptials.)

An interview with Daniel Henney: Comedy, career and Korea

The film “Shanghai Calling” focuses on Sam Chao, a corporate ladder-climbing Chinese American lawyer who unwillingly heads to the country of his ancestral roots to further his career. Inevitably, with no previous ties to speak of, he stumbles into all sorts of awkward expatriate situations that eventually threaten his job.

It’s a geographical migration that Daniel Henney, the actor who plays Sam, can relate to, but with a couple of major differences. For one, the relocation was Henney’s choice, as the Michigan native – wanting to learn more about his mother’s country of birth – headed to South Korea with the goal of building off of his already immense popularity in Asia as a model.

South Korean Women Win Archery Gold No. 7
New York Times

South Korea won the Olympic women’s team archery title for the seventh consecutive time on Sunday after beating China in the final at Lord’s cricket ground.

The Korean trio of Ki Bo-bae, Lee Sung-jin and Choi Hyeon-ju scored 210 points from their 24 arrows to beat the Chinese by a single point. Each arrow can score a maximum of 10 points by hitting the center of a target 70 meters away.

Get me a Korean … any Korean!

The ‘must-have’ item for medal hunting archers at the 2012 London Games, Korean coaches have become a necessity rather than a luxury with the United States, Malaysia, Brazil and the Philippines among the countries paying for their expertise.

The clamor for their services is understandable — South Korean archers have won 30 Olympic medals, 16 of them gold, and hold every world record with the Olympic-style recurve bow.

Best Thing We Ate Today: Cham Korean Bistro’s Bibimbop

Fast-casual Korean and nowhere near Koreatown? Indeed. Healthy and close to the office, this is exactly what we needed for Friday lunch. Cham Bistro isn’t in overcrowded Old Town, but instead in the South Lake District of Pasadena, where more quality restaurants are actually opening and parking is a breeze. The bibimbop is a little better if you eat it there, especially because it comes out in a sizzling hot pan, but it’s still really delicious (with lots of chile paste) on the fly. For an even quicker bite, the tofu pockets with blue crab or arugula and radish are perfect. Apparently there’s a happy hour, too. 3 PM can’t come fast enough.

Actor John Cho pays a visit to Obama’s Boulder campaign office
Daily Camera (Colo.)

Before volunteers left to canvass Boulder and register voters, they were paid a visit by actor John Cho — Harold of the “Harold & Kumar” movie series — who spoke on behalf of the Obama campaign and why he believes it’s so important to re-elect the current president.

Cho said that the two most important issues of the 2012 election are education and healthcare. Cho also emphasized Obama’s education reform and that, if it were not for federal financial aid, he and his brother would not have received a secondary education.

“Access to education is the thing that truly differentiates us from other nations,” Cho said. “It’s also a basic human right to go to the doctor. I think it’s important for the well-being and culture of society to have a healthy citizenry.

Inbee Park wins Evian Masters by 2 shots
Yahoo! Sports

Inbee Park of South Korea ended her four-year wait for an LPGA Tour title when she shot a 6-under 66 on Sunday to win the Evian Masters, beating veteran Karrie Webb and overnight co-leader Stacy Lewis by two shots.

It was Park’s second LPGA Tour title and the first since the U.S. Open in 2008. She finished with a 17-under 271.

“It feels great. It was four years ago but it feels longer than that,” Park said. ”I finished the round with some really strong putting today.”

North Korean Gives the Games a Dramatic Lift
New York Times

The North Korean team at the Olympics is small, just 56 athletes in all. But the hermetically sealed Stalinist state — which seems perpetually on the brink of famine while threatening to turn South Korea into a sea of fire — is no lightweight when it comes to Olympic drama.

A diminutive and relatively unknown North Korean weightlifter, Om Yun-chol, 20, won a gold medal on Sunday with an effort almost never accomplished in his sport: lifting three times his body weight. Only four other lifters are known to have done this.

Mr. Om is ranked 11th in the world in his weight class, and the BBC weightlifting commentator Colin Bryce called his feat “unheard of” and “bizarre to say the least.”

North Korean media reports North Koreans love North Korean tablet

Remember those futuristic PCs we reported North Korea was producing last year? Well now the Democratic People’s Republic has unveiled a seven-inch flagship tablet called the Achim (Morning). Understandably, we don’t know what’s inside this 0.66-pound (300g) device with a five-hour battery life, but it’s apparently very popular with local students. There’s no word on the OS either, but a touch-friendly build of the homegrown Linux variant Red Star would make sense. Although unconfirmed, sources suggest internet connectivity is wholly absent, with a pre-loaded selection of fun, state-approved content available instead. Eager to get your hands on a Kim Jong-unPad? Well, you can’t.

Video Roundup: Popcorn, Jailhouse Musical, Mitt Romney
Author: Linda Son
Posted: January 6th, 2012
Filed Under: BLOG
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Here are some videos we’re watching this week at KoreAm.

Korean Popcorn
Around the streets of South Korea, food vendors line up providing all sorts of meals and snacks for customers. This particular vendor creates popcorn with a bang as well as tons of steam.

Sh-t Asian Chicks Say (version 2)
Asian girls apparently say a lot. Last week, we brought to you a video of “Sh-t Asian Girls Say” and this week, we have another version. This video shows a different set of phrases heard from Asian girls and shows the cruder side of them as well.

Woman Transforms into Rapper Drake
Makeup tutorials are all over the Internet, teaching girls how to get different looks and different effects with cosmetics. One woman took to teaching others how to transform their look from your average girl into the popular rapper, Drake.

Ellen Kim takes over San Francisco
Ellen Kim returns to her San Fran roots and brings her dancing with her. In her latest video, Kim is seen dancing all around her hometown from the streets to the subway, showing her audience a bit of her past.

Jailhouse Musical
We all remember the videos of the prisoners in the Philippines dancing in sync and en massse to popular songs. The Filipino prison dancers have now inspired a 12-episode web series. Prison Dancer: The Interactive Web Musical, created by Romeo Candido, will launch March this year.

Chinese Woman Speaks Up to Mitt Romney
Mitt Romney and John McCain stopped by New Hampshire for a political rally where an audience member told them that the comments made about China did not make her feel good. Romney, who has vowed to “clamp down” on China and has accused Beijing of cheating on global trade rules, was told to not put Asians down.

Victor Kim and YoMama Crew
Victor Kim hits the stage with Lawrence Kao and Anthony Lee in very interesting tiger costumes. The show, a part of the Tic Toc Tour II in Australia, was the first time YoMama Crew performed together.

LG ad for Slim Television
LG’s marketing team has done a great job in disguising the ad for one of their products. This video, although appears to be surveillance footage of a bizarre thief, is actually a pretty simple and smart television ad.

If you have more videos, email them to linda@iamkoream.com.

Tuesday’s Link Attack: Tim Kang, Hank Conger, Dia Frampton
Author: KoreAm
Posted: January 3rd, 2012
Filed Under: BLOG
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‘The Mentalist’s’ Tim Kang making a mark in Hollywood

It might be hard these days to find someone who has never seen Tim Kang’s face. The Korean American actor has appeared on “Chappelle’s Show,” “The Office,” “Monk,” “Law & Order,” and in the 2008 “Rambo” film. He was in a pivotal, highly memorable episode of the “The Sopranos” and is perhaps best known for his primary cast role in “The Mentalist.”

Conger committed to improving for Halos

Whether that upcoming season has him playing for the Angels or the Triple-A Salt Lake Bees remains to be seen.

Just like last year — when he cracked the Opening Day roster, but was sent down 3 1/2 months into the season — Conger will have plenty to prove this Spring Training. And now that first-year general manager Jerry Dipoto has upgraded catcher with the addition of veteran Chris Iannetta, the club’s dilemma is essentially the same: Is it best to have the switch-hitting Conger serve as a backup and play sparingly at the big league level, or see consistent action behind the plate in Triple-A to continue to develop?

What Republicans Say About The Koreas
Wall Street Journal

But the recent death of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il has gotten some of the Republican challengers to U.S. President Barack Obama talking about the Koreas.

On Sunday, the front-runner for the Republican nomination, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, told an audience in Iowa that Kim’s death had created a “fragile and dangerous time” in the Koreas.

“I hope, with the ascension of Kim Jong Eun, that there’s some prospect for new openness,” Mr. Romney said.

Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward reaches 1,000 career catches, 8th player to hit milestone
Washington Post

Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward has become the eighth player in NFL history with 1,000 career receptions.

Ward caught a shovel pass in the fourth quarter from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, and although it lost three yards, it made him the first Pittsburgh receiver to reach the milestone. Ward and Hall of Famer Jerry Rice are the only players with 1,000 receptions and more than one Super Bowl win.

South Korea Predicts Changes in Peninsula
New York Times

SEOUL, South Korea — President Lee Myung-bak of South Korea vowed on Monday to “deal strongly with any provocations” from the North, predicting a “big change” on the divided Korean Peninsula following the death of the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-il, and his untested young son’s rise to power.

Culture clash may lie behind the beating of a Korean American boy
L.A. Times

But authorities say that in at least one case, his “counseling” crossed a line. Kim is accused of beating the 15-year-old son of a fellow church member with an inch-wide metal pole until the boy’s legs were bruised and swollen. The misbehavior that prompted the alleged attack: The boy’s parents believed he had been smoking.

Some in the Korean immigrant community described the case as an extreme example of the culture clash between first-generation parents and their Americanized children, as well as changing views about corporal punishment in Korean culture.

Teen interviews Romney, Gingrich on Korea
Yonhap News

“I’d love to see the day when we had freedom throughout the entire world. It would be wonderful, if we had freedom and transparity in all parts of the world, including North Korea,” Romney told Jonathan Lee when asked about his view on the reunification of the two Koreas.

Lee, a 15-year-old from Mississippi, traveled to Iowa, where the Republican presidential aspirants are to kick off their formal race on Tuesday.

Dia Frampton reflects on big year, begins major tour
The Spectrum

The St. George native began the year working at a cupcake shop but by late December the singer-songwriter was a reality TV star and her first solo album was No. 1 on Billboard’s Heatseekers Chart, which features “new or developing” musical acts. Now she’s set to begin 2012 with 27 tour dates opening for country music megastar Blake Shelton.

Patriots Name Fan Of The Year
The Boston Channel

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — A Boston man was named the 2011 New England Patriots Fan of the Year on Sunday afternoon.

David Kim, 48, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon at Saint Vincent Hospital in Worcester, was presented with the Joseph R. Mastrangelo Memorial Trophy during an on-field ceremony before the final regular season home game against the Buffalo Bills.

’30 Rock’: Tina Fey and Writers Plot Kim Jong Il’s Death
The Hollywood Reporter

US Weekly reports 30 Rock producer and Tina Fey’s fellow showrunner Robert Carlock says that the dictator’s Dec. 18 death will find its way into the upcoming season. And since the first half of the season was completed before the news, viewers will just have to wait awhile.

“Jack’s love life is pretty complicated and it just got more complicated because I think, technically, Avery is the First Lady of North Korea,” Carlock said.

K-Pop Videos Set New Record on YouTube

According to the report JoongAng Ilbo acquired from YouTube, K-Pop music videos were seen 2.28 billion times from 235 countries during the period of January 1 to December 5. The most clicks came from Japan where K-Pop videos were seen more than 423 million times, followed by the U.S. with 240 million views. Thailand came in at third with 220 million view counts, with Taiwan and Vietnam at #4 and #5 with 180 million and 170 million views, respectively.

Older South Koreans flock to the smartphone and learn to wield it
L.A. Times

Everywhere she goes, whether it’s work or the corner market, Lee Kyung-ok is on the lookout to make new friends. When the magic happens, she whips out her smartphone to exchange digits.

She’s aggressive, hyper-confident in her navigation of her hipster device. She’s also 63.

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