North Korean Leader Says He Wants Better Ties With South
New York Times
The North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, on Wednesday called for improving relations with South Korea and boasted of his regime’s tightened grip on power in his first public speech since the purge and execution of his uncle, Jang Song-thaek, last month.
“North and South Korea should create a mood to improve relations,” Mr. Kim said in a nationally televised New Year’s Day speech. “It’s time to end useless slandering, and the North and the South should no longer do things that harm reconciliation and harmony.”
Mr. Kim began delivering a New Year’s Day speech after coming to power two years ago, reviving the practice of his grandfather Kim Il-sung. During the rule of his reclusive father, Kim Jong-il, the country’s main state-run newspapers issued a joint editorial to mark the day.
Decoding Kim’s New Year’s Speech
Wall Street Journal
Kim Jong Un’s New Year’s speech was closely watched because it offered a rare chance to see the North Korean leader speak, even if he probably contributed little or nothing to the message he delivered.
The speech itself didn’t turn up much that was new other than a colorful reference to his purged uncle, Jang Song Thaek, as “factionalist filth” and heavy reinforcement of the ideological fallout from Mr. Jang’s demise. Mr. Kim said it was imperative to “ensure the purity of Party ranks” and “establish the monolithic leadership system in the Party.”
The delivery of the speech–from behind a dais with seven microphones–was also the same as last year, as was Mr. Kim’s tendency to fidget while speaking. Possibly with that in mind, there was one notable difference in presentation this year: the amount of time Mr. Kim spent on camera.
S.Koreans Have Mixed Feelings About Reunification
A majority of South Koreans believe that reunification is in the national interest, but only a few think it will benefit individuals. This was the outcome of a poll conducted by the Chosun Ilbo.
Some 57.2 percent of respondents said reunification will be beneficial to the national interest and 39.4 percent it will not. But a whopping 66.3 percent do not expect it to benefit individual South Koreans directly, more than double the 30.9 percent who said it will.
About a half or 48.6 percent of respondents are concerned that the cost of reunification could overwhelm the potential benefit. Some 31.8 percent said the benefit will outweigh the cost, while 15.5 percent said the cost and benefit will be about equal. Some 4.1 percent gave no answer.
S. Korea unveils video promoting ownership of Dokdo
South Korea on Wednesday released an on-line video clip publicizing its sovereignty over a set of islets off its east coast that is also claimed by Japan.
The video, which includes historical evidence purporting to show that the islets, called Dokdo, are Korean, was posted on a foreign ministry website (http://dokdo.mofa.go.kr) at midnight Tuesday. It will also be uploaded on YouTube.
“The video was produced to widely spread the firm truth that Dokdo is South Korean territory in terms of history, geography and international law,” ministry spokesman Cho Tai-young said in a briefing.
South Korea military to fight to keep ban on sex by academy cadets
South Korea’s military said on Thursday it would fight a court ruling quashing its move to kick an officer candidate out of the elite Army Academy for having sex with his girlfriend while on leave.
An appeals court ruled on Wednesday that the Academy abused its authority to discipline cadets when it expelled a candidate for having sex with his girlfriend while on a weekend leave. It ruled that his conduct did no harm to the institution’s honor.
The Academy maintains rules against sexual relations as part of its code of conduct that also bans drinking, smoking and marriage and it intends to take the case to the Supreme Court, a spokesman for the Army told a news briefing.
Lee Min-ho Rides Wave of Popularity to Leading Movie Role
Lee Min-ho established his credentials as a character actor rather than just another pretty face in SBS’ TV drama “The Heirs,” which emerged as the most popular TV drama in the second half of last year.
Riding on the success of the drama, which recently came to an end, Lee has now been cast in a new movie that is set in the 1970s, when a real estate development boom swept across Gangnam.
South Korean Films Dominated Domestic Box Office in 2013
Wall Street Journal
South Korea’s genre-defying jail-cell dramedy “Miracle in Cell No. 7” was the country’s biggest box-office draw last year, which saw nine of the 10 top-grossing movies coming from local producers.
The film — starring one of South Korea’s top character actors, Ryu Seung-ryong, about a handicapped parking-garage attendant incarcerated for rape and murder and the efforts to clear his name — pulled in 91.43 billion won ($86.6 million), according to the Korean Film Council.
That makes “Miracle,” directed by Lee Hwan-kyung, the third most successful film in South Korean history. It trails behind “Avatar” (2009), the Hollywood 3-D science-fiction epic from James Cameron, and “The Thieves” (2012), Korean director Choi Dong-hoon’s all-star comic action-thriller.
Lee Seung-gi, Yoon-a Dating
Singer and actor Lee Seung-gi and Yoon-a of Girls’ Generation recently began dating, Lee’s agency confirmed on Wednesday.
Their relationship was first revealed on Wednesday when an Internet news outlet released a photo of Lee picking up Yoon-a at her home immediately after he returned from a concert in Japan in October.
They reportedly started dating in September and enjoy going for drives along the Han River and around Mt. Nam.
Korean community welcomes Shin-Soo Choo to town
Shin-Soo Choo has come to Texas. And he already has plenty of fans here.
The 31-year-old free agent outfielder has signed a seven-year contract with the Texas Rangers. He brought his wife, Won Mi Ha, and two young sons, Kunwoo and Moo-bin, with him to a news conference Friday at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
Several fellow South Koreans were there to welcome them, including Michael Lee, immediate past chair of the Greater Dallas Asian American Chamber, many members of the local Korean media and a few members of the Korean Society of Dallas.
Yuna Kim not preparing ‘special skills’ for Sochi Olympics
For Yuna Kim, defending her Olympic gold medal is not of the utmost importance in Sochi.
The South Korean figure skater will try to enjoy her second Olympics, she said before what’s likely to be her final home competition this weekend.
Kim, expected to retire after the Olympics, is set to compete at the South Korean National Championships.
South Korea look to old guard in World Cup year
South Korea need an infusion of old heads to balance the lack of experience in their squad for this year’s World Cup in Brazil, according to head coach Hong Myung-bo.
The Asian football powerhouse will begin their eighth consecutive World Cup finals campaign against Russia, who they lost 2-1 to in November, on June 17, before clashing with Algeria (June 22) and Belgium (June 26).
Hong, a member of the Korean team that reached the last four of the 2002 World Cup on home soil, said he was close to finalising his squad for the prestigious event.
The morning after: Asia’s top hangover cures
It’s a self-induced ailment that transcends culture and language barriers. The hangover.
Whether you’ve binged on sake or baijou, the result is too often the same: pounding headache, mouth like a Russian wrestler’s jockstrap, urge to spend the day close to something white and made of porcelain.
Though hangovers might be universal, cures for the brown bottle flu are not.
Some boozers swear that a greasy breakfast does the trick. But if you find yourself in an Asian city New Year’s Day with nary a greasy English fry-up in sight, these local hangover cures should make you feel half-human in no time.
Kim Jong-un ‘Torn Up Over Uncle’s Execution’
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has been seen weeping and showing other signs of psychological turmoil since the execution of his uncle Jang Song-taek, Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun claimed Wednesday.
The daily, whose reports on North Korea are not always reliable, quoted a source in Guangzhou, China as saying that the execution came at the urging of military Politburo chief Choe Ryong-hae and Minister for State Security Kim Won-hong, whose influence and power have been growing rapidly, and that Kim merely signed the order.
The source said it looks like Kim Jong-un had no idea the execution would proceed so quickly, and there is talk that he was “upset” about having been responsible for killing his own uncle. The source claimed Kim Jong-un was “weeping” until celebrations of the second anniversary of Kim Jong-il’s death on Dec. 17, five days after the execution.
Abe’s Shrine Visit Vindicates Park
Wall Street Journal
Any hopes of South Korea-Japan relations improving in the foreseeable future were dashed by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to the Yasukuni Shrine on Thursday. The visit clearly vindicates South Korean President Park Geun-hye’s refusal to take measures to improve Korea-Japan relations.
Ms. Park made it clear on several recent occasions that she would not hold a summit with Mr. Abe unless Japan took new steps to address lingering grievances in Seoul about Japan’s wartime misdeeds.
The subtext was a clear concern that Mr. Abe, having played nice in order to achieve a summit, would then turn around and visit the Yasukuni Shrine. This would have opened Ms. Park to scathing criticism at home.
UN Bullet Supply Deal Highlights Tokyo-Seoul Rifts
Wall Street Journal
The awkward exchange between Tokyo and Seoul over ammunition Japan provided to South Korean troops taking part in a United Nations peacekeeping operation highlights the deep diplomatic difficulties between the two neighbors.
Japan provided 10,000 bullets to South Korean peacekeepers in strife-torn South Sudan on Monday through the U.N. But claims by the two governments over details of the transaction have been inconsistent. The arrangement has also led to speculation Tokyo is trying to curb the nation’s self-imposed ban on arms-exports as part of an attempt to expand its military profile. It was the first time Japan has provided arms to a foreign military since World War II.
Japan’s main government spokesman, Yoshihide Suga, reiterated Wednesday that the decision was based on “urgent and humanitarian” needs in the African nation, and said the request was made both by the U.N. and South Korean troops taking part in the mission.
Japan and South Korea can’t even cooperate over peacekeeping in South Sudan
Before we get to the story of how Japan and South Korea came to be feuding over a bit of ammo-sharing between their peacekeeping forces in South Sudan, a bit of background to help you understand why this is all so absurd.
South Korea and Japan are arguably two of the most successful countries of the past half-century. They came out of their respective wars deeply impoverished and politically broken, but have since become wealthy and highly entrepreneurial democracies, renowned for their cultural exports and leadership in technological development.
It would make a lot of sense for South Korea and Japan to work closely together. They have similar economies, lots of cultural overlap, defense treaties with the United States, shared concerns about North Korea and a mutual desire to resist China’s growing power and influence. The two countries stand to gain significantly from working together. But they are terrible at cooperating with one another – just terrible. Part of that has to do with rising nationalism in both countries, which can make cooperation with any foreign country difficult. But it has to do mainly with their shared history: Japan brutally colonized Korea in the first half of the 20th century, and then spent the second half becoming decreasingly apologetic, with senior Japanese politicians now treating that dark history as a source of national pride. Korean politicians are not blameless themselves, playing up disputes and taking the bait at every provocation.
Can Korea’s new culture of business creativity rival Silicon Valley?
There’s no need to look for suburban garages — the next generation of Korean businesses is born downtown. Many startups are home in the now-famous Gangnam district, a landscape of 400 ft glass towers, expensive suits, and women with fashionable noses. Some of the startups, like online deal site Coupang, have already succeeded in sticking their own logo on an office tower. But even young hopefuls who are still demoing enjoy prime real estate. In brand new coworking space Dreamcamp, teams polishing PowerPoints look out over a beautifully landscaped park.
“This is the best time ever to start your company in Korea,” said Dreamcamp Manager Ryu Hahn. The coworking space and incubator is funded with more than $450m by 20 Korean banks who have formed the “Banks Foundation for Young Entrepreneurs”. Offering a wide range of support, from pitch clinics to funding, Dreamcamp is just one example of the structures for new business ideas that popped up in the last couple of years.
After taking office in 2013, South Korean President Park Geun-Hye swiftly announced a more “creative economy” and launched the new Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning, and endowed it with a bunch of cash. For 2014, the ministry’s budget increased to more than $12bn, with over two billion going directly into beefing up the startup ecosystem.
Seo Taiji Posts Status Update, Reveals That a 9th Album Is in the Works
Singer Seo Taiji revealed what he’s been up to recently on his official homepage.
Seo Taiji put up a post titled “Merry Christmas,” along with a picture of himself, on December 23. He greeted fans, saying, “Hello~ Merry Christmas. It’s been a long time. I hope everyone is doing well.”
“It feels like the last time I left a message was when it was hot, but it’s already gotten so cold that somehow it feels like time is going back faster and faster. It’s my fault. You guys were all babies but now you’re working, raising kids and studying. You must be having a hard time. The world will be a better place in 2014, won’t it?” He said, asking after his fans and sending well wishes for the New Year.
Choo Shin-soo Likely to Shift to Left Field
Choo Shin-soo might have to change positions again after agreeing to a seven-year deal worth US$130 million with the Texas Rangers.
The club’s outfield, which includes Leonis Martin in centerfield and Alex Rios in right field, has a vacancy in left field that could end up being filled by the Korean slugger.
Choo has played 588 games in right field, 160 in center and just 61 in left field during his career. But few at the club seem overly concerned about this as Choo has changed positions before with no trouble. He shifted from right to center after being traded to the Cincinnati Reds last season.
US Sports Academy Names Kim Yu-na Female Athlete of 2013
South Korean figure skater Kim Yu-na has been named Female Athlete of the Year by the U.S. Sports Academy.
The academy said this week that Kim beat out eleven other candidates for the honor, including tennis star Serena Williams and golfer, Park In-bee, who became the first South Korean to win the LPGA Player of the Year award this year.
The academy said despite Kim’s two-year hiatus following the 2010 Winter Olympics, she picked up where she left off by winning gold at the women’s 2013 World Figure Skating Championships.
South Korean stars on ‘most beautiful faces 2013′ list by US site
A HOST of K-pop singers has been included on “The 100 Most Beautiful Faces 2013” list by US-based film review website IndependentCritics.com.
A total of 14 South Koreans made the list, on which the Oscar-winning French actress Marion Cotillard was named the most beautiful face of the year.
The South Korean highest on the list was Nana at No. 2, a singer and former model who is best known as a member of girl group After School. Despite being little known in the mainstream US media, she made the highest-ever debut on the list, which has been paying homage to the world’s beauties since 1999.
‘Korean Unification Unlikely to Take Place Soon’
Unification Minister Ryoo Kihl-jae predicts the two Koreas will not reunite anytime soon.
Ryoo made the assessment on Tuesday during a full session of the National Assembly’s Legislation and Judiciary Committee.
Ryoo was commenting on a media report that quoted National Intelligence Service (NIS) Director Nam Jae-joon as saying during a year-end party attended by senior NIS officials that the unification of the two Koreas could happen in 2015. Nam is said to have then urged the participants to sacrifice their lives to unify the two Koreas under a free democratic system.
Latinos, Asian Americans square off in political races
Dave Gilliard has seen a lot in 25 years of coordinating political campaigns in California, a resume that includes the 2003 recall of Gov. Gray Davis. But even he doesn’t know what to expect in two legislative races he’s running that are a window into the future of state politics.
That’s because both Orange County races feature an Asian American running against a Latino. As the 2014 campaigns gain momentum, Gilliard isn’t sure what role, if any, race and ethnicity will play in districts that are split among Asians, Latinos and whites. Will voters side with – or against – a candidate because of their race?
“And how will Caucasian voters react to not having a Caucasian on the ballot for the first time?” said Gilliard, who handles Republican candidates and causes. “There’s a lot we don’t know about here. This is uncharted territory.”
Asian Americans and Latinos are the two fastest-growing slices of the electorate in both California and nationally, and their swelling numbers are reshaping the way campaigns are run.
Asiana Crash: Survivors’ Stories
Wall Street Journal
Five months after Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crash-landed at San Francisco International Airport, some passengers are still grappling with emotional trauma.
Most survivors of the July 6 accident, which killed three passengers and injured more than 180, have already recovered or are recovering from their physical injuries. But for some, the psychological wounds linger.
The Journal spoke with some of the passengers about how they are coping since the crash. Following are some of their extended remarks. You can read the full WSJ story here.
Former President’s Collection Boosts Interest in South Korea’s Art Market
Wall Street Journal
Is former president Chun Doo-hwan an unlikely savior of South Korea’s art market?
Earlier this month, the country’s two biggest auction houses — K auction and Seoul Auction – successfully sold off 201 art pieces that used to belong to the Chun family. The art pieces had been seized by prosecutors in an effort to collect an outstanding fine of 167.2 billion won ($158 million) that was levied on Mr. Chun 16 years ago on charges relating to the creation of slush funds while he was in office from 1980 to 1987.
On Dec. 11, K Auction put 80 items up for auction, under the title of “Chun Jae-kuk Collection,” while Seoul Auction held “Special Auction for Ex-President’s Collection,” a week later with 121 items.
Canada Goose Down Jackets All the Rage
Expensive foreign-brand down jackets and coats are selling like hot cakes here this winter despite their astronomical prices.
Canada Goose’s down jackets cost some W1 million (US$1=W1,061) and the French Moncler’s padded jackets more than W3 million, but 800 of them sold out almost instantly in a special sale at a department store in the affluent Gangnam district of southern Seoul.
Canada Goose even has put a Korean-language menu on its website.
Top Korean American Contestants on “K-pop Star” Ever
admit I’ve been on a “K-pop Star” marathon these days and I am absolutely blown away by the talent. I’m so used to seeing a lot of vocally talentless artists in Korea, that I’ve grown accustomed to the lack of Korean singers with strong vocals. There’s nothing wrong with not being vocally gifted, because most artists are stronger in other suits whether it’s dancing or stage presence or personality. But then I see these contestants on “K-pop Star” and I am just dumbfounded at how these agencies haven’t picked every single contestant that auditions on that stage in front of the 3 judges. I have a soft spot for my Korean American contestants so here’s a list of the best of the best!
[First Impressions]“Miss Korea” – Comedic, but Touches on Serious Societal Issues
MBC’s new drama “Miss Korea” touches on some deep societal issues, yet does it in a funny and light hearted way. One of the first things we notice is that many of the actors appeared together on the drama “Pasta.” This should not be surprising as director Kwon Seok Jang and screenwriter Seo Sook Hyang of “Miss Korea” also worked together on “Pasta.” I guess this is a good thing, as the actors of “Miss Korea” have good chemistry with each other.
The first episode gives us an introduction to the characters, and the deep history between them. Basically, we learn that Seoul University graduate Kim Hyun Joon leads a struggling cosmetics company and has taken a loan from a struggling gangster, who is ironically named Teacher, to keep his business afloat. In order to make his company survive and pay off his loan to the gangster, he decides that he needs to find a “Miss Korea” to promote his products. He has only one candidate in mind, his high school crush Oh Ji Young.
Rivalries Within North Korean Elite Led to Purge, South’s Spy Chief Says
New York Times
South Korea’s intelligence chief said Monday that Jang Song-thaek, the uncle of the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, who was executed this month, apparently had not plotted a coup as Pyongyang had said, but had fallen victim to intrigue within the country’s elite over lucrative business deals, according to lawmakers in Seoul.
Mr. Jang, 67, who was once believed to be the second most powerful man in North Korea, was executed on Dec. 12 on charges of plotting to overthrow his nephew’s government, four days after he was hauled out of a meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party at which he was stripped of all titles. The highly unusual public purge and execution of a member of the North’s ruling family has set off widespread speculation about the possibility of a power struggle within the secretive regime.
US Re-balance to Asia Overshadowed by Tensions With China
The United States moved to pivot military, diplomatic and economic resources toward Asia in 2013, but the policy was sidetracked by bickering among allies and an increasingly assertive China.
Vice President Joe Biden’s December trip to Northeast Asia was meant to focus on reassuring U.S. allies Japan and South Korea of its plans to vastly increase resources to the region.
But China’s sudden expansion of its Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) to overlap disputed areas with Japan and South Korea in the East China Sea dominated discussions.
Dennis Rodman leaves North Korea: No Kim Jong Un meet, “awesome” basketball players
Flamboyant former NBA star Dennis Rodman has left North Korea without meeting the country’s leader Kim Jong Un, but with high praise for local basketball players Rodman trained while there.
“They are awesome,” Rodman told CNN while in transit at Beijing Capital International Airport on Monday.
Rodman started his third visit to North Korea last week, spending four days in the isolated nation to assist setting up an exhibition game featuring North Korean players and a dozen NBA veteran players — identities of which are yet to be announced. The friendly game is planned for Kim Jong Un’s birthday on January 8.
Rodman’s latest round of “basketball diplomacy” came less than a week after North Korea announced the dramatic purge and execution of Kim’s uncle, Jang Song Taek, North Korea’s No. 2 leader.
Top Ten K-Pop Christmas songs of 2013!
It is that time of year again when K-Pop artists are releasing special holiday songs with a jolly good cheer for all of their fans, whether it be a collaboration under one agency or creating a cover of a Christmas classic.
As Christmas is just a few days away, I have compiled a list of the top ten Christmas songs of the year! Granted, there weren’t too many choices, but these K-Pop artists really did not disappoint with the songs they released this year. Check out the songs below to amp up your spirits for the upcoming holiday festivities! Create a playlist! Put this playlist on repeat and perhaps play it for your family while you gather around to open presents. Then dance around in your unsightly but endearing Christmas sweaters and warm knitted stockings!
Koreans are No. 1 moviegoers in the world
South Koreans watch more movies than any other people in the world, according to Korean movie theater chain CGV.
South Koreans saw an average of 4.12 movies per person in theaters this year, which is No. 1 in the world for the first time, based on recent data from Britain’s Screen Digest, CGV said.
Britain’s Screen Digest is one of the world’s leading media-focused research companies, and according to their numbers, the United States dropped to the second place with 3.88, followed by Australia (3.75) and France (3.44).
The Korean Film Council confirmed that a South Korean person indeed saw an average of four movies this year – as the number of movie tickets sold in 2013 is expected to reach 200-million this week.
James Lim and Moses Kang recruited as officers in Northern Virginia
Northern Virginia has struggled to recruit Asian Americans in law enforcement, officials told WUSA9.
That’s why it was an especially proud moment for the area, when two Asian American officers graduated from the Northern Virginia Criminal Justice Academy on Friday.
Loudoun County Deputy James Lim and Arlington County Officer Moses Kang go from recruit to rookie in their respective agencies.
Deputy James Lim, Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office, “”It’s awesome. I’ve been dreaming about this for a while.”
Fairfax County Major Gun Lee looks on with pride, even though these new officers will be working in neighboring agencies.
US soldiers join Habitat for Humanity project
U.S. troops of the 2nd Infantry Division (2ID) teamed up with Korean soldiers and local community members to renovate a home as part of the Habitat for Humanity program in Dongducheon, Gyeonggi Province, Wednesday.
According to the 2ID, more than 30 soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment and 4th Squadron, 7th Cavalry volunteered to renovate a former cafe into a habitable home for a family in Dongducheon grappling with poverty.
The Habitat for Humanity program has been a staple among units in Korea for 15 years, yet it is new to the city of Dongducheon, north of Seoul. The city is one of the two homes to the “Second to None” division and the other is Uijeongbu.
Korean standout Choo to join Texas Rangers
South Korean star Choo Shin-Soo has agreed to a seven-year contract worth $130 million with the Texas Rangers, a report on Major League Baseball’s website said Saturday.
The signing has not been confirmed by the American League club because Choo must pass a physical before the deal can be completed.
The 31-year-old outfielder, who had been the top prize remaining among free agents, produced a career-best .423 percentage of reaching base over 154 games last season for Cincinnati — fourth-best in the major leagues behind only Miguel Cabrera, Joey Votto and Mike Trout.
That figure was boosted by Choo being hit by pitches 26 times, the most of any batter in Major League Baseball last season, and walked 112 times, 29 more than his prior career-high season for bases on balls.
Choo, who rejected a one-year offer for $14.1 million to return to the Reds next season, has batted .288 over nine North American seasons with Seattle, Cleveland and Cincinnati with 104 home runs and 427 runs batted in.
As a leadoff batter last season for the Reds, left-hander Choo hit .285 with 21 home runs, 54 runs batted in and 20 steals.
North Korea’s Weapon of Choice: The Fax Machine
Wall Street Journal
North Korea has ramped up the rhetoric against South Korea again through its weapon of choice this year: the fax machine.
South Korea’s Defense Ministry said Friday a letter from the North’s National Defense Commission addressed to the South’s presidential office was faxed early Thursday via the military communication link between the two sides, threatening a “merciless” attack on South Korea.
The letter objected to the “repeated extra-large provocations to North Korea’s highest dignity taking place in the middle of Seoul” and warned of “a merciless retaliation without warning,” according to ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok.
Kim Jong-un’s Aunt ‘Seriously Ill’
Kim Kyong-hui, the wife of executed North Korean eminence grise Jang Song-taek, and aunt of leader Kim Jong-un, has had long-term treatment in Russia for heart problems but her health apparently continues to deteriorate, sources claim.
A source in Beijing said Kim was in Russia for some 40 days due to heart problems and returned to Pyongyang last month. The source added Kim’s condition is “serious.”
Her brother, former North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, and father, nation founder Kim Il-sung, both died of heart attacks, making it likely that the disease is genetic.
I’ll look after myself: Korean man Min Tae Kim told friends before death
Courier Mail (Australia)
JUST weeks before heading home Min Tae Kim assured friends he would look after himself.
His two-year Australian adventure was coming to an end and friends were planning a welcome home get-together in Seoul.
With his itinerary posted on Facebook his friend ChanKwan Park wrote: “Please be careful until you come back.”
Chinese Respondents Top Materialism Poll
New York Times
A global poll of attitudes toward wealth has found what many domestic critics allege already: Chinese today are just too materialistic.
The survey was conducted by the French market research company Ipsos in September and polled more than 16,000 adults in 20 countries.
Chinese respondents topped the list in measuring success by their possessions, coming in more than double the global average, according to the results published last week. Seventy-one percent of Chinese respondents agreed with the statement “I measure my success by the things I own,” far higher than respondents from its East Asian neighbors South Korea, at 45 percent, and Japan, 22 percent. Respondents from developed economies generally disagreed with the statement. Just over 20 percent of Americans and Canadians agreed and only 7 percent of Swedes.
After 2 years, Jeon finds way home
Korea Joongang Daily
Actress Jeon Do-yeon, one of Korea’s most awarded stars, returned to the big screen for the first time in two years with “Way Back Home.”
In the film, Jeon plays an ordinary homemaker named Song Jeong-yeon, who is duped into carrying large bags of illegal drugs into France but is eventually caught at the border.
Based on the true story of a Korean housewife who got caught at an airport in France in 2004, the film influenced Jeon to strive toward realism.
Spike Lee’s “Oldboy”: Revenge is a dish best served Korean
Spike Lee’s Oldboy, a remake of the 2003 Korean film of the same name, is lacking a crucial element of the original Park Chan-wook version: it’s not Korean. It’s one thing to make a revenge movie—but only a Korean director can make a revenge meditation, a laser-sharp focus on a base, reptilian urge with that offers no redemption or satisfaction that justice has been done. Vengeance is part of the Korean collective unconscious, an ultra-distilled form of rage so unique that the Korean language has its own, nearly untranslatable word for it: han. In the han universe, characters don’t suffer or become evil because of early trauma: they suffer because life is horrible.
This is the driving force behind Park’s “Revenge Trilogy,” of which Oldboy is the second installment. Winning the 2004 Gran Prix at Cannes, the film became a cult classic worldwide, aided by the vociferous support of Cannes jury member, Quentin Tarantino. Based loosely on the Dumas novel The Count of Monte Cristo, Oldboy tells the lurid tale of a slovenly everyman, Oh Dae-soo, who is abducted and held captive in a private prison. When Oh is finally released 15 years later, for reasons as mysterious as his imprisonment, he is importuned by a smelly homeless man who hands him a cell phone and a wallet stuffed with cash. The cell phone rings. Oh answers it. It is his captor, daring Oh to find out what why he was imprisoned. What ensues is a glorious duet of mutual vengeance between two men, each of whom is simultaneously captor and prey.
Shin-Soo Choo’s special skill
ESPN Insider (Subscription Required)
If you find it strange that the Yankees offered the same number of contractual years to Shin-Soo Choo as they did to Robinson Cano, it’s worth remembering that Choo possesses a skill that does not disappear as quickly as defense or speed or fastball velocity.
The man has an acute ability to take a walk, and the folks who can do this tend to age well — a tremendous talking point for his agent, Scott Boras, especially as he talks to American League teams, who can envision Choo going through his golden years as a designated hitter.
Choo is 31 years old and his outfield range is generally regarded as below average but playable, at this stage is in his career. His declining power against left-handed pitchers has raised concerns.