Once Labeled a Traitor, Korean Aims to Be a Hero
New York Times
HONG YOON-HEE had an extraordinary tale to tell, to anyone who would listen, about how he risked his life trying to save South Korea during a pivotal moment in the Korean War but was then condemned to death and had to flee to the United States.
His plan, he said, was to clear his name.
Last year, after years of scouring military archives in the United States and South Korea and filing petitions and lawsuits, Mr. Hong achieved that goal. In February, a court in Seoul overturned his 1950 conviction of treason for fighting for North Korea.
South Korea’s Hot-Button Medium
New York Times
On Dec. 10, a handwritten, politically charged poster appeared on a bulletin board at Korea University in Seoul, one of the country’s top institutions of higher education. It began and ended with the same question: “How are you all doing?”
This simple query hit a nerve. A photograph of the poster went viral on the Internet. Students across South Korea started posting their own political notices on campuses (and pictures of them, too, appeared online). High school students, office workers and housewives joined in, writing posters to air political grievances and posting them in public and on the web.
Is Kim Jong-un’s Aunt Dead?
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s aunt and widow of executed eminence grise Jang Song-taek is believed to have died, possibly by her own hand.
A government source here on Sunday said Kim Kyong-hui, who has been out of the public eye either committed suicide or died from a heart attack.
The source said intelligence services here believe Kim is dead but have not been able to confirm this, though they are also trying to find out whether she went abroad for medical treatment.
Are China, Japan and South Korea fanning the flames of war?
The Telegraph (U.K.)
East Asia is a global economic powerhouse, but its economic progress has not been mirrored by progress in relationships between the countries in the region. These are mired in ancient and modern rivalries that are sometimes made toxic by strident nationalisms.
The parallels with Europe a hundred years ago are uncomfortable. Worse, unlike most parts of the world, there is no adequate regional machinery in East Asia to promote the peaceful resolution of increasingly rancorous disputes between neighbours.
Two recent articles in The Daily Telegraph – one by the Chinese ambassador to the UK, and one by his Japanese colleague – set out opposing views of one of these disputes. Tensions between China and Japan go back a very long time. Present Chinese antipathy to Japan has its roots in the brutal Japanese occupation of much of China in the Second World War – a period that has left deep scars on the Chinese psyche.
Trial Begins In Dallas Dog Poop Murder Case
CBS Dallas-Fort Worth
A man in Dallas, accused of killing his neighbors over a dispute about dog waste, is heading into court on Monday. The capital murder trial for Chung Kim will begin with jury selection. There are 75 people who are all being considered as potential jurors.
Jury selection is expected to be finished on Monday afternoon, with testimony starting on Tuesday morning.
Kim has been accused of fatally shooting a couple that lived above him at a northwest Dallas apartment complex last year. Police said that the suspect first shot Michelle Jackson while she was standing on her balcony last year. He then went upstairs to their apartment unit and killed her boyfriend, according to the affidavit.
ONLINE GAMING IS SOUTH KOREA’S MOST POPULAR DRUG
Last month, some South Korea’s parliament started considering a new law that would put online gaming on the same legal footing as vices like gambling, booze and drugs. One bill, if passed, would put limits on how game companies could advertise, and another would take 1 percent of the industry’s earnings and put the money toward anti–gaming addiction efforts—essentially, the government would start treating video game companies like the US treats cigarette manufacturers.
I wasn’t surprised by news of this bill. In Seoul, where I live, there’s a PC Bang (gaming cafe) on every block, and two TV networks dedicated to Starcraft. To young Koreans, pro gaming offers the same appeal professional sports offer in many other countries. Elite gamers, who often practice up to 12 hours a day, are treated like rock stars, drawing massive audiences to their matches and earning hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. For a lot of young people here, gaming is both an aspirational activity as well as the most common form of entertainment.
It’s unclear how many South Koreans are addicted, but it’s a serious enough problem that the government subsidizes treatment programs for game addiction across the country. There have been a number of high-profile instances of addictions that lead to horrible consequences—from Starcraft marathons ending in death to Trainspotting-esque infant neglect.
Capital Buzz: For Jeong Kim, a spot in France’s Legion of Honor
Potomac entrepreneur Jeong Kim, whose nomination a year ago to the South Korean cabinet was derailed by that nation’s internal politics, has launched a Bethesda start-up that marries sports with the Internet.
In the more immediate future — like this Tuesday — Kim, 53, will receive the Legion of Honor from the French government for his service in global technology research, in particular his tenure as president of Bell Labs from 2005 to 2013.
Bell Labs is part of Alcatel-Lucent, a French global telecommunications equipment company.
Transformed Into White Gods: What Happens in America Without Love
It started before a friend told me that he wanted to date white women and before another friend told me “fuck white people.” It started before two 14-year-old girls on their way to a birthday party were crushed to death on the Yangju Highway, before George Bush put North Korea on the Axis of Evil, and even before either of my parents was born.
The Korean government turned a blind eye to prostitution at American military bases so the soldiers would stop raping civilians and the Korean people boiled leftover hotdogs, spams, and beans from American military bases to create “military soups,” once known as the “Lyndon B. Johnson soup.” MacArthur was hailed as a national hero and phrases like “even shit tastes better American” were thrown around while, halfway around the world, America did its best to continue its worst by beating and killing its own people.
A decade later, people in both countries held hands and sang “All You Need Is Love” with four British boys from Liverpool, but neither really started confronting the growing hatred towards each other or their own people. And I am their child. I am the child of these two nations with unresolved past, with public love and private hate, with open disdain and secret fetish, and with sons and daughters who grow up to lose their parents.
Kim Yun-jin continues role on ‘Mistresses’
Actress Kim Yun-jin, celebrated for her role as Sun in the U.S. television series “Lost,” will appear in the second season of the ABC series “Mistresses,” to air in February.
The New York Times published a lengthy article Friday titled “Her Next Great Leap” about her career and how Kim’s life has changed since her appearance on “Lost.”
The NYT described the 42-year-old as a “game-changing” actress. Kim debuted in 1996 and has since appeared in films such as “Shiri,” “Harmony” and “Seven Days.”
26 Reasons K-Pop Is Better Than American Pop
1. HI! This is G-Dragon and he is here to tell you that K-pop is the best.
2. You THINK American pop is catchy. But that’s only because you haven’t heard enough K-pop.
3. And their VIDEOS! K-pop videos are high drama, high production level color explosions.
South Korea’s CJ Backs Emerging Filmmakers
South Korean entertainment giant CJ E&M (CJ Entertainment) announced Monday two winners of the 2013 Butterfly Project, an open call for scripts by up-and-coming local directors.
Yeongaeui Chimmuk (Young A’s Silence) by Jo Seul-ye and Glory Day by Choi Jeong-yeol have won the competition. CJ says it hopes to invest in, produce and distribute these winning projects.
It will provide filmmakers the necessary financial assistance to develop their scripts and, depending on the outcome, will fund some $290,000 (300 million won) for production and distribution costs.
Teen Golfer Lydia Ko Hailed as Game-Changer by TIME
Korean-New Zealand teen golfer Lydia Ko has been included in TIME magazine’s list of four stars with the potential to bring sweeping changes to their respective sports this year.
In its latest Jan. 13 edition, the U.S. weekly named Ko one of the “Major League Stars for 2014.” Ko turned pro last October after winning her second straight CN Canadian Women’s Open on the U.S. LPGA tour, and is already fourth in the women’s world rankings.
The list also includes Billy Hamilton, an American outfielder for the Cincinnati Reds in Major League Baseball; Andrew Wiggins, a Canadian college basketball player who attends the University of Kansas; and Louisville Cardinals quarterback Theodore Bridgewater.
Eastlake’s Edward Kim looking to become second member of eight-win club | Boys swimming
Even as he stands on the precipice of historic achievement, Edward Kim turns the discussion to more benevolent goals.
The athlete poised to become only the second male swimmer in Washington to win eight individual state titles at the Class 4A state meet in February would rather talk about his role as a team captain at Eastlake High in Sammamish, and what that role means.
“The thing I enjoy most about high-school swimming, it’s more of a team thing,” Kim said. “I’m not just swimming for myself. Even at the Olympic level, the coaches talk about that once you’re on the team, you bond so quickly. They all emphasize you swim faster when you swim for someone else.”
Ahwatukee resident gears up for Carnegie Hall performance
Ahwatukee Foothills News (Arizona)
Ahwatukee resident Yulee Kim has been burning the midnight oil in preparations for her orchestra performance at Carnegie Hall in New York.
Kim, who plays the cello, was able to receive the chance to perform at Carnegie Hall by placing in Regional’s in 2012, and placing in All State last March.
“It felt really refreshing because I worked really hard on my solos and my skills to get in, and I was shocked because Carnegie Hall is a really big place that I thought I wouldn’t be able to play at,” Kim said.
South Korean President Park Geun-hye offered to re-open talks with North Korea about resuming reunions for families separated by the Korean War.
The two Koreas began the emotionally-charged humanitarian program in the early 1980s to help families divided since the Korean War to reconnect, but the reunions came to a halt in 2010 due to strained inter-Korea relations. Both sides agreed to resume the program last year, but the North pulled the deal off the table at the eleventh hour, saying that the South was “reckless and vicious” during the final negotiations.
The last-minute cancellation devastated hundreds of Korean families who were anticipating to reunite once and for all.
“I hope that North Korea will create a new opportunity for South-North relations and a framework for dialogue by taking a good first step with family reunions,” Park said in a nationally-televised press conference on Monday. Continue Reading »
S. Korea doubts sincerity of North’s peace offensive
South Korea expressed doubt Friday over the North Korean leader’s rare peace offensive as it urged Pyongyang to make serious efforts to denuclearize itself.
“We have no choice but to question the sincerity” of Kim’s conciliatory gesture, unification ministry spokesperson Kim Eui-do said in a comment.
The comment came two days after leader Kim Jong-un called for “a favorable climate” to improve ties with South Korea and pledged to make aggressive efforts to strive for better relations in his New Year’s message.
The ministry, which handles inter-Korean affairs, cited Pyongyang’s track record of carrying out provocations and slandering South Korea as a reason for caution on its peace offensive.
A Dog of a Story: Why Kim Jong Un Probably Did Not Feed His Uncle to 120 Hounds
Kim Jong Un’s late uncle was “worse than a dog,” according to the blustery state media account of his purge. But was he killed by a pack of half-starved dogs?
That’s the claim of Beijing-linked Hong Kong newspaper, Wen Wei Po, which on Dec. 12 reported that the instead of being executed by a firing squad, as is typical, Jang was stripped naked, thrown in a cage with five of his associates, and devoured by 120 hounds as Kim Jong Un and 300 officials watched. The dogs preyed on the prisoners “until they were completely eaten up,” according to the Straits Times, a Singaporean newspaper, who picked up the story on Dec. 24.
Female perspective still in short supply in Pennsylvania Legislature: Patty Kim
I quickly observed a female perspective is still in short supply. Women make up about one in six House members and are even rarer in leadership. I was surprised at some early advice from a seasoned colleague: “Don’t carry a purse.” To me, it showed that the women who have gone before me had to “downplay” that they were females in a male-dominated arena. I’ve heard stories about how women staffers and legislators were poorly treated in the years before I arrived. I appreciate those pioneering women who had to endure a lot to make it easier for me, so that in 2013, I unselfconsciously carry a purse.
I knew reform couldn’t wait but that as a freshman member in the minority party I needed to focus on what I could do by example. One of the first communications I received was a letter stating that simply by virtue of being sworn in I would receive a raise above what legislators in the previous session had been paid. I returned that $1,776 “adjustment” to the Pennsylvania Treasury and introduced legislation to eliminate these “COLAs”. To ensure my office’s operations are transparent, I post all my expenses on my website (they can be viewed under “expense reports”).
Tech exec Ken Cho keeps raising the bar
Austin Business Journal
Software maker People Pattern Corp. has been five years in the making for CEO Ken Cho.
The Austin-based startup, which earlier this week completed a $4.5 million Series A round of funding, is Cho’s third company and is based on an idea he began discussing with University of Texas professor Jason Baldridge in 1998. The concept blends proprietary data with open data from social media to develop specific audience data for marketers.
The result is People Pattern, which launched last March and already claims several major enterprise customers. The company employs eight workers with a tool designed for chief marketing officers to quickly determine how well ad campaigns are working.
Buena Park’s “Koreatown” Shopping Center Readies for Kickoff
Orange County Business Journal
A new Korean-American shopping center in Buena Park is expected to officially launch on Jan. 10, according to Korea Herald Business Daily, a Korean-language newspaper.
The center, called Village Circle on Beach, has a dozen or so tenants lined up, including a number that are expected to open in coming weeks, with most focused on Korean-American customers. The area around the center has been dubbed Orange County’s “Koreatown” in the ethnic press.
Operations effectively began in late 2013, when Japanese discount goods chain Daiso opened. Los Angeles-based Open Bank started its first OC branch there in December.
Allen Suh: The chef
For almost anyone in the business of entertaining people — whether as a chef, concert promoter or otherwise — there comes a moment when taking a risk implies an uncertain variation on that famous maxim from Field of Dreams: If you build it, will they come?
For chef Allen Suh, his version was something along the lines of: If you open a ramen shop inside of a small breakfast diner in a sleepy residential neighborhood on Mondays and Tuesdays, historically two of the slowest weeknights for any restaurant, will they come?
Suh spent eight years working his way up the restaurant food chain: late nights spent watching “Iron Chef,” a gig at a hibachi grill, classes at Le Cordon Bleu, and working in the celebrated kitchen at Restaurant Eugene. He also spent four years as executive sous chef at One Flew South, which has the unusual distinction of being one of the most celebrated airport restaurants in the world. All of that experience still couldn’t guarantee that people would actually show up.
Diving Into the Wreck ‘On Such a Full Sea,’ by Chang-rae Lee
New York Times
Watching a talented writer take a risk is one of the pleasures of devoted reading, and “On Such a Full Sea” provides all that and more. It’s a wonderful addition not only to Chang-rae Lee’s body of work but to the ranks of “serious” writers venturing into the realm of dystopian fantasy. Colson Whitehead, Cormac McCarthy and Margaret Atwood (in her recently concluded MaddAddam trilogy) have all tackled this genre. Doris Lessing’s “Mara and Dann” is a classic, as is Anthony Burgess’s “Clockwork Orange.” Further back in time, one has only to think of Orwell, Huxley and Wells, even Jack London and Mary Shelley. As the author of such carefully realist fiction as “Native Speaker” and “A Gesture Life,” Lee has always been preoccupied by the themes of hope and betrayal, by the tensions that arise in small lives in the midst of great social change. His marvelous new book, which imagines a future after the breakdown of our own society, takes on those concerns with his customary mastery of quiet detail — and a touch of the fantastic.
Top 10 Asian American achievements of 2013
Northwest Asian Weekly
Each year, certain people are recognized for their accomplishments in the Asian American communities. There were many incredible feats this year, so we grouped them into 10 accomplishments.
1. President Barack Obama awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom posthumously to the late Sen. Daniel Inouye in August. Inouye was the first Japanese American to serve in Congress, representing the people of Hawaii from the moment they joined the Union.
2. U.S. Senate Confirmations: It was a big year for U.S. Senate confirmations. Pamela K. Chen became the first openly gay, Asian American person to preside on a federal bench when she was appointed to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.
Raymond T. Chen became the first Asian American to serve on the Federal Circuit in more than 25 years with his U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit confirmation.
Srikanth Srinivasan was confirmed as the first circuit court judge of South Asian descent to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
Korea’s favorite TV shows
Koreans’ favorite TV programs are the “Infinite Challenge” (무한도전), followed by recently ended drama series “Princess Aurora” (오로라 공주), despite being under heavy criticism throughout its 150 episodes, according a Gallup Korea survey.
Both shows are distributed and syndicated by Korea’s Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation (MBC).
The results came from a Gallup Korea poll conducted December 16-19. A total of 1,207 people in Korea, at least 19-years of age and older, were asked about their favorite TV programs, and MBC’s Infinite Challenge again came in first at 10.4%.
Infinite Challenge was at the top of the poll every month last year, except in February, and its rating was the highest in October with 13%.
Girls’ Generation Soo Young is in a Relationship with Actor Jung Kyung Ho
Soo Young of Girls’ Generation admitted that she is ina relationship with actor Jung Kyung Ho.
Girls’ Generation is in love! It has been only two days that YoonA admitted her relationship with Lee Seung Ki, but Soo Young also got caught dating her actor boyfriend, Jung Kyung Ho.
The two were once suspected in last year, but denied to be in a relationship. However, one medium in Korea caught them enjoying a date on Christmas and announced that the two are seeing each other.
Boyfriend Announces US Showcases in Dallas and Chicago
Any Best Friends in the house? Great news, six-member boy group Boyfriend has just announced their US showcase tour, “Boyfriend First US Showcase Live in USA“!
On March 11th and March 13th of next year, Boyfriend will be performing at the Riviera Theatre in Chicago, IL and Verizon Theatre in Dallas, TX, respectively. The showcases will begin at 7pm and doors will open at 6pm.
Tickets will go on sale on January 7th at 10am 7pm CST on axs.com for Dallas and etix.com for Chicago. Ticket prices include many opportunities for VVIP and VIP ticket holders to have autograph sessions and hi-touch sessions with the boys themselves, so don’t miss out!
Lim Hyun Gyu to headline UFC event in Singapore
Korean MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) fighter Lim Hyun Gyu will face former Strikeforce welterweight champion Tarec Saffiedine in the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s main event this Saturday in Singapore.
Lim (12-3-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC) got his chance as a last-minute replacement, but the stage doesn’t get much bigger – this will be the first MMA event to be streamed exclusively on the UFC’s ‘Fight Pass’ digital network.
The subscription service, which is accessible on a free trial through February 28, is currently available in the United States, Canada, New Zealand and Australia.
The UFC is the largest MMA organization in the world and the event is reportedly close to selling out the 6,000-capacity arena at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.
The 28-year old striker Lim, standing 6′ 2″ tall, was mighty impressive in his last two knock out wins, and the 26-year old Belgian champ Saffiedine, more known for his defense, will be making his long-waited UFC debut.
Local GoFundMe Campaign Raises Money for Family Performing Missionary Work
Bayside Douglaston Patch
An online campaign dedicated to raising money to help fund a family’s missionary work has, so far, raised $4,180.
Oakland Gardens’ John Hyun Yoon created a GoFundMe page titled “Send the Yoon Family to the Nations,” with the goal of raising a total $34,000. So far, 50 people have donated to the fund.
The page reads:
Lately, God has really been challenging our faith to trust Him to be our everything and follow Him. We have decided to take action and follow Him into a life of missions and dependency on Him.
Korean noodles? In Memphis?
Dallas Morning News
This Mississippi River city is proud of its barbecue, its fried chicken, its soul food.
Those foods are what tourists typically obsess over, standing in line at Central BBQ for smoky ribs or Gus’s Fried Chicken for juicy drumsticks. But there’s a place in Memphis that makes standout Korean food. Crazy Noodle might be proof that people in intensely Southern cities like Memphis, where collard greens are made correctly and macaroni and cheese is listed as a vegetable, are welcoming the cuisine of immigrant communities.
Owner Ji Choi estimates that 60 percent of her customers are regulars. It’s a hidden gem for tourists seeking to avoid the barbecue and the out-of-towners.
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.