Tag Archives: politics

Tuesday's Link Attack: Sung Kim, SNSD, SK Soccer Team Loses

Foreign minister meets new U.S. ambassador
Yonhap News

The new top U.S. envoy to South Korea, Sung Kim, paid his first visit to Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan Tuesday after taking office as Washington’s first Korean-American ambassador to Seoul.

Sung Kim, a career diplomat with expertise on the North Korean nuclear issue, arrived in Seoul last week as Washington’s top envoy to Seoul, becoming the first Korean-American to take the job since the two nations established diplomatic relations 129 years ago.

“I’m sure that your presence in Seoul will be a kind of symbol of the close relationship between our two countries,” the foreign minister told the ambassador.

Interview: Girls Generation Talk Fame, K-Pop, and World Domination
Complex.com

KoreAm contributor Jaeki Cho penned this lengthy Q&A with K-pop megagroup SNSD, a.k.a. Girls Generation.

Complex: I’ve noticed from footages that almost all the performances are done with heels on. How are your feet?

Sooyoung: We’re dying in pain! After a concert, our feet are literally burning.

Seohyun: A lot of calluses.

Yuri: Our feet are in bad shape.

Taeyeon: We take care of them, but they get messed up so easily.

Yuri: We’ve been wearing heels for so long, we’ve gotten so used to them that we feel more comfortable wearing them when we’re going up on stage. It straightens our postures; it makes us feel more confident. It’s not comfortable, but we’re so adjusted now that it feels weird without them.

K-pop: Soft Power for the Global Cool
Huffington Post

In recent years, even I have noticed the increasing amount of strangers I meet (both Asian and non-Asian) who become keenly interested in me once they confirm my Korean background: What is Seoul like? Do I watch Korean movies? What are my favorite Korean foods? Who are my favorite music groups, and have I met any of them? (Quite a big change from my early childhood in the suburban Midwest where many people would take the liberty of assuming I was Chinese!)

As an avid cultural traveler, I truly appreciate these conversations with so many individuals who are utterly fascinated with Korean culture. While I do not believe that this is the sole result of K-pop music’s popularity, the initial platform of these early dialogues are usually based upon either Korean pop music or Korean films (quickly followed up by Korean food, education, and plastic surgery).

Undoubtedly there are skeptics of K-pop’s global influence and utility as a soft power tool — but I find such hesitation towards this cultural explosion to often: a) stem from a limited racial approach to the subject, and b) originate from taste levels so mainstream that there is little chance for awareness of trends and cultural currents not yet adopted by big corporations and media.

N.Korea Joins Twitter Era
Chosun Ilbo

The North Korean propaganda website “Uriminzokkiri” on Monday joined the global craze for social networking sites by adding Twitter and Facebook tags.

That makes it even easier for North Korean propaganda to reach South Korea unfiltered, since content can now be shared with the click of a mouse. The “share” function is limited to posts denouncing South Korea.

North Korean websites like Uriminzokkiri are blocked in South Korea but can easily be accessed overseas, and can then be shared by overseas Koreans to reach South Korean users.

Will the North Koreans rise up?
CNN

What we can say for sure is that the North Korean press has simply not reported on any of the popular uprisings of 2011, obviously for fear of sparking protests within North Korea. In fact, Pyongyang issued a statement in March simply saying Libya’s dismantling of its nuclear weapons program made it more vulnerable to western intervention. In other words, ‘We, the North Koreans, will keep our nukes as our insurance policy against regime change.’ So don’t expect Pyongyang to disarm anytime soon. The regime interprets the fall of Gadhafi as a cautionary tale. Don’t disarm; don’t try to talk to the west; don’t open up.

Meanwhile, the suffering of the North Korean people continues. Just last week, UNICEF reported that millions of children there are at risk of being severely malnourished. These children will be more vulnerable to disease and stunted growth. And there’s little hope that the government has the ability to help even if it wanted to.

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[Korean] Bloggers Penalized For False Review
Wall Street Journal

Bloggers trying to profit from their daily activities are nothing new. But the government decided over the weekend that some South Korean bloggers have crossed a line.

On Sunday, the Fair Trade Commission sanctioned 47 bloggers and Internet café owners for “deceitful behavior” that helped them to earn hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The antitrust watchdog levied a total of 20 million won ( $18,000) in fines on four influential bloggers – known in Korea as “power bloggers” — for not telling readers that they received a commission in return for writing favorable reviews of products and organizing group purchases. The fees ranged from 2% to 10% of the total sales.

Lebanon shocks South Korea in World Cup qualifying
AP via Globe and Mail

Lebanon pulled off an astonishing 2-1 win over South Korea in the Asian qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup in Beirut on Tuesday to stay firmly on course for a place in the fourth round.

Ali Al-Saadi gave Lebanon a shock 1-0 lead in the fifth minute but then cancelled out his earlier effort by conceding a penalty, converted by South Korea’s Koo Ja Cheol in the 20th. Abbas Atwi restored Lebanon’s lead from the penalty spot at the half-hour mark and his side held on to seal a priceless victory.

Group B leader South Korea has 10 points, the same as Lebanon, which trails on goal difference after five games. Third-place Kuwait has eight points, while United Arab Emirates has zero.

North Korea upsets Japan as tensions boiled in World Cup qualifier
AP via Herald Sun

Playing before a capacity crowd at Kim Il Sung Stadium, Pak gave North Korea a 1-0 lead in the 50th minute with an angled header beyond the reach of Japan goalkeeper Shusaku Nishikawa.

The match had no bearing on the outcome of the group – Japan has already qualified for the next stage while North Korea can not make it – but there is always tension in this fixture between two nations that do not have diplomatic ties.

This was the first time the Japanese men’s team had played on North Korean soil since 1989.

That tension bubbled over at times, with several shoving skirmishes breaking out. North Korea had Jong Il Gwan sent off in the 77th minute for an aggressive tackle on Atsuto Uchida.

Koreans to Benefit from Automated Immigration Checks in U.S.
Chosun Ilbo

Most Korean travelers can soon enter the U.S. without face-to-face interviews with immigration officers at the airport. Seoul and Washington in a meeting on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders’ Meeting in Hawaii on Sunday agreed in principle to put them through electronic immigration gates instead.

Once the new program is in place, Korean visitors to the U.S. can avoid long immigration queues by putting their e-passports to the screen of an automated counter.

To benefit, travelers have to register with a smart entry system Korea implements to get approval from both governments as “trusted travelers.” “Trusted travelers” are those whose biometric information, including fingerprints and photos, is registered with the government, and who are deemed to present no risk.

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U.S. soldier allegedly set fire to bar
Yonhap

A U.S. soldier in Korea will be questioned by South Korean police on charges of setting fire to a bar in Seoul, investigators said Tuesday, amid growing public outrage after series of rape cases by American soldiers.

The private first class, whose name was withheld, from the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) was suspected of setting fire to a pub in Itaewon, an area popular with foreigners in Seoul, at 2:30 a.m. by pouring oil on a stove, according to Yongsan Police Station which controls the area.

The Country That Loves PC Gaming So Damn Much
Kotaku

Unlike Japan, South Korea has been predominately a PC gaming country. One of the major reasons for the lack of game console penetration was due to protectionism that made it difficult, if not impossible for Japanese companies to sell their wares in Korea—and vice versa.

The cultures are changing. Japan is opening itself up to Korean products, slowly. Ditto for South Korea. Nintendo now releases localized versions of games and hardware. However, the relationship that Korean gamers traditionally have with gaming is through the PC. And the game of choice is traditionally StarCraft.

The crazy wonderland of Seoul’s party motels
CNNGo

They used to be called “love motels,” for obvious (and optimistic) reasons.

Heavily stigmatized, Seoul’s love motels were long regarded as nothing more than glorified DVD rooms, with decor straight out of adult movies. Horrified parents would hold public protests if any were built in their neighborhood.

In recent years, however, a new generation of Seoul’s boutique motels have started styling themselves as “theme motels” and “party motels,” and have made much headway in making motels become socially acceptable, and even sought after — day or night.

Monday's Link Attack: Patty Kim, Seung Hoon Choi, Dumbfoundead

Harrisburg Councilwoman Patty Kim to challenge Rep. Ron Buxton
The Patriot-News (Penn.)

Harrisburg City Council Vice President Patty Kim will challenge state Rep. Ron Buxton for his House seat next year, she said today.

Kim, a six-year veteran on council, said fellow Democrat Buxton has not fought hard enough to stave off a state takeover of the city, which is more than $300 million in debt. “He has not rolled up his sleeves or taken any position that could positively contribute to a solution,” she said, pointing to the Capitol. “His seat is not a chair to hide behind. I’m calling him out on this unacceptable lack of leadership.”

The End of Delusion
Esquire.com

Joon Pahk’s Jeopardy run finally ended when he lost in the semifinals of the game show’s Tournament of Champions.

There is only one elite competition in which I still believed — honestly believed — I could be one of the best: Jeopardy!

I believed that until precisely 8:01 p.m. on Friday night, when I finished watching the third (and final) Tournament of Champions semifinal.

Even before the game, there was a feeling that this could be a bloody, epic, inter-planetary death match. It was the Jeopardy! equivalent of a title-unification fight. Roger Craig, Joon Pahk, and Mark Runsvold were pitted against each other. Never mind what they do in real life or where they’re from. That doesn’t matter. What matters is that they are the fourth, sixth, and tenth all-time money winners, not including tournaments, in Jeopardy! history. Craig also holds the record for the single greatest game ever, when he went home with $77,000. (Pahk and Runsvold also eclipsed the $50,000 mark during their original runs, a feat accomplished by only five men not named Ken Jennings.) Now the three of them were on the stage at the same time.

Walk-on Husker guards Long, Choi go the distance against Penn State
HuskerExtra.com

Seung Hoon Choi, a walk-on offensive guard from Lincoln Christian, had just played every snap in a crucial Big Ten triumph for 19th-ranked Nebraska.

Pretty satisfying, no doubt.

“Yeah, it’s all right,” Choi said with a grin, in his usual understated manner, after the 17-14 victory against No. 12 Penn State at Beaver Stadium.

If you haven’t already, it’s probably time to learn Choi’s name.

Nebraska assistant coach Ron Brown struggled to pronounce Choi’s name. He didn’t struggle finding words of praise for Choi and right guard Spencer Long, who also played every snap against the nation’s eighth-ranked defense.

Justin Chon celebrates the premiere screening of ‘Jin’ at the CGV Cinemas
Examiner.com

It was a cool Sunday evening at the CGV Cinemas in Los Angeles’ Koreatown as the red carpet was rolled out for the premiere screening of Il Cho’s short AFI Thesis Film, ‘Jin’ starring Justin Chon, Josiah D. Lee and Ben Baller.

Recently arriving from China for the filming of the upcoming “21 and Over” from the makers of “The Hangover,” Justin Chon definitely did not have a hangover as he walked the red carpet posing for the photographers and interviewing with various media outlets for the premiere of the short film. Chon mentioned that this film illustrated his more serious side as many people know him in real life as being a crazy, fun loving guy. Many may recognize the young actor from the “Twilight” franchise and also the tv show “Just Jordan.” Chon’s next big feature release will be “From The Rough” starring Taraji P. Henson and Michael Clarke Duncan.

John Cho’s Funny Christmas Story
Fresno Bee

Often actors will do interviews together, especially if they play characters who are closely connected. That meant Kal Penn and John Cho spent weeks together promoting “A Very Harold & Kumar 3-D Christmas.” It’s nice to have someone to carry the interview load, but it means the actors hear each other’s stories repeatedly.

Penn’s heard Cho talk about his belief in Christmas in almost every interview, but he hasn’t gotten tired of the story. In fact, he even brings it up if Cho forgets. That’s what happened during our talk.

“I came to America when I was 6 from Korea. We didn’t believe in Santa. When we came to the States, my parents were trying to be good sports and told us about Santa Claus,” Cho says at Penn’s insistence. “It sounded weird. A fat Caucasian old man invading your home, eating your food and either leaving gifts or fossil fuel. Santa is a creepy, obese home-invader.

“It was just a weird thing to believe.”

Despite his misgivings, Cho went along with what his parents told him. That belief didn’t last long because his Christmas present from Santa was wrapped in the box that held the vacuum cleaner his parents had purchased a few days before Christmas.

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Man Held in Beating of an Elderly Woman
New York Times

A homeless man accused of clubbing an elderly woman with a piece of wood on a Midtown street had to be subdued after acting erratically while awaiting arraignment on Sunday night, the authorities said.

The police said they did not yet know what prompted the assault, which occurred in front of 10 East 40th Street about 6:15 p.m. on Saturday.

The woman, whose name, Kim Chong, was confirmed by the police, is 74 and lives in Queens. After the attack, she was taken to Bellevue Hospital Center, where she was treated for a broken arm and received stitches for a head wound. The police said she had been struck with a two-by-four.

Ashes to beads: South Koreans try new way to mourn
AP via San Francisco Chronicle

The intense grief that Kim II-nam has felt every day since his father died 27 years ago led to a startling decision: He dug up the grave, cremated his father’s bones and paid $870 to have the ashes transformed into gem-like beads.

Kim is not alone in his desire to keep a loved one close — even in death. Changes in traditional South Korean beliefs about cherishing ancestors and a huge increase in cremation have led to a handful of niche businesses that cater to those who see honoring an urn filled with ashes as an imperfect way of mourning.

“Whenever I look at these beads, I consider them to be my father and I remember the good old days with him,” a gray-haired Kim, 69, told The Associated Press in an interview.

Dumbfoundead: A Rap Battle Vet Grows Up
MTV Hive

Some jokesters will forever be at the back of the bus, exhaling spitballs at the driver for cheap laughs, but Dumbfoundead is shedding that image and sitting with the big kids. A Korean-American by way of Argentina and Mexico, the L.A. rapper, born Jonathan Park, began his career at the informally famous open-mic Project Blowed in South Central. “I used to go every week to freestyle, battle and perform,” he tells Hive. “It was like rap school for me.” He made the transition from local celebrity to online monolith as he began making runs through the West Coast division of Grindtime, one of the most popular battle rap circuits, spinning off one hilarious, sharp Youtube victory after another.

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Coralville man who doesn’t want wife to wear dress accused of assault
The Gazette (Cedar Rapids, Iowa)

A Coralville man was charged with assault Sunday after police said he punched and kicked his wife.

Eung N. Kang, 37, of 2245 Oakleaf St., Apt. 201D, was charged with domestic abuse assault without intent causing injury at 11 a.m. Sunday at his residence.

Kang and his wife argued because he didn’t want her to wear a dress, Coralville police reported.

He ripped the dress and when his wife pushed him away, Kang punched her in the head and kicked her in the stomach, police said.

Two S.Korean climbers killed in Himalayas
AFP via Google News

Two South Koreans fell to their deaths while climbing a treacherous course in the Himalayas, weeks after three colleagues went missing and were presumed dead, according to mountain authorities.

Kim Hyung-Il, 43, leader of the K2 Extreme team, and Chang Ji-Myeong were killed on Friday when they fell as they were ascending on the notorious Cholatse north face, the Korean Alpine Federation said.

Their bodies were later recovered by two colleagues who left the base camp in search of them after radio contact was lost.

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North Korea ‘opens luxury goods store’
AFP via Google News

North Korea has opened a department store in its capital offering luxury goods for the ruling elite to try to bolster loyalty before a second dynastic succession, officials and reports said Monday.

The store named Potongkang opened in February, selling imported high-end brands such as Chanel and Giorgio Armani as well as medicine, furniture and food, a South Korean government official said on condition of anonymity.

Monsters Calling Home

Monsters Calling Home – Growing Up from dchae on Vimeo.

Korean Americans Hit by Cuts to Adult Day Care

by Jang Yeol of the Korea Daily
translated by Aruna Lee of New America Media

LOS ANGELES — Hyo-ju Han’s morning begins everyday at 6 a.m., when she rises out of bed and gets her husband, who has Alzheimer’s disease, ready for the day ahead. With the help of a nearby adult day care center, Han says she’s been able to manage, but pending state budget cuts threaten to end this vital source of care for her and many others.

Han’s husband was diagnosed with the mind-stealing disease two years ago, and she says the illness has advanced to the point at which he often cannot recognize family members and is thrown off by his surroundings.

“He’ll wake up and ask ‘Where am I?’ or ‘Who are you?’” says Han, age 70, adding that she’s increasingly losing sleep due to his “wandering off in the middle of the night.”

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The couple’s children, moreover, live far enough away that visits are rare, making Han her husband’s primary caregiver.

In April she discovered the Western Adult Day Health Care Center, located near their Los Angeles home. Since then they have been making daily visits to the center, where Han says her husband receives much needed care and she gets a much needed break.

“It’s the highlight of our day,” says Han, who notes that it sometimes takes up to a half hour just to get her husband dressed in the morning. But it’s worth it, she says, to get to the center.

In addition to serving a healthy breakfast of porridge, fruits and milk, Han says staff at the center also sit with her husband and read the daily papers to him, or they gather with other seniors to watch the local news or do group exercises.

Since coming to the center, Han says she has seen a “steady improvement” in her husband’s condition. In a rare moment of lucidity, he turned to her and said, “Honey, thank you for sticking by me.” She nearly broke down in tears, she recalls.

The center also allows Han a brief respite from the rigors of caring for her ailing spouse. “Using the center’s services gives me a few hours to just take a breath,” she says.

But because of state budget cuts, most of California’s over 300 adult day health care centers are expected to see major reductions in service or close by the end of November. For Han and her husband, that means an end to free daycare service. Continue reading

Thursday's Link Attack: 2NE1, Steven Yeun, Hines Ward

Black, Korean leaders to commemorate 20th anniversary of L.A. riots
Los Angeles Wave

Seeking to create a multicultural Los Angeles that exists in lasting harmony, Korean-American and Black community leaders are spearheading a committee to commemorate next year’s 20th anniversary of the 1992 civil unrest.

South Korean students’ ‘year of hell’ culminates with exams day
CNN

Most South Korean students consider their final year in high school “the year of hell.” It is when all students are put to the ultimate test.

About 700,000 test applicants sat down in classrooms across the country Thursday to take their college entrance exams — also known as the College Scholastic Ability Test (CSAT).

The stock markets opened an hour late, buses and subway services were increased and police cars offered rides for students, all to ensure they made it on time.

Younger students gathered in large groups outside school gates, some having arrived at 4a.m. to mind a good spot, waiting to support their school seniors. Cheers exploded throughout the school grounds as test applicants arrived, most being guided by their anxious parents.

Englewood Cliffs may get new councilman tonight
Bergen County Record (N.J.)

Gloria Oh was elected councilwoman for Englewood Cliffs, N.J.

Once Oh, the highest vote-getter Tuesday and first Korean-American to win office in the borough, and Aversa are sworn in Jan. 1 the Democrats will hold all but one council seat.

World, Get Ready For 2NE1: MTV Iggy’s Best New Band In The World!
MTV Iggy

The meteoric rise of 2NE1 could be a fable, foretold by the epic video for their recent single, “I Am The Best.” Dark gives way to light, as a mysterious hooded creature appears in the distance. As the camera swoops in, flashbulbs pop, synths and beats explode, and BOOM! the ladies of 2NE1 take the stage, twirling in tight black pantsuits and sensual abandon. “I am the best!” they sing, and you can almost hear their millions of fans around the world screaming in concurrence, reveling in the awesome, almost otherworldly presence of this dazzling and fierce foursome. If they aren’t the best, then they are certainly something approaching perfection.

Clap Your Hands to the Geek
Hyphen

Adam Warrock — the Korean American attorney turned pop culture-obsessed rapper who won 2011’s Kollaboration Atlanta, the city’s annual Asian American talent show — is nothing if not hard to define. Whether rapping about This American Life’s Ira Glass or X-Men, he’s aware of the pitfalls of being boxed into the nerdcore genre, a school of hip-hop that focuses on themes like sci-fi and comics. While he also raps about race and identity, he doesn’t want to be labeled strictly as an Asian American artist either.

Farmer-Legislator Vows To Keep Fighting Korea-U.S. FTA
Wall Street Journal

Mr. Kang, a farmer from Sacheon, South Gyeongsang province, is one of the most recognizable members of the 299-seat parliament. He almost always wears a traditional hanbok, stands on the front line of every protest that his Democratic Labor Party supports and is willing to resort to shoving, fisticuffs and other minor violence to make his point. He has staged weeks-long hunger strikes and chained himself to the door of the main assembly chamber.

Now, the DLP and other opposition parties (including the biggest, Democratic Party) continue to resist any type of compromise with the ruling Grand National Party over the Korea-U.S. FTA. On Thursday, for the second week in a row, the ruling party canceled a plenary session. The next plenary is set for Nov. 24, which gives the parties two more weeks to argue over the FTA.

Q&A – Steven Yeun (Glenn)
AMCTV.com

Q: You stated once that your parents were upset when you told them you were not going to be a doctor or lawyer. Have they come around yet?

A: Oh absolutely. They’re now on full-throttle brag mode. They’re Korean parents, and they just wanted me to have a structured, safe life and when I told them I wanted to do this they were worried that I’d be struggling. This industry is up and down, but right now they don’t have to worry about me.

‘Walking Dead’: Why Glenn is a total stallion [RECAP]
Washington Post

But that didn’t stop Maggie from whipping off her clothes and getting down to some serious Glenn business.

Sure, she later said it was a “one time thing.” But it seems pretty clear that she’s got a bad case of the Glenns and a burning desire for another taste of go-to-town expert. And really, can you blame her?

Glenn, you are an inspiration, a hero, apparently a halfway decent lover, an excellent keeper of pregnancy test secrets and amazingly adept at rope-tying under duress. And for that, we salute you.

Ravens LB Ray Lewis Fined $20K for Hit on Steelers’ Hines Ward
SI.com

Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis has been fined for his hard hit on Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward, the Carroll County Times reports. NFL Insider Adam Schefter tweets Lewis was fined $20,000 for the hit.

During the game, Lewis’ play did not result in a penalty but the league believed the helmet-to-helmet hit was worthy of a fine. The play left Hines Ward “dazed” and the wide receiver did not play for the remainder of the game.

Korean star pitcher Yoon could be in MLB in 2012
Yahoo Sports

Right-hander Suk-Min Yoon, the 2011 MVP of the Korean Baseball Organization who starred in the 2009 World Baseball Classic, could play in the major leagues as soon as next season, his agent said Tuesday.

Scott Boras, whom Yoon and another WBC standout, left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu, hired recently, said he would speak with Yoon in the near future about entering the posting system, in which major league teams bid to win exclusive negotiating rights with a player. If Yoon, 25, chooses against posting, he would be a free agent next season. Ryu, 24, can post before the 2013 season and would hit free agency in 2014.

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More US states accept Korean drivers
Korea Times

Florida is the latest among a recent string of U.S. states that agreed to simplify what’s usually considered a complicated process for drivers.

Maryland was the first to ink a deal with Seoul a year ago, followed by Virginia, Washington, Massachusetts and Texas.

Under the new agreement, Korean drivers can acquire a U.S. license by presenting a valid Korean license with proper translation to the motor vehicle authority. The deal only applies to non-commercial motorists and some states require drivers to surrender their Korean license in exchange for a U.S. equivalent.

First Into Seoul? No Thanks
The Asian Lawyer via Law.com

As Korea has inched towards liberalization of its legal market over the past several years, there has been much speculation about which international law firms will be first into Seoul. Now, with the U.S. Congress ratifying a free trade agreement with Korea last month, the time for action is close at hand.

So the race is on, right? Not exactly.

Though a number of firms have been vocal about their desire to enter Korea at the earliest opportunity, many leading Korea practice lawyers privately express reservations about relocating to Seoul, citing everything from children’s school commitments to a preference for the warmer weather, lower taxes, and more expat-friendly environment of Hong Kong, where most international firms currently base their Korea practices.

South Korea’s High-Tech Arsenal
Chosun Ilbo

New high-tech weapons and equipment may be needed to counter the threat of North Korea’s nuclear arms and missiles. But what’s in the arsenal already? Here is a review of 10 high-tech weapons made in South Korea.

What Does The [Korean] National Flag Mean?
Chosun Ilbo

FYI.

South Korea’s wasted youth
BBC News

South Korea’s education system is held up as a model around the world. Some 80% of its high-school students now go on to further education.

But according to South Korea’s president, that academic success is creating its own “social problem” – a youth unemployment rate of 6.7% in October, more than twice the national average, even as parts of the labour market are hungry for workers.

South Korea’s Exam Suicides
Al Jazeera via YouTube

Monday's Link Attack: Steven Yeun, Miss Korea, Erotic Garden

Steven Yeun: ‘The Walking Dead’ aims for my groin
Zap2it

“It seems like ‘The Walking Dead’ just kind of aims for my groin,” Steven Yeun, who spent the latest episode dangling inches above a water-bloated zombie in a well, tells Zap2it.com.

‘Walking Dead’ Creator Talks Steamy Sex Scene
MTV.com

This week’s episode finally turned up the heat and gave us a whole lot of flesh — but not the kind “Walking Dead” heads are typically used to.

We’re talking, of course, about the steamy sex scene between go-to odd-jobs man Glenn (Steven Yeun) and newcomer Maggie (Lauren Cohan), daughter of farmer Hershel Greene. After Glenn successfully roped in an incredibly gruesome zombie at the bottom of a well (seriously, did you see that thing? That’s Greg Nicotero at his finest!), the former pizza delivery boy clearly demonstrated enough cojones to win Maggie’s heart — or at least her body. But following the spontaneous sexual encounter, Maggie called it quits, leaving Glenn more than a little bit confused about what just happened.

Google Plans K-Pop Channel, and More?
Wall Street Journal

Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt is in Seoul to meet with executives at several major IT companies over the next couple of days. One of the first stops was the Blue House, where he talked with President Lee Myung-bak about cooperation between Korean IT firms and Google, and Mr. Schmidt said Google intends to set up a YouTube channel for Korean pop music, or K-pop.

Judging by the response to a recent series of K-pop concerts around the world, that’ll get plenty of interest online.

Interview: Miss Korea 2011 talks fashion, her new job and plastic surgery
CNNGo

For Miss Korea 2011 Yi Seong Hye, photoshoots, interviews, community service and learning how to do her hair and makeup herself are all part of her weekly official duties as the public relations ambassador for the country.

After spending 13 years in the United States — she attended high school in Boston and is currently on leave from studying at Parsons in New York — Yi had to learn a great deal about Korean culture upon returning to to the country of her birth.

“The pageant was actually not why I returning to Korea,” says Yi, who turns 23 this week.

“I came back to be back with my family and to learn about Korean culture, and then the lucky opportunity of entering the pageant came along.”

Boat With 21 North Koreans Found Off South Korea’s Coast
New York Times

Twenty-one North Koreans, including women and children, were found adrift in a boat off the west coast of South Korea last Sunday and asked for asylum, the South Korean military said Saturday.

The five-ton boat was spotted by a South Korean Navy patrol 23 miles south of the maritime border disputed by North Korea. The people on board were transferred to a maritime police boat and taken to Incheon, a major port outside Seoul, the South Korean capital.

“When they were found, they immediately expressed their intention to defect,” the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement. “A joint inquiry team from the related government agencies are investigating what motivated them to defect.”

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N.Korean soldiers shoot refugee in China: activist
AFP via Google News

A refugee was shot dead by North Korean border guards last month after reaching Chinese soil in a strengthened crackdown on escapees, according to a South Korean activist.

“During my trip to a border area on October 22, I witnessed a man shot to death after arriving in China,” Kim Yong-Hwa, head of the North Korea Refugees Human Rights Association of Korea, told AFP.

The man in his 40s was apparently shot by the North’s guards from near the northern border city of Hyesan and died in front of Chinese soldiers, he said.

“After a sound of shooting across the river, I saw him groaning and crawling on the ground. Several Chinese soldiers were there but did not care,” Kim said.

8Asians.com Readers Asked, John Cho Responds!
8Asians

Do you think it’s harder for the Asian American community to catch their big break in the biz? Why do you think it is or isn’t? – Anunez587

JC: Obviously, it is. You just look around and it’s a numbers game. There are fewer parts for Asians. The concept of “the big break” is something that works against Asians in that the majority of parts available to Asians aren’t meant to break anyone’s career open — they’re modest roles. So even if a person has a long career, there may have never been a “break.” I don’t know if my career has ever really “broken,” or if I’m just descending step by step. The concept of a break implies these floodgates will open and I don’t even think that has happened for me or Kal.

Korean-Japanese billionaire to give away fortune
Korea Herald

Han Chang-woo, a Korean-Japanese businessman who founded Maruhan Corp., Japan’s largest operator of pachinko parlors, said Saturday he will donate all his wealth, worth $1.7 billion, to help improve relations between the two countries.

“I’d like to give away all the money I’ve made before I die. I can assure that my personal assets, except for the company to be handed over to my son and some money for my wife, will be used for the inter-development of Korea and Japan,” Han told reporters in Busan.

The 80-year-old Korean immigrant was ranked Japan’s 17th-richest person by Forbes last year with net worth of 132 billion yen ($1.7 billion).

Miele Guide: Korean restaurant finally makes Asia’s Top 20
CNNGo

Seoul took a big step forward as a culinary capital as its chefs won Asia-wide accolades in Singapore last week.

For the first time a Korean restaurant, Pierre Gagnaire à Séoul, was listed among Asia’s Top 20 in The Miele Guide, a compendium of the continent’s finest dining venues, released annually.

Its Jeju pork belly and tilefish dish was highlighted as a great example of what the kitchen talents there can do.

New York City Mayor Bloomberg Opens Up to Flushing
Times Ledger (Queens, N.Y.)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said at a town hall meeting in Flushing that he would try to help do away with the fines Korean business owners receive for storing kimchee at room temperature.

Asian American Sports with Rick Quan: The Darwin Barney Interview
Hyphen

Our friend and sports expert Rick Quan continues his series of interviews with Asian American athletes with a profile of Chicago Cubs second baseman Darwin Barney. The quarter-Japanese, quarter-Korean, and half-Caucasian Barney hails from Beaverton, OR where a love of sports was instilled in him by his father who — at 5’6″ — played point guard as a college basketball player and taught his son to never impose limits on his abilities. Check out the video and learn how the 25-year-old grew to love piano once his parents stopped forcing him to take lessons, how he once thought he was Hawaiian, and catch the classic expression on the face of Dan Uggla from the Atlanta Braves as Barney ended his 33-game hitting streak this past August.

NSFW: South Korea Has A Very Naughty Erotic Sculpture Garden
Business Insider

We never really thought of South Korea as a sexually provocative place, so we were pretty surprised when we read about Jeju Love Land, an erotic theme park on Jeju Island.

The park, which opened in 2004, has 140 sculptures of humans and their genitalia, and also shows sex education films.

William Hung Scores Job With L.A. County Sheriff
Billboard.com

America’s favorite American Idol auditionor has found a new gig – with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

After his Season 3 audition performance in 2004 of Ricky Martin’s She Bangs, William Hung became a viral hit and received a cult-like following, which led him to numerous talk show appearances, three studio albums, and his primetime television show debut on Fox’s Arrested Development. Now, it appears Hung has made a career shift.

According to TMZ, Hung is working for the LA County Sheriff’s Department as a Technical Crime Analyst, meaning he is analyzing trends and patterns in crimes. This can help law enforcement deploy resources in a more effective manner, as well as playing a role in apprehending suspects, solving crimes, and formulating crime prevention strategies.

Beckman’s Kim keeps coming
Daily Pilot (Irvine, Calif.)

Running back has been a force for the Patriots, who will face Corona del Mar for the Pacific Coast League title on Friday.

Priscilla Ahn – Vibe So Hot
YouTube

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November Cover Story: Harold, Kumar and the State of Asian American Media

Are We There Yet?

The third Harold and Kumar film has the titular characters grappling with adulthood. Has Asian American media itself come of age?

By Eugene Yi

So you’re watching TV. It’s good, it’s OK, it’s whatever. You have it on just to have something on. The situations and the characters are stock, and the jokes barely seem to fill the time between the imagined rimshots. You’re watching it and not watching it. It’s just TV, after all.

An Asian character walks onto the set. You think, “Oh. There’s one.”

You are counting. And you are primed for outrage.

Exotification? Emasculation? Model minority? A terrorist? A stupid accent? A deadly martial art? You think, “What am I going to be mad about now?” It’s not just TV, after all. A stock ethnic character on television is not just a caricature; it’s a template, and there are those who will overlay it on you, see where the lines overlap and where they don’t, and then, stereotype accordingly. Representation channeled through society influences identity—

Or does it? On the morrow of the release of A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas, I’m spending a lot less time going all ethnic-studies on the film. In my lifetime, we’ve gone from “Whats-a happening-a, hot stuff?” to “MILF!” to, well, what exactly? Too many different representations, too many different actors, a fugue of voices upon voices striving to be heard. “Oh. There’s one” has become “OK, another one.”

Would this have happened without Harold and Kumar? Perhaps. But it is still the first Asian American Hollywood franchise. “I consider it an achievement that one movie was made, another grand achievement that a second one was made, and completely implausible that a third one was made starring a Korean guy and an Indian guy as the leads,” said Harold, née John Cho.

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One could conceivably reverse the order: that it was completely implausible that one would get made, a grand achievement that a second one did, and a lesser but still notable achievement that we’re now at part three. And not just because the films made money. Something subtle has happened in the relationship between Asian America and mainstream culture. Seven years ago, when the first film came out, two Asian Americans helming a studio comedy seemed like the fruition of an impossible dream. Now, it’s hard to list prominent Asian American actors without feeling like you’re leaving someone notable out.

Some of the most popular YouTube channels are run by Asian Americans, telling stories about Asian Americans. Most large cities have at least one, if not several, Asian or Asian American film festivals. There is an array of options available for the average Asian American looking for faces that look like theirs. It’s not some utopian, Obaman post-racial nirvana, of course. But all the small steps—cultural, political, technological, accidental—seem to have allowed Asian American media to trend towards some sort of maturity. Continue reading

Monday's Link Attack: Amb. Sung Kim, Harold and Kumar, Will Demps

For new U.S. ambassador, a mixed reception for a native son
Yonhap

Ambassador Sung Y. Kim, a Korean-American who immigrated to the United States at 13, speaks the Korean language fluently. But others think that his deep ties to Korea and his ethnicity could also pose challenges.

“A lot of Koreans will receive him as a returning son,” said a former Korean diplomat who asked to remain unnamed. “But such a sentiment of Koreans can work negatively on Kim’s ambassadorial performance.”

He said the incoming ambassador, like other Americans, is expected to pursue American values and interests in his post, which may disappoint Koreans. Moreover, he said, Koreans tend to be kinder to foreigners than to those with an ethnically Korean background.

“I am afraid that Koreans may not pay due respect to Amb. Kim,” said the former diplomat, who served in a top post in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

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Becoming an Iron Chef: Judy Joo
Columbia Engineering

In a wry 2009 Wall Street Journal essay, Columbia Engineering graduate Judy Joo described her life as the lowest of chefs in a London three-star Michelin restaurant. It was a male-dominated world of commanding profanities, testosterone-fueled temper tantrums, and confrontations that sometimes ended with shattered plates and trays.

Fortunately, Joo was used to it. She had worked on Wall Street.

Today, she is one of the four resident chefs on “Iron Chef UK” and executive chef of London’s swanky Playboy Club. It has been a surprising journey for the self-described “geeky” daughter of Korean immigrants who grew up in New Jersey wanting to be the next Madame Curie.

Rhee sets up shop downtown
Sacramento Bee

StudentsFirst, the group founded last year by Michelle Rhee, recently signed a lease for the second floor of the historic Hale’s building at Ninth and K and will move staff there in February following the completion of tenant improvements costing about $1 million.

The group has been operating out of temporary facilities in the Oak Park neighborhood and currently has about 30 staffers, many of them former colleagues of Rhee’s from Washington, D.C., where she was the district’s schools chancellor.

She moved here in June and married Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson in September.

‘The Walking Dead’ star Steven Yeun scares up South Florida fans
Accidental Sexiness

Yeun, who plays the role of Glenn on the hit AMC zombie drama, sat down with us for a special one-on-one interview where he told us a bit of what we can expect from his character during this exciting second season. So far we are starting to learn little bits and pieces about him and we’ve even met his soon-to-be love interest Maggie Greene (played by Lauren Cohan).

Korean-Americans hope to reunite with NK relatives
Korea Times

[Lee Cha-Hee] is one of an estimated 100,000 first-generation Korean-Americans who remain separated from their family members in the North, many of whom still yearn to see their parents, siblings or children living in the Stalinist state. With no official channels to contact them, they have long called on Washington to act on the issue and in some cases resorted to dodgy informal methods.

Their plight is gaining traction on the back of grassroots efforts as well as a forthcoming documentary, “Divided Families,” recently screened on Capitol Hill. The increased attention comes at an opportune time as Washington and Pyongyang discuss the possibility of holding some form of reunions.

Former NFL Player Will Demps
Asiance

Will Demps is undoubtedly one of the most handsome former football players of the NFL. A former San Diego State Aztec, Demps was signed by the Baltimore Ravens as an undrafted free agent in 2002, playing for the New York Giants in 2006 and eventually as a Houston Texan until 2009.

Born to a Korean mother and an African-American father, Will Demps is quite well-known. During his childhood, his family relocated to California where he would soon realize his dream of becoming an NFL football player.

An entrepreneur at heart, Will is involved with numerous businesses. Demps is the owner of a Wet Willie’s chain bar in San Diego, California, the first on the West Coast and features dishes influenced by his mother’s home cooking such as Seoul tacos. He’s also in the middle of developing a social network for celebrities.

Harold & Kumar are still wreaking silly havoc in their new 3D comedy
Detroit Free Press

And this is probably the first movie to have its 3D cake and eat it, too, by making fun of the cinematic gimmick while utilizing it in over-the-top, oh-no-they-didn’t ways.

Cho sounds philosophical about the raunchier aspects of the comedy. “When you sign up for a Harold and Kumar movie, you’ve got to prepare for the consequences,” he says. “I didn’t go in innocent.”

But no matter how gross the laughs may get, there’s something about Harold and Kumar’s likability and their enduring friendship that has made them pop-culture icons for the 40-and-under crowd.

Cho isn’t sure about the icon title. “I don’t necessarily think of Harold in those terms,” he says. “I just have a lot of affection for him. He’s like people I know. They wrote that script afraid that the studio would change the race of those characters. In the first draft, they wrote in scenes that would indicate that these guys cannot be played by anyone other than an Indian actor and a Korean actor, so there were all these scenes about them talking about their family background and their culture. Partly because of that, I just developed an affinity for Harold, because he seemed like friends I knew. He mirrored some of my background.”

Christmas movie trivia with Kal Penn and John Cho
Washington Post

The Washington Post’s Jen Chaney quizzes Kal Penn and John Cho, stars of the upcoming “A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas,” on their knowledge of Christmas movies.

Bobby Lee on Wedding Palace
YouTube

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