Tag Archives: politics

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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Guest List Released For White House State Dinner

The White House revealed the guest list for tonight’s State Dinner in honor of South Korean President Lee Myung-bak.

The list included the regular who’s who of Washington along with a handful of surprise guests including actor John Cho. The Star Trek thespian was the only entertainer — aside from the Ahn Trio, who are scheduled to perform — to be invited to the dinner.

Award-winning novelist Chang Rae Lee got the invite, along with fashion designer Christina Kim of Dosa, Momofuku chef David Chang and Dartmouth president Jim Yong Kim.

Other notable Korean Americans on the guest list are involved in politics in some sense and included overachieving brothers Howard and Harold Koh, Washington State Senator Paull Shin, Irvine Mayor Sukhee Kang and Virginia Delegate Mark Keam.

Jai Lee Wong, the executive director of Women’s Leadership Circles in Los Angeles, was also invited.

Earlier today, the White House hosted a luncheon which was attended by actor Ken Jeong as well as Olympic figure skating gold medalist Kim Yuna.

Notable omissions for the State Dinner: Actress/comedienne Margaret Cho, former D.C. schools superintendent Michelle Rhee, actor Daniel Dae Kim and KoreAm publisher James Ryu, who was quick to point out that he was invited to the luncheon.

See the entire guest list here.

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South Korea State Visit Links

S. Korean State Visit Highlights Bond Between 2 Leaders
New York Times

During the state visit of South Korea’s president, Lee Myung-bak, which began on Wednesday, he will be feted at a White House state dinner, invited to speak to a joint session of Congress, and treated to a road trip to Detroit with President Obama, where the two leaders plan to tour a General Motors factory together.

For a visiting head of state, the carpet does not get any redder than that, and it suggests that there may be something mysterious and powerful at play between Mr. Obama and Mr. Lee: Call it a presidential man-crush.

US, South Korean first ladies visit VA high school
AP via Google News

[First Lady Michelle Obama's] trip to an area of northern Virginia with a large Korean population was part of the pageantry surrounding Thursday’s state visit by South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and his wife, Kim Yoon-ok.

Mrs. Obama brought her counterpart along on the field trip. More than 10 percent of the high school’s 2,500 students are of Korean descent, the White House said, and the student body speaks several dozen languages.

Seated in the gymnasium, the two first ladies soaked up performances by a children’s choir, a trio of Ethiopian folk dancers, a harpist and drummer who performed a traditional Korean melody, and a musical selection by Korean-American violinist Jennifer Koh.

White House dinner icing on SKorea charm offensive
AP via CBS News

Obama has developed a special rapport with Lee: The two clicked during Obama’s first trip to Asia in 2009, and the signs of friendship were manifold during his visit to Washington.

Obama and Lee hopped into a limo and headed off to a Korean restaurant in suburban Virginia for dinner Wednesday night. And during dinner, Obama shared the long-awaited news — hot off his BlackBerry — that Congress had finished work on a free-trade agreement with South Korea.

Vice President Joe Biden got in on the charm offensive at a Thursday luncheon of lemongrass sesame chicken in the State Department’s opulent Ben Franklin Room. He took note of Lee’s nickname “Bulldozer” and said Lee, slight of build, doesn’t look anything like an NFL linebacker, but had earned his nickname by taking apart and reassembling a bulldozer to figure out how to make it work better.

State dinner guest David Kim, and how he almost missed it
Washington Post

Most people would be thrilled to be invited to a state dinner and David Kim is. . . now. But it took some persuading.

The 32-year old entrepreneur and founder of C2 Education Centers, Inc. in Atlanta received one of the coveted engraved invitations to Thursday’s state dinner for South Korean President Lee Myung-bak — but didn’t realize it until a co-worker pointed out the return address on the thick ivory envelope.

“I just assumed it was a wedding invitation,” said Kim, who had several friends get married this year. “It was literally lying on my desk for a week, in my inbox.”

South Korea state dinner fashion: Get ready for hanboks
Washington Post

Fashion-watchers keeping an eye on tonight’s state dinner will be noting the first lady’s choice of designer, but the White House’s Korean and Korean-American guests have a choice: Will they opt for modern glamour or for the flowing traditional dress of Korea, the hanbok?

D.C. children offered a taste of South Korean state visit
CNN.com

Establishing goodwill and building on an already strong foundation. That was the motive behind the “Taste of Korea” event in Washington.

A number of activities were held to help foster better understanding between Korean and American cultures. Youngsters enjoyed everything from a cooking lesson and arts and crafts to live music and a martial arts demonstration.

Twenty middle school students from Alice Deal Middle School in Washington were invited to the festivities. They were joined by twenty Korean American students – all of them children of employees of the Embassy of Korea.

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A-listers, tweeple, protesters … South Korean president’s DC visit has guest lists for all
AP via Washington Post

The morning arrival ceremony, with its heavy dose of South Lawn pomp and ceremony, always is a sought-after ticket.

The higher-octane state dinner still is the ultimate black-tie invitation in wonky Washington.

But this state visit also will include a “tweetup,” an in-person meeting of people who use social media such as Twitter and Facebook, offering participants — tweeple — a chance to attend and live tweet the arrival ceremony for the leader of one of the most wired nations on earth.

It’s just one more way for President Barack Obama to make a grand show of hospitality for his South Korean guests at the first White House dinner for the country since 1998. The two leaders hit it off during Obama’s first trip to Asia in 2009, and have been allies on a number of key issues.

Wednesday's Link Attack: G-Dragon, Kim Jong Il, SAT Cheaters

‘Glee’ Roars Into the World of Tiger Moms, Dads and Cubs
Wall Street Journal

Count me among the legions of Asian American Gleeks who’ve been irritably waiting for show producers Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan to do something interesting with Harry Shum Jr.’s peripatetic footballer-turned-dance machine, Mike Chang. Really, RyBrI: After two years of back-bench toil as the mostly mute “Other Asian,” there isn’t a performer on the show who’s earned a turn in the spotlight more than Harry. And given the season-opener revelation that Chang is a senior, with little likelihood of sticking around on the show post-McKinley, this season could represent Shum’s final chance to shine.

A Closer Look: Back from Libya
The Daily Bruin (UCLA)

Chris Jeon reminisces about his time fighting in the Libyan revolution and living with rebels.

Rain’s final concert this Sunday
CNNGo

Weeping will ensue en masse this weekend, as South Korea’s biggest pop star and Stephen Colbert’s arch-nemesis, Rain, will perform in the public for the last time before enlisting in the South Korean military. The “Ninja Assassin” star’s free good-bye concert will be held on Sunday, October 9, as part of the Gangnam Fashion Festival 2011.

It is sure to be a tearful affair on both sides: “Concerts to me are like life on a smaller scale,” Rain told CNN Talk Asia in 2009. Rain begins his mandatory, 22-month, Republic of Korea Army service on Tuesday, October 11.

Big Bang’s G-Dragon caught smoking marijuana
allkpop

But did he inhale?

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Koreans make their mark in Fairfax
Fairfax Times (Va.)

When Steve Choi and his family moved to Virginia from South Korea in 1974, his sixth-grade classmates wanted to touch his hair, or challenge him to a fight–sometimes both.

“A lot of them had never even met an Asian before, so even my hair was very interesting to them,” said Choi, who now runs a highly successful food service company and serves as President of the Korean-American Association of the Washington Metro area, based in Annandale. “Everybody thought I was Bruce Lee- they wanted to fight me to see if I knew kung-fu.”

These days, Koreans are no longer the novelty they once were in the region. Korean immigration to the U.S. was negligible prior to 1970, but since that year some 973,450 South Koreans have obtained permanent resident status in the U.S. and the Washington, D.C. metro area has the third largest Korean population in the country behind Los Angeles and New York.

The Torrid Romantic Life of Kim Jong-il
Chosun Ilbo

Yun Hye-yong was a woman beyond the reach even of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il. Yun, the lead singer of Kim’s former favorite band Pochonbo Electronic Ensemble, was brutally executed after she spurned Kim’s persistent advances and fell in love with another man.

Or so claims Chang Jin-song, an author formerly affiliated with the North Korean Workers’ Party, in “Kim Jong-il’s Last Woman.” Published in May, it is an epic poem that details Kim’s private life and inside story of his regime based on the true story of the Pochonbo Electronic Ensemble.

SAT cheaters
Korea Times

A famous SAT teacher in Korea was caught illegally discussing what was on the exam. He used the time difference between the United States and other countries to tell his students what will be on the test.

As students talked after the test, some of them, without noticing, told others that they had known what was going to be on the exam.

Since SAT scores are based on percentages, the other students felt this was unfair and reported the incident to the College Board. All the tests taken in Korea were voided and the efforts of those who actually worked hard came to naught.

However, the worst part starts here. As more and more people found out about the SAT teacher, more and more parents tried to send their kids to him so their children could attain high scores. It is shocking that some parents care more about children’s short-term goal of getting into a good college instead of looking to the distant future of their children.

Korean Official: US will endorse FTA with Korea by Oct. 21
Korea Times

Trade Minister Kim Jong-hoon said Wednesday that the U.S. Congress is expected to give a final endorsement of a free trade agreement with Korea by Oct. 21 at the latest.

Olympic figure skating champion Kim Yu-na named ambassador for 2012 Winter Youth Games
AP via Washington Post

Olympic figure skating champion Kim Yu-na will help promote the first Winter Youth Games.

The IOC says the 21-year-old South Korean skater will join Olympic ski champions Lindsey Vonn and Benjamin Raich as an “ambassador” for the games, which will be held in Innsbruck, Austria, from Jan. 13-22.

Jay Park interview with channelAPA.com
channelAPA

Over the weekend at 2011 ISA LA, channelAPA.com had a chance to chat with Jay Park about his music and dance careers. With a huge following in both USA and Asia, we talk about opportunities for Asian Americans in both regions. He shared with us about his strategy straddling the East and West. Jay Park has already release several singles including Single Life, Demon, Bestie & Speechless. He’s even done several collabos like Clouds and Maybe One Day. He might not have an English album soon, but he’s working on new English tracks. In the meantime, he’ll be busy promoting his upcoming Korean film “Mr. Idol” and a Korean album in November.