The Pyeongchang 2018 Olympics Organizing Committee released the official logo of the Winter Olympics today, according to the Olympics official website.
The emblem draws from traditional Korean script, taking the first consonants of each syllable of the hosting city’s name. At first glance, the image may appear to be nothing more than a simple house and snowflake, but upon a second look, it becomes clear that the house and snowflake are stylized letters.
Incidentally, the official colors of the Olympics — black, blue, green, red, yellow, and white — are reflected in Korean tradition and ceremony, and are also incorporated into the new design. Continue Reading »
Photo via No Cut News
Who is the whitest Korean you know? Well, if you are friends with pro ice hockey player Brock Radunske, it would be him.
The Canada-born, former Edmonton Oilers NHL draft pick was recently granted Korean citizenship, according to Yonhap News.
The 6-foot-4, 200-pound forward is now eligible to play in international competition for South Korea, which will host the Winter Olympics in 2018 in Pyeongchang. Continue Reading »
Clues to timing of NKorea nuclear test seen in US holidays, Kim family dates, South’s politics
AP via Washington Post
So when will it be?
North Korea vowed last month to carry out its third nuclear test but has said nothing about timing. As a result, the building suspense in Seoul has prompted many to look at the dates Pyongyang has chosen for past atomic tests, as well as rocket and missile launches.
Dates and numbers have great symbolic importance to North Korea’s government. So Pyongyang often schedules what Washington calls “provocative acts” around U.S. holidays and important South Korean political events, an effort to send none-too-subtle messages to its main enemies — Washington and Seoul. Pyongyang also uses the tests to give a nationalistic boost to its citizens, often favoring significant milestones of the state, party and ruling Kim family.
South Korean public opinion as Park Geun-hye takes office
The Peterson Institute for International Economics
The South Korean public regards “economic growth” as the top priority for the incoming Park Geun-hye government according to two recent polls. I recently received a short report from the TNS office in Seoul summarizing South Korean public opinion on a variety of issues, and comparing those views to those found five years ago as Lee Myung-bak came into office.
With regard to North-South relations, the delinkage of politics and humanitarian aid continues to have strong support in South Korea. According to a Dong-a Ilbo poll two-thirds of the public support a continuance of humanitarian aid “regardless of the political situation.”
In Propaganda Video, Only North Korea Sleeps Easy
New York Times
North Korea is not known for its subtlety, famous instead for its soaring patriotic rhetoric and threats to turn the capital of its rival, South Korea, into a “sea of fire.”
But even by those standards, the latest volley of North Korea propaganda is noteworthy. Posted recently on YouTube, a video by one of the North’s propaganda agencies shows an animated version of Manhattan in flames — part of a dream in which a young Korean man envisions a glorious future of rocket launchings and the reunification of the Korean Peninsula. The background music to the scenes of launchings and destruction: an instrumental version of “We Are the World.”
How much disparity is there among Asian Americans? Plenty
Southern California Public Radio
The details in a newly issued report on the disparities within California’s Asian American population are an eye-opening antidote to the “model minority” myth. They depict a diverse population that’s deeply divided along lines of social class, educational attainment, language and more.
Based on census and other federal data, the report from the Asian Pacific American Legal Center tracks Asians Americans in several regions including Southern California, home to the largest population of Asian Americans in the state.
A few basics: As it’s been reported lately, immigration from Asian countries to California now exceeds that from Latin America. Accordingly, the state’s general Asian and Pacific Islander population has been on the rise. Between 2000 and 2010, the Asian American population of California grew 34 percent, followed by its Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander population at 29 percent. Both surpassed the growth of the Latino population.
Asian American Women Over 65 Are More Likely to Commit Suicide Than Anyone Else, Study Finds
While talking about suicide in the United States may bring to mind high-profile cases like the tragic and untimely death of Aaron Schwartz, it turns out that the demographic most likely to end their lives is not who you might expect. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention published their findings from 2004 and 2007 that Asian American women ages 65 and older have the highest suicide rate than any other racial group at 6.5 per 100,000. Another finding from the CDC states that Asian Americans 18 years and older have the second highest percentage of individuals dealing with serious psychological disorder at 1.9%.
So what does all this mean?
Students push for Korean Studies
Yale Daily News (Yale Univ.)
A group of students has been working since September 2012 to raise awareness of the lack of a major in Korean studies at Yale — but students have undertaken similar efforts for at least the last decade.
The Council on East Asian Studies currently allows undergraduate EAS majors to concentrate in Chinese or Japanese studies but offers no concentration in Korean studies. Though former CEAS chair Mimi Yiengpruksawan told the News in 2002 that the council hoped to set up the Korean studies track by the fall of 2003, the council has struggled to establish the concentration for at least the past decade due to insufficient resources. A newly formed student group, called the Korean Studies Initiative at Yale, has gathered over 200 signatures on a petition released to students online Jan. 29 to urge the University to invest the teaching resources necessary for the program’s establishment.
Korean plastic surgeon shares his views on industry regulations
South China Morning Post
As the debate over how to regulate the beauty industry rages on in Hong Kong, a top plastic surgeon from South Korea was recently invited by Chinese University’s faculty of medicine to share his experiences on industry regulations with local doctors.
Dr Hong Joon-pio, director of the plastic surgery department at the ASAN Medical Centre in Seoul, says the cosmetic surgery industry is largely regulated by market forces in South Korea. “The way we achieve excellence is through competition and cutting-edge surgeries,” he says. “In Korea, plastic surgeons never want a monopoly. It’s never an issue. The plastic surgery market is so busy that they don’t have time for that [kind of] discussion.”
Westlake Village’s Danielle Kang better prepared for second season on LPGA Tour
Ventura County Star (Calif.)
Midway through her rookie season on the LPGA Tour, Danielle Kang had a heart-to-heart chat with her longtime swing coach Brady Riggs.
The Westlake Village resident had just missed back-to-back cuts.
“When I got on the LPGA Tour, I hyped it up in my mind so much that I was putting more pressure on myself than needed to be,” Kang said. “I was thinking too much and feeling like every shot needed to be perfect. When I was having success as an amateur golfer I just went out, got my yardage and hit my shot. So Brady told me to forget all the stuff I had been thinking about and just go back to hitting shots and having fun.”
Croatia outclass South Korea in London friendly
Reuters via Yahoo Sports
An inspired Croatia swept past South Korea 4-0 in a friendly played at Fulham’s Craven Cottage on Wednesday to help build confidence ahead of a politically-charged World Cup qualifier next month against Balkan arch-rivals Serbia.
Pyeongchang Special Olympics Signs off on a High Note
The 2013 Pyeongchang Special Olympics World Winter Games wrapped up on Tuesday after a week of inspiring competition that drew almost 200,000 spectators to venues in Pyeongchang and Gangneung from Jan. 29.
The Games featured 1,989 athletes with intellectual disabilities from 106 countries, who pushed themselves to the limit and communicated with the rest of the world through sport. Numerous celebrities also participated to support the athletes, including Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi and former NBA All-Star Yao Ming.
Sock Designer Finds Niche Market with Creative Idea
Hamstrung by the huge financial cost of setting up her own clothing brand, designer Hong Jung-mi came up with the novel idea of making fun and colorful socks and selling them in a vending machine on a busy shopping street. That soon made her name.
Hong worked at a woman’s clothing company for five years after majoring in fashion design but quit to build her own brand. After much deliberation, she chose to focus on making socks which required less of an investment. Her first move was to take a menial job running errands at a local sock-knitting factory to learn the ropes for six months.
Hong was keen to open a shop but again had to curtail her ambitions because of the expensive rent, which led her to consider launching an online store as well as a vending machine.
A foster dog’s journey from South Korea to Seattle
It’s a miracle that she’s here. Animal Rescue Korea posted a notice about her on the Web. They sent an email out to dog rescue groups in the U.S. about her plight. One responded, Mercer Island Eastside Orphans and Waifs (aka MEOW). Volunteers in Korea raised the money to put her on an a plane to Seattle, and the Mercer Island rescue picked her up on Monday night at Sea-Tac. (Here’s a Youtube video of Peach getting picked up at the airport by Kelly Starbuck, the Mercer Island rescue organizer. The video is set to Neil Diamond’s “Coming to America.”)
Eric’s Top 10 Seoul Cafe Recommendations
1.) Piano Cafe (피아노 카페)
The first place on the list that I would like to recommend is the Piano Cafe located in Hongdae, a refuge for coffee purists and music lovers. This is my favorite cafe since I ever started coming here. The piano cafe is housed on a hill in the western area of Hongdae and its elegant yet all-embracing interior is full of submissive of wood tones and bright, colorful contrasting details. This cafe brings a perfect fit for the neighborhood with it’s Hongdae-hipster vibe, but let’s not forget about the main intention of this cafe: the reason why this is my personal favorite cafe is because of, well… the piano. Visitors are welcomed to play the piano here in the cafe and show off their piano skills; but if there is no piano player, you will be left with the radio, playing quiet tunes of jazz music accustomed to the seasons of Korea. Behind all that, you get a full array of hand-dripped coffee at a reasonable price If you love the aura of a Mozart-esque atmosphere of a cafe, you will love this cafe as much as I do. If you ever do stop by this cafe, who knows, you might get the chance and see me playing the piano there.
North Korea’s Kim dashes early hope but U.S. still seeks change: Clinton
North Korea’s missile tests and menacing rhetoric have disappointed U.S. expectations that young leader Kim Jong-un would be different than his father but Washington still hopes to persuade Pyongyang to change course, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Tuesday.
“With a new young leader we all expected something different,” Clinton said in a town hall-style session put together by the State Department and broadcast worldwide. “We expected him to focus on improving the lives of the North Korea people, not just the elite, but everyone.
“Instead he has engaged in very provocative rhetoric and behavior,” she said of Kim, who took over his impoverished, isolated Northeast Asian nation when his father, Kim Jong-il, died in December 2011.
Outgoing South Korean Leader Creates Furor With Pardons
New York Times
With less than one month left in office, the departing president, Lee Myung-bak, of South Korea granted special pardons on Tuesday to political allies, a longtime friend and dozens of others who have been convicted of corruption and other crimes. The pardons ignited a rare quarrel between the country’s outgoing president and president-elect.
The office of the incoming president, Park Geun-hye, had warned Mr. Lee for days not to “abuse his presidential power” by granting pardons in his last days in office that would “go against the will of the people.”
Mr. Lee ignored that appeal. “This is not an abuse of presidential authority,” Mr. Lee was quoted by his offices as saying during a cabinet meeting on Tuesday. “It is carried out according to law and procedure.” His office said Mr. Lee noted that far fewer people have been granted presidential clemency during his five years in office than under his predecessors.
Google releases detailed map of North Korea, gulags and all
Until Tuesday, North Korea appeared on Google Maps as a near-total white space — no roads, no train lines, no parks and no restaurants. The only thing labeled was the capital city, Pyongyang.
This all changed when Google, on Tuesday, rolled out a detailed map of one of the world’s most secretive states. The new map labels everything from Pyongyang’s subway stops to the country’s several city-sized gulags, as well as its monuments, hotels, hospitals and department stores.
Four More North Korean Defectors Return To North Korea
Another case of a North Korean couple that escaped North Korea for South Korea and had returned to North Korea has occurred.
North Korea’s state-run media, KCNA, held a press conference for the couple and their daughter on the 24th, as well as four other female defectors who had defected to South Korea and then returned to North Korea.
Samsung takes over U.S. medical equipment firm
South Korean tech giant Samsung Electronics Co. said Tuesday it has acquired a U.S. medical equipment firm as part of efforts to bolster its healthcare business.
Samsung Electronics America acquired NeuroLogica, a leading computed tomography (CT) company headquartered in Danvers, Massachusetts, the company said in a press release. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Samsung’s U.S. unit will control the U.S. medical equipment maker, which develops medical imaging products and portable CT scanners.
Election Day in Flushing, Queens: From the DREAM Voter to the Poll Workers’ Dream of Decent Work
On January 21st, Barack Obama took oath as President of the United States for his second term in office. In many ways, the victory of his second term cannot be extricated from the story of who voted for him and why. Among the factors was America’s changing demographics due to immigration, and the news media have already offered plenty of hypotheses on the preliminary exit polls that showed the growing Asian-American electorate greatly favoring Obama, in the range of 72 to 73 percent.
But a new set of findings released by the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) shows that a higher percentage of Asian-American voters may have chosen Obama than previously expected, at 77 percent. AALDEF’s report, based on an exit poll of Asian-American voters in 14 states who cast ballots in the November 2012 presidential election, revealed many other trends and differences among Asian-American voters. The exit poll project sent hundreds of trained volunteers around the country, and they surveyed 9,096 voters in an effort to document Asian-American voter disenfranchisement as well as to analyze the factors that weighed in on their voting choices. According to Glenn Magpantay, director of AALDEF’s Democracy Program, most exit polls only survey a small proportion of Asian-American voters or only poll those who can speak English. But AALDEF’s survey is multilingual and conducted in 12 languages (English, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Bengali, Urdu, Gujarati, Khmer, Hindi, Punjabi, Arabic, and Tagalog). Their poll promises a more nuanced view of voters, broken down by age, ethnic group, geographic location, and political party affiliation.
Hearing that there was a need for Korean-speaking volunteers, I contacted the project and was dispatched on November 6th to monitor poll site JHS 189 in Flushing, where the community demographics necessitate language assistance in Chinese, Korean, and Hindi/Bengali. I waited outside the school with a clipboard in my hands, along with three law school student volunteers and Peter Lee, a staff member from MinKwon Center for Community Action who was supervising the afternoon shift of volunteers.
Facebook Artist David Choe Launches New Gig With Porn Star Asa Akira
A year after David Choe became the most surprising multimillionaire to emerge from Facebook’s IPO, the bad-boy graffiti artist is making the publicity rounds with a new pornographic podcast featuring porn star Asa Akira. He talks to Lizzie Crocker about anal sex, his new gig, and more anal sex.
South Korea shows off Pyeongchang
Associated Press via ESPN
South Korea began showing off its new snow sports mecca at the opening of the Special Olympics on Tuesday.
Pyeongchang, the once-sleepy hamlet in the mountains east of the capital, will also host the 2018 Winter Olympics.
But the arrival of 3,000 intellectually disabled athletes from around the world also has spotlighted South Korea’s long-criticized treatment of the disabled, who for decades were kept out of the mainstream.
Beer sommelier mixes up beer cocktails and pairs cuisine with boutique ales
The Korean beer market is changing with a surge in imported beers, featuring brews from Belgium, America and Germany among others, widening the options for consumers. But understanding beer styles such as Trappist ale, saison and imperial stout isn’t always easy. That would be why a cicerone, or a beer sommelier, steps in. A cicerone ensures beer is served the right way and that you have the right brew for your meal, whether it be Korean or Western cuisine.
Knife Fight Official Trailer #1 (2013) – Rob Lowe, Jamie Chung Movie
Fire on Ice
Ahead of the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea, NHL veteran Richard Park hopes to popularize ice hockey in the motherland.
by TIMOTHY YOO
photograph by GREGORY SHAMUS
Richard Park is one of only two Korean-born players to play in the National Hockey League, and during his 16-year career he has played alongside such hockey royalty as Mario Lemieux, Jaromir Jagr and Sidney Crosby. Playing in more than 700 NHL regular season games, the Pittsburgh Penguins right-winger has scored over 100 goals and amassed over 100 assists.
Once he hangs up his skates, though, he has an even bigger ambition: to raise awareness of his beloved sport back in his native homeland.
“I think hockey is the best sport in the world, whether you participate or if you are a fan,” the 35-year-old Seoul native told KoreAm last month, the day after his Penguins were eliminated in the Stanley Cup playoffs by the rival Philadelphia Flyers in a thrilling back-and-forth series. “I want to help increase hockey’s exposure in Korea. I feel that the sport—the emotion involved and the tremendous skill level required—can appeal to the passion of Korean fans.” Continue Reading »