N. Korea slams President Park for fueling inter-Korean tensions
North Korea slammed President Park Geun-hye Tuesday for fueling tensions with provocative anti-Pyongyang remarks made during her recent trip to Europe.
The North’s Korean Central News Agency, citing a statement issued by an unidentified spokesman for the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea (CPRK), referred to Park by name and accused her of being a hypocrite and only focused on maintaining a confrontational stance with the DPRK.
The DPRK stands for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the North’s official name.
During her recent trip to France, Britain and Belgium, Park, who has made “trust building” the cornerstone of her North Korean policy, called on the isolationist country to get rid of its nuclear weapons and improve human rights.
Syrian regime recruited North Korean pilots – activist group
A British-based Syrian activist group claims Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has recruited 15 North Korean pilots to operate his regime’s attack helicopters.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors casualties and developments in Syria’s civil war, cited an opposition-linked website, which claims the North Koreans were brought in due to fears Syrian pilots might defect to neighboring countries.
In the past, there have been reports of Syrian fighter jet pilots defaulting to Jordan with their jets but the reports were never confirmed.
North Korea, a close ally of Syria, is thought to have sold military equipment, including chemical weapons and scud missiles, to the Assad regime in the past.
S. Korea pledges US$5 mln in aid to Philippines
Yonhap News via GlobalPost
South Korea will offer US$5 million in relief aid to the typhoon-ravaged Philippines and send a team of relief workers there, the foreign ministry said Tuesday.
The government decided to provide the Philippines with assistance in cash and relief goods including food, blankets and tents, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
The goods will be shipped to the country after the Philippine government’s approval, which is expected to take a day or two, according to the ministry.
Samsung offers US$1 mln in aid to typhoon-stricken Philippines
Samsung Group, South Korea’s biggest conglomerate, said Tuesday that it has decided to offer US$1 million in aid to the Philippines, which has suffered from huge damage by a typhoon.
Typhoon Haiyan cut a wide swath of destruction through the central part of the Southeast Asian country last weekend, taking thousands of lives and leaving thousands of homes destroyed.
The group’s financial aid will be delivered to the country via the Red Cross and World Vision, a nongovernmental humanitarian aid group.
Meanwhile, the group’s flagship unit Samsung Electronics Co., the world’s biggest smartphone maker, will send a 20-member emergency team of its Filipino subsidiary to the areas hit by the typhoon to provide free repair service of home appliances, the group said.
Linking up Europe and South Korea ‘not easy’
Deutsche Welle (Germany)
Russian President Vladimir Putin is set to pay a state visit to South Korea today, November 12, where he will meet with President Park Guen-hye. The two leaders met on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in St. Petersburg in September and have a full agenda for their two days of discussions in Seoul, including ways of improving bilateral ties, ensuring peace and stability on the fractious Korean peninsula and stepping up cooperation and exchanges.
Putin, however, is particularly keen on a project that could bring major economic and geo-political benefits to Russia: the long-debated plan to connect the furthest reaches of Western Europe with Busan, the South Korean port on the very tip of the peninsula, by railway.
This route would primarily follow the existing Trans-Siberian Railway from Moscow to the Russian Far East before crossing into North Korea on the short stretch of border that the two nations share, continuing south, traversing the so-called Demilitarized Zone that is the border between North and South and finally ending up in Busan, the largest container ship hub in Asia.
How to Cure South Korea’s English Fever?
Wall Street Journal
How much should a country pay to master the English language?
Based on the economics and outcomes of English tuition in South Korea today, the country is throwing excessive amounts at the task with meager results.
According to Swiss-based language learning company EF Education First, the average South Korean gets nearly 20,000 hours of English education from kindergarten through university. Much of that tuition comes at private institutes known as hagwon that Korean kids flock to stay ahead in the nation’s hyper-competitive educational race.
Ailee’s Agency Takes Legal Action Regarding Distribution of Singer’s Nude Photos
Ailee’s agency, YMC Entertainment, has taken concrete moves in order to take legal action in regards to the distribution of the singer’s nude photos.
A representative from YMC Entertainment stated to a local news source on November 12 KST, “CEO Jo Yoo Myung has personally appointed a lawyer in the U.S. However, we cannot currently reveal specific plans as we are still in the process of closely examining the facts.” The reason for appointing a U.S. lawyer is due to the difficulty of investigating from South Korea, as all sources of the photos are located overseas.
A source from the foreign affairs department of the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency also commented, “The foreign affairs department doesn’t always take on every investigation involving foreigners.” Pointing to the lengthy and difficult process of obtaining help from U.S. law enforcement agencies and embassy, the source stated, “It will be hard to expect a proper investigation in the case of Ailee.” The source continued, “But if [the agency] appointed a U.S. lawyer, the speedy procurement of the identity of Ailee’s ex-boyfriend might be possible. It will depend on how much ‘Allkpop’ cooperates.”
Super Junior wows European fans
Super Junior held a successful first concert in London, where about 10,000 fans gathered, SM Entertainment said Monday.
The popular K-pop boy band performed at Wembley Arena in London its signature “Super Show 5.” The audience included not only British fans but also those from France, Germany, Poland, Hungary and other parts of Europe.
The group started off with “Mr. Simple,” which is the lead track from its fifth full-length album, and continued on with such popular songs as “Sorry Sorry” and “Sexy, Free & Single.” All together, the members performed 23 songs.
Samsung Debuts Online Drama Series
Samsung will begin airing a web-only soap opera this week in an effort to ride interest in TV dramas and connect with the country’s smartphone-obsessed youth.
Samsung Group spokesman Kevin Cho said the series is a new step for the company’s social engagement program, targeting South Korea’s twentysomethings with a story about penniless young jobseekers living together and the hardships they face in getting a job.
South Korea’s largest conglomerate by revenue appears serious about the production quality, recruiting an outside studio and K-Pop stars for the six-episode “Infinite Power.”
Video: Rob Gronkowski mocks Asian fan at watch party
Richie Incognito and Riley Cooper are among the NFL players who have come under fire for racially insensitive incidents this year. Rob Gronkowski may be next.
TMZ has posted a video of the Patriots tight end mocking an Asian fan. (See below.) The incident was reportedly filmed during a fan event last weekend. Gronkowski was scheduled to attend a watch party Sunday at Bar Louie in Foxboro.
When an Asian man wearing a Gronkowski jersey began dancing, the Pro Bowler said into the microphone: “They told me he could only cook fried rice.” Gronkowski later referred to the Asian fan as “Leslie Chow” after Ken Jeong’s character in The Hangover.
Sobban: A Korean-Southern diner
Wall Street Journal
There are fewer than 40 seats inside Sobban, the Korean-Southern diner set under the horseshoe-bowed roof and soaring plate windows of a vintage Arby’s. That hasn’t stopped the crowds that (mostly) wait patiently to try this exciting new restaurant — one whose time most definitely has come.
You could argue that Atlanta has emerged as one of the country’s (if not the world’s) great towns for Korean food, and many of the area’s best chefs find inspiration from the restaurants and markets throughout the Northern suburbs. We’re ripe for a Western-style restaurant like this, which assumes a certain level of familiarity and comfort with Korean flavors on the part of the customer, both in terms of its chile heat and its twangy funk of fermented vegetables.
This restaurant also has some budding star power behind it: Jiyeon Lee and Cody Taylor of Heirloom Market BBQ. This project seems more like Lee’s baby, and she oversees the menu. It feels one part derived from Korean family recipes and home cooking, one part Southern farm-to-table, and one part rock ’n’ roll new Asian in the manner of Miso Izakaya or Octopus Bar.
Chef Roy Choi Soups Up Instant Ramen With American Cheese
Thought you’d never look at another package of instant ramen again after college? What if American cheese was involved?
In his new cookbook, L.A. Son: My Life, My City, My Food, chef Roy Choi of L.A.’s famous Kogi taco truck (among a slew of other popular restaurants) shares this souped-up instant ramen recipe that will forever change the way you look at your 2 a.m. college dinner (or 2 p.m. breakfast).
“Making instant ramen is spiritual, important and methodical for Korean-American kids,” Choi tells Tasting Table. “It’s our peanut butter and jelly sandwich.”
America is infuriated by the incessant squabbles between Japan and South Korea
WITH so much in common, Japan and South Korea should be natural partners. Industrialised democracies and firm American allies, they face the same strategic threats: a nuclear-armed North Korea and a rising China. Japan’s emperor even claims Korean ancestry. Resentment at the Japanese occupation of Korea from 1910-45 should be fading. Yet the shadow of the past seems to grow darker by the year. Relations are at their lowest ebb since the two countries normalised relations in 1965. And, worryingly for America, officials in both expect worse to come.
Having snubbed Shinzo Abe, Japan’s prime minister, at two regional summits last month, Park Geun-hye, South Korea’s president, said in an interview this week that she saw no point in meeting him. Yet Japan is South Korea’s second-largest trading partner. Nor does she rule out meeting Kim Jong Un, North Korea’s youthful despot, whose regime just last month threatened her country with “ruthless pre-emptive strikes of annihilation”.
In both countries, negative stories about the other are staples of the press. Each side’s diplomats ooze exasperated contempt for the other. Koreans blame Japanese politicians for repeatedly stirring up historic disputes. In Japan a senior official says the Abe administration is “sick and tired” of South Korea. The country is like a “single-issue activist”, wilfully ignoring subjects that might unite the countries in favour of those that heighten dissension.
On Pepero Day, a Japanese Rival Lurks
Wall Street Journal
It’s Nov. 11, “Pepero Day” in South Korea, when the marketing folks at Lotte Confectionery Co. would like you to show your affection for friends and loved-ones by exchanging gifts of their chocolate-coated wand-like pretzel snack.
The made-to-order holiday has been a resounding success for Lotte over the years, but there’s a complication this year: a rival product with the same promotional trick.
Legend has it that Pepero Day began in 1994 when middle-school girls in the southern city of Busan decided to give each other Pepero on 11/11 with wishes to become skinny—like the snack stick or the four 1’s that make up the date.
S. Korea calls on North to identify S. Korean detainee
Seoul’s unification ministry formally called on North Korea Monday to provide information about a South Korean citizen who Pyongyang says has been arrested for espionage.
“South Korea’s intelligence agency already said that the claim that an agent was caught is untrue, but since the North has said it is holding a South Korean in custody, Seoul wants to know who the person is,” said ministry spokesman Kim Eui-do.
The North’s Ministry of State Security said last Thursday that it captured a member of the South’s National Intelligence Service (NIS). It gave no name or age of the person in custody other than to say the man had been caught entering Pyongyang and disguised his true identity by conducting missionary work in a neighboring country.
Police: No charges in garbage truck accident that killed three in Glenview
After a three-week investigation, authorities said Friday that no charges or citations will be filed in connection with the two-vehicle crash in October that killed three people.
The Oct. 15 accident killed three Chicago residents, Won Suk Lim, 56, his wife Jung Ran Min, 50, and their friend Gwi Rye Kim, 65.
All three were in a 2006 Kia SUV when it collided with a Skokie-owned garbage truck at the intersection of Harlem Avenue and Harrison Street, erupting in flames.
The truck’s driver, whose name has not been released, was not injured.
Leader of Korean prostitution ring in Biloxi sentenced to prison
Sun Herald (Mississippi)
An Atlantic City man who organized and led a Korean prostitution ring found operating in Biloxi has been sentenced to 15 months in prison.
Chi Sung Jung, 52, had been held without bond in New Jersey since February, when he requested he be prosecuted closer to his home.
Jung accepted a plea agreement to a charge of conspiracy to harbor women in the United States illegally for financial gain. Court papers show the conspiracy took place from January 2011 until Oct. 1, 2012.
Asian-Americans protest Jimmy Kimmel after ‘kids table’ skit says ‘kill everyone in China’
89.3 KPCC (Southern California Public Radio)
Asian-Americans and their supporters are rallying Saturday at ABC headquarters in Burbank. They’re asking the network to suspend or fire late-night talk host Jimmy Kimmel after he aired a skit they found offensive.
The skit shows Kimmel in a roundtable discussion with young children. He tells the kids that America owes China a lot of money and asks them how the US should pay the Chinese back. One boy says “kill everyone in China,” and Kimmel leads a brief conversation in which he tries to steer the kids away from the idea.
‘Walking Dead’ Dissection: Steven Yeun on Glenn’s Close Call — ‘He’s a Man With a Purpose Now’
The Hollywood Reporter
[Warning: This story contains spoilers from the "Internment" episode of AMC's The Walking Dead.]
After a week out of the prison, AMC’s The Walking Dead returned to the barred community Sunday with an episode involving threats both inside the compound and at the fences of their safe haven.
Before Daryl’s (Norman Reedus) group returns, Hershel (Scott Wilson), Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) are tasked with caring for the ill, seeing the group’s numbers rapidly dwindle as the virus turns several of the sick. With Glenn’s and Sasha’s health failing, the council’s leader was forced to take out his first member of the undead and care for his son-in-law, all while navigating the undead.
Korean girl group Crayon Pop send fans into a frenzy with their encore of Bar Bar Bar
Daily Telegraph (Austrailia)
About a dozen fans had occupied the front row at the barriers from about 8am.
Crayon Pop, whose latest disco-beat dance song Bar Bar Bar is zooming up the Asian and Western charts, zoomed onto the stage at 2pm, sending the multinational throng of fans screaming, fan-chanting their part in the songs and iPhoning.
The girls, Cho A, Gum Mi, Ellin, So Yul and Way, wore their iconic costumes – this time in lime green – and their scooter helmets. Bar Bar Bar was ranked athe top of the weekly Billboard K-Pop hot 100 chart for the first six weeks since its release.
Riding Shotgun with Roy Choi: L.A. Son Tells the Kogi Chef’s Story
Los Angeles Weekly
So how’s this for an L.A. story? A young couple and their two-year-old son leave South Korea for Los Angeles, where they open a restaurant. It fails, but they refuse to quit — working their family connections to enter the jewelry business. There they achieve such staggering success they’re able to move on up to Orange County, right into Nolan Ryan’s old house. Their son, meanwhile, battles addictions to drugs and gambling, fighting off the lure of thug life to become one of the city’s best restaurateurs, changing L.A.’s dining scene forever by reinventing the food truck for foodies.
That’s Roy Choi’s story. And, yes, it’s a doozy. As Choi tells it in L.A. Son: My Life, My City, My Food, his new cookbook autobiography written with Natasha Phan and L.A. Weekly Senior Food Writer Tien Nguyen, his destiny as a great chef was far from assured. Choi studied political science at Cal State Fullerton, then philosophy. He even dabbled in theatre for a time. After he finished school (the book isn’t clear on whether he graduated), there was a week lost to crack, a year and a half lost to gambling, and countless days lost to a soul-killing job selling mutual funds.
The Psy Impact
Inside Higher Education
Korean pop singer Psy has emerged as an international phenomenon with his viral hit “Gangnam Style,” but his influence is reaching beyond pop culture and into the classroom as many colleges and universities report first-ever waiting lists for Korean studies courses.
As K-pop merges with American pop culture, more students are interested in learning about the Korean culture and language. At Columbia University, where students in the East Asian studies major can choose to study Chinese, Korean or Japanese, Charles Armstrong, professor of Korean studies, is seeing tremendous growth in Korean language course enrollments, especially among students with no ties to Korea.
“The overall trend I’ve seen is where 15 years ago, or even 10 years ago, the bulk of interest in Korean studies was from the heritage community, it’s now shifted to non-heritage students,” Armstrong said. “Most of them, from what I’ve asked and seen, seem to get originally attracted to Korea through music and pop culture.” (“Heritage” in language courses refers to those from families with ethnic or national ties to the country whose language is involved.)
Her personal newscast to San Diego
Union Tribune San Diego
With the return of the 14th annual San Diego Asian Film Festival, Lee Ann Kim is back in the spotlight.
As a former news anchor and reporter at KGTV, Kim was once a daily presence in many San Diegans’ homes. But these days, the Sorrento Valley resident has been working behind the scenes, handling a festival that’s become nationally recognized for its outstanding film selections.
The event, run under the umbrella of Pacific Arts Movement, is happening now and runs through Nov. 16.
Why Kim Jong Un Snubbed Mongolia’s President
Wall Street Journal
Mongolia’s president had a busy four days in North Korea this week, meeting various officials and zipping around to Kim Il Sung University, a Pyongyang theater, the Munsu water fun park, the border with South Korea and Kim family mausoleum, among other places.
But after Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj had jetted out of Pyongyang on Thursday it became clear that he didn’t meet the one person expected to have capped it all: Kim Jong Un.
What’s with the apparent snub?
Experts say it may have something to do with North Korea’s ambivalent attitude towards the landlocked country to the north-west. The nomadic ancient Mongolians were considered barbarians by the Koreans, according to historians.
When It Comes to Slaying Asian-American Stereotypes, Ads Lead the Way
Before May runs out, let’s spend a few moments thinking about the importance of Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month, a time when the country recognizes the contributions and achievements of Americans of Asian, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander heritage.
May heralds two important moments in history for the United States and Americans of Asian-American ancestry. In May 1843, the first Japanese immigrants arrived in America, and in May 1869, the Transcontinental Railroad was completed by a large number of Chinese immigrants.
President Jimmy Carter signed a joint resolution of Congress in 1978 to proclaim Asian-Pacific American Heritage Week an annual observance. In 1992, President George H. W. Bush extended the week to a month-long celebration. Each year since then, every sitting president has issued a proclamation commemorating May as Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month.
Back to Korea
More and more Korean students who have come to the United States to study are on their way back to Korea. They say even the Korean companies here are refusing to sponsor them in order to obtain a work visa, making it impossible for them to get employed and stay in America.
One 25-year old female Korean, identified only as K here, says she’s been spending stressful days since graduating from Cal-State Northridge this year, during an interview with The Korea Times. “I was told since I was a sophomore about how difficult it is to get a job here, so I even changed my major from straight traditional music to more practical management in music, but it hasn’t helped,” she said. “At every job interview, they tell me they find it difficult to hire me because of my resident status, to a point now where I have to seriously consider going back to Korea.”
Many of her friends are facing a similar predicament. She says it seems like one out of ten has been successful in landing a job in the U.S. after finishing their studies here and added, “I even have a friend who got married here but still can’t find a job!”
Review: A one-man revolution rises up in ‘Sake Bomb’
Los Angeles Times
In “Sake Bomb,” twentysomething video blogger Sebastian (Eugene Kim) has a problem few film characters ever face: a sense of relentless, righteous rage for which there is no simple solution. For Sebastian, life as an Asian American male is one of perpetual defense against silent accusations of foreignness, meek quietness and — the one that really stings — small genitalia.
To disabuse the world (or at least his 10 subscribers) of such stereotypes, he bleats the concepts of Asian American Studies 101 over the Internet. In person, he’s even more unpleasant, indicting any Asian woman with a white partner as a self-loathing racist, a charge he doesn’t really believe.
Actress Jamie Chung Reveals What It’s Really Like to Train for a Half Marathon
A little over two months ago I was presented with the opportunity to run the San Francisco half marathon with Nike. It sounded like an almost impossible and utterly scary challenge, but after a solid week of consideration I decided to accept.
I’d never been one to set any fitness goals for myself— I was more of a running “dabbler,” if you will— but over the course of the two months leading up to the San Francisco half marathon, I really dedicated myself to a fitness schedule. That meant getting plenty of sleep, scheduling runs into my morning routine at least four days a week, adding extra protein to my diet to supplement all the calories I was burning, and running in the more supportive shoes Nike Lunar Glides.
As my training progressed I met other women running on the team, like the actress Jamie Chung! I jumped at the chance to interview her, and here are her tips for running, more about her routine, and stellar words of motivation.
Roy Choi serves up an appetizer with memoir ‘L.A. Son’
Los Angeles Times
Several years ago, a cookbook editor friend called asking my advice on whether she should publish Jacques Pépin’s autobiography. Pepin is one of my heroes in food, I told her, but I’d pass on the book — all chef biographies tend to follow the same story arc, there’s not a lot new to be said.
Wisely she ignored me, and though “The Apprentice” turned out just as I predicted plot-wise, it was one of the bestselling cookbooks of the year. I learned two lessons from that incident: I’m a lot better off as a second-guessing journalist, and when it comes to these autobiographies, plot is secondary to character.
What brings this to mind is Roy Choi’s new book, “L.A. Son: My Life. My City. My Food.” On the surface, there is not much to connect Pépin and Choi. Pépin is the consummate old-school professional. Choi is the tattooed bad boy popularizer of the Korean taco and the food-truck craze, thanks to his Kogi truck.
YouTube All-Stars: Why I Love Korea (Interview)
The YouTube Music Awards is going on right now and Seoulistic was lucky enough to be invited to take part in the event! Youtube flew out a few YouTubers to Seoul to film videos to promote the event. Some are in Seoul for the very first time, others have been living here for years. And we thought with these diverse backgrounds, it would be the perfect to ask people what they thought about Korea and what they loved about it! Hopefully, you’ll get to see why we’re running this site and making videos on our YouTube channel!
Roots of K-pop
Everything has its roots and humble beginnings of its own. K-pop is no exception.
While today’s genre is characterized by pretty young boy and girl bands with slick dance routines and computer-assisted catchy tunes, its primitive form nearly nine decades ago was nowhere near any sort of attention-grabbing fanciness.
Back then, the out-dated combinations of black and white traditional costume or “hanbok” was considered the sole “uniform” for singers, with which they solemnly crooned melancholy songs on creaking wooden stages under dim lighting.
They normally confronted another harsh reality after the show: social stigma. In a society affected by Confucianism for generations, entertainment was considered an inferior profession so that its practitioners were belittled with the derogatory nickname “tantara.”
Ken Jeong ready for SportsCenter
I’ve been in Europe this week, so I watched opening night NBA highlights in Dublin. We’ve been on a press tour for The Hangover Part III’s DVD/Blu-Ray’s release but it’s been the release of LeBron, Kevin Durant and Blake Griffin that has been occupying my mind.
I’m a hoops addict — which is exactly why this opportunity to host tonight’s 6 p.m. SportsCenter, on the first Friday of the 2013-14 NBA season, is so humbling.
I grew up in North Carolina, which was heaven for a hoops junkie, with Duke and Carolina right there. (Editor’s Note: Jeong attended Duke as an undergraduate and received his M.D. from UNC. He is a licensed physician.)
Footballer Lee Chun-soo Says Sorry for Bar Brawl
Incheon United star Lee Chun-soo apologized in front of the press on Thursday for his involvement in a recent bar brawl.
The 32-year-old former national team member was accused of assaulting a customer at a bar in the early morning of Oct. 14. He faced the press this week and read out a written apology.
The footballer said he wanted to apologize to his fans and the club for letting them down.
Mystery meat dish in Koreatown a tasty surprise
Los Angeles Times
When I was in Korea a few weeks ago, I fell in love with something called tteok galbi, hand-chopped beef short ribs mixed with vegetables, aromatics, sometimes even pork, then grilled over a hot charcoal fire. Tteok is the Korean word for rice cake, but the patties are so called because they look a little like rice cakes, not because they include rice among their ingredients. They are more or less the local equivalent of hamburgers, served bare on a plate accompanied by neither rice nor bun.
The best tteok galbi tends to be served with the bones inserted back into the patties as a sign of authenticity, and maybe to add a little flavor. In Gwangju, there is an entire street devoted to tteok galbi specialists. In Damyang, the home of the dish, a platter of the juicy, crunchy patties joins bamboo “sashimi” as the heart of the region’s famous country meals.
I did not find it beyond imagining that among the several hundred Korean restaurants in Los Angeles, there might be one or two serving some version of the dish.
Korean art on exhibit at world-renowned U.S. museums
Korean art has been regarded as a spinoff from those of China and Japan, which are believed to possess the core of Asian cultural and aesthetic values. It is rare to have the opportunity to appreciate the sheer essence of Korean art on the international scene.
However, as Korea’s national profile is on the rise partially thanks to the cultural influence of “hallyu,” or Korean wave, global interest in Korean cultural roots is also spiking. Ongoing exhibitions in the United States featuring ancient artwork from Korea offer an opportunity for non-Korean visitors to discover the unknown beauty of Korean ancient art which is discernible among Asian cultures.
Supported by the National Museum of Korea, two major exhibitions on Korean art are taking place in east and west coast cities of the United States. “In Grand Style: Celebrations in Korean Art During the Joseon Dynasty” and “Silla: Korea’s Golden Kingdom” allow for a large-scale and in-depth exploration of rare objects from two ancient Korean kingdoms ― Silla (B.C. 57-A.D. 935) and Joseon (1392-1910). It is notable to compare the two distinctive cultures based on different ruling ideologies ― Buddhism in Silla and Confucianism in Joseon.
Instagramming North Korea
Three North Korean boys gaze attentively into the camera lens, their portrait surrounded by selfies and shots of fancy food. Nearby, a female soldier smiles as she salutes, and a woman runs a snack shack in the North Korean countryside.
They are the subjects of the trailblazing Instagram account of an American teacher in Pyongyang, the North Korean capital and perhaps one of the least understood places on Earth.
Drew Kelly, 24, is one of the few foreigners posting photos of North Korea.
Known as the Hermit Kingdom, North Korea is renown for its government’s secrecy and strict control on the flow of information. The country’s authorities and its reclusive leader, Kim Jong Un, severely limit what state media report and the access that foreigners, and especially journalists, have to the country.
South Korea’s Fashion Doyenne
Wall Street Journal
In 1947, at the age of 19, aspiring South Korean fashion designer Noh Myung-ja decided to change her first name to Nora. Her inspiration: the protagonist of Henrik Ibsen’s 1879 play “A Doll’s House,” about a housewife who leaves her children and husband to discover herself.
Ms. Noh, who had recently ended a marriage of convenience that helped her avoid becoming a “comfort woman” to Japanese soldiers, soon left Seoul to study fashion in Los Angeles. So began a career spanning more than six decades, in which the designer’s name and brand, Nora Noh, became a driving force in South Korean fashion for more than three decades, from the 1950s through to the 1970s.
Fewer North Koreans fleeing to South Korea, U.N. rights envoy says
Marzuki Darusman, the U.N. special rapporteur on the situation in North Korea, said that in the first nine months of this year 1,041 North Koreans arrived in South Korea, compared to 1,509 people for all of 2012 and 2,706 people in 2011.
“This represents a reversal of the trend of steady increase in the number of annual arrivals since 1998, possibly due to recently tightened border control and increased incidents of refoulement,” Darusman wrote in a statement presented to a U.N. General Assembly human rights committee.
Darusman said the international law principle of non-refoulement – an obligation not to return asylum seekers or refugees to a place where their life or liberty would be at risk – clearly applies to North Koreans who have left without permission.
North Korea Bars Defector-Turned-Lawmaker From Kaesong
Wall Street Journal
A group of South Korean lawmakers who handle inter-Korean affairs made a rare visit to the jointly-run industrial park inside North Korea on Wednesday but left behind a colleague that Pyongyang singled out as unacceptable.
North Korea said last week that Cho Myong-chol, a member of the National Assembly’s foreign affairs and unification committee, couldn’t come into the Kaesong Industrial Complex. The North didn’t specify why, Seoul’s Unification Ministry said.
The reason was clear for all, however: Mr. Cho is a rare defector from Pyongyang’s upper echelon and now a prominent North Korea expert in the South. He became a lawmaker last year.
U.S. Promises to ‘Review’ Snooping on Korean Embassy
The U.S. government promised Korea to “review intelligence activities” after Seoul asked whether the National Security Agency wiretapped the Korean Embassy in Washington. This is seen as tantamount to an admission that it did.
“Seoul had demanded that Washington verify rumors about wiretapping and make its position clear,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Cho Tae-young said Tuesday. “The U.S. has said it understands allies’ worries and promised to review intelligence activities.”
Cho neither confirmed nor denied that this was an admission that wiretapping occurred but merely said, “It’s up to the U.S. to answer the question concerning the interpretation of the words.”
As Power Line Grows, So Does Fight Between Ancient and Modern Korea
New York Times
The traditional farming villages within Miryang city, like so many in South Korea, are nestled against forested mountains. Rice paddies spill out into the valley, and persimmon and apple orchards line the roads.
Wooden farmhouses with their tile roofs were replaced long ago with concrete homes, but the rituals of a more ancient Korea remain. The farmers plan their lives around the growing seasons, and when they die, they are buried in plots that dot the mountainsides.
Now, a more modern Korea — in the form of imposing electrical power lines — is encroaching on the villages, including their burial grounds. The villages lie in the path of a major transmission route expected to distribute nuclear-generated electricity. Already towers are built along the spines of some nearby mountains, and 50 more are scheduled to be built in Miryang, some of them in the mountains.
Aging to Challenge South Korea’s Economic Transformation
South Korea has one of Asia’s fastest-growing economies, but one looming roadblock threatens its path to becoming an international powerhouse: a rapidly aging population.
According to a report by the Korea Statistical Office, the number of people aged 65 and above has surpassed 6 million for the first time, accounting for 11.7 percent of the population. What’s more, the ratio of senior citizens to working age people – currently 1 to 6 – is projected to shift to 1 to 1.5 by 2050.
“The aging population is one of the most fundamental, structural shifts happening in Korea and affecting the growth prospects for the country,” said Wonsik Choi, Senior Partner at McKinsey & Company in Seoul. “Just to give you an example, the working age population in Korea will peak at 37 million in 2016, three years from now and will diminish thereafter,” Choi added.
Education in Korea Class Struggle
AS THIS week’s special report on the Koreas points out, South Korea’s education system is both inspiring and intimidating. The country’s 15-year-olds ranked fourth in science (excluding Shanghai and Hong Kong), second in maths and first in reading in the 2009 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). Its youngsters (aged between 16 and 24) did equally well in the OECD’s international survey of adult skills, released this month.
But South Korea’s enthusiasm for education has also been likened to a “fever”. Students spend long hours in hagwon, private cram schools, trying to outdo their peers in crucial exams and tests that have lasting consequences for their subsequent careers. In principle these tests are simply a measuring device, allowing universities and employers to rank students according to their underlying abilities. But the measure is fair only if everyone spends the same amount of time preparing for them. If one student spends his every waking hour (and some half-waking ones) preparing, then everyone else has to do the same, if they are to preserve their position in the rankings. Some of this competitive swotting no doubt improves students’ knowledge and abilities, to the benefit of society and themselves. But some of it is also a socially wasteful zero-sum game.
Professor Preserving Legacy of Emigrants
Korea Times US
A photo exhibition featuring the lives of early Korean emigrants overseas opened Tuesday at Kim Dae-jung Convention Center located in the southwestern city of Gwangju.
Professor Lim Chae-wan of Chonnam National University, who has been researching the Korean Diaspora overseas since 1991, organized the photo presentation project.
“I felt the urge to hold such an event as plenty of valuable, historic photos showing the developments of Korean Diaspora were stuck in a library and my research room. While databasing these materials, my colleague and I concluded that a photo exhibition could be a powerful presentation to show how early emigrants had lived in foreign lands,” Lim said during an interview.
Man in Wheelchair is Killed near Long Beach Intersection
Patch.com (Long Beach, Calif.)
A man in a wheelchair was killed Tuesday after he likely unexpectedly crossed in front of a motorist and was struck by the vehicle, Long Beach Police said today.
The crash was reported at 6:47 a.m. near the intersection of Orange and Alamitos avenues. Authorities identified the pedestrian as Bong Kim, 72, of Long Beach. He was a native of Korea, officials said.
Responding officers found Kim in the northbound lanes of Alamitos Avenue, according to a news release. Officers rendered medical aid until Long Beach Fire Department personnel arrived.
Woman dies after cosmetic surgery
A 22-year-old woman who had been in a coma for nine days after a cosmetic surgery procedure died Saturday, police in Busan said.
The college student only identified by her last name Kim received facial bone contouring surgery for more than five and a half hours on Oct. 7.
She was found unconscious by a nurse in the hospital’s recovery room that evening and immediately moved to a nearby general hospital.
Crackdown Needed on Substandard Plastic Surgeons
A 22-year-old university student died Saturday nine days after she underwent a bimaxillary or corrective jaw surgery in a cosmetic surgery clinic in Busan. In June this year, a woman in her 30s died a month after undergoing the same procedure in the hope of looking prettier.
Corrective jaw surgery is an extremely difficult procedure under full anesthesia that involves the use of surgical drills to carve away at bones, carefully avoiding muscles and nerves in the face.
The procedure was originally developed to treat patients with congenital defects that make it difficult for them to chew properly. But it has found more lucrative uses for people who want a slimmer jawline to conform to current ideals of beauty.
Musical move for Hangover star Ken Jeong?
London Standard (U.K.)
He is one of Hollywood’s best-loved comic stars, known for his outrageous humour. Now Ken Jeong has revealed he would like a new challenge — appearing in a West End musical.
The 44-year-old actor, best known as Mr Chow in The Hangover trilogy, was a doctor before getting his big break in 2007 comedy Knocked Up after doing stand-up in the evenings.
He told the Standard: “When I was in college, theatre was what I wanted to do.
Choi Division: Roy Choi, L.A.’s Street-Food King
New York Times
The Los Angeles chef and restaurateur Roy Choi was once a gambler and nearly a gangster, and a stoner from youth who was quick to fight, slow to wake. Born in Korea in 1970, he came to California two years later and grew up amid the dangerous currents of immigrant possibility: at his parents’ liquor store in Koreatown, until it failed; at his parents’ restaurant in West Anaheim, until it failed; at his parents’ jewelry store in Orange County, which made his family rich.
He was surrounded by latchkey knuckleheads, smart kids with bad attitudes, Armenian gem dealers, drug connects, college students, dishwashers, too many card players. It was a chef’s education — hardly obvious at the time — because even as he gambled, fought and schemed, he ate, voraciously, from every larder in town. Nothing fancy. Quite the opposite: his parents’ hot pots; dinners of ketchup-fried rice and Del Taco takeout; pho and cheeseburgers; kimchi and milkshakes at dawn. It was a life of late nights.
Eugene Ahn, a.k.a Adam WarRock, is used to being an outsider.
Growing up in Memphis, Tennessee, he was a “loner” caught between black and white in a region where racial tension is not uncommon. As a litigation lawyer with an Emory University degree, he was itching to get back to the music that inspired him.
It’s what one does with that angst that matters, believes Ahn. “I grew up pissed at the world,” he sings on his new album, “The Middle of Nowhere,” available Tuesday. “Now I put that (expletive) inside every MP3.”
Crayon Pop’s Unusual Road to Success Draws Media Interest
British weekly magazine the Economist published an article highlighting K-pop girl band Crayon Pop in its latest issue, which hit newsstands on Saturday.
As part of a 14-page special report on Korea, it wrote, “Crayon Pop are not a typical K-pop outfit. They look goofy rather than glamorous, like kid sisters not dream dates, and prefer plimsolls to stilettos.”
The success story of Crayon Pop’s song “Bar Bar Bar” was viewed as being different from that of other Korean girl groups. It “spread like a virus on YouTube,” the magazine wrote. “Whereas most songs peak early in the charts, then disappear, this one climbed to number one in some rankings months after its release.”
Samsung: We’re Too Big to Ignore
Wall Street Journal
At its first U.S. developer conference this week, Samsung Electronics005930.SE +0.67% had a message for Silicon Valley: We’re just too big to ignore.
Before some 1,300 software engineers and developers packed inside a San Francisco hotel ballroom, the Korean electronics giant trotted out a parade of executives and partners who introduced new tools to connect software with Samsung’s mobile devices and televisions.
Several executives came armed with statistics. Curtis Sasaki, a senior vice president of Samsung’s content and services business, noted that Samsung sold two televisions every second -– or some 7,200 by the end of the keynote. His message: stick with us — and our scale — if you want to reach customers.
Ice queen Yuna hones routines ahead of Sochi swan song
Informed she has taken a Korean Olympic Committee official’s seat by mistake, and her place is actually at the rear of the stage, the Vancouver Games gold medalist stifles an embarrassed smile and retreats to sit among her figure skating cohorts.
It might be the first time Kim has ever taken a back seat to anyone in South Korea.
With Wednesday marking the 100-day countdown to the start of the Sochi Games, the 23-year-old told reporters she was back skating and even doing jumps after taking time off to recover from a foot injury.
Kim, who blew away the competition in Vancouver to become the first South Korean to win an Olympic figure skating gold medal, said she was about “70 percent ready” and that she could return to competition in December.
Minnesota Twins keep tabs on Korean right-hander Suk-min Yoon
St. Paul Pioneer Press (Minn.)
Whether the Twins make a strong play for Korean right-hander Suk-min Yoon remains to be seen.
What seems clear is that Yoon, an international free agent represented by powerful agent Scott Boras, is on their radar.
“He’s got some talent,” Twins general manager Terry Ryan said recently.
Mike Radcliff, Twins vice president for player personnel, added recently that the team was “fully engaged” in the Yoon process after watching him pitch numerous times in Korea and on the world stage at such events as the Olympics and the World Baseball Classic.
How Sweet It Is
Kogi chef Roy Choi partners with the South Central Los Angeles community and Dole Food Company in a fruitful venture for all.
by JAMES S. KIM
A half-hour before the grand opening of 3 Worlds Café in South Central Los Angeles, Roy Choi circles the staff like a hawk, making sure the kitchen is running at full capacity.
“Stay at your stations, all right? Don’t ever leave your station,” he instructs. “This is you, right here. You rely as a team on everyone else to do their job.”
Choi’s voice rings over the excited murmurs of the early customers and members of the community trickling in, as the 3 Worlds crew, as dubbed by Choi, prepares for the café’s July 6 grand opening. Despite the game face, the chef of Kogi truck fame can’t help but show his excitement.
“This is a joyous day,” he declares. “It’s a very, extremely happy, joyous day.”
For the co-founder and culinary mind behind the renowned Korean taco-serving food truck and various restaurants all over Los Angeles, 3 Worlds Café appears, at least on the surface, to be Choi’s latest business venture. But, different from his other restaurants, 3 Worlds Café is a collaboration between Choi, Dole Food Company, the local nonprofit Coalition for Responsible Community Development and Jefferson High School. The café presents a menu headlined by smoothies, fruit cups and coffee drinks. Continue Reading »