N.Korea arms ship faces possible $1 mln fine: Panama
AFP via Google News
The Panama Canal authority said it will impose as much as a $1 million fine on the North Korean freighter caught with an undeclared shipment of Cuban weapons.
“It is a flagrant violation of safe passage through the Panama Canal and we have little tolerance for this kind of activity,” canal administrator Jorge Quijano said on Thursday.
“It is going to be sanctioned,” he said, adding that authorities were still mulling the size of the fine.
“It’s obvious that there were containers that had not been declared, not to mention what was inside them.”
U.N. Requests More Funding for North Korea Aid
Wall Street Journal
The United Nations says its humanitarian aid work in North Korea is seriously underfunded, calling on donors to contribute $98 million to help pay for food and sanitation projects in the country.
The appeal came in an e-mail late Thursday from Ghulam Isaczai, U.N. Resident Coordinator, according to reports in the Associated Press and South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency.
The U.N. initially asked for $150 million in aid for 2013, but received only $52 million. Without the needed money, Mr. Isaczai warned, recent improvements in North Korea’s health and nutrition “could be quickly reversed.”
Adult, Adopted, Seeking a Voice
Baby Veronica’s story opens up a Pandora’s box of questions about the adoptive process in the United States. The Supreme Court’s decision forces us to ask, who has a right to raise a child? How do we define a family? Where do questions of identity and race, inclusion and exceptionalism, and adoption and disruption factor into these stories?
Enter Gazillion Voices, an online magazine that launched this month and aims to be a platform for the overlooked voices who might finally be able to contribute to these ongoing questions. It’s the brainchild of Kevin Haebeom Vollmers. As Vollmers jokingly points out in the Kickstater video for the magazine, his name suggests he is a middle-aged white guy. In fact, Vollmers is a Korean-American and adoptee. He was taken to Minneapolis from Korea when he was 7 years old. He founded Land of Gazillion Adoptees (LGA), a media company that takes from Minnesota’s claim as the land of 10,000 lakes and gives voices to the hundreds of thousands of international adoptees living in the state. This month he expanded LGA to include Gazillion Voices as a subscription-based monthly online magazine that shares the work of LGA with a larger community of adoptees.
South Koreans mark Korea Liberation Day at San Pedro’s Friendship Bell
Daily Breeze (Torrance, Calif.)
Overlooking the ocean that separates their two countries, about a dozen Korean-Americans gathered Thursday to observe the 68th annual Korea Liberation Day by ringing San Pedro’s iconic Korean Friendship Bell.
The day marks Korea’s liberation — at the end of World War II — from Japanese colonial rule and included remarks by Ki-Sun Bang, South Korea’s deputy consul general of Los Angeles, and Jae-Hyun Choi, president of the National Unification Advisory Committee.
This year’s ceremonial bell ringing also served as a reminder of the landmark’s restoration project, set to resume within weeks for a final phase of work that will include polishing the 17-ton copper bell.
Korea is no longer a Confucian society [OPINION]
Korea Herald via The Nation
Moderation, then, is a universal virtue, whether Confucian or Christian. Korea has traditionally been labelled as a Confucian society. A true Confucian society should be populated by those who are moderate, temperate and restrained. In reality, however, Koreans have a reputation for being impetuous and quick-tempered. Foreigners point out that Koreans are very emotional, and easily aggravated and manipulated. It is true that when provoked, most Koreans do not seem to be able to control their feelings, and often resort to extreme outbursts, violent reactions or emotional eruptions.
One example is the Dokdo Island controversy between South Korea and Japan. When Japanese rightwing politicians provoked South Korea over the issue some time ago, the Korean people instantly boiled over. Instead of dealing with the issue calmly and rationally, we immediately staged protest rallies and our president rushed to visit the deserted island. Our hasty, emotional reactions remind us of Voltaire: “A wise man is superior to any insults which can be put upon him, and the best reply to unseemly behaviour is patience and moderation.”
It would be incorrect, therefore, for Westerners to stereotype Korea as a Confucian society. Today’s society is radically different from its predecessor during the Joseon Dynasty, which indeed was heavily influenced by Confucian philosophy. In fact, Koreans no longer subscribe to Confucian philosophy and few Koreans read the works of Confucius. Korean society is a place where Asian and Western culture co-exist, and where a curious mixture of capitalism and socialism prevails.
Marrying two worlds — Interracial couples on love and wedding planning
Northwest Asian Weekly
Jen Nguyen, a Vietnamese American, and Aaron Wightman, who grew up practicing Reformed Judaism, were married last year.
Nguyen was born in the United States to parents who fled Vietnam.
“I spoke Vietnamese as a child and started speaking English as my primary language when I became school-aged,” Nguyen said. “My first visit to Vietnam was with my family at age 16.”
“I returned twice to travel throughout Vietnam as a pharmacist for an organization called the Vietnam Health Clinic,” Nguyen continued. “It was during these trips that I fell in love with Vietnam and was proud to be ethnically Vietnamese.”
Sandra Oh leaves Grey’s Anatomy; Cristina Yang, her character, changed TV
Earlier this week, Sandra Oh, who plays super-surgeon Cristina Yang on Shonda Rhimes’ long-running medical dramedy Grey’s Anatomy, announced that she will be leaving the series at the end of this coming season. Grey’s has been on the air for a decade and has long since become the TV equivalent of old, comfy furniture—as much as you use it, you’d probably only notice it if it up and disappeared—but I want to take this occasion to celebrate Yang, one of TV’s most original and influential characters. Grey’s may be years removed from its buzzy, Emmy-winning start, but in Yang, the loveable, persnickety careerist, Rhimes and Oh have created a complex workaholic who has begat a whole generation of female protagonists, none quite as impressive as she is.
From the first episode, Yang, an M.D./Ph.D. from Stanford, had a bloodthirsty desire to operate, operate, operate, and a disinterest in the dramatic personal lives of her peers.* (This, of course, did not keep her from having a dramatic personal life of her own.) She is hyper-competitive, unboundedly ambitious, and brutally honest, single-mindedly focused on doing just about anything to improve her scalpel skills. In the show’s early seasons, she began an illicit romantic relationship with her boss and mentor, a cardio-thoracic surgeon whom she loved at least partly because of how much he had to teach her. At the time, her apartment was a fetid pig-sty; cleanliness didn’t matter for work, and so she didn’t care about it. More recently, a married Yang, the female TV character most vocally disinterested in having children, had an abortion: Her work is what she wants to devote her life to.
On another TV show, Yang’s combination of qualities—mercenary, scary, and extremely skilled—would have made her the lead character’s enemy, if not a whole litany of other clichés: the type-A Asian, the frigid ballbuster, the unlikeable shrew. Instead, Grey’s respected Cristina’s ambition and wit, laurelled her with humor, swag, and a sex drive, and made her the lead character’s best friend. Cristina Yang and Meredith Grey are devoted to each other and united against frivolity and false-cheerfulness.
Sung Kang Reveals ‘Fast and Furious’ Timeline
When Sung Kang appeared as fan-favorite Han in “Fast and Furious”, “Fast Five” and the latest one “Fast and Furious 6″, some fans had been left confused over why he was still “alive” despite the fact that he was already dead in “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift”. Now, Kang has an efficient way to answer this: drawing.
“A wonderful fan (thank you Michele Costanzo) has sent us this, which I think explains it nicely,” he says of the handwritten timeline posted on Facebook. “Ignore the order the films were released in. This is the order you should watch them – 4, 5, and 6 were prequels (back story) leading into Tokyo Drift. This is why you see the deadly crash again at the end of Furious 6.”
Crayon Pop Ride Viral Wave to No. 1 on K-Pop Hot 100
Earlier this week, K-Town spotlighted K-pop’s new viral hit from girl group Crayon Pop. Their “Bar Bar Bar” music video and the signature choreography — the “straight-five engine dance” — has been making the rounds all over South Korea. Now, the song has the ultimate seal of approval, hitting No. 1 on the K-Pop Hot 100 after a six-week climb.
Some top idol groups still have not earned a No. 1 on the chart, but Crayon Pop has nabbed the top slot just a year after its debut. It’s atypical to see such a new group earn such an accolade so quickly — most have the uphill battle to prove they belong at the peak of K-pop. But Crayon Pop has the viral factor that even has fellow K-pop stars like SISTAR’s Bora and MBLAQ jumping on the trend.
ABC-TV may air Chinese-American sitcom
Restaurateur and VICE TV host Eddie Huang’s recently published memoir Fresh Off the Boat will serve as inspiration for a potential ABC-TV sitcom that if given the green light will be the first Chinese American-focused show on a major US network.
Nahnatchka Khan, creator of the show Don’t Trust the B – in Apartment 23, will serve as executive producer on the pilot with Jake Kasdan of 20th Century Fox TV, and Huang will produce.
“ABC is giving us a chance to talk about Asian America and it’s beautiful,” Huang told China Daily. “It’s the American-born Chinese dream. I hope in the next few years, when Chinese people see the acronym ABC on their televisions, they say ‘American Born Chinese’.”
‘Snow Hunters’: A Beautiful Debut Novel Grounded In History
On the second page of his debut novel Snow Hunters, Paul Yoon vividly depicts the last moments before his protagonist Yohan is liberated from a prisoner of war camp on the Korean peninsula, “where there was always a wind that carried the smell of soil and sickness” from the animals at a nearby farm. Yohan is about to catch a boat to Brazil and start a new life as a Japanese tailor’s apprentice – and as he rides away in a UN truck, he “shut his eyes and dreamed of castles.”
This power of this image is in its simplicity, and as the rest of the book unfolds, that minimalism becomes the story’s driving, masterful force. Every word is purposeful, and there is an air of meditation in Yoon’s modest sentences. While the first draft was over five hundred pages, the final is a mere 208: it’s evident that only the best, most important, prose remained.
Is gluten Korea’s new food focus?
While the term “gluten-free” is still relatively new to the Korean food industry, this year might witness the gluten-free movement as well as the related wheat-free trend take hold here.
According to the Mayo Clinic’s website, a gluten-free diet omits all food containing gluten, a natural protein that can be found in wheat, barley, rye and triticale.
While a gluten-free diet originated primarily as a course of treatment for people diagnosed with celiac disease, it appears more people are cutting gluten or wheat from their diets because of theories that it is good for one’s health to eat less wheat or gluten.
Those theories seem to be influencing Korean consumers as well, signaling the spread of gluten-free and wheat-free trends to the Korean market.
Nightengale: Dodgers take page from Yankees
“There’s no franchise in any sport anywhere that has had the impact on popular culture or society as large as the Dodgers,” [Dodgers president Stan] Kasten says. “Whether it was Jackie Robinson or Sandy Koufax to Fernando (Valenzuela) to Hideo Nomo to Chan Ho Park to Hyun-Jin Ryu, all those things are part of our legacy.”
As ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy prepares to kick off its 10th season this fall, one of its original and most beloved members will have left Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital by season’s end. Sandra Oh, the five-time Emmy nominee and onetime Golden Globe winner, has opted to depart the series after a decade of playing the prickly yet brilliant surgeon, Cristina Yang.
The decision didn’t come easily for Oh. “Creatively, I really feel like I gave it my all, and I feel ready to let her go,” Oh told the Hollywood Reporter, which first announced the news. “It’s such an interesting thing to play a character for so long and to actually get the sense that she wants to be let go as well. [Cristina] wants to be let go, and I am ready to let her go. We have to start the process, story-wise, for the Grey’s writers to think of why she’s going to go.”
While Oh’s role wasn’t originally envisioned to be an Asian American, the writers at Grey’s Anatomy explored various, at times controversial, subject matter such as abortion, interracial marriage and post-traumatic stress disorder through Cristina Yang. Creator and executive producer Shonda Rhimes has said Cristina’s character was the second one she created and that she sees herself in the character. Continue Reading »
Asian Rapper Set to Roar Across L.A.
Now, there’s no denying his talent. As MC Tiger JK (he declines to confirm his given name or age, though most fan sites refer to him as Seo Jung-Kwon), he’s perhaps the most popular Korean rapper in America, Asia and the world. By reinterpreting the brash appeal of L.A. gangsta rap for Korean audiences, he and his Drunken Tiger crew have alternately scandalized and intrigued their audience for nearly two decades.
Drunken Tiger’s Friday show at the Wiltern, “The Jungle Concert in L.A.” (featuring an extended bill of Korean hip-hop peers including his wife, Korean American R&B artist Yoon Mi Rae, rap acts Lee Ssang, Bizzy and vocalist Jung In), might codify a scene that thrives at a difficult flashpoint between many different cultures. They want to represent Korea and their genre without pandering to stereotypes about Asian pop, and they want to be taken seriously as rappers in America without relying on their outsider status.
Sandra Oh on North Korean Refugee Adoption Act
The North Korean Refugee Adoption Act, if passed, would allow Americans to adopt refugee orphans who have fled the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) to neighboring countries such as Mongolia, Thailand and other Southeast Asian countries. These children are struggling in harsh circumstances, and run the risk of being sent back to DPRK. According to the World Food Program, DPRK faces regular food shortages, and one in three North Korean children under five are chronically malnourished.
David Chang, the Rock Star of Ramen, Goes Global
And now, only seven years after opening that first noodle bar in a former chicken wing joint the size of a one-car garage, Chang is going global.
He opened Momofuku Seiobo, his first eatery outside New York, late last month — going all the way to Sydney, Australia to do it. Next year, a Toronto outpost opens — it will be his sixth, not counting the four Momofuku Milk Bar bakeries run by his protege, Christina Tosi. The second edition of his admired food quarterly, Lucky Peach (that’s English for the Japanese “momofuku”), has just come out. He’s still tinkering with the iPad app.
S. Korea HIV patients battle AIDS, and bias
On Monday, UNAIDS appointed Hong Myung-bo, one of South Korea’s most famous soccer players, as an International Goodwill Ambassador to raise awareness on HIV/AIDS in Korea and the rest of Asia.
His appointment is promising news because people living with the disease in Korea are fighting an uphill battle against intangible forces that cannot be conquered with medicine and money alone.
As of December 2010, about 7,200 people in Korea were known to be living with the human immunodeficiency virus that causes AIDS, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In a country with a population of almost 49 million that means just 0.015% of South Koreans are living with HIV.
However, experts estimate that the actual number of people who live with the virus may be five to ten times greater than the official count.
Widespread misconceptions, stigma, and discrimination surrounding the illness have pushed HIV patients to the fringes of Korean society, say experts and activists. The fear of being exposed and ostracized is strong.
300 Homeless Men in Cleveland Enjoy Korean American Association Hospitality and Goodwill Gesture
Cleveland Plain Dealer
It’s the second year the Korean American Association has served dinner and provided clothing to Northeast Ohio’s homeless men. The idea was a brainstorm of association president Sam Kim.
“We did this last year and provided blankets for these men,” Kim said. “It was a joy for us to see how happy these men were then, and we knew we had to do this again. But we couldn’t do this alone . . . we had 10 Korean churches who helped support this event.”
Margaret Cho On Writing Comedic Music and Her New Cho Dependent DVD
Margaret Cho might be known best from the laughs she’s provided over the years, but her talents extend beyond being funny. She has the passion to inspire and leaves you knowing that you have the right to do and laugh at what you want. From Dancing with the Stars to Drop Dead Diva and her new DVD Cho Dependent, Cho has blossomed into the total package.
From rags to riches, South Korea hosts forum on international aid
Los Angeles Times
For South Korea, the fact that the southern port city of Busan played host Tuesday to the start of a three-day forum on global aid strategies is no less than a “rags to riches” story.
In 1963, still reeling from a war that a decade earlier had ravaged the Korean peninsula, South Korea, with a per capita income of just $89, was a major recipient of global aid, making it one of the world’s least-developed countries.
That was then; this is now.
Today, Busan is the world’s fifth-largest commercial port and the nation’s economy is the world’s 13th largest.
Interview with Hollywood actress Sandra Oh
Sandra spoke of her love for Korea as a Korean-Canadian and her hopes to one day star in a Korean movie. She also talked about the inside stories behind “Grey’s Anatomy” and how she was cast into the show.
“If I am to be cast in a Korean movie, I will be happy to take any role. I will study Korean, and if I don’t have any lines, I can act with just my facial expressions. I’ve always wanted to attend the Busan Film Festival, but I was always caught up with work. I want to attend the festival with a piece I star in.”
Somali pirates holding S. Korean hostages demand release of captured pirates
Somali pirates holding four South Koreans in a hijacked chemical tanker are demanding that Seoul pay ransom for the hostages and release five pirates captured during a January raid of a seized Korean freighter, an official said Friday.
The four South Koreans are among 25 crew members of the Singapore-registered 21,000-ton MT Gemini that was hijacked on April 30 in waters off Kenya. The seizure came about three months after South Korean naval commandos raided a Korean-owned freighter on Jan. 21 and rescued all 21 crew members.
N.Korean Defectors Flock to U.K.
Some 581 North Korean defectors have been given asylum in the United Kingdom, making them the largest group of all defectors in countries other than South Korea.
Korean young guns impress at British Open
AFP via Google
South Korean young guns Noh Seung-Yul and Hwang Jung-Gon led the Asian charge at the British Open on Thursday, signaling their talent with sub-par rounds at Royal St George’s.
Where in The World is Daniel Henney?
Daniel Henney recently wrapped shooting on the buddy flick with Bill Paxton tentatively titled “Americatown” and apologized to fans for not being online lately.
I know it’s been FOREVER since I’ve chimed in. My apologies. We’ve been in China for 1.5 months now shooting this film, and it’s been incredibly difficult to get online. Anyway, I’m back now, and will update you with some pics very soon…Pics from my last 1.5 months spent in China.
SUNY Gets OK for Campus in Songdo
The Wall Street Journal
Soon South Korean students seeking a U.S. diploma might be able to do so without even getting a stamp in their passports.
The Ministry of Education announced Wednesday that it has given final approval to Stony Brook University — or the State University of New York at Stony Brook — to open a campus in Songdo, the newly established international business district near Incheon International Airport.
Koreans turn to dog soup to beat the heat
Reuters via ABC News (Australia)
Thursday was not a good day to be a dog in South Korea. That’s because it was one of the three hottest days according to the Korean lunar calendar – and dog soup is one way to beat the heat.
On “Chobok,” people seeking to protect the body from overheating eat traditional healthy foods such as ginseng chicken soup, broiled eel and “bo-shin-tang,” literally “body preservation stew”.
Dogs are bred to be eaten in South Korea, and advocates say bo-shin-tang, which consists of dog meat boiled in a mix of hot and strong spices and vegetables, is good for the health. It is considered a delicacy by some.
Korean BBQ Trivia + Forage’s Soy and Coca-Cola Flank Steak Recipe
If you’ve ever wondered if Korean households have dining tables with built in bbq holes, like the ones at Korean bbq restaurants, the answer is “no”. The historical antecedent for modern restaurant tables are traditional Korean kitchens with round stoves (agungi) that were fueled by wood or large cylindrical charcoal briquets. If you clicked on the link, you probably figured out why Korean bbq pans are dome shaped, rather than square or rectangular.
FC Barcelona signs Korean teen for five years
A Korean teenager has signed a five-year contract with FC Barcelona’s youth team, his father revealed Wednesday.
Play Canceled on Account of Suicide Threat
The Korea Times
A nude play has been forced to cancel its performance on July 14 by a male member of the public.
The man threatened to commit suicide if “The Professor and the Female Student 2” goes on stage on that date. He claimed that star actress Um Da-hae, 30, who plays the female student, is “his woman.”
Korean gangsters invade Manila
The Manila Times
THE Philippine National Police (PNP) was warned Monday against the entry into the country of Korean criminal syndicates that wanted to establish their illegal network in the country.
Did you know that every 15 seconds a woman is beaten in the U.S.? That every two minutes someone in the U.S. is raped or sexually assaulted? And that 40 to 60 percent of Americans of Asian Pacific Islander descent fall into these statistics? It’s quite alarming, isn’t it? Continue Reading »