North Korea Asks Mongolia for Food Aid
Wall Street Journal
As North Korea heads into the time of year when its food supplies run low, it appears to be looking for new donors.
At a courtesy call on the Mongolian president last week, Pyongyang’s new ambassador made a request for food aid, according to the official website for the head of state.
“North Korea may face (a) severe food shortage,” Ambassador Hong Gyu told President Elbegdorj, according to the account. Mr. Hong then asked for Mongolia to consider the possibility of delivering food aid to North Korea, the account said.
South Korean Official Cancels Expected Japan Trip
New York Times
Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se of South Korea has canceled a possible trip to Japan out of anger after Japanese Cabinet ministers visited a controversial war shrine, South Korean officials said on Monday.
Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso and other Japanese cabinet ministers prayed at the Yasukuni Shrine over the weekend. Tokyo said on Monday that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe didn’t visit but donated a religious ornament marking the shrine’s spring festival with the title “prime minister” on it.
Jasper Kim: North Korea Needs the Internet, So Let’s Help
Wall Street Journal
Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen’s recent WSJ interview related to their North Korea trip was a real eye-opener. In it, the Google executives noted that the closed regime possessed the basic hardware to allow its citizens to plug into the Internet.
So the only thing needed is for Kim Jong Eun to literally “flick a switch” to provide Internet access for his nearly 25 million information-deprived citizenry.
As it stands now, North Korea is about the only country in the world almost totally unplugged to the Internet. South Korea, in contrast, has one of the highest broadband Internet penetration rates in the world, and is home to Samsung Electronics, one of the world leaders in mobile technology.
Park meets with Microsoft founder Gates
President Park Geun-hye met with Microsoft founder Bill Gates on Monday where she was expected to seek advice from the technology czar about her vision to use information technology as the main tool to boost economic growth.
Park has often mentioned Gates and late Apple founder Steve Jobs as examples while pitching her “creative economy” initiative that calls for creating new markets and jobs by developing innovative technologies in the information and communications sector and then combining them with other areas.
“I have made such remarks like ‘As examples of talents we need in our times, there are people like Chairman Gates’ and I am pleased to meet with you today,” Park said at the start of the meeting, adding that she feels like she has known Gates for a long time.
Park Chosen Among TIME’s 100 Most Influential People
President Park Geun-hye and Samsung Electronics vice chairman Kwon Oh-hyun have been picked for TIME’s annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world for 2013.
The magazine chose Park because she is the first female president of South Korea who is coping with the threat of provocation from North Korea despite critical views about her “political parentage.”
Pyongyang Palace Intrigue [OPINION]
New York Times
North Korea’s recent nuclear brinkmanship is a sign not of strength but of weakness. No matter how hard this Communist dynasty tries to conceal this fact from the outside world, problems at home — especially strains within the regime itself — are an important factor behind its aggressive external behavior.
The regime’s current woes are largely the handiwork of Kim Jong-il, who died almost a year and a half ago. He was not just a bad ruler, but a disastrous one. He was the mastermind behind the epic failure of North Korea’s economy, which, on his watch, recorded the worst performance of any industrialized state. And he was the architect of the only peacetime famine ever to befall an urban, literate society. Most of that disaster’s victims were officially designated members of “hostile classes,” or enemies of the state, so the regime hardly mourned their deaths. But Kim Jong-il’s tenure was ruinous for the entire regime, including his presumptive legatees.
For Once, Someone Got An L.A. Food Show Right: Bourdain’s Parts Unknown Koreatown Episode
For the second installment of his new CNN show Parts Unknown, which aired last night, Anthony Bourdain explored L.A.’s Koreatown. The show was insightful, revealing and pretty much spot-on, giving an accurate depiction of both the fraught history of K-Town and its current status as one of our city’s culinary and cultural gems. Which is a relief, seeing as no food TV show ever seems to get Los Angeles right, including past L.A.-themed episodes of Bourdain’s Travel Channel show, No Reservations.
Using chef Roy Choi and artist David Choe as guides, Bourdain explored Koreatown through the lens of its history, and in particular the L.A. riots in 1992. Choi took Bourdain to the roof where Choi had watched the neighborhood burn for days on end, and Choe explained the effect of having society fall apart around him as a teenager, even as he himself took part in the mayhem. Thanks (I’m assuming) to CNN’s access to news footage, the show had a ton of footage of Koreatown during the riots, and 21 years later the images of an entire swath of the city devolving into a war zone are still gut-wrenchingly shocking.
Sang Yoon on the History of the Father’s Office Burger
The Father’s Office Burger, possibly one of the most divisive and beloved burgers in LA, was conceptualized by Sang Yoon, chef and owner of Father’s Office. After leaving the world of fine dining, Yoon wanted to open a very simple, casual restaurant with great beer and bar snacks in the vein of Spain’s tapas bars. One of the original menu items was a burger, though it was unlike any burger anyone had ever created. Some argue that Daniel Boulud’s db Burger was the burger that launched the current gourmet burger trend, but it was actually Yoon’s creation at the original Father’s Office on Santa Monica’s Montana Avenue that did it.
Dodgers, Ryu fade in 7-5 loss to Orioles in 1st game of doubleheader
AP via FOX News
Staked to an early four-run lead, left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu was in ideal position to earn his third major league win and help the Los Angeles Dodgers end their longest losing streak of the season.
Unfortunately for Ryu and the Dodgers, the South Korean rookie couldn’t maintain the advantage. He allowed two home runs — more than in his previous three starts combined — and Los Angeles ended up losing to the Baltimore Orioles 7-5 Saturday in the opener of a split-doubleheader.
Ryu gave up five runs and eight hits in six innings, walking two and striking out six. Although the 26-year-old didn’t take the loss, he felt compelled to apologize for his performance after the game.
“I can’t really make any excuses. I wish the outcome was better,” he said through a translator. “But I’ll come back and do better next time. I’ll just consider it a big learning experience.”
‘Orphan’: A Novel Imagines Life In North Korea
Last week, The Orphan Master’s Son was awarded the Pulitzer prize for fiction. Weekend Edition Sunday host Rachel Martin spoke with author Adam Johnson last year about his book. In that interview, Johnson explained that as part of his research he actually managed to finagle a visit to North Korea. He said his government minders maintained tight control over his itinerary, but they couldn’t hide everything.
Setting up shop in Korea, with some help
When Benjamin Hughes, an American arbitrator and mediator, and a 10-year resident of Korea, decided to open up an office space in Seoul recently, he was already on familiar ground.
“I was previously working as a senior foreign legal consultant at a major Korean law firm so I had some idea as to how business was done in Korea,” Hughes says. That is when he turned to The Executive Center (TEC) inside the Seoul Finance Center to rent a serviced office so he could use the space full time to focus on his practice. Thus far, the move has proven lucrative, and his work flow is running smoothly.
“The facilities are excellent and the staff at TEC is very helpful, as well as bilingual in English and Korean.”
South Korea Vows Military Reply if North Provokes It
New York Times
President Park Geun-hye of South Korea ordered the country’s military on Monday to deliver a strong and immediate response to any North Korean provocation, the latest turn in a war of words that has become a test of resolve for the relatively unproven leaders in both the North and South.
“I consider the current North Korean threats very serious,” Ms. Park told the South’s generals. “If the North attempts any provocation against our people and country, you must respond strongly at the first contact with them without any political consideration.
“As top commander of the military, I trust your judgment in the face of North Korea’s unexpected surprise provocation,” she added.
N.K. leader may attack to save face: U.S. lawmaker
With North Korea churning out military threats, a key concern is that its young leader Kim Jong-un may reach a point of no return in provocative steps, a U.S. congressman said Sunday.
Rep. Peter King (R-NY), former chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said North Korea’s statements may not be an “empty threat.”
“Kim Jong-un is trying to establish himself. He’s trying to be the tough guy. He is 28, 29 years old, and he keeps going further and further out, and I don’t know if he can get himself back in,” he said in an interview with ABC News.
South Korean Media, Public Back U.S. Show of Force
Wall Street Journal
Recent announcements from the U.S. military of the deployment of advanced weaponry to South Korea as part of exercises have been designed to send a message to North Korea about the consequences of following through on its warnings of attack against the South and its allies.
Without question, Pyongyang has taken notice of the potential for a devastating counter-attack from the U.S. with its state-of-the-art nuclear-capable bombers and fighters. But with a young and largely unknown leader, it is far from clear whether displays of force will make North Korea less inclined to act rashly or spur it into lashing out.
North Korea Vows to Keep Nuclear Arms and Fix Economy
New York Times
North Korea’s leader on Sunday announced a “new strategic line” that defied warnings from Washington, saying that his country was determined to rebuild its economy in the face of international sanctions while simultaneously expanding its nuclear weapons arsenal, which the ruling party called “the nation’s life.”
Anniversary of Oikos shooting massacre in Oakland evokes painful memories
San Jose Mercury News (Calif.)
June Lee, executive director of the Korean Community Center of the East Bay, said the shooting and resulting trauma across the Korean-American community emphasized the need for more services.
“The community had no awareness of how to deal with it,” she said. “They find it really horrifying. In the Korean community if you have cancer, people will talk about it. But if you have mental illness, nobody wants to talk about it.”
Lee said the city and various nonprofits have expressed interest in grass-roots initiatives that would help tackle these issues, but so far nothing has been done.
Illegal alien pleads guilty to sex trafficking South Korean women
A South Korean man, who entered the U.S. on a temporary visa and then illegally remained in the United States, pleaded guilty to transporting female illegal aliens into the state of Mississippi for financial gain in connection with a sex trafficking organization, according to federal officials in a press statement released Friday.
The guilty plea follows an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs agents and officers from the Biloxi, Miss., Police Department.
According to court documents, Moonseop Kim posted an advertisement on the Internet offering Korean female escort services in September 2012. Undercover officers with the Biloxi police responded to the ad and conducted a sting operation which resulted in the arrest of the 54-year-old Kim and a Korean female.
St. Vincent Medical Center, Los Angeles
On Monday, officials at St. Vincent Medical Center announced that the facility has opened a 30-bed unit for Korean-American patients.
The unit is staffed by Korean-American nurses who speak fluent Korean. In addition, the unit features Korean cuisine, TV channels and signage throughout the facility.
According to hospital officials, the number of Korean-American patients seeking care at St. Vincent has grown significantly over the last 10 years.
Girls’ Generation’s ‘Gee’ breaks 100 mil. YouTube views
“Gee” by South Korean K-pop group, “Girls’ Generation” passed 100 million hits on YouTube Monday, according to the global online video website.
The video reached the milestone three years and 10 months after it was released on June 8, 2009, becoming the second video by a Korean singer or group to hit the record following rapper Psy’s “Gangnam Style.”
South Korean Shin-Soo Choo already impressing Reds fans
Choo is only the third Asian to play for the Reds (pitchers Jung Keun Bong and Sun-Woo Kim are the others), and is, by far, the best South Korean hitter ever to play in the major leagues (of the 13 South Koreans to play in MLB, 11 are/were pitchers).
His reputation as a nice guy – hard-working, unfailingly polite and yet confident enough in his English and himself to exchange wisecracks with his teammates – arrived in Reds camp before he did.
S. Korean golfer [KJ Choi] to enter Asia Pacific Golf Hall of Fame
South Korean PGA Tour veteran Choi Kyoung-ju will enter the Asia Pacific Golf Hall of Fame, his agency said on Monday.
In a press release, IMG Korea said Choi, 42, will enter the hall in a special induction ceremony in Jakarta, Indonesia in November, during the 2013 Asia Pacific Golf Summit.
Master chef Sang Yoon prepares pigs ear terrine
Los Angeles Times via YouTube
For South Koreans, a familiar tone from Pyongyang
As a child, Lee Yoon Jung used to hide underground with her classmates when the sirens rang at her school. The emergency drills were held in case of a North Korean attack.
Lee, now 46, has children of her own, who do not have such exercises at their schools in Ulsan, South Korea.
It represents the attitude shift over recent decades of tension between the two Koreas. South Koreans have become accustomed to living next to their northern neighbor, which often releases bellicose statements and calls it a “group of puppet traitors.”
U.S. May Have Trouble Gauging North Korean Nuclear Test
New York Times
Even if North Korea follows through with its threat to conduct a third nuclear test, Washington and its allies will have difficulty determining whether the device detonated is made of plutonium or uranium, a prominent American nuclear scientist and South Korean officials said on Tuesday.
Whether North Korea will set off a uranium bomb is a question high on the minds of policy makers and analysts in Northeast Asia. A failure to answer it would complicate their efforts to assess North Korea’s nuclear weapons capabilities.
U.N. urged to probe North Korean leaders’ role in abuses
Reuters via Yahoo News
North Korea’s leaders are likely to be the target of a U.N. investigation into their personal responsibility for rapes, torture, executions, arbitrary arrests and abductions, following an expert report published on Tuesday.
The report by Marzuki Darusman, an Indonesian lawyer who is the U.N. Special Rapporteur on human rights in North Korea, said North Korea’s “grave, systematic and widespread” human rights violations ought to be laid bare before the U.N. Human Rights Council and the U.N. General Assembly.
More diversity among Asian Americans than meets the myth
Southern California Public Radio
Many observers regard Asian Americans as the nation’s most successful immigrants. But a new report details how the nation’s fastest-growing racial group is far more diverse a population, socioeconomically and otherwise, than “model minority” myths might indicate.
The stereotype of a generally well-educated, well-paid group doesn’t play out in the report by the Asian Pacific American Legal Center, a civil rights and legal organization in Los Angeles.
While some Asian American groups in Southern California do earn more than non-Latino whites, the study also found that some groups, such as Cambodians, Bangladeshis and Tongans, tend to earn less than blacks and Latinos. And Korean Americans in the region, for example, are as just as likely as Latinos to lack medical insurance.
Big Korean Business Dominates Super Bowl Ads
Big Korean companies flashed their growing global presence with their Super Bowl ads on Sunday.
A total of 37 companies from around the world invested US$300 million in TV commercials during the Super Bowl between the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens in New Orleans, Louisiana on Sunday.
Korean giants like Samsung, Hyundai and Kia all paid a massive share.
Jon Stewart tests Michelle Rhee, defends teachers
Jon Stewart invited Michelle Rhee on “The Daily Show” Monday night and, while he didn’t skewer her the way some Rhee critics would have liked, he kept challenging her about whether her brand of school reform unfairly targets teachers. He also said something that Rhee and other reformers could take to be something of a slap: that there has been “no real innovation in education since John Dewey.”
See the video here.
L.A. CHEF SANG YOON GOES FOR PIG’S BLOOD SOUP AT RUEN PAIR
Sang Yoon, the chef behind L.A.’s Father’s Office (and its world-famous burger), avant Asian bistro Lukshon and the forthcoming Helms Bakery, a project that sees the chef partnering with Sherry Yard (pastry chef for Wolfgang Puck) to re-open the classic L.A. institution that closed in the late 60s and turn it into a “bakery/cafe rooted in the old Americana,” Yoon tells us. Read on for his late-night picks.
Where’s your favorite place to go in L.A. for a late-night bite after you leave the kitchen?
The thing about L.A., especially the West Side of L.A., is that it’s not really known as a late-night town. But luckily, we have an amazing Koreatown and Thaitown so between the two — which are in the middle of the city — you have a lot of late-night options. In the Thai neighborhood there’s a place called Ruen Pair. It’s very popular amongst the Thai population — it’s quite authentic. [It's also] a favorite among chefs. I know several guys who end up over there and I think they’re open til at least 3 or 4 in the morning.
Crayon Pop Subvert Sexy Stereotypes
Stereotypical and over-abundant may be appropriate words to describe the current crop of K-pop singers. There are so many generic bands with similar looks that it is difficult to distinguish one from another.
But Crayon Pop defy such stereotypes by thumbing their nose at sexy girl bands and they are far from the cookie-cutter mold.
On anniversary of Linsanity craze, Jeremy Lin spends day nursing sprained ankle with Houston Rockets
New York Daily News
Lin was on the verge of being cut by the Knicks last Feb. 4 when then-coach Mike D’Antoni inserted him off the end of the bench for a 25-point outburst to lead the Knicks to a victory over the Nets, igniting a season-saving seven-game winning streak.
South Korean teenager youngest player in field
Monterey County Herald
South Korean teenager Si Woo Kim simply cannot believe that it’s all happening. Back in December, the 17-year-old’s wild ride first began when he became the youngest player to ever earn his PGA Tour card at what was the final Q-School where players could advance directly to the tour.
Kim made it through all four stages of Q-School, including pre-qualifying in September.
A few weeks ago, Kim’s good fortune continued when he got a call from Monterey Peninsula Foundation CEO Steve John, telling him that he’d be getting a sponsor’s exemption to play in this week’s AT&T Pro-Am.
Jury hung in case of man accused of murdering his business partner
Jurors deliberating the fate of Joong Rhee, who is accused of murdering his business partner, were unable to reach a unanimous verdict, district attorney’s spokeswoman Lynn Kimbrough said Friday afternoon.
Influence of Asian American, Pacific Islander voters grows
When officials of the Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Association learned that nearly all the candidates invited to this year’s voter education forum had agreed to attend, they chalked it up to more than just the longstanding tradition of the event.
They credited the growing influence of voters from the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities.
Asian-American women a growing presence on police forces
Bergen County Record (N.J.)
When Samantha Oh began work as a Bergen County sheriff’s investigator this summer, she made history as the first female Asian-American to join the county force as a sworn officer.
The 36-year-old mother of two also joined a small but growing legion of women police officers of Asian ancestry in New Jersey who have challenged traditional gender roles and overcome cultural stigmas associated with police work in order to pursue their dreams.
Perlmutter Under Fire For Racially Charged Attack Ad
U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Lakewood) was likely hoping to tap into voter worries about outsourcing when he unveiled an ad this week claiming that his Republican challenger, former CoorsTek CEO Joe Coors, shipped American jobs overseas. But the tactic may have backfired on the embattled three-term lawmaker, who is now facing allegations that the controversial ad amounts to race baiting.
From DC to DMZ, a Newfound Identity
The Hoya (Georgetown Univ.)
Being born in Seoul, South Korea, growing up in Sydney, Australia, and attending a university in the United States, my identity has never been easy to pin down. After finishing my freshman year at Georgetown, I was notified by the South Korean Department of Defense that I had to fulfill a 21-month military service in order to keep my South Korean citizenship. I immediately accepted.
Korean singer Psy tops UK charts with Internet hit
South Korean singer Psy jumped to the top of the British pop charts on Sunday with the quirky dance track “Gangnam Style”, an Internet phenomenon that has clocked up more than 300 million views on YouTube.
Annals of Music: Factory Girls
The New Yorker
K-pop, the musical phenomenon which is sweeping Asia and may yet come to the West. Over the last two decades, South Korea, a country of around fifty million, has somehow figured out how to make pop hits for more than a billion and a half other Asians in countries like Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, and Thailand, contributing two billion dollars a year to Korea’s economy.
South Korean movie star shines in L.A.
Los Angeles Times
It’s a typical weekday at the Beverly Hills Four Seasons. Clint Eastwood is signing autographs just outside the hotel’s front window for a cluster of near-frantic fans. A parade of the wealthy and connected pass through the lobby on their way to lunch at the hotel, ground zero for industry deal-making. Inside the bar, however, no one gives even a sideways glance at the handsome, tousle-haired actor Byung-hun Lee, who at first appears somewhat unsure of himself as he speaks quietly in halting English.
Sang Yoon’s Fast Food Addiction
We all have them. No matter what we know about fast food (pink slime!), everyone has something they still crave, desire, or in some cases, have no other choice to eat on the road. We asked some of our local chefs to divulge their dirty little fast-food secrets, because even those deep-rooted in the local, seasonal, artisanal philosophy will fall prey to the greasy, salty pull at some point. Next up: Sang Yoon, known for non-fast food burgers at Father’s Office and fantastic chicken pops at Lukshon.
Adam WarRock Embarks on No Friends Tour 2012
Internet hip-hop sensation Adam WarRock (AKA: Eugene Ahn) is a longtime ally of GeekDad, and our blog recently gave back in the form of sponsorship. His current tour – he’s on the road throughout September with fellow members of the rap clique NO FRIENDS – was funded both by special releases from the artists themselves and a little scratch from like-minded businesses and communities such as GeekDad and Rutgers University’s Geek Week.
L.A. Gets Lucky
The NYC-based event makes its L.A. debut, bringing a dash of Asian culture and a sprinkle of celebrity chefs.
by EUGENE YI
On another of Los Angeles’ impossibly pleasant late-summer nights, about a thousand people filed into the H.D. Buttercup furniture store on the Westside for an Asian night market, American-style. So instead of rows of fermented unidentifiables sold in unmarked jars by barking merchants, patrons sampled Asian-inspired small plates and drank lemongrass-infused cocktails while sculptures of Buddha looked on, placidly, as always. Nearby sectional sofas seemed primed, though, for a tipsy tragedy later on in the evening.
The New York-based media and marketing company Luckyrice has been hosting its well-received take on the night market for three years in the Big Apple. For its first foray out west, founder Danielle Chang tapped chef Sang Yoon, creator of the Father’s Office burger, which Esquire magazine last year called one of the best burgers in the world. Continue Reading »