Obama Backs Policy of South Korea’s President on North
New York Times
President Obama offered an endorsement Tuesday of South Korea’s new president, Park Geun-hye, and her blueprint for defusing tensions with North Korea, but warned that the first move was up to the erratic, often belligerent young leader in Pyongyang, Kim Jong-un.
In a news conference after an Oval Office meeting, Mr. Obama said Ms. Park’s policy, which mixes deterrence with an openness to engagement, is “very compatible with my approach.”
But after weeks of warlike statements from Mr. Kim, which subsided only in recent days, Mr. Obama emphasized that the “burden is on Pyongyang to take meaningful steps to abide by its commitments and obligations, particularly the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”
South Korean president reassures U.S. lawmakers on North Korea
South Korean President Park Geun-hye assured U.S. lawmakers Wednesday that the strength of their alliance and the steps her country has taken will effectively deter provocations from North Korea.
“The Korean government is reacting resolutely but calmly. We are maintaining the highest level of readiness,” Park told told a joint meeting of Congress. She added: “Korea’s economic fundamentals are strong. Its government is equal to the task. And it is backed by the might of our alliance. So long as this continues, you may rest assured no North Korean provocation can succeed.”
Park is on her first overseas trip as president. On Tuesday she met with President Obama at the White House. The two leaders pledged a united front against North Korean aggression in a news conference after their discussions.
Taking on Sen. Chuck Schumer, House member says immigration bill’s family visa changes would hurt Asian-Americans
New York Daily News
The most junior member of New York’s delegation is taking on the state’s most powerful lawmaker on the racial impact of an immigration bill.
Freshman Rep. Grace Meng (D-Queens) wrote Sen. Chuck Schumer on Tuesday, arguing that an immigration overhaul he helped author “contains a number of provisions that are disadvantageous to the Asian American community and detrimental” to the nation.
Meng praised parts of the bill, which is set for a committee vote Thursday, but blasted a change to a program that lets people sponsor their family members for visas.
How Asian Americans became a key White House constituency
The growing influence of Asian Americans in U.S. politics will be on full display Wednesday, as President Obama meets with half a dozen lAsian American leaders this afternoon, and Vice President Biden addresses the Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies gala tonight.
How did Asian Americans get to be such a key political constituency? Both their votes and their donations have made a difference, especially in Obama’s reelection bid.
Asians are quickly becoming a core Democratic group: Exit polling showed Obama and Biden won 73 percent of the Asian vote in 2012, up 11 points from 2008. This represents one of the biggest changes for any group in 2012, at a time when most voting groups shifted away from Obama in 2012. While Hispanics have captured the public’s attention as one of the nation’s most important voting blocs because of their larger numbers, Asian Americans are growing even faster as a share of the electorate.
Most Asian-Americans live in mixed neighborhoods, but exceptions abound, experts say
Medill Reports Chicago (Northwestern Univ. School of Journalism)
Asian-Americans are not only the best educated and fastest growing racial group in this country, they are also more likely than any other race or ethnicity to live in racially diverse neighborhoods, according to a recent Pew study.
Language skills and education levels are factors that affect Asian-American’s ability and desire to live in racially mixed neighborhoods, local experts say.
Of the nearly 17 million Asian-Americans living in this country, according to U.S. census data, the study found that only 11 percent live in an area that is predominantly Asian-American.
“If you look at Chicago, I think that’s generally true because Asian-American communities tend to be more dispersed throughout the city,” said Mark Chiang, associate professor of English and Asian-American studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Twitter diplomacy for Dennis Rodman
Former NBA star Dennis Rodman is tapping his friendship with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to ask for the release of a Korean-American man sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in the North.
“I’m calling on the Supreme Leader of North Korea or as I call him ‘Kim’, to do me a solid and cut Kenneth Bae loose,” Rodman said on Twitter. He later called the tweet a direct response to a Seattle Times editorial that dared him to ask Kim for the release if the two are really buddies.
Rodman visited North Korea in February and sat next to Kim as they watched an exhibition basketball game. His trip came at a time of high tension between Pyongyang and Washington and was not endorsed by the U.S. State Department.
Am I racist?
According to an online test developed by Harvard psychologists, I have a moderate preference toward white people.
I — a liberal white male who deeply cares about racial equity — was quicker to assign positive words (e.g., joy, love, peace) to faces of white people and negative words (e.g., awful, failure, hurt) to faces of African Americans. I feel shock, shame, and disgust. The fact that 27 percent of the 732,881 people who took the test had the same result, while another 27 percent had a “strong preference” toward white people, provides some consolation but not much.
Seoul Tackles Rising Refugee Inflow
Wall Street Journal
The 25-year-old man arrived in South Korea in October 2011 after he fled Iran for what he identified as religious reasons. He was from a conservative Muslim family but said he found Christianity in Iran’s underground church movement. After receiving threats over his secret worship from members of his community, including his father and cousins, he fled abroad.
The man entered South Korea on a forged passport, a fact that immigration authorities say he admitted to in March this year when submitting his application for asylum. His representatives say South Korea was meant to be a stop on the way to Canada, where he planned to apply for refugee status. But after arriving in South Korea, the broker he had paid to take him to Canada disappeared, according to his lawyers.
After hearing from relatives about a summons from a court in Iran to appear on charges of apostasy, his lawyers say the man immediately filed an application for refugee status at an immigration center in Seoul.
Rookies poised for big K stats
Hyun-Jin Ryu, Los Angeles Dodgers
Age: 26; MLB career starts: 7; Player Rater SP ranking: 36th
Stuff: Many scouting reports during the winter, at the time the Dodgers signed Ryu to a six-year, $36 million contract after paying a $25.7 million posting fee, had the left-hander’s stuff ranging as high as that of a No. 3 or 4 starter to as low as that of a situational reliever. Ryu’s changeup is the key to his sticking in the rotation: It’s his best pitch, he uses it often against righties (30 percent usage) and opponents overall have batted .222 against it. Meanwhile, his delivery is deceptive enough to completely fluster lefties — hence the “reliever” chatter — as they’re batting just .176/.243/.294 against him.
Adjustment period? Hitters might begin to catch up with Ryu the more times they see him; the San Francisco Giants, who on Sunday became the first team to face him for the second time during the regular season, enjoyed more success against him (4 runs, 8 hits, only 2 K’s) in meeting No. 2. Two years ago, “60 Feet 6 Inches” examined pitchers’ prospects for success during their proverbial “second trip around the league,” and the telling tale was that strikeout artists tended to fare better than finesse types during that phase. Ryu’s current 251-K pace might paint such a strikeout-artist picture, but if he’s not a traditional flamethrower — his average fastball velocity thus far is 90.0 mph — is he subject to that? I wonder.
Korean American artist sculpts dual identity
Golden Gate Express (SF State Univ.)
A young man in clay-smudged jeans sits on a stool, steps on a pedal and molds a heap of clay with quiet finesse. The wheel spins the now curvy tower of clay like the gears turning in his head. He asks, “What would you like me to make?”
The tower is cut with a wire and reassembled into the lid, bowl and spout of a teapot. The rest is manipulated into a tall vase.
This is 27-year-old studio art major Nick Oh’s nature as an artist — calm, skilled and prolific. Although he’s described by classmates as mysterious and keeping to himself, his art speaks volumes.
Oh’s most ambitious piece, the slightly larger than life-size figure of himself — sitting cross-legged nude and eating American items (a football and McDonalds cup) out of Chinese take-out boxes — features about 300 racial slurs and jokes painted on the bare “skin” fired with a clear glaze.
South Korea presses North for talks on crisis at joint industrial zone
South Korea on Thursday warned North Korea of serious consequences if it rejects an offer for talks about the dire situation at their shared manufacturing zone where Pyongyang has halted activity amid recent tensions.
The South Korean Unification Ministry spokesman Kim Hyung-seok urged the North to respond to the offer of talks by noon Friday, saying South Koreans inside the zone, the Kaesong Industrial Complex, are facing “serious difficulties due to lack of food and medical supplies.”
Kim said that if Pyongyang turns down the offer, Seoul would have no choice but to take “grave” measures regarding the zone. He did not specify what those measures would be.
Top US general foresees ‘prolonged provocation’ by North Korea
Christian Science Monitor
Belligerence by North Korea, coinciding with Kim Jong-un’s ascent as leader, is likely to continue for a ‘prolonged’ period, Gen. Martin Dempsey said Wednesday after a trip to China. He believes China’s military to be as ‘concerned’ as the US about North Korea’s actions.
S.Korean software mogul wins parliamentary seat
AFP via Google News
Popular South Korean software mogul and former presidential candidate Ahn Cheol-Soo has finally won elected office with a thumping by-election victory in Seoul.
Running as a liberal independent, Ahn won 60.5 percent of the vote against 32.8 percent for his ruling party rival in Wednesday’s ballot for a northeastern district of the capital.
“Please watch my new start,” Ahn said in a statement after his victory.
Is L.A. City Council Candidate John Choi a No-Show?
Los Angeles City Council District 13 candidate John Choi is getting slammed by his opponent, Mitch O’Farrell. He says Choi has shown a disturbing “pattern” of being a “no-show” at important candidates’ forums.
“Voters deserve the right to hear about our experience, our ideas, and to ask the tough questions and evaluate for themselves how we deal with complicated issues,” O’Farrell says in a recent press release.
CD 13 is one of the most coveted political jobs in Los Angeles, where either Choi or O’Farrell will represent the Tri-Hipster Area of Hollywood, Silver Lake, and Echo Park and find himself in perfect position to run for higher office. The Choi campaign says O’Farrell is full of malarkey.
“John has been to multiple forums this election, attending many during the primary, and is fully accessible to voters,” Choi campaign consultant Mike Shimpock tells L.A. Weekly via email. “Perhaps Mitch should spend more time talking to voters instead of documenting our schedule.”
Glass ceiling: Asian Americans still under-represented in Silicon Valley leadership
San Jose Mercury News
We put these same questions to leaders including CEO Meg Whitman, CEO Tim Cook and COO Sandberg, whose Silicon Valley workforce in HP, Apple and Facebook is largely Asian American but whose leadership teams posted on their web sites are conspicuously lacking in Asian Americans.
While the proportion of Asian American high tech workers in Silicon Valley has grown from 38 percent in 2000 to over 50 percent in 2010, their representation on senior executive teams is only 11 percent. In board rooms, their presence has declined from 8.8 percent to 8.3 percent. And even though Chinese Americans constitute the largest Asian group, their board representation has dropped from 5 percent to 3 percent.
Asian American women appear to face a double-pane glass ceiling. Women are 17 percent of boards and 16 percent of senior executives in Silicon Valley, but Asian American women are less than 1 percent in both. These are red flags missing in the public conversation about the corporate glass ceiling.
Korean Group: No Remaining Objections to Proposed Comfort Memorial
Patch.com (Fort Lee, N.J.)
Following a now nearly month-long controversy surrounding the proposed Fort Lee Comfort Memorial, Korean American Civic Empowerment (KACE) is now striking a more conciliatory tone and deferring to local groups on some aspects of the design to which it previously objected.
The Fort Lee Korean American Vietnam War Veterans originally proposed the memorial honoring 200,000 women forced into sexual service by the Japanese Imperial Army during the Second World War. KACE, based in New York and Hackensack, says that it became involved because the proposed wording of the monument was “inappropriate.”
The controversy deepened when KACE president Dongchan Kim said in a letter that the council would “face a strong opposition from the Korean American community” at the polls should the wording go unchanged.
Dr. Billy Kim: The first Asian elected as president of the 40-million-member Baptist World Alliance
Jackson Free Press (Miss.)
Born in 1934, Kim was raised in what is now North Korea during a time where “war” and “home” were synonymous in his country.
“I wanted to be a politician at first,” Kim told the Jackson Free Press. “I wanted to change the lives of poor people. I felt like politicians were capable of doing that.”
Born into a poor family and the eldest of three siblings, life in Korea was difficult for Kim and his family, especially during the long Korean War of the 1950s. Kim went to work as a houseboy for the U.S. military under Sgt. Carl Powers. Undoubtedly, it was fate that brought the two men together. Powers was responsible for changing Kim’s life and introducing him to Christianity.
“I was able to attend college in the U.S. with the help of an American solider I worked for,” Kim said. “All he asked of me was to spread the word of Christianity, human values and democracy around the world.”
Cho Yong-pil Makes Koreans ‘Bounce’ Again
Wall Street Journal
Move over Psy, here’s the real “oppa.” Singer-songwriter Cho Yong-pil has knocked Psy from the top of the chart with his first album in a decade.
The 63-year-old made his comeback Tuesday with his 19th album ‘Hello.’ The showcase in Seoul on the same rainy day drew some 400 people from the media and thousands of fans.
Mr. Cho for the first time recorded songs written for him, and partnered foreign engineers such as Tony Maserati and Ian Cooper. The result: an entirely new sound.
P!nk Remains Atop Hot 100, PSY Enters Top 10
K-pop star PSY blasts into the Hot 100′s top 10 (No. 12 to No. 5) with “Gentleman,” which wins top Streaming and Digital Gainer honors following its first full week of availability. The song follows his breakout U.S. hit “Gangnam Style,” which became the first video ever to reach 1 billion views worldwide. (It now stands at 1.6 billion.) “Gangnam” peaked at No. 2 on the Hot 100 for seven weeks last fall (before YouTube data began contributing to the chart) and has sold 4.5 million downloads.
“Gentleman” bounds into the Hot 100′s top 10 fueled primarily by a 60% gain in streaming, as it tallies a second week at No. 1 on Streaming Songs with 13.9 million U.S. streams. It had registered 8.6 million streams in the U.S. in just shy of two days since its posting (on April 13) in last week’s chart tracking period. (Now up to 216 million YouTube views worldwide [as of this posting], the song set the mark for the most views [18.9 million] for a video in its first day on the site, according to sources at YouTube, as previously reported. The Hot 100, however, counts only U.S. views in its weekly tabulation.)
Watch out! Angry Asian girl is sharing her feelings
Los Angeles Times
‘Angry Little Girls,’ an online comic strip about Asian American female rage, is coming to TV this summer. Yay! Another outlet for all that fury.
Check out our article on Lela Lee’s new TV show from the October 2012 issue of KoreAm.
N.C. native Ken Jeong has a funny way of doing things
Charlotte Observer (N.C.)
There’s a pivotal scene near the beginning of the crime comedy “Pain & Gain” (opening Friday) in which an angry, manipulative motivational speaker named Jonny Wu yells to his prospective flock of suckers: “ Don’t be a don’t-er. Do be a doer!”
The man who plays Mr. Wu? Ken Jeong.
Ken Jeong? Doer.
This is a guy who grew up in Greensboro, graduated from Page High School at age 16 (winning the city’s Youth of the Year award along the way), was pre-med at Duke University, then a med student at UNC Chapel Hill, then an internal medicine resident in New Orleans, then a physician at a clinic in L.A. until 2006.
Cincinnati Becoming Choo-Ville
Blog Red Machine
When the announcement was made of the three-team trade involving the Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians and Arizona Diamondbacks in which the Reds acquired Shin-Soo Choo, there was a bit of a flinch from a portion of the Reds fanbase. One, highly touted shortstop prospect Didi Gregorius was sent to the D’backs. Two, despite the high number of strikeouts, Drew Stubbs, who went to Cleveland, had his fair share of supporters. Three, Choo will be a free agent after this season.
Twenty-one games into the 2013 season, I’m sure the vast majority of those that flinched at the deal aren’t doing that so much these days. All Choo has done is win over Reds fans at an alarming rate. Along the way, he has produced in the one spot in the Reds lineup that was deemed the blackest of holes: leadoff.
All Choo has done is produce. After going 2-for-4 in today’s Reds 1-0 win, he owns a triple slash of .392/.534/.608. They’re not quite video game numbers, but sometimes you think Choo’s just merely living in one. Aside from last night’s MLB action, here’s how Choo ranks in some prominent NL statistical categories…
North Korea’s ‘hotel of doom’ opening debacle continues
This was going to be the year.
The year that the infamous North Korean “hotel of doom” would finally open, allowing the world’s more adventurous tourists to gawk at whatever ridiculous or bewildering or extravagant interior North Korea dreamed up for the colossal glass-plated money drain that has stood empty on the Pyongyang skyline for nearly three decades.
Hometown Advantage | Jung Bae’s Seoul
New York Times
“There’s so much more than PSY, bibimbap and Gangnam,” says Jung Bae, 40, of Seoul, her hometown that was recently featured in T’s travel issue. It’s understandable why Bae, an artist and self-professed “cultural mediator,” has grown weary of the global spotlight on one singer, one bowl of food, and one neighborhood. And as someone who’s juggled multiple creative professions — writer (the author of two books: “The Devil Wears Cheap Prada” in 2007 and “Shopping and the City” in 2006), the former editor in chief of Nylon Korea, the current creative director of Absolut Vodka Korea and Kiehl’s Korea, and the current publisher of the art tabloid Hello, Garosu-gil (translation: tree-lined street) — Bae doesn’t mind the mainstream. But what she really loves is seeking out neighborhoods and establishments that lie at popularity’s tipping point.
Take, for example, Bae’s decision to move her office last summer from the bustling, ever-crowded Garosugil in Gangnam to a sleepy back street in Jong-no, Gangbuk. It’s an area that’s easy for tourists to miss, but impossible to ignore — with its quiet, narrow walkways and charming, historic buildings — once you’ve stumbled upon it. “My new office neighborhood reminds me a lot of New York City’s meatpacking district, before it became crowded and developed,” Bae says.
Here, Bae opens up her little black book to share her favorite things and places in Seoul.
Current home: I live in Sangam-dong, Mapo-gu, near the World Cup Stadium.
Weinberg junior recognized for work with Campus Kitchens
Daily Northwestern (Northwestern Univ.)
Weinberg junior Sarah Suh spent her Sundays for the last three years delivering leftover food from Northwestern dining halls to Evanston residents in need. Because of her efforts, she was one of five students nationwide recognized last week for taking a stand against hunger.
On Thursday, Sodexo, Inc., nuCuisine’s parent company, honored Suh’s charitable work with the Stephen J. Brady STOP Hunger Scholarship, worth $10,000.
Suh is the outgoing president of NU’s Campus Kitchens. Since stumbling upon the organization at an activity fair her freshman year, Suh has focused on the neediest members of the community. She started working on the group’s meal shifts, which involve packaging leftover dining hall food to be delivered to Campus Kitchens’ clients. She became more invested in the group after she started working delivery shifts.
South Korea’s Concept of Fashion
The government-sponsored initiative brought a quintet of Korean fashion designers to New York Fashion Week for a sixth season.
story by DAVID YI
photographs by MICHAEL IP
Seoul has become serious about fashion as of late—especially on an international scale. Dubbed the “new Milan” by fashion critics and editors alike, the city has become a burgeoning hub for all things sartorial and high fashion.
The taste-making downtown New York boutique Opening Ceremony just had South Korea as its latest featured country. K-pop group 2NE1 made a style splash on a global level with their Adidas Originals campaign with Nicki Minaj and Skye Ferreira. And then there’s Concept Korea, a runway show sponsored by the Korean government—now in its sixth season—to promote Korean fashion in the U.S. at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, at Lincoln Center in New York.
The show is part of the South Korean government’s attempt to break into the tough world of American fashion. South Korea’s most promising designers were chosen by a small group of fashion’s most influential, including Fern Mallis, founder of New York Fashion Week, Colleen Sherin, fashion director at Saks Fifth Avenue, Carol Song, head buyer at Opening Ceremony, and others. Continue Reading »
A 22-year-old Korean American K-pop singer was arrested by police in Seoul for selling marijuana, according to news reports.
Daniel Chae of boy group DMTN, formerly known as Dalmatian, was booked on Tuesday at the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency on suspicion of selling pot to acquaintances on numerous occasions between September and December, according to Yonhap News.
A statement issued by the singer’s record label acknowledged that Chae distributed the drug but denied that he ever smoked it, according to allkpop.
“At first, the prosecutors suspected him of smoking it himself and ran a drug test on his hair and urine,” the statement read. “However, all his tests came back negative. He was acquitted on the charge that he smoked marijuana, and was investigated for the other charges.” Continue Reading »
An American Army soldier was taken in for questioning in connection with a high-speed car chase. Photo via Yonhap
A high-speed chase in Seoul ended with a U.S. military serviceman shot by a South Korean police officer.
According to reports from Chosun Ilbo, on Saturday March 2, authorities arrived outside of the Hamilton Hotel in the Itaewon district of South Korea’s capital after receiving emergency calls about shots fired in the area. Officers attempted to detain two U.S. soldiers and one other individual outside of the hotel.
The three individuals resisted arrest and fled in a vehicle, hitting three pedestrians. During the chase, which hit speeds of over 100 mph, three other vehicles were struck. In a strange turn of events, police initially lost the men due to traffic but one officer jumped into a cab to follow the vehicle. Continue Reading »