Tag Archives: south korea

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South Korean Millennials Among the Most Pessimistic About the Future

by JAMES S. KIM | @james_s_kim
jamesskim@iamkoream.com

South Korea’s education and economy are ranked among the best in the world, but the country’s young adults seem to be pessimistic about their future prospects.

A recent survey by the Pew Research Center indicates that Korean millennials–young people who came of age politically, economically and socially as the new millennium began, generally aged 18 to 33–have a bleak outlook, compared to fellow millennials around the world.

Most South Korean millennials are particularly downbeat about their country’s direction (2 out of 10 are satisfied), and over half of them are doubtful of their future, as opposed to American millennials and European young adults. Over half of the millennial respondents said that children today would not be better off financially than their parents.

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We’ve seen how some South Korean students have vocalized their discontent with the intense education system, and the numbers share a similar theme. Only 32 percent of young people believe education is very important to securing a better future, and 22 percent say hard work is very important to getting ahead in life.

Those aren’t reassuring numbers—Business Insider called the statistics a “surprisingly dark outlook”—especially when Pew notes that South Korea spends a considerable amount of money on education (7.6 percent of its GDP went to education, trailing only Denmark and Iceland among OECD members).

The numbers also point to a significant difference in perspectives between generations. South Koreans 50 and older were somewhat more upbeat about the future, compared to the millennials, but the difference was especially present when it came to views on China and Japan.

Nearly 70 percent of older South Koreans have a favorable view of China, compared to only 40 percent among young adults. According to Pew, South Korea was the only country in the survey where young people had a significantly less positive opinion of China than those 50 and older.

However, young South Koreans are somewhat less pessimistic than their elders when it comes to opinions of Japan–although the majority still hold an unfavorable view. Thirty percent had a favorable view of Japan, compared to just 14 percent among those ages 50 and older.

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Inside a Unidus Condom Factory Ahead Of Export Price Index Release

South Korea Legalizes Adultery, Condom Shares Soar

by STEVE HAN | @steve_han
steve@iamkoream.com

South Korea’s highest court on Thursday lifted its 62-year ban on adultery, leading the stock price of the nation’s top condom and morning-after pill manufacturers to surge, reports the Associated Press.

Latex products manufacturer Unidus Corp.’s stock soared by 15 percent while morning-after birth control pills and pregnancy tester maker Hyundai Pharmaceutical Co Ltd’s recovered earlier losses and increased by 9.7 after the court decision on the country’s Kosdaq market.

Before the adultery ban was abolished, a married person in South Korea who had sex with someone other than his or her spouse was punishable by up to two years in prison. Prosecutors claim that nearly 53,000 South Koreans have been indicted on infidelity charges since 1985, but prison terms were rarely served. With Thursday’s ruling, more than 5,400 people who have been charged with adultery in South Korea in the last seven years could find themselves free of charges.

“Even if adultery should be condemned as immoral, state power should not intervene in individuals’ private lives,” said presiding justice Park Han-chul.

The Constitutional Court had upheld the adultery ban five times since 1990. In October 2008, the ban came close to being abolished, with five out of seven judges deeming the statute unconstitutional. However, the support of six judges is needed to abolish a law in Korea.

Supporters of the adultery ban claimed that it promoted monogamy and family unity. On the other hand, the opponents argued for decades that such a law goes against the fast-changing social trends and that the government shouldn’t have the right to interfere with people’s private lives.

With South Korea lifting the adultery ban, only Taiwan remains as the only East Asian country that consider extramarital affairs as a criminal act. Japan abolished its ban in 1947 while China considers adultery as a ground for divorce.

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Featured image via SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg and Getty Images

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Missing South Korean Teen Joins Islamic State Training Camp

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo
reera@iamkoream.com

A South Korean teenager who went missing in Turkey last month has been receiving training from the Islamic State (IS) militant group, according to South Korea’s national spy agency.

The 18-year-old middle school dropout, identified only by his surname Kim, disappeared on Jan. 10 and was last seen leaving his hotel in the southern Turkish border town of Kilis. According to Kim’s travel guide, Mr. Hong, the teen left the hotel without any explanation. There had been speculation that Kim crossed the border into Syria to voluntarily join the extremist group.

Lee Byung-kee, chief of the National Intelligence Service (NIS), confirmed on Tuesday that Kim has been residing in an undisclosed IS training camp during a meeting with the parliamentary intelligence committee, according to Yonhap News Agency.

The South Korean Foreign Ministry said it has “no intelligence on [Kim’s] whereabouts” and is currently working closely with the Turkish government on locating the teen.

Last month, the South Korean police found photos of IS members on Kim’s computer at home and a series of tweets sent under his Twitter username “sunni mujahideen” that expressed interest in joining the militant group. Police said Kim’s Twitter account shows that he often communicated with another user named “H. abode afriki,” who gave Kim instructions on how to rendezvous with IS members.

Kim had reportedly pleaded his parents to allow him to travel to Turkey to meet a friend there whom he had met online.

Kim is the first South Korean to be recruited by the Islamic State.

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Featured image via Yonhap

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PMS

How to Say Goodbye to the PMS Monster

by JAMES S. KIM | @james_s_kim
jamesskim@iamkoream.com

PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome) is a terrifying monster that attacks every month and leaves a path of destruction and hormones in its wake. Or so they say.

“They” being K-pop singer Lizzy (After School, Orange Caramel) and comedian/singer Park Myung-soo, who collaborated with producer Duble Sidekick for this single. The song, titled “Goodbye PMS,” carries an uplifting tune dedicated to the women who are stricken with PMS monthly—as well as the men who are caught in the blast radius.

Park Myung-soo plays the monster that embodies PMS (fitting, since his initials spell it out) and attacks poor Lizzy during her time of the month. His tactics are the worst possible, as they cause acne breakouts, food cravings, headaches, cramps, emotional sensitivity and irritability cranked to the highest setting.

With a little help from her medications, Lizzy finally says enough is enough and fights the PMS monster: “This is all your fault, PMS. I wont be fooled anymore, don’t come back!” At least until the next month.

PMS 3Park Myung-soo as the PMS monster.

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Golfer Lydia Ko Plans to Retire and Be a Psychologist by 30

by JAMES S. KIM | @james_s_kim
jamesskim@iamkoream.com

There’s no denying that Lydia Ko has had her head in the game since winning her first professional golf event as a 15-year-old amateur. Now still only 17, the Korean New Zealander is already looking ahead to what she wants to do beyond her professional golf career, and it has to do with studying what goes on inside heads.

“I say my plan is to retire when I’m 30 so I’m not just going to go to the beach and hang out for the rest of my life,” Ko told the Associated Press on Wednesday. “There’s always a second career that comes along with it and I’m trying to build up towards it and, because I’m playing a sport, psychology links well with it.”

If you think 30 is an early age to hang up the golf clubs, Ko has done quite a bit already in her few years on the pro circuit. She became the LPGA’s youngest woman to win $1 million this last July. She’s won five times on tour, and on Jan. 31, Ko became the youngest player of either gender to be ranked first in the world rankings, breaking the record Tiger Woods set by almost four years. Last year, she was one of Time’s 100 Most Influential people.

Ko plans to begin an online course towards a psychology degree soon. “My mom will get me off my iPad and phone and tell me to work hard and look at the text books,” Ko said.

For now, seemingly the only accomplishment left is winning a major. This is only her second year as a pro, mind you, but Ko isn’t allowing the pressure to get to her. That’s a good sign for the future psychologist.

“Last year I had two top-10 finishes (in majors) which was better than the year before when I had one,” Ko said. “I’m looking for more consistency in playing majors and then one day that will give me a chance to be around the lead.”

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Featured image via Golf Digest

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Maltese Saves Owners from Apartment Fire

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo
reera@iamkoream.com

We’ve all heard stories about dogs saving their owners from house fires and other disasters. Nevertheless, it’s always heartwarming to hear about the loyalty and courage of these heroic pets, especially those of small stature.

On Feb. 10, a fire broke out inside a 77-year-old woman’s room at an apartment complex in Busan, reports the Korea Bizwire. The resident, identified by her surname Kim, was sleeping when her dog Doong-ee began barking nonstop at 12:40 a.m. Once Kim awoke, she sensed thick smoke seeping into her room and fetched her dog. She quickly woke her 61-year-old son, and the two escaped their apartment barefoot. Twenty minutes later, the apartment was consumed in flames.

The local police told reporters that “the dog’s keen sense of smell and its barked warning ultimately saved their lives.”

Doong-ee is a 2-year-old Maltese that was adopted last year. The family said they are grateful for their brave little dog that saved them from the fire.

According to the Korea Bizwire, many Koreans prefer to adopt Maltese dogs as South Korea is populated with apartment complexes and toy-sized terriers take up less space. Not to mention, Maltese dogs are super adorable fluff balls.

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Featured image via Yonhap/Korea Bizwire

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100-car Pileup Near Incheon Leaves 2 Dead, Over 60 Injured

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo
reera@iamkoream.com

Two people were killed and at least 60 were injured on Wednesday morning as more than 100 vehicles piled up on a bridge near South Korea’s Incheon International Airport, according to Yonhap News Agency.

The collision occurred at 9:34 a.m. on the Seoul-bound lanes of the Yeongjong Bridge, which connects Yeongjong Island, where the country’s main airport is located, to Seoul. Police said the pileup began after an airport limousine bus rear-ended a taxi that had already collided into a vehicle in the adjacent lane.

The crash was most likely caused by the dense fog and icy road conditions. According to Yonhap, drivers could see only about 10 meters in front of them, and the pileup spanned 1.3 kilometers.

Two people were killed while seven remain in serious conditions, a firefighter told the Associated Press. He added that among the injured were seven Chinese, three Thai and two each from the Philippines and Vietnam. Other injured foreign nationals included a Swiss, Bangladeshi, Russian and Japanese.

The bodies of the two victims were identified only as 51-year-old Kim and 46-year-old Lim. While Kim’s body was transported to Myongji Hospital in Goyang, a northern Seoul suburb, Lim’s was sent to Incheon’s Na-Eun Hospital.

The Incheon Seobu Police have created a task force to determine the exact cause of the pileup and plan to look into a nearby CCTV footage.

The Seoul-bound lanes of the bridge were closed after the collision, but was reopened for traffic at 3:12 p.m.

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Featured image via the Korea Herald

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‘Ode to My Father’ Grosses Over $2 Million in North America

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo
reera@iamkoream.com

Ode to My Father, a South Korean postwar melodrama, grossed more than $2 million in ticket sales after screening in North American theaters for just five weeks, said the U.S. branch of CJ Entertainment & Media on Tuesday.

Directed by JK Youn (Haeundae)Ode to My Father depicts the life of an ordinary man named Deok-soo, who makes sacrifices to support his family through the tumultuous period after the Korean War. As a young child, Deok-soo gets separated from his father and youngest sister during the Hungnam Evacuation of 1951, in which thousands of refugees fled to the south by U.S. navy vessels. Deok-soo’s last words to his father was a promise to always protect his family. As he matures, his promise leads him to dangerous jobs, such as mining in the German coal mines and doing engineering work in a war-torn Vietnam.

According to Yonhap, the melodrama is currently the fourth-highest grossing South Korean film in North America after blockbuster Admiral: Roaring Currents; Kim Ki-duk’s quiet drama Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring; and monster flick The Host. The film is screening in 18 North American theaters in Los Angeles, New York, New Jersey, Chicago, Toronto, Vancouver and Washington, D.C.

Over the weekend, Ode to My Father also became the second most watched Korean film in Korean box-office history after it surpassed the 13 million viewer mark, according to the Korea Film Council. This milestone comes only two months after the film released domestically mid-December.

While the tearjerker has mesmerized millions of South Korean moviegoers, American viewers may not be as enamored with its overly melodramatic scenes and bullet-point structure, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

You can watch the trailer for Ode to My Father below:

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Featured image courtesy of CJ Entertainment

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