Thursday’s Link Attack: NK Food Aid, K-Pop, Chef Roy Choi
Y. Peter Kang
Author: Y. Peter Kang
Posted: March 8th, 2012
Filed Under: BLOG
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US envoy says N. Korea food aid ‘complicated’
AFP via Google News

A top US diplomat said Wednesday ensuring food aid to North Korea reached the most vulnerable was “complicated”, ahead of talks with Pyongyang officials in Beijing to finalise plans for assistance.

North Korea said last week it would suspend its nuclear tests and uranium enrichment programme in return for US food aid, following talks with the United States less than three months after the death of leader Kim Jong-Il.

Robert King, the US envoy on human rights in North Korea, told reporters he would meet with a counterpart from Pyongyang to discuss how the 240,000 metric tonnes of food aid will be delivered to the most needy in the communist state.

South Korea Can Do Fighting Talk, Too
Wall Street Journal

North Korea’s state media lives and breathes fighting talk directed at South Korea, and in recent days particularly targeted at President Lee Myung-bak.

South Korea’s government tends to brush this off and call it unworthy of a response—as it did earlier this week. But officials in Seoul are not adverse to some chest-thumping from time to time, particularly when there’s a specific perceived threat.

On a trip to Yeonpyeong island on Wednesday, South Korean Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin called upon the soldiers on the island to “resolutely retaliate” and “return fire ten times the size of North Korea’s firing” if necessary.

North Korea: Have We Seen This Movie Before?
International Herald Tribune via New York Times

It’s a fair question: Is North Korea acting in good faith, offering a monitored shutdown of a nuclear facility in exchange for a quarter-million tons of food aid? Or is this a kind of diplomatic “Groundhog Day,” fated to end once again with the Americans duped and angry over more North Korean perfidy?

The announcement of another food-for-shutdown deal, as reported by my colleagues Steven Lee Myers and Choe Sang-hun, took plenty of analysts and diplomats by surprise. As the tea leaves began to settle on Thursday, some saw great promise in the rapprochement. Others saw more manipulation and treachery ahead.

“This has the makings of a significant event — that is, significant for North Korea,’’ said Sung-yoon Lee, a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School at Tufts University. He suggested that Kim Jong-un, the new North Korean capo, will portray this deal to his people “as ‘food tribute’ from Obama.”

Roy Choi of A-Frame and Kogi on How Cookbooks Changed His Life
LA Weekly

Here’s an interesting first-person piece by Kogi founder Roy Choi.

I used to be a chef.

That sounds funny, because I still cook. But the thing is, the moment I stepped out of those kitchen clogs, said goodbye to that part of the chef community and cooked from my soul is exactly the moment when I became more of a cook than when I actually was a chef. Heck, with all that’s happened in the last three and a half years — feeding the streets, hearing boisterous laughter, seeing shivering smiles — it all seems a little hazy. But I look at the cadaver that once was a white chef coat with a toque and see a guy who studied food till his eyes got blurry, and realize, damn, I really knew nothing about food at all.

Driver killed in Upper Darby [Pa.] accident
Daily Times (Delaware County, Pa.)

A single-vehicle crash at 63rd and Market streets Wednesday resulted in the death of the driver and injuries to two passengers, police said.

Authorities believe speed was a factor.

“We estimated the speed at 80 mph,” police Superintendent Michael Chitwood said. “They had just left the Rodeo Bar, Terminal Square, and were on their way home. Obviously, he was driving at a high rate of speed and lost control.”

The driver, identified as Min Ju Kang, 24, of Philadelphia, crashed his Audi into a concrete SEPTA train support column at 2:45 a.m. Wednesday, according to police.

South Korea’s Greatest Export: How K-Pop’s Rocking the World
Time.com

In Seoul, everybody seems to be cashing in on the K-pop boom. As the fanbase for the catchy melodies performed by polished dance groups, pop bands, and soloists is growing, the spinoff industry around their pretty ranks is growing even faster. Tours from Japan and China bring busloads of teenagers and middle-aged women to come see K-pop concerts and do some shopping while they’re at it. Fashion houses pump out imitations of designer items that K-pop stars are spotted in. Reality shows looking for the next big talent are popping up on every channel, while dozens of cram schools in Seoul teach students how to prepare for the rigorous auditions held by management companies. Kim Hyung Seok, a celebrated composer and producer who runs a music school where aspiring stars come to train, admits he feels conflicted about taking course fees from students who might not make it in the business. “I ask myself, is this the right thing to do morally?” In the end, he decided, education is not about commercial success. “You can’t stop people from doing what they want to do.”

Even for the companies that manage K-pop royalty, the ancillary businesses bring in more money than the music itself. With a population of only 48 million, South Korea is a relatively limited market, compared to, say, Japan, which accounts for most of K-pop albums’ overseas sales. That’s why a lot of K-pop bands learn and sing in Japanese, among many, many other things. According to CJ&Em, a major media company in Seoul that produces the reality show Superstar K, record sales account for about 40% of the major management companies’ revenue. The other 60% comes from having their stars appear on everything from energy drink labels to soap operas.

Baby Boomers Step Up as Health Care Volunteers
New York Times

Ten years ago, doctors told Im Ja Choi, 63, that nothing more could be done for her 85-year-old mother, who was battling stomach cancer and weighed only 62 pounds. A nursing home was out of the question because the older woman spoke no English and did not eat American food. Ms. Choi, a former financial executive, cared for her mother at home for seven months until she found a Korean-speaking home health aide.

That experience prompted Ms. Choi to start Pennsylvania’s first small business providing Korean-speaking home health aides to the immigrant community. Today Penn Asian Senior Services trains and provides aides who speak eight languages.

“Asian people need more information to navigate the health care system,” Ms. Choi said. “I have a master’s degree, and it was hard enough for me to wait in line at Social Security, go home and call them back two days later, then be put on hold. If you don’t have the language, you give up.”

Heejun Han Brings Rousing Version of ‘All in Love Is Fair’ on ‘American Idol’
PopCrush

Heejun Han is the comic relief every time the camera pans his way, but tonight the ‘American Idol‘ contestant brought a quiet and moving performance of Stevie Wonder‘s ‘All in Love Is Fair.’

WNYW’s Julie Chang Handicaps American Idol Finalists
Media Bistro

Then there’s Han, who like [WNYW/Channel 5 entertainment reporter Julie Chang] is Korean-American, and also like Chang enjoys being in front of the camera. Arguably, his signature moment thus far in the competition came during the taped Hollywood Week in January. But it was as a funnyman that he first shined, battling with his nemesis, cowboy Richie Law. In fact, Han’s jokes and facial expressions didn’t go unnoticed by Idol mentor Jimmy Iovine. Last week in his comments about each semi-finalist’s performance, Iovine told Han this isn’t “American Comedian.”

Korean heritage nourishes Jays’ aspiring pitcher
Toronto Observer

Kevin Comer is half-Korean. But that doesn’t stop the right-handed pitching prospect of the Toronto Blue Jays from expressing his pride in his mother’s Asian heritage.

Comer does his best to let others know about his South Korean background.

“I rep [my Korean heritage] pretty hard. I have a nice little Korean license plate frame,” said Comer, pictured right, at the Bobby Mattick Centre in Dunedin, Fla., where the Jays host their yearly spring training camp.

Gorgeous photo increases fury over Jeju Island blasts
CNNGo

As the Korean Defense Ministry clears land for a new naval base, one picture has islanders questioning why they chose such a beautiful spot.

Celebrity Chef Edward Lee Shares His Culinary Secrets
The Cultureist

Chef Edward Lee is no stranger to unconventionality. A Korean-American who grew up in Brooklyn, Lee never imagined he would one day become a chef. As a teenager, Lee had an innate passion for cooking, but quickly realized his parents would not accept his desire to pursue a career in culinary arts.

Lisa & Laura Ling #savemyfriend PSA
Vimeo

Lisa & Laura Ling #savemyfriend PSA from LiNK on Vimeo.

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