So, what do former spooks do when they retire?
According to the Hankyoreh, they get jobs as advisers to KT.
These aren’t just ordinary ex-spooks, either—they are ex-spooks implicated in some of the biggest political scandals of the 1990s.
That’s not all—despite the fact that KT is supposedly a private company, there’s a heck of a lot of former Cheong Wa Dae officials working there.
As if the NIS investigation wasn’t bad enough, now you’ve got Saenuri Party lawmakers engaged in some rather ugly displays of regional bigotry:
Ruling party lawmakers made comments at some witnesses provoking regionalism. Meanwhile, they guaranteed witnesses who testified in favor of the ruling party plenty of time to explain, earning remarks like, “They’re like their public defenders.”
Saenuri lawmaker Cho Myung-chul asked the former investigation chief at the Seoul Suseo Police Station Kwon Eun-hee, “Are you an officer of Gwangju or an officer of the Republic of Korea?” When Kwon asked back, “What is the intent of the question?” Cho pressed on, “Answer the question.” Kwon answered, “All police officers are an officer of the Republic of Korea.” Cho then asked, “Then why are you dubbed, ‘daughter of Gwangju’?” Kwon, who is from Gwangju, graduated from Chonnam National University’s School of Law in 1997 and passed the bar exam in 2001 (43rd bar exam). In 2005, she was recruited as chief superintendent (a managerial position at local police stations).
For what it’s worth, the head of the Saenuri Party finally expressed regret over the lawmaker’s statement today.
Rising Sun flag debate: the LA edition
The good news: the Korean-American Federation of Los Angeles was able to get authorities in LA’s Little Tokyo to remove small stickers of the Rising Sun flag that were attached to area street signs.
The bad news: some ethnic-Chinese shop owner has decorated his hip-hop clothing store near the entrance of the 101 Freeway was a big Rising Flag mural and two ninjas. Now, the shop sells T-shirt prints with designs by Asian artists, and the shop owner said he knew nothing about the Rising Sun flag—the mural, he said, was simply a symbolic representation of the sun, which is sacred in several Asian nations. The guy behind the mural, however, is said to be ethnic Japanese.
At any rate, the Korean community—and the shop is near Korea Town—wants the mural removed.
Factionalism still alive and well at SNU
Well, to make a long story short, factionalism among the professors of SNU’s vocal music department has blocked the school’s hiring of world-class tenor Shin Dong-won as a professor. Among other things, the profs opposed to Shin called Philadelphia’s Academy of Vocal Arts “just a small school of 20—30 students.”
Nice job, guys.
A nice Irish girl in the Korean press
Donga-Reuters World News Express’ photo news reports that former Miss World Rosanna Davison will be appearing in Playboy (NSFW).
Don’t blame me. Blame the Dong-a Ilbo for posting a photo link on their front page.
Massages and booze? In Thailand? No!!!!!!!
As you may have read elsewhere, nine Korean army academy cadets will be disciplined for drinking or visiting a massage parlors in Thailand earlier this month. Some 173 cadets were in Thailand to meet Thai veterans who fought in the Korean War.
An academy official, however, has told the Segye Ilbo that 40 to 50 cadets regularly left their accommodations without permission to roam about town. The punished cadets are keeping their mouths shut, so the school is having difficulty finding out who the others were.
The shaman was a nice touch
The young women—who’d plied their trade in Australia, Japan, Taiwan and the United States—included former entertainers and models.
The brokers would reportedly approach women working in bars and the like, telling them they could make a ton of money in a short period of time overseas. When some of the girls refused, they brought them to a shaman who sweet-talked them into going.
In case you’re a shaman interested in that sort of work, the shaman in question got KRW 700,000—1 million per girl.
After their visas expired, many of the girls came back to Korea for a short time but left again for overseas. Some, however, simply accumulated a lot of debt.
Interestingly enough, police say overseas prostitution—which used to focus largely on Japan—is now gradually expanding to Australia, the United States and Europe.
Perfidious Albion strikes again
A British girl group has released a Korean version of one of their hit songs:
I think I now know how St. Augustine felt after the Visigoth sack of Rome.
Just to re-balance the universe
I link to Yang Hyeon-Kyung singing some 1980s covers—I especially like her cover of Kim Gwang-seok’s “너무 아픈사랑은 사랑이 아니었음을.”
Then there is the Poo Wine
VICE Japan correspondent Yuka Uchida comes to Korea to document the making of poo wine (HT to Jason).
Not for the faint of heart.
Korean travel photographer goes to Mongolia
One of the Korean photography bloggers I follow went to Mongolia. I was most impressed by the stars at night—hard to see nighttime skies like that here.