The Marmot's Hole

Korea... in Blog Format

Category: Blogging (page 1 of 22)

Blog undergoing repairs

Excuse the mess – the blog is undergoing some much-needed repairs.

PM offers to resign, President Park meets with K-Pop fans in Peru

Oh, how the blogging gods have conspired against me.  I have been working on pieces and considering titles: “Prime Minister impeached, President Park impickled” and “PM impeached, PGH in Peru“.

Alas, they are not to be.

According to the Korea Herald, Prime Minister Lee Wan-koo submitted his resignation today to President Park Geun-hye amid accusations that he took bribes from Sung Won-jong.  Sung named Lee Wan-koo among seven others in a note found on Sung’s dead body, which was found hanging from a tree in an apparent suicide.

“Prime Minister Lee offered his intention to resign to President Park as of April 20,” the Prime Minister’s Office said. “The president will decide whether to accept his resignation or not after she returns from her trip.”  A presidential spokesman, Min Kyung-wook, accompanying her in Lima, Peru, confirmed the announcement of the Prime Minister’s Office.

President Park is currently in the middle of a 12-day Latin America trip.  Park departed on the first anniversary of the Sewol Ferry sinking, this Korean generation’s where were you moment akin to Americans’ Pearl Harbor, FDR death, JFK assassination, John Lennon murder, or WTC 9/11 attack, and amid the growing bribery scandal that threatens not only Korea’s government’s credibility but also constitutional succession:  the prime minister is first in line in case of the South Korean president’s incapacitation.

Despite (or perhaps because of) the Sewol Ferry sinking’s first anniversary, the crisis engulfing PGH’s presidency, and by-elections on April 29, less than two days after President Park’s return,  Blue House Foreign Affairs and National Security Secretary Ju Cheol-gi said in a media brief one day before PGH’s departure, “there is no good reason to delay the trip, and it must go forward as planned. We have to create opportunities to help the economy, and ethnic Koreans in Central and South America are looking forward to the trip, so we will do what needs to be done.”

President Park is scheduled to return to Korea next Monday and as of this writing has no plans to cut short such an important tour of South America.  “President Park Geun-hye met with hallyu fans in Peru, Sunday, during the second leg of her South American tour. …Park’s encounter with 14 Peruvian hallyu enthusiasts took place at a hotel in Lima at the request of some of the fan clubs.”

President Park meets with K-Pop fans in Peru

President Park pictured at an important meeting with part of and receiving a present (???) from a contingent of 14 K-Pop fans in Peru

“I heard that members of the fan clubs learn Korean dance and ‘hangeul’ (Korean alphabet) together,” Park said. “These activities will bring our two countries closer,” she added.

Park’s other important accomplishments on this trip include a pledge from Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos to accelerate efforts toward ratification of their free trade agreement (FTA,) which was signed more than two years ago.

I have seen no press information whether members of the Korean press corp have deigned to ask President Park “might she return?”

(Damn you, blogging gods.)

UPDATE:  PM’s resignation tender written large on CNN’s front page.  According to CNN’s article, “Park is in Peru and is expected to arrive back to South Korea on April 27.”

CNN Front page April 21, 2015

(I have no further updates on the K-Pop diplomacy initiative.)

Feeling Blogged Down

What to do?  What to do?

Korea’s news cycle has been consumed with the anti-corruption probe, the ensuing Sung Won-jong suicide, news of cash stuffed energy drink boxes, more threats (?) of suicide(!), captains abandoning their ships,  and thoughts of whether Korea is a police state in random musings about the reported 10,000 police officers at the first anniversary memorial commemorating the Sewol Ferry tragedy and its victims.

…and that’s just here at The Marmot’s Hole.

Korea’s news media and blogosphere has been similarly consumed, save for one sanctum sanctorum, fortress of solitude, alternative airing of Heidi when everyone else is thinking Superbowl, The Chosun Ilbo.

While all other of Korea’s daily news media have blared Sewol Ferry and the anti-corruption probe in their headlines for the past few weeks, today’s Ye Olde Chosun Ilbo featured the following:

Chosun Ilbo Front Page April 18, 2015


For the inquiring mind who wants, nay needs, to know, I humbly provide for his convenience and further edification:  Why Mostly Older Men Use Libraries.

…and what is the most read article at the venerable Chosun Ilbo?

Again, for his further denigration edification and to save my gentle reader the burden of a mouse click, I have reproduced the article complete with pic here:

Woman Holds Topless Protest in SeoulChosun Ilbo Most Read - Woman Holds Topless Protest

A topless woman appeared in Seoul’s busy downtown area around noon Wednesday with her private parts only covered in tape to protest for women’s right to bare their breasts.

Holding a sign that roughly translates as “Why are men allowed to expose their nipples while women are not?” she later put on a bikini top to cover herself up when a crowd of men had gathered around her.

Police arrived at the scene to stop her and the woman left at around 1:30 p.m. Police said they had no idea why she was holding the protest.

The 27-year-old woman, identified only by her surname Lee, had caused a stir last month after a video clip of her dancing topless at a night club went viral on the Internet. She is known to be an ex-dealer of German luxury cars.

Chosun Ilbo Woman Stages Topless Protest

A woman in a bikini holds up a picket in the Cheonggye Stream in Seoul on Wednesday.

It was her third topless protest. She protested semi-nude last month with a sign reading she would prefer to be naked rather than wear fur and stood in front of a memorial set up to mourn the victims of last year’s ferry disaster. On social media she claims to be a vegetarian, animal rights activist and feminist, and indeed her protest copies similar stunts by Western activist groups like FEMEN and PETA.

She claimed nobody would pay attention to her if she did not take her clothes off.

I feel like balance has been restored in the blogiverse.

(Special thanks to Brier for the kick in the pants inspiration.)





Blog template dilemma

As you’ve probably guessed, I’d like to change my blog template for 2015.

Now, WordPress has provided a new default theme for the new year, Twenty Fifteen, which is nice enough but looks a bit odd on mobile platforms.

I liked the Editor theme, which I tried for a couple of days, but the size of the font and the blockquotes didn’t really do it for me on anything other than my really big iMac screen.

I really, really like something like the Blink or Literatum themes, which are a lot like the layout used by, including War is Boring. I’ve been using a “classic” layout like Andrew Sullivan for as long as I’ve been blogging, but a lot of the cool kiddies nowadays are adopting themes like Medium, Gawker or Vox. Now, I’m tempted to go in the direction of big feature images and nice topography (like Medium), but at the same time, I’m not sure if those layouts suit my style of blogging.

Of course, if I take this blog in a more long-form blogging direction, a Medium-like them might be good.

Anyway, if you’ve got advice (including “Keep the damn theme you’re using now!”), feel free to offer it.

Photo by Scott Beale / Laughing Squid.

Note to cobloggers: When you post, I’d appreciate it if you could add a feature image (see here). I get a lot of my feature images from Flickr’s creative commons.

Merry Christmas

Just wishing this blog’s readers – and, heck, even people who don’t read this blog – a very merry Christmas.

New Blog Theme

Don’t try to adjust your monitor – I’ve adopted a completely new blog theme.

I rather like the simple layout, with big feature images and plenty of focus on content. It also looks good on mobile devices – and displays the author of each post, too, which the old layout did not on smartphones.

The only thing I’m not really sure about is the blockquote style, but I’ll probably get used to that.

Anyway, tell me what you think.

New blogs for blog roll?

I’ve just given the sidebar blog roll a much needed cleaning.

Now I need to add newer blogs on there, so if you’ve got suggestions, please, let me know.

Happy New Year, folks


Wishing you all the very best in 2014.

Regular posting to restart from tonight

UPDATE: The good news: GTA V has been released in Korea. The bad news: be prepared to wait in line.

ORIGINAL POST: Sorry for the lack of activity here over the last week.

With the Chuseok holiday coming, I’ve been a bit busy. But I guess you already knew that.

Anyway, there’s a lot of news to cover, and I hope to begin getting to it from this evening.

In the meantime, I’ve posted plenty of photos over at my photo blog. Not all of them completely suck. Or maybe they do.

Commenting problem

It’s come to my attention that about 100 comments were sitting in moderation due to some improper settings with Disqus, including some comments from long-time commenters (Wedge, Baduk, Nulji, Hodges, etc.).

The situation has been resolved, so post away.

Apologies for that. If anyone runs into similar issues, just drop me an email (

Looking for a Korean financial blogger

A friend of mine is looking for a blogger specializing in Korean financial affairs for an upcoming conference.

If this sounds like you, shoot me an email (with your blog link) at

Life as a travel writer

John Bocskay of the Outsider Looking In blog, has an interview with Lonely Planet Korea writer Rob Whyte.

For those of you who fancy becoming a travel writer, keep in mind, it’s a tough, less than glamourous gig.

I don’t know if people know this or not but most travel writers never eat in the restaurants they write about, and they never sleep in the hotels they write about, because they can’t afford to.

And don’t expect that after you publish you will then be able to afford it either.

Frankly speaking, the pay isn’t really worth it anymore. It’s really just about keeping that cachet going. The publishing world – the print publishing world – is undergoing great changes right now, and so, frankly the money just isn’t worth it. It’s more like, if it’s fun, OK, but it’s not for the money, that’s for sure.

You can read the rest here.

Open Thread: June 1, 2013

Enjoy the weekend, folks.

Oh, and concerning the lack of content here recently, I will restart posting regular content here from Monday. I’ve been a bit busy recently, and truth be told, I’ve been directing a bit more energy towards my Tumblr photoblog. Things should be getting back to normal from next week, though.

Yes, I’ve switched back

Having given Disqus a thorough trial, I’ve decided that I prefer things the old way.

Don’t like the way Disqus worked on mobile devices. Too buggy. Too tedious.

At any rate, I missed my old blog template, which doesn’t play well with Disqus.

I know some of you will not like this. By way of compensation, though, I provide you with a cover of The Maytals’s “Pressure Drop” by Robert Palmer.

Jeju World Wide

With the New Year comes a new site that I am sure many of you will find interesting.   It is Jeju World Wide.

It wasn’t too many years ago that it was really difficult to find anything in English about places outside of Seoul.  Now there are several including Busan Haps, Daegu Pockets and, of course, Jeju World Wide.  These online newspaper/magazines have a lot to offer but, for the most part, seem to be relatively unknown to people outside of their immediate area.  Hopefully this posting will help them gain some well-deserved interest.

Jeju World Wide is a must for anyone thinking about or planning on visiting the island.  Even if you are not going to the island there are a lot of articles that readers on the Hole might find interesting such as Dr. David Nemeth’s recollections as a Peace Corps volunteer on Jeju Island in the 1970s.

In addition, there are maps to the various historic and natural sites, interviews and cultural information.

As this will be constantly updated and added to – in the words of a dreaded first sergeant from my past – “It would behoove you to keep your self acquainted” with the Jeju World Wide.

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