The Marmot's Hole

Korea... in Blog Format

Category: Korean Media (page 2 of 21)

Korean Football Team gets an education on how (not) to use the SNS

As a result of a recent palaver following the footballer 기성용 Ki Sungyong slagging off the former national team manager 최강희(Choi Kanghee) on his twitter, South Korean National Men’s Football team (a.k.a Team Hong Myungbo 홍명보호) is to receive a special lesson on how to keep their big SNS gobs shut.

National Men’s Football Team Coach Hong Myungbo – 출처:스포츠동아DB .

Hong Myungbo, Mr.Charisma himself, who was recently appointed as 감독 Manager to direct the national team, is having none of the monkeying-around by Ki. Although Ki himself has mentioned Hong with much respect and awe during multiple previous occasions, Hong in turn, silenced the possibility of showing a soft-spot for Ki by saying :

홍명보 감독은 기성용에게 “대표팀 감독이 아니라 축구 선배로서 (말하자면)앞으로 바깥세상과 소통하기보다는 부족한 내면의 세계를 넓혀 갔으면 한다”며 “협회의 경고조치를 가볍게 생각해서는 안 될 것이다. 축구에서 옐로카드가 어떤 의미를 주는지에 대해 잘 생각해야 할 것이다. 앞으로 주의 깊게 관찰하겠다”고 말했다.
As a 축구선배 (Football sunbae/senior) and not as a national team manager, I would advise him(Ki) to make an effort to widen/teach his inner self which is very much lacking (in various qualities) rather than to worry about communicating with the outside world. He should not take the Football Commission’s warning lightly, and instead think about the meaning of a yellow card during a football game. I will keep a close eye on him.”

Who knows? Marrying a 누나 might calm him down a bit in the future – here he is marrying the lovely actress Han Hyejin.
I would also say that a lesson in SNS might not be a bad idea for a lot of people. Or just any sort of anger-management. Or a help-line one can call before pressing that “publish” or “tweet” button.

Chosun Ilbo on pro-North Koreans, Roh Moo-hyun and anything other than the NIS scandal

So, I click on over to Ye Olde Chosun, and what do I see on the front page?

Why, an analysis piece taking an in-depth look at pro-North Koreans. Well, at least one pro-North Korea, anyway, a guy who ran a pro-North Korean website. Suffice it to say the guy was a bit odd, and if I were forced to guess, I’d say perhaps a bit unstable.

This article was sparked by news of another pro-North Korea who just earned himself a year and a half in the sin bin for praising North Korea. Well, not just praising North Korea, but praising North Korea is balls-out fashion—he’s shouted “Long Live the Great DPRK!” and other pro-North Korean statements at four straight hearings since 2011, earning himself extra charges every time.

The Chosun—or at least its TV channel—also used the North Korean UN ambassador’s call for the dissolving of the UN Command to look back on—you guessed it—late President Roh Moo-hyun’s views on USFK. Not quite sure why they felt compelled to do that, other than perhaps with Saenuri Party lawmakers leaking confidential statements made by Roh during his summit with late North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, Roh-bashing has become the order of the day.

Mind you, I find the leaks interesting, if for no other reason that—assuming for the moment that the leaks are true—-they make Roh look even more craven than I thought he was. Still, it seems fairly obvious this is the shiny object conservatives are shaking around to distract attention from the NIS scandal, which I think is much more important.

Oh, and the leaking of the notes from the summit may have been illegal, depending on how the notes are categorized. The Democratic Party has filed a complaint against not only the lawmakers who announced the notes, but also against the NIS director and vice-director who let them read said notes. At any rate, the Saenuri Party is calling for a parliamentary investigation into the NLL issue. The head of the Democratic Party, meanwhile, is calling for a parliamentary investigation into the NIS trolling scandal, and honestly, I’ve got to agree with them—it’s a very, very dangerous thing for the intelligence service to intervene in domestic politics and the public deserves answers.

For comparison’s sake, I’ve posted the screenshots of the online editions of the Chosun Ilbo and Hankyoreh:

스크린샷, 2013-06-24 13:22:24

스크린샷, 2013-06-24 13:23:08

Oldboy: A Spike Lee Joint

They did it.  They finally “remade” Park Chan-wook’s OldBoy.  Looks like they have been in post production for awhile.  Here are a few posters courtesy of “Oh No They Didn’t” blog.

Oh, no they didn’t indeed.  Release date is October 25th.  Here is more info at the IMDB.

What? You mean having consensual sex with a Korean woman is NOT a sex crime?

Matt over at Gusts of Popular Feeling has been all over the JoongAng Ilbo and its TV station for some articles and a TV program on foreign crime.

I’m going to link to his most recent post, but it’s got the rest of the series linked at the top.

BTW, dear readers, don’t try this at home:

I’d also like to say Solbi‘s role in all this, while regrettable, is easily forgiven because she’s hot. She doesn’t look like Jessica Alba, though, unless by Jessica Alba, you mean “charmingly plump Korean girl with a great rack,” in which case yes, she looks exactly like Jessica Alba.

Flavor of the month – You Are Fired

unapproved-tiesDonald trump may be a schmoe but sometimes people need to be fired, thus the Foundation of Broadcast Culture (FBC) that controls MBC, after so much protesting last year, finally fired MBC President Kim Jae-chul.

Kim’s dismissal comes after one of the largest protests over media independence this last year, when hundreds of media workers walked out in protest of heavy-handed media influence by Kim and others, who sought to control how the former government was portrayed in media:

Editorial employees of Munhwa Broadcasting Corp., or MBC, walked out Jan. 30 and were followed by journalists at the Korea Broadcasting System, or KBS, the news-only cable channel YTN, and the publicly funded news agency Yonhap. All voiced the same demands: editorial independence and the resignation of pro-government corporate presidents.
Although workers at KBS, a public broadcasting company, and Yonhap ended their strike recently, the battle continues at MBC, another public broadcaster, and at YTN, a private company whose major stockholders are government-related agencies. The strike at MBC has become the longest in company history.
President Lee Myung-bak appointed close associates to the top positions at public broadcast companies and news agencies after he took office in 2008. Kim In-kyu, a media advisor in Lee’s election campaign, became chief executive of the KBS network. Kim Jae-chul, a reporter who allegedly was close to Lee, took over at MBC.
Strikers say that major investigative programs were canceled and news stories criticizing the government were dropped or banned from the air. (cite)

Censorship has had a long and storied history in South Korea and is still a problem with many in the entertainment industry who must deal with having their music videos and work vetted first before being put out on the internet. The Korea Media Rating Board (KMRB) is another example of heavy-handed and failed meddling in the fields of entertainment and commerce.  After the infamous “Sea Story” incident, the Game Rating Board (게임물등급위원회) was created but began indulging in a list of stupid pranks that basically help shut down smaller and independent game developers in Korea (cite).
Per Yang Hyun Suk of YG Entertainment:

In the early 90′s, we were often censored for coloring our hair back when I was promoting with Seotaiji & Boys. This new policy implemented by the Korea Media Rating Board reminds me of those days. I experienced ‘mental collapse’ after hearing the news. . .  Psy‘s fresh and humorous “Gangnam Style” MV is going viral all over the world, but if this new policy gets implemented, we are going to have to think twice before we produce this kind of project again.” (cite)

The MBC labor union accused former CEO Kim of “interfering with fair and balanced news coverage and pushing favorable reporting of the former Lee Myung-bak administration”.  Their strike lasted 170 days – the longest ever – ending last July.

South Korea to get medieval on North’s ass: Dong-A Ilbo

OK, the Dong-A Ilbo didn’t say that exactly, but they got downright North Korea-esque in their headline, “Self-propelled artillery to belch fire if North launches provocation… command posts to be turned to ash by jet fighters.”

To sum up, if North Korea uses its coastal guns to attack somewhere like Baengnyeongdo, they’re gonna get a hurtin’. The South Koreans will first use their 20 K-9 pieces on Yeongpyeongdo and Baengnyeongdo, 130mm Multiple Rocket Launchers and 155mm towed artillery to rain fire on the offending artillery unit.

If North Korea persists, South Korea would commence the second stage of its retaliations by going after support and command units. ROKAF F-15s and F-16s would launch surgical strikes against command units in the rear such as the headquarters of the KPA 4th Corps, while the ROK Navy would put destroyers in the West Sea to guard against further provocations.

The ROK military is also ready for attempts by the North Koreans to land special forces on the West Sea islands in a bid to occupy them. The ROK military believes the North has plans to use air-cushioned vehicles to take over the islands within 30 minutes of crossing the NLL. South Korea has got Cobra gunships on Baengnyeongdo for just such an occasion.

A high-ranking military official told the Dong-A that it has more the quadrupled the amount of firepower its got on the West Sea islands and rewritten the rules of engagement since the Yeonpyeongdo incident. This time, the South would get proper vengeance if the North launches a provocation. Military experts, however, say it’s difficult to say who’s on top in the West Sea, with the North ahead quantitatively but the South ahead qualitatively.

And on a related note… hey, G’Na! Get off those flags!

I take it the Chosun Ilbo’s Washington correspondent dislikes pot legalization

Or so the conclusion of his latest column would seem to suggest:

But pushing “drug legalization” because of money problems cannot be a desirable direction. Even major US media say the loosening of regulations on “evil industries” like drugs and gambling is a dark aspect of American society. If you open the gate on marijuana, there’s no reason to believe there won’t be calls to permit even more addictive drugs. If one sees how there is already a study that says if the United States legalizes all drugs, it could raise an extra US$43 billion a year, this cannot be regarded as simple alarmism.

You know, guys, I think she was kidding

I have no idea how Ye Olde Chosun even picked up this story in The Reader, but me thinks—their caveat notwithstanding—they might have taken it a bit too seriously.

Daniel Tudor interview and an excerpt from his book

Back in December I did an interview with Daniel Tudor for Haps. He being the author of Korea: The Impossible Country as well a correspondent covering the peninsula for The Economist and Newsweek. The print version of the piece has been out for a month, but have just gotten around to posting it online.

Along with the interview, Haps has an extended (and quite interesting) excerpt on Shamanism in Korea, from the book.

Tudor, who I found to be frank and engaging in his responses, gave some insight into the book’s “impossible” title –which partially grew out of an interview with a former Park Chung-hee aid who said, “Korea was the poorest, most impossible country on the planet.”

“I love living here, but often, I feel thankful that I’m not part of this society’s rat race,” said Tudor, before segueing into the dual meaning of his book’s title. “I think that this society makes life ‘impossible’ for its citizens in some way, by setting up impossible ideals to live up to, and forcing people to accept a very narrow definition of what ‘success’ can be.”

I know he has caught some flak here on The Hole of late, but his book is well worth a read. You can check out the rest of the interview here.

I did like his quote on the drawbacks of being a foreign reporter here:

“On the downside, people don’t like to be so outspoken here, so that often leads to boring interviews. And if you criticize someone, they are liable to go ape on you. There’s a little over-sensitivity, especially where the foreign press is involved.”

The MH comments section would never go ape though, right?

An unholy home of incest

There are a lot of abandoned children out there and it is good to see that some of them find good and loving foster homes – but this one wasn’t.  According to the Korea Times (November 7, 2012):

A 16-year-old has been raised at the home of a 60-year-old Hwang since her parents divorced at three. Her mother was friends with Hwang’s wife and fostered her. The girl grew up calling Hwang’s wife “mother.”

Hwang took in an additional five to six children under his care and his home was actually designated as a child care center in 2007. He placed the girl on his official register and received 150,000 won ($130) a month. She called him “father” and his 32-year-old son “brother.”

In 2006, Hwang assaulted the girl, then aged just 10, sexually when his wife was out of the house. This continued through the following years.

Hard to believe but it gets worse:

Then in 2009, the son accused her of watching pornography and assaulted her sexually as well. In 2010 and 2011, the son took advantage of the girl in a truck that he drove on three occasions.

Fortunately the father (who had been charged without detention) and the son (has been arrested and charged for rape) will apparently be punished but what is especially shocking about this case is:

Prosecutors said there was strangely no evidence of pedophilia in the case.

Kind of makes you wonder about this.

Herald vying for the Pulitzer?

In a stellar piece of investigative reporting, the Korea Herald today ran the headline: “U.S. Accused of Apple Protectionism.”

The story deftly rehashes the rehashed, revisits the well-visited and, about halfway down, relieves reader suspense by identifying the accuser of U.S. wrong-doing as “a local industry insider.”

And what did the anonymous and no doubt well-placedlocal industry insider” have to say in his or her one and only quote that this fine piece of journalism was meticulously constructed around?

“It just seems like it will be impossible for Samsung to win a case on Apple’s home turf. I would say they are way too protective of its top tech firm for sure.”

That’s solid and I’m sold.

What happens when you mix white boys and K-pop?

You get this disaster.  Wow, it sounds like what pouring spaghetti sauce over japchae would taste like.

The lead singer here is Chad Future, a.k.a. Detroit native David Lehre.  Listen, I like K-pop as much as the next guy, and I also like tastefully done fusion of ideas, art, food and culture, but I just don’t know what to call Chad’s attempt to “fuse” K-pop other than bad.  Real bad.  It’s like cooked sashimi, a white girl calling me “oppah,” or chemically fermented and nasty “kimuchi.”

Perhaps some things shouldn’t be attempted, like a sequel to “Gone With the Wind,” remake of Oldboy, a Nixon second term, etc.  We should be left with the positive impressions of the originals and not have the bad taste in one’s mouth of the attempted repeats.  A frame by frame and beat by beat overlay of K-pop with white people just ain’t gonna hunt.

Don’t believe the 하이프

Some of you might remember all the media hype about the Cia Cia tribe, a group of 80,000 on the remote Indonesian island of Bau-bau, officially adopting Hangeul as their native script.

Well, that was a load of phooey.

The Hangeul adoption program, which was announced in 2008 was apparently never even asked for.

“Mayor Tamim (of the Cia Cia) only mentioned that official discussions have begun and he was consulting with the central government over the adoption of Hangeul in a media interview,” he said. “However, the media wrongfully translated his remark as if he had received formal acknowledgement from the government.”

The program, which was initially launched through the private funding of the Hunminjeongeum Society, ended up amounting to “a total of 37 hours to some 50 fourth graders last year at an elementary school in Bau-bau and now it is being taught to some 190 students in two schools,” says the KT

They also say that:

…a host of media outlets ran stories claiming that Bau-bau Mayor Amirul Tamim said the Indonesian government had finally authorized the adoption of Hangeul as the tribe’s official alphabet to preserve their dying language.

Reminiscent of the Jeju being one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World story this time last year, Korea’s media seems to have let national pride obscure their journalistic goggles.

Or maybe it was simply a case of there being a junior translator/fact checker at the copy desk that day?

“Mayor Tamim only mentioned that official discussions have begun and he was consulting with the central government over the adoption of Hangeul in a media interview,” he said. “However, the media wrongfully translated his remark as if he had received formal acknowledgement from the government.”

I am sympathetic to translation discrepancies, there are no doubt few if any Cia Cia in Korea to check the translation, but for at least several years it went unchecked or followed up on and was sold as part of the national brand without question.

With more spot on reporting, a similar piece in Ye Ole Chosun today says that the Cia Cia have a spoken language absent of a written format and that Hangeul was to be there go-to script.

Not so counters the KT article — Cia Cia law specifically states that when in Bau-bau, do as the Romans.

Professor Chun, who first proposed the idea of adopting the Korean alphabet to the Bau-bau mayor in 2007, claims that the official adoption of Hangeul by Cia Cia will be unlikely to happen as Indonesia’s Basic Law stipulates that all tribal languages should be preserved in Roman characters for national unity.

The KT also points out that, “Not only the Korean press but also foreign news media showed interest in Korea ‘officially exporting’ its 564-year-old writing system.”

The KT does not however, mention that they too were spun by the story.

But hey, if we extrapolate the KT numbers over of the life of the program, Hangeul did manage to reach 1.5 percent of the Cia Cia population. That’s at least worth a two or three day run in the news cycle right? Ahhh, the venerable Fourth Estate.

Dirty little secrets and the “freedom to enjoy a free sex life”

sex workers

According to Korea Times, Korean sex workers want anti-sex trade laws scrapped.  (I hope those guys aren’t the sex workers): 

Korea has banned the sex trade since two pertinent laws went into effect in 2004, dealing a serious blow to the industry.

“Part of the anti-sex trafficking laws about those who sell sex is against the Constitution,” a sex worker said in a news conference in Seoul hosted by their trade association, Hanteo.

The clause limits sex workers’ rights to sexual autonomy and their freedom to enjoy a free sex life as adults, they argued.

As Mr. Marmot mentioned a couple of days ago - the sex workers aren’t the only ones seeking a change to the law.

Speaking of enjoying a free sex life – when do Korean girls have their first sexual experiences?  According to  Chosun Ilbo (September 26, 2012) it is 21:

Korean women first have sex at the age of 21.5 and hope to have their first child at 31.9, according to a straw poll marking 2012 World Contraception Day.

And to think….I didn’t even know there was a World Contraception Day (about half way down).

The age when Korean women want their first child is the highest in Asia, but many are lax with contraception. Some 67 percent of Korean respondents said they have had sex without contraceptives at least once, and 14 percent they were unaware of the risk of pregnancy.

Asked about their preferred method of contraception, 48 percent said condoms and 15 percent contraceptive pills. Sixteen percent answered they have no plans to use contraception.

Wonder how this works in?  Number of HIV carriers (in Korea) hits record high of 8,544:

In research conducted by the center and the Korea Federation for HIV/AIDS, the largest age group to be newly diagnosed were those in their 40s who accounted for 24.8 percent of the total.

Those in their 20s stood at 23.4 percent, followed by those in their 30s and 50s at 22.3 percent and 16.1 percent, respectively.

Ninety-two percent, or 7,860, of all the HIV carriers were male. The number of males who were newly confirmed carriers of the virus in 2011 was 827.

The accumulated numbers of those with the virus stood at 7,771 in 2010, 7003 in 2009, 6,206 in 2008, 5,466 in 2007 and 4,717 in 2006.

Among the total carriers whose route of infection could be traced, 99.2 percent said they caught the disease through sexual contact, with 60.4 percent saying that sexual contact was with a member of the opposite gender.

Now let me get this straight.  99.2% became infected through sex and 92% of the HIV carriers are male and that 60.4% of them became infected through hetrosexual sex.  Does this add up to you?

And – Dong An Ilbo tells us why Korean pedophiles offend - somehow I knew Japan would be mentioned in the article – I would cut and paste it but the fonts are too much of a problem.  But, one of the offenders said, “When I often watched Japanese pornography, I frequently had the urge to have sex with young women.”  Hmmm.

 There has been talk about castrating the offenders – chemically – but is that a good idea?  According to this article and this one at NPR (which is probably better than the former):

Researchers in Korea found that eunuchs – castrated men living centuries ago – outlived others by a significant margin due to absence of such hormones.  The evidence comes after careful study of genealogy records of noble members of the Imperial court of the Korean Chosun dynasty (AD 1392-1910), the Daily Mail reported.

“This discovery adds an important clue for understanding why there is a difference in the expected life span between men and women,” Kyung-Jin Min, of Inha University, said.

By poring over records, Min and his colleague Cheol-Koo Lee, of Korea University, found that eunuchs lived 14 to 19 years longer than other men did.

International Business Times adds this to the story:

Eunuchs in Korea, called naesi, enjoyed a special status as servants to the royal family and as bodyguards to the king and his harem. Male eunuchs were either castrated accidentally — sometimes after being injured by dogs — or on purpose, as a quick way to move up in the world. They could marry and adopt girls or castrated boys.

You knew I had to get Joseon history in this posting some way or another.  I might add that Horace N. Allen – one of the first Western doctors in Korea treated at least one eunuch for a STD.

The death of the red ink taboo in Korea

Korea Times
Glancing at the front page of Korea Times this morning I was very surprised to see Psy’s name in red.   I asked several leading journalists in Korea – both foreign and Korean – what they thought about it and the answers were mixed.  Even a P.R. firm stated that they saw no problem with it because of the style and the format of the article.  Others, however, like me, were under the impression that writing a person’s name in red was wrong as it symbolized death or imprisonment.

I first learned this basic rule of Korean culture and manners when I was a young soldier – it was later reenforced at language schools both in the United States and Korea.  I thought this was common knowledge but I have since learned it is outdated knowledge.  KT was kind enough to tell me that this custom is no longer held by the youth and that Korean culture is changing – something I can fully agree with.

But if this change in culture has occurred – why are we, the foreigners, still being taught that it is taboo?

According to the US Navy command website at Chinhae:

You should avoid writing a person’s name in red. This indicates death because a deceased person’s name is crossed off with red ink in the town register upon his death. However, a Korean name seal is always printed in red.

According to ZKorean:

Writing a person’s name in red ink is tantamount to saying they are dead or will die soon.

KoreaWiz under its section “understanding Korean Dramas” wrote:

Red ink is permissible when using a chop (name seal).  Do NOT use red ink when writing a living person’s name, however, since red is associated with death.  Red ink is used to record a deceased person’s name in the family register and also on funeral banners to drive off evil spirits.

True, KoreaWiz’s site seems to have been updated the last time in 2010 so it is somewhat dated.  Meetup (pdf file) might also be a little dated and expressly warns:

Do not write a Korean’s name in red! If you do, it means that they are dead. This is not recommended if you are trying to make friends.

This New Zealand site effective tourism business offshore in South Korea cautions:

Koreans write and say their family name first and their given name last. At business meetings, given names are not generally used; addressing people as Mr Kim, Mrs Kim or Miss Lee is most common. Never write a person’s name in red ink. Koreans only do this if the person is dead.

They aren’t the only business organization giving advice.  McElroy Translation stresses to their clients

It is inappropriate to write a person’s name or sign a contract in red; only the names of the deceased are written in red.

In Kiss My Kimchi’s 10 Korean Cultural Taboos number seven was:

Possibly more of a superstition, but still I thought I’d mention it just in case. Writing someone’s name in red indicates that you want them to come to some bodily harm or that they are dead.

There is, however, one site that does stand out for giving accurate and update information – at least in this case – Korea4expats:

In the past, the names of the dead were written into the register in red ink. So, writing a living person’s name as though he/she were dead was considered insulting and even bad luck. However, this custom is no longer as prevalent and sometimes you will see Koreans writing someone’s name using a red pen.

I could probably go on and on listing sites but the important thing to note is – I was wrong and Korea Times was right.  Considering I concentrate on the past (late Joseon era) my mistake can probably be forgiven but what about the new batch of foreigners arriving in the country?  Unless something is done, only we foreigners will be the ones following this old Korean custom.

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