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!

Links of note, including MUST READ story on the K-pop machine

– MUST READ: Stephanie Wood penned a wonderful story on the great K-pop machine. Here’s just a sample:

American-born Nathan McMurray, 37, a long-term Seoul resident and lawyer who has a Korean wife and who blogs about Korean culture, remembers a time when things were different. “What we have today is not what existed 10 years ago in Korea,” he says. “When I first came to Korea, we had independent acts that worked their way up … just like any other music scene. Older Korean music was subversive, it had challenging messages … and it was moving.” Does K-pop last? No, says McMurray. “It’s confectionery. It’s candy. It’s something that tastes good for two seconds, then you’re sorry you ate it.”

SBS PopAsia host Jamaica dela Cruz might choose to pick a fight with naysayers like McMurray. For her, there’s nothing wrong with the manufactured nature of K-pop. “It’s showbiz, babe,” says dela Cruz. “Dress up for me, give me costumes and she-bam! It’s entertainment, so entertain!”

– If you haven’t already seen them, check out these photos of Seoul in the Guardian by Mike Beech, one of the guys who runs online magazine Chincha.

– Dennis Rodman apparently thought Kim Jong-un was a swell guy. UPDATE: This is the best commentary on the Rodman visit I’ve read:

In the 30s, serious intellectuals traveled to the Soviet Union to hail it as the future of humanity. In the 60s and 70s, writers, actors & other assorted glitterati went to Cuba to be schmoozed by El Jefe. And now North Korea has hauled in…a retired basketball player with a penchant for shock publicity. The quality of useful idiots is on a definite downward trajectory.

– The wife and I went to Bukhansan National Park this weekend. Oh, and we took in yesterday’s sunrise from Mt. Ansan, too. See the Tumblr.

They look good together

There is speculation in the Korean press whether the two co-stars in the movie Cloud Atlas are dating or not.

Whether these recent paparazzi shots of 배두나 (Doona Bae) and Jim Sturgess (and there are several more) mean anything more than friendship, we have yet to see, but they are relatively new to the Hollywood game (though have built solid domestic careers respectively, and in the case of Bae, a brilliant Korean/Japanese career) and may still be genuine and three-dimensional enough to feel happy with each other.

Here are some photos of them playing dress-ups for Harpers Bazaar Korea.

I am not a PDA kind of person either (except to my dog) so those paparazzi shots would definitely be filed under dating/or in the process of mutual attraction developing into something else in my book.

When you gotta go, you gotta go

In Jeonju, a man (Mr. A), his girlfriend (Ms. B), another woman (Ms. C) and her friend have been arrested on battery charges, reports the Seoul Shinmun.

Ms. C was at a bar when she really, really needed to use the toilet. So she and her friend went to the lady’s room, only to find it already occupied. Needing to go in a bad way, she knocked on the door, but occupant—or in this case, occupants—wouldn’t come out. Instead, she heard a strange sound. Angry, she yelled for them to come out.

Meanwhile, in the bathroom, Mr. A and his woman were in the throes of passion. Angry that Ms. C had disturbed them just as things were getting hot, they exited the bathroom and got into a tussle with Ms. C and her friend. It started as just an argument, but Mr. A eventually grabbed C’s hair and assaulted her, and all four ended up in a scrum.

Police were called and the four were brought in. Ms. C apparently told police she did grab Mr. A’s girlfriend’s hair, but Ms. B beat her, too, while Mr. A said he didn’t get involved in the fight, and only tried to break it up.

PSY: What would have happened if a foreign singer had sung anti-Korean songs?

Perhaps that apology PSY game last month was more sincere than some thought. Or so the Chosun Ilbo would suggest.

Participating in a New Year’s event at Korea’s UN delegation, PSY reflected on the kerfuffle (see here). When work of his anti-American rap lyrics first broke, he thought about packing his bags. Imagining what would happen if it were belatedly learned that a foreign singer had made sung an anti-Korean song, he thought Americans would never forgive him.

He was surprised by the American response. At first, he took a lot of abuse, but after a few days, comments of support began to appear. He was most surprised by how the White House handled a petition calling for PSY to be dis-invited to a year-end event with President Obama… by deleting the petition and inviting him anyway. He’d expected his invitation to be cancelled. He asked, “If this were Korea, what would have happened?”

And finally, for all those folk who think Gangnam Style is satire—and you know who you are—PSY said it wasn’t. He just did the song to make people laugh in a bad economy.

PS: Anderson Cooper’s weirdest New Year’s moment was, oddly enough, not Kathy Griffin trying to play with his sack, but PSY and MC Hammer. Kathy Griffin apparently had some off-color comments for PSY, too.

Kim Tae-hee dating Rain

It’s official—actress Kim Tae-hee and Rain are dating.

Entertainment site Dispatch apparently gets the credit for outing the couple with photographs of the two out on dates. Unfortunately for Rain, the photos also show him walking around in a military uniform without a hat, a violation of military regulations quickly picked up on by bitter netizens.

For the benefit of Korean-American readers in the event that they get unwittingly drafted into the military at the airport, things you should not do in uniform include: walking around without a hat, walking with your hands in your pockets, and walk and eat at the same time.

Rain also seems to be getting a lot more leave time than the average geonppang eater.

Korean woman goes ajumma on TSA agent, earns my undying respect

Hyunjoo Kim! Hyunjoo Kim!

A South Korean woman was arrested in Florida after allegedly attacking two airport TSA agents who tried to give her a pat down and told her that her bottles of lotion were too big.

Police in Orlando say Hyunjoo Kim, 39, slapped one TSA officer before shoving another several times in the chest in an attempt to get her bag back on Wednesday morning.

Kim was described becoming upset initially over a pat down when entering a passenger checkpoint at the Orlando International Airport.

I’m so proud of Kim, I’m not even going to ask what the big bottles of lotion are all about.

PSY Apologizes

Bobby McGill’s piece at Busan Haps is seriously blowing up.

Washington Post, Gawker, Drudge… it’s all over.

It’s even got political, with calls for the cancellation of a planned performance by PSY for US President Obama.

PSY will be performing for the president anyway, but he did make an apology:

“As a proud South Korean who was educated in the United States and lived there for a very significant part of my life, I understand the sacrifices American servicemen and women have made to protect freedom and democracy in my country and around the world. The song I was featured in — from eight years ago — was part of a deeply emotional reaction to the war in Iraq and the killing of two innocent Korean civilians that was part of the overall antiwar sentiment shared by others around the world at that time,” the statement read. “While I’m grateful for the freedom to express one’s self I’ve learned there are limits to what language is appropriate and I’m deeply sorry for how these lyrics could be interpreted. I will forever be sorry for any pain I have caused anyone by those words.”

“I have been honored to perform in front of American soldiers in recent months — including an appearance on the Jay Leno show specifically for them — and I hope they and all Americans can accept my apology,” the statement concluded. “While it’s important we express our opinions, I deeply regret the inflammatory and inappropriate language I used to do so. In my music I try to give people a release, a reason to smile. I have learned that though music, our universal language we can all come together as a culture of humanity and I hope that you will accept my apology.”

Marmot’s Notes

– I’m guessing PSY had the apology on standby, since this story has been out there since October. It’s amazing it took so long to catch fire.

– If anything, the translation of the lyrics went easy on PSY. As MTV pointed out, “a Korean employee for MTV News, for instance, pointed out that Psy actually rapped ‘bitches’ instead of ‘Yankees.'” Which is about right, although perhaps a better translation would be “Western bitches.” The term that really got me, though, is kojaengi, or “big noser,” a term of racial abuse directed at white people. Back in October, when word of this first surfaced, Myongji University professor Kang Gyu-hyeong (writing into a conservative news outlet, admittedly) was horrified, calling the line “딸래미 애미 며느리 애비 코쟁이 모두 죽여” not only anti-American, but anti-human.

– Time heals, and five years of late President Roh Moo-hyun providing you great blogging material day in and day out heals a lot, so I’m a lot less angry about 2002 than I used to be. Anyway, a lot of stupid shit got said in 2002, much of it by people who should have known a lot better than PSY. Sure, given what was said and his current prominence, an explanation was in order. And he gave one. In fact, the apology he gave went way beyond anything I was expecting, even mentioning the “sacrifices American servicemen and women have made to protect freedom and democracy in my country and around the world.” Not to sound like a raving lefty loon, but given that the US did back a series of (admittedly, quite competent) military dictators in South Korea between 1961 and 1987, he didn’t have to put it that way.

– As for President Obama attending the PSY performance, I can understand why some might ask questions. Frankly, though, given how the president sat in Jeremiah Wright’s church for 20 years, I don’t really think a couple of stupid things PSY sang in the heat of the moment in 2002 should be a deal breaker. Anyway, compared to Wright and Bill Ayers, PSY is virtually Captain America.

– See also Iheartblueballs and Sonagi’s comments in the discussion here.