- A group of defectors are really pissed at Korean-American ajumma/frequent visitor to North Korea Shin Eun-mi and former Democratic Labor Party deputy spokeswoman Hwang Sun for a talk show they hosted last month in which they allegedly made pro-North Korean remarks. The defectors, including “The Aquariums of Pyongyang” author Kang Chol-hwan, have challenged the two to a debate. A group of female defectors have challenged the duo to a debate as well.
Hwang and Shin, meanwhile, are threatening to write letters to the UN and Amnesty complaining that their freedom of speech is being infringed upon, an allegation not completely without basis. Hwang is also suing the Chosun Ilbo and its TV channel for defamation.
About Hwang, I’m pretty sure I know what to think. Shin, on the other hand, seems to be a bit more complicated a character. Interestingly enough, her 2012 travelogue to North Korea was selected by the Ministry of Culture as an “outstanding book” last year and 1,200 copies of it distributed for free to libraries and social welfare centers around the country. She also appeared in a promotional video for the Ministry of Unification. Now the Ministry of Justice has slapped an entry ban on her, which means the only Korea she’ll be visiting anytime soon is the one north of the 38th. Just to keep the ironies going, her grandfather was a lawmaker who was one of the leading figures in passing the National Security Law in 1948.
Anyway, while I’ve seen bits and pieces of what they are alleged to have said, I have not seen a video of their talk or a full transcript of it, so if you got it, please link it in the comments. If you’d like to see some really angry folk going off on them on TV Chosun, though, I direct you here, or some more rational talk by defectors—including Kang—on the Dong-A Ilbo’s Channel A, I direct you here.
– An American teacher at a foreign school has been booked for allegedly assaulting a Korean man in Itaewon on Nov. 30 after said Korean man shook the hand of his girlfriend. The teacher reportedly told police that he thought the man, who apparently knew his girlfriend, was trying to molest her. The victim, who was punched several times in the face, lost consciousness soon after arriving at the hospital, and he’s been unconscious ever since. The police applied for a warrant to detain the suspect, but prosecutors turned it down, saying that it’s still unclear whether the assault and the victim’s loss of consciousness are connected.
UPDATE: Somebody sent me this link at GoFundMe which, if it’s talking about the same case, tells a very different tale of what happened.
– Rough time for the musical Chung family. Violinist Kyung-Wha Chung apparently shocked audiences in London by berating a coughing child (HT to Brier). In Seoul, meanwhile, Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra CEO Park Hyun-jung—who is currently being accused of verbally abusing and sexually harassing her employees—is accusing SPO musical director Myung-whun Chung, Kyung-Wha’s brother, of trying to engineer her removal and running the orchestra like a personal organization.
– This is classy: Vietnamese worker goes to the Ministry of Employment and Labor to demand unpaid wages, and the company has the guy arrested as an illegal migrant.