We here at the Marmot’s Hole wish you all a happy Year of the Horse and a safe and joyous Lunar New Year holiday.
Mrs. Marmot is in Mongolia, so I’ll be spending the the Lunar New Year working on my 365 Project at Ye Olde Photoblog and getting angry at the Cheerios Super Bowl ad. Or so MSNBC tells me.
In the meantime, I’ll post some links sent by kind readers for your reading and commenting enjoyment:
- You’ll never look at sujebi the same way again (HT to Coco):
The 18 operators of a high-end escort service allegedly banking on Super Bowl week to deliver “party packs” of cocaine and prostitutes have been charged with drug and sex trafficking, New York authorities said Thursday.
Schneiderman said the ring involved thousands of clients and hundreds of prostitutes, primarily women from Korea brought by ring members to the United States.
Intercepted conversations involving the ring revealed that it used various code names for cocaine, including “party,” “jewelry,” “powder,” “maek” and “Soojaebi,” a Korean noodle and vegetable soup, the statement said. The prostitutes delivered the cocaine to the customers in what was referred to as a “party pack.”
In its headline on the same story, Yonhap refers to an “Asian prostitution ring,” and writes “Most of the arrested were Asian immigrants, and as they used sujebi as a word for cocaine, we cannot exclude the possibility that some are Koreans.”
Yes, I’d agree it’s difficult to exclude that possibility. At least at the current juncture.
To be fair, Yonhap quotes mostly from the AP report—which contains fewer details about the accused—and judging from the names of the 18 accused, one or two might not be Korean.
- The Daily Mail ran a piece about a woman, “allegedly a reporter on a South Korean TV channel,” who really screwed herself up with plastic surgery (HT to BK):
A South Korean woman has been accused of ‘ruining her face’ after ‘before’ and ‘after’ shots of her plastic surgery procedure spread online.
The unnamed woman, allegedly a reporter on a South Korean TV channel, has undergone jaw surgery in order to achieve the dainty heart-shaped face desired by many east Asian women.
South Koreans currently have more plastic surgery than in any other country according to recent figures, with the craze particularly popular among 19 to 49-year-olds.
The result of the procedure is an unusually pointed chin, and the reactions on a Japanese online forum did not hold back.
The Daily Mail got the piece from this website, which got it from an Japanese online forum.
Now, I’m not surprised that this would go viral on a Japanese forum—spreading sordid stories about Korea comes second only to watching tentacle rape porn as the favorite activity of the Wa netizen. It is a bit odd, though, that one of the most widely read newspapers in the world would run such a poorly sourced and verified story. Even if it is the Daily Mail.
For something a bit more intelligent on the plastic surgery issue, read TheKorean’s latest post on the subject.
- Speaking of Japanese asshats—a category that would seemingly cover much of the Japanese diplomatic corps nowadays, it would seem—Wa ambassador to France Yoichi Suzuki is unhappy about a special exhibit on the Comfort Women at the Angoulême International Comics Festival:
Japanese Ambassador to France Yoichi Suzuki expressed regret over the event, and the Japanese government plans to hand out brochures to visitors explaining Japan’s stance on the issue.
“It is regrettable that a manga festival aimed at promoting cultural exchanges and mutual understanding is instead used for a political cause,” Suzuki told French media on Wednesday.
You can read more about the exhibit here. The festival is partially sponsored by the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family.
If moaning from Japanese diplomats isn’t enough to turn your frown upside down, it gets better—according to MBC, not only did Japanese pressure to stop the exhibit fail hard, but a Japanese exhibit that distorted the truth about the comfort women was forced out of the festival for being political.
As you may know, Seoul is pushing to register documentary evidence regarding the Comfort Women with UNESCO. And before you ask, yes, there are several similar examples: Anne Frank’s diary, the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum in Phnom Penh and documentary evidence regarding the slave trade are also registered with UNESCO.
- And in the “More Good News from North Korea” file, we have this (HT to Boyd):
North Korea has followed through on its threat to advance its nuclear weapons program, the top U.S. intelligence official said Wednesday, while a research institute pointed to signs the communist country is preparing to launch bigger rockets.
Those developments will add to the international concern about the intentions of young leader Kim Jong Un, amid scant sign that negotiations to curb North Korea’s nuclear ambitions will resume any time soon.
The article cites the analysis found in this post at 38 North, which you can read on your own. To add to the holiday joy, a recent piece of analysis at Jane’s suggests that “the Yongbyon nuclear scientific research complex threatens Northeast Asia with a disaster potentially worse than Chernobyl“:
This reactor comes from another world. The Yongbyon site has a concentration of so many nuclear facilities that if there was a fire in one building it could lead to a disaster worse than the Ukrainian one,” said Seo Kyun Reul, a professor at the nucleonic department of Seoul National University.
Yongbyon’s 5 MWe reactor uses obsolete magnox technology that, combined with the reuse of old graphite moderators, greatly increases the risk of a fire, Seo said.