The Marmot's Hole

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Tag: Netizens

Female NIS agent was tracking pro-North Korean posters: police

Speaking of North Korea, women and the JoongAng Ilbo, the JoongAng reports that police have determined that the female NIS agent accused by the Democratic Party of engaging in illicit electioneering is actually involved in finding pro-North Korean activity on the Internet.

Police said the agent—identified by her last name of Kim—said she used her 11 IDs to monitor the website “Today’s Humor,” which had earned the NIS’s particular attention for its many pro-North Korean posts. Or so the report says. She said her main job was to track pro-North Korean posts, while her 90 or so “like” or “dislike” clicks were because posts either sucked or because they had to do with matters of personal interest, like entertainment and cooking. Her lawyer said about 1,000 posts related to Moon Jae-in got posted a day during the election period; of these, she would vote on about one a day. A violation of the election law this was not, he said.

According to the materials Kim submitted to police, there was some serious attempts by pro-North Korean types to drive opinion on the site in an organized way. I have no desire to translate the details.

Oh, those wacky Japanese netizens…

It seems the Japanese Twitterverse is all aglow with rumors that Tsushima City Hall regularly flies both the Japanese AND Korean flags.

Tsushima City Hall has reportedly been getting emails and phone calls as a result. They’ve responded by saying that while they’ll occasionally fly the Korean flag for official visits by Korean delegations, they usually fly the Japanese flag only.

The rumor appears to be the work of right-wing Japanese netizens.

More Olympic-sized BS

The Korea Times reports that a “series of blunders compromise Olympic credibility.”

Honestly, I was unaware that the Olympics actually had any credibility.

In fact, I’d been operating under the impression that as an organization, the Olympics were only slightly more corrupt than Mobutu’s Zaire.

Anyway, KoreaBANG has much more on Korean reactions to the Olympic officiating. Needless to say, some quarters of Korean cyberspace feel very, very aggrieved.

UPDATE: How aggrieved do they feel? Well, according to the Seoul Sinmun (quoting the German press), the Austrian judge’s email and phone number have been leaked online, and she’s getting threats via Twitter. And her Facebook page is under siege.

For her part, Shin isn’t taking the judgement sitting down (rim shot). She’s apparently refusing a special award from fencing’s governing body:

Fencing’s governing body announced that heartbroken South Korean Shin A Lam will receive ‘a special medal’ after she felt she was robbed of a proper one in the women’s epee on Monday night.

The medal will be for ‘aspiration to win and respect for the rules,’ said the International Fencing Federation in a statement.

But Shin said: ‘It does not make me feel better because it’s not an Olympic medal.

‘I don’t accept the result because I believe it was a mistake.’

Yeah, tell it to Roy Jones, Jr..

And yes, the brick-by-brick account at The Guardian was quite cute (HT to Q):

UPDATE 2: German fencer Britta Heidemann’s Facebook page is apparently under assault, too. Judging from the title of the article, there may be nude photos of Ms. Heidemann floating around somewhere, too.

Must Read: The Passion of the Tablo

At Wired, Joshua Davis has penned an indepth and disturbing piece on the online crusade against rapper Daniel Lee, a.k.a. Tablo. Here’s just a sample:

After entertainment gossip sites wrote about the anti-Lee site, TaJinYo’s membership swelled to more than 100,000. Not content to wait for more allegations to emerge, many forum members launched their own investigations into Lee’s past. Soon, in a birtherlike onslaught, Stanford professors and administrators were flooded with emails from people questioning Lee’s educational background. Thomas Black, the Stanford registrar, received 133 emails on the subject. Everybody wanted to know one thing: Was Lee telling the truth?

Forum members seemed to relish the digital inquisition. “We call this game ,” wrote one heckler, who referred to himself as a Tablo Online player, as if it were a casual pastime to be enjoyed during work breaks. Whatbecomes expertly fanned the flames, threatening to reveal dark secrets about Lee and promising to unveil them slowly for maximum dramatic effect. It was, he said, “more fun that way.”

Whatbecomes began hinting at a broader conspiracy: The media was colluding to protect Lee, because he was part of Korea’s upper crust. But the average citizen could fight back. “By proving Tablo’s fraud this time, the deep-rooted symbiotic relationship [between the media and the rich] can be cut off,” he wrote.

Tablo’s cousin, Seungmin Cho, who helped fan the flames by reportedly joining the lynch mob, seems like an interesting fellow, too:

In a six-paragraph rant, Cho went on to accuse Lee of inflating his IQ score and falsely claiming to be a top student in high school and college. Lee, he wrote, was even a screwup as a kid and got kicked out of middle school. “For the record, this is not jealousy,” Cho added. “I have no reason to be jealous of an individual whom I obviously despise for his lack of candor.”

[Former SIS teacher] Simmons didn’t respond; she was baffled that her comment had provoked such vitriol. Three days later, Cho wrote again: “One more thing, Ms. Simmons. Great people of east Asia don’t need you. We will own this century, and the next, and the next, until all non-Asians are essentially pounded to submission … Of course, it is the mission of thought leaders like myself who will propel what will be united Korea in the meantime.”

The Marmot’s Hole: Waiting to Be Essentially Pounded to Submission, Since 2003.

Anyway, as one of my former employers used to say, the netizens are scary. I try not to bash the netizenry too much—Korean cyberspace is a very rich place, you can find online nutjobs everwhere, and I think a lot of the criticism I’ve been reading (at least within Korea) has been politically motivated. Still, when Korea’s much-praised IT connectivity is combined with the country’s small size and social grievences against “the elite” (not all of which are unjustified, mind you), the results can be quite frightening.

(HT to readers, including my brother)

Some people shouldn’t be allowed near a computer

The Kukmin Ilbo reports that a Korean netizen has earned the ire of Japanese cyberland by posting a Youtube video of himself expressing hope—in Japanese, no less—that the Japanese would be wiped out in a great earthquake.

See the video here. The diligent Japanese netizenry—always happy to promote Korea on the international stage—took the time to subtitle the video into English.

UPDATE: I’m told by a reader that the translation here is much better.

Guess I won’t be eating at the Shilla Hotel anytime soon…

So, according to the Kyunghyang Shinmun, well-known hanbok designer Lee Hye-sun went to the Shilla Hotel’s buffet restaurant Tuesday evening for a dinner appointment.

The staff, however, didn’t let her in. You see, they explained, our restaurant has a dress code, and the hanbok isn’t allowed. When asked why, they said the hanbok is dangerous — because it’s got a good deal of volume, it could disturb other people.

So, Lee left the place and headed home, but on the way, she called up the hotel again to reconfirm the dress code. Sure enough, the hotel responded it doesn’t let in people wearing hanbok or gym clothes.

Lee responded as any of us would — be posting it on the Twitter news site Wikitree. Needless to say, the netizens were not amused, and that very evening, the hotel said it would begin letting the hanbok-clad into their restaurants. Lee, though, asked Wednesday morning why anyone would push the globalization of Korean food when the hotel’s Korean restaurant has been shut down, hanbok-wearing people are being turned away at the door and the hanbok is being treated like a gym suit. Until the hotel’s CEO went on record with the hotel’s official policy, she would not believe what the hotel says.

The president of the Shilla is, of course, Lee Boo-jin, the eldest daughter of Samsung Group chairman Lee Kun-hee. In fact, according to the Kyunghyang, Lee celebrated his 70th birthday at the hotel in January in an event in which his wife did wear a hanbok.

Seoul Most Favored Travel Destination: Seoul City

A couple of weeks ago, Seoul City announced that the results of a straw poll that suggested that Seoul was Asians’ most favored travel destination:

Seoul is the preferred travel destination of Chinese, Japanese and Thai tourists. According to a straw poll of 800 Chinese, 500 Japanese, and 300 Thais in their respective countries in December, 11.4 percent, 9.8 percent and 20 percent said Seoul is a city they want to visit within the year, the Seoul city government said Wednesday.

Regardless of actual travel plans, the largest percentage or 14.3 percent of Thais chose Seoul as their favorite city, while the second largest proportion, or 7 percent of Japanese respondents picked Seoul after Honolulu (8 percent). Seoul was the third favorite city of Chinese people with 7.3 percent after Paris and Tokyo.

Unsurprisingly, some sectors of the Chinese netizen community couldn’t leave it at that.

Anyway, on the Seoul tourism front, the Lonely Planet’s Simon Richmond — a.k.a. the Guy Who Is Actually Writing the Next Edition of the LP’s Seoul Guide — penned a piece on learning to Love Seoul:

An old Korean proverb goes, ‘Even if you have to crawl on your knees, get yourself to Seoul!’ It’s a view that the New York Times recently concurred with by tipping the South Korean city – which in January assumed the mantle of World Design Capital – as one of its top places to visit for 2010.

And yet on this website recently one reader hazed Seoul for being an ‘appallingly repetitive sprawl of freeways and Soviet-style concrete apartment buildings, horribly polluted, with no heart or spirit to it.’ What gives?

Like any booming metropolis, Seoul sure ain’t perfect. But, as I discovered researching the new edition of Lonely Planet’s Korea, there are plenty more reasons to embrace rather than reject one of Asia’s most underrated and unjustly maligned cities. The following ten, presented in no particular order, will set you on the fast track to loving Seoul.

Read the rest on your own.

(HT to reader)

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