The Seoul National Theatre’s production of The Music Man

Stafford Lumsden (The Chosun Bimbo)

The Chosun Bimbo

Bimbo in The News

Ansan Asia Town
Apartment deal



Hyundai Chairman “pays” for his Crimes

NYT: Beef Agreement Near, No Beef Over 30 Mos.

Attendance at Protests Plummets

Ask a Korean:
The graph is estimated attendance to protest by date, and notes associated with the date. Blue bar is the attendance estimated by the police, and gray bar is the attendance estimated by the protest organizers.

Anti-US Groups Linked to Beef Protests (ROK Drop)

With links to pro-North Korean groups

Chosun Ilbo:

The People’s Association for Measures Against Mad Cow Disease on Wednesday issued an ultimatum against the Lee Myung-bak administration, demanding the scrapping of the Korea-U.S. beef accord and the start of all-out renegotiations of the accord with the U.S. by June 20. “If the government decides to ignore the mandate from the people, who hold the sovereign power in this country, we will not hesitate to launch a campaign to drive President Lee Myung-bak out of office,” it said in a statement. The association has been acting as if it has been leading the candlelight vigils. (…)

A search through the association’s Internet homepage reveals that it was launched on May 6 following a proposal by the People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy and another civic group called the Korea Progressive Coalition. The coalition was created in September of last year after pro-North Korean groups such as Hanchongryun, the Solidarity for the Practice of the South-North Joint Declaration and other civic groups got together. The co-chairperson of the coalition, Oh Jong-ryeol, takes center stage during news conferences or rallies protesting against U.S. beef imports, acting as if he is the head of the People’s Association for Measures Against Mad Cow Disease. A search through newspaper archives reveals that Oh had served as co-chair of a citizens’ movement to close down a U.S. military bombing range in Maehyang-ri in 2001. He co-chaired another citizens’ task force protesting the accidental killings of two Korean schoolgirls by a U.S. armored car in 2002, yet another citizens’ task force seeking to nullify an impeachment motion against former President Roh Moo-hyun in 2004, an anti-APEC movement and a group opposed to the expansion of a U.S. military base in Pyeongtaek in 2005, and another movement opposed to the Korea-U.S. free trade agreement in 2006. He is a professional “co-chairperson.” And it is obvious what types of groups he has co-chaired.

Bowring: A potent, troubling nationalism – International Herald Tribune

But Asian countries are going to need more cooperation, not less, in the years ahead, as improved regional arrangements will be needed to compensate for the gradual erosion of the American-led system put in place after World War II. The last thing anyone needs is revanchist thoughts about “lost territories,” real or imagined, or cries of “traitor” directed at presidents who make constructive deals with trading partners.

The beef demonstrations have been a reminder of official attitudes in the North, where history is seen as a series of battles against foreigners, with the United States and Japan as the chief villains, and where support from China and (previously) Russia was admitted grudgingly amid suspicion that the two countries were acting in their own self-interest.

The similarity of gut nationalism in North and South Korea makes their neighbors wary of unification, even if it could come about in the most peaceful and gradual way.

Of course, the Koreans have their legitimate grievances against foreigners – the Japanese, Chinese, Americans and Russians who have used them as pawns in wider wars. But these rivalries have mostly abated. Meanwhile, South Korea has become a successful, technologically advanced middling power in its own right. It has the capacity to play an important balancing role in East Asia’s future. But it also has the capacity to focus on its old grievances, to nourish revanchist thoughts and to sow discord with neighbors in pursuit of the aspirations of its nationalists. And thus, the beef protests were a very poor reflection on the country of Samsung Electronics and the UN secretary general, Ban Ki Moon.

They Even Ambushed DMC With Mad Cow!

Setting Up Hapless American Entertainers and the Rising Tide of Intellectual Thuggery (Metro)

DMC Press Conference Audio

2002 Tank Incident and Aftermath (Brian Deutsch’s red meat editorial in the KT)

It seems my foreigness trumps my manhood too!

Homever Store in Hot Water for Labeling US Beef as Australian

“PD Notebook” Facing Legal Action


Cultural Guide Book For Foreigners warns of killer fans. (B in J)

“57% of Teenagers Don’t Know When Korean War Broke Out” (B in J)

Moreover, 51 percent did not know that the war started with North Korea’s invasion of the South. About 14 percent picked Japan as the nation responsible for the war; 13.4 percent, the United States, and 11 percent Russia. About 2 percent even said it was the South invading the North.

While the United States is regarded as the main ally of the country, 28 percent said it was the key “threat” for national security, 4 percentage points higher than North Korea.

New Education Secretary appointee Cheong Jean-gon in trouble, guess why? (B in J)

Grand Sale turning out to be big planning mess (JoongAng Daily)

“A Seoul sales event aimed at attracting summer vacationers to Korea on their way to the 2008 Beijing Olympics is suffering from a dramatic lack of organization.” You don’t say…?

Korea IT Times look at Internet and Democracy

The Namdaemun doomsday prophecy is a notable myth in this article

They heard that when Namdaemun, the former south gate of Seoul during the Joseon Dynasty, was built, a prophecy was written on the wooden beams of the gate. This prophecy stated that nothing bad would happen to Korea as long as Namdaemun was protected. The Internet said Namdaemun had been slightly damaged shortly before Japan annexed Korea in 1905, and that was a terrible time for Koreans. Now, the gate had burned down entirely, and they were all going to die from Mad Cow.

Seoul Metro Trying to Reduce Congestion

“No More Pushmen, Now It’s Cutmen”

2008 Muju Festival (B in J)

The firefly festival with the missing fireflies.

Animal “Holy Smoke” (Seoul Searcher)

Munhwa Ilbo translated an excalamation from a NASA scientist literally.

Protection Sues Drama (POPSEOUL)

The Korea Animal Protection Society wants media attention by filing a lawsuit against the producers, screenwriters, director of the drama “Iljimae” over a dog fight scene in episode 4.

Ugly dog abuse video from Mokpo. (B in J)

Brief Power Outage at Everland Strands Riders (Korea Beat)

Scary news from one of Korea’s most popular amusement parks.

At approximately 6:40 pm on the 19th a power outage briefly left the rides at Everland, in Yongin, completely halted and riders were upset.

As soon the outage occurred emergency electricity was turned to but riders were stranded for eight minutes.

The merry-go-round and over 40 other rides were temporarily halted, and at the time of the accident some 500 to 600 of the over 2,500 park-goers were on one of the rides.

A representative of Everland said, “we are investigating what caused this incident and luckily no guest was injured.”

Update: It turns that Everland lied to the press about this incident. In fact a 56-year old electrician named Lee died after receiving an electric shock. Everland called emergency services immediately but did not inform media about the death until Yonhap News broke the story. They now are trying to lay legal responsibility for the incident on an unnamed electric equipment manufacturer. This is currently the top-viewed story on Naver.

Daegu father goes ape-shit after son gets picked on at school (GJ)

At a high school in downtown Daegu, some students were pestering another and calling him a derogatory name (something to do with the name of a Chinese basketball player?). The student informed his dad, who went nuts, grabbed a pick axe and marched off to the school. In a fit of rage, the father wielded and swung around the pick axe, breaking windows and doors, as students and teachers ran for cover. The teachers were later able to calm him down. Concerned parents must have caught wind of this from their students calling from cellphones while hiding under desks, and they went ahead and called police. The school feverishly moved to cover up the issue and informed police that they had the situation under control and that they are seeking to deal with the issue internally.

Korean Wii Sucks because of what Koreans did to the DS?


ESL Daily: Korea: T.A.L.K. Program Reached Goal (ESL Daily)

Earlier this month ESL Daily published an article about the restrictions being lifted on the E2 visa (Original E2 visa requires teachers to go through a vigorous hiring procedure that requires several checks on a 4 year -only- university degree) in order to recruit more foreign language instructors.  The “Teach Learn in Korea program” intended to hire students with 2 years or more university education, however recently this was dropped to one year (article).  More than 800 teachers were recruited for the program and 400 will be selected the Korean Times reports:

“The ministry has stopped accepting applications and announced Tuesday that a total of 836 people applied for the program. Approximately 400 will be selected for English teaching positions at elementary schools in rural areas. Among the applicants, some 73 percent are ethnic Koreans.

The largest group of applicants was from the U.S. with 588, followed by Canada with 145, Australia with 40 and the U.K with 17. Regarding age, 679 were younger than 25, while 103 were aged between 26 and 30 and the rest older than 30.” – Korean Times

Despite the doubts that were raised among the foreign teacher community in Korea, the program successfully found more than enough for the job.  The new recruits will be sent to rural schools throughout the country where it is difficult to find native English speaking teachers.  Unlike the original idea that the teachers would only go to public schools, they will also be sent to work at local “hogwons” or private English academies with a government approved curriculum (very few “hogwons” are expected to be part of the program).  Controversies are expected to rise among teachers and schools.

It’s whitey season again in Daejeon. (B in J)

A Korea Times reporter accompanied some Daejeon police as they went around trying to bust foreigners teaching illegally.

Hur Chang-goo, a veteran immigration police officer, hopped in a car with his partner, a female interpreter. Their mission: To catch a foreign national illegally teaching English at a kindergarten.

Tipped off that a Canadian teacher was hired to teach at the private institute, they needed to check it out. On their way, they discussed ways to block any possible attempt by the teacher to flee. The Korea Times accompanied them.

Immigration crackdown ends (or “When the cat’s away, the mice will play”) (Galbi Jim)

Police have arrested 8,035 violators of the Immigration Law during a 70-day crackdown started April 1. They have detained 148 and booked 7,887 without physical detention, the National Police Agency said Monday.

Chinese nationals made up the largest portion of the foreigners arrested, totaling 2,744. The most common offence was illegal marriage to obtain Korean citizenship, which made up 45 percent of the total cases.

Other major illegal activities include document forgery for visa application, which accounted for 14.5 percent. Unqualified native English and Chinese-speakers made up 8.3 percent. Most of them entered Korea on tourism or student visas, which do not allow them to work here.

“Due to the English education fever here, a lot of foreigners, especially from English-speaking countries, are often found working illegally here without the proper visa,” a police official said.

Diluting the urine (Dave’s)

This morning I had to give a urine sample for a drug test related to my new contract. I hadn’t been expecting to give the sample today, so had been to the bathroom shortly before leaving for the hospital. As a result I had trouble producing the required amount, not helped by the fact that I’d been drinking last night and was thus a little dehydrated. Anyway, I managed about half of the required 50ml and, not wanting to hang around, topped it up with tap water.

Can anyone more science literate than me speculate as to whether this extra water will be detected in the tests and cause me problems later?

PS There was no chance of me failing the tests, unfortunately, given I’ve been in this weedless country for a year.


Foreign English Teacher Found Dead in Apartment (Korea Beat)

At approximately 9 am on the 20th, 31-year old American English instructor T was found dead in the teacher’s one-room apartment in Eoyang-dong, Iksan City in Jeollabuk-do. Police are investigating.

The neighbor who alerted police said, “there had been a strange smell coming out for several days and finally I called the police.”

Police announced, “at the time of the discovery of the body the front door was locked, and the body was lying on the floor with no external injuries,” and are attempting to ascertain the circumstances of death by interviewing the employees of the hagwon where T was working.

Matt Lamers on Dave’s

Is Rokon Off? (Korea Pop Wars)

A History of ROKON and K-SCENE

GEPIK offers culture tips. (B in J)

Gyeonggi English Program in Korea (GEPIK) has 33 culture tips up on their site to help teachers adjust to Korea. A few of my favorites:

4. You may be disgusted by some food such as dog meat or dog soup if you keep a dog as a pet but they do not eat every kind of dog.

11. You may be insisted to drink alcohol beyond your capacity.

13. You may be bothered by children and youngsters who want to speak to foreigners, now and then with bad words which are not intended badly.

14. Koreans are against America politically, not socially.

22. Girls and ladies walk sometimes hand in hand or arm in arm. But they are not lesbians. It means kind of affection.

30. Some Koreans are less punctual than Americans but usually they are more tolerant than westerners.

33. Koreans sometimes say yes when they are confused in speaking English.

Foreigners “Like Taking Korean Names” (Korea Beat)

An increasing number of foreigners have been taking Korean-style names with hanja. There have always been such foreigners, but recently a new phase has been entered. Missionaries typically took Korean names to more quickly fit into Korean society, in consideration of the fact that few Koreans were familiar with English. But now it is not only missionaries but foreigners from all walks of life, re-naming themselves for fun or because they feel good about it.

Korean names produce praise for foreigners who have them, making their own way in Korean society, while those who haven’t been given one by a friend are somewhat “foolish”. But foreigners who do have a Korean name are regarded as successes of internationalization and localization. For westerners having a Korean name is a measure of internationalization just like how well they can use chopsticks.

Foreign Prisoners in Korea to Get Help (KB)

Judges across the country are putting together foreign-language guides to be made available to foreigners arrested or imprisoned.


It’s Hyorish?

Waeguk-sized condoms come to Korea

Korea’s First Crop Circle (Korea Beat)

The Most Awesome Picture I Will See This Week (Korea Beat)

So Close, Yet So Far (Korea Beat)

Galbijim.com » Blog Archive » ‘Sex and the City’ influenced cuisine comes to Korea

Fans don’t need to fly all the way to New York City to visit Payard Bistro and Patisserie and taste its renowned desserts. Payard recently opened its first branch here at the sixth floor of the Shinsegae Main Store in downtown Seoul.

Weapon of Mass Destruction (Through Whitey’s Eyes)

How to Survive Jangma ‘08! (An American in Geoje)

1. Stock up on umbrellas

You will probably need about 10-12 umbrellas to get you through this rainy time. Why so many? There are three reasons.

First, you will probably want to use at least two umbrellas simultaneously to maximize the shelter and protect yourself from the rain (see 3 and 4 below).

Second, you will probably leave at least one or two behind in a cab or at Dunkin Donuts. Jangma! is sneaky. The rain may stop and maybe even a little sun will shine through so you forget that you had an umbrella. Then just when you’ve left that umbrella behind, the clouds join and you get drenched to the bone.

Third, the wind blows hard. Those of us who have seen the cautionary movie Mary Poppins know what happens to greedy people who cling too tightly to umbrellas. To prevent being carried away by the wind, let go of your umbrella at the first sign of a strong gust. Its better to lost an umbrella and be wet than to lost your life!

2. Make sure to pass out only in well-drained areas.

Jangma! often causes flash floods of streets. The storm drain system, at least in Gohyeon, is very below par. Just last night, as I walked home in the Jangma!, I had to walk over a drunk ajoshi passed out on the sidewalk. At first look, it didn’t seem to make sense. It was pouring rain, and there was this guy, peacefully sleeping off the soju with a little nap in the middle of the sidewalk. Then I realized this guy was a genius.

Water was draining off the sidewalk and into the street and gutter, and thereby minimizing his chances of drowning in a puddle. If you choose to drink yourself to passing out, I suggest you are at least as prudent as that ajoshi. Its better to endure the occasional kick while passed out on the sidewalk than drown in the gutter!

3. Set up a four day pants drying cycle.

You are going to get wet. If wear your pants a few times before washing then take my advice. You will need to implement a four day rotation policy. For example, you wear your Monday pants and despite using two umbrellas, you get wet anyway. The humidity is so high that those pants will take at least four days to dry. So you will need to hang them, and get a different pair on Tuesday.

On Friday, Monday’s pants will be dry enough for you to wear again. Simply repeat the cycle until Jangma 08! has passed us by. Its better to have wet clothes all over your house than get the fungal infections that come with skin that is constantly wet (that could kill you).

4. Protect yourself from acid rain!

The same pollutants from China that cause the Yellow Sands in spring also cause damaging acid rain in during Jangma!—or at least that’s what the Koreans tell me. So, if you do get wet, be careful. Go home immediately and dose yourself with baking soda—this will counteract the acid. Then, wash very well. The acid rain has been linked to male baldness in Korea. Above is a man’s picture before Jangma ‘06! and then after. Disturbing. Its better to be covered in baking soda than to lose your hair and die from the acid rain of Jangma!

5. Never cross the street.

We all know that Koreans are dangerous drivers. However, something happens when it rains: well actually nothing happens, and that’s a problem. See running red lights is one thing, but running red lights in a downpour is another. Lower visibility, oils seeping up from the road, and standing water create dangerous conditions for anyone trying to cross the street. So I recommend that no pedestrians cross the street until Jangma ‘08! has passed. That may sound alarmist, but this is coming from a survivor.

6. Never sleep with the fan on.

I cannot stress this enough. Jangma! makes the air very humid and it is almost impossible to get cool. Many people turn to the use of electric fans to cool the air, or air conditioners to cool the air and suck out the humidity—to their doom! Do not make the mistake that my friends’ wife’s cousin’s friend’s sister made when she fell asleep during the Jangma! in a closed room with the fan on. She never realized her mistake, because she never woke up! Its better to be drenched in sweat, than be cool, dry, and dead!

Dancin’ Matt

Ex-Pat Living (The Korea Herald)
SEOUL Magazine

Topic: Annalog
Panelists: Anna Ho (Annalog)

Main Theme and Teaching Tips — Ben McPherson – “2wksnyc”
News — satya – “Silk Route Album Mix”
Things That Make You Go Whaa? — cjacks – “Candyland”
ExPat Community — Deyo – “Retro90210fun”
Jen’s Teachin’ Tips — Ben McPherson – “2wksnyc”
Time Wasters of the Week — EV Boys – “Kickin’ It in Geumchon”
Robin Stine
Bit Rationale
DJ Topshelf
High Alert Status
Uma Floresta
Tea Leaves
Kathy Reynolds
Hop On Pop
Chris Merritt
Ross Crean