Monday, November 29, 2010

Estimated 1.9 Million Koreans With an Internet Addiction

There is a difference between being dependent on the internet, and being addicted to the internet.  Everyone who has a computer at home or at work, and needs it to work or communicate with others, will be a little compulsive about using it.  People are just dependent on the technology and there is nothing harmful about compulsively checking your e-mail or hitting refresh on a favorite website.

Then there is addiction.  How do you know if you or a loved one has an internet addiction?  When a person refuses to interact socially in the real-world because that would mean less time spent in an imaginary one, they have a problem.  The most obvious indicator of addiction is how a person reacts when they are told they cannot be on the internet for whatever reason.  If they get frustrated, upset, sad, angry, or violent, then they have a problem.

I know this from personal experience.  I had an online gaming addiction when I was 15 and it consumed my life.  I was addicted to a RPG real-time online WWII strategy game.  I stopped eating, stopped caring about school, lost all my friends, and had a couple disastrous confrontations with my family about it.  After a year of being addicted to internet gaming, I agreed to go to counseling for it.  Ultimately, I agreed with my father that I had a problem and that the best thing for me was to give up all forms of internet and video gaming until I finished high school.  I went two years without playing internet of video games in my own home, though I still played socially with friends at their houses.

This was ten years ago.  The graphics, the connection speeds, the character and plot development, the level of online interaction, and the intensity of all these online games I imagine are ten times as addicting now than when I was a teenager.

South Korea is the most internet wired country on Earth, and they are beginning to recognize and acknowledge internet gaming addiction as a proper psychological disorder.

Source in the Korea Times:
A 15-year-old middle schoolboy strangled his mother earlier this week in a fit of anger during an argument over his playing of violent computer games and then took his own life, sounding a wake-up call to the whole nation.
Game addiction has long been a social issue in Korea where the game industry is thriving on an advanced Internet infrastructure. 
Many middle and high school boys lock themselves in their room at home or spend hours in a “PC bang” (Internet cafe) to play highly-addictive computer games. The crimes committed by teen game addicts are increasing and turning more violent.
Online games are evolving everyday with better sound effects, fancier 3D graphics and updated structures ㅡ fatal temptation teens find hard to resist. For many of them, the games may be the only exit from their stifling school life.
My life sucked when I was fifteen.  I was a nobody in the real world.  However, once I was able to create my own character in an online universe, I could be anything or anyone and progress in the game became immediate and instantly gratifying.  Achieving success in the real world is a very arduous, long, and sometimes risky process.  It is hard to explain to a teenage boy that he might have to wait a decade before he will stop feeling so insecure about his place in life.
The middle school boy, who killed his 43-year-old mother in Busan, Tuesday, was found to have been addicted to a first person shooter (FPS), a violent combat game where the character uses guns and weapons, according to the police.
"We found that he played computer games all the time except for eating meals or going to the bathroom," a police officer said. "Lee's sister, who found her mother's body, said Lee and his mother often had disputes over playing computer games."
I absolutely believe that violence in video games makes absolutely no difference in behavior.  If violent video games made people violent, then everyone who played violent video games would be violent.  That is the only result you could expect if it were true.  That is just is not the case.

A more likely explanation is that a teenage already prone to violence enjoys playing violent games.  If the violent games did not exist, that kid would still be likely to be violent.  This is provable by the obvious fact that violence existed before violent video games.  People really need to drop this argument.
Lee had gone through counseling several times, but it didn’t work.
It is the third game addiction-related crime this year. In February, a man in his 20s murdered his mother who scolded him for playing computer games and in March, a game-addicted couple starved their three-month-old daughter to death.
According to the statistics of the National Information Society Agency (NIA), the rate of those hooked on the Internet in Korea is 8.5 percent, with the number of addicts at about 1.9 million. The rate is even higher among teenagers at 12.8 percent and children from single parent families, including Lee, are more vulnerable to Internet addiction, at a rate of 16.6 percent.
Almost 10% of the general population in Korea has an internet addiction.  The rate goes up for teenagers.  The rate goes up even more for teenagers from a single parent home.  The reason for this seems obvious.  The less time parents spend with a child, the more likely the child will fill that time playing games online.  If a parent is gone, that means no time with that parent.
Experts said the Internet and game addiction are a sort of disease and should be treated properly as such.
Kang Ung-gu of Seoul National University College of Medicine said teenagers' Internet addiction should be treated in the early stages as it might accompany depression. "In most cases, the addiction comes from multiple causes and we use medication and behavioral therapy," Kang said.
Lee Eun-sil, a researcher at the Internet Addiction Prevention Center of NIA, said, "Internet and Internet game addiction is a serious disease. It needs treatment from experts and should not be considered as just a personal problem. Children who come to the center are the cared for ones. Some parents from broken homes do not even notice their children’s addiction.” 
The government is taking a series of steps to help treat these young game addicts. Experts say that parents need to more actively seek help from consultants or professional institutes that provide various programs designed to treat the problem.
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism also said the number of teenagers who received counseling for game immersion jumped to 45,476 in 2009 from 3,440 in 2007.
That is a staggering increase over two years.  It is encouraging that the government is taking the issue serious now and attempting to respond to this problem.  However, if 10% of the population has an internet addiction, cannot this be considered an epidemic?  If there are 1,900,000 addicts and the government is only helping 45,000, that has to still be considered an inadequate response.  I expect the number of people the government is helping to continue to dramatically rise.
A 14-year-old a middle school student in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province, Yoo, is one of the game addicts who are enrolled in a program to cure the problem, offered by the state-run Korea Youth Counseling Institute.
The boy, who used to play games for more than 10 hours on weekends, said he realized that he had difficulties controlling his temper and could not stop thinking about the online shooting game, “Sudden Attack.” 
“After I realized that I was addicted to the game, I asked for help from my mother. And we’ve decided to join a treatment program,” he said. “I participated in the ‘Rescue School’ program which requires young game addicts to stay for 12 days. It was a great help.”
Lee Yoon-hee, a counselor at the institute, said, “The addicted person’s will is most important in overcoming the problem. Also, parents need to pay greater attention to their kids.”
She said that not all students who joined the program have been successfully treated. “It’s not easy to cure the addiction. Less than 50 percent of participants in the program have been cured.” 
There are several measures to pull youths away from online games. The "fatigue system" makes virtual character grow slowly when teenagers play a game too long. A stronger measure is the "shutdown system," not allowing people under the age of 14 to play games after midnight, which is currently applied to three games as an example.
Other than the NIA’s center, Seoul City runs two “I Will Centers” in Boramae and Changdong, to provide free consultation for youngsters or their parents on Internet addiction.
I think no child under the age of 18 should be allowed to be playing games in an internet cafe (PC Bang) after midnight.  There is just no reason for this to be so.  As for blocking kids from being able to play on their personal computers at home, that should be left to the parents.

Like any disease or addiction, prevention is the best treatment.  A national public discussion needs to happen and parents need to be aware of the dangers of internet addiction.  Staying informed of what a child does on the internet and for how long seems like basic parenting, but it is obvious that many Korean parents are not watching over their children while they are online.

I have already posted this, but I thought Al Jazeera did a good job and it is worth a watch if you are concerned about this issue.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Posters For Waygooks - North Korea

Happy Black Friday!

NMA World Edition has another great video explaining the American holiday of Black Friday, the most important shopping holiday of the year.  This is the day that most companies see their profits go from red to black before the end of the calendar year.

The Future Mrs. Waygook

I know she is Japanese and not Korean... but the heart wants what the heart wants!

North vs South Korea Historical Perspective

The Guardian website has an awesome interactive google map of every military conflict between North and South Korea over the last half century.  Follow the link and then just click on a dot to see what happened and when.  It is surprising how many there are.

I think the map puts the recent attacks in perspective.  These incidents happen all the time.  The rest of the world media appears to be overreacting when most Koreans I talk to seem to think this is just another incident consistent with how North Korea has been acting for the last fifty years.

13-Year-Old American Boy Protests in China

Jonathan Lee is a 13-year-old American boy that traveled to North Korea to propose the idea of a "children's peace forest" to be planted in the DMZ earlier this year.  He wanted to give "hope to people and children around the world" with the signing of a peace treaty to end the Korean war.

North Korea shot him down, but were very polite to him about his idea.  Jonathan now has taken to protesting to bring about peace on the Korean peninsula.  He recently protested in Seoul for the G20 and last week made it to Beijing to protest outside the forbidden city.  Chinese police caught right away and forced him to leave, but I personally think the video is hilarious of the Chinese guy saying "No! No, no, no. No!" in response to a 13 year old American child trying to protest in the Chinese capital.

and the G20...

China's Rare Earth Element Monopoly

The Rare Earth Elements are a collection of 17 chemical elements that have become essential in the production of a long list of modern day technologies.  The process of mining for them is expensive and complicated.  Currently, China produces more than 95% of the elements for the world's technology industry and countries like Japan and starting to realize that such a monopoly is dangerous when the Chinese government uses it to punish other countries for political means.

KPOP Korral - [2AM] - I Did Wrong

2AM is a four member ballad boy band signed with JYP Entertainment.  The four members are Jo Kwon (조권), Lee Changmin (이창민), IM Seulong (임슬옹), Jung Jinwoon (정진운).  2AM is one of the two subgroups along with 2PM that branched out from the larger group called One Day.

Their videos don't have much dancing and are not very catchy, but if you follow KPOP charts, they have had three songs reach number one this year, so I felt compelled to post their videos.  They are nice stories, but difficult for non-Korean speakers to share in the often melancholy tone of their songs.

The most fun I think is "I Did Wrong" (잘못했어).  It's a sun little story about a DJ, a hockey player, a basketball player, and a biker who fight over the same girl.

These guys also really like to cry in their music videos.  This is probably what makes them so popular with all the depressed Korean teens in this country that hate their lives.  Their other videos this year are "Like Crazy" (미친듯이) and "You Wouldn't Answer My Calls" (전활받지않는너에게).

If these vids go dead, let me know.  Their videos haven't been updated on their official youtube channel yet and if they do, all the copies might be taken down.



Thursday, November 25, 2010

USS George Washington Returns to Korea

The USS George Washington came to South Korea last July to participate in war games exercises.  It was a symbolic show of force by the United States to send a signal to Pyongyang in response to the Cheonan sinking.  With the recent artillery attack, the aircraft carrier has now been ordered back to the Korean peninsula.

The U.S.S. George Washington has left its home port and is sailing to the Korean Peninsula. The Aircraft Carrier, with 75 fighter aircraft and 6000 Sailors and Marines will be participating in exercises in the region. The Pentagon says that the exercises were planned prior to yesterday's artillery attack on South Korea. President Obama had vouched that the United States would protect South Korea.
The Pentagon said that the exercises were of defensive nature and have been planned for some time. Even though the exercises were planned prior to the unprovoked attack by North Korea, the deployment of the U.S.S. George Washington proves the strength of the Alliance between the U.S. and South Korea and the U.S.'s resolve for stability and deterrance in the region, said the Pentagon. The nuclear powered aircraft carrier's home port is a Navy port south of Tokyo.
North Korea attacked a South Korean Island on Tuesday. The leadership in North Korea emphasized that they had reacted to fire coming from South Korea. "With this irresponsible provocation Seoul has brought the Korean peninsula to the brink of war", reported the North Korean state news agency KCNA. North Korea conceded that it was holding military exercises in the area, but at not time were any shots fired North.
It had previously been reported that 2 South Korean Marines were killed during the attack. Since then police have found two dead civilians on the island. The dead are reported to be civilians aged between 60 and 70.
All major powers in the region and the UN have condemned the attack. No military response was anticipated by the White House. Whether or not the U.S.S. George Washinton is part of a response or a pre-scheduled exercise remains to be seen.
The regime in North Korea is undergoing a change in leadership and analysts believe that with the passing of the leadership baton, the North Korean has become more powerful and is flexing its muscle. China is the key to regional stability and must be engaged by the U.S. to assert its influence on North Korea.
No way it was a coincidence.  I don't know why the United States lies about stuff like that.  North Korea doesn't believe it anyways.  Here's video of it leaving Japan.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Teen Dating Still Punished By 80% of Korean Secondary Schools

I suspected that dating was looked down upon by public high schools and middle schools in Korea, but I was unaware that students were punished with suspensions if caught.

Eight out of 10 middle and high schools nationwide were found to have been maintaining rules disciplining students for engaging in relationships or physical contact with the opposite sex, a rights advocacy group for teenagers said Tuesday.
According to a report issued by “Asunaro” (, 286 secondary schools out of 354 across the country, or 81 percent, have internal regulations preventing students from dating or having physical contact with those of the opposite gender.
In Yangpyong County, Gyeonggi Province, all middle and high schools are found to have rules against dating among students, with 119 out of 142 schools in Busan maintaining similar guidelines that specifically reprimand those engaging in relationships with fellow students.
Asunaro said the education authorities and schools have been infringing upon the students’ rights, stressing that they should scrap regulations banning on-campus relationships.
“All that the schools care about is creating overly strict rules and punishing students for dating. Teenagers should be allowed to exercise their rights over their own sexuality both inside and outside schools,” an Asunaro official said.
The group also said that some schools even prohibited students from exchanging gifts on birthdays and other special occasions.
Students with a boyfriend or a girlfriend are forced to write a report about their relationship and schools break up social clubs if members are caught dating. Just like adults, teens are human beings and should be given the right to choose what they want to do.”
It then said schools should abolish the “discriminatory” rules against students and respect their rights to their own sexuality, as well as provide them with more practical sex education.
According to Asunaro, two students recently quit an Incheon high school voluntarily because of rules suspending those caught three times for dating, while one middle school in Gwangju called in all students involved in relationships with boyfriends or girlfriends to one place and ordered them to stop the behavior.
I find it odd that it is legal for a fifty year old Korean man to have sex with a thirteen year Korean girl (as long as she is not paid and claims it is consensual), but if two seventeen year olds in high school want to change their facebook statuses and give each other birthday gifts, they can get suspended from a public school.

There is a great deal I admire about Korea, but they are hopelessly fu**ed up when it comes to sex.  Additionally, I would love to know what sex education is like in a Korean public school.  I hope that the answer is not that "there is none."

Video of Cambodia Stampede

At least 378 people are dead after a deadly stampede occurred on a bridge while at annual water festival in Cambodia.  The exact cause for what started the stampede is unknown, although it appears obvious that too many people were in the same place at the same time and if someone causes a panic, people get squished.

WARNING: this video is a little graphic and disturbing, viewer discretion advised...

They are trying to pull people who are still alive off the bridge, and can't because there are so many people trapped that cannot move.  It looks like a lot of people just suffocated from being unable to breath in the pile.

A Sheep Shortage!

Due to back to back years of drought and now an early rainy season, many of New Zealand's sheep have died and the country's level of sheep is at its lowest point in over fifty years.

Why did the lamb call the police?  Because he had been fleeced!

North Korea's First Artillery Attack in Half a Century

North Korea just violated their 1953 Armistice Agreement.  Reports are coming out that South Korea is admitting to conducting military exercises and firing shells in a disputed maritime border in the Yellow Sea and this might be what caused the North to react.  Firing on a island with about 1,200 defenseless civilians is hardly an appropriate response though.  Let's hope everybody calms down here.

Here is some CCTV of the attacks:


Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Korean CSAT

The Korean College Scholastic Ability Test was last Thursday.  This exam is taken by all high school seniors on the same day at the same time all across the country.  The score they get is worth about 50% of what college's considering when accepting freshmen at university.  Children literally spend their entire lives preparing for this exam.

Airing News has a story about it.  A lot of talk about parents "praying" for their children to show their full potential on test day.  Gift giving is also very common.

Eat Your Kimchi also made a video of how family and friends show up at school to cheer on the test takers.

Technology Leads to Rise in North Korean Defectors

Last week the number of defectors from North Korea that made it to the South reached 20,000.  More impressive than that number is how large of a percentage of that number happened so recently.

The number of North Korean defectors in South Korea has topped 20,000. A Unification Ministry official on Monday said their number crossed 20,000 last Thursday, when an airplane from Thailand carrying about 50 new defectors arrived in the country. In 1999 there were 1,000 defectors, and in 2007 10,000. 
The official said it took 59 years since defectors were first recognized in 1948 for their number to reach 10,000 but a mere three years to double. [...]
Why is that number skyrocketing so much so quickly?  Life in North Korea has been horrible and worse than the South for decades.  You would think something like the famines that ravaged the North in the 90s would have immediately led to an escalation of defectors.  

The reason for the sharp increase over the last decade has to be technology.  Cell phones, radios, and digital media has to be coming across the border from China and people in the North now know how much better life is in South Korea.  The risks of getting caught no longer seem to outweigh the benefits of potentially making it to the South.

The Economist recently published an article titled "No Paradise, But Better Than Hell".
“THOUGH it felt as if there was nothing left to lose, I risked everything to come here”. So says Park Cheol-hwan, a North Korean defector now living in Seoul, the South Korean capital. After crossing the border into China, as most defectors do, he spent nearly a year working in atrocious conditions to pay off his debt to the snakehead who got him there, living under the constant threat of arrest. [...]
It is no surprise that anyone would want to leave North Korea, but the sharp increase in numbers was unexpected, particularly by the South Korean government. It provides defectors with help, including a cash payment of 6m won ($5,300) per person and basic instruction in everything from how to use a bank card to applying make-up.
In Seoul the manager of one support group says that part of the reason for the increased numbers is the surprisingly easy access that North Koreans have to South Korean films and television programmes. In recent years, illegally copied DVDs from China have flooded the country, enabling citizens of the world’s most repressive state to see how sumptuously their southern cousins live.
Because family members left behind are persecuted, whole-family defections are also becoming more common. Two-fifths of new arrivals come with at least one other member of the family, while relatives back in North Korea nervously wait for their chance to follow. More than two-thirds of defectors are women, who also happen to make up the major part of the North’s black economy, on which much of the population depends.
Few labour under the illusion that life in the South is perfect, but for many defectors their new home still comes as a shock. Despite the supposed importance of blood ties, refugees from North Korea lead second-class lives. Fewer than half of defectors are “economically active”. Many employers are unwilling to employ North Koreans, whom they consider backward, leaving many to subsist on government largesse. Defectors do their best to disguise their origins, for instance, by faking a Seoul accent in order to secure even the most menial job. Even so, since November 11th about another 50 North Koreans have made it south.
I imagine living your whole life outside the motivation of economic incentives can make you appear backwards.  People assume capitalism is instinctive, and to a degree it is, but it is also something we learn.  Telling these people to find their jobs and then manage their own money has to be overwhelming when they have never been able to make a single significant economic decision in themselves their entire lives.

KPOP Korral - [T.O.P] - Turn It Up

T.O.P (탑) is a recording artist and actor.  His real name is Choi Seung-hyun (최승현).  He the third member of the group Big Bang to release his own solo song (other being G-Dragon and Taeyang).

He is signed under YG Entertainment, but apparently he almost did not make the cut to be in Big Bang.
Choi was initially rejected by the record label, which deemed him too "chubby" to fit the "idealistic version" of an idol. Choi later stated that he "went home and exercised really hard because I wanted to join YG Entertainment." Six months later, he returned for another audition and was signed on.
Monkey's, mimes, and checkerboard fashion in black and white make for a great video.

T.O.P has been spending most of his time trying to land jobs in television and movies.  He has been in various dramas and films including I Am Sam, Iris, and 71: Into the Fire.  Here is a clip of TOP from Iris.

Cheaters Still Mostly Prosper

Instructor Richard Quinn of the University of Central Florida gave a lecture to his students about cheating.  Students at the University got their hands on the midterm exam for a capstone class and were caught.  He had it recorded and the video has got out and become an internet hit.
In the lecture, Prof Quinn told the class he had enough evidence from statistical analysis and other investigatory techniques to identify most cheats, but instead of handing the list over to the university authorities for discipling, he proposed a deal.
He said: “I don’t want to have to explain to your parents why you didn’t graduate, so I went to the Dean and I made a deal. The deal is you can either wait it out and hope that we don’t identify you, or you can identify yourself to your lab instructor and you can complete the rest of the course and the grade you get in the course is the grade you earned in the course.”
Prof Quinn also added a requirement for those who came forward complete a four hour course in ethics. In return there would be no permanent record of the cheating.
So far more than 200 students have admitted to cheating.

I find it funny that this lecturer is so shocked that so many business majors cheat.  They're business students.  What can you expect with all these kids having aspirations to work for Goldman Sachs or Citibank someday? Cheating is how you profit in life and the real world is the proof.

I wish it weren't true, but the simple fact that there are more millionaires in American NOW then there was before the financial collapse is proof that cheating the system is how you get rich in America if you aren't a movie star or an exceptional athlete.

What the original cheaters did wrong was share the exam.  How did 200 of the 600 students have the answers?  Someone was more interested in being popular with the other kids in class than was interested in getting a good grade.  That kid is never going to get rich while caring about what other people think of him.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Posters For Waygooks - Robots

Two big issues in the Korean blogosphere of late have been these new English teaching robots and HIV testing requirments for E2 Visa holders.  I think there might be a connection here...

These robots will never work.  A robot cannot hold the attention of or maintain control over a class of 30-40 students.  As for AIDS testing... Koreans are pretty backwards when it comes to sex education and understanding the risks of transmission from HIV/AIDS.  Rather than educating parents, the government is just giving in to parents who insist on native English speakers being tested.

If a native English speaker who was HIV positive was actually a risk simply because they were sharing a classroom with a child, then shouldn't all Korean teachers be tested as well?  If just teaching a child poses a risk of transmission, then Koreans are a threat too.  Parents and Korea in general seems to believe that HIV/AIDS is a foreigner only problem.  That is dangerous thinking and needs to change.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Let's Play Coteachers and Indians!

Bang! Bang!  You got me!  Just Kidding...  Korea finally has its first Indian English teacher in a public school classroom.  If the pilot program of these first hundred English teachers from Indian is successful, that number could potentially get up into the thousands.

WANJU, North Jeolla ― For many Koreans, English is a language that only those from Western countries can teach. However, a small private school in North Jeolla Province has challenged this prejudice by inviting the first-ever Indian English teacher here last September. 
Wanju High School became the destination of the teacher, Abby Thomas, who made English education history in Korea. Although some cautiously raised concerns that it may be difficult to understand an Indian English accent, the school students, parents and other fellow teachers responded positively to the Indian teacher. 
“I cannot tell much difference between Thomas and other Westerners from whom I learned English when I was in middle school,” said Yang Gang-yeal, a second grader at the school. 
In case of Na Eun-ha, another student, the Indian teacher’s English is easier to understand, compared to other foreign teachers she has experienced. “Thomas is very friendly and I really enjoy the class,” she said. “I can also learn Indian culture and traditions from him.” 
The North Jeolla Province Office of Education has so far recruited two Indian teachers including Thomas. Another teacher Robins Mathew is working at an English experience center in the province. Lee Chae-chong, a supervisor dealing with English teacher recruitment at the education office, said, “Their English is understandable like that of South Africa. We plan to recruit more teachers from India, depending on responses from students and parents.”
“Indian teachers are quite friendly and respect our culture,” Lee added. 
The salary for Indian teachers has been set much lower than that of those from the seven countries that are named as providing native English speakers. Normally, Korean schools pay 2.1 million won per month for native English speakers with a bachelor’s degree, while the Indian teachers will receive 1.8 million won each month. According to the Education Ministry, the North Gyeongsang Province plans to join in the move to invite Indian teachers.
The article goes on, but it was authored by a Korean journalist who is heavily prejudiced against native English speakers.  Bloggers have been speculating if he just made up some of the quotes in this story because they seemed to fit his desired narrative too perfectly.  I did not include them above because they are pretty cheesy.

Other than that, good for this guy!  I welcome Indian teachers.  Their accents are a fair criticism, but it is no different than native English speakers I know here teaching with thick Irish, Scottish, or Australian accents.  I myself have trouble understanding other native speakers sometimes.  When these teachers are in the classroom, they have to slightly modify the way they speak so that can they can be understood.  That is just the way it has to be.  The Indian teachers will be no different and I am sure they will do their best to ensure their English is proper and intelligible to Koreans.

If I may, I would also speculate that this Indian is a huge success at his school because he has so much scrutiny and pressure on him right now.  This man is already a certified English teacher and was hand selected out of pool of potential applicants from India that were probably in the thousands.  He also knows the reputation and employment future of his countrymen depend on his professionalism and success.  Of course he is going to be better than the average native English speaker brought here from the big seven.

The expectations and qualifications of native English speakers brought here from the big seven are basically just a bachelor's degree in anything and a clean criminal record.  I agree with critics, there are many native English speaking teachers that should not be here.  Opening up the employment market to Indians will help increase the supply of English teachers in Korea that will take the job seriously.  My job isn't at risk, so I say let them in.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

TSA Touches Your Junk So Chertoff Can Make Money

A viral Youtube video of an American traveler who refused a TSA full body scan and a pat down of his groin area has ignited a debate about airport security in the United States.  (More Info Here)

I like NMA World Edition's summary...

The simple answer for why these full body scanners were installed and are being used is for corporate profit.  The federal government has already spent 360 million dollars worth of tax payer money to private contractors to build all these machines.  That is just the beginning.

Former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff has been the main person pushing for these full body scanners, but he also the cofounder of the Chertoff Group, a security and risk management group.  They consult with the manufactures of these ridiculously expensive machines.  He directly profits from every one of these machines that are built.  He is abusing his relationship with the public for personal profit.  It is upsetting that nobody in the mainstream media will attack him for his obvious conflict of interest.

The reason why the TSA rules and regulations for pat downs now include TSA agents having to repeatedly touch your junk is because they want you to be uncomfortable.  If it were a simple pat down, then nobody would choose the full body scanners.  Everyone would ask for the simple pat down and the machines would not be used.  Changing the TSA pat down procedures to include repeatedly touching breasts and genitalia is for the purpose of making people feel like the full body scanning machines are less invasive.  They want you to use these machines every time to justify having them.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Fun Video That Won't Teach You Korean

This was in 10 magazine.  There is little in this song that will help foreigners learn Korean.  I think it would be a fun video to watch once a foreigner first learns to read Korean and understand everything he is talking about.  But the song moves horribly fast, and becomes a frantic mess in the second half.

I think the visuals and effects are great, but the music and the rap is really obnoxious.


Why Would I Want to Visit Abu Dhabi?

The only thing I really know about Abu Dhabi is that Garfield the cat was always trying to mail his chief annoyance, Nermal the cat, there.

I think they are trying to shed this reputation for being an unpleasant place to be sent to by boosting their international tourism industry.  One way to do this was the build a giant freaking theme park in the middle of the desert and construct the world's fastest roller coaster around it.

The name of the ride is Formula Rossa and it is the newest attraction at the all-new Ferrari World, the world's largest indoor theme park.  The ride has a top speed of 150 miles per hour and utilizes an aircraft carrier-like hydraulic launch system to propel trains.

You know what I say... nothing like a two hour wait in line for a twenty second ride...

Here's the vid:

Korean Women in Politics Makes Things More Interesting

There was a recent article in the LA Times about a female lawmaker in South Korea that is becoming a thorn in the side of the growing Korean military industrial complex.  He name is Song Young-sun and she has been taking on the generals and defense contractors over what she considers wasteful spending.

[...] The government had just spent $35 million and a decade doing research on the high-tech shoes, which leaked in the rain and quickly shed their heels. As far as Song Young-sun was concerned, they were just the latest example of what was wrong with the South Korean military.
"You're spending billions of dollars to purchase fighter jets, ships and submarines, but the most important thing on your shopping list should be the morale of your soldiers," Song bluntly told military brass summoned to the National Assembly recently for an annual government audit.
"These boots are their personal vehicles for 16 hours a day. If your feet hurt when you walk, you're not a dedicated soldier. And if you generals lose your men, you've already lost the war."
Only ten years research and 35 millions dollars spent to develop a useless shoe?  The Korean tax payer got a good deal on that one.  The US military would have found a way to spend at least 350 million on research and development to design a shoe that doesn't work.
Even in a nation famous for its sharp-elbowed political theater, the performance was memorable. But it was classic Song, a policeman's daughter whose college hero was steely British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
Song, a veteran military analyst who is one of only 41 women among 299 national lawmakers, has unabashedly used her post on the powerful National Defense Committee to help keep the highest-ranking military minds in check, publicly questioning the nation's military readiness in the face of an aggressive North Korea and its million-man army.
To win the battle, she's not afraid of resorting to stunts: She once showed up at the National Assembly with a suitcase full of over-the-counter chemicals, giving a demonstration on how they could easily be combined to make deadly sarin gas.
On an impromptu inspection of a military contractor whose military-ration kimchi once contained a dead rat, she announced, "If I had a son in the military and he had to eat this kind of garbage, I'd kill all the generals."
But it's not just the generals who have felt her wrath. Song has blasted overprotective mothers for turning many soldiers into "mama's boys" and has proposed that military service should be mandatory for women, not just men. [...]
You can follow the link for the entire article about her.  I think she is right. Military or public service of some kind should be mandatory for all women if it is mandatory for all men.  This double standard hurts Korean women because if they are not treated like equal citizens in their obligation to support and defend their country, it is easy for men to abuse and discriminate against them in other ways like the world of business because a precedent of men and women not being equal has already been institutionalized.

KPOP Korral - [Narsha] - BBI-RI-BOP-A

Narsha is a member of the girl group Brown Eyed Girls and has released a couple of her own songs this year. The Brown Eyed Girls had arguably the best dance and sexiest video last year with abracadabra.  Her Korean name is Pak Hyo-jin (박효진) and her stage name is Narsha (나르샤).  The name comes from an old Korean word meaning "to fly".

Her music videos thus far have been some of the most interesting kpop videos I've seen.  She is more than just eye candy, the special effects and imagery in her videos spurs the imagination and reminds me of a Guillermo del Toro film.  The name of the song is BBI RI BOP A (삐리빠빠).  Watch out for the Korean guy who looks like Johnny Depp.

She had another interesting song and video that was good, Mamma Mia (맘마미아).  This video shocked me as well because it is the first kpop video I have seen with an interracial kiss.  I am sure this is not the first, but it is still uncommon to see.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

G20 Finished, Obama Tells the World to Lower Their Expectations

Obama physically does not look too good these days.  He is getting beat up at home pretty bad at every opportunity by the conservative mainstream media and is now taking hits from the rest of the world over the Fed's decision to print unfathomable amounts of money.  The guy looks like he could use a hug and some rocky road ice cream.

The G20 finished yesterday.  He told the world to stop expecting so much from him.  He says he's trying, but not really getting any help from anyone these days.  Nothing was accomplished, but like always, it was a great photo op.

There also aren't any crazy viral videos from the 20,000 protesters in Seoul this weekend.  The G20 summit was a success for South Korea in that they controlled the more than 200 registered protest groups.  Here is some video of them not doing anything too crazy.



North Korea Keeps Marching Nowhere

I know these military parades are sick and evil.  Military parades fell out of fashion worldwide in the 1940's and North Korea has not culturally, socially, or technologically evolved a single day since the fall of the Berlin Wall.  But they put on these parades and you cannot help but watch them and wonder to what length the psychopathic and twisted leaders of that country go to to maintain this degree of absolute control over their people.

One Free Korea calls it "Goose Step PѲяn".  You watch it... and you know you shouldn't...

His comments:
Via a reader — thanks — I get this very nicely filmed clip of that big, expensive parade in Pyongyang a month or so ago to celebrate the ascension of Kim Jong Eun, who looks even fatter when filmed from an angle below his chins. At 1:29, you’ll get a good look at the Pokpung-Ho (Storm), North Korea’s latest modification of the Soviet T-62 main battle tank. At 1:56, you’ll see the new Musudan medium-range missile, a weapon so deadly it probably killed thousands of orphans while still in development.
Here is raw video from the parade.  You can see the father and son together on the balcony at 0.25.

Sexy Young Women Wanted for Chinese City Warden Positions

We all know there are certain occupations where the old, the unattractive, and Y-chromosomed are discriminated against.  Flight stewardesses and many service industry jobs are the most obvious.

But how about police officers?  A city in China is only planning on hiring young, attractive women from now on.  Only good-looking women under the age of 23 can apply to become a Chengdu law enforcement officer.

A good temperament might be an obvious requirement for a city warden. Good looks? Perhaps less so.
But authorities in Chengdu, in China's south-western Sichuan province, have said they will hire only attractive young women for the law enforcement jobs, hoping it will improve their district's image.
Others say it is a blatant example of widespread looks-based discrimination that hits women harder than men. Economists have noted the "beauty premium" in many places, but employment experts say it flourishes in China thanks to inadequate laws.
The Xindu district government's advertisement stipulates that candidates must be female, aged between 18 and 23, over 5ft 2in (1.6m) tall, attractive and with a good temperament. Their contracts will end when they turn 26.
China's urban law enforcement officers, known as chengguan, have a bad reputation, with many regarding them as little more than thugs. Xindu authorities said they created the women-only team to "present the soft side".
"Their main job is to present a good image so they have to be good looking," said the human resources director of the law enforcement bureau. "And when they get older, they will get married and have children so it will not be convenient for them to do such work. Having them leave at 26 is for their sake."
Yeah, it is for their sake... regardless if they ever plan to get married or have kids...  Seriously, who wants to get arrested by a shriveled up and pruny 27 year old hag?  She'll have saggy breasts by then and I'm sure she'll have put on some extra weight.  Simply disgusting that women who are 27+ are still allowed to go out in public.
He insisted it was unfair to describe them as "flower vases" – a Chinese idiom for women who are decorative but of little use. "They need a good temper and communication skills as well," he told a Chengdu news website
Li Fangping, a lawyer who has handled many job discrimination cases, said: "In the current employment law it only says that opportunities should be open and equal to everyone. It does not directly point out that employers should not include criteria such as looks and height – it is too general to be implemented."
One Shanghai cosmetic surgery hospital estimated last year that half its customers were undergoing operations for career-related reasons. Most of those were women.
But the scorn that internet users have poured on Xindu authorities suggests that others in China have little tolerance for blatant discrimination.
In 2004, the Hunan provincial government dropped its requirement for women civil servants to have "symmetrical breasts" after it was widely ridiculed.
You want a job?  First you will be interviewed and then you will have to undergo a breast exam.  Wow...

Dang Those Chinese Build Fast

Wow, I saw this on Gizmodo.

Six days. That's how long it took to build this level 9 Earthquake-resistant, sound-proofed, thermal-insulated 15-story hotel in Changsha, complete with everything, from the cabling to three-pane windows. The foundations were already built, but it's just impressive.
The wonders of prefabricated construction modules and modern construction techniques will never cease to amaze me. I just can't understand why every single building is not pre-made in factories first, for optimal energy, material and time savings, not to talk about a more efficient and cheaper end result and, in the case of the Ark Hotel, only 1% construction waste.
Agreed.  Everything was pre-made... but why isn't everything always pre-made then before construction is started?  A project like this in the United States would have taken eight months minimum if everything went according to schedule.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Surgery, Shopping, & Sightseeing!

South Korea has been trying to boost its "medical treatment and tourism" industry.  There will be about 80,000 foreigners who will come to South Korea for medical treatment this year, and some clinics are packaging surgeries with shopping and sightseeing events while patients are waiting to get their stitches taken out.

Sure... why not... the video is from CNN:

Video of Japanese and Chinese Boats Colliding Leaked

These kinds of incidents are going to become more frequent.  Chinese commercial fishing boats have been entering Japanese controlled waters.  This upsets Japan and apparently China does not care if their people do it.  This led to a recent confrontation on the water where Japan apprehended some Chinese fisherman and then timidly let them go once China flexed their economic muscles.

The incident was caught on camera and the video was recently leaked.  The Chinese fishing boat clearly turns and guns ahead to ram the Japanese boat at 2:15.

There is a story in The Economist:
As the actual video shows plainly (see minute 2:15), the captain gunned his engines and rammed his boat into a Japanese patrol vessel that was trying to stop him from fishing in water Japan considers its own, near the Senkaku Islands (the Diaoyu, in Chinese). The islands themselves can be seen in the distance. As symbolic evidence of growing Chinese assertiveness in its neighbourhood, the footage can hardly be beaten.
The government should have released the video publicly, perhaps in a gesture of defiance, just as it was freeing the Chinese captain. Instead it timidly sought to suppress it—and has been left to cringe ever since it was leaked onto the internet. The TV news is now full of policemen huffing and puffing to find the culprit who uploaded the video.
I think this video should have been made public.  I don't see why they would want to keep this hidden when it makes them look like they were in the right to seize this boat.

Crab Vending Machines?

I am not sure which surprises me more: the fact there are now subway stations with crab vending machines, or the fact that these machines exist in China instead of Japan or Korea first.

I am sure some business man in Korea will see this and a light bulb will go on in his head and we'll soon have live baby octopus vending machines.  Only a matter of time.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Craziest F#?king Thing I've Ever Heard - Crab Vending Machines
Colbert Report Full Episodes2010 ElectionMarch to Keep Fear Alive

Bees and Feces Might Be Used by G20 Protesters

Average people living in Seoul are not going to remember what policies were debated or agreed upon by world leaders at this year's G20 conference in Seoul.  They will however remember all the crazy stuff that protesters are planning.  Bees, golf balls, hurling feces, self mutilation, and flag eating are only a few of the creative tactics that the nearly 200 registered protest groups are planning to employ to gain attention to their causes.

I have already posted pictures of some of the nearly 50,000 police officers giving a demo of their protester submission skills.  I also posted some videos of large protests by Koreans in previous years.  I am looking forward to the cell phone videos posted on Youtube on Monday morning.

Article in the LA Times:
Reporting from Seoul — The Group of 20 summit set to begin here Thursday may have already dodged one major crisis: the golf ball protest.
Residents of a shantytown engaged in a development dispute with government officials planned to hurl hundreds of golf balls over the security fence as leaders of the world's top economic powers huddled at a mall complex in central Seoul.
But nervous officials struck a deal to avert the public dissent, agreeing to hear the protesters' grievances after the two-day summit ends.
"Emotions are built up, so we were planning something pretty violent, maybe even throwing Molotov cocktails," said the vice chairwoman of the community, known as Nine Dragons, who declined to give her name because the issue is so sensitive.
For Seoul officials, it's one down and 199 protest groups to go.
About 200 organizations have registered to demonstrate during the summit, including labor unions, the physically challenged and former navy commandos who say they plan to set cars and oil tankers on fire nearby.
Few of the organizations have gripes with world leaders, but they aim to grab the international stage to air their grievances with the South Korean government. The former commandos, for instance, want bigger pensions.
Volatile South Korea is often called the Protest Republic. With a population of just under 50 million, it averages 12,000 protests a year, by far the most of any nation in Asia, according to National Police Agency statistics.
Many protests in South Korea feature theatrical tactics such as animal sacrifices, torch burnings, flag-eating, dummy decapitations and feces hurling. Last month, one anti-government protester set himself on fire. Then there was the man who covered himself with bees.
"Korea is Korea; we are who we are," summit spokeswoman Sohn Jie-ae said. "You cannot put a lid on demonstrations; you just have to live with them. While Americans write letters to their senator to get something done, we demonstrate. We voice our concerns on the street."
South Korean officials will deploy 60,000 security personnel, including 10,000 military riot troops. They have declared a 1.5-mile protest-free zone around the meeting venue, which will be surrounded by a 7-foot-high security fence.
Analysts warn that any violence would be a costly public relations blunder.
"Nobody pays attention to a peaceful rally. The media doesn't report a single sentence on peaceful protests. Only when it turns violent, albeit negative, it gains attention. It's a vicious cycle," Kang said.
As a result, demonstrations can turn into absurd theater.
In 2005, one angry protester tried to eat a Japanese flag. The following year, a man stabbed himself in the stomach in a re-creation of the ritualistic Japanese suicide known as hara-kiri to protest Japan'splans to conduct a marine survey in South Korean-claimed waters. Another man, a beekeeper, slathered himself with honey to attract 187,000 crawling bees.
In Seoul, activists have slaughtered pigs and decapitated dummies representing foreign officials. During 2008 protests against the importation of U.S. beef that many in South Korea believed was tainted, one protester threw cow feces in supermarkets that sold the product.
Last year, 11 protesters and police officers died in a street battle over forced evacuations of businesses to make way for a redevelopment project in Seoul.
Organizers at the Nine Dragons shantytown, home to Third World hovels near some of the priciest housing in South Korea, recently hung effigies believed to represent Seoul officials. But thanks to a last-minute intervention, they won't be taking to the streets.
"We were ready," said the community's vice chairwoman. "We would have used any method possible to bring our matter to the public eye."
Hilarious that the G20 organizers are already a magnet for protesters, and they decided to have their meeting in the protest-crazy capitol of the world.

108% Jump in Tourism to Sunrise Peak Over Four Years

Sunrise Peak on Jeju Island has been receiving more and more international tourism and CNN decided to take their cameras there.

Huge billboards stating, "We love having you here" greet you every few miles, so it's impossible not to feel welcomed on the island of Jeju.
A special autonomous region of South Korea, Jeju is well known among Koreans and is considered one of the country's top vacation and honeymoon destinations. Now the tourist gurus on the island want the rest of the world to know about it.
Jeju already has recognition from UNESCO. Nine sites on the island were designated geological attractions or "geoparks" last month. Three years ago, UNESCO named three heritage sites here.
From 2.2 million visitors in 2006, Sunrise Peak is expected to attract 3.8 million this year. Jeju's provincial government says the number of foreign tourists has jumped 108 percent in just four years.
Jeju is becoming increasingly popular with Chinese tourists and now authorities are going one step further and encouraging direct Chinese investment.
Luxury housing projects are springing up all over the island. Malaysian developers Berjaya are building a $3.6 billion resort complete with a hotel, shopping center and casino.
Berjaya project director Tang Vui Woon says, "At the moment we can see an influx of tourists from China and Japan. So we are definitely targeting the Chinese market."
A new neighborhood and golf course that is being built nearby has already struck a successful note with Chinese investors. Of the 220 holiday homes already sold, half of them are now Chinese owned.
A few government sweeteners certainly help. Any foreigner who buys a condominium costing over $500,000 is automatically given a long-stay visa. After five years, you can claim permanent residency.
An hour and a half flight from Shanghai, two and a half hours from Japan, Jeju's government is in the middle of an aggressive advertising campaign, promoting Jeju as the island of choice for business or pleasure.
That is a sweet deal.  If I were a rich Chinese business man, I'd buy a piece of Jeju as well and obtain permanent residency.

KPOP Korral - [Miss A] - Breathe

Miss A (미쓰에이) is a four member girl group created by JYP Entertainment. Their members are Wang Fei Fei (왕페이페이), Meng Jia (멍지아), Lee Min-Young (이민영), and Bae Suji (배수지).

The name of the song is Breathe (브리드).  I like this song because it's bright, colorful, and has lots of fun dancing.  They made a separate music video that is just their dancing, and no additional cut away scenes.

They had a much more popular song that was released earlier this year called "Bad Girl, Good Girl".  Thanks to this song, I sometimes have kids tell me that I "don't know them" and that I should "shutup, boy".  Thanks for that one...

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Video of 13yro Kim Jung Un

Dang, look at those mad music skills he has.  I bet his propaganda press is already claiming he had written several symphonies by age three.

The G20 Protesters Are Coming...

I actually want to go to Seoul this weekend for the G20 with my camera just to see some of the action between police and protesters.  We'll see if I am crazy enough to make it up there.

Why Education in America is Failing

I saw this on facebook and had to post it.  There is nothing wrong with these coaches demanding these salaries.  The law of supply and demand dictates that they earn it.  I am not suggesting they should be paid less than they are worth.

The problem is the demand.  How can the American public put the economic value of a football coach to be worth about thirteen times as much as a tenured professor?  When entertainment is valued so much more than academics by the general public, what does this say about the future of those people?

Much like the decline of the Roman Empire, as stuff continues to fall apart in America, people seem to just want to sit in the Colosseum and watch the games.  We'll give up our rights and our democracy, as long as we still have March Madness and Monday Night Football.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Korean From Daejon Wins a Darwin Award

Named in honor of Charles Darwin, the father of evolution, the Darwin Awards commemorate those who improve our gene pool by removing themselves from it.
A handicapped man, annoyed that an elevator closed and departed without him, thinks it over before ramming his wheelchair into the doors not once, not twice, but three times in all--only to plunge down the now-empty elevator shaft to his death. Simultaneous success and failure combine to earn the 40-year-old lasting immortality as a Darwin Award winner.
The tragic downfall of this rashly rushing rammer provides a heartening example of how brilliant you are--compared to some! However, natural selection just got a little harder. The authorities traced the "problem" to elevator doors that cannot withstand a large impact. Safety regulations were strengthened three years after the elevator was installed, to prevent accidents "such as might happen to children and drunks."
Thanks to On My Way To Korea for showing me this.

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