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Like Father, Like Daughter–the Importance of Investigative Journalism

Saturday, February 1, 2014 23:53

Featured, Student Writing

Over the past few years, the situation in Korean media has worsened. The government control of the media has only gotten stronger. Big corporations that own newspapers were allowed to own public broadcast stations and the media mainly covered sensational or happy news while avoiding controversial and important issues that really mattered. Numerous more conscious journalists went on strikes against their companies that were failing to keep their journalistic integrity and, as a result, were fired or moved like my father was several years ago. The public was getting angry with the media for failing to inform the society of what is going on in this world, and craved for something new, something else. Continue reading...

EXPAT LIFE, From the Scene
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Back in the USSA

It had been six years since I returned to my friends and family back in Oklahoma. When I first left my home state in 2002, it was necessary to fly from Oklahoma City to Chicago or Minneapolis and then to Tokyo and on to Beijing, or Incheon or wherever. I made that trip many times, always single and always on another's dime for the first few years. If I recall correctly, it took approximately 24 hours from door to door. Now, you can get a direct flight from Incheon to Dallas (which is close enough for me to get home) and then it is a relatively short, high-speed and traffic-free drive to where I grew up and where most of my family still resides. Continue reading...

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Korean Life
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Spreading Savoir-Faire: the Rise of French Restaurants in Korea Since 2000

Before 2000, the number of French restaurants in Korea could be counted on one hand; Koreans had little interest in foreign fare other than American fast food, and something like duck confit would have been seen as impossibly alien. That is still largely the case, but FKCCI's the 2014 French Restaurants in Korea guide lists no less than 58 establishments. Although the greatest concentration is naturally in Seoul, they can be found around the country. They are mostly small in both size and menu, but offer cooking utterly different from kimchi and rice. Continue reading...

EXPAT LIFE, Korean Life
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Revisiting the Blind Fortune Tellers of Mia-ri

With the Chinese New Year upon us, and the Year of the diligent, disciplined and cooperative Wood Horse rising with the new moon, for many in the East it's a felicitous time to ask what the future holds, be it favorable or frightening. In Korea, some people turn to the blind seers of the Mia-ri district in northern Seoul. This is where I met Diviner Baek Il-hong one frigid January afternoon not long before the spirits of the new year would be unleashed to shape the months ahead. Looking back, I wonder what else she knew. Continue reading...

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Art, Korean Life
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Why Go Out? Everyone Delivers

When it comes to delivery, living in Korea is pretty great. I’m still not sure how everyone manages to stay skinny when even things like a McDonald’s meal have the option of being brought right to our front door. The only “down” side to this is that many websites and services that offer this convenience are not the most English friendly. I’m convinced that most of my improvement when it comes to Korean vocabulary has come from online shopping. Once you’ve had heavy containers of detergent and bags of rice delivered to your front door, it’s hard to go back to dragging things into a cab and up three flights of stairs. Continue reading...

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Andrei Lankov on Sex in North Korea

Politics   Sunday, June 23, 2013 22:52 6 comments!

By Andrei Lankov

The great social disruption of the 1990s had much impact on the sexual mores of North Korea – state and people. The state lost its ability to control the daily behavior of its people and the traditional values that had been fostered by the state lost much of their attractiveness.

The great increase in the economic power of women also had much impact on the North Korean family. Most North Korean factories ceased to operate in the 1990s and as a result most North Koreans came to make most of their money from the market.

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The Eden Center: A Haven for Korea’s Highly Gifted Kids

Korean Life   Sunday, June 23, 2013 22:25 4 comments!

By Hal Swindall
Foreign teachers in Korea are all aware of the rigorous daily school schedules of Korean children, many of whom continue with extra study at private academies, or hakwons, by night. For most teachers, this is a sharp contrast to what we underwent at the same age, and we admire the diligence of Korean students as they work their way through such a system and achieve top scores on standardized tests. Given such high achievement levels, President Obama even declared Korea a model for American educational reform.

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Korea is: One Long-Termer Says Farewell

EXPAT LIFE, From the Scene   Sunday, June 23, 2013 22:17 2 comments!

By John Kay

Editor’s note: The author is a long-time 3WM contributor and friend who recently left Korea after years on the peninsula. His last piece for 3WM was “Cancer, Death and Samsung’s Semiconductor Factories.”

Korea is… not having to say you’re sorry, unless you’re poor, have small feet, or you do a wrong; a wrong no one should wrong. And then there’s the drugs; which ones doesn’t matter; this is a back water. This is, Nancy Reagan said; this is forever. This is where they have no class As, Bs or Cs. Drugs are drugs, unless you mean alcohol and cigarettes: now you’re talking; now that’s your recommended dose. Korea is speeding through red lights, and not seeing anything wrong with that. Thinking that the end justifies the means. Think of the next man; what would he do?, and then double it.

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More Dangerous than a Racist Baboon– A Week with Eugenics

Rant   Sunday, June 23, 2013 22:13

By Marie Kulik
At Least the Baboon Can’t Speak…,I have just spent the last week in the company of a disturbingly-senior-at-a-Multi-National man who believes in eugenics. I was tasked with looking after him for the duration of his trip to South Korea.

Amongst the gems spouted within the conversations that I inevitably had to engage in with the peculiar man, were a few that made me question how someone so highly educated and so widely respected within his field (terrifyingly, that of science), could have gotten to the age of 60 and be so removed from reality. Just to put this into perspective, this individual is employed at an upsettingly senior level within the world’s largest consulting services company, has lectured at the Central Intelligence Agency, patented once-ground-breaking technology and perhaps more alarmingly worked as a Medical Practitioner and a Psychological Counsellor. Ēl help the clients.

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How About Some Steamed Silkworms? 번데기!!

Art, Korean Life   Sunday, June 23, 2013 22:10

By Jen Lee

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What ‘News’ Bureau? The AP in North Korea

Featured   Friday, April 19, 2013 4:47 4 comments!

By Donald Kirk

The effort the AP took to refute a story I filed says a great deal not only about the AP’s misleading reporting from Pyongyang, but also the extent to which the AP will go in bullying an organization that relies on the AP for material, sometimes at extremely low rates.

The inevitable question is whether the AP should maintain what it claims is a legitimate bureau in Pyongyang. If the AP got tough in Pyongyang, perhaps the regime would threaten to close the bureau or ban reporters.

Or maybe the AP, clinging to what it’s got, would be first on the scene of cataclysmic change—not parades and exhibitions and mass displays, but upheaval reminiscent of that in the Middle East and East Europe. That’s reason for keeping a bureau that has so far served largely as a conduit for chirpy, upbeat stories rather than real news.

While waiting for Armageddon, the AP needs to ask sensitive questions in Pyongyang as it does everywhere else.

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Worries and Wishes: A Korean Soldier Considers the Call-Up for War

From the Scene, Korean Life   Friday, April 19, 2013 4:09 3 comments!

By Bumhyun Kim

I am not afraid of a war, but I am afraid of how the ROK military will react. It would really suck if things got escalated to the point where the Army would decide to mobilize its reserves. That’s what worries me as a former conscript. I was an active-duty corporal during the Yeonpyeong Island shellings and that attack resulted in us being locked down on base for a month. We had to be in constant combat readiness which meant we had to sleep and eat in our combat fatigues and combat gear. We took our rifles with us to eat and went to family visits with our helmets on. Off-base leave and weekend passes were all prohibited for a month. It was during this time that the threat of war really hit home. I didn’t think war would happen, but I still intensely wished that my assessment was true. Active-duty conscripts are probably the most worried people in this country right now. Soldiers wish for peace more than anyone.

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The Same Same But Different of the ROK

EXPAT LIFE, Korean Life   Friday, April 19, 2013 3:31

By Ms. V

And just what are they thinking up there in North Korea? Are they also wondering if anything is going to come of this round of fiery talk and threats? Does the average North Korean want to see Seoul reduced to ashes? North and South Koreans share the same genetics, the same language, the same cuisine, the same heritage and the same history. Except of course for the average height difference of 3-8cm due to malnutrition, the language differences that have no doubt sprung up from both isolation and a lack of innovation that would require new words, the changes to daily eating that must have taken place given widespread food shortages, the rewriting of their heritage by North Korean leaders, and the imprisoning and torturing of their own people, a history that South Korea does not share (well, except for that pesky business with dictator Park Chung-hee).

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Name that Game–Playing Planet Pyongyang

Art, Korean Life   Friday, April 19, 2013 3:28

Toon by Lee Scott; words by Iwazaru

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The FlyingBurrito Podcast: Experimental Korean Rock

Art   Friday, April 19, 2013 3:27

By David Mann

This is Korean music at its best. This is music that you might be surprised comes from Korea. It is not the usual k-pop, but the energetic, experimental bands in Korea. The alternative bands, the bands you’ll hear in college clubs in the rock and roll neighborhoods of Sinchon and Hongdae. So put the headphones on, pump up the volume, and rock out to music that may surprise you.

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