Tuesday, July 29, 2014 22:50
, From the Scene
During my six months of sleeping on the floor in a windowless room behind the bar of the Same Same backpacker guest house on St. 258, I have gotten into many extended chitchats with locals where it’s hard to discern who is whose brother or cousin, from what village is their home and how long they are staying in Phnom Penh. It is just the way Khmais orient everyone (themselves and foreigners alike) to the difficult history and family patterns of this kingdom-- any hint of incest or inbreeding is not part of it for sure. Who is whose son, daughter or even a cousin is always the in-time Cambodian joke that forces eruptions of laughter belying the anxiousness. And that is one of the attractions of the CNRP rides, everyday, people converging then fastening themselves to each other’s rumble of thousands of 125 cc engines. The smell, the smoke and poof: no one is an orphan. Continue reading...
Yes, it’s ridiculous to hold President Park responsible when the accident is so obviously a reflection of a society that appears in many ways to have modernized but remains mired in corruption and inefficiency that escapes much comment until disaster strikes. For Park, the real test will be whether she and her ministers, advisers and aides can impose the discipline needed to instill order in projects and programs that often rely on largely hidden networks of influence, blood ties, friendships and payoffs.
Korea’s doors, fences, car windows, and social media profile pictures are a sea of yellow ribbons right now. In the aftermath of the sinking of the Sewol ferry, yellow ribbons have come to serve as symbols of hope and solidarity for the Korean populace.
The unanimous presence of yellow is reminiscent of the yellow hats, fans, and handkerchiefs that took Seoul by storm during the funeral processions of the late former president Roh Moo-hyun, who took his own life Continue reading...
When the door to his office wouldn't budge, Yol sensed something was blocking it. After a call out to his office mates and several shoves, it finally opened a crack. Through it he saw a soju bottle on the floor and several wadded tissues. Then, at the base of the door, the fringe of a purple checked shirt he recognized from the evening before. This couldn't be happening. “Let it be something in the office that fell to the floor,” he prayed. Continue reading...
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Sorrow at loving you when I'm forbidden.
I watch from the offing, a smile on my lips.
It was a cruel heaven that made me a queer.
A glass of light booze cures a pound of cares.
Cheery conversation sets our woes to flight.
The mirthful night flows with the lilting music. Continue reading...