3WM will be at the Appeals hearing of U.S. Private Andre Fisher on August 9, 11:10 am at Seoul High Court Room 404.

Event/PSA, EXPAT LIFE, From the Scene 54 comments!

By Aneika A. McDonald with 3WM

Camp Casey
U.S. Army Private First Class Andre Fisher, 22, will stand in a Korean appeals court on August 9, 2011 in an attempt to overturn a two year conviction, based on grainy video evidence in which the perpetrator’s face was not visible.

After a night out partying, Fisher was accused by a taxi driver of stealing $88 from his taxi. Having denied even entering the cab, Fisher emptied his pockets which contained $14. Fisher was taken into custody by Korean police, and subsequently stood trial in which the prosecutor’s solitary evidence was a grainy surveillance video of a man wearing a hood with his face obscured. Fisher was sentenced to a 2 year prison term and awaits his pending appeals hearing.

According to Fisher’s family, Fisher’s Camp Casey military commanders have been unresponsive to their inquiries, and the U.S. Embassy admits no knowledge of the case.

The Booking Club in Ilsan: Booked for the First Time

EXPAT LIFE, From the Scene, Korean Life 5 comments!

By Whitney Marie Butler

What is it? Well, it’s a club… but different.

The booking club is a mysterious and alluring mistress; a uniquely Korean experience. Just two shots shy of a whore house, lost stumbling somewhere between the front porch and the sidewalk.

Off the main drag in Ilsan, it felt familiar, all the right ingredients for a typical Saturday night. But the difference first struck me when I realized the spatial quality before me as I passed through the oversized front doors. It was regal. The interior was cosmopolitan: mixed alcohol, deep purple ambiance, shaken steady base, filled to the brim of debauchery. A single warehouse floor patterned in table arrangements: booths of four, six, and ten, at least one hundred of them. So, we sat.

Now, I’m all for dinner theater, but this show was hardly something I could watch while eating spaghetti. Three shirtless men were Backstreet-ing all over the stage. And it wouldn’t have been so distracting except for the water they were pouring on each other.

It Takes a Village? A Quest for the Forgotten Korean Muslim Colony

EXPAT LIFE, From the Scene, Korean Life 5 comments!

By Kyle McGregor

Have you ever asked yourself, whatever happened to so and so? Like as a very funny example: how are the Mohammad Lee’s doing? It’s only natural such thinking should pop up when finding a 1970’s story of a Korean converting to Islam through the Itaewon mosque’s ministrations.

According to the myth the power of Allah moved a Korean history teacher to return to his small village and begin converting friends and neighbours to Islam. I was caught asking myself was this the first Islamic Korean community on the peninsula? And if it were around today, what would a Korean Islamic village look like?

Surely such a place would be of interest to Muslims around the world, an oasis, a spot of shared fellowship for Muslims of different races. Forget about the search engines; it was time to take a field trip for the forgotten Korean Muslim colony just outside of Seoul.

Know Your Street Food: The Three Kings Taco Truck

EXPAT LIFE, From the Scene, Korean Life 1 comment.

By Megan O’Brien

The first image that pops into my head when I think of street food is always tacos, this is partly because of where I am from, but also because they tend to be a somewhat simple, quick and satisfying meal when you are out in the street. Now that I’m not living in San Diego, but expating in Seoul, however, I’ve had to change my thinking and attitude a little bit as the street food here is most commonly the delightfully spicy tteokbokki, super heavy corn dogs or for some, the interesting stone grilled file fish. Koreans like their Korean food, as do many foreigners living in Korea and as do I, but every once in a while I crave a good street taco. Truth be told, I might get this craving more often than some, but the fact remains, wanting a taco is a pretty hard craving to satisfy with what most street vendors in Seoul have to offer. Additionally, it would appear that the food truck movement that is really booming back home hasn’t really hit Seoul in the same way. Well, if you want to buy your oranges or onions, there is a truck for that and it is a very unique Korean experience to buy a whole grilled chicken from a truck, I’m sure.

(What’s so Funny ‘bout) Peace, Gyopo Love and Literary Understanding?

Fiction/Poetry, Rant 3 comments!

By Mizaru


A review Of Nanoomi/Subject Object Verb’s Quest: Does Asian America Need a Brand Makeover?

Editor’s note: Before the racial flagellation comes my way, no I am not a Korean National or a Gyopo. I am American in fact a hyphenated Irish – American who understands indentifying with more than one place at one time. We are all Midnight’s Children living through different allusions at the same time, and as it’s been said it is not where you were born but where you belong and now I live in Seoul.

In a recent editorial I read on the Korea promotional site Nanoomi I was intrigued and finally flummoxed by the consideration and proposal that in order to get Korean soft power (i.e., books movies, pop-music, TV shows and the like) out to a worldwide audience a sort of Asian Creative Agenda should be established. “Does Asian America Need a Brand Makeover?” The idea is …

THE CRANES OF YONGDO: The Fight for Workers’ Rights in Busan

From the Scene, Korean Life 3 comments!

By John Kay

On Saturday, July 9 thousands of people descended on the Yongdo area of Busan as part of the ‘Buses of Hope’ campaign. Busan police estimated 7,000, while the organizers put the number at 9,000. One hundred and eighty-five buses travelled from all over the country—from Daegu, Daejon, Suwon, various parts of Seoul, Incheon, Gwangju and other parts of Jeolla-do—delivering protesters to the scene. They got off the buses in the pouring rain and marched en mass up the road; their intention was to head straight toward the Hanjin shipyard where in the cab of crane No. 85, some 30 metres above the ground, was Kim Jin-suk Direction Committee member of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions. Kim has been in or around crane 85 since January 6.

The Taboo of Korean Psychotherapy

EXPAT LIFE, Korean Life

By 3WM

3wm has continued to hear stories about the mental health issues of Koreans and foreigners who are mostly living in Seoul. We’ve also run a number of stories about issues of mental health here from student writer Matt Choi’s “Why We Korean Teens are Killing Ourselves,” to Iwazaru’s “Suicide in Korea: Kaist and the Many Thousands More.”

A recent article by Mark McDonald in the International Herald Tribune titled “Stressed and Depressed, Koreans Avoid Therapy” offered a glimpse at the taboo that is psychotherapy in Korea. It begins:

“SEOUL — It can sometimes feel as if South Korea, overworked, overstressed and ever anxious, is on the verge of a national nervous breakdown, with a rising divorce rate, students who feel suffocated by academic pressures, a suicide rate among the highest in the world and a macho corporate culture that still encourages blackout drinking sessions after work.”

Whodunit? Was It ‘Fan Death’?

Art, Korean Life 2 comments!

Words by Iwazaru; Toon by Lee Scott

On July 4, the Korea Herald reported:

“A man reportedly died on Monday morning after sleeping with an electric fan running.

The 59 years-old victim, only known by his surname Min, was found dead with the fan fixed directly at him.”

And so the Urban Legend lives on and the evil whirling predator claims another victim. The lesson: Don’t close yourself in a room with a fan during the sweltering summer heat.

Online Solo Exhibition ‘Immersive Environments’ by Martyn Thompson

Event/PSA

By 3WM

INTERNATIONAL ARTISTS COMMUNITY Presents:

On Line Solo exhibition by

Martyn Thompson 13th-27th July

“Immersive Environments”

Opening www.koreaiac.com Wednesday, July13

Super-funky Seoul Corner: Lavell Kamma and the Afro Soul Revue ‘I Know Where It’s At’

Art

By Scott Freeman

One of the first soul/funk 45s I ever bought was Lavell Kamma and the Afro Soul Revue on the “Tupelo Sound” label doing “Soft Soul/I Know Where It’s At.” I would listen to it at home, but I never played it out. I liked it a lot, but it just never fit into any of my sets. Maybe one day…. So when “Funky Seoul Corner” was created, I decided to make this a forum of 45s I rarely, if ever, get the chance to play live. This is one of those records.

Before and while I write my blurb on a 45, I do a check online to see what information is out there. I did the same thing with this 45. Here’s what I found: I found sites, like YouTube, where you can see this 45 spinning around and playing; I even found sites where you had very brief discussions and reviews of the 45. I did discover, for instance, that this 45 was released in 1972. I never knew that because there is no date listed on the label. Of course I consider the source, so 1972 may not be the correct year. But once you listen you will feel that 1972 sounds about right. All of the above is fine and dandy but my online search did reveal one more find, and a surprising one at that.

SOUTH KOREA: Urgent Action Needed to Address Human Rights Abuses by Businesses Enterprises

Event/PSA, Korean Life, Politics 3 comments!

A Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission The long struggle of a female worker has drawn the attention of both the local and international community. Ms. Kim Jin-suk, a member of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) has been occupying the cabin of Crane No. 85, which is 35 metres high, in the shipyard of Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction (HHIC) in Busan for six months. Ms. Kim is demanding that the company reconsider the dismissal of dozens of employees and is refusing to leave the cabin despite being sentenced for trespass in January. The sentence carried a find of KRW One Million (approximately US$ 1,000) for each day she has occupied and continues to occupy the crane cabin. Her struggle casts doubts as to the society’s interest in matters of labour and also the role of the government in respecting, protecting and fulfilling the human rights of a third party when business enterprises are involved.

The Subway Clashes of a Changing Korea

Korean Life 10 comments!

By Iwazaru

An ideal place to witness the disruptions taking place within changing Korean culture is the subway system where all walks of life mix and collide. One of the first well known uproars among the population came in July of 2005 when the Confucian concept of social responsibility was violated by a young woman who left her dog’s defecation on the floor of a subway car. The incident was captured on camera and went viral earning the young woman the name “dog poop girl.” Moreover, the story was intensely covered by the traditional press. Consequently, she was excoriated and vilified by a furious citizenry—netizens uncovered and revealed her personal information, including the name of her college which she later had to leave due to the massive witch hunt.

How to Start a Business in Korea: The AFEK Business Conference

EXPAT LIFE, From the Scene 7 comments!

By Lee Scott

It’s no secret that Mike Yates has big plans for AFEK (the Association of F-Visa Expats in Korea ). Ask him and he’ll tell you, “I hope to make AFEK the number one place for real, tangible help for all members of the expat community [in Korea].” One big step toward that goal is the thriving online community he founded and has built over the last two years. With more than 300 members who actively use the site each month, it is perhaps the most successful online community for long-term expats in Korea.

Another big step was the first annual AFEK business conference which was held Saturday, June 26 in the COEX convention center. Seventy AFEK members met for a chance to network with other expats, attend a variety of short survey-style seminars on topics ranging from Korean tax laws for businesses to the ins-and-outs of hiring native speakers and sponsoring E2 visas for teaching English in a hagwon.

Koreans on the Street: Dane’s Mexican Grill, Ilsan

From the Scene, Korean Life, Politics 2 comments!

By Kevin Kudic

“Centerpiece or centerfold,” Dane facetiously responds, uncharacteristically so in dealing with a book whose theme deals with the cross currents of Korean peninsular history during and after the war. We are enjoying a light-hearted moment talking about a possible cookbook spliced in between Dane’s political narrative. “The next chapter ends with a good picture of a yummy sushi. They’ll laugh at me, no one has ever done that before, because they’re so academic or political.” Dane is also privy to ambassadorial functions that have the best foods: French, Tunisian and Algerian (the couscous naturally). If you press him long enough he’ll also tell you one of his, “I was the first…” stories: the first heterosexual Asian to go to a gay bar in Detroit called Backstage in the early 80s and so on. It is hard to tell how much of his experience Dane has mythologized, but like all great storytellers we are captivated by the magnetic pull of a good yarn, even if some of it seems like the stuff of tall tales.

Monkey Business in Jakarta: A Street Performer Speaks

From the Scene 1 comment.

By Chris Smith

On the side of a busy dual carriageway in Jakarta, we filmed a double-act street performance. Motorcyclists stopped at the red lights of the cross junction and threw one thousand Rupiah notes, drivers glanced from air-conditioned cars, and children stared and smiled. Afterward, we were lucky enough to get an interview.

Me: I’m just going to ask a few questions; relax, it can be fun. We liked your show! So, what’s your name and where do you come from?

Bejo: Bejo, Indonesia.

Me: Do you mind stating the question in the answer? I want your voice to stand alone in the documentary.

Bejo: My name is Bejo and I’m Indonesian.

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