Thursday, June 30, 2011

Gunfire Welcomes Put on Hold After Airline Complaints

A plan to create conflict-themed holiday experiences for tourists as part of Tourism Korea’s 'Warhub' project has backfired after Asiana complained about one of its passenger aircraft being shot at by South Korean soldiers as it was coming in to land at world-leading Incheon Airport near Seoul.

Defense Ministry officials, who appear to have been caught off-guard by the shooting, said there was no need for alarm since the plane was 12.5 kilometers out of range of the soldiers' Korean-made rifles, most of which didn't work anyway. They accused Asiana of 'overreacting' to the new tourism initiative. "Many countries like to take extra steps to welcome visitors,” a spokesman said, "for example in Hawaii people are given flower necklaces on arrival to signify the paradise-like nature of the islands. Korea is more famous for civil war and domestic violence, so firing tracer bullets into the air as tourists arrive is a natural way to celebrate Visit Korea Year 2010-2012."

But as international condemnation grew, the government said that their spokesmen had 'mis-spoken', and no gunfire-welcoming policy had been authorized, with the incident instead being attributed to the individualism of two soldiers who believed the white Asiana airliner, with it's brightly multicolored tail fin, looked like a North Korean plane. The soldiers will not be disciplined, but will receive further training to ensure they commit no further acts of individualism or free-thought.

In the wake of the incident, China, which regards the airspace from Europe across Asia to the coast of California as its own, called on the Korean government to ensure the safety of civilian aircraft flying within its territory. Some Chinese media organizations suggested Korea's image has been "tarnished" by the shooting, making the planned 2014 invasion of South Korea diplomatically easier. The government is says it is taking a tough stance and has no intention of discussing the matter further with the Chinese, but later it will relent, meet with them, and probably apologize as well.

While privately senior ministers admit that shooting at passenger planes over Korea was a mistake, other 'Warhub' plans such as live-fire exercises and false flag incidents will still go ahead in order to ensure Korea's current right-wing government is re-elected.

Related Links
Marines 'Made Trigger-Happy by Inter-Korean Tensions'
Is China Overreacting to Passenger-Plane Incident?
Military apologizes for firing at plane
Made-in-Korea arms struggle with defects
Individualism Taking Root in Korea

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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Korean Wave Causes Earthquakes in North Korea

It has been discovered that the Korean Wave - or The Hallyu as it is known - which has been sweeping the world like a big broom, is causing earthquakes in North Korea. While The Hallyu is perfectly safe and hugely popular around the world, performing the important role of cultural cleansing, it is thought that North Korea's proximity to the source of The Hallyu has caused seismic activity due to its Earth-shattering importance.

Previously, it was thought that North Korea would be impenetrable to the weapon, but The Wave has now been confirmed to be creeping into the nation. Recently, blurred photographs and shaky videos have been emerging from the isolated country which is now believed to be subject to near constant Hallyu-related tremors.

58 year-old Professor Kim, from Seoul International University's Institute for Peace and Unification Studies (PUS) has published a book on the phenomenon entitled "The Korean Wave is Shaking Up North Korea". Based on in-depth interviews with defectors from nine northern provinces, the research presented in the book suggests that up to 50 percent of defectors had sustained Hallyu-related injuries before they fled the country for the relative safety and discrimination of the South, adding that "North Korean citizens are admiring South Korea and the illusion of lives in it".

No hard data is available on the precise effects of The Hallyu in North Korea, but earlier this month a 4.1-magnitude earthquake hit Baeknyeoung Island in the West Sea, though it didn't cause any casualties or property damage according to the Korean Meteoroligical Administration (KMA). The quake was the latest and strongest in a series of 28 which have occurred this year in South Korea's northernmost island, which lies close to North Korea, but the government say there is no cause for concern as Hallyu's earth-shattering importance should cause limited damage to South Koreans.

Related Links
Korean wave is shaking up North Korea

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Friday, June 24, 2011

Profile: Anti-Foreigner Spectrum Promotes Cultural Understanding

According to figures released last month by Statistics Korea, our homeland is becoming increasingly multicultural, leading to problems with immigrants who don’t understand how to behave. After one such incident in 2005, when pictures were taken of native-English teachers socializing with Korean women who were not modestly dressed or accompanied by a male relative, the Anti-Foreigner Spectrum was formed to reach out to these outsiders and properly educate them. But recently, instead of listening respectfully to these patriotic Koreans, some foreigners have engaged overseas media in brutally attacking the group, even though they are just trying to help.

Leader of the Anti-Foreigner Spectrum 42-year-old Kim, whose dedication to the fatherland has been so great over the years he hasn't had time to date or marry, explained how some stupid foreigners had deliberately used the group's gestures of friendship to present a false picture of its activities and beliefs. "We followed many native-English teachers all over Seoul just to try and be friends, but they wouldn't talk to us. We took pictures of them constantly hoping they would smile. We went through their trash to make sure they hadn't thrown anything away accidentally – yet all these job and women takers have done is accuse us of harassment." he told us.

Yet despite the unwillingness of these immigrants to be helped, the Anti-Foreigner Spectrum has made a great deal of progress domestically since the group was founded several years ago. Today, as a secret unit of the National Police Agency, the group plays a formal role in developing policy at the national level and it enjoys political and legal protection for its actions which are in the best interests of Korea. It's a long way from the earliest days of the group's history when members almost chose to name it 'Kill White in Korea'. Kim admits that some of his members' views in those days were unacceptable "Back then the experience of the Hutus in Rwanda was still fairly recent and homeland-loving Korean citizens thought anything was possible, but it would have been a lot of work, and unlike the Africans we have jobs to go to in the morning."

Kim hopes the senseless attacks on the Anti-Foreigner Spectrum by foreigners and their foreign media will end "we're very sensitive about it, it's very upsetting and I think it would be better if they stopped before someone gets hurt."

Related Links
Foreign Teachers in Korea Vilified by Anti-English Group
Anti-English Spectrum Cafe Wants You (To Go Away)
Korea activists target foreign English teachers
English teachers receive death threat

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Thursday, June 23, 2011

International Conference to be Held on Korean Island of Ieodo

Korea Times Ieodo Campaign
The Society of Ieodo Research will hold its first international conference on June 30. The one-day conference, entitled "Ieodo is Korean Territory and China is Criminally Wrong", will carefully and fairly examine the legal and scientific claims surrounding the rock which lies beneath 4.6 meters of water between rightful owner Korea and China, which belligerently claims the territory despite overwhelming Korean evidence of its Korean sovereignty.

The conference will be sponsored by The Korea Times, which narrowly beat The Dokdo Times in bidding for the exclusive media rights to the territorial dispute. The Korea Times hopes Ieodo will one day surpass Dokdo as an international flashpoint that will sell more newspapers, since contrary to the carefully cultivated government and media image which has been created in recent years, Japan was never likely to fight over Dokdo - whereas China will actually need to fight minor wars in the next few years in order to create the sense of nationalism necessary to hold the fractious failed state together.

No Chinese people will be at the conference on Ieodo. Because the rock is submerged under water delegates will have to stand on a specially constructed conference table with only their heads protruding above the water to allow speaking, and because of this only tall people will be invited. Since Chinese people are known to be smaller than Koreans, it was felt asking them to attend would be unfair, and possibly dangerous.

The President of the Society of Ieodo Research will give an opening speech, followed by congratulatory remarks from the head of the Korea Hydrographic and Oceanographic Administration and the president of the Northeast Asian History Foundation, who is also Korean. Another Korean, who is a judge of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, will give a keynote speech, waves permitting. The conference will end with a statement that after careful consideration and exhaustive debate at the conference among the Korean delegates, it was concluded beyond any doubt whatsoever that Ieodo is Korean territory.

After Avatar director James Cameron suggested his next blockbuster in the franchise might be set underwater, it is hoped the decision will enable The Ministry of Culture to entice him to choose Ieodo as the location for filming. While only two Koreans currently live on Ieodo, spending their time floating on the surface while anchored to the rock below as what is officially designated an 'ocean research station', it is felt extras could be drafted in to help tell the tale of a plucky indigenous people whose home is threatened by a militarily superior and morally corrupt force.

However, according to a group of foreigners going under the name of the 'United Nations' despite clearly not being united, as a 'submerged reef' Ieodo - which is known incorrectly known as Socotra Rock by these disingenuous foreigners who always disbelieve Korea's rightful territorial claims - can not be claimed as territory by any country under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

China calls Ieodo, which is also correctly known as Parangdo by Korea, 'Suyan Rock' - saying it is part of its exclusive economic zone, which allegedly stretches from the coast of China up to the beaches of every other nation in the Pacific. The United Nations have also said Korea should not refer to the rock as a '-do' which means 'island' in Korean, since it is allegedly not an island due to its submerged nature. However, the Korea Hydrographic and Oceanographic Administration has correctly pointed out to the U.N. that the island of Atlantis, which is also submerged, is still referred to as an island, completely contradicting their logic.

Korea's rightful historical claim is based on legend told by Jeju Islanders of a mythical island called both 'Parangdo' and 'Ieodo', which was believed to house the spirits of fishermen who perished at sea. The South Korean government has asserted a direct connection between these legends and the modern-day rock, claiming that the traditional saying that "one who sees Parangdo can never return" refers to the danger facing sailors when high waves allow the rock to break the surface. The rock was officially designated as "Ieodo" on January 26, 2001 after two Koreans occupied it, with the government now suggesting that another submerged rock, which lies 50 kilometers to the south-west under 100 meters of water, should actually be designated as Parangdo, which would automatically make the island Korean due to the overwhelming historical evidence from Jeju Island's legends.

Related Links
Seminar on Ieodo to be held in Seoul June 30
Korea Times - Ieodo
Wikipedia: Ieodo (wrongly called Socotra Rock)
Ieodo - Korea Hydrographic and Oceanographic Administration
China refuses to acknowledge ‘Ieodo’ as Korean territory
I Like Chinese
Avatar 2 Will Happen Underwater

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Friday, June 17, 2011

Immigrants Supposedly Not Responsible For Crime Wave

Chosun Ilbo foreigner cartoon
A junior researcher at the Korean Institute of Criminology has claimed, extraordinarily, that statistics which show a significant increase in crimes committed in South Korea during the last five years are not linked to the significant increase in foreign immigrants which have moved to the country during this period.

Korean politicians have dismissed the findings as clearly counter-factual and ridiculous. 49-year-old Representative Kim was typical of the reaction "Sometimes people just refuse to accept the evidence when it's place right in front of them. Crimes are up, the number of foreigners in Korea are up. Are people saying this isn't true? If foreigners aren't responsible for this crime wave, then who is?" he added.

A few people from well-known liberal universities with inferior academic records have suggested that social breakdown amongst Korean people themselves, caused by changing demographics and a so-called 'lost generation' of youth who have been unable to find jobs due to the economic downturns in recent years and overseas outsourcing, may be responsible for some of the rise – but this is has been dismissed by right-minded people.

However, 62 year-old Professor Kim from Seoul International University says that while the statistics speak for themselves, the theory may have some validity, albeit for different reasons. "There has been a move away from a traditional Confucian society" explains the professor, "and women's liberation has led to more single-child families, and men who have more time on their hands while their women have a life of their own. Boredom may be a small factor in the increase, aside from the foreigners."

But the foreign crime wave has led to a debate in Seoul over how to address the problem. While the Chosun Ilbo and other newspapers have been trying to warn their readers of the foreign threat under headlines such as "Korea Must Beware of Growing Crime by Foreigners", the liberal National Human Rights Commission has suggested that the government and its Internet regulator take measures to remove racially discriminating web comments, although the Chosun Ilbo has so far refused to stop writing this type of story.

Unfortunately, until Korea devices a way of catching these foreign criminals, there may be no way of proving just how many of them are responsible for the foreign crime wave afflicting Korea.

Related Links
Korea Must Beware of Growing Crime by Foreigners
Concerns increase over online racism
Gov't told to remove racially discriminating Web comments
'Korea may face internal terrorism from frustrated minorities'
'Unregistered migrants have little to do with rise in foreign crimes'
Crimes by Foreigners 'Remain Low'
Study exposes prejudice against illegal immigrants

Disclaimer: Please note the links above are generated automatically by our software and may not always be directly related to the news article.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Whistle-Blowers Who Exposed University Corruption Punished

Four professors at Sogang University in Seoul, who exposed another professor's embezzlement of government funds, are embroiled in deepening legal action after they were fired by the university for damaging its reputation.

"We pride ourselves on being the most corrupt university in Korea", said a spokesman for the institution, whose motto is 'corruptio optimi mirabile'. "The entire basis of our financial model is premised on misappropriating government money, and we face tough competition with other universities, defense contractors and chaebol for that embezzled cash, which these reckless individual actions will now endanger."

It isn't clear what caused the professors' bizarre ethical outburst, but the university also fears that if the behavior spreads across campus it could endanger their academic-grades-for-cash program.

The university said Tuesday that it has filed a lawsuit with the Seoul Administrative Court to protest a decision by the Ministry of Education-affiliated Appeal Commission for Teachers, which earlier recommended that the school withdraw its decision to dismiss the four professors over their ethical outburst, instead suggesting that two of them should be suspended from their offices for three months, and the the other two have their wages cut for the same period.

While sources say the government is reluctant to take an overt role in the affair, a spokesman for the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology said that they hoped the decision by the Appeal Commission for Teachers - which is effectively a government agency under their control - to support the punishment of the reckless professors, would send a strong message to other individuals potentially suffering from an outbreak of moral behavior to seek medical help.

There is a fear among some senior ministers that the reckless professors may even endanger Korea's economic model, which is based on the principle of the 'redistribution of wealth', where money is taken from poor taxpayers and redistributed to rich corporations, preferably in large brown envelopes. "This system keeps the poor in their financial place and ensures their continued enslavement to the chaebol system." said a former Director of Strategic Planning at the Ministry of Finance who retired last year, speaking on condition on anonymity, "Imagine what would happen if the working poor got richer and decided they didn't want to be indentured employees any more - it would be chaos."

Even if it mainly remains a largely private arrangement between those in government and their friends in the private sector, it is generally agreed that the embezzlement of government funds - which was designated 'Important Intangible Cultural Property (No. 108)' in 2005 - is a vital aspect of Korea's cultural heritage which the professors have recklessly endangered.

Despite their attack on Korean society, the reckless professors inexplicably claim they "did nothing wrong". A Sogang University administration official meanwhile maintains that the school will dismiss the professors "through proper judicial proceedings", stressing that the professors "severely tarnished the school's image, and disgraced members of the Sogang community."

Related Links
Sogang Univ. in court battle with whistle blowing professors
Redistribution of wealth

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

String of Conscript Deaths 'Caused by Spinal Meningitis Outbreak'

A string of high profile deaths among military conscripts, which led to accusations of excessive brutality by senior officers, has been found to have been caused by a spinal meningitis outbreak and not blunt objects as biased autopsy results commissioned by bereaved families have wrongly claimed.

The retrospectively discovered outbreak appears to be a strain of spinal meningitis which is unique to Koreans, making it very difficult for foreign scientists to detect and impossible for foreign drugs to treat.

The discovery explains the latest death last week which involved a 21 year-old conscript, who was thought to have collapsed after several blows to the head from his commanding officer. "There's no doubt he would have survived the entirely justified disciplinary beating if it wasn't for his undiagnosed spinal meningitis" said army doctors. Just days earlier, another conscript accidentally shot himself in the head with his assault rifle when violent shaking caused by the unique Korean strain of spinal meningitis caused him to lose control of his arm and fatally discharge his weapon. The dizziness sometimes associated with spinal meningitis caused a third conscript to fall off a chair the same day while trying to fix a light fitting, causing him to become entangled in overhead wiring, accidentally hanging himself.

Earlier this month, a fourth conscript with undiagnosed Korean Spinal Meningitis collapsed and died after he was forced to go on a 20-kilometer march at night at the end of a 24-hour period of disciplinary 'exhaustion training'. The camp had previously been criticized in 2005 when a company commander ordered 192 new recruits to eat human excrement to solve the problem of blockages in two toilet drainage systems. The army will now investigate whether the sickness many of the conscripts subsequently complained of was caused by another previously undetected outbreak of spinal meningitis.

All able-bodied South Korean men, apart from the famous, wealthy and well-connected, are required to serve at least two years in the military - or police if they can afford the appropriate bribe. Despite the risks of contracting spinal meningitis, draftees are paid less than $82 a month in line with Japanese-born President Lee Myung-bak's goal of creating a fair society - "Our generation was paid very little when we underwent compulsory military service," explained a government spokesman, "so it's only fair that conscripts today are also paid less than $21 a week."

The spokesman was believed to be speaking hypothetically since the President, Prime Minister and a host of other prominent figures in Korean politics were exempted from military service on a variety of grounds, including medical conditions such as being spineless.

Related Links
Military Admits Conscript Deaths from Spinal Meningitis
Denial of treatment linked to draftee's suicide
Another soldier dead in barracks
Dead draftee's human rights violated
Army soldier commits suicide at frontline unit
Riot police squad disbanded for abuse
Conscripted policemen snared in trap
Measures urged to prevent sexual crimes in riot policemen's barracks
Is it fair to pay draftees less than $100 a month?
Singer pulled teeth to evade duty: prosecutor

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Monday, June 13, 2011

Did Former Prime Minister Sexually Abuse Korean Flag?

Do tread on me?
Controversy has flared up over "defamation of the national flag" by the 67 year-old former Prime Minister Kim. The first and only female Prime Minister in Korea's 5,000 year history, she lasted a mere 48 weeks in the job before people thought better of the idea. Previously, Kim had also pioneered new ground as Korea's first female Minister of Gender Equality.

Despite being disqualified from running for President on a gender technicality in 2007, Kim was believed to still harbor political ambitions, but those hopes now appear to lie in ruins after a photo of her standing on the Korean national flag - which is known as Taegeukgi (pbui) in Korea - went viral on the Korean Internet last week. 'Defaming the national flag or symbol' and 'damaging the dignity of the nation' is illegal under Articles 1, 5, and 10 of the National Flag Act of the Republic of Korea and Articles 1, 2, 4, 7, 19, 58, 97, 105, 803, 19,036 and 83,342 of the Criminal Act.

Kim claims she was laying a flower at the memorial alter of former 62 year-old left-wing President Kim, who committed suicide in 2009 amidst a widening corruption investigation. The memorial stone had been placed on a large flag, and some have blamed the company which organized the event, GNP Funerals. But many saw the move as a reflection of intent to deny the Republic of Korea, which is symbolized by Taegeukgi (pbui) - a 'populist' move typical of left-leaning activists still bitter about previous imprisonments and torture under the former right wing dictatorship, such as Kim herself between 1979 and 1981.

The female former Prime Minister's act of defaming the national flag was condemned by the CJD newspaper, the Dongo-a Ilbo, as typical of "the kind of 'populists' who prefer to sing the activists' song 'March in Honor of Fighters' and make a 'silent prayer for democracy fighters' in lieu of singing the National Anthem, pledge allegiance, and make a silent prayer for patriots and fallen national heroes," although the newspaper concluded that it might have been a mistake caused by her being a stupid woman.

Some netizens are also angry over her choice of flower - a chrysanthemum, which is the symbol on the Japanese Emperor's seal. "This was clearly a call for a return to the Japanese colonial rule under which she was born in Pyongyang" said one Internet user. But for some the sight of a woman walking on the national flag held a much deeper symbolism "It was a sexual act." said one netizen, "Some men enjoy being walked on by women and this is exactly what the former prime minister did to Taegeukgi (pbui)".

Many agreed that Kim had indeed sexually abused the Korean flag. While numerous so-called 'Taegeukgi porn' images can be found on the Internet, and many right wing Korean men are believed to regularly engage in sexual acts with the Korean flag after their wives and parents have gone to bed, this is thought to be the first case involving a woman in public. The only previously issued legal proceedings involved a member of VANK and the case was dropped after he agreed to wash the flag in question properly.

Earlier this a 63 year-old man was set free by the Changwon District Court after throwing human excrement at the tomb of the allegedly corrupt former President Kim, after he explained it was to bring attention to the "negative consequences" of his liberal rule. However, those who defame the Korean flag can be subject to a maximum of five years in jail. When the late President Kim's liberal collaborator, former Prime Minister Kim, is finally found guilty of sexually abusing Taegeukgi (pbui), it is not known if the judge will take her previous two years in prison being tortured into account in sentencing her, but prosecutors will be requesting a jail sentence which ensures she is unable to damage the dignity of the nation by stepping on any more flags until after the next presidential elections.

A few minor 'liberal', 'populist', 'progressive' individuals have suggested that making standing on a piece of cloth a worse criminal offense than abusing children is what really hurts the 'dignity of the nation', but right-wing child abusers dismissed the idea as ridiculous.

Related Links
Stepping on national integrity?
Ex-prime minister under probe over Taegeukgi defamation
Man sentenced to suspended jail term for throwing feces at ex-president's tomb
2 teens film themselves sexually assaulting schoolgirl
Man gets jail term for abusing children refusing to call him 'mom'
Marine colonel sentenced to suspended jail term for sexual harassment of male subordinate
5 police officers get jail for torture
Man sentenced to five years for attempted rape of 6-year-old
Sexually-abusive professor tries to get back to school
S. Korean lawmaker draws jail term on embezzlement charges
Han Myeong-sook

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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Government Official Admits to Taking Money, But Denies Bribery

Korean Banking System
A former inspection commissioner at the Board of Audit and Inspection, which is tasked with ensuring financial propriety in the banking sector, has admitted accepting money from the now suspended Busan Savings Bank, but said it wasn't a bribe. "They just gave it to me" said 54 year-old Kim, explaining how he went to the bank one day in the course of his job and was shown a drawer full of cash which the manager said he was giving away because 'there was no space for it in the bank vault'.

With arrest warrants about to be issued, defense attorneys are expected to argue that money given freely by failing banks to government auditors can only be classed as bribery if anything is asked for in return. However, in this case there appears to be some evidence that Kim exchanged e-mail and Prada smartphone messages with the bank's major shareholders to prevent the failing bank from being suspended.

Before its collapse, Busan Savings Bank was known for its generosity, saying it paid savers rates of 8% - 4% above the Korean base rate - "because it cared". However, less generously, some have accused the bank of being part of a massive pyramid scheme which involved taking money from customers, with the promise of extraordinarily high interest rates, to fund construction companies at even higher rates of interest that were building apartments for customers that no longer wanted to buy them - because they were earning so much interest on their money in Busan Savings Bank.

The scheme eventually collapsed when nobody was left to pay the inflated apartment prices the construction companies needed to ask for due to the high loan rates, and now vast swathes of apartment blocks stand empty, mainly sold to investors outside Busan who haven't realized that the population of Korea's second-class city is declining and Realtors have taken to placing dummies in apartment windows to create the illusion of habitation.

Busan Savings Bank was one of several financial institutions that had to be suspended by the Financial Services Commission earlier this year, and many of them are believed to have generously donated free money they didn't have space for to government officials and politicians, who have sought to characterize the payments as 'token appreciations for all the honest hard work we do'. However, when the Criminal Investigations Unit of the Supreme Prosecutor's Office started to look into the payments, lawmakers voted to abolish it for wasting taxpayers' time.

Under a banner reading "No corruption in Korea", a government spokesman said that levels of bribery were very low compared with several other countries, although if anyone could persuade him otherwise he might be willing to accept it.

Related Links
Ex-gov't inspector admits to taking money but denies bribery
Prosecutors fight for probe unit
'Busan Savings Bank Group Bribed FSC Official'
Prosecution speeds up banks probe
Arrested bank chief says he bribed former and current lawmakers
Gov`t doing what to combat corruption?
US Savings and loan crisis
Foreigner Replaces Self With Mannequin, Claims Nobody Notices

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Monday, June 6, 2011

TV Personality Jailed for Missing TV Show

Popular entertainer 36 year-old Kim Jung-hwan was sentenced to eight months in prison on Friday for missing a recording of his TV show. In a ruling that is bound to create further fear with in the entertainment community, and cement the power of the media chaebol over everyone's lives, the judge claimed that Kim's failure to attend the recording of 'Light Entertainment Program Number 728' was evidence of his addiction to gambling, which is sometimes illegal in Korea. Kim's lawyer said he missed the recording because he was sick.

According to prosecution lawyers, the saga began last year when Kim, who must now be referred to under his full legal title of 'disgraced Kim Jung-hwan (36)', was accused of betting and losing more than 200 million won ($185,000) at a casino in the Philippines. He later admitted that "it was one hell of a holiday". However, the authorities in Seoul, who strictly regulate the recreational activities of Koreans both inside and outside Korea, claimed that he had broken the law, since gambling is illegal for Koreans except in one designated casino called Kangwon Land, horse racing tracks, the lottery, the stock market, North Korean foreign policy, 'go-stop' games, and pretty much everywhere else.

When disgraced Kim Jung-hwan (36) failed to return to the Korean motherland for a recording of his TV show, his agency released a photo of him lying in a local hospital with what they claimed was 'breakbone fever' symptoms. At the time prosecutors said they could not be sure from the photograph what he was lying about, but when he returned to Korea doctors discovered no evidence of any bone breakages. "The nature of his crime is very bad given his actions in hiding away and gambling away a large amount of money overseas," said a prosecutor, denying the case was brought because of the disruption to TV schedules.

Law professor, 57 year-old Kim from Seoul International University, said "lawmakers should have made up a special law to deal with unpunctual TV personalities, rather than trying to apply an inconsistent Korean law overseas. Disgraced Kim Jung-hwan (36)'s conviction for gambling creates a legal argument for the closure of horse racing tracks and the Korean stock market, and may require a change in foreign policy." However, the government has denied they are gambling with North Korea, as the large amounts of money they have lost to Pyongyang are not 'bets' but 'protection money'.

The KOSPI closed down 2% as traders withdrew their money, fearing a visit from the police. Sales of lottery tickets were unchanged.

Related Links
Singer Shin gets 8-month jail sentence
Disgraced TV celebrity returns home to face gambling probe
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Crackdown on casino splurges by gov’t officials
Football probe to focus on players wagering money
Korea Racing Association
Horse Racing in Korea
Sales of lottery tickets rise
More Koreans Gamble at Foreigner-Only Casinos
Kangwon Land Casino
Effort underway to fight illegal online gambling
Korea Must Beware of Growing Crime by Foreigners

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Friday, June 3, 2011

Foreigner Replaces Self With Mannequin, Claims Nobody Notices

A foreigner who says he grew tired of being consigned to the background in meetings with Korean colleagues, claims he replaced himself with a mannequin for over a year without anyone noticing. "I like think that most Westerners are just like part of the background picture here, and our absence is like rarely missed unless we like do something wrong, or are like needed for something, you know?" he told us.

Mitch, who is from Los Angeles, says he hit upon the idea when it finally dawned on him that most professional social contact in Korea was superficial, just like in his home town, and drawing from a number of movies as inspiration, decided to create a passive replacement Mitch who could attend the tedious yet socially obligatory Korean meetings - often outside official hours - that he would otherwise have to endure.

"To be, like honest and everything, I expected to be like, totally found out after like, you know, a day or two." he explained. But it didn't happen. Mitch wasn't able to completely replace himself, as he had to continue to teach classes during the daytime, but he became suspicious that his plan was working better than expected when colleagues began to complement him on his more positive attitude towards meetings - previously he had been frequently admonished for fidgeting, not agreeing with his bosses and speaking his mind during the enforced gatherings.

"I'm like, totally you know like glad and everything now that I didn't like run with my first idea which was just to have like a cardboard cut-out of myself." This was probably a good idea – 57-year-old Seoul International University Psychology Professor Kim told us "Even though many Koreans see foreigners as rather two-dimensional, psychologists agree that while the human brain can often trick a person into seeing what they want to see, it is not always successful at visually creating whole new dimensions. If it was, people might realize they are actually living in a computer simulation."

Mitch decided to speak out after his company nominated him for the inaugural 'Ideal Foreigner Award' which the Government has launched in order to encourage non-Korean residents to integrate further into Korean society and stop speaking out. "It's like, gone too far", he accepted. But despite his admission, many of his co-workers have refused to believe that Mitch wasn't at the meetings. His boss said he has a distinct recollection of Mitch agreeing with many of his ideas, and a female colleague even claims they even went on a date together secretly following one after-work meeting. "He was a good listener", she admitted, "but I'm sure I would have noticed if he hadn't been real." Mitch told us that he had used the dummy "once-or-twice" for dates with Korean girls, although he refused to be drawn on exactly which ones.

Now his company is aware of the existence of his stand-in, Mitch says he'll have to stop using it and return to attending meetings in person. But he is faced with months of unraveling the life that 'Dummy Mitch' created.

Related Links
Lars and the Real Girl
Are You Living In a Computer Simulation?

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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Jinju Suicide Festival Draws Fire

A regional festival is drawing criticism because of an event where children jump off a cliff with a Japanese-dressed dummy in a reenactment of a historic figure's martyrdom.

With the level of teen and adult suicides in Korea reaching epidemic proportions, bloggers have slammed the event for the inappropriateness of giving children a "suicide experience", but organizers of the Jinju Murder-Suicide Festival say it is instructive to learn about patriotism, because sometimes there's nothing better for Korea than killing yourself, preferably taking some of the hated Japanese with you.

The Festival celebrates Nongae, a gisaeng or 'Korean courtesan'. Historically gisaeng - whose careers peaked around the age of 16 - held the hereditary status in Korea of 'no-good whores' or 'cheonmin' - the lowest rank of society along with butchers and slaves - and they could only be released from their enslavement if a hefty price was paid to the government. Nongae was possibly Korea's first comfort woman to switch from Koreans to Japanese, marking her out as a 'no-good whore who slept with foreigners', a status sometimes still bestowed by ajeossis on women with non-Koreans on the subway. Officially however the Festival's website remembers her as a 'singing and dancing girl' although later it also appears to describe her as a 'wanton prostitute'.

During the Japanese invasion of Joseon in 1593, widely seen as a mistaken retaliation for the earlier combined Mongol-Korean 'peacekeeping operation' which attempted to liberate Japan from its Japanese oppressors, the 'cheonmin' Nongae is said to have lured the Japanese general Keyamura Rokusuke to a cliff before throwing herself into the Nam River below while holding him tight in her arms, causing both of them to drown. The Jinju Charm Nongae Cyber Museum website states that "it is very commendable that a woman among kisaengs had that kind of integrity" unlike most no-good whores, adding "It may be said that 'gwangis'" (a gisaeng enslaved to the government) "are wanton prostitutes who can not have a strong sense of virtue or morality. But one of them was willing to kill herself to keep her chastity." However, having been born into a hereditary life of prostitution, experts are doubtful that Nongae was still a virgin at the relatively old age of 16 in her non-chosen career.

People in the region have nevertheless honored Nongae as a patriotic martyr throughout their history since 2002, a year that coincidentally saw a resurgence of Korean nationalism, a repeated Dokdo territorial claim by the Japanese, and the largest ever anti-American demonstrations in Korea's history.

Responding to domestic critics of the suicide reenactment, one of the organizers said that they were trying to teach children that hating the Japanese can be fun. Another added "We didn't force children to to participate in the event, but parents encouraged them to try", although as most Korean children are aware, that means it wasn't a choice. He also refuted the allegation that it is a "suicide experience", but rather it is a "martyrdom experience". As such, for safety the children of migrant workers were prevented from participating.

Over 600 children participated in the Jinju Murder-Suicide Festival, with many speaking passionately in martyrdom videos recorded beforehand of the need for Japan to apologize for the Joseon invasion of 1593. "Japan should stop brainwashing their children using history education!" they chanted on camera. During their fall, many used their smartphones to post on their Twitter accounts "I'm martyring myself now. Death to the Japanese!" The Japanese government has not yet issued an apology for any of the martyred children.

Following the online criticism, Jinju women's groups have suggested that next year the Festival should instead shift its emphasis towards highlighting the historical persecution and sexual slavery of teenage girls in Korea, alongside the continuing gender discrimination and misogyny still endemic today in Korean society, but the organizers dismissed this "as a stupid idea made by no-good whores".

Related Links
Event to honor Nongae draws fire
Jinju Murder-Suicide Festival
Gusts Of Popular Feeling: Experiencing Nongae’s Sacrifice
Suicide leading cause of youth deaths in Korea
Nationalistic furies ignited anti-Americanism in 2002
Wikipedia: Kisaeng
Wikipedia: Cheonmin
Wikipedia: Non Gae
Wikipedia: Keyamura Rokusuke
Wikipedia: Mongol/Korean Peacekeeping Operations in Japan
Parents Warned "Mixed Race Children" May Be Terrorists

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