Tag: South Korea

April 9, 2014 / / asian
February 6, 2013 / / asia

By Guest Contributor Esther Choi

Image by Byoung Wook via Flickr Creative Commons.

Existing in very distinct manifestations of Korean American diaspora, but occupying similar spaces, we the American-born Koreans defined “fobs” (Fresh Off the Boat, more recently immigrated Koreans) by their cutesy antics, superficial looks, plastic surgery craze, and love of K-pop. We may have considered it all in good humor, but ultimately it assured us we were morally superior, a higher art form.

When I finally grew up a bit and began challenging my own internalized racism, I began to realize my judgments of “fob culture” were more about my desire to raise myself above it rather than any attempt to understand their world. Perhaps we thought that by defining ourselves against the less assimilated, we could stamp out our own sense of foreignness.

I am now living in South Korea, the place I was never from but to which my life has always been bound. Centering this society, I find a renewed appreciation for the ways that the Korean side of my bi-cultural divide has always challenged and deepened my perspectives. As I learn more about the connections between Korean society today and its incredible history of struggle and endurance, which echoes throughout the next generations and across diasporas, my identity takes new roots.
Read the Post On South Korean “Superficiality”: We Are Deeper Than You Want To Know

September 11, 2012 / / asian

By Guest Contributor Jea Kim (aka Onsemiro), cross-posted from My Dear Korea

  1. What the Heck Is Gangnam Style?

PSY finally set the world on fire with a song, Gangnam Seutail (강남스타일, “Gangnam Style”), written and performed by himself. The song is the title track of his sixth studio album, Yukgap (육갑), which can be interpreted two ways: (i) the word originally  means “the sexagenary cycle;” but (ii) it is mostly used in a derogatory way as meaning “a total retard.”  However, PSY chose this word to express his hope that his sixth (육(六), “six”) album would be the best (갑(甲), “best”). He made a wish and his wish came true.  In fact, the song turned out to be a greater success than he had hoped; it became an instant YouTube, and iTunes hit upon its release and also has immediately become a worldwide phenom.  And people are beginning to wonder what the heck is “Gangnam style.”

Generally speaking, “Gangnam” is the south of the Han River in Seoul while “Gangbuk” is the north of the river, in which gang means “river” (that is, the Han River); nam is “south,” and buk is north.  More specifically, though, it refers to the areas that include Gangnam-gu and Seocho-gu districts as seen below.  (Note that Songpa-gu can be considered to be part of Gangnam in a broader sense.)
Read the Post PSY’s “Gangnam Style” And “Gangnam Oppa” In “Architecture 101” (1)

March 20, 2012 / / asian
November 15, 2010 / / WTF?

By Arturo R. García

Call this a more loathsome counterpart to Sleeping Chinese.com: There’s actually a blog dedicated to posting images of drunk, passed-out Koreans, and, frequently, the people who find them on the street.

In an interview with Matador Nights, the blog’s anonymous owner, an American man teaching English in South Korea, had a blunt response to concerns about his subjects’ privacy. (Note: that’s not him in the picture posted above)

Read the Post Epic Fail Of The Week: ‘Black Out Korea’

October 14, 2010 / / art

By Arturo R. García

Most of the stories we’ve read about the now-infamous opening sequence prepared for The Simpsons by artist and documentary subject Banksy include a sentence along the lines of:

The extended sequence was apparently inspired by reports the show outsources the bulk of their animation to a company in South Korea, according to the BBC.

Not exactly breaking news; the show’s Wikipedia tells us its’ creators has been employing South Korean studios since its’ very first season, starting with AKOM Studios’ work on “Some Enchanted Evening.”

What is interesting is an allegation in the Asia Times by Chinese-based businessman Jing Kim that animation duties for many outsourced U.S. projects is actually outsourced again, to North Korea:

Read the Post Much A-D’oh! About Nothing?: Banksy’s opening for The Simpsons

June 22, 2010 / / appearances

By Guest Contributor Diana, originally published at Disgrasian

It took me a full day to believe that this headline was real and not just something Tila Tequila got mixed up on her blog:

It refers to South Korea’s plan to use songs and videos from groups like Wonder Girls and Girls Generation to infiltrate and ultimately beat down North Korea.

Girl bands are the new Weapon X? Badass!

From The Chosun Ilbo:

An official in charge of psy ops at the Joint Chiefs of Staff said no decision has been made so far. “It will take months to set up the big screens to use in psychological warfare operations and a wide range of contents will be shown,” the official said. “I don’t know whether songs by girl groups will be included, but there is that chance since pop songs were used in the past.” But he added the content of propaganda broadcasts will not be limited to girl bands.

Oh, the propoganda broadcasts won’t be made ENTIRELY of girl band materials? Well that’s dumb.

Read the Post ROCK OF ASIAN: Girl Bands To The Rescue

February 1, 2010 / / adoption

by Latoya Peterson

Reader Carleandria sent us this LA Times article over the weekend:

The telephones kept ringing with more orders and although Duan Yuelin kept raising his prices, the demand was inexhaustible. Customers were so eager to buy more that they would ply him with expensive gifts and dinners in fancy restaurants.

His family-run business was racking up sales of as much as $3,000 a month, unimaginable riches for uneducated Chinese rice farmers from southern Hunan province.

What merchandise was he selling? Babies. And the customers were government-run orphanages that paid up to $600 each for newborn girls for adoption in the United States and other Western countries.

“They couldn’t get enough babies. The demand kept going up and up, and so did the prices,” recalled Duan, who was released from prison last month after serving about four years of a six-year sentence for child trafficking.

When we post articles about taking the time to consider children in the adoption discourse, I am always surprised at the number of comments that assume we are anti-adoption (or as one amusingly put it, leaving these poor children to rot) when we believe in listening to perspectives from adult adoptees and adoptive POCs.  The perspectives are quite different from the standard narrative on adoption.  Just check out what Paula, of the Heart, Mind, and Seoul blog had to say:

[W]hy do so many people casually accept (and perhaps even secretly celebrate) it as fate, good karma, a higher power at force, destiny, luck, etc. when a woman who is without a true, just selection of choice or is told that the only real choice she has is to place her child, and believe this to be perfectly acceptable so long as it benefits our agenda?  Our plans.  Our lifelong hopes and childhood dreams.  Why is okay for other women to find themselves in a position to have to make arguably the most God-awful and heart-wrenching, hellish choice or worse – to find themselves WITHOUT choice – when it suits us or those we love?  And why aren’t more of us or more of those we love willing to make the same kinds of sacrifices that we expect, assume, hope and accept that other women will do? Read the Post On Discussions of Transracial Adoption