Extra! Korea

June 27, 2009

“Please focus on the news rather than the breasts.”

Filed under: celebrities, eye candy, gender equality, rapid cultural change — extrakorea @ 1:29 am

The Korean blogosphere has been all atwitter (atweeting?) about the arrival of Naked News in Korea, so I might as well join in.
The Chosun Ilbo has an interview with Lee Se-yeon, one of Naked News Korea’s nine presenters, which began with her saying, “Please focus on the news rather than the breasts.”

What if her future boyfriend is against her appearing on Naked News? “Why would he be against it? I don’t think I will be attracted to such a person,” she said.

Whoot, whoot!

She disagrees that viewers will be more interested in her body than the news. “I don’t think that will necessarily be the case. Honestly, there are many other sources of real pornography. They might look at my body and breasts when watching the program, but I’m sure their ears will be listening to the news,” she said.

That’s right. She’s providing a valuable service by informing us about world events. Don’t be a pervert like this guy.

June 24, 2009

Japanese police arrest head of late actress Jang Ja-yeon’s management agency

Filed under: actors/actresses, celebrities, crime, gender equality, prostitution, suicide — extrakorea @ 3:13 pm

Japanese police officers have arrested Kim Sung-hoon, the former head of late actress Jang Ja-yeon’s management agency. You might recall that Kim is the lame excuse for a human being who beat up Jang if she refused to sleep with rich and powerful men who were old enough to be her father.

“It will take about two months for Kim to return to Korea,” a police officer said. “Once his arrival, we will resume the stalemated investigation into figures allegedly involved in the scandal.”

Following her death, police launched a large-scale investigation, pledging to discover who had received such nasty favors from the actress regardless of their social positions.

Police concluded the investigation in April. They booked nine people out of the 20 questioned but failed to identify who the late actress was forced to provide entertainment and sexual intercourse to.

None of the corporate figures and media executives suspected of having sex with the late Jang have been booked. At that time, police said they were unable to find concrete evidence to the claim that the late actress was forced to provide sex in completing their investigation.

Jang hanged herself at her house in Bundang, south of Seoul, on March 7.

A few days later, her agent disclosed a seven-page suicide note, supposedly written by Jang, which stated that a former agent had forced her to provide sex and entertainment to several VIPs, including CEOs of two print and online media organizations, program directors and a bank CEO. The other bigwigs allegedly include owners and presidents of chaebol.

57% of Koreans in their 20s are ignorant about the Korean War

Filed under: education, history — extrakorea @ 2:33 pm

According to a recent poll of Koreans in their 20s, 56.6% didn’t know when the Korean War started.

“This is a very serious problem that more and more people, especially youngsters, are not well aware of or not interested in the Korean War, where millions of South Koreans were killed,” an official of the Ministry of National Defense said. “Pan-governmental efforts are required to make people understand properly about the Korean War and, in particular, educate youngsters about the war and history.”

The official referred to a survey last year, suggesting that more than 35 percent of elementary school students misunderstood that the Korean War had broken out following the South’s invasion into the North.

In related news, another poll hinted that 79% of Koreans know only five or fewer of the sixteen countries that fought alongside South Korea during the Korean War. Five percent of respondents didn’t know any of the countries or were not interested, and of that five percent, 82% were 20 years old or younger.

Pervert cameraman violates Son Dam-bi

Filed under: celebrities, gender equality, idiots, music, television, What the hell?! — extrakorea @ 3:18 am

If Roboseyo thought that there was some pervy camerawork in this video (I didn’t), then he should see this video (Hat Tip to All K Pop). At the 2:35 mark, the cameraman approaches Son Dam-bi from the front, his camera well below the hem of her miniskirt. But then at 2:40, he sneaks up behind her, puts the lens right between her legs, points it upward, then scurries off like the weasel he is. What a pervert.
Here is the “professional” video of the same event. Notice how they didn’t use the latter footage. I guess it’s for the cameraman’s own private “Saturday Night” with Son Dam-bi.

(Updated) Evidence of North Korean succession plans?

Filed under: Kim Jong-il, North Korea — extrakorea @ 1:56 am

In the past several days, the Chosun Ilbo and Korea Times have reported that Kim Jong-il’s third and youngest son, Jong-un, had been appointed to a high-level position and that he may even be acting as a kind of surrogate leader for his ailing father. However, Andrei Lankov has shown us that we should take all of this news with a grain of salt. These reports seem to be coming mainly out of Japanese newspapers, and the Japanese have been wrong about these kinds of things in the recent past.

However, in a speech by Kim Jong-il, there might be, finally, concrete evidence of plans to designate his son as his heir.

The Rodong Sinmun, the North’s main newspaper published by the Workers’ Party, on Tuesday quoted Kim [Jong-il] as recently saying, “A revolutionary tradition created by our founding leader (Kim Il-sung) is the strong root of our party and its revolution. Our revolution has been successful because the blood of juche (self-reliance) has been inherited by successive generations.” (emphasis mine)

The paper said Kim made the remark during his tour of one of the communist North’s revolutionary sites in northern part of the country.

If Kim Jong-il is using the words that I emphasized literally, then that might rule out people like Jang Song-taek and General Oh, who are about the same age as he.
If.

Edit/Update:

The Dong-a Ilbo and Korea Times have news about how Kim Jong-il has supposedly put Jong-un in charge of North Korea’s secret police. Since the secret police investigate and punish treason in all organizations, including the military, this is seen as an ideal position from which to root out and quash any opposition to Jong-un’s eventual succession.

June 23, 2009

77% of Korean teenagers think society is corrupt

Filed under: rapid cultural change, youth — extrakorea @ 12:50 pm

In a recent poll, 76.8% of Korean middle- and high-school students said that they saw their society as corrupt, and 51.7% said that they felt that it would be worse in two or three years. Only 8% thought that their society is transparent. They considered politics, administrative agencies, and the media to be the most corrupt areas of society.

I’m not at all surprised by these numbers, since I saw the results of this UNICEF poll many years ago:

Attitudes expressed by children and adolescents in the Republic of Korea are different from the rest of the region [East Asia/Pacific region]. Level of respect for elders and authority figures is very low. However, traditions do not seem to be replaced by new values or centres of interest.

I am, however, very surprised that they counted the media as one of the most corrupt areas of society. I’m surprised because of the incredible sway that the media seems to hold over people’s opinions here, much more that in other societies. (Look at the way a TV program was able to incite massive, violent riots over beef imports.)

Two caught helping others cheat on TOEIC via wireless devices

Filed under: crime, education, idiots, languages — extrakorea @ 12:23 pm

According to the Korea Herald and Korea Times, two people have been caught helping others to cheat on the TOEIC test.
One of the two had lived in America for 27 years. He took the test, and transmitted his answers to his partner as he did so. They then sold the answers to people for two-to-three million won per person. Said people went, score-wise, from 500 to 900 points, arousing suspicion.
Now get this: One of the guys had been arrested, and sent to jail, for this kind of cheating before. The two met while in prison.
What I don’t understand is how one guy could send out the answers on a wireless set throughout the entire test without anyone seeing? When my students take one of my tests, they’re allowed pens, pencils, erasers, and correction tape/fluid (and they get away with nothing under my hawk vision*). Isn’t it the same with these tests?

* Thanks to my contact lenses.

Edit/Update:

The Joongang Daily has more information.

Rainy season has officially begun

Filed under: climate — extrakorea @ 1:17 am

In case you didn’t know, rainy season, or summer monsoon season (“jangma” in Korean), officially began two days ago (though you wouldn’t know it from the wonderful weather of the last two days). Actually, the Korea Meteorological Administration has more-or-less given up trying to predict the beginning and end of the rainy season. When it does start, though, it can rain for several days straight, and rain is not foreshadowed by clouds or dark skies. Even if it’s a sunny day with a blue sky, take an umbrella anyway. The rainy season typically starts at Jeju Island and the moves it way up the peninsula. Right now, I’m looking at a weather forecast that predicts sunny weather on Jeju until June 27th, when it’s supposed to start raining continuously.

June 22, 2009

Marrying a Korean might soon require criminal background check & medical exam

Filed under: expatriates, health, legal issues, politics — extrakorea @ 11:50 pm

Thinking about marrying a Korean? In the near future, that might require a criminal background check and medical exam.

June 18, 2009

Movie “Whispering Corridors 5: A Blood Pledge” receives 18+ rating because of suicide pact scene

Filed under: movies, suicide — extrakorea @ 4:03 am

If you’re familiar with Korean movies, you probably know that one of the most famous and successful series of movies has been “Whispering Corridors” and its many sequels: Memento Mori, Wishing Stairs, and Ghost Voice. (Though it’s not part of the series, Bunshinsaba is very similar.) All of them are horror movies that take place within girls’ high schools, and deal with topics that are often taboo. The first in the series outraged teachers because it depicted an enraged teacher beating up students. At that time, however, such things definitely existed and the movie merely portrayed something that the viewers were already familiar with (if not had actually experienced).
The fifth movie in the series, “A Blood Pledge,” has received an 18+ rating from the Korea Media Rating Board (KMRB) because of a scene in which a group of schoolgirls pledge to commit suicide together. (Later in the movie, one of them does kill herself. Her ghost then begins to torment the other, surviving members for not following through on their promise.) The rating was given because of the fear that the scene would inspire copycat suicides (called the “Werther effect” in Korea) in young students. (One young woman did, in fact, commit a copycat suicide after ex-president Roh Moo-hyun killed himself.)

Edit/Updates:

—> Here is a review of the movie. It’s not very positive, but then again, the author didn’t like any of the other three sequels very much either. I, on the other hand, thought that “Wishing Stairs” was a very well-made horror movie, so I still intend to see “A Blood Pledge” myself and make my own judgment.

—> Also, Korea Beat has translated an article which discusses the question: “Why do Korean ghosts always seem to be female?”

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