Extra! Korea

June 18, 2009

Actess Han Ye-seul voted as having “Best-shaped Face”

Filed under: actors/actresses, celebrities, gender equality — extrakorea @ 2:54 am

According to All K Pop and Pop Seoul, actress Han Ye-seul has been voted as having the best-shaped face, or the best facial structure. And what kind of shape is her enviable face? Do you have to ask?

Word of the Day: Calumny

Filed under: languages, North Korea — extrakorea @ 1:53 am

Thanks to ROK Drop, we now know why North Korea sentenced two American journalists, Euna Lee and Laura Ling, to twelve years in prison.

Laura Ling and Euna Lee were arrested in March for “having illegally trespassed into the border of the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) and committed hostile acts against it for which they were tried.” They were sentenced after a closed-door trial. The reporters for California-based Current TV — a media venture of former U.S. Vice President Al Gore — were arrested while reporting on the border shared by North Korea and China.

Korean Central News Agency said Tuesday that the two women “admitted that what they did were criminal acts committed, prompted by the political motive to isolate and stifle the socialist system of the DPRK by faking up moving images aimed at falsifying its human rights performance and hurling slanders and calumnies at it.”

You have to admit, North Koreans sometimes write much better English than their southern counterparts. A similar dispatch coming out of the south might have read something like:

Two of American journalists were been arrested inside of the South Korea. They are liars about our country, so even though they are pretty girls, we give them big punishment. (^.^) Do you know South Korea? We are make the Samsung and Hyundai. Oh yea ~ ~ ~.

Watch Shaquille O’Neal call out Choi Hong-man for a fight

Filed under: celebrities, sports — extrakorea @ 1:04 am

Apparently, Shaquille O’Neal wants revenge on Choi Hong-man for beating up Jose Canseco (as if any other outcome had been possible). Go here to watch him rant, and then beat up a cardboard cut-out of Chuck Liddell. Just don’t blame me for losing a minute of your life that you can’t get back.

June 11, 2009

Swedish Fathers Do 6 Times More Housework Than Their Korean Counterparts

Filed under: gender equality — extrakorea @ 12:26 pm

From the Chosun Ilbo:

Sweden is one of the countries in the world where men take on the greatest portions of housework. Fathers with a child less than six-years-old spend an average three hours and 21 minutes doing housework (2004 European statistics), 6.3 times greater than the 32 minutes Korean men spend on average doing the same chores.

$4,800 is a “huge amount” of student debt

Filed under: education, rapid cultural change — extrakorea @ 12:07 pm

Pity 23-year-old Jin. Like many young Koreans, she’s looking for a job, but often, anxiety gets the best of her, and her confidence gets deflated before she even gets started. Why? Because she has a huge amount of student debt, $4,800. Read on, but have a handkerchief ready.

Superintendent of Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education convicted of corruption

Filed under: crime, education — extrakorea @ 11:56 am

Seoul’s top “educator” was convicted of receiving illegal money and of under-reporting his wealth.

A high court in Seoul upheld a lower court’s ruling that fined Seoul’s top educator 1.5 million won ($1,100) for failing to report a borrowed-name account in declaring his assets before the election campaign last June.

[ snip ]

Kong [Jeong-taek, superintendent of the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education] was charged with underreporting his wealth by 400 million won and receiving 190 million won in illegal campaign funds from private cram school operators.

These are the kinds of people who pontificate about how evil foreign teachers are.

Man angry about breathalyzer test, burns himself to death

Filed under: crime, Darwin award, traffic accidents — extrakorea @ 11:45 am

A 48-year-old man bumped his car into a taxi, and then taken for a breathalyzer test, which showed a blood alcohol level nearly four times the legal limit. Angry about the test, he burned himself to death, right in the police station, as in this other crime.

In which parallel universe is the Hankyoreh reporting from?

Filed under: idiots, North Korea, politics — extrakorea @ 11:25 am

As in many other countries, some newspapers in Korea are lean towards the political left, and others, to the right. South Korea’s left wing is known for, among other things, being sympathetic to North Korea. The Hankyoreh, a South Korean newspaper, is sometimes astounding in the creativity it displays in weaving excuses for the North’s behavior. When a South Korean tourist was murdered on North Korea’s Mount Geumgang, it was almost an entire day before it put the news on its web-site.
As you are probably already aware, two American journalists were sentenced by North Korea to twelve years in prison. While many other Korean newspapers reported the news online almost as soon as it broke, the Hankyoreh took its sweet time, taking at least half-a-day to post the news. And when they finally did, it was with this headline: “N. Korea’s sentencing of two U.S. journalists may signal the possibility of talks.” The Hankyoreh has really outdone itself with the apologetic gymnastics they’ve displayed here. What’s next?
Yodok Prison offers families the chance to be together”?
“Widespread famines mean that next year’s crops will probably be better”?
“Mass starvation helps solve the problem of overpopulation”?

June 10, 2009

Did Kim Jong-il collapse again in early May?

Filed under: Kim Jong-il, North Korea — extrakorea @ 9:03 am

Some reports say that North Korean leader Kim Jong-il collapsed again in early May, which may have been the reason for bringing forward the nuclear test and haste to ensure the succession, AERA said. The weekly quoted intelligence officials as saying Kim is now too frail to work even for an hour a day.


A blogger seems to believe that Kim Jong-il might be around for a long time, citing the example of Kirk Douglas as someone who can remain alive and sort-of-well long after having a stroke. I would disagree. Kirk Douglas has always taken very good care of himself. (Check out his bodybuilder’s physique in the movie Spartacus.) All of those years of keeping himself in good health were a long-term investment that ultimately paid dividends. On the other hand, Kim Jong-il is a pot-bellied diabetic who eats live seafood and drinks cognac and other kinds of hard liquor until he passes out in the wee hours of the morning. Someone like that can’t make the same kind of long-term recovery from a stroke that Kirk Douglas did.

And here’s some proof that humanitarian aid goes directly to North Korea’s military.

“During the 10 years of the left-leaning Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun administrations, nearly 1 trillion yen (approximately W13 trillion) including investment from civilian enterprises went to North Korea,” the weekly said. “Since the Lee Myung-bak administration’s inauguration, South Korea has become tight with money, and this has dealt a severe blow to the North Korean military.”

Hard copy of telegram of succession plans was never seen by intelligence

Filed under: Kim Jong-il, North Korea — extrakorea @ 8:34 am

It looks like Andrei Lankov was right (not that I ever doubted him). The telegram that described Kim Jong-il’s succession plans was never seen first-hand by any intelligence agents. The information was only obtained through accounts by eyewitnesses.

Speaking of Kim Jong-un, here’s an article that sheds some light on this mysterious figure. Apparently, he’s a big fan of boxing and basketball, and was home-schooled* before going to study in Switzerland.

And he really does look like his father (from a Japanese TV station, via the Chosun Ilbo).

* Which could account for why so little is known about him, even by people like Hwang Jang-yup.


Oops. That picture wasn’t of Kim Jong-un, as Japan’s Asahi TV had reported, but of a South Korean man who uploaded his photo to a community site dedicated to shamanism. He wanted to point out how similar his face is to Kim Jong-il’s. Why? I’m not sure. Koreans are big fans of face reading, and maybe he or others thought that having a similar face to Kim Jong-il’s meant that he was similar in other ways, such as personality. Why he would want to have characteristics similar to those of a ruthless dictator, I can’t fathom.

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