Extra! Korea

December 24, 2009

Na-young is beginning to smile again

Filed under: crime, rapid cultural change — extrakorea @ 11:10 pm

Here’s some good news, and just in time for Christmas. Na-young, the little girl who suffered so horribly, is starting to smile again.

The girl had the sparkle of mischief in her eyes.

She would hide behind a pillar and would stick her head out laughing whenever the door opened.

She asked for a pen and a sheet of paper and started drawing. A baby bird was giving a present to its mother in one, and a child in a red dress – just like hers – was flashing a big smile in another.

[ snip ]

Na-young was assaulted in December 2008, but it was two months later that she started receiving psychiatric treatment by Dr. Shin Eui-jin at Yonsei University’s Severance Hospital in Seoul. Shin acknowledged that at first it was difficult to open Na-young’s mind. The first and foremost goal of the therapy was to remind the girl that the assault wasn’t her fault at all and to help her restore her self-esteem.

It took two months for her to receive psychiatric help? Why?

Soon, Na-young herself began to change. She said she wanted to go to school again. Though her parents wanted to transfer her to another school, the young girl said she’d be fine back at the old place. She started bringing her friends home. Since September, Na-young has been attending a hagwon (private academic institute) for arithmetic. Her father was hesitant at first because the hagwon was next to the scene of the crime, but his daughter was insistent.

Na-young recently sent Shin a Christmas card, thanking the doctor for helping with her recovery. The young girl is aspiring to become a medical doctor one day, too.

“I would say Na-young has improved to about 70 percent,” Shin said. “I hope this child never loses her dream.”

I’m glad to hear this. She sounds tough and resilient. I’m saddened, though, to think that she’ll be twenty years old when that animal, Cho Du-sun, gets out of prison.

Tap that ass, Park Jin-young!

Filed under: eye candy, music — extrakorea @ 10:48 pm

The-Artist-Formerly-Known-as-Korea-Beat points us towards this gallery of photos. This one was my “favorite.”

I can’t for the life of me understand why his wife divorced him.

You’d better get a Korean girlfriend before 2014

Filed under: gender equality — extrakorea @ 8:00 am

According to this article in the Chosun Ilbo, the combined effects of the selective abortion of female fetuses, and of the growing number of women who delay marriage or choose to remain single, is going to reach a tipping point around the year 2014.

One in every five men is likely to have trouble finding a spouse by 2014, a study suggests, when the ratio of men to women at the ideal marriage age will reach a record high.

[ snip ]

The number of men in the age group stands at 1.98 million this year, some 70,000 more than women (1.91 million), but that gap will widen to 134,200 next year and reach a record 381,300 in 2014, the institute forecast.

It attributed the imbalance to the country’s traditional preference for boys. It was the most conspicuous among the third and fourth child in a family. The overall gender ratio stood at 106.4 boys to 100 girls last year, within the normal range of between 103 and 107. The ratio for the first and second child also fell in the normal range with 104.9 and 105.6 boys to 100 girls.

But for the third and fourth child, the institute said it was an “open secret” that couples have pre-natal sex screening and sex-selective abortions. “In addition, a continued growth in the number of single women over the proper age for marriage is making the situation worse,” it added.

So, in short, by 2014, there will be 381,300 men who can’t find women.

December 23, 2009

This weekend’s competition is Mao Asada’s last chance to go to the Olympics

Filed under: sports — extrakorea @ 11:51 pm

What a difference a year makes. At last year’s Grand Prix, Mao Asada defeated Kim Yu-na and was touted as Kim’s greatest potential rival for the gold medal at the upcoming Winter Olympics.

Now, after an abysmal few months, the 2008 World Champion will have to fight just to get onto the Olympic team. The Japanese national championships begin tomorrow (Friday), and Mao will have to win one of the two spots available. (There are three spots, but one has already been guaranteed to 2007 World Champion Miki Ando due to her second-place performance at this year’s Grand Prix.)

Japan’s figure skating icon Mao Asada will have her final chance to earn a ticket to the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver with the start on Friday of the Japanese national championships.

[ snip ]

Meanwhile, Kim [Yu-na] had some words of encouragement for her rival in a recent interview. “I know Asada is going through tough time, but I’m sure that she’ll come to the Olympics,” she said.

Edit/Update:

She won and will go to Vancouver.

The women of Naked News Korea have formed a girl band. I’m neither kidding nor on crack

Filed under: gender equality, hard to categorize, music, rapid cultural change — extrakorea @ 11:11 am

Have you ever wondered what happened to the women of Naked News Korea after it went bust? Well, wonder no more. They have formed a girl band.

No.

Really.

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.

.

.

.

.

Okay, have you stopped laughing?

The name of the group is called … wait for it … the Naked Girls. According to a representative:

“We have gathered Minkyung, Jaekyung, Hyeji and Taehee to form this girl group, and will officially debut under the name Naked Girls in January next year. Their performances will be composed of inappropriate songs and choreography, definitely not suitable for youth. The girls’ activities will be focused more on musicals rather than national television.”

Oh, and you can add a new item to your ever-lengthening list of Konglish: sexycal — a sexy musical. If they’re like so-called “sexy dances,” they’re probably not very sexy at all.

December 22, 2009

Five singers have received fan letters written in blood

Filed under: celebrities, music, What the hell?! — extrakorea @ 11:54 pm

(Warning: Disturbing descriptions follow)

It began with Taecyeon, of the boy band 2PM, receiving a fan letter written with menstrual blood and sprinkled with pubic hair. Then a fan of Lee Jun, of MBLAQ, upped the ante by writing a letter also written in blood, but not from her period but from her slit wrist. Then Lee Hong-ki, of FT Island, received another letter written in blood, but at least this girl just pricked her finger. Finally, G-Dragon and Tae-yang, of Big Bang, have received the most disturbing letters of all. Their two fans obtained their unholy ink by cutting their necks. Interestingly (sorry, couldn’t think of another word), their letters were written not in Korean but in English. I guess the madness is spreading.

Actor Lee Byung-hun, illegal gambling, and gangsters … Oh my!

Filed under: actors/actresses — extrakorea @ 2:02 pm

The story revolving around actor Lee Byung-hun (of the Korean movie The Good, the Bad, and the Weird, and the Hollywood movie G.I. Joe ) keeps becoming an ever-deeper rabbit hole. How far does it go?

It began with Kwon Mi-yeon, a 22-year-old Korean-Canadian rhythmic gymnast* whom Lee met in Canada. She came over to Korea to live with Lee, believing that he was serious about her, and would marry her. He later dumped her, providing her with a humble apartment (so humble that she moved out and is now living with a friend). Due to the mental and emotional distress that she claims he inflicted upon her, she is now trying to sue him. Kwon released pictures of herself and Lee to prove that they really were a couple, and appeared on a Japanese TV program (which, to me, looks very tabloid).

But most damaging to him were allegations by Kwon that he participated in illegal gambling. The Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office have questioned Kwon over this, and plans to summon Lee in the near future.

But it gets even better. Lee stars in a popular TV spy drama called Iris. On December 14, gang members came to the set and became physically belligerent towards staff members. Initially, the blame was cast towards Kang Byung-kyu, a baseball pitcher-turned TV entertainer, because of his history of gambling problems and allegations that he is related to Kwon. Kang denies all charges, and says that he will file a lawsuit against TaeWon Entertainment.

“The story about me calling in those gangs is not true at all. I have actually been beaten directly by Jung Tae Won, the president of the company [TaeWon Entertainment]. The rumor that claims that I am related to Lee Byung Hun’s ex-girlfriend, Kwon Mi Yeon is also not true, and I have been receiving many death threats through phone calls with Jung.”

Kang Byung Kyu had also revealed that he had attempted to compromise with Jung on the 14th, but received violent beatings for 20 minutes, resulting in 3 weeks of hospitalization. He persuaded the reporters that he was helplessly being framed for false accusations.

A representative of the police department stated, “No evidence has been found proving his relation to the gang riot yet. Since both sides are claiming to be the victim of this case, we will carefully investigate this much deeper.”

* Do you know how flexible they are? (Flexibility starts around 1:30.)

December 18, 2009

Immigration criticized by Human Rights Commission over negligence

Filed under: douche of the week — extrakorea @ 1:14 pm

It’s been quite a while since I last gave a “Douche of the Week” award, but after a long drought, we have a worthy winner: the Suwon Immigration office.

They have been criticized by the National Human Rights Commission for their negligence.

[A] worker in Paju, Gyeonggi Province, applied to change his visa type in September at the immigration office in Suwon and contacted them many times to confirm the approval.

Since no information on the visa extension was available for months, the 40-year-old, identified only by “K,” visited the office in April and found out that he had already overstayed his visa by three months and his status was now illegal, making any reentry impossible as a result.

He filed a complaint with the commission, arguing the office’s delay was to blame and urged the office to return him to his previous status.

The commission found that the office decided to reject the worker’s request on Jan. 9 and sent a letter, including the result, to his previous address.

With no recipient there, the letter was returned to the office, but it did not send the letter to his new address, the commission said.

The immigration office said “There is no evidence that the foreigner actually visited the office. Also, he provided insufficient evidence for us to believe that he was actually living in the new address.”

[ snip ]

The commission called the office’s allegations “groundless,” saying, “We have a witness who can confirm his visit to the office. Also, it doesn’t make sense that the office didn’t know where he lived.”

Yes, that certainly sounds like the Immigration that we all know and “love”.

Jessica Gomes thinks Rain is sexy

Filed under: celebrities, eye candy, hard to categorize — extrakorea @ 12:47 pm

Jessica Gomes (pics via Grand Narrative) thinks that Rain is sexy.

“Rain’s body looks very healthy and overflows with sexiness. From what I heard, Rain is a work-out mania. I believe his well-sculpted figure is a charming feature of his.”

She might have to fight for him against Megan Fox, who wants Rain to find her and to sing to her.

December 13, 2009

Genetics Study: All East Asians probably migrated from Southeast Asia upwards

Filed under: languages, science — extrakorea @ 11:26 pm

The Korea Herald has an article about a recent study, published in Science magazine on Dec 10, that indicates that all Asians migrated from Southeast Asia upwards. It contradicts theories that there had been multiple migration flows from both northern and southern routes.

The analyses proposed a model in which ancestors of today’s Asian populations arrived first in India before migrating to Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines. From there, it suggested groups traveled north, mixing with the populations already living in these regions.

This accordingly suggested the ancestors of Koreans, Chinese and Japanese to be the latest to settle in East Asia. The study also revealed no meaningful genetic differences between the three ethnic groups, which together make up 1.5 billion people.

The study’s conclusions are supported by linguistic studies.

Scientists also disclosed the corresponding relationship between genetic ancestry and language groups.

“Our results show that genetic ancestry is strongly correlated with linguistic affiliations as well as geography. Most populations show relatedness within ethnic/linguistic groups, despite prevalent gene flow among populations,” they wrote.

The study found that, as expected, individuals who were from the same region, or who shared a common language also had a great deal in common genetically.
(from the BBC)

This study has been described as “[T]he first comprehensive study of genetic diversity and history of Asian populations”.

Dr. [Edison] Liu [executive director of the Genome Institute of Singapore and president of the Human Genome Organization (HUGO)] said that it was “good news” that populations throughout Asia are genetically similar.

This knowledge will aid future genetic studies in the continent and help in the design of medicines to treat diseases that Asian populations might be at a higher risk of.

And the discovery of this common genetic heritage, he added, was a “reassuring social message”, that “robbed racism of much biological support”.

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