Extra! Korea

December 9, 2009

Singer “Mr. Jeon” paid for sex with 16-year-old

Filed under: celebrities, music, prostitution — extrakorea @ 2:24 pm

Recently, Seoul police arrested pimps who prostituted 16-year-old runaways to clients. One of those clients was a famous singer, “Mr. Jeon,” who lives in the Jong-no district of Seoul.
When netizens began pointing out that Jeon Lee-soo (real name: Jeon Kwang-cheol), the lead singer of MC the Max, lives in Jong-no, the police changed the name of the suspect from “Mr. Jeon” to “Mr. J.”
So far, Mr. J has failed to obey a summons to the police station, and they may have to issue a warrant for his arrest.

Has H1N1 peaked? Are vaccinations safe?

Filed under: health — extrakorea @ 2:04 pm

According to this report, H1N1 may have peaked. Nevertheless, it’s estimated that 39% of the general population and 75% of infants and preschoolers are to be vaccinated against H1N1.
But are the vaccinations safe? A middle school boy fell unconscious from a cerebral hemorrhage after receiving a vaccination. Last month, an elementary school student died three days after receiving a similar vaccination. Of course, even if there is evidence of causality, it still doesn’t mean that there is cause for alarm, considering how many vaccinations there have been, and weighing these risks against those posed by the influenza itself.
In the Korea Herald, Dr. John Clemens, the International Vaccine Institute’s Director General, recommends that everyone get vaccinated.

“But to date, there are no worrisome indications that these vaccines cause more side effects than the ordinary flu vaccine, without a doubt, vaccines are the best way for individuals and for societies to brace against the pandemic,” he said.

Some have said that labeling this virus a pandemic conjures up visions of death and decay generally portrayed in Hollywood films but Clemens said that it is not the case.

“Pandemic is a useful term from a societal perspective,” he said.

[ snip ]

In this case, Clemens said that this pandemic does not appear to be particularly “severe but it could have been.”

Looks like someone contacted the Korea Times’ advertisers

Filed under: (lack of) journalistic integrity — extrakorea @ 1:44 pm

An editor at the Korea Times has written a piece called “Setting the Record Straight.” Here’s a taste:

The Korea Times has recently learned about some “misunderstandings” regarding our coverage of foreigners in general and native English teachers in particular.

The excuse, “It’s a misunderstanding,” is second in popularity only to the “I was drunk” defense. It’s so commonly used that even foreigners begin to parrot it.

Since some of the misunderstandings[1] stem from inconsistencies in data, we want to make our rule clear that extra effort is made to crosscheck figures and facts[2] with more than two sources in dealing with sensitive stories.[3] But there are inadvertent and occasional exceptions: when these important pieces of information come from reliable sources, and we believe they don’t have any hidden agenda or axes to grind.[4]

When a case is made by the parties involved that raises a reasonable doubt about these fact sheets, we go back to the sources and double-check their stories.[5] We have an additional built-in vetting system with our foreign staff playing the role of addressing foreigners’ sensitivities in our coverage.[6]

(Numbers are mine.)

[1] There’s the word “misunderstanding” again. It’s repeated once more near the end.

[2] Gust of Popular Feeling would have a field day dissecting these so-called “cross-checked facts and figures.”

[3] Who would these two “reliable sources” be? Let me guess: Kang Shin-who (sorry, Reporter of the Month Kang Shin-who) and the editor.

[4] Why would false, made-up quotes lead us to believe that there might be hidden agendas?

[5] And then they promptly print a sincere retraction/correction. Oh wait, they don’t. Ever.

[6] I wonder a few things: a. Who are these foreigners, assuming that they’re not fictional characters? b. How much input/influence do they really have? c. How much do they earn? Because I imagine that putting your dignity and integrity up for sale should come with commensurate compensation.

December 6, 2009

Kim Yu-na ekes out victory at Grand Prix, falls to 2nd in world rankings

Filed under: sports — extrakorea @ 1:19 am

At the Grand Prix competition, Kim Yu-na finished in second place after the short program (KBS World, Korea Times, Chosun Ilbo). She was, however, able to establish enough of a lead after the free skate to take the title (KBS World, Korea Times).

In second place was Japan’s Miki Ando. She’s the 2007 world champion, the only woman to ever successfully complete a quadruple jump in competition, and came in third at the last world championship, behind Canada’s Joannie Rochette and You-Know-Who. She’s been suffering from inconsistency (possibly from injuries?), but if she can get back onto her game, she could easily become Kim’s biggest rival for the gold medal at the Vancouver Winter Olympics.

Speaking of rivals, do you remember Mao Asada? She won this competition last year, but didn’t even qualify this year. She’ll have to fight just to go to the Olympics.

Despite her recent victories, she is ranked only second in the world rankings. Who is in first? Carolina Kostner. I’m not a huge expert on figure skating, but I figured that someone who’s won world championships and set world records would outrank someone who hasn’t.

By the way, do you remember how her former coach and former doctor described what she eats these days?

For breakfast the world champion has a proper meal of steamed rice and soup, whereas red fruits like strawberries, tomatoes, cherries and protein-rich vegetables such as beans, tofu and soy milk are main items for lunch and dinner.


Kim avoids meat during skating season, getting her protein from fish and vegetables, since although animal protein is effective in enhancing muscular strength, it may weaken muscular endurance.

At the Skate America competition, Kim talked about her diet.

Standing 164 cm tall and weighing 47-48 kg with a body fat ratio of just 10 percent, there is no special dietary regime she sticks to. Kim has Korean food prepared by her mother for breakfast, and salad or fruit, bread and soy milk for lunch at the ice rink where she practices.

For dinner, Kim usually eats fruit and cereal. “It’s in no way a miserable menu. There are people who pity me because they think I don’t eat well. But I do eat everything that I want, really,” she said. “But because I exercise a lot, when I go home after practice, I’m always hungry when it’s about time to go to bed.”

Ten percent body fat? Don’t women stop menstruating when their percentage body fat is that low?

December 3, 2009

(Updated) Child abusers face up to 50 years in jail; man receives 20 for raping an 8-year-old

Filed under: crime — extrakorea @ 5:11 am

The Korea Herald and Korea Times brings us the news that those who sexually abuse children face strict new punishments, including up to fifty years in prison.

The government and the ruling party are planning a bill that could put convicted sexual offenders targeting children behind bars for up to 50 years, force them to wear electronic monitors round-the-clock for 30 years after being released and, if necessary, undergo chemical castration.

Maybe this time they’re serious, because a man has been sentenced to twenty years in jail for raping an 8-year-old girl in a church bathroom.

Personally, I’ll take a wait-and-see attitude, given that, less than three weeks ago, a man was sentenced to a paltry, outrageous 8 months for raping a 7-year-old boy for 20 minutes.

December 2, 2009

Do you know the “Godfather of Soul”? It’s not James Brown

Filed under: music — extrakorea @ 2:28 pm

From the Korea Herald comes news of a big rap performance to be held in Lotte World next month. Among the stars described in the article is …

“Godfather of soul” Bobby Kim

Actually, even though I’m not a fan of rap, I do admire Tiger JK (formally of the group Drunken Tiger) for trying for commercial success while not selling out. His wife, Yoon Mi-rae (a.k.a. Tasha) is one of Korea’s best rappers. When four other female rappers heard that they would share a stage with her at the first Mnet Asian Music Awards (MAMA), they became very nervous.

I guess we can now add “Korea’s ‘Godfather of Soul'” to “Korea’s Madonna” (actually, there are three of them), “Korea’s Pussycat Dolls,” “Korea’s Ricky Martin,” and all of the other Korea’s This-and-Thats.

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