Extra! Korea

February 15, 2010

Fashion photos show off 15-year-old Sulli’s legs

Filed under: gender equality, music — extrakorea @ 9:44 am

You might recall that recently, 15-year-old Sulli, of the girl group f(x), did pelvic thrusts to the lyrics “Crash into me real hard.”
Now Sulli has done a fashion shoot for Oh Boy magazine, and some of the photos show off her legs. Of course, this is not the first time that such has happened. When the Wonder Girls debuted, the three 15-year-old members were the ones wearing shorts or miniskirts in promotional pictures. And Girls’ Generation member Seo-hyun just graduated from high school earlier this month. I am a little disheartened that this kind of thing seems to be becoming the norm. Why doesn’t anybody take the likes of Park Jin-young or Lee Soo-man, of JYP and SM Entertainment, respectively, to task? Denial isn’t just a river in Egypt.

China plans huge investment in North Korea

Filed under: economics, North Korea — extrakorea @ 9:03 am

According to a news report, China is planning to invest $10 billion in North Korea to build railroads, harbors and houses. Over 60 percent of the investment will come from Chinese banks, and the deal is supposed to be signed next month.

February 14, 2010

Pop star’s English FAIL: “I want to kiss you and take a dump on your chest.”

Filed under: celebrities, humor, languages, technology — extrakorea @ 11:44 am

First, some background information: Jo Kwon, of the boy band 2AM, and Ga-in, of the girl group the Brown Eyed Girls, are playing the role of a couple on the reality show “We Got Married.” Such couples are given various challenges that they have to overcome. Today’s challenge was the fearful and difficult task of … meeting a foreigner.
When they first see the foreigner, an Afghanistani student, through their electronic peephole, they’re thrown into a panic. They slowly begin to get more comfortable, mostly because Kwon uses his iPhone to look up conversation questions. When Kwon goes out to buy some snacks for their guest, Ga-in tries her hand at iConversation, resulting in her telling him, “I want to kiss you and take a dump on your chest.” That’s some epic FAIL right there. You have to wonder who wrote or proofread those dictionary entries? The fun starts around 4:00 of Part 1 and continues into Part 2.

February 13, 2010

(Updated) All about Rihanna in Korea

Filed under: music — extrakorea @ 6:59 am

R’n’B star Rihanna arrived in Korea on February 11 to promote her new album. She arrived late for a press conference sporting a funny hairdo. This in turn caused her to be late for an autograph session to which she wore the same leopard hoodie as Lee Hyori did a while ago. Along the way, she met girl group 4Minute, tried Korean food,* and expressed her gratitude that Kim Yu-na uses her music.
There’s no word yet on whether or not she’s seen Girls’ Generations’ “Oh!” yet.


She was asked if she knew about the controversy surrounding the song.

“No, I didn’t know that,” she said.

But before further inquiries could be made, the interpreter seated next to her quickly moved onto the next question without properly translating it to local media.

From there on, common questions off the standard operating procedure made during promotional press conferences were brought on – keeping things tame and PG-rated.

Huh. That reminds me of this incident when the Korean group 4Minute went to the Philippines for promotional activities there.

Hyun-ah was an original member of the Wonder Girls but had to quit the group just six months after they debuted in 2007 due to her deteriorating health.

On January 22, JYP Entertainment announced that Sun-mi, another member of the Wonder Girls, was quitting the group to resume her studies in South Korea.

With Hyun-ah and Sun-mi experiencing similar misfortunes with the Wonder Girls, The Korea Times asked Hyun-ah if she would consider going back to the Wonder Girls if Park Jin-Young, owner of JYP Entertainment, asked her to.

However, even before the interpreter could translate the question, a staff member for the organizer stopped her from answering the question.

The press also failed to get Hyun-ah’s reaction on Sun-mi’s decision to quit, when the organizer again prohibited her from responding.

Huh. So what kinds of questions were they permitted to ask?

The questions 4Minute members did answer were mainly about their diet and lifestyle.

Answering a question from The Korea Times on their health, 4Minute admitted that they are on a special diet to maintain their sexy image as K-pop idols.

But they said they were having a hard time controlling their diet in Manila since they love the food.

Really? If so, then then somebody should tell them about the “Little Manila” market that takes place on Sundays. Oh, wait …

* She likes bulgogi, but her favorite is bean paste stew (된장찌개).

February 11, 2010

Ambassador hopes to avert the closure of “Little Manila”

Filed under: expatriates, multicultural society, xenophobia — extrakorea @ 3:35 pm

The Philippine Ambassador to Korea, Luis Cruz, hopes to avert the closure of “Little Manila”

“Our point is both ends should meet. … There can be discussions with vendors for alternative solutions and to address the issues the Jongno residents raised. Such issues like traffic and the garbage can be addressed. The vendors can make efforts to clean the area and create some order,” he told The Korea Times in a phone interview.

For instance, Cruz suggested that vendors be provided with store carts that can make the market look cleaner and more organized. Currently, vendors at “Little Manila” usually place their products in boxes or on the sidewalks, causing congestion for pedestrians.

Cruz said embassy officials will also meet with Jongno District officials to clarify the matter and discuss alternatives solutions to the problems raised by the residents.

He also said the Filipino community leaders should talk to the vendors to work out a system to make the market more orderly. There are currently 16 vendors, selling Philippine delicacies, canned goods, noodles and magazines, clustered in the area leading to the Hyehwa Catholic Church.

The Filipinos are certainly willing to meet half-way, but what about the Koreans who complained? Since they’re so worked up about a market that only exist for six hours, one day a week, something tells me that that they’re not very open-minded or tolerant. Then what?

Cruz emphasized that the market cannot be separated from the church, since it is a way of life for many Filipinos. “It’s a place where Filipinos gather to meet other Filipinos. It’s like social networking. It’s also about Philippine culture. If people go to the Philippines, they’ll see that outside the churches, there are markets and a lively fiesta atmosphere,” Cruz added.

Maybe it’s that “lively, fiesta atmosphere” that’s really the problem. Don’t those Filipinos know that in Korea, you’re supposed to be sullen and constantly worried about the future? Those Filipinos and their joie de vivre are interfering with Korea’s high suicide rate. In Korea, you’re supposed to deprive your children of sleep by sending them to umpteen hogwons* in an effort to keep up with the Kims. It’s Korean culture to jump off a roof and turn yourself into strawberry jam on the sidewalk if you get an A minus on a high school test. Those festive Filipinos must be taught Korean culture, and be forced to be as miserable as everyone else. Maybe closing down their market will make them nice and dour.

* private education institutes

February 10, 2010

SAT answers were also leaked in 2007

Filed under: crime, education — extrakorea @ 2:11 pm

It looks like the current scandal involving the leaking of SAT answers is not the first of its kind.

In 2007, the U.S.-based Educational Testing Service canceled the scores of about 900 Korean students, saying that some of the questions for the January test were leaked to some of the students in advance.

So maybe that’s what Tablo’s brother was talking about.

“Little Manila”? Not in our backyard, say mean people concerned citizens

Filed under: expatriates, multicultural society, xenophobia — extrakorea @ 2:00 pm

Every Sunday in Hyehwa-dong, many Filipinos gather after church services to chat, eat, and buy things from their home country in an informal market. The Jongno District Office has told them to cease and desist because of intolerance from mean people complaints from passers-by and residents.

There are about 46,000 Filipinos in Korea, forming the fifth largest ethnic group, following Chinese, Americans, Vietnamese and Japanese.

[ snip ]

“The reasons they gave up us was one, they received complaints from neighbors and pedestrians in the area; two, there were concerns about cleanliness and order; three, they want to redevelop the sidewalk and include a waterfall wall in the area; and four, they want to transfer the market to a new multicultural market,” the priest told The Korea Times over the phone.

“It’s a Philippine way of life. We go to church, then go to the market to buy provisions and meet friends. It’s an expression of Philippine culture. The national government has a policy about supporting multiculturalism in Korea, but there seems to be a contradiction with the district office’s plans. The church and the market should go together and not be separated,” he said.

Outside the church, there are usually 16 vendors selling Philippine products and cooked food. Many Filipinos living not just in Seoul, but also from the provinces, flock to the market to buy products from their home country

Parantar noted the problems raised by the district office can be addressed by the vendors at the market.

“The problems that they raised can be resolved by talking to the vendors. They are willing to cooperate. If they are concerned about the cleanliness and orderliness in the area, they can address the problems. If they want to redevelop the area again, they can integrate the Philippine market according to their plans,” Parantar said.

So they want to trample all over a migrant minority group so they can build a fountain. And if they’re concerned about “cleanliness” how about telling Koreans not to throw trash onto the street?

The district office said they have received civil petitions from the neighborhood and they have to take some measures against the Philippine market.

“There were many complaints from the pedestrians and residents. There also is a possibility of accidents as Filipinos flock out of the church after mass into car lanes,” said Lee Jong-ju of the district’s construction management division.

“A possibility of accidents”? Ever seen Koreans jaywalking right into oncoming traffic? How about delivery guys driving motorscooters right on the sidewalk? If you haven’t, you must be living in a parallel universe South Korea.

The district suggested moving to the grounds of Dongsung High School, but the school refused to participate. Another idea was shifting it to an area in front of the Catholic University of Korea campus, however, it has failed to respond to the suggestion.

Filipinos? Not in our back yard. We don’t like Filipinos It’s not convenient for us.

He added that the district will try not to use physical force. “The best way would be to transfer them to a designated area, but otherwise we are going to crack down on the market from March,” he said.

They’ll force them into a “designated area”? Somebody thinks that Filipinos in Korea should be neither seen nor heard.

Grog McKnockin

Filed under: humor — extrakorea @ 1:25 pm

I noticed this in the comments section of a post about something that I’ve blogged about, the ongoing scandal regarding the leaking of the SAT test.

It sounds crazy… until you put it into perspective by remembering that, in some countries, Jose is blowing away Juan for selling him a dime bag of bunk and LeRoy is blowing away Jamal for wearing the wrong colors and Grog McKnockin is beating Winston Thortan-Hill to death with his pint mug for having the wrong football jersey on.

Grog McKnockin. If I were to get a sock-puppet, which I wouldn’t because I believe that’s deceitful, I would take the name Grog McKnockin. Either that or Hornswoggle.

February 9, 2010

Constantly changing tourist slogans may be “confusing” and “costly”, Noeshi T. Sherlock Institute concludes

Filed under: expatriates — extrakorea @ 3:09 am

According to this article, it’s been discovered that constantly changing tourism slogans can be confusing (to the target, potential tourists) and costly (for the government). This come from exhaustive research by the Noeshi T. Sherlock Institute.

Some say that the new slogan is a far cry from the successful slogans that have represented tourism rivals in Asia, such as “Incredible India,””Uniquely Singapore” and “Malaysia, Truly Asia.”

These campaigns have been lauded for capturing and defining the essence of the respective countries’ exceptional qualities that make them distinctive tourism destinations.

The need to discontinue the “Korea Sparkling” promotion had been raised for some time.

It would have been better if they had consulted some native speakers beforehand, and I don’t mean the guy who got paid big bucks to think it up. Then they could have avoided the whole mess. Oh well, bygones.

The Presidential Council on National Branding, launched in January 2009, raised the need for a more appropriate tourism slogan.

Arrrgh, more of this “nation branding” crap. I really need to do a write-up on why I think this is snake-oil salesmanship.

Anyway, here’s Michael Breen, someone you should always listen to (even if you don’t always agree with him).

“If a slogan is not working, then officials are right to get rid of it. I wouldn’t say it’s a waste of budget,” said Michael Breen, chairman of Insight Communications Consultants and exclusive partner of FD International. “‘Korea Be Inspired’ suits Korea. Korea is a place to be surprised and energized. People invariably leave with a different impression than the ones they came with.”

I don’t agree completely. “Inspired” hints at creativity. Korea has a lot of good points, but to be brutally honest, creativity isn’t one of them.

The country is targeting 8.5 million foreign visitors this year through the 2010-2012 Visit Korea Campaign, but the latest surveys indicate that Koreans are not fit to accommodate them in a friendly manner.

In a survey by the World Economic Forum in 2008, Korea was rated 111th in an index of friendliness among 130 countries. Korea’s overall tourism competitiveness was rated 31st.

Ah-ha, now there’s something concrete that we can work on.

February 8, 2010

Fifteen-year-old Sulli dances to “Crash into me real hard”

Filed under: music — extrakorea @ 3:40 am

Recently 15-year-old Sulli, of the girl group f(x), had a special “stage” (“stage” is Konglish for performance) on the show Inkigayo (“Popular Song”). Whoever chose her music (Gwen Stefani’s “Crash.”) should have listened to it more carefully, as we end up with an underage girl dancing to the lyrics, “Crash into me real hard.”

Drive back baby to me, fast in your car
I’m here waiting, crash into me real hard

Most Koreans aren’t fluent in English, so it could be argued that it doesn’t really matter, but I think it does. The sexual undertones are pretty obvious even to those who don’t have advanced English.

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