Extra! Korea

September 15, 2010

Kang Shin-who is at it again

Filed under: (lack of) journalistic integrity, idiots, media irresponsibility — extrakorea @ 5:41 am

You know him. You love him. (Well, maybe not.) He’s the two-time Journalist of the Month, Kang Shin-who, and you’ll never guess whom he’s trained his cross-hairs on this time. Go on, guess. Foreign teachers! I bet you never saw that coming, since he’s never done that before.

The government has made efforts to set up more foreign schools as a means to create an environment friendly to foreign investors. However, these schools?accounting [sic] and other operations have not been supervised by the authorities.

Actually, the article does bring up some points that are valid discussion topics. For example:

“Teaching without a license could be problematic, but we cannot intervene in the matter as it should be handled by the education ministry,” said an immigration official.

“We, as a law enforcement agency, are just checking drug and criminal records of teachers.”

At the same time, experts say the turnover rate for teachers is very high compared to those of Singapore and other nations. In the case of Singapore, many teachers at international schools stay for more than 10 years on average, but it comes down to two to five years for teachers at foreign schools here.

However, there are just a few problems with the article.

– It’s written by Kang Shin-who, so we don’t know if the information is accurate.  He has been outright wrong with his facts before.

– It’s written by Kang Shin-who, so we don’t know if the quotes are accurate.  If the quotes are not to his liking, he’ll just make them up.

– It’s written by Kang Shin-who, a member of the hate group Anti-English Spectrum.  He claims that he became a registered member only for the purpose of gathering information. I’m sure that we can trust that 100%.

– It’s written by Kang Shin-who, who, in the past, has both used his own, personal definitions of “unqualified” as well as shifted from the term “unqualified” to “ineligible” to “inadequate” so as to make sure that the umbrella term is large enough to put whomever you want under it.

– It’s written by Kang Shin-who, who in the past has conflated two different, unrelated topics (e.g. “unqualified” teachers and sex crimes against minors; “unqualified” teachers and consensual sex between Koreans and foreigners).

– It’s written by Kang Shin-who, and so some people will, after seeing the author’s name, not want to read it.

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September 12, 2010

Did the big mouth on “Korea’s Paris Hilton” get her family tax audited?

Filed under: celebrities, idiots — extrakorea @ 1:51 pm

To the long list of “Korea’s _______ ” (e.g. Rain is “Korea’s Usher,” but he’s also “Korea’s Justin Timberlake”), we can now add “Korea’s Paris Hilton,” Kim Kyeong-ah. If you don’t know who she is, read about her here and here.

Like any celebrity in Korea, she attracted the criticism of netizens. Unlike other Korean celebrities, some of whom will commit suicide after receiving cheap shots from these keyboard warriors, she defiantly struck back.

“Keep yapping away. I’m going to go play at Roppongi Hills tomorrow. No matter how inferior you feel, I won’t blink an eye.”

That may have been a mistake. Netizens will fight tooth-and-nail to have the last word, even though they will only do such “fighting” behind a keyboard, safely behind a veil of anonymity. They contacted the National Tax Service regarding the luxurious gifts that she says she receives from her parents.

Up to 30 million WON is nontaxable if given to an adult son or daughter, and up to 15 million WON for minors.

The director of the National Tax Service had this to say:

“Once we confirm Kim’s personal information and the truth of her claims on broadcast, we will be taking strict action against her.”

A congressman, Lee Yong-seop, weighed in:

“As Kim Kyeonga-ssi earns more fame, a lot of citizens have been feeling deprived. The truth must be investigated and proper action must be taken.”

Furthermore, it looks like the tax audit would target not only her, but her parents as well.

Now Kim is claiming that she was playing a role, and that the show was scripted:

“I read the script the broadcasters prepared for me. The majority of the broadcast is different from reality.”

Apparently, some concrete discrepancies between the televised image, and the real Kim, have already surfaced:

According to the authorities who set out to confirm Kim’s situation after the whole “Korean Paris Hilton” controversy, Kim’s parents are not wealthy enough to be able to provide Kim with billions of KRW (approx. millions of USD) as pocket money. Also, Kim, who was introduced as an unmarried woman on-air, has been revealed to be married to a husband working a white-collar job, meaning that her husband is not extremely wealthy either.

Kim, according to sources familiar with the matter, does live in Non Hyeon Dong (an expensive neighborhood), but the townhouse, registered in the name of her husband, is far from luxurious. Furthermore, the luxurious car worth 300 million KRW (approx. $300,000) does not appear to be real either.

[ snip ]

Even if it turns out that the producers of “Tent in the City” were deceived by Kim, and not the other way around, the producers will still be criticized for not checking the authenticity of the content in advance.

Kim is currently in Japan (remember Roppongi Hills?), and says that she will return to Korea, whereupon she will reveal the truth.

New (inconsistent) regulations planned for K-pop girl groups

Filed under: censorship, eye candy, gender equality, legal issues, music, youth — extrakorea @ 4:20 am

It looks like TV station SBS is planning some new regulations for K-pop girl groups. Read the following quote and see if you find anything that doesn’t quite make perfect sense:

SBS’s “Inkigayo” set three bans on outfits: shirts that reveal too much cleavage, shirts that expose the belly button, and wearing white shorts under miniskirts. Starting from the 4th, the producers of “Inkigayo” asked singers to make the appropriate changes, keeping the three bans in mind.

So, cleavage is bad, but showing lots of leg by wearing hot pants is OK. As they stated, miniskirts are acceptable, but white shorts underneath them are not. Girls showing their belly button is inappropriate, but guys can rip off their shirts and go topless. And thrusting your buttocks towards the camera/audience, and doing some bump-and-grind, gets a green light.

Evidently, the straw that broke the camel’s back was the “ab dance” or “belly dance” by Rainbow. You can take a look at the video below and judge for yourself if it’s so bad. (By that, I mean, compared to what some other groups have done.)

Rainbow’s company has promised to take the gesture out of the choreography. In the meantime, their bellybuttons are being censored out by flashing the letter A (the name of the song) over them. No, I’m not making this up.

Furthermore …

Although Rainbow was forced to change their choreography on the “Inkigayo” episode broadcast on the 4th, Chaeyeon, Narsha, and An Jinkyung were allowed to wear short hot pants without any changes and their performances were broadcast with no edits.

While I appreciate that somebody feels that ever-increasing sexuality in girl group performances needs to be slowed down, the inconsistencies are problematic.

I would have also liked to have seen some dialogue about this, instead of the usual ham-fisted methods that are typically employed. There are, unfortunately, some obstacles to this. One is the lack of teaching of critical thinking skills, in favor of rote-memorization of exam material. Without these skills, it’s difficult to debate. Another is the tendency to go into denial until a situation has deteriorated significantly (and then to over-react). Also, there is the real need to teach conflict resolution here. People in this country have a real inability to resolve things peacefully (witness the regular brawls in the parliament). Lastly, South Korea isn’t really that far removed from its dictatorships of the past, which may explain the tendency to resort to dictator-like solutions a little too quickly.

September 11, 2010

Rep. Ahn: Girl groups’ agencies breaking the law

Filed under: gender equality, legal issues, music, rapid cultural change, youth — extrakorea @ 6:44 am

According to Rep. Ahn Hyung-hwan of the Grand National Party, the agencies of girl groups f(x), Kara, and GP Basic are breaking Korean labor laws. Sulli (of f(x)), Kang Ji-young (of Kara), and Henna and Janie (of GP Basic) should have obtained permits from the Ministry of Labour due to the fact that they are minors, but they did not, and thus may be summoned to court.

The current labor standard act states that no one under the age of 15 can be considered part of the workforce unless given presidential approval.

In response to Ahn’s charges, SM Entertainment released an official statement saying the company would make their next move only after looking into the matter with its legal team.

Management camps for both Kara and GP Basic said they too would quickly look into the matter with the help of legal representation.

I’m a little confused, because both Sulli and Ji-young are 16 years old (international age).

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