Extra! Korea

October 30, 2010

“We met on the bus on Saturday. I love you. Contact me.”

Filed under: hard to categorize — extrakorea @ 5:05 am

A young woman took the bus. The man next to her opened the window for her when she asked, and let her rest her head on his shoulder. Later, she wanted to meet him again, so she hand-wrote a note and posted it at the bus stop.

In the note, she wrote, “I am looking for ’busnam. (nam mans [sic; means] man) He sat in the second window seat from the back on the No. 2000 bus on Oct. 16, 2010, Saturday at Seoul Station, wearing a blue hooded shirt. He opened the window for me and even lent me his shoulder. I cannot sleep because of you!”

She also left her email address and asked the person to email her.

The note was photographed and has now been seen widely through distribution on Twitter.

Something somewhat similar happened two years ago.

A man wrote about a woman he met and fell in love with while bike riding and a woman also posted on an online community about her search for the man who helped her inflate her tire.

People who saw the two postings helped the two connect and they announced their marriage last week.

A lot of Koreans I know have married people they do not love. They were getting on in age, feeling the pressure to marry, and said, “I do” to a guy who wasn’t Mr. Right but Mr. Good Enough. So, I hope things turn out well for this couple, as it did for the one from two years ago.

Hello. I love you. Won’t you tell me your name?

October 29, 2010

Hilarious Mistake

Filed under: hilarious mistake, humor — extrakorea @ 12:28 pm

First of all, I want to say that I was not laughing at my students. Making mistakes is a normal part of learning, especially a language. Even children who will later become native speakers make mistakes (albeit logical ones, e.g. “Mommy, yesterday I goed to Disneyland.”). Also, learning English is very difficult for Korean speakers, as Korean is for English speakers.

My students were talking about Superstar K, which is similar to the American TV program American Idol. They were comparing and contrasting the winner, Huh Gak, with the runner-up, John Park.

Huh Gak can sing many kind of music, because his voice has wide range. On the other hand, John Park is suitable for Negro music like jazz and R&B because he is good at sing to the rhythm.

After laughing out loud (I couldn’t help it!), I apologized and told them that they shouldn’t say “Negro.”

Them: Why not?

Me: “Negro” is an old-fashioned word. Also, some people don’t like it.

Them: What should we say? “Black people’s music”?

Me: Umm … How about “music invented by African-Americans”?

Them: OK.

Putin’s daughter and Korean fiancee: How old are they & when did they meet?

Filed under: hard to categorize — extrakorea @ 11:25 am

The youngest daughter of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, Yekaterina Putina, is engaged to marry a Korean guy. He works for Samsung Electronics and is the son of a former admiral. She plans to emigrate to South Korea and find a job there. Good luck to the young couple.
The news is being carried by the Korea Herald, Korea Times, and the Joongang Daily, and I noticed some discrepancies.
* How old are the young man and woman? Joongang and the Herald say that they are 25 and 23, respectively, while the Times say that they are 26 and 24. Wikipedia (I know …) says that she was born in 1986, and gives as its reference a 2002 St. Petersburg Times article that described her as being 16 years old.
* When did they meet? Joongang and the Herald say in 1997, but the Times says 1999.
It looks like they were both pre-teens when they met, and that puppy love came into full blossom.
In any case, this is good for South Korea. Why? If North Korea ever again threatens to turn Seoul into “a sea of fire,” whoever is in charge at that time can expect to lose one of his nuts. From Russia with love.

October 28, 2010

Teacher fired for sexually harassing his students taught, of all things, ethics

Filed under: crime, education, youth — extrakorea @ 9:43 am

The Korea Times brings us the story of a high school teacher who was fired for sexually harassing his own students.

According to the school, a 29-year-old teacher of ethics with the family name Song at a girls’ high school in Jongno, central Seoul, called in a 16-year-old student to the teachers’ room around the end of August and forced her to touch his body.

Furthermore, he has also sent obscene text messages to another student, saying, “Let’s go to a motel” and “Come to my home as my wife is out.” The teacher is also alleged to have sent pictures of his lower body to the student’s e-mail recently.
A group of students who found out about this ugly behavior strongly protested, but Song denied any unethical behavior, according to the school.

Last Friday, the school organized an in-house fact-finding team to investigate the case, while relieving him of his post as homeroom teacher.

“The investigation team confirmed Song had sent such text messages and pictures to the student.”

[ snip ]

The female student unfortunately dropped out of school.

The guy taught, of all things, ethics. You cannot make this stuff up. And it’s a damn shame that the student dropped out of school because of this scumbag. Now I’m wondering two things:

1. Will this man be charged with a crime, because it sure looks like he should be.

2. If he is not (!), will he be prevented from ever teaching again, or will he be simply shuffled off to another school?

More on the Christians who held ceremonies in Buddhist temples

Filed under: Buddhism, idiots, multicultural society, religion — extrakorea @ 8:59 am

This has been mentioned before, but the Korea Times now has a more complete translation and story.

Some young Christians uploaded a video of themselves going to a Buddhist temple and being disrespectful of the premises and of the beliefs that they were built for.

The video [entitled “Conquering Bongeun Temple”] shows several students of a “Praise Academy” pledging their “mission” to get into the temple in southern Seoul, sing Christian hymns inside the sanctuary and speak out about their doctrine. The participants, whose faces were unidentifiable, said prayers out loud and criticized the temple facilities.

The clip showed one saying, “I was devastated to see the scenery of idolatry and idols. They are all useless and harmful.” Another said, “I proclaim that the place belongs to God. I believe that I was sent to reclaim God’s territory.”

[ snip ]

Rev. Choi Ji-ho, who leads AS37, the group that runs the academy, visited the leaders of the temple and the order with those who appeared in the video clip on Wednesday and apologized for their actions.

“They were given the task to sing on large roads, near Gangnam Metro Station. I don’t know why they chose the temple, but it was a terrible and offensive thing to do,” he said. “I didn’t know what they did and moreover, that they would make it so public by releasing video clips. It was ignorant and disrespectful.”

Ven. Myeongjin [who heads Bongeun Temple] said he would accept the apology for the peace and harmony among religions.

Observers said the incident is just one example of outrageous actions performed by some Protestants these days under the name of their “mission.”

Apparently, another group in Daegu has done something similar.

The clip also contains scenes of Protestants giving praise inside the temple. The group also claimed in their video that they are doing whatever they can to resist the government’s support for the Buddhist templestays program and the establishment of a Buddhist theme park.

I think that all Koreans, whether Buddhist or not, should realize that a lot of their heritage is expressed through Buddhist things like temples, statues, etc. Moreover, these are the kinds of things that foreigners come for, and if they truly value their tourism industry, they’ll think about that. The Egyptians, even though they are now Muslim, realize the value of things like the Sphinx and the pyramids, even though they are pagan artifacts.

Going Soon: Yongsan’s red-light district

Filed under: economics, gender equality, hard to categorize, prostitution — extrakorea @ 7:57 am

The area around Yongsan train/subway station is currently being redeveloped. People and businesses are being moved, sometimes unwillingly, either because they have no other place to go or because they feel that they are not being compensated fairly. (The value of the land has gone up to the point that it’s more expensive than some parts of the wealthy Gangnam district of Seoul.) At the beginning of 2009, there was a violent protest that resulted in six lives lost.


Literally across the street from those protests is Yongsan’s red-light district. It’s been known since early 2009 that its days were numbered. Even though the development plans have been put in jeopardy by the sundering of the partnership* between the railroad operator that owns the land, Korail, and Samsung C&T, the company that would have led in financing and construction of the development project, the plans to close down and redevelop the area have gone ahead. Word is that it will be gone within a week.

* See here, here, here, and here.

Hilarious video of 2PM fan

Filed under: humor, music, rapid cultural change, youth — extrakorea @ 1:30 am

Recently, the boy band 2PM had a meet-and-autograph event with fans, and one young lady was happy to meet them. Really, really, really happy.

October 27, 2010

Nearly one-third of teenagers would consider exchanging money for sex

Filed under: gender equality, prostitution, youth — extrakorea @ 2:59 pm

The Women’s Human Rights Commission of Korea (WHRCK) recently surveyed 2,894 teenagers this past June and July about their attitudes regarding sex. One finding was that nearly one-third of them would consider exchanging money for sex.

A total of 1,891 or 66.9 percent said they would “reject” having sex for money.

Eighteen percent of the respondents said they would take money “depending on the situation”; 3.5 percent said they definitely would take it; and 11.5 percent said they were “unsure.”

Some reported that they had experienced such exchanges and had set them up through Internet chatting, which is how this adolescent met her “clients.”

Korean in Will.i.am’s video makes sense. You listening, K-pop?

Filed under: languages, music, rapid cultural change — extrakorea @ 11:10 am

“Check It Out,” the latest video from Will.i.am (a member of the Black Eyed Peas), features Korean written in hangeul, the Korean alphabet.

According to some reports, the Korean actually makes sense. Perhaps he got inspiration, or even proofreading, from when he worked with Korean girl group 2NE1.

Here they are meeting Will.i.am for the first time.

Here they are working on a song in his studio.

“Ke$ha and Lady Gaga will be jealous for this song. … Cool, like Korean fashion. Like foreign. … Like Europe, that’s not foreign. Korea is foreign. You can’t even read that writing. That’s how foreign that sh** is. … People will say, ‘You know that song, you know, with Will.i.am and the girls from Korea, you know, 20 … 24-what? 24-Anybody? No, 2NE1, the song …”

Looks like he sees their “foreignness” as an advantage, and that he definitely had help with the hangeul.

So, if he could have hangeul that makes sense, then there’s little excuse for professional Korean artists to produce things like this:

I wanna gossip girl
I wanna gossip, sexy and pretty
listen boy 1,2,3 go!

everyday 도도하게
everybody 바라보게
항상 stylish하게 나나나나
언제나 자신있게
모두들 미소짓게
어디서나 Spotlight

kill hill 예쁜 높은 구두에
hot pleats skirt
cherry color lip gross

짙은 sense mascara에 흩날리는 머릿결
pretty, sweety, sexy

I do wanna say wanna say wanna say wanna say
날 보는 eye stop it

See the complete lyrics here.

Teenager had unprotected sex with men knowing she was HIV positive

Filed under: gender equality, health, prostitution, youth — extrakorea @ 9:20 am

Police in Busan have arrested a 19-year-old* girl, Ahn, who had sex with 20 men despite knowing that she was HIV positive. It looks like she was engaging in “wonjo kyoje” (원조교제), so-called “compensated dating,” in which men pay schoolgirls for sex. The kicker in this story?

She [Ahn] reportedly said that she suggested using condoms, but they refused to do so.

(emphasis mine)

What could be the cause of such a rash attitude? Lack of sex eduction? Naivity? The desire to experience the “full pleasure”? I bet Grand Narrative could write a lengthy post.

* I’m not sure if this is by East Asian age or international age. If the former, she could be as young as 17.

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