Extra! Korea

October 27, 2010

Census Time

Filed under: expatriates, multicultural society — extrakorea @ 2:52 am

(I should have posted this earlier. It slipped my mind, and real life takes precedence over virtual life.)

Last week, a woman came to my door. She was collecting census data.  (Hopefully, she didn’t experience the trials and tribulations of Kushibo.) She spoke almost no English, but we made do with my broken Korean. After getting the information, she gave me a piece of paper. On it was a website address, www.census.go.kr, along with a nine-character code (broken down as follows: three letters, dash, four numbers, dash, two letters).  She told me to go to the website from October 22nd to 31st.  I did so, and it was relatively quick and painless.  On the left side of the screen is a toggle through which you can choose a non-Korean language.  Click “go” and then input the nine-character code where it says “The Internet Access Code.” Then you have to make up a password. The English is pretty good. I guess they went through the trouble of having it proofread by a native speaker.

So if a census worker came to your home last week, the visit to the website is not too much of an inconvenience, and could help the government and,  by extension, you.

October 26, 2010

HIV rules relaxed for foreigners … except for E-2 visa holders

Filed under: expatriates, health, xenophobia — extrakorea @ 2:25 pm

The Ministry of Health and Welfare has announced that the rules regarding HIV and foreigners will be relaxed … except for E-2 visa holders. This is in contrast to the changes announced (and reported by Chris) in July. Why?

The policy will remain in place for E-2 visa holders – foreign language teachers – because of strong public opposition.

Come again?

“Education is considered a very intimate relationship. According to an unofficial survey by the Prime Minister’s Office, the majority of parents wanted solid evidence of their children’s teachers’ HIV status,” said an official of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology.

“The continuation does not mean the government regards foreign teachers to be HIV positive or have the potential of transmission ― it is just intended to assure the parents. We are considering revisions in this area, too,” he added.

So, instead of trying to educated these prejudiced parents, the government has chosen instead to pander to their stereotypes.

A National Human Rights Commission officer said in an interview with The Korea Times that the regulation infringes upon human rights.

Benjamin Wagner, a professor at Kyung Hee University, filed a complaint with the agency last year, claiming that the visa regulations were based on unfounded biases and prejudices that Westerners were promiscuous and used drugs.

South Korea remains 39th in Corruption Index for 2nd straight year

Filed under: crime, economics — extrakorea @ 2:08 pm

For the second straight year, South Korea has remained in 39th place in the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI). Why did Transparency International (TI) not see any improvement from last year?

The agency said the drop in score and the stagnant ranking were largely due to a series of corruption scandals involving high-ranking officials over the past two or three years.

Among other negative factors cited by the agency were special favors given to the children of former and incumbent bureaucrats in the recruitment of civil servants, persistent corrupt deals in law enforcement, and lenient punishment of corrupt public officials.

It also criticized President Lee Myung-bak for “abusing his right to pardon convicted politicians and tycoons,” saying his frequent amnesties helped compromise efforts to establish a strong sense of morality in the public and private sectors.

The “fair society” pushed by President Lee can only be established when all people are treated equally under the law, regardless of their social position, wealth and power, TI said.

(emphasis mine)

Pardoning convicted tycoons … I wonder whom they could be referring to?

You can see a map and links to the full report here.

October 15, 2010

Jang Ja-yeon’s former manager faces a maximum of one year in jail

Filed under: actors/actresses, crime, gender equality, prostitution, suicide — extrakorea @ 2:34 pm

Jang Ja-yeon was a young actress who committed suicide on March 8, 2009. In her suicide note, she described how her former manager, Kim Sung-hoon, beat her up, embezzled money that she had earned, threatened her and her friends, and forced her to sleep with directors, executives, and CEOs. Kim fled to Japan but was caught and extradited. The trail has begun, and he faces a maximum of one year in jail. Verdict hearings will begin on October 29th.

One year? That’s it? He abused a young woman terribly, and probably drove her to suicide, and that’s the maximum punishment that he’s facing? Something isn’t right.

October 14, 2010

Girl group Nine Muses adds unnecessary member, must change name

Filed under: eye candy, gender equality, music — extrakorea @ 1:05 pm

You might have heard of the girl group Nine Muses. As their name suggests, there are nine members, and they have pretty legs, which makes them completely different from Girls’ Generation.

Girls’ Generation

Nine Muses

Girls’ Generation

Nine Muses

You see? Completely different. Anyway, they will be adding a new member (which would make them Ten Muses, no? I guess they’re trying to prove that in girl groups, the number of members is inversely proportional to the amount of talent per member.) And why would they do so?

Because some of the members who performed the song ‘No Playboy’ are currently working as models, we decided to add Hyuna to Nine Muses to provide a new energy to the group.

In other words, some of these so-called “singers” are so busy with non-singing activities that they can’t, well, sing.

Holy crap! A Korean newspaper printed a correction and apology!

Filed under: (lack of) journalistic integrity, education, expatriates — extrakorea @ 7:02 am

You might recall that Brian (formerly) in Jeollanam-do and Gusts of Popular Feeling wrote posts about the wildly divergent statistics cited by Korean newspapers when describing the number of native English teachers in Korea who quit. Since some of them contradicted each other, some were clearly inaccurate.

If you don’t live in Korea, you might be unaware of the fact that Korean newspapers, unlike their western counterparts, never print retractions even when they are clearly wrong. At least, they didn’t, until I read something in the Hankyoreh that knocked me out of my seat and onto my back.

The Hankyoreh English Online Edition published a News Briefing entitled “Over half of native English teachers quit job after six months, Education Ministry says” on Sept. 30.

Due to both a misinterpretation of the both data and source of the report, the article erroneously stated that up to 66 percent of native English teachers in public schools, while the number of teachers quitting is in fact less than 5 percent.

[ snip ]

We would like to issue an apology for our mistake and our late correction, and look forward to more active responses, comments and participation of readers of the Hankyoreh’s English Online Edition.

Wow. I mean, wow. I guess Brian, Gusts o’ Feelings, and the Hankyoreh all deserve standing ovations.

Kang Shin-who, who’s the man now?

October 13, 2010

Miley Cyrus and K-pop: Profiting off of jailbait on both sides of the Pacific

Filed under: not about Korea — extrakorea @ 11:10 am

Music videos that prominently feature jailbait are not the exclusive province of K-pop. Miley Cyrus has released her latest single, “Who Owns My Heart.”

In the clip, a scantily-clad Cyrus gets dolled up in her room and shows a lot of leg while grooving in the backseat of a car on her way to a rager at a mansion. The teen starlet then spends most of the video dancing in tiny shorts, a revealing halter, big hair and heels and partying until the wee hours.

So why would the Disney star make such a video?

“And that’s what [Can’t Be] Tamed [is] about. It’s about being who you are to the fullest. And now I know who that is.”

And who might that be? Someone who mistakenly thinks that being sexual is “empowering“? I don’t think that just because you can do something, you should.

And in case you didn’t know, Cyrus had done this kind of thing before, when she performed a pole dance at the Teen Choice Awards. Teaching teenagers how to dance like strippers … who could have a problem with that?

Did H-Line Entertainment obliquely admit to pimping out an underage trainee?

Filed under: crime, gender equality, music, prostitution, youth — extrakorea @ 4:47 am

Recently, “Kim,” the CEO of an entertainment company, referred to as “H,” was accused of pressuring two of his trainees, aged 17 and 20, to perform sexual services for the owner of a clothing company.  After doing this over ten times, one of the trainees (the 17-year-old, I believe) tried to refuse, but the CEO forced her to continue, saying,

“If you don’t show up for work, you will be paying an extreme amount of penalties.”

Some trainees are under very stringent contracts, some as long as 13 years. Some contracts stipulate that if the trainee quits or is let go, they have to pay back the costs that the company has spent on their training, housing, etc so far, or would have spent on them had they continued onto a successful debut.

The clothing company owner gave Kim $46,000 US for “sponsorship expenses” of which Kim kept $30,000 for himself.

Kim rejected all claims by stating that the money in question was earned from his shopping mall, and not from forcing the two trainees into sexual acts. Authorities investigated his bank account, however, and found that he was deceiving them, as they failed to find any connections between the shopping mall and the amount held in his account.

Internet surfers, called “netizens” in Korea, began trying to discover the identities of H and the two trainees. Many of them believe that H is H-Line Entertainment, and that the two trainees are members of the new girl group Chocolate. Two of Chocolate’s members, Cheryl and Meng, are the correct ages, 17 and 20. Furthermore, back in August, Chocolate, which had not yet even debuted, managed to secure a prestigious endorsement deal with a clothing brand, NUZZON.

Since then, Cheryl and Meng have spoken publicly about the issue, denying that they are the trainees in question. Their company backed them up, stating:

The two girls mentioned, ‘A’ and ‘B,’ were former trainees, and have already left the company. They are definitely not Cheryl and Meng.

Wait a minute. Did they obliquely confirm that they did in fact pimp out two of their trainees (one of them underage), just not specifically Cheryl and Meng?

October 8, 2010

Incident in Itaewon: One article says two foreigners, others says one

Filed under: crime, expatriates, idiots, media irresponsibility — extrakorea @ 11:31 am

Korea Beat has translated a Korean-language articles that says:

Controversy is spreading after a video showing two young foreigners assaulting a white-haired elderly man began spreading on the internet.

(Emphasis mine.)

The entire article repeatedly states that there were two foreigners involved:

The 1:43 video … two foreigners … The two foreigners … they … the foreign men …

This seems to be the same incident described in other articles (which were translated at the Marmot’s Hole) which clearly stated that there was only one foreigner.

So which account was correct? If you watch the video (below), you can see for yourself that there was only one assailant. Clearly, the people at cbs.co.kr are a bunch of morons. Or too lazy to even watch the video footage in question. Or too stupid and lazy to watch said footage.

(Caution: Video contains foul language and violence against the elderly.)

Are “Korean style” hot pants causing a rise in dengue fever?

Filed under: eye candy, gender equality, health, rapid cultural change, youth — extrakorea @ 1:37 am

This year, 90,000 cases of dengue fever, which is spread by mosquitoes, have been reported in Thailand, and 100 people have died of the disease.
In an effort to stem the disease, the Thai government has advised people to wear long pants, as opposed to the hot pants that have become popular in Thailand because of the popularity of K-pop (South Korean pop music) girl groups like Girls’ Generation and Kara.

“Teenagers that wear the ‘Korean style’ short pants are more likely to be bitten by mosquitoes,” said the Thai Deputy Minister of Public Health Anutarasak.

I was unaware that Koreans invented hot pants. I suppose they invented blue jeans and hoodies, too.

(Sources: Chosun Ilbo, Korea Times, AllKPop)

Another look at those dangerous garments.

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