Extra! Korea

June 4, 2011

Hong-dae club encourages one-night stands by paying for drinks and motel fees?

Filed under: drinking, rapid cultural change, What the hell?!, youth — extrakorea @ 10:19 am

A dance club in Hong-dae has been encouraging customers to hook up in one-night stands. The flyer below was for its second “sex party,” the first one having been held in March.

I figured that it was to drum up business, but then I read this:

This club even offers to pay for the drinks and motel fees if clubbers find their partners for the night, encouraging people to actively engage in sexual activity.

How does a club manage to turn any profits if it gives its drinks away for free? Exorbitant entrance fees? They’d have to be at least as much as a motel room just to break even.

I also found this to be funny.

People who came across the poster online expressed shock and disbelief. “I naturally assumed that nightlife in Hongdae has changed, but this is going too far. This club is bringing down the already bad image of clubbing culture. It should cancel the event,” said one netizen.

I have news for the pimply-faced, teenage netizens who are suffering from “shock and disbelief”: People have been hooking up for one-night stands at Hong-dae clubs for years and years. This is simply the first time that a club has been openly encouraging it.

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May 24, 2011

Will the fur fly? Lee Hyo-ri vs. fashion house Fendi

Filed under: celebrities, rapid cultural change — extrakorea @ 10:50 am

On June 2nd, on the new “floating island” in Seoul’s Han River, fashion house Fendi will hold a major fashion show. The Seoul government is hoping that it will be a successful debut for the man-made islands, and herald Seoul in as a “design city.” (Hey, let’s all be thankful that they didn’t use the word “hub” (“a hub of fashion”) or “mecca” (“a mecca of fashion”)!) The show was to showcase 60 pieces from its fall/winter collection, including 20 limited-edition fur items, be broadcast live on the Internet, and to feature high-profile guests, including foreign celebrities and fashion leaders.

However, animal rights activists are protesting against the show because of the fur pieces. After initially telling Fendi to remove all fur from the show, the Seoul government reached a compromise in which the show will scale back the number of fur pieces featured.

This isn’t enough for the animal rights activists, including singer and animal lover Lee Hyo-ri, who wrote about her disapproval on her Twitter account. Activists plan to protest outside the venue.

May 10, 2011

(Updated) Short schoolgirl skirts to cost 820 million won of new desks

Filed under: education, rapid cultural change, youth — extrakorea @ 2:34 pm

While students at Korean middle schools and high schools are still required to wear uniforms, dress codes have been relaxed in recent years. Students are now allowed to wear running shoes, and regulations regarding hairstyles are not as strict as before.

Another effect has been that schoolgirls have been shortening their skirts, a subject that I and other bloggers have written about before.

The Gangwon Province Office of Education has cooked up a brilliant scheme to deal with this problem. They will spend 820 million won on new desks that will be specially-constructed so as to hide the schoolgirls’ legs.

*facepalm*

First of all, this ignores the fact that if these schoolgirls are going to dress like this in class, then they are going to dress at least this provocatively off school grounds. Hasn’t anyone thought about what potential problems this might cause?

Secondly, the teachers are ignoring the fact that these schoolgirls seem to think that dressing in revealing clothes is “cool,” “empowering,” “stylish,” or something else that’s equally wrongheaded.

Fortunately, I’m not the only one who’s thinking, “We are authority figures, and for the sake of our students, we should act like it.”

But the Korean Federation of Teachers Association (KFTA) denounced the move, arguing it is a waste of money and a proper guideline is rather required to promote longer skirt lengths.

“What we need is to promote longer skirt lengths by adopting stricter dress codes,” said Kim Dong-seok, a spokesman for the KFTA. “The education office is now neglecting its duty to properly educate students.”

Update:

The BBC has picked up the story (Hat Tip to Gusts of Popular Feeling).

I think that the BBC might have been slightly mistaken when they ran the caption with the photo below.

The trend for short school skirts is well established in Japan

As far as I know, when Japanese schoolgirls are in class, they have to wear their skirts long. However, once they leave school grounds, they hike them up. They’ve honed it to a science, with folding techniques and even velcro.

Regarding the situation in Korea, Chris in South Korea correctly pointed out that 820 million won (about $700,000 or £427,000) could be put to many good educational uses.

November 2, 2010

Korean Christians intruded into Buddhist temples in Myanmar too

Filed under: Buddhism, idiots, multicultural society, rapid cultural change — extrakorea @ 10:11 am

You might remember this story, which described how Korean Christians had entered Buddhist temples in Seoul and Daegu and behaved disrespectfully.

It turns out that Korean Christians had intruded into Buddhist temples in Myanmar as well.

Korean Internet users quickly revealed another online video clip in which some Christian groups sing hymns inside a temple in Myanmar while Buddhist monks are present.

October 28, 2010

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

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.

October 8, 2010

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.

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).

August 26, 2010

Korean women in their 40s happiest; men in their 40s unhappiest

Filed under: economics, health, rapid cultural change, science, suicide — extrakorea @ 7:37 am

According to a study by the Korean Psychological Association, Korean women in their 40s are the happiest Koreans, while men in their 40s are the unhappiest.

Why are the men so unhappy?

“Korean men get stressed in work to survive in the competitive world and take responsibilities for families, but they lose interest in anything in their daily lives and just endure day by day,” Suh [Eun-kook, a psychology professor at Yonsei University] said.

And also …

[U]nlike the emotionally opened women, Korean men have suppressed emotion. In Korean custom, men are socialized not to reveal their sentiments to the public in any circumstances.

Why are the women so happy?

The housewives answered “satisfied” mostly when they are left alone at home during the daytime, when all family members are working outside.

“As kids are growing up to be independent from their mommies, women become more free from house chores and child-care, giving them more spare time,” Suh said.

The analysis indicated that the woman’s ability of expressing positive feelings can make a happier life.

In the world-at-large, Koreans are quite unhappy, as much so as people from much poorer, less-developed countries. In other news, the sun rises in the east in the morning.

Referring to the statistics of World Values Survey Association, Korea’s happiness ranked 58th out of 97 countries.

Korea has almost the same level of happiness as Peru, despite its developed scale of economy of $19,504 GDP per capita – about four times that of $4,452 in Peru.

Ed Diener, a psychologist visiting Seoul for a seminar, said Koreans have low satisfaction despite their high standard of living.

“When asked if they had a nice day or not, only 64 percent of Korean answered positive. Even the people of Zimbabwe scored 4 percent more than that,” said Diener.

The researchers said Koreans are concerned too much about what other people think of them, leading to unhappiness. Respondents who valued inner peace of mind were seen as having better relationships with others and stronger self-respect.

“However rich, educated, or hired by a famous company, a person who feels unhappy is living in misery,” said the researchers.

August 24, 2010

Some teen entertainers coerced into wearing revealing clothing, skipping studies

Filed under: gender equality, music, rapid cultural change, youth — extrakorea @ 6:34 am

The Ministry of Gender Equality and Family surveyed 88 teen entertainers, 47 boys and 41 girls (Chosun Ilbo, Dong-a Ilbo, Korea Times). About ten percent of them were found to have been coerced into wearing revealing clothing. Remember how some performers have been too young to legally watch their own performances (e.g Hyun-ah and GP Basic)?

Korea’s Broadcast Law is geared at protecting children and adolescents from viewing programs containing sexually explicit or violent content, but does not have any clauses regarding children or adolescents depicting such content.

It seems that some have also suffered sexual harassment and pressure to go on diets or to have plastic surgery.

Moreover, 9.1 percent said they had to caress, cuddle or kiss someone on stage and on the set.

Another 4.5 percent said they have experienced sexually insulting words or sexual harassment.

Many are encouraged to go on a diet or undergo plastic surgery. Among female teen celebrities, 56.1 percent were pressured to go on a diet and 14.6 percent to have cosmetic surgery.

Are these teens being allowed to keep up with their schooling?

Among 85 celebrities who are attending primary or secondary schools, 40 percent said their right to study is not guaranteed. In addition, 47.5 percent said they skipped a quarter of a day’s classes per week in a semester, and 34.1 percent said they have no time for homework.

The trend is that young singers drop out of school and get into college by taking a qualification exam because their right to study is not protected. Yet 65.9 percent said it is important to attend classes.

Sun-mi (ex-member of the Wonder Girls) and Minzy (of 2NE1) are two examples of dropping out of school and taking a qualification exam.

So what do Korea’s child labour laws have to say about this?

Among teen celebrities under the age of 18, 39.5 percent worked eight hours or more per day and 10.3 percent worked for 40 hours or more per week. Though the Labor Standard Act stipulates the working hours of a youth under 18 as less than seven hours a day and 40 hours a week, the law does not apply since entertainers are categorized as special workers such as insurance agents or salesmen.

(emphasis mine)

Lastly, some seem to suffer from insomnia and/or depression.

Fifty female teen celebrities and aspiring wannabes say they experience insomnia (64.3 percent) or take anti-depressants (14.3 percent).

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