Extra! Korea

July 18, 2010

There goes my plan to save a lot on a Blackberry …

Filed under: economics, technology, the Internet — extrakorea @ 11:45 am

Unlike most people, I’m more interested in buying a Blackberry than an iPhone. I went into a shop with a Korean friend and found out that the latest model costs about a million won (roughly a thousand dollars!). Through the Internet, I discovered that the same model sells for about $500 in Canada. Since I’m going to Canada tomorrow for vacation (so expect light posting for a while), I thought I’d buy one in Canada and bring it back here, thus saving myself 500 bucks. Well, it turns out that I would have to pay 300,000 won to have it unlocked. I’d still save about 200 dollars, but still, bummer.

No surprise that South Korea is a country that will not get the latest iPhone at the end of July. Government approval wasn’t given because Samsung doesn’t have a clone in the pipeline extenuating circumstances.

July 7, 2010

North Korea wins Justin Bieber world tour contest

Filed under: music, North Korea, the Internet — extrakorea @ 5:02 am

North Korea has won the online contest at Justin Bieber’s world tour site. See here for yourself.



Of course, the effect will be limited. First of all, while North Korean bureaucracy decides whether or not to issue young Mr. Bieber a visa, there will be time for the guffaws to die down. In the unlikely event that an invitation is actually offered, he can just come out and honestly admit that he’s been pranked. And let’s say, just for the sake of argument, that he actually decides to go. It wouldn’t be the first time that foreign pop artists have performed in the north. Check out the now-defunct K-pop group Baby Vox performing there.

The Norkbots will, as in the video above, just look on impassively* and then give polite applause, as instructed to, and then they’ll recycle the footage as evidence of western decadence.

* Or stifle laughter, as at 0:39 in the video above.

July 5, 2010

(Updated) Netizen pranksters are trying to sent Justin Bieber to North Korea

Filed under: music, North Korea, the Internet — extrakorea @ 3:40 am


There are only a few hours left to vote, and North Korea is still in the lead.

The BBC did an article about it, and got a quote from the North Korean embassy!

A spokesman for the North Korean Embassy in London told BBC News that any application for 16-year-old Bieber to tour would be dealt with by its mission to the United Nations, although the matter would be referred to Pyongyang.

Incidentally, some of the pranks that have been played upon him have gone over the line (e.g. rumours that his mom would be posing for Playboy. Leave the guy’s family out of it.)


Original Post:

This post incorporates two things the Marmot hates: Canada and North Korea.

Justin Bieber is an inoffensive young man from that hotbed of R&B, Stratford, Ontario, Canada. He’s huge in North America, and if, like me, you didn’t know that, then I guess that’s evidence that Korea really has dropped an iron curtain in front of foreign music. He (or his PR people) decided to generate interest in his upcoming world tour by having an on-line contest to get the fans involved. They could vote for him to come to their country, and Bieber would promise visit the winning country. Some netizen pranksters decided to have a little fun by doing some virtual ballot-box stuffing. As of this writing, the country in the lead is North Korea.

The Wonder Girls might get a chuckle out of it. You might recall that one of their former tutors in New York came forward with some allegations that might be disconcerting in America, but are par for the course in South Korea, where the music business has become more business than music. Said tutor allegedly wrote a letter to K-pop blog PopSeoul.

In an attempt to gain some popularity in America, JYPE paid Justin Bieber’s company to open for him, but Bieber’s fans hated the Wonder Girls and sometimes chanted: “We want nobody, nobody but Justin!”

I’m sure that Bieber did not want any of his fans to mistreat the Wonder Girls, and I’m equally sure the Girls don’t blame him for the rude behavior of some of his fans. Still, the irony might be a source of amusement for them.

Speaking of Justin Bieber, IU (아이유), whom I’ve mentioned before, reminds me a bit of him, in that she can actually play musical instruments well enough to do it live. Unfortunately for her, she lives in South Korea, where everyone has to be pushed into a limited number of cookie cutter molds. If she had been born in Canada or America, I think that her talent would have received more commensurate appreciation.

April 3, 2010

Couple who let baby die while raising virtual baby plead guilty to negligent homicide

Filed under: rapid cultural change, technology, the Internet — extrakorea @ 12:02 pm

You might recall the story about the couple who were spent so much time playing an online game that their neglected baby starved to death. The biggest irony in the sad story was the fact that the goal of the game was to raise a virtual baby.

The couple was charged with negligent homicide, and they plead guilty. Sentencing will be on April 16. By the way, the CNN report features Andrew Salmon.

January 26, 2010

South Korea is the second-worst offender in online music piracy

Filed under: crime, intellectual property, music, the Internet — extrakorea @ 2:33 pm

According to a survey of 8,500 people in 13 countries by Hong Kong-based Music Matters, China illegally downloaded more music than any other country last year, followed by South Korea.

Illegal downloading of music is a global problem. The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry said in a report released last week that sales of the global recording industry dwindled 30 percent between 2004 and 2009 mainly due to rampant piracy. The federation estimates that 95 percent of the music downloaded last year was illegal.

But Korea’s Culture Ministry downplayed the survey on Monday, saying that it was unreliable since it only involved 13 countries and it even defines free music streaming from legal sites as illegal downloading.

November 29, 2009

Awesome Site: Korea-Related News Feeds, Blogs, and Videos

Filed under: the Internet — extrakorea @ 4:57 am

Here is an awesome new site: http://koreannewsfeeds.com/
(You can find it on my Links Roll on the right-hand column.)

It carries news feeds from major English-language Korean newspapers, some blogs*, and even videos.
Hat Tip to Seoul Sucker.

* But not me.

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