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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Students suspected of sexually assaulting classmate on “school field trip” (Membership Training?)

Filed under: crime, drinking, education, gender equality, youth — extrakorea @ 9:40 am

Three medical students of Korea University have been accused of molesting, taking indecent photographs of, and raping a female classmate. The alleged sexual assault took place during what has been described as a “school trip” and a “field trip.” I’m assuming that it’s what’s called an “MT” in South Korea, an acronym for “Membership Training.” (No actually “training” goes on at these trips –more like games, drinking, chatting, drinking …) I’ve written before about sexual assaults on MTs, as has the Grand Narrative blog. Also, in the comments thread of this blog post, someone asked

Have you ever heard of a sexual assault on a Korean University campus?

to which a commenter by the username of Darth Babaganoosh responded

Yep. Happens all the time at events such as MT. Just because it’s not reported to the police or in the newspaper doesn’t mean people on campus don’t talk.

Harrassment, sex-for-grades, the occasional assault… they all buzz about campus. They’re open secrets. People know, but don’t say anything.

And incidents do find their way into the newspapers. For example

Freshmen at Sejong have University complained that they had to participate in an inappropriate game during a department’s welcoming party last February.

According to students who attended, some games went too far to the extent they felt humiliated. One game had them compete in making the most sexual pose they could come up with, while others also included sexual pranks.

I don’t know how widespread this kind of thing is, but I think it’s fair to assume that for every incident that makes it into the newspapers, there are many that don’t.

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 4, 2010

Netizens apoplectic with fury at suggestion that Girls’ Generation may have done sexual favors

Filed under: celebrities, music, prostitution, youth — extrakorea @ 10:27 am

A Taiwanese television show had an program in which they discussed the notion that some female celebrities in South Korea do sexual favors as a way to get ahead, or have it virtually forced on them. Taiwanese singer Estrella Lin, who has previously spoken about her experiences in Korea, was a guest speaker. Unfortunately for them, they used an image of Girls’ Generation, and Korean Internet surfers, “netizens,” are furious. I mean, they’re absolutely apoplectic with fury. The AllKpop post on the topic has over a thousand comments, with new ones arriving literally every thirty seconds, and the YouTube video of the program (below) rising by the hundreds every hour.

It seems that there may have been two problems:
1. While AllKpop may have done a decent job of translating Sports Chosun’s piece, Chosun may have mistranslated the original Chinese.
2. The TV program may have gotten its image of Girls’ Generation from a Taiwanese newspaper. If so, then it might be the newspaper who ought to shoulder the blame.

I’m wondering this: Where was this fury when Jang Ja-yeon committed suicide? Where was the fury when it became known that her ex-manager faces a maximum of one year in prison? How about when it became known that an SM Entertainment manager could have literally killed a member of boy band Super Junior? How about when another entertainment agency seemed to admit to forcing an underage trainee into virtual prostitution? How about any of the other examples of trainees’ mistreatment? Or how about the recent survey that suggests that over 60% of female entertainers are pressured into giving sexual favors? But slander some pretty girls, and the rage is like an inferno. I’m glad to see that some people have their priorities straight.

While I’m at it, I might as well express my incomprehension as to why K-pop fans are cheerleaders for entertainment agencies.  Can you imagine the following conversation between three teenagers in America?

A: I like Interscope Records.

B: No way!  Sony Music is the best!

C: You both have your heads up your arses!  Warner Brothers all the way!

Ridiculous, huh?  When I was a teenager, we talked about which artists we liked.  However, K-pop fans will get into heated debates over whether they like YG Entertainment or SM Entertainment better.

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?

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.”

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.

October 13, 2010

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

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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