29 November 2008

America's Culture of Gluttony

Filed by Michael Henchard.

Two people died in a gun battle over toys on sale at a Southern California toy store, and one worker was stomped to death at a Long Island, NY Wal-mart store on "Black Friday."

Frankly, I blame the retailers for these incidents. They hype up the American sheeple who are already easily impressionable and excitable in the first place. And incidents such as these are the results.

28 November 2008

South Korea's "Culture of Suicide"

Up-and-coming actress Jung Da-bin hanged herself in February 2007.

K-POP, or Korean popular culture, has now permeated throughout the world. In fact, Korea's two largest broadcasters, KBS and MBC, are now vying with the legendary BBC and Voice of America (VOA) to project Korean culture, arts and cinema to the world. And it appears that the global audience is lapping it up. K-POP stars have mesmerized the world audience with their stunning good looks (often achieved through plastic surgery), charm and grace.

But behind the world-famous glam that is K-POP, there's a sad tale. Since 2007, there has been a string of high-profile suicides of K-POP stars who were in their 20s and 30s. While this statistic is scientifically insignificant, we thought that it might prove to be a sentinel indicator. And yes, it turns out to be so. In 2006, South Korea had the highest suicide rate of all the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the elite club of the world's 24 richest countries) member countries. See http://english.hani.co.kr/arti/english_edition/e_national/158160.html .

Clearly, Korean society -- like that of Japan -- is not easy to negotiate for those who deviate (or are perceived to do so) from the narrow normative parameters. Here's one commentator's take on suicide and Korean culture. We don't necessarily subscribe to his thesis, but it is worth a read.

Well, one thing worth thinking about -- I think the nastiness is partially enabled by 1) lazy moderators on sites, and 2) the particularly extreme nastiness of the Korean internet.

Now, before people go off saying this is "racist" or whatnot, I'll say that I place this all squarely within a framework of causality -- not just "Koreans are essentially, genetically X."

There is an extreme amount of competition for scarce resources in this society, ranging from less space-per-person, how standardized tests rule everything, the extreme militarized hierarchy of society, and the general amount of mental trauma that has not at all been dealt with throughout the entire 20th century.

Take a country ravaged by invasion and colonization for 36 years, forced labor and military conscription through World War II, then "liberation" by a new set of neo-colonizers, then a devastating war that ravaged the nation and rent family ties asunder, which was then followed by dictatorship, torture, and the constant threat of force by the government on labor unions, activists, and anyone else who bothered to question authority, coupled with the crushing of organized labor and the democracy movement (within a nominal democracy, right? the irony) in Kwangju, and the constant "scare" and suspicion that one's neighbor was a "Commie" -- and then suddenly, the economy is great-n-the-80's, people are toting Prada bags and Beamers (or wanting to), and busy enjoying themselves -- or trying not to think about the massive collective trauma inflicted upon them.

Read more at http://metropolitician.blogs.com/scribblings_of_the_metrop/korean_pop_culture/

26 November 2008

Korea: Caught between Modernity and Tradition

Photo source: The New York Times

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korean prosecutors on Wednesday demanded a popular actress who tried to overturn the country's law that criminalizes adultery be thrown in jail for a year and a half for having an affair, local media reported.

South Korean enacted its adultery law more than 50 years ago to protect women who had few rights in the male-dominated society but critics say now it is a draconian measure no longer fit for a country with an advanced civil and family court system.

Actress Ok So-ri's case has created a sensation in South Korea after she admitted to an affair with a singer and called on the country's Constitutional Court to overturn the statute that can send a person to jail for up to two years for adultery.

"The accuser (her husband) wanted a severe sentence," prosecutors said in court as to why they are seeking 18 months in jail for Ok, Yonhap news agency reported. Prosecutors were not available for comment.

Ok's lawyers were also not immediately available for comment but they have said in a petition to Constitutional Court: "The adultery law ... has degenerated into a means of revenge by the spouse, rather than a means of saving a marriage."

Last month, the Constitutional Court said adultery damaged the social order and therefore was a criminal offence.

It is rare for courts to jail adulterers but that has not stopped several thousand angry spouses from filing criminal complaints each year.

Critics have said a better compromise might be to allow spouses just to sue for compensation in civil court.
(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz and Kim Junghyun; Editing by Nick Macfie)

21 November 2008

Romantic Asian

Korean actor and model Kim Ji-hun

I saw this ad on Craigslist. I think it's the poster's genuine feelings... Very beautiful sentiments indeed. Ladies, isn't this what you really, really want?


Reply to: pers-922014162@craigslist.org [?]
Date: 2008-11-16, 6:35PM PST

I am having a bad day at work. I get in my car and drive somewhere to have lunch. I call up my wife and tell her about my day. After a few sentences of telling her about my day we just starting talking about nothing and immediately I start laughing and she starts laughing. We laugh and joke around and talk. I realize how lucky I am to have this person in my life.

To be married to my best friend. Someone who
(sic) I love talking to and spending time with even if we are doing nothing like running weekend errands. Or we are at the airport sitting at the gate and there is an hour to kill until the flight takes off. We just sit there holding hands and people watch and talk and goof around and the hour flyes by in a minute. The whole time I look at other couples and they are just sitting there and not talking or they are getting restless waiting for the flight.

Imagine hanging out with a group of people and your significant other is talking to others. She is having a good time and she is friendly to everyone. Later on your friends comment on how much fun they had talking to her and how cool she it. You realize how lucky you are.

Ever date someone and you can tell that your friends just thought that they were 'okay'? Well I want someone where she will be proud to date me and I am proud to date her. It would be great to think so highly of someone. I am not talking about physical appearance.

I imagine how good it would be to wake up next to my best friend and starting my day talking to her, goofing around and having fun. I imagine waking up on a Saturday morning and going to the store to get fresh donuts and bagels for my kids. I imagine how fun it would be to take my middle school kids to the mall to buy back to school clothes. I imagine laying in bed at night and just talking about life and the things we want to accomplish. I guess as I get older I think about different things.

Sorry for rambling. I am just typing random thoughts that come into my head.

I am honestly looking to meet that special someone to have a long term relationship with. I look back over my years of dating and I think about the meaningless relationships that I've had and the long meaningful ones and the meaningful ones are the ones that I am the most proud of. They are the ones that really make me think about what is real in this thing called dating.

I am a professional asian male who is seeking someone for a long term relationship. I am an honest, easy going, guy who likes to have fun. I work hard but make it a point to play hard. Life is short and I like to enjoy myself. I have never been married and I don’t have any kids.

I am seeking someone who is honest, fun, intelligent, classy, has a great sense of humor, and likes to laugh. Someone who is also easygoing, likes to have fun and try new things but is also serious when she has to be. Most of all I am seeking someone who has a good heart and is a good person.

In terms of physical appearance I am 34, not a FOB, 6'1" 190lbs, I go to the gym several times a week. Hey! No beer belly here! Oh and by the way my teeth are white and straight. :)

My female friends would say that I dress well, and that I have nice shoes. I figured I should put that line in since girls check out a guy from top to bottom. :)

I am hoping you are reading this and think to yourself,
'Whew! Glad to get that out of the way instead of having to meet him for coffee and finding out too late that he has bad teeth and bad shoes and then I have to sit through a 20 minute cup of coffee with him.'

I guess I am a funny guy. I promise that if we hang out I can get you to laugh and have a good time.

16 November 2008

Trend-setting Han Ga-in

Goddess Han Ga-in
filed by Bian-lian Huang.

As late as 15 years ago, fashion and style trends were set in Paris, Milan and New York. For a wee period in the late 1990s and early 2000s, London became the trend-setter. Now it's Asia.

Here's the latest hair style from the most beautiful woman in the world, Han Ga-in of Korea. (Readers of this site know that I am a huge fan of Ms Han. And what straight man wouldn't be?) I am already seeing young Asian ladies in Los Angeles and San Francisco sporting this new do!

Figment of Modernity: Former Taiwanese President Detained for Corruption

From Taipei Times


Chen Shui-bian rushed to hospital for checkup

STILL NOT EATING: Complaining of chest pains and soreness while refusing medication, the former president was taken to Far Eastern Memorial Hospital last night
By Ko Shu-ling
Monday, Nov 17, 2008, Page 1

The ambulance transporting former president Chen Shui-bian arrives at the Far Eastern Memorial Hospital in Banciao, Taipei County, last night. Inset: Chen is pictured as he is being taken from the ambulance to the hospital.
Former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) was taken to hospital yesterday for a check-up and possible force-feeding as he refused to eat for the fifth day since he was detained on Wednesday.

Lee Da-chu (李大竹), deputy head at the Taipei Detention Center in Tucheng (土城), Taipei County, where Chen is being held, said that Chen had complained about discomfort in his chest and soreness, adding that the former president’s blood pressure and pulse were near the lower margin of safety.

Doctors said his electrocardiogram was abnormal and that a check-up was necessary.

Lee said doctors at the center had prescribed drugs but that Chen had refused to take them.

He said Chen had also been vomiting liquid as a result of an empty stomach.

TV footage showed Chen being rushed to Far Eastern Memorial Hospital in Banciao (板橋), Taipei County, in an ambulance at about 8pm.

Rather than carrying Chen on a stretcher, the ambulance backed into the emergency room and let Chen get out.

The hospital said Chen would be spending the night.

Chen, who is suspected of money laundering, taking bribes, forgery and embezzling NT$15 million (US$450,000) during his two terms in office, has been held incommunicado without charge.

He has accused the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) administration of “political persecution” and waging a “political vendetta” against him to curry favor with Beijing.

Denying any wrongdoing, Chen yesterday continued to push away food trays in protest against what he describes as judicial injustice.

Supporters were chanting “A-bian [Chen’s nickname], jiayou” outside the hospital, while more than 100 police officers were deployed to maintain order.

Meanwhile, hundreds of supporters of the former president yesterday continued rallying outside the detention center protesting Chen’s detention and chanting “Release! Release!”

Tucheng police were deployed to the site to control the crowd. No incidents were reported.

At a separate setting yesterday, former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) declined to comment on Chen’s fast. Lee has dismissed Chen’s remarks about “political persecution” and “judicial persecution,” saying: “Chen should not shift the blame on the rest of the world. He’s the one who made a mistake.”

Meanwhile, Chiayi County Commissioner Chen Ming-wen (陳明文) of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday continued his hunger strike to protest accusations of corruption against him.

He was taken into custody on Oct. 28 on suspicion of engaging in graft by leaking confidential information to help a businessman win a tender worth more than NT$650 million. He has been on a hunger strike since last Tuesday.

Supporters of Chen Ming-men yesterday also continued their rallies outside the Chiayi Detention Center where he is being held.

Tainan County Commissioner Su Huan-chih (蘇煥智), Kaohsiung County Commissioner Yang Chiu-hsing (楊秋興), Pingtung County Commissioner Tsao Chi-hung (曹啟鴻), all DPP members, showed their support for Chen Ming-wen by joining the supporters.

08 November 2008

Amateur: Obama Trashes Nancy Reagan at First Press Conference since Election Night

Inexperienced yet arrogant, St. Obama, the Chosen, wrongly trashed Nancy Reagan for practicing seances. For the record, Mrs. Reagan has never engaged in the black art of seances.

Is this the putatively flawless orator from the ghetto?

05 November 2008

Market Reaction: Dow Dropped 500 points (over 5%) on Obama's Election

Filed by Michael Henchard.

Investors voted with their feet today as fear spread that the Barack Hussein Obama regime will raise taxes and increase spending over and above the already high baseline established under putative Republican George W. Bush.

With control of all levers of the federal government, the Democrats are poised to carry out some shock and awe of their own. They will shock the economy by raising taxes and awe economists with such reckless hijinxes.