Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Sunday was intresting, I went to the movies and while I was their, they had the South Korea vs Japan game at the theather, It was weird, they were all watching the game and they were very excited about it. I was thinking, the more we are different the more we are the same. Its march and NCAA Basketball is playing and I have seen a few of the games, via a sports bar here in Korea, sad to say Korea lost I would have liked to have seen them play Cuba for the title.

It was nice to see it, Koreans all cheering for their team. Baseball brought them all together.

Millions rally in South Korea - around baseballThe chance to beat rival Japan drew crowds into the street to watch the World Baseball Classic this weekend.

By Donald Kirk Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor

SEOUL - Not since Korea and Japan co-hosted the World Cup 2002 soccer tournament had Koreans been so mesmerized by an athletic event.

In stadiums around the country, at large squares in major cities, and in coffee shops, restaurants, bars, and homes everywhere, millions gathered around TV sets to watch the nation's baseball team play the Japanese in the semi-finals of the World Baseball Classic in San Diego.
"Daehan Minguk," crowds shouted between innings, literally, "Republic of Korea."

The timing was perfect - the game began at 7 pm Saturday in the US, noon Sunday here, and a festive air of optimism imbued the crowds as they cheered in unison. For many Koreans, the game carried extra significance as a chance to beat rival Japan and, through sport, offer a little payback for 35 years of Japanese colonialism.

"For historical reasons, we always like to defeat Japan. It is a matter of vengeance," said Kim Sang Sun, a college student, during the final inning. He was gazing upward on a huge TV screen high beside an office building. Down the street, some 40,000 had massed before another screen on a stage beneath the words, "Fighting! Korea!" in the plaza in front of Seoul City Hall.

But despite the rallying of a nation, the victory wasn't to be. By the time the Japanese had finished thrashing three Korean pitchers in a disastrous seventh inning, the score was 6-0 in favor of a team that Korea had defeated by one-run margins twice in the series. The game ended 6-0, putting Korea out of the series despite a record of six wins, including a 7-3 thumping of the US team, against the single loss.
All weekend, though, the prospect of a climactic encounter with the Japanese team seemed to unite Koreans as nothing else could have done. Television stations repeatedly replayed heroic moments from previous games - run-scoring slides, balls soaring into the seats, diving catches, the stuff of dreams. And for several hours before the game, pop stars cavorted in stadiums, warming up crowds invited to watch free of charge on huge screens above the outfield.

"We have lost, but cheer up," said a performer after it was all over as spectators reluctantly trickled away from the grass and concrete of the city hall plaza. "We played well."

The crowds had disappeared, replaced by Sunday afternoon strollers and shoppers, when several thousand exuberant young people set off on a very different kind of demonstration - a mile-long march from Seoul Station past City Hall and the same screens where tens of thousands had been watching the baseball game.

Few people seemed to notice as demonstrators chanted slogans denouncing the war in Iraq and President Bush - and calling for Korea to pull out the 3,000 troops it has sent there.

"We have many demonstrations," said one Sunday stroller, preferring to ignore this one. "They are not the same as a game against Japan."

Thursday, March 16, 2006

A blog that I link to had this article tonight and I thought that It needed to be put unto my blog also.

Thursday, 16 March 2006
Sexual Assualts in KoreaTopic: An issue that has gained recent attention is the issue of sexual assaults in Korea.

There has been plenty of recent attention in Korea on sexual assaults against minors and other Korean women. Many of the recent high profile assaults against these women have been by repeat rapists who had received lenient jail time measured in months after their first sexual assault. These cases has caught the attention of the Korean media and hopefully this attention will lead to positive change in Korean society against sexual predators by not immediately condemning women who have been raped as prostitutes for example or giving these monsters who rape women light sentences which is right now an all to common practice in Korea. Despite the media coverage of the sexual assault problems in Korea, something that has continued to be ignored by the Korean media is sexual assaults against foreign women in Korea.

I have highlighted a number of assaults against female foreigners in Korea. Here are a few examples of past assaults on foreign women in Korea. A 19 year old female soldier newly arrived to Korea from Incheon airport was raped by a cab driver bringing her to Seoul. Then there is also the Jamie Penich murder in Itaewon that should be familiar to many expats out there. Then most recently the rape of an Army officer in Taegu that was almost totally buried by the Korean media.

If you don't believe me that these stories are buried go ask the nearest Korean if they have heard about the rape of the US Army officer. They will probably tell you they never heard about it. Now ask them if they heard about the drunk idiot GI in Uijongbu who hit a beer bottle over a Korean guy's head, they will probably tell you that they have heard of that, however.

I just find it sad that a ville incident such the beer bottle case would draw more publicity then a rape in Taegu, especially since the rapist wasn't caught and could be still out there in Korean society raping more people. It just seems to me a rape case should draw as much media attention as possible in order to identify the rapist to ensure they are caught and cannot rape more women. These cases are on top of the multiple cases of rape that have occurred on US military installations with soldier on soldier crime that I have consistently highlighted.

Despite a low crime rate in Korea, being a female here can be dangerous if you are not careful. Even those who are careful can still have bad things happen to them anyway, so it is important to understand what actions to take if something bad does in fact happen to you. In an effort to educate people more about sexual assaults in Korea, I was contacted by a young lady who was sexually assaulted and beaten while teaching English at a hagwon in Seoul.

For those familiar with prior assaults on foreign women in Korea you will see many similarities in this case with those prior cases in as far as how incompetent the Korean police are. The important thing is to learn from her story things that you can do to help yourself if you find yourself in a similar situation or maybe you are helping someone that unfortunately was assaulted because the Korean police are not there to help you. With that in mind here is a story of a sexual assault in Korea that no one has probably heard of, but should of:

I came across this blog in doing my own research about the incidents of foreign females in Korea being assaulted and saw the story from back in July when a female military officer was assaulted by a cab driver. I am so lucky that I have found this blog and can spread the word about the dangers of being a foreign female in Korea and how biased the Korean media, police, hospitals, etc. might be to you if something horrible were to happen.

I, too, was a victim and want anyone who wants to hear my story to listen up and spread the word. I came to Seoul in February of last year to teach English. This was not my first time in Korea, having visited Korea in high school with my Korean friend and having also studied Korean language at Yonsei University in 2000-2001.

I was living in Seoul in what is considered to be one of the safest (aka richest) areas: Chungdam. I am sure you know the 24 hour McDonalds, Hard Rock Cafe, etc---I lived across the street from those places. On July 31, 2005, I arrived to my one room when around 11:20pm, my window slides open and a man is in the window. In the second that I sat frozen in my computer chair in shock/surprise/disbelief, he hopped down from the window and lunged at me and began to hit me with his fist repeatedly, while choking me with his other hand.

After hitting me for a few minutes to where I was going unconscious, he ran over to my bag, grabbed my wallet, and in Korean, said the first word “Don, don, don”, which translated means “Money, money, money”. Being a Sunday night, I had just spent the last cash I had and I told him that in Korean. At this point, he began hitting me again. After only a few hits, however, he decided to begin choking me. He gave up choking me and began hitting me more until I again was drifting in and out of consciousness.

He then decided to rape me. He first tried covering my bloodied face with a shirt but I quickly bled through it so he told me in Korean, “Wash your face”. He went into my kitchen to get a knife and I knew it was my chance to get away. In that instant I found my cell phone and locked myself in the bathroom. Once locked inside, I called the police.

According to their police report was at 11::40pm. They did not arrive to my apartment until well after 12am despite a police station being only 5 minutes by walk from my house. I didn’t trust that the police believed me and understood to come so I also called my friends, but they too, were all far away. When the 2 policemen showed up, the man was gone. I told the police what happened and that I need to go to a hospital right away but their first words to me was to say “Where are your panties and give me your Alien Registration ID card”.

I managed to find my ID card and I gave it to him and then ran out my door to try to get someone else to get me an ambulance. The police came out and told me to sit in the back of their police car, which I did. Soon after, the ambulance came and they did not help into the ambulance on a stretcher.

They opened up their sliding side door and told me to walk in. I did and lay down on the stretcher, unattended by anyone The first place I was taken was called Samsung Medical Center. When we arrived there, again I was not taken in on a stretcher, but instead the two ambulance workers opened the door and told me to get out. As we were walking in, they did not assist me in walking and wouldn’t even open the hospital doors for me until I pulled up the back of my running pants which had slipped down to reveal the top of my panties.

I was laid on a stretcher and someone came to clean my face and photograph my injuries. Within a short amount of time a number of my friends and coworkers began arriving and immediately we worked together to recall what I could of the attack while the hospital workers were deciding where to send me.

I explained to them first of all what happened and asked them to please test my fingernails for his DNA because I probably scratched him. My friends (no police were to be found now) then got a pen and paper and were asking for his description and also began listing the places I could remember he touched: My window, my wallet, my bag, my refrigerator, my door lock, my sink faucet---all places that could be tested for fingerprints.

This first hospital also took pictures of my injuries which now are LOST. The hospital has told the US Embassy that they do not have a camera to even take pictures; while they told my friend who inquired about them that they just don’t have record of my name for that date. After I would guess about 40 minutes-1 hour, I was moved to a 2nd hospital---Hye-Min hospital in the northwest part of Seoul. I was put into the ambulance on a stretcher but again, was not tended to by any professionals.

My two friends rode with me and when I began feeling nauseous and throwing up from the bumpy ride and my head injury, my friends were helping me not any professional workers. I do not remember the emergency room of Hye-Min Hospital and what I will tell you comes from my friends who were dealing with admitting me.

This comes from 2 Korean friends, 1 American friend, and 1 Canadian friend. My friends were speaking with the man admitting me, he said that the hospital would not help me unless I paid him $1000.00 in cash because I was a ‘Russian prostitute who probably deserved what I got’. Finally after convincing him I was neither Russian, nor a prostitute and having my boss show up, they decided to admit me into Intensive Care. Despite my major injuries being associated with my head and eye, there was no eye doctor even available at this hospital. However, the first hospital claimed that the bigger hospitals’ ICUs were all full and they could not take me.

At this hospital, I basically laid for 1 day on an IV ---no medications were given and very little monitoring was done. My blood pressure was checked maybe 2 times per day and I was given no heart/oxygen or any other standard monitors. Besides being in pain from my head injuries, I was unable to sleep or lay without pain due to severe neck and back strains from being choked. The bed was flat in a very uncomfortable position and I was told if I needed to be moved I would have to pound on the side of my bed to get a nurses attention because they didn’t have call buttons.

Of course, when I did this, nurses would ignore me for 10-15 minutes or more. I was finally moved into the ICU of Yongdong Severance Hospital where I was given good treatment and finally tests were taken. I was given an immediate CT scan, along with X-rays and an eye doctor looked at my eyes. It was decided that I had a brain hemorrhage, fractured skull and other facial bones, ocular hemorrhaging.

On day 3 of my ordeal, I was visited by a deputy of the US embassy and a Korean detective, who through my best Korean friend, interpreted what happened and the suspect description. No sketch was taken, however. While in the hospital I was thinking about who this guy might be so I gathered a list of the places I walk a lot. Based on his skin tone and build, I figured he must work outside and suggested to the police to check 3 nearby construction sites near my house that I regularly walk by, 2 car shops or local taxis. Based on the glove marks around my neck, I figured he could be a taxi driver and a taxi driver lives in my building, yet the police never interviewed anyone in my building or the surrounding buildings.

My friends interviewed my neighbors on their own who said they did in fact hear screams, but were too afraid to help and saw nothing. The police interviewed no one, took no suspect sketch, no DNA, and despite claiming that they took fingerprints, there was no evidence of the traditional black soot fingerprinting would leave at my apartment.

There were no police reports sent out to the media and despite me and my friends calling every Korean and English news and television media outlet, no one would cover my story or even just release information regarding the suspect’s appearance. I also remembered that because I lived in the nicest area of Seoul, for “security” they have CCTV cameras up around the neighborhoods.

My Korean friend called the police with this information and all of my other suggestions about where to find the suspect and their response to us was “We do things our way, we are handling it, leave us alone”. I was never contacted by the police again. During my final day in the hospital, I finally got enough courage to look at the shirt I was wearing during the attack. The police did not collect it for evidence or DNA. Upon my examination, I found a short black hair to which I applied a piece of tape and called the police asking them to please come and pick it up----it could be the suspect’s hair! Again, they responded, “We do things our way; we don’t have time for that”.

Finally, after returning to America and complaining to the Embassy, the police agreed to look at the hair and we fed-exd the shirt to the police. It was returned “tested” with the hair still in tact. Nice, right?

I do not even want to get into my school. Of course we know how hagwons are. All I will say, is that they deemed me to be too problematic to the school because they feared I would reveal where I worked and make them to have a bad reputation. When I was released from the hospital, I had made flyers to distribute throughout my neighborhood with a suspect description and I was told by my school and the police that I could not do so because it would make all Koreans look crazy. So, despite being promised I would have a job when I was completely, recovered, I never got the offer back.

After returning back to the USA, I am not aware of anything going on in the investigation. About 3 weeks after my attack, a Korean girl was found naked and murdered, dying from the same injuries I sustained and she only lived about 5 minutes from my house by walk. So after 1 month, the police requested I get a sketch of the suspect and started sending me pictures of sex offenders about 2 months after my attack. But of course, the mind is a great thing and tries to forget something like that, so making a sketch now is difficult.

Due to the recent string of serial rapes in Korea, I have taken it on myself to try to find out anyone who is arrested in case I may recognize the guy. After seeing a picture the Taejon serial rapist who was captured in Seoul in February, he seemed familiar to me and so I contacted the Embassy. They said the police determined it was not the same man who attacked me based on a DNA mismatch.

Oh, now they do have my perpetrator’s DNA? Up until this point, I was told they didn’t have anything. Suspicious is the fact that they will not give the embassy pictures of the man for me to identify. That is my story.

My goal is not to shock, not to expound hate on Korea or Korean people. My goal is to make us foreigners living in a seemingly “safe” country aware that even though these things do not appear in the papers, they can and do happen. More importantly, I am looking for ways I can help to get started programs for foreigners to provide safety education and resources. If you would be attacked, do you know enough Korean to call the police, or do you even know the police number?

If you do suffer an attack, there are no rape crisis lines or centers for foreigners. Finding a psychologist who speaks English is also difficult. We need to get together and make a positive change. Acknowledging that there is a problem is the first step. Now, let’s make a difference.

I know this post is long but I think the information provided in it is very important because I know I learned plenty from the writer's tragic experience and hopefully others did as well.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Well this is a personal Update, I havent done one in a while.

The school is ok. We have added another Korean Teacher and he is a male. I am so glad to have another guy there besides me.

We had a welcome to Work party for him on thursday. The boss lady kept buying beer and I kept drinking it. we had dinner at a place called the "BERKLEY." I actually like it. The food is aways good and its very close to where I live so it was all good. Then we went dancing and oh man did I dance like a fool. I was so glad that I do not have to go to work until 1430 the next day. Then I had Nicholes Birthday party on Saturday. I was a hurting pup.

We have wend 3-15 off, so I am going to go to Seoul and see if I can get a ticket for the IMAX film "V for Vendeta." they are also soon going to be playing the NASCAR 3-D film. I so want to se it again and see it in Korea. I wonder is they have any idea about NASCAR.

Next month I start Job hunting for June 2006. I will keep everybody up to date.

My washington Redskins have signed a few players so far in free agency. We have added, Adam Archuleta, Brandon Lloyd, Antwaan Randle El and Christian Fauria. I hope for a nice draft but with no #1 nor a #3. Looks like on draft day I do nada.

Still no g.f, I know whats new. Tommorrow is white day here in Korea. Its a day when the boys give the girls candy, so I have alot of candy to give to all of my students tommorrow. Just no luck with the ladies. Sad but it happens.

I have thought about doing another blog to go with my socius film reviews. Nothing yet, I am just kicking an idea in my head.

So far this year I have been watching, "The Shield" "24" "Lost" Everybody Hates Chris" "How I Met Your Mother" and starting tommorrow, "Sopranios"

I must sat 24 and the shield have been outstanding this season. Sad to say I cheer for the bad guy in the shield and the good guy in 24.

Spring training is on and the World baseball classic has the us vs Korea tommorrow, should be an intresting day.

Well this is an update on me so far. will tell more later.

Enjoy yourself its a celebration!

Well saturday we had a little party, The red soxs fan link on this website had her birthday. Her big idea was a Konglish shirt night. now for those who have no idea what that is just look above and you will read a shirt that in basic english makes no scense what so ever. Greer, the one on the left, is engaged to a nam named dan so when I saw the shirt I just dies laughing. Then A friend of Nicholes comes in and wears a blue version of the same shirt, I asked Dan, Is it hard out here for a pimp? We laughed about it. I always joke with Dan, will he ever play the lottery. He always states nope that he won the biggest lottery in his life when Greer fell in love with him.

You will see me wearing an ESPN logo shirt and Dans states bananas actual sizes from all over the world. It was given to him from Troy and Arwyn when they went to Siam. The shirt was a huge hit.

The first photo, is me, Nichole and her friend Mario. She has told me that I am Marios twin, we both love the Yankees and we are both GOP and we both hate the red soxs and both think that Nichole is awesome. So me and him hit it off very good. It was nice to meet a fellow Yankees and GOP person.

We had a nice party, we all got along and we had a great time.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Biracial couple goes prime time in South Korea GI, Korean wife hope TV segments combat negative stereotypes

By Franklin Fisher, Stars and StripesPacific edition, Monday, March 6, 2006


One fall day a few years ago, Army Sgt. Christopher Largent discovered an art gallery on the eighth floor of a department store where he was shopping in Daegu, South Korea.

Having studied fine arts before enlisting in the Army, he went in for a look at a ceramics exhibit.

He soon found himself talking to two young women who also were looking things over. One spoke some English, the other almost none.
The conversation started because of a genuine interest in ceramics, said Largent, 28, a personnel clerk at Camp Carroll with the 307th Integrated Theater Signal Battalion.

It took about 30 seconds for a voice inside his head to tell him that the woman who spoke some English was very attractive, and after about 20 minutes Largent sensed the interest might be mutual.

Honestly, though, I would be too chicken to even approach her for a date had her friend not suggested it, he said.

Her name was Yu-sung, and she shared his interest in art, having majored in ceramics at Daegu Catholic University. The next day she drove from Daegu to Waegwan, and they had lunch in a local restaurant.

Eight or so months later, in June 2003, they were married.

Not an uncommon tale of love and marriage but theirs will be one a lot of people will soon become intimate with. From Monday through Thursday, South Korean TV station KBS2 will chronicle their married life in its regularly scheduled program In Gan Geuk Jang, starting at 8:50 p.m.

It began with a January phone call to Yu-sung from a woman at KBS2 in Seoul, who said a neighbor the Largents never have learned who had suggested the couple as a possible TV subject.

The woman asked Yu-sung to e-mail her the same day with her and her husbands photos and a summary of how they met. A day later, a Daegu-based video crew on contract to KBS2 all but moved in with the Largents and filmed their mealtimes and housework, their shopping trips, visits to her parents, time at work. They spent about 18 days, 16 of them in actual filming.

The crew was friendly and the couple got along well with them. But the project had its pressures.

I was so uncomfortable, said Yu-sung, 26, who said she was self-conscious throughout.

I couldn't do anything in front of camera, even just kiss my husband, and just like normal thing like wash the dishes or cleaning home because I was so nervous, she said. Three strange guys following everywhere.

Her discomfort eventually wore off. But by then, the crew was pretty much wrapped up.

They told the Largents a payment of 1 million South Korean won (about $1,000) was in their future.

They hope the broadcasts will help erode negative stereotypes of marriages between South Koreans and U.S. servicemembers.
The Largents have their own stories to tell about that, too.

Like the occasional cab driver who's told Yu-sung she's attractive enough to have drawn any number of Korean suitors, so why did she marry Largent?

Or the incident around Christmas 2002 when the couple tried to enter a Daegu restaurant. An employee stopped them at the entrance and pointed to a blue and white sign that read in English: Foreigners not allowed. (So when I see this and when I hear a fool named A.... tell us that this never happens, its just funny)

I think the biggest thing that everyone will take away from this, regardless of their cultural background, is that people are people no matter where you're from, said Largent, and if you're coming to someone's country, you have to have a certain degree of openness.
I'm sure, he said, "Everyone will take away the fact that there are good and bad people regardless of the culture that you come from."

Thsi show will be on KBS2. I Still have no idea if I will watch this. He is stationed in Camp Carroll, its where I was stationed at from May 1990-Aug 1991 in the US Army. But all of this for $1,000. Hope that it was worth it.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Well, in an earlier post, I talked about Tuesday nights here in Korea. There is a club called the "Beer Hunter" A few of the local foreigners hang out. The beer is half price. There are 2 options, "A girl Beer" which is the small container for 1000 won and "Man Beer" which is a huge container and this cost is 2000 won.

We gather, we talk, we laugh about what we have seen here in Korea.

From left to right... back row. Damien (Canada) Me. (USA) Dan and Greer (New Zeland) Nichole (USA)

Front Row..Left to right... Troy and Alwyn (Australia) Ben (USA) Kendra and James (Canada)

I must be honest, this gathering has helped me in my stay here in Korea. We are all here for different reasons and I am glad to be sharing the same time line with these insane fools from all over the world.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Railway strike disrupts transport
Police and railway authorities threatened stern responses against striking transport workers yesterday as their walkout entered a second day, leaving millions of commuters and cargos stranded across the nation.

About half of the 25,510 member Korean Railway Workers' Union has joined in the action since Wednesday.

Disruption is expected to worsen as the nationwide truckers' union yesterday threatened to step up action from next Monday after negotiations over fees with cargo companies failed.

Adding to the tension, the nation's second largest umbrella labor organization continued its general strike against new labor reform bills.

Thousands of rail workers ended a joint rally in eastern Seoul yesterday morning after police threatened to break up their sit in by force, but continued with sporadic struggles in small groups.

The state run Korea Railroad Corp. even issued an ultimatum ordering workers to return to work by 3:00 p.m. or face punishment including dismissal. State prosecutors, who had earlier declared the walkout as illegal, issued an order to arrest 11 union leaders involved in the strike.
Cargos are left alone at a Busan train depot yesterday as a railway strike disrupted transportation. [The Korea Herald]

The government has invoked its authority for an emergency arbitration, under which any collective action is banned for a 15 day cooling off period.

Despite labor's firm stance, KORAIL said some 2,325 workers or 17 percent of demonstrators returned to work as of 3 p.m. and more are expected to follow suit.

However, most of the key workers such as drivers and engineers have still not returned to work, casting clouds on any hope for an early return to normalcy.

Subway service in Seoul dropped to 52 percent of normal operations, KORAIL said, as the walkout affected lines No. 1, 2 and 4, which are run in cooperation with KORAIL.
The running of KTX, the high speed train, and normal trains also fell to 34 percent and 16 percent, respectively, KORAIL said.

The railway strike also crippled cargo train services in cities across the nation, threatening to damage the export driven economy.

In Busan, the nation's second largest city, only 20 of 56 freight trains were in operation to carry out shipments yesterday.

Talks between the union and management failed again yesterday morning. The labor is demanding the reinstatement of dismissed laborers and an increase of personnel. KORAIL fired a combined 67 union workers who were involved in illegal strikes in the past. Management has said that the labor is demanding too much.

"We were not able to narrow the differences. Some issues were agreed on but the labor wants a package settlement," Yoo Jae young, a KORAIL official in charge of labor affairs, told reporters.
Despite the government's tough stance, labor leaders confirmed that they will continue to strike.
"The strike will likely extend for a longer period. We are aware that we will have to take responsibility for this illegal strike. Nevertheless, we are on a strike because the problems of KORAIL are too serious," KRWU's spokesperson, Jo Sang soo, told reporters.

The strike coincided with a general strike called by the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, the nation's second largest umbrella labor organization, against new labor reform bills.

The Ministry of Labor estimated that about 60,000 or 70,000 employees including those from Hyundai Motor and Kia Motor participated in the strike.

The general strike was triggered by a parliamentary committee's approval of bills on Monday which would allow companies to use temporary workers for up to two years after which they must be hired as permanent staff.
By Jin Hyun joo

Yesterday 2 March, I had the day off and I was going to take care of a minor problem is Seoul, sad to say I did not even need to go. I tried to take the train, no luck, so I took the BUS. It was an express bus from Daejeon to Seoul cost 12$, no thrills but it was a nice ride.

No service to Sontang nor Pyongtek, so think I wont be their for awhile. I will be in Seoul tommorrow so it looks like Bus once again. I ll leave early for a trtain bit if no such luck then the bus station is only 1 bus or taxi ride away.

This could get very intresting for the next few weeks.