Sunday, April 27, 2008

Two very good post from Michael at the Metropolitician. For those who know me, Me and Mike will never see eye to eye on a lot of things in our lives. We have different backgrounds, different ideas, different in many ways. In some things, we see exactly alike and this is why I have posted these 2 articles.

I would so much love to be able to teach history and to be able to help my students pass an AP exam or CLEP or DANTE (for college credit). I did Not know that it is now illegal to teach during school hours AP classes. To be honest, I am not surprised.

Last year I taught at a middle school of site and I loved it. Some of these kids were very smart and I could see them in Very good Korean High Schools. My supervisor told me that Woosong can not send any teachers because it is now Illegal. I am trying to teach English and the new presidents wants to increase English in the schools and now both of us Mike can't teach AP History nor can any of us teach in the school during normal class hours to help increase the English Knowledge. Seriously WTF?

At time I feel like John Adams, in 1776 musical, teaching here in Korea.

"Is anybody there? Does anybody care?
Does anybody see what I see?"

They want to me to quit; they say
John, give up the fight
Still to this failed English idea I say
Good night, forever, good night!
For I have crossed the Rubicon
Let the bridge be burned behind me
Come what may, come what may

Korean Foreign Language High Schools -- Heaven for Korean Students?

Oh, come on.

This is in response to the superficial puff piece written by the New York Times on the Korean school system. While the Times generally practices great journalism, the depth of inquiry in this piece was woefully inadequate, especially considering what a contested and troubled topic the education system in Korea is -- well, if you know very much about Korea, that is. (HT to the Marmot's Hole for posting on this one first!)

I taught at Daewon for a year-and-a-half before quitting in the middle of my contract (having an F-4 helps with that) because of me finally being faced with two roads -- participating in evil, or maintaining my sense of ethics. Beyond that, I can't elaborate. I've already waxed about it at my blog here and here.

Their rival institution, Waedae's boarding school in Yongin, recruited me once they learned I was quitting. I worked there for a year before choosing not to renew my contract after the Ministry of Education made it illegal for a foreigner to teach a non-language-based subject based pretty much entirely on a hack-attack job done on my school by a reporter from the Kyunghyang Shinmun because I was teaching an AP US History class taught during normal school hours. A disgrace to the nation! That made the morning radio news nationwide. Lovely.

I now teach at Ewha Girls Foreign Language High School, which is small and very much not a pressure cooker. I teach American History to about 20 girls, not 120 test terminators, which makes my life markedly easy. I'd never teach in a Daewon or Yongin again, since the kids' life is a living hell.

The reason I think the NYT article is superficial and lame is because it's just a recycling of the PR stats. The problem with these schools is that they apply the best aspects of the Korean system (test assassination) to the requirements of getting INTO American colleges (SAT, SAT II subject tests, and now the AP's which have become de facto required). The kids do remarkably well on these tests. But when they get to the American schools, they are woefully ill-prepared. But the schools don't have a vested interest in caring about that -- they just want their kids to get INTO famous schools, and it doesn't matter how they DO at them.

Daewon is one of the few schools that actually has the clout and money to attract sparkly foreigners and lets them teach a few "discussion-based" classes, which are, though, linked to an AP test of some kind. Still, though, most of the FLHS system in Korea is basically tests, tests, tests. One of the struggles in the FLHS has always been to actually teach them something substantial, rather than for the tests.

Now, I am in contact via chat and Facebook with many of my former Daewon students, whom I first met 3 years ago. They agree that their first year in American college was like getting hit with a Mack truck; I had always told them that it would -- "it's true for native speakers attending their own American colleges, so it'll be triple-true for you." They always kinda rolled their eyes. Now, they get it.

Anyway, I did what I could to prepare them, and it was always a struggle, fighting against the stream. Other teachers fought the same battle, and usually got attacked by the Korean teachers for it. Most of the foreign teachers at these schools quit after a year. When I was in Daewon and Yongin, I was not the first teacher at either school to quit before the year ended. Turnover rate is nearly 100% per year for foreign teachers. And Daewon paid an hourly rate of $100 per hour, average part-time teaching load 12-15 hours per week. How bad must it have been for people to quit, or not renew their contracts? Don't just do the math -- try to imagine the extreme suck of one's life to consider quitting a job that paid sometimes as much as $6,000 per month for (technically) half-time work.

Won't find that in the NYT article.

 Hanhakmoon Findingkorea Findingkorea16 Images Daewon Sleeping

Nor this pic of my Daewon kids taking the chance to do what they have so little time to do, which is sleeeeeeeeep.

Basically, your life sucks at these schools for 3 years, but the kids and parents swallow their pride and ire, since it is the fast-track to America's best schools. Period. That's the exchange. But it absolutely brings out the worst of the Korean school system in a soul-crushing nightmare of pain that many students realize only gets them to the door of the institution they wanted, but has woefully under-prepared them to make it through.

I can't believe the Times was comparing the SAT scores of Exeter and Daewon, playing into the "Asian powerhouse" myth. Scores aside, a school like Exeter prepares you to think, gives you a spectacular education. Because you're not spending all of your time sitting in a chair.

And if the Times reporter actually thinks THAT school approves of rock bands (or the cheer leading squad that was summarily crushed by the principal when I was there) or anything non-academic that isn't a 1-hour-per-week weekly meeting so the kids can put it down on their college apps as filler without it technically being a lie, I've got a bridge on the Han River to sell him.

And now, more grist for Daewon's PR and human test factory mill, since the NYT writer didn't think to insert nary a dollop of critical social context into the sweet and savory soufflé he was baking. Intentional or not, this piece on Daewon couldn't have been written better by a well-paid PR firm.

  1. They’re definitely acting out. In the classic sense. I used to work with kids like that at the alternative school, where they turn around surprisingly fast, relatively. Basically, they just have to be shown, for the first time, a responsible environment with adults in which the adults are not constantly scolding them and telling them they “can’t” or “you’re nothing” or some other form of constant negative.

    You hear it enough, well, it becomes true. And in my experience at the school, a lot of these girls are sexually abused, either by an older male relative or a stepdad. Or they simply go in this extreme direction as a way of rebelling — and given the ease in which you can mix burgeoning sexual curiosity with making a buck, say on the internet, well…

    You see how this goes. In an a way, I see it as Korean society being so rigid in terms of the lives of kids, it’s easier to rebel in prescribed ways. Curse, litter, date. Voila! Now, you’re a “bad kid” beyond hope! Now, you can look forward to being summarily kicked out of your school (as several of my kids had been, in middle school) and effectively ostracized and stigmatized by your elders. Turn your increased anger into increased efforts to lash out at this process. Rinse and repeat.

    Basically, our alternative school (which uses media to give kids something useful and later, marketable, to focus on and learn) had real counselors, with real backgrounds in social work (not homeroom teachers with a certificate) being extremely patient with the kids, until they realized that the adults were not going to yell at them and call them names, let alone hit them or worse. Some kids turn around; some don’t.

    One girl with whom I recently worked was a girl sorta like that. She chewed gum, thought she had sass, was loud, and cursed too much. And that was IN class. I could easily see her with her friends on the subway, egging each other on.

    But she took a love for photography for some reason, and she had an eye. Who knew? Well, that’s the point of the alternative school. For one kid, it might be photo; another video; another, tweaking pics in Photoshop; for another, 3-D animation.

    She was taking really bizarrely wonderful pics with her digital camera, and she was starting to get really possessive about using MY camera. Although handing this bouncy and too-carefree kid my camera and lens made me uncomfortable at first, she did treat the camera far differently than anything else, especially anyone else’s. She was ginger with it, and took time to take her bizarro-angle pictures with my wider lens.

    She wasn’t from a poor family, but from an average family that simply had been having trouble handling her. They bought her a camera, the same DSLR model I had, which I recommended she get now used, instead of the sparkly, newer-version of the same. She took too it, and is a photo nut last I checked (haven’t taught this semester).

    These kids can be helped far more easily than say, kids who are stuck in a subculture of drugs, gangs, guns, and other kinds of structural violence you see in the US. These kids just need to be provided an alternative path, instead of the “conform or die” path offered them in Korea. Unfortunately, the school I worked at serves about 10-15 kids at a time. That’s all they can handle, really.

    I’m glad you were able to see things from a broader perspective than the “punk kids! get off my lawwwwn!” many tend to see them from. And maybe someday, some of ya’ll would like to volunteer at a school like Guarantee it’ll be rewarding, albeit sometimes frustrating. Caveat: the more Korean you know, the better. Not for the adults, but for the kids, who generally have no English, given that most of them aren’t exactly the Korean wunderkind you hear about in the NYT. Anyway, whatever — I’m sure that the help would be appreciated, especially from foreigners…expensive foreigners.

    Although it would be likely not actually resulting in the kid learning any English on a real permanent level, anyone teaching English there would be vastly appreciated. It would be a madhouse trying to keep the kids focused, but you’d have fun and actually get to know the kinda kids Joe talked about in the subway. And you wouldn’t be speaking all that much English, anyway. It’d be just sort of another “teaser” for the one kid who might latch onto it, or have the experience with a foreigner spark another mental connection or jumpstart an interest. Media activities IN English would also be fun…

Thursday, April 17, 2008


10 Films Not Good Enough For DVD

by Jeff & Patrick

When "Waterworld" and "Showgirls" can claim DVDs of their own, it takes an especially bad movie to remain stuck on VHS in 2008. The following 10 films are not on DVD... and should probably remain that way.

Howard the Duck (1986)
It's difficult to believe this 1986 George Lucas-produced flop never landed on DVD. Not because the film is particularly good, but because it is so notoriously bad. Howard the Duck, a sci-fi comedy about a talking, anthropomorphic mallard who rescues a female rock musician (Lea Thompson), has risen (or fallen, depending on one's point of view) to the kind of beloved cult trash that's sent Ed Wood's Plan 9 From Outer Space or Showgirls to digital immortality. How could it not have? One scene has Howard threatening a gang of punks with "Quack Fu." Another has him pursuing an issue of "Playduck" magazine. Like The Star Wars Holiday Special (see below), the only thing keeping this piece of dubious cinematic history from fans' Netflix queues is George Lucas's pride. Proving once again the ability to entertain is insignificant next to the power of Lucasfilm Ltd.

Moonwalker (1988)
I know what you're thinking. This must be a joke entry, because surely a movie starring Michael Jackson as a magical gangster who can transform into a FUCKING SPORTS CAR must be available in every format there is. MJ's stock has been higher, but keep in mind a recent 25th anniversary re-release of Thriller still went platinum and a half. Throw a commentary track on Moonwalker and you've got a hit. Maybe whoever makes these decisions hasn't watched it in a while, and they forgot the part where Michael Jackson turns into a robot and fights Joe Pesci. I hope they're reading this, because that totally happens. This paragraph sounds like a Mad Libs, but I'm telling you that this is really a movie. You have to see it. Michael Jackson also transforms into a spaceship.

North (1994)
North, Rob Reiner's 1994 comedy about a child's search for new parents, may be the most baffling film missing from DVD. Although it garnered generally negative reviews -- including one of the most offended critiques of Roger Ebert's long, offended career (He "hated every simpering stupid vacant audience-insulting moment of it") the film has a star power missing from other VHS-only pictures. There may not be armies of Chuck Norris devotees demanding a Sidekicks 2-disc, but surely there are enough consumers today who'd be interested in this $40 million film starring Bruce Willis and Elijah Wood, regardless of how bad said film may be. The most likely explanations for North's DVD MIA is its commercial failure combined with its failure to remain in the public consciousness. Waterworld failed epically, but nobody will ever forget that film. The lesson? If you're movie's going to bankrupt Columbia Pictures, you better make damn certain Kevin Costner drinks his own piss in it.

Airborne (1993)
Airborne is the finest movie about rollerblading, a distinction it will likely hold for the foreseeable future. That's why it's such a shame that the easiest way to enjoy the film is building a time machine, traveling back to a Sunday afternoon in 1998, and waiting for it to come on TBS. Rollerblading's popularity has dropped to the exact wrong level; it's no longer popular, but it remains common enough that it's not laughable either. If this were an early-'90s movie about Pogs, everyone would have a DVD of the 2-disc SLAMMER Edition. Still, not being archived digitally for future generations is a cruel fate for a movie that stars young versions of Jack Black, Seth Green, and a guy who you think is Jonathan Brandis, but he isn't.

The Jerky Boys (1995)
It's hard to believe now, but there was once a time when not just any moron with a tape recorder and a YouTube account could distribute their prank phone calls to the world. Back in 1995 you had to leave that kind of thing to the professionals. Kamal and Johnny B, a.k.a. the "Jerky Boys," made an art form of vulgar prank calls. Their tapes were widely bootlegged and still sold 8,000,000 copies. At that point, Hollywood is required by law to give you a movie where you get into trouble with the mob. Apparently, they are just not required to re-release it in ten years. It's not all analog for Jerky Boys fans though. The original albums are available on CD and iTunes. Perhaps when movie studios are able to sell movies with no manufacturing costs, The Jerky Boys movie will once again be available.

Sidekicks (1992)
Sidekicks is so bad that even Chuck Norris's recent resurgence as the patron saint of irony is not enough to bring it to DVD, and this is a movie where he plays himself. It's the the story of a boy (played by actual Jonathan Brandis) who fantasizes about fighting bullies alongside Chuck Norris, over a decade before that kind of sentence was hilarious on the Internet. Maybe Columbia isn't releasing it on DVD because it's too silly, and they are only putting out DVDs of Chuck's more serious work like like Lone Wolf McQuade, Invasion USA, and all eight seasons of Walker, Texas Ranger.

Brain Smasher... A Love Story (1993)
Andrew "Dice" Clay enjoyed success as a stand-up comedian in the late '80s thanks to his studded leather jacket and charming takes on Mother Goose poems ("Hickory dickory dock, this bitch was sucking my cock"). Yet somehow Clay's nursery rhymes on oral sex didn't translate well enough into a 90-minute thriller to warrant a DVD. Although Brain Smasher... A Love Story's un-ironic plot involves a bouncer (Clay), a supermodel (Teri Hatcher), and ninjas (various Asian-American extras), the absence of its DVD can truly be attributed to the film's momentary nature. Like Carrot Top's Chairman of the Board or Tom Green's Freddy Got Fingered, Brain Smasher belongs to a unique sub-genre of films hastily produced to cash in on the novelty of a popular gimmick comedian. Sadly, the Diceman's stand-up popularly was waining by the arrival of the digital revolution, condemning Brain Smasher to VHS purgatory forever.

No Holds Barred (1989)
If the barely watchable Hulk Hogan vehicles Mr. Nanny and Suburban Commando can find their way past videocassette, any film headlined by the Hulkster not good enough for DVD must be particularly unbearable to watch. No Holds Barred is less of a dramatic feature and more of an attempt to parlay Hogan's popularity within the World Wrestling Federation into a successful feature film. Which is why Hogan's character happens to be a professional wrestler instead of any number of more original occupations available to the writers. Unfortunately Hogan discovered the hard way that, unlike the ring-side of SuperSlam '89, not all lines in a feature film can be shouted into Gene Okerlund's microphone while pointing your finger at the camera.

Meet the Deedles (1998)
Part mistaken-identity farce, part Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure check-cashing scheme, the only thing surprising about the absence of a Meet the Deedles DVD is how recent this film is. Unlike other films not on DVD, the digital revolution was well under way by the time Stew and Phil Deedle's bodacious adventure surfed its way to theaters. But then, timeliness was not a primary concern of Meet the Deedles. The film, which follows two surfing brothers (including Paul Walker) from Hawaii to Yellowstone National Park where they stumble into a pair of park ranger positions, relies for its humor on the kind of "most excellent" Southern California youth stereotype that hadn't been popular since Keanu Reeves hit 30. In '98, kids were more interested in beating Goldeneye 007 on DIFFICULT than hanging 10 or being "gnarly." This, combined with a bizarre climactic scene in which the brothers somehow surf down the Yellowstone River, more than explain why Meet the Deedles's home video format is as dated as its characters.

The Star Wars Holiday Special (1978)
Casual Star Wars fanatics condemn 1999's Episode I-The Phantom Menace as the bastard child of George Lucas's Holy Sextilogy. But the films' true devotees know Lucas has an even greater intergalactic skeleton in his closet far, far away: The Star Wars Holiday Special. Released two years before The Empire Strikes Back, the Holiday Special answered questions that had been torturing fans since 1977: What's the perfect gift to sell to an Imperial Officer? What kind of virtual pornography do adolescent Wookies prefer? When would Bea Arthur make her first appearance at the Mos Eisley Cantina? Shockingly, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill all reprise their roles for the show -- unlike creator George Lucas, whose expressed personal hatred for the CBS-produced special explain Lucasfilm Ltd.'s refusal to release a DVD or go "Special Edition" on it, as Lucas so often likes to do. There are some mistakes no amount of digital re-mastering can correct.
Korean Lima Time Comes to an Abrupt End

Korean Lima Time Comes to an Abrupt End


Jose Lima became the first mercenary casualty of the young 2008 season as the 36-year-old hurler was released by the Kia Tigers Wednesday afternoon.

Lima’s arrival in Korea was met with great fanfare, but he struggled mightily in his last two starts. The final straw apparently came Tuesday evening against the LG Twins, a game in which he surrendered eight runs on eight hits in just 3 2/3 innings. Kia is currently in last place having won just four of 15 games.

He leaves Korea not having won a single game, as the headline on the Korean Web portal Naver gleefully reads: “Not one win gathered…Lima is Kicked Out!”


Korean baseball teams are known for giving foreign players short leashes, but Lima’s still comes as a bit of a surprise. Expectations of the Tigers were high going into 2008, in large part because the team had four players with major league experience –Choi Hee-seop, Seo Jae-weong, Wilson Valdez and Lima.

Limatime final line in Korea: 0-1, 21 2/3 inn, 28 hits, 15 ER, 7K, 6BB, 6.23 ERA, 1.57 WHIP, 2.91 K/9, OBA .322

Sunday school

The Sunday School teacher was describing how Lot's wife looked back and turned into a pillar of salt, when little Jason interrupted, "My Mummy looked back once, while she was driving," he announced triumphantly, "and she turned into a telephone pole!"

A Sunday school teacher was telling her class the story of the Good Samaritan, in which a man was beaten, robbed and left for dead. She described the situation in vivid detail so her students would catch the drama. Then, she asked the class, "If you saw a person lying on the road side, all wounded and bleeding, what would you do?"

A thoughtful little girl broke the hushed silence, "I think I'd throw up."

A Sunday school teacher asked, "Johnny, do you think Noah did a lot of fishing when he was on the Ark ?"No," replied Johnny. "How could he, with just two worms."

A Sunday school teacher said to her children, "We have been learning how powerful kings and queens were in Bible times. But, there is a higher power. Can anybody tell me what it is?"

one child blurted out, "Aces!"

Nine-year-old Joey, was asked by his mother what he had learned in Sunday school. "Well, Mom, our teacher told us how God sent Moses behind enemy lines on a rescue mission to lead the Israelites out of Egypt . When he got to the Red Sea , he had his army build a pontoon bridge and all the people walked across safely. Then, he radioed headquarters for reinforcements.

They sent bombers to blow up the bridge and all the Israelites were saved.""Now, Joey, is that really what your teacher taught you?" his mother asked. "Well, no, Mom. But, if I told it the way the teacher did, you'd never believe it!"

A Sunday School teacher decided to have her young class memorize one of the most quoted passages in the Bible; Psalm 23. She gave the youngsters a month to learn the verse. Little Rick was excited about the task, but, he just couldn't remember the Psalm.

After much practice, he could barely get past the first line.On the day that the kids were scheduled to recite Psalm 23 in front of the congregation, Ricky was so nervous. When it was his turn, he stepped up to the microphone and said proudly, "The Lord is my Shepherd, and that's all I need to know."

The preacher's 5 year-old daughter noticed that her father always paused and bowed his head, for a moment, before starting his sermon. One day, she asked him why. "Well, Honey," he began, proud that his daughter was so observant to of his messages, "I'm asking the Lord to help me preach a good sermon.""How come He doesn't do it?" she asked.

A rabbi said to a precocious six-year-old boy, "So your mother says your prayers for you each night? Very commendable. What does she say?"The little boy replied, "Thank God he's in bed!"

During the minister's prayer, one Sunday, there was a loud whistle from one of the back pews. Gary's mother was horrified. She pinched him into silence and, after church, asked, " Gary , whatever made you do such a thing ?"Gary answered, soberly, "I asked God to teach me to whistle, And He just then did!"

A pastor asked a little boy if he said his prayers every night. "Yes sir,"the boy replied."And, do you always say them in the morning, too?" the pastor asked. "No sir," the boy replied. "I ain't scared in the daytime."

One particular four-year old prayed, "And forgive us our 'trash baskets' as we forgive those who put trash in our baskets."

When my daughter, Kelli, was 3, she and my son, Cody, would say their nightly prayers, together.

As most children do, we have to bless every family member, every friend,and every animal (current and past).For several weeks, after we had finished the nightly prayer,

Kelli would say, "And all girls."As this soon became part of her nightly routine, to include this at the end, my curiosity got the best of me and I asked her,"Kelli, why do you always add the part about all girls?"

Her response, "Because we always finish our prayers by saying 'All Men'!"

Little Johnny and his family were having Sunday dinner at his Grandmother's house. Everyone was seated around the table as the food was being served. When little Johnny received his plate, he started eating right away."Johnny wait until we say our prayer.""I don't have to," The boy replied."Of course, you do," his mother insisted. "We say a prayer, before eating,at our house."

That's our house," Johnny explained. "But this is Grandma's house and she knows how to cook."


You can’t make up stuff like this. It’s like living in an irony-free zone sometimes.

In the first episode of season 2 of CGV TV’s “Sexy Mong” series (think Korean adult comedy meets Charlie’s Angels), the Sexi Mong girls — including Djamilya and her continued oral fixation — head to that den of inequity known as Hongdae, where they witness foreign men and Korean women doing the “bubi bubi dance” and hear the tale of one women who’d recently fallen victim to the evil deeds of a foreign man.

Or, as the Segye Ilbo put it:

The first episode of “Sexy Mong Returns,” a four-part series to run every Wednesday and Thursday starting from April 23, is already drawing attention as its deals with an episode involving sexual assault by foreign English teachers, something that has been a social issue for some time.

Well, at least the chicks are fly


Stop Westernizing Korea, Imperialist English Teachers and Businessmen!

And in the KT, English teacher Steve Schertzer in Busan tells English teachers — and businessmen — to stop Westernizing Koreans. Here’s some of it:

It is no secret that many of the foreign English teachers come here with an agenda.

Like the U.S. government, which unabashedly send troops to different nations to spread democracy, many native English teachers here shamelessly indoctrinate Korean children and adults (especially girls and women), into the Western point-of-view by bringing into the classroom ideas and modes of behavior that should be considered out-of-bounds for a native English teacher in a foreign country.

Examples of this indoctrination are native English teachers in hagwon (private language institutes) and universities “advising” Korean women on how to leave their husband or boyfriend, to English teachers who brazenly bring feminist writings, revolutionist literature, and material which openly advocates radical social change into a public school classroom with the intention of disseminating this to impressionable 13 and 14 year old boys and girls.

A recent thread on a teachers and expatriates’ Web site in Korea will attest to this. Much of this material is not only inappropriate for Korean middle school students, it’s offensive. Any native English teacher who does this should be considered a missionary and a cultural imperialist who seeks to undermine the values of their host country.

Read the rest on your own.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Whi did the attack?

Were Chinese Agents Behind Olympic Torch Wheelchair Attack?

Before the Olympic torch relay Mr. Ching was seen marching with the Red Chinese supporters in Paris...

...But, during the event he attacked the torch-carrying woman in the wheelchair while wearing the Tibetan flag.
Did the Chinese stage the attack to gain public sympathy?
Big Lizards has more on this story and Mr. Ching.
The attacks may have backfired.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

You've been in TEFL too long when...

You’ve been in TEFL too long when…

Alex Case has a MEME related to TEFL going. I'm copying it here and then adding my own to the list.
  1. You laminate your shopping lists
  2. When you have a house or family meeting, you ask people to discuss the issues in pairs first
  3. Two thirds of your favourite teaching books are out of print
  4. The worksheets at the bottom of your pile of things to try have started to decompose
  5. You speak to your family with Elementary level English
  6. Your foreign students teach you about the latest music from back home
  7. You even try to elicit your proposal of marriage - “What do we call it when a man and …”
  8. You've been in your host country longer than your students have been alive
  9. When you return to your home country it annoys you to no end that people are speaking English everywhere and you can't tune it out
  10. when you return to your home country, you get reverse culture shock
  11. You correct everyone's grammar, even when it's not wrong
  12. you know more acronyms than anyone should ever know
  13. you know more than 17 different fun ways to re-seat a large group of people
  14. you have more non-native English speaking friends than native speaker friends
  15. You look at English as a means to make money, not to communicate
  16. you can easily explain the difference between the simple past and the present perfect
  17. going to work in the morning makes you want to cry.
  18. backpacker is a term of derision and scorn

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Sunday, April 6, 2008

New Coreana Nazi video pretty much the same as the old Coreana Nazi video.

Just saw the revised, Jew-friendly Coreana ad on OnStyle, and they did change the "Hitler couldn't even hold east and west" (roughly) to "Nobody could hold east and west." After getting their name dragged through the mud by CNN, ABC, USA Today, the Associated Press, and every other paper and blog that picked up the story . . . THAT'S how Coreana responds? By changing one word? How on earth can that be considered even remotely appropriate? After writing me to take down the youtube videos, and issuing a mess of excuses to the Associate Press, it's quite clear that they JUST . . . DON'T . . . GET IT and, as expected, have no idea whatsoever what all the fuss is about. As if that weren't apparent from the decision to shoot those ads in the first place. Here's how Seo Sang-hee, a representative from the ad agency who did the commercial and a woman who messaged me earlier, responded to criticism of the initial ads:

A Korad official, Seo Sang-hee, confirmed the ad was meant to invoke a Nazi soldier and Hitler, which she said symbolize "revolution" in keeping with the lotion's "revolutionary" dual functions.

Seo said the commercial was not designed to promote Hitler, but rather the idea that the cosmetics will succeed in both East and West, which Hitler failed to do.

And here's what I don't get. From the same CNN article:
However, company spokesman Kim Yoon-oh said the slogan has already changed to: "No one has ever had the East and West." The phrase was meant to boast of the product's dual moisturizing and calming effects.

The company said it had not received the Wiesenthal Center complaint, but Kim said concerns of potential controversy prompted the slogan change before the ad began airing in February.

The commercial still features the same militaristic imagery, but Kim said Coreana was not aware of the Nazi-style logo on the model's cap. He said the costume was selected by a stylist affiliated with Korad, a Seoul-based firm that produced the commercial.

The ad was clearly not altered back in February, and the use of "Hitler" is only part of the problem. The uniform, the background noise, the German language, and the, um, bombing campaign are all in extremely poor taste, and make the setting almost instantly recognizable as Nazi Germany. As to whether the company received the Simon Weisenthal Center complaint, who knows. Somebody obviously tipped them off to the videos on youtube---though I wonder if Coreana has moved to take them off Naver and Daum---so somebody obviously must have been aware of the media hoopla, and somebody must have been saavy enough to navigate English-language websites. Coreana does have an English-language portion on its site, but I have to wonder if they were even capable of interpreting the Simon Weisenthal Center complaint letter. And if they did understand the words, would such a motion even translate culturally to compel them to drop an ad campaign? A single letter doesn't seem very persuasive, and as I said before, as a primarily domestic company, they are fairly insulated against a little bad press overseas. A letter from an unknown foreign entity probably carried as much weight to Korad and Coreana as their Korean-language letters did to me.

And here's another thing. If you watch the "making" video for another Coreana commercial featuring actress Park Jin-hee and the 녹두 line of cosmetics, you'll see a white woman in some position of authority, and you'd wonder who was behind the cameras for these latest ads.

Well, whatever, fuck 'em. Spread the word to whomever you were complaining to before, and let them know that nothing has really changed. Get the Simon Wiesenthal Center back on the phone. If anybody finds a new version of the commercial on Naver, please put it on youtube and pass it around.

You can tell that I'm still pretty much bed-ridden because I have time enough to stare at Park Jin-hee write so much these days.

Coreana wants the ads removed from Youtube.

Got back from work yesterday to find a couple of messages to my youtube account, regarding the two Nazi-themed cosmetic commercials. I wasn't sure what they were, although they did seem rather formal-sounding. A couple of posters on Dave's gave them a read through and told me that the gist of the messages were that in response to the Simon Wiesenthal Center protest and the media coverage, the ad will be changed from "Hitler couldn't hold east and west" to "Nobody could hold east and west." Thus, they would like the old advertisements taken down.

One of the messages was from Seo Sang-hee, a Korad representative who appeared in the article that ran on this topic. An excerpt:

A Korad official, Seo Sang-hee, confirmed the ad was meant to invoke a Nazi soldier and Hitler, which she said symbolize "revolution" in keeping with the lotion's "revolutionary" dual functions.

Seo said the commercial was not designed to promote Hitler, but rather the idea that the cosmetics will succeed in both East and West, which Hitler failed to do.

Are you kidding me? Why not just use Rain? *cough* Anyway, here are the two messages I received. They are in Korean, so they're off limits to a lot of us. They refer to "Solitary" or "SolitaryThrush," the name I used on youtube (from Whitman). I've taken out cell phone numbers, but that's it. Editorializing to follow.

From Seo Sang-hee:
Solitary님께서 올리신 동영상 <코리아나 화장품 -- 녹두 28앰플> 광고를 대행하고 있는 광고대행사 KORAD에서 본 동영상과 관련하여 Solitary님께 아래와 같이 협조를 의뢰 드리고자 합니다.

Solitary님께서 올리신 동영상 <코리아나 화장품 -- 녹두 28앰플> 광고 파일과 관련하여
해당 기업인 코리아나 화장품의 기업 이미지에 부정적인 영향을 미칠 수 있는 소지가 있음을 알려드립니다.
먼 저, Solitary님께서 올리신 광고는 현재 방영되고 있는 광고물 제작 이전에 만들어진 제작물입니다. 방송 광고로 온 에어 하기에는 부적합한 부분이 있어 사전에 이를 수정한 광고물로 현재 방송되고 있음에도 불구하고 현재 온라인 상에서 유포되어 있는 해당 동영상으로 인해 현재 광고주가 곤란한 상황이 발생하였습니다. 구체적으로, 이스라엘 대사관으로부터 '독일군의 유태인 학살'과 관련된 부정적 이미지의 역사적 인물을 광고에서 표현 대상물로 활용함으로써 유태계 국민들의 정서에 부정적 영향을 미치는 결과를 초래하였다는 항의를 받고 있습니다.
이는 광고의 본 제작 의도와는 전혀 다른 방향으로 광고를 해석하는데 따른 결과이며, 이로 인하여 특정 기업(코리아나 화장품)의 이미지에 매우 부정적으로 작용할 수 없음을 알려드리는 바입니다.
Solitary님의 의도와는 무관하여 올리신 동영상으로 인하여 발생되는 이와 같은 문제가 확대되지 않도록 혜량하여 주실 것을 부탁드립니다.
더불어 이와 관련하여 자세한 사항에 대해서는 아래 연락처로 문의하여 주시기 바랍니다.

문의) KORAD 서상희 부장

And from one of the folks in charge of the ad campaign:
저는 코리아나화장품의 '녹두28앰플'광고를 대행하고 있는
광고대행사 코래드의 원현정입니다.
죄송한 말씀입니다만
SolitaryThrush님께서 4월3일 올려주신 코리아나 화장품의
'녹두28앰플' TV CF와 관련하여 삭제를 요청드립니다.
카피 내용중 부적절한 문구가 있어
현재 수정된 카피로 CATV에서 방영중에 있습니다.

문제가 된 카피는 '히틀러도 동과서를 다 갖지는 못했다'로
현재는'그 누구도 동과서를 다 갖지는 못했다'로
이와 관련, 유태계 관련 단체로 부터 항의가 접수 된바
신속히 해당 동영상을 삭제하여 주실것을 부탁드리오니
협조하여 주시기 바랍니다.

코래드 캠10팀
[number deleted]

I've decided to post them because I find them timely and newsworthy, and because I find some disconnect between the uproar and the response. The "uproar" isn't happening in Korea among Koreans, or even in Asia, but rather among a small minority of foreigners here, a special interest group, and overseas media outlets. Haven't seen any mention yet in the media over here. I suspect that most Koreans would find nothing wrong with the ad at all, and simply rewording the text, which is splashed over a woman clearly made up to resemble a Nazi officer, is not a satisfactory response in the least. Moreover, has there been any response made in English---to reach a global audience---aside from the translation provided in the CNN article?

I don't recall much change happening after the protests of the Nazi bars and the bestselling comic book "Far Countries, Near Countries." Nazi bars are still around, and the comic books are still in circulation and as popular as ever. And those are bigger and more flagrant displays of National Socialism and anti-Semitism than these 30-second ads. All the while, Koreans criticize textbooks sympathetic to Japanese occupation, or become furious whenever a Japanese politician visits the Yazakuni Shrine, or get involved in massive campaigns to alter maps or "correct" history. Not to belittle those first two issues---I totally belittle the third---but how about a little perspective, and a little awareness that the man who failed in the cosmetics business is the same one who was allied to those cursed Japanese. But in all seriousness, the lack of perspective and the extreme lack of sensitivity to world history is staggering. I wish I could say this was an isolated bout of ignorance, but as we've seen, this is something that comes up again and again and again. Whether it is anti-Semetic and racist comic books (here and here), or likening the burning of a national treasure to the September 11th attacks, or running a humorous advertisement with bin Laden's likeness shortly after 9/11/01, or the use of blackface to emphasize the ugliness of a singing group, or the relentless scapegoating of foreign English teachers, or more "run of the mill" racist jabs found in the newspapers with regularity (like this or this or this), the negative views held by some Koreans toward foreigners and foreign cultures is something that needs to be examined in earnest.

But, I'd be very surprised if anything comes of this. Coreana serves domestic customers primarily, just like the Hitler bars and those comic books, so worldwide outrage will have little effect on the company itself, but would rather sully (perhaps) the image of the country that produces and condones such material. Moreover, nothing usually happens when foreigners---who "don't understand Korean culture" anyway---have anything negative to say about Korea. All the more bizarre an attitude considering how hypersensitive South Korea is to its image overseas. These types of headlines aren't good for anybody over here . . . I just wish Koreans didn't have to be guilted into being more historically or globally aware, or always had to be explicitly told that things like the Holocaust and slavery were terrible things and are kinda sensitive issues for a lot of people, or that things like nigger, black face, or the stereotype of the powerful, omnipotent Jew aren't things you really should be playing around with.

Anyway, the ads will stay up until somebody takes them down.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Nazis and cosmetics go well together. *Videos embedded*

Scroll down for updates (latest April 5, 2:30 pm).

Found a couple of commercials for Coreana, a cosmetics company over here. According to some of the scholars on Dave's ESL Cafe, the text in the commercials says something about Hitler's inability to fight a war on both fronts, and relates that to the make-up's strength. Okay, there are no blood flags flying, but nevertheless I'm not sure why Nazi imagery and Hitler references are considered appropriate in 21st-century Korea. Anyway, I finally figured out how to capture and embed them:

Sitting on the desk.

With the Nazi hat.

Or, you can watch them where I found them, here and here. And if that doesn't work, you can find them by navering 코리아나히틀러, which is how they're labeled on the Naver blogs I found.

And, welcome visitors from Planet Dave's. You might also be interested in the Nazi mural I found in downtown Gyeongju.

* Update 1: One Free Korea has an excerpt of a letter from the Simon Wissenthal Center to Coreana. I don't recall previous campaigns against Hitler Bars or anti-Semetic comic books having any impact, so we'll see if anything comes of this. Hitler Bars or best-selling comic books were much more prominent targets, and have survived in spite of a little negative publicity in the English-language world, whereas I've never even seen these month-old commercials run on TV, and am not sure a company like Coreana will feel any pinch from Western protests. All about raising awareness, though, and collecting evidence on Korea's bizarre race ideology, which was the whole point of this post anyway.

I'm sure this will all be explained away with a half-hearted apology, and no action will come of it. If the ad executives even understand why what they did was wrong, I'd be very surprised. This is a part of the world very ignorant of world history, and a part of the world that likes Nazis for, among other reasons, their sense of style.

* Update 2: In the German news now, on An excerpt from an article on the protest by the Simon Wiesenthal Center:
Zudem habe man deutlich machen wollen, dass die Creme sowohl im Osten als auch im Westen Erfolg haben werde — was Hitler nicht geschafft habe.

There's also mention on the Simon Wiesenthal Center site here.

* Update 3 (April 4, 22:24): On the front page of

* Update 4 (April 5, 14:30): Coreana wants the ads taken down because they have decided to change the wording from "Hitler . . . " to "Nobody . . . "

* Update 5 (April 5, 19:15): In Belgium.

Thursday, April 03, 2008


SI Vault

Texas Western


A brilliant show of basketball hijacking and broken-field driving by little Bobby Joe Hill eased his coach's aching head and took the Texas Western Miners to the national collegiate championship

For weeks Don Haskins had splitting headaches—frightful, bursting pains that seemed to cleave his brain. The closer Texas Western (see cover) came to the national basketball championship, the worse the headaches became. Perhaps his suffering was attributable to the implausibility of it all, for near the end Haskins really began to wonder if maybe he wasn't knocking destiny just a little bit out of joint. He savored the situation, of course. He loved it. But now and then he would stop to muse on the "once in a lifetime" aspect, toying with the idea, mulling the whole amazing thing over in his aching mind. Did this happen to Jack Fleck? Or Roger Maris? What was Henry Moreno thinking when he held Dark Star up over Native Dancer?

For here, at the end, was Don Haskins—a young coach at a school that had never before even challenged for a national title in any sport—standing brazenly in the way of Kentucky and Adolph Rupp, a combination that spread-eagles both the history and glory of college basketball. Not only that, but Kentucky '66 was really a team touched by fate, a team overlooked by nearly everyone before the season, but everybody's favorite now.

Not that Texas Western had exactly been glorified. No Miner player had made an all-district team, much less an All-America. But the team just kept on winning and finally met Kentucky in the finals. And instead of Adolph Rupp winning his fifth national title, Don Haskins won his first. "I'm just a young punk," Haskins said. "It was a thrill playing against Mr. Rupp, let alone beating him."

The beating was sound as well as thrilling. Kentucky was a worn, haggard ball club when it faced Texas Western Saturday at College Park, Md., but that was no alibi, for Texas Western had come through a hard season, too. Essentially, the final game pitted Kentucky's offense against Texas Western's defense, and it was the defense that held up. After only three days east of the Mississippi, Haskins and his Miners returned to El Paso with Texas' first national basketball title.

They had arrived on Thursday, St. Patrick's Day. Besides the headaches, Haskins had also been restless, sleeping uncomfortably amid the distractions. When a friend approached him during the nonstop flight from El Paso to Washington, Haskins said, "Hi, when did you get on?" Somebody gave him a 20-peso gold piece made into the shape of a money clip, and all the players received green string ties, which they looped about their necks. "My name's not Mick Shed, but I'll wear one anyway," said Forward Nevil (The Shadow) Shed. At their motel in College Park, which they shared with Duke, the Miners were like interlopers. The Duke fans overran the place. A huge banner, LET'S GO, DUKE, hung across the front windows.

A few minutes down the Beltway in Silver Spring, the Kentucky Wildcats already were ensconced in a motel. Pat Riley wore a fuzzy little shamrock in his lapel. "Conley's Irish, too," he said, "but he doesn't make as much of it as I do." If Riley resembled a happy Hibernian, Larry Conley didn't. He was a sick Hibernian. "The only green I've got is down in here," he said, coughing and pointing to his chest.

Like Bob Verga, Duke's star shooter, who just that morning had been released from the hospital, Conley had been ill all week. In fact, the whole Kentucky team was tired. Only Rupp, a remarkable old man hungry for his fifth NCAA championship, remained eager for the last two games of the season.

Haskins had a healthy team and an easier semifinal game. (TW played Utah, while Kentucky met Duke.) Still, Haskins was edgy. He yelled at Shed through much of practice, and even benched Bobby Joe Hill in disgust. "Isn't this the laziest bunch you've ever seen?" he asked. There is no pretense about Haskins. He is a Smokey Bear of a man, who walks in a shuffle, his feet pointed out. His wife was along, but Don has an understanding with Mary Haskins that when she goes on a basketball trip, she must stay away from him. He was rooming in Maryland with Bill Cornwall, an El Paso construction-supply executive, who is the team's lucky charm. Cornwall missed one road trip this year—to Seattle—and that was the only game Texas Western lost. After dinner on Thursday with Cornwall, Haskins agreed to take some sleeping pills, and he had his first good night's rest in weeks. Over in Silver Spring the Kentuckians were up much of the night caring for Larry Conley, who had no rest at all.

But Friday was to be Kentucky's day. Conley got out of bed around noon to take a walk with Spike Kerns, the Kentucky trainer. In College Park, Bob Verga was stirring "for a little sunshine," too. By now Rupp and his assistant, Harry Lancaster, had decided that if both invalids could play, sick Conley would guard sick Verga.

Conley came back from his walk with Kerns. His fever of 102° the night before had responded to treatment with what Rupp called "goose oil"—that's Vick's Vaporub in your neighborhood drugstore. But Conley had lost four pounds and a lot of strength, and it still hurt to sit down because of all the shots he had received.

Rupp called to check on Conley and then went to Washington to accept various Coach of the Year awards from an assemblage of basketball writers. Although other coaches spoke, too, Haskins made a particular hit with the story of how he got out of coaching girls' basketball. "I was tired of it," he explained, "so near the end of the season I suggested one day we scrimmage skins and shirts. I was coaching the boys the next year." His Texas Western players were out seeing the Capitol and the Washington Monument. They had hoped to have an audience with another Texan, but L.B.J. was busy.

The Kentucky cheerleaders were luckier. Kentucky Senator John Sherman Cooper had them over for lunch, and who should turn up at the next table but the man from U.N.C.L.E., Robert Vaughn. Crossing party lines and ignoring all the Senators, the girls swarmed around Vaughn.

Haskins was beginning to feel a little like those Senators. "I wonder," he said, on the way back to College Park, after sharing the floor with Rupp, "I really wonder whether he knows who I am yet. Oh, well," he shrugged, lighting another cigarette, "maybe he will by tomorrow night."

Rupp, in turn, was concerned only with Duke and a game that nearly everyone presumed would be the real championship test: whoever won would have no trouble with the western contender. At the start Kentucky rushed to a 23-14 lead. Conley hit his first shot, but in a a few minutes he began to gasp and took himself out. Verga went to the Duke bench soon after and he was never himself in this game. His illness had robbed him of the spring in his legs, and the power for the jump shot that had made him Duke's 19.2 scorer over the season. He made only one jumper and had four points in the game. "No spring, no bounce, no life," he said afterward. But Jack Marin, along with Center Mike Lewis, moved Duke back into the lead. Rupp tried to stop the Blue Devils with a one-three-one zone, but Duke shot that to bits quickly, and Kentucky hurried back to a man-to-man. Don Haskins, whose team had no shooters in Duke's class, was the most interested observer in the field house. He began to figure, correctly, that if Kentucky won and the Miners won, Texas Western would see that one-three-one zone in the finals.

The second half was a seesaw, until finally Riley and Louie Dampier put together a fast break that moved Kentucky ahead by four points with 3:31 left. The battle was even from there until Duke missed a good shot two minutes later. Tommy Kron got the rebound and pitched it out to Conley, who was moving up the middle on a three-on-two fast break. "I saw the Duke guys flare out just a little," he said later. He drove all the way in with virtually his last breath to give Kentucky an insurmountable six-point lead. "That was the tough one, that was the tough one," Vic Bubas said. Three times in four years Bubas had led his Duke team to the final four, only to lose.

Haskins' team, as expected, beat Utah, 85-78. All that kept Utah in contention was Jerry Chambers, probably the best player in the tournament. He made 38 points against the Miners, the most scored against them since Haskins arrived five years ago. When Haskins' four big men—Dave Lattin, Shed, Harry Flournoy and Willie Cager—got into foul trouble, he brought in Jerry Armstrong, and Armstrong came closer to stopping Chambers than the regulars had. The Miners won easily, but they were not happy. "The officials called it like a girls' game," said Lattin—Big Daddy D—who fouled out. "Baby fouls," said Shed. "They called baby fouls."

Haskins also was mad at the officials, and at his players as well. His head still hurt. He did pause to kiss his wife at the motel but then went off with Cornwall to have a few beers in his room. Suddenly, from the parking lot, there were loud, raucous noises that turned out to belong to some University of Maryland students with a few beers of their own. They were carousing aimlessly, but Haskins, worried that they would keep his players awake, invited them in. And then, through the early morning hours of the day he was to become coach of the national champions, Haskins sat and drank beer and made small talk with half a dozen strange kids. They liked him and listened to him, and when they left he gave them a few beers to take out. They went quietly, the Miners slept, and Haskins leaned back with a last beer and a thought. "Once in a life-time," he said. "You know, this is once in a lifetime." It was pointed out that Haskins was young and would have another team in the championship. "No," he said. "No chance. Mr. Rupp is 64, and he made it a lot of times, but it's probably going to be just once in a lifetime for me."

Saturday was Texas Western's day, and it was the one that counted. It was to end in El Paso with bonfires and orange bunting all over town and two riot squads to calm down the homefolks. In Maryland the band played Miners Fight over and over, and they all screamed "We're No. 1." Haskins got more aspirin for his head and smoked more cigarettes and said. "This may never happen to me again." Before the game Haskins let his players do as they pleased—no chalk talks or strategy sessions. He had one surprise in store for Kentucky but planned to stick with his basic game, which is man-for-man on defense and a loose free-lance attack. Big Daddy D Lattin, Western's intimidator at center, slept most of the day, stirring only for meals and a chat with Bobby Joe Hill's female cousins. Harry Flournoy, the team's top rebounder, nursed a sore knee. Willie Cager's pretty girl friend, Roselle Leader, came down from New York to watch Willie in the finals.

The Kentucky players also lolled about, marking time until they could file onto the team bus. The manager, Mike Harreld, counted them, just to be sure, before boarding himself. Harreld carried an extra suit with him, complete with shirt and tie, all hanging in a plastic bag. If Kentucky won, he expected to be thrown into the shower.

As Haskins had anticipated, Kentucky was planning to use the one-three-one zone. Haskins' surprise for Rupp was a three-guard lineup. Hill, 5 feet 9, and Orsten Artis, 6 feet 1, were the regular backcourt starters, and he decided to use 5-foot-6 Willie Worsley in place of big Shed, to get more speed in against the very speedy Wildcats. All three played the whole game.

In the Kentucky locker room Rupp asked, "Who's captain tonight?" Somebody said Riley was.

"It's his birthday tomorrow," Conley said.

"What?" asked Rupp.

"It's Pat's birthday tomorrow," Conley repeated.

"All right then, let's have a birthday present for him," Rupp said, and then they sat and waited for the consolation game to end. Rupp put on his brown jacket. He believes brown suits are lucky. He also thinks it's lucky if he finds a bobby pin, and last year, the worst year he ever had at Kentucky, the players took to planting bobby pins in his path. This year such deceits were unnecessary. "Duke beat Utah by two," Mike Harreld said, rushing into the Wildcat dressing room, and the team jumped up and ran out on the floor to try to win a fifth championship for Adolph Rupp.

It was a lost cause almost from the start. Kentucky's shooting failed in the face of the tough Miner defense, and even the shots the Wildcats made were individual tributes to Dampier's and Riley's skill. Haskins had been saying his team was capable of better defense than it had shown for weeks. In the finals Texas Western proved that was true.

Midway through the first half, the score was tied 9-9 when TW made a foul shot. And then came the most significant sequence of the tournament. Hill, way over on the right side, stole the ball from Kron, dribbled half the court and scored. Dampier brought it back up, looked to Hill at midcourt, switched left, and there was Hill, waiting. Cleanly, Bobby Joe snapped the ball off Dampier's dribble and took it all the way in for another easy layup. That broke the game open. Thereafter Kentucky chased the lead and never caught it, and the Miners were in command. Bobby Joe stole the ball again from Dampier, and all night, while dribbling, he looked like the best broken-field runner since Red Grange. As late as eight minutes into the second half the Wildcats were only a point behind, but they never could come all the way back. Once they had three successive shots at a tie and missed them all: Dampier, Cliff Berger and Riley.

The Wildcats played fine defense themselves, but Texas Western showed that it could control the ball even against tight guarding. And the three little men—Hill, Artis and Worsley—were able to hit just enough from far outside, without trying to penetrate the Kentucky zone. Those were the long jumpers that Kentucky kept missing. When the Wildcats fouled in desperation, Texas Western made the free throws. Over one 37-minute stretch the Miners hit 26 of 27.

At the end, to the cheers of their fans, Hill and Worsley just dribbled around till the clock ran out. Finally the Miners were all cutting the nets down—both of them—and getting their watches. Haskins called out his seniors—Artis, Flournoy and Armstrong—to receive the NCAA trophy. But the second-place trophy, which appears identical in size and weight and will soon be sitting alongside the four others of better memories down in Lexington, was like an albatross. No one really wanted it. Tommy Kron somehow ended up with it in his arms and, clutching it absently, hurried into the locker room. There he dropped it on the trainer's table. He sat down and began to cry. Louie Dampier came over and put his arm around Kron and hugged him. Spike Kerns came in, and, just to get the dread object out of the way, reached up and put the trophy on the shelf, just above the hook where Mike Harreld's extra suit hung, neat and clean in the plastic bag.

Across the hall Bill Cornwall held the game ball. Now that he had gotten that for his friend Don, Mary Haskins could have her husband back.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

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Monday, March 31, 2008

Man beats up elementary school student in the elevator . . .on tape.

Scroll down for updates (latest on April 2)

Some really ugly stuff here, but one of the top stories on Naver.

I'll wait until others get on the case, but some of the gossip I read on the teachers' forums said that, originally, the cops said they weren't able to do anything, and cited a lack of evidence? And so some five days later the parents went to the media. Any truth to that?

Video news report available here. One of the guys who originally broke the story said the video news report mentions the police's unwillingness to do anything, but of course I'm not fluent so I don't know for sure.

* Update 1: The Korea Times has the story in English now. Excerpts:

The girl had her hair pulled out and received bruises to body. Her parents reported it to the nearby police branch office about 10 minutes after the incident.

Police officers collected testimonies from the parents and the neighbor and checked the CCTV recording in the elevator. Despite the apparent kidnap attempt, the officers reported to Ilsan Police Station the next day that it was ``just a simple assault case'' committed by a drunken man, based on testimony that he smelled of alcohol.

Police are being criticized for neglecting the case and thus losing the chance to catch the suspect at an early stage. It was also reported that the police asked her mother not to talk about the case to the media.

President Lee Myung-bak said Monday that the public is incensed over the police's lukewarm attitude.

``As seen on the CCTV recording, it was really brutal. The state's utmost duty is to protect people's lives, but the police still show such an attitude at this time when many cruel cases remain unsolved and people feel pity for them. The police need to change,'' Lee said.

Absolutely Sparkling.

* Update 2: Caught him:

The Korea Times has the story in English. An excerpt:
Lee said that he was drunk when he was walking behind her. The girl gave him a suspicious glance, and he tried to tell her that he was not a bad person. He got angry at her attitude and beat up her, according to his testimony. Police are investigating the reason for this action.

He was previously in jail for 10 years for habitually sexually assaulting minors and was released two years ago, police said.

Police caught him after confirming through CCTV recordings in subway stations on line 3 that he took a subway train at Daehwa Station near the apartment complex and got off at Suseo Station.

Despite the arrest, police are being faulted for failing to react swiftly to the failed kidnapping and losing the chance to catch Lee earlier.

Her parents reported the attack to a nearby police office about 10 minutes after the incident. Police officers collected testimony from the parents and the neighbor and checked the CCTV recording in the elevator. Despite the apparent kidnap attempt, the officers reported to Ilsan Police Station the next day that it was ``just a simple assault case'' committed by a drunken man, based on testimony that he smelled of alcohol.

Ah, employing the "I was drunk" defense. Smart move.

* Update 3: The story is in all the papers now, as is news that "Child Sex Offenders Will Face Harsher Penalties." The Chosun Ilbo has a bunch of other articles and editorials on the matter, including "Too Dumb and Too Lazy to Protect and Serve?" An excerpt:
On March 27, around 100 leaflets displaying the face of the criminal were posted in and around the apartment complex, printed by the parents after they heard nothing from the police. It wasn’t until March 29 that a detective from Ilsan Police Station came to investigate the scene of the crime, which had been assigned to him on March 27. The detective is said to have taken a day off on March 28. It was only after the news report on Sunday night that the chief of Ilsan Police Station appointed an investigative team to the case and made a huge ruckus in the process.

At 11 a.m. on March 26, the National Police Agency had announced a comprehensive set of measures to deal with child abductions and missing children. The NPA had made the announcement after mounting criticism over its ineptitude after it took 82 days to catch the criminal who murdered Lee Hye-jin (11) and Wu Ye-seul (9). The murderer was discovered to have been a neighbor. The agency vowed it would create a 1,056-strong special unit handling missing child cases and would swiftly mobilize the maximum number of forces once a report is filed. Less than six hours after that, it was shown up to have been a huge bag of hot air.

Seoul Tells North to Stick Apology Demand Where Sun Don’t Shine

Need proof there’s a new sheriff in town? Seoul has responded to a North Korean demand that the South apologize for Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Kim Tae-young telling the National Assembly that the South would strike North Korean nuclear sites in an emergency by essentially telling Pyongyang to fuck off:

At 10am, military authorities sent the North a radio message in the name of Major Gen. Kwon Oh-sung, the head of the South Korean delegation for intra-Korean military talks, saying, “We think it’s inappropriate for you (the North) to arbitrarily interpret and make an issue out of remarks made by a figure on our (the South) side… We find this very regrettable.”

The South also told the North that its “willfull slander and tension-creating behavior” was not helpful to peace and security on the Korean Peninsula, and demanded Pyongyang cut it out.

UPDATE: This is why you’ve got to love the North Koreans. The Chosun Ilbo notes that in yesterday’s Rodong Shinmun tirade, the North managed to insert this:

“Like we did in the past, we can survive without South Korea. South Korea will see how it will live should it turn its back on us.”

This, the Chosun correctly points out, is a threat to raise military tensions on the peninsula in an effort to hurt the South Korean economy.

Coincidentally, just for fun, I took a peak at the original Rodong text at the KCNA website. It’s really quite nasty in tone, frequently referring to the Lee administration as the “Lee Myung-bak gang.” And in case you thought the North might be grateful for a decade of South Korean aid:

If Lee Myung-bak had even a basic sense of discernment, he’d know who has helped whom, and who owes whom.

South Korea, which was in a state of bankruptcy some 10 years ago thanks to the financial crisis that swept up Asia, was able to survive because of the dawn of the June 15 era.

Moreover, if it wasn’t for our Songun politics, could one believe that the US provocations for nuclear war on the Korean Peninsula could have been stopped, or that the South Korean economy could have survived in such a total war?

Seeing that Lee Myung-bak hasn’t any ability to understand this sensitive political reality on the Korean Peninsula, he’s talking senselessly without realizing who’s to thank for the South Korean economy.

Oh, and that visit by the New York Philharmonic really helped, too:

If we’re to speak of “openness,” we’ve never closed our doors to anyone, and the door of improved relations is open to even the United States, a hostile country. One example of this is the performance in Pyongyang of the New York Philharmonic.

If I had to guess, I’d say North Korea is going to try to push Lee as hard as it can until one side says “uncle,” which means I’d say we’re due for another “incident” in the West Sea sometime

WE WILL WAIT AND SEE........................................................................................................................

NOW FOR THIS BEAUTY ALSO...................................

Seoul to Train Foreign Teachers

Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education will begin sending foreign English teachers to a 2-month training program in Gapyeong, starting in May:

Seoul education authorities have started to train native English speaking teachers to improve on their English teaching ability. According to the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education Tuesday, a 2-month program at its English education center, located in Gapyeong, Gyeonggi Province will be provided from May.

It is the first time for the education office to introduce this kind of training program for foreign English teachers. So far, it has offered programs just to help foreigners adapt to Korean culture and life during orientation.

This is probably a good thing, although some of you might get a kick out of this:

University professors and supervisors in charge of English education, as well as other excellent Korean English teachers, will lead the teacher training programs. “Although some of the selected foreign teachers have English teaching certificates, they need to learn about the Korean education environment for better cooperation with teachers,” he added.

During the training programs, 15 foreign teachers at the center will learn the curriculum of English education at Korean schools and teaching methodology for Korean students.

Some might argue the “teaching methodology for Korean students” has been the problem facing foreign language education in Korea all along.

PLEASE DO NOT SIGN ME UP FOR THIS....................................................................