Tuesday, July 31, 2012

North Korea facing a coup d'etat after Ri's removal??

After the removal of North Korean general chiefs of staff, Ri Yong-ho, there has been unusual movements in the North Korean military.
Rookie Kim Jong-un, who has barely been leader for a year, has relieved Ri of all duties.
General Ri was a loyal servant of Kim Jong-Il, and was the top ranking military official. As Young Kim Jong-Un has removed Ri as an excuse to strengthen the regime, the North Korean military is being stirred up.
The North Korean military was already unhappy that a rookie like Kim Jong-Un is above their rank, and will be more furious with the decision to remove Ri.
I wonder how the things will turn out for North Korea between Kim Jong-Un and the North Korean military officials.

Korean Wave in Archery??

When it comes to the 2012 London Olympics, the keyword that best represents archery would be 'Korea.' Korea not only has the world's best archers, but has the world's best coaches.
Of the 40 countries that participated in archery, 11 countries had Korean coaches.
The myth is that as Korean leaders began coaching for foreign teams, the world's average archery skill has risen. This was evidently seen at the mens' archery team. The four countries that reached the semi-finals, Korea, Mexico, Italy, and the U.S. all had Korean coaches. From this we can see how influential the Korean leaders are.
From this Olympics, we were able to see the dignity of Korean archery, and may hope to see a Korean wave in sports from this opportunity. I wonder what kind of new events will turn up from the rest of the games.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Best in Archery for 24 years...

South Korea won the Olympic women's team archery title for the seventh consecutive time. Since 1988, for 24 years, Korea has maintained the top position in archery. I wonder what the secret is behind this phenomena.
In the typical fickle British weather, the rain and wind came hard in throughout the match, which made the match difficult, but the Korean archers showed superb concentration, and grasped their own victory.
The 3 archers were amazing... I almost fell in love with them.
So, I've been told that of the 40 countries that participated in archery this London Olympics, the coaches of 11 countries are Korean. This was shocking...
Nowadays when it comes to archery, it is almost as if Korea is the first thing that comes up to my mind. Anywho, the individual division is still to come. I hope Korea can do well.

Kim Jong-un, the icon of adultery

North Korea's Kim Jong-Un appeared on a billboard near the LAX (LA International Airport).
Well it turns out he appeared on the AshleyMadison ad, an online dating service marketed primarily to people who are already in a relationship...
The witty ad has Kim Jong-Un clapping with a bubble writing that says 'Even if you look like him, AFFAIRS NOW GUARANTEED!'
Recently Kim Jong-Un was shown on the internet wearing soles that increase his height. Now Kim Jong-Un is the representative for adultery, and infidelity. I what the next Kim Jong-Un 'meme' ad will be.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Update on the Syrian crisis

Russia and China vetoed a Western-backed U.N. Security Council resolution on Thursday that threatened Syrian authorities with sanctions if they did not stop using heavy weapons against an uprising and withdraw troops from towns and cities.

The 11-2 vote was the third time that Russia and China, key allies of the Syrian government,  have used their veto power to block U.N. Security Council resolutions designed to put pressure on Syrian President Bashar Assad and halt the violence in the 16-month prolonged conflict that has taken lives of thousands.
The vetoed resolution would have extended a U.N. observer mission in Syria for 45 days.
Russia and China have clearly placed themselves on the "'wrong side of history" and the "wrong side of the Syrian people."
China and Rusia's actions will protect a brutal regime. They have chosen to put their national interests ahead of the lives of millions of Syrians.

Britain has drafted a new resolution to extend a U.N. mission in Syria for a final period of 30 days and it could be voted on later on Thursday.

However, I am sure that with or without China or Russia, the double veto will not stop the world's effort to save Syria. The world will continue to assist a Syrian opposition on its path to democratic transition in Syria.
Proponents of strong U.N. action on Syria would not be dissuaded.
However, time is of essence when it comes to human lives.
So I urge Russia and China to consider the human lives at stake before their national interest.

Olympics Fiasco involving North Korea...

Last 26th, started off with a fiasco even before the opening ceremonies. The Olympics got off to an embarrassing start during preliminary between North Korea and Colombia in group G when North Korea's women footballers refused to play after a mix-up over their national flag.
North Korea's opener against Colombia was held up after their players were pictured next to South Korea's flag on the introduction screen. The furious North Koreans requested apologies, and only decided to participate in the games after they received a statement from the International Olympics Committee promising that this mistake would not repeat.
South Korea, North Korea, even I get mixed up between the two. One's a free democratic society that makes Sumsung and Hyndai, and the other is a brutal cult-like dictatorship that can't feed its own people. However, this is an international sporting event. And not just any sporting event. It's the Olympics for heaven's sake! If this kind of mistake happens at the Olympics, there must be a problem. Maybe this is not just an innocent mistake, but a mistake that reflects that North Korea's existence in the international society is diminishing. Or just maybe, it may reflect the world's hope for unification of the two Koreas at the symbol of peace, Olympic games.
Whatever the case, if North Korea wishes to regain its presence in the international society, it must give up the 3 generation dictatorship, and adopt open-door policies.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Fermented Hong-eo, an experience worth trying

One of the most difficult dishes to get used to in Korean cuisine for foreigners and even locals alike is fermented skate, or Hong-eo. Some even say that Swedish fermented herring, also notorious for its distinctive, fermented taste, is nothing compared to  Korea’s fermented skate.

The verdict is in, the hong-eo experience warrants a hung jury. 
At first I thought it made no sense to eat hong-eo (fermented skate fish), a food that smells like ammonia because its uric acid has to pass through and is ultimately stored in its flesh. 
The dish in Korean is called hongeo samhap. Hongeo means skate and samhap translates as “harmonious trinity,” referring to the three elements of the dish – fermented skate, boiled pork belly and kimchi. In Korea, for around 40,000~50,000 won, a large collection of samhap is offered.

The fermented skate at first has a foul odor that is similar to the smell of ammonia, but many Koreans say that after a while the taste of this fermented fish is addictive.
Eaten alone, raw hong-eo is repugnant, yet the triple-decker, bite-sized samhap is rather tasty; it is strangely addictive...

While the pork fat provides a bit of sweetness, Kimchi, another fermented food, neutralizes hong-eo’s magical properties. Selective parts can be dipped into a dried red pepper and salt mix.

Here are some historic facts behind Hong-eo :

The dish is said to originate from Heuksan Island in South Jeolla, where fishermen discovered the main ingredient in hongeo samhap by accident.
Heuksan Island is famous for its high-quality skate fish. During the Joseon Dynasty, the skate from Heuksan Island was often brought to other parts of the country by boat. During this process, the fishermen discovered that even after a long journey, skate was still edible and that the fermentation that took place gave the meat a great, chewy texture and a slightly stinging sensation in your mouth.
The boiled pork belly and kimchi was originally served with the fish due to the fact that the skate was costly and rare. However, food experts now say that the three ingredients are extremely complimentary, as the pork gives a heartiness to the dish while the kimchi mitigates the grease from the pork as well as accentuating the fermented taste of the skate.
During the Joseon Dynasty, hongeo samtak (the same dish but including alcohol) was a favorite dish for parties and get-togethers and was served alongside makgeolli, or Korean rice wine. The dish is still eaten most with makgeolli, which also aids in diluting the rather pungent taste of the fermented skate.

Source : Hongeo: Not for the weak of stomach

So the final question must be asked, should you try it? 
Answer: At least once. 

And for those interested, here's a video from Youtube about Hong-eo

"This is one of those foods that you can't understand how it tastes unless you actually eat it."

Skip to 3:15 to watch Andrew trying to keep it down here:

The Implication of Ri Yong Ho's removal

Recently North Korean state media reported Vice Marshal Ri Yong Ho relieved of all his Party duties, namely his Politburo Standing Committee membership, Politburo membership, and Party Central Military Commission vice-chairmanship, stating this move was due to unspecified illness. This move was very unusual as the meeting at which his removal was announced was attended by the entire Politburo standing committee, Politburo members and candidate members, making ill health seem implausibly minor. Ri was replaced by Hyon Yong-chol in the role of the Chief of the General Staff.
There has been many theories for the removal of Ri, including the theory that Ri had lost the fight to secure the slush governing fund, or opposed Kim Jong-Un's policy. or that he was merely at the wrong place at the wrong time and became a sacrifice of power struggles.
Recently, there were rumors that Ri criticized Kim Jong-Un's open-door policy, while being wiretapped, and was purged as a result.
What ever the reason may be, this marks a shift in power between the political leadership and the armed froces with the political leadership in the ascendant.
And this even makes it even more difficult to predict and analyze the future of North Korea's leadership. We have to keep a close look at North Korea from now on for any contingencies.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Ethiopia, we remember you

 A very meaninful event was held at Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa. The Korean government passed on contributions to the families of Korean war veterans of Ethiopia, one of the 16 UN nations that took part in the gruesome war.
During the Korean war, Ethiopia was the first African country to enter the war, and sent their most elite troops 3 battalions and 3,518 soldiers, including the imperial royal guard.
The brave soldiers risked their lives to fight for Korea's freedom and peace. However, after the war ended, a communist regime was set up in 1974, Ethiopia. As a result the Ethiopian war veterans of Korean war were not compensated for their sacrifice, and sunk to poverty.
Korea has decided to give 50 dollars of donation to the 300 remaining still-living survivors of the Korean war for their life.
The Koreans are aware of the fact that if it were not for the war veterans, there would be no Korea, and are grateful for those who took the risk for world peace.
Korea's Ministry of Patriots-Veterans stated that they would continue to express their gratitude and consolation towards UN war veterans for their sacrifice and contribution.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Which is better... F-15SE, F-35A, Eurofighter?

ROK air force is trying to make a tough decision between Boeing's F-15 SE, Lockheed's F-35A, and EADS Eurofighter.
For the next 10 years, 8 billion dollars will be invested in the fighter experimental (F-X) business, and on the 14th, after evaluating the project proposals, all three models passed the first test.
This week full-fledged negotiations and test evaluations are scheduled for the three models. I wonder which one will win the final deal.
F-15SE (a proposed upgrade of the F-15E using stealth features)
Manufacturer : U.S. Boeing
Length : 19.45m, Height : 5.64m, Wingspan : 13.05m
Compared to other models, the F-15SE is larger, faster, and has a wider combat radius.
Pros : F-15SE is very stable, uses twin engines, which gives enhanced mobility and a larger combat radius.
Cons : As an upgrade of F-15, is old-fashioned. Although the stealth features were added, there are limits to the stealth because the base model was not a stealth aircraft.

Manufacturer : U.S. Lockheed Martin Aeronautics
Length : 15.37m, Height : 5.28m, Wingspan : 10.65m
Cons : Has a small combat radius, uses single-engine, making it less mobile. The price is expensive, and is under development, so has never been deployed in actual combat.

Eurofighter Typhoon
Eurofighter Typhoon
Manufacturer : Eurofighter GmbH, EADS
Length : 15.96m, Height : 5.28m, Wingspan : 10.95m
Pros : Is considered to be suitable for the Korean circumstances, and the performance was verified during the actual deployment at the Libyan crisis.
※ EADS offered the joint production of its Eurofighter Typhoon, which will allow South korea to become the world's fifth nation with the capacity to produce the two-engine, multi-role combat aircraft if the ROK selects EADS as the winning bidder.
According to plan, 60 aircraft are to be deployed starting year 2016 by the end of 2021, which will enhance the ROK air force's military strength in preparing against North Korea's threats, and assure the stability and peace of the Korean peninsula.

NK's Pathetic oath of loyalty

Pathetic oath of loyalty!
After Kim Jung Un has been named marshal of North Korea, North Korean regime has been receiving oath of loyalty from military officers and people from various class.
In fact, North Korea has been focusing on solidifying Kim Jung Un's status as the supreme leader by extensively broadcasting oath of loyalty from 'Lee Eul Seung,' who has received the title of marshal other than Kim Jung Un. It would mean that Kim Jung Un is trying to show off that he is being recognized by high officials of North Korea.
Until now, North Korea has received oath of loyalty from various class in the time of political upheaval or other serious crisis to reorganize its regime. They have carried out 'shows' with oath of loyalty when Kim Jung Il received the title marshal or when he died.
It is well known that oath of loyalty is carried out by gangsters to their boss... So is Kim Jung Un gang boss?
Looking at the situation, it makes perfect sense ^^

Free Shin Suk Ja and her daughters!

People know very well about the political concentration camp in the North Korea.
With endless pain and torture, North Korean people are living a life worse than that of animal... Shin Suk Ja, who has recently been carrying out campaigns to save people, used to be in those horrific concentration camp.
North Korea has been committing crimes by kidnapping people from various countries and confining them in secret. North Korea's anti-human crime is nothing new but if left alone, it is evident that there will be more victim.
In Korea, 'Task force for the daughter of Tong Young' was launched to release Shin Suk Ja and her daughter. In addition they will be working to improve North Korea's human rights issues.
We wish that the international community could actively engage in North Korea's human rights issues and hope such effort would bring freedom to North Korean people. 

North Korean society becoming Gotham City?

Cheongjin, the port city located in the northeastern region of Hamgyeongbuk-do.
Considered as the second largest city in North Korea, Cheong Jin has adopted foreign culture at a faster rate than Pyeongyang. Accordingly, we may think it may be convenient to live there; however, recent news indicates that the region has become a haven for criminals and prostitutes.
'Ggotjaebee'(Children and Infants wandering around for food and money), Criminals.. and prostitution
With people gathering from all over the nation, for the second largest train station and port is located in Cheongjin, rates of crimes are frequent, and victims usually become 'ggotjaebee' or become criminals themselves, with this downward spiral continuing. Also, young women in the local are apparently choosing to become prostitutes so as to make a living for themselves.
This is only what is being observed from outside the hidden society, how worse would it actually be?
Notorious for being the hideout of criminals and prostitutes, the second most important city of North Korea, Cheongjin, could well be called as the miniature of the North Korean society destructed due to the third on-going dictatorship.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

It's hot, and I crave Patbingsu

I was surfing through the net (Yahoo! News) and read this article...

How Bad Is the US Drought? (Source : http://news.yahoo.com/bad-us-drought-040658131.html?_esi=1)
And yeah, if you read the article...
This year, it's extremely HOT... :(
Source : Yahoo! News Article
Look at all the red regions...
While looking at the photo, patbingsu came up on my mind, and I started craving it all day.
So, I decided to do a post about patbingsu.

Patbingsu (팥빙수) is just one of many red-bean based desserts in Korea. Pat (팥) is red azuki bean, boiled and sweetened to make a paste which is then layered atop bingsu, (빙수) or shaved ice. The ice itself is sweetened with condensed milk and makes for a lighter tasting treat than those ice cream sandwiches you've wolfed down in summers past. Topped with some rice cake, or ddeok (떡), for texture, this treat will cool and refresh.

Much like iced coffee confections, bingsu variations abound. Nokcha (녹 차, green tea), coffee and fruit variations are the most popular, and perfect for those who aren’t keen on red bean or rice cake. Bingsu topped with frosted cereal and fruit is often served as a side dish in hofs and noraebangs, perfect for re-hydrating sun-parched bodies and for thinning the alcohol coursing through soju-lined veins. Like most Korean dishes, bingsu's made to share, so grab your besties and scoop up a bowl of bingsu, available at most bakeries, major restaurants, and cafes for 3,000 to 8,000 won. It would be a shame to leave Korea without trying the dessert that most of your students will list among their favorites!

And here's the recipe I found online
(Source : http://www.maangchi.com/recipe/patbingsu)

Recipe - Traditional Patbingsu

Source : Maangchi.com

Red beans (azuki beans), sugar, vanilla, salt, shaved ice, sweetened condensed milk, rice cake, strawberries, banana, and kiwi.

Directions for 4 servings:

Preparation: Making sweet red beans:

Rinse and strain 1 cup of red beans and place them in a thick-bottomed pot.


1 cup of dried red beans will make a little more than 2 cups of sweet red beans. Each serving of patbingsu needs ½ cup of sweet red beans.
Add 4 cups of water. Cover the pot and bring to a boil over low heat for 10 minutes.
Lower the heat to simmer for 1 hour.
Open the lid and check if the beans are cooked well or not. The beans should be crushed easily.
Chew a sample of the beans. If there is something hard when you chew, you need to cook longer.
Drain the water and add 1 cup of sugar, 1 ts vanilla, and ½ ts salt. Mix well. *tip: the water from the beans can be used for making rice
Uncover and stir the sweet beans over low heat for 5 minutes.
Turn the heat off and let it cool down. Keep in the fridge.
Putting it together:

Add ½ cup of sweet red beans on the bottom of a dessert bowl.
Add 1½ cups of shaved ice over the sweet red beans.
Add chopped strawberries, banana, and kiwi on top of the ice.
Pour 2 tbs of sweetened condensed milk onto red beans and place 5-7 chopped rice cakes on top.
Serve right away with a spoon and enjoy!

 This recipe and more can be found at the Maangchi cooking site here.

3 Prevalent Types of Idiots in North Korea

There are 3 prevalent types of idiots in North Korea, which I will name "dumb, dumber, and dumbest"
The "dumb" person is someone who pays back on his loans.
The "dumber" person is someone who lends money.
Last, but not least, the "dumbest" person is someone who is unable to borrow money.
This anecdote reflects North Korea's tough economic situation.
North Korea is under a lot of debt. In the 1990s, they borrowed from Russia, Hungary, Czech Republic, and other countries to solve the shortage of food.
However, most of the countries remitted the debt because North Korea was unable to pay back for whatever the reason it may be - economic difficult or wasting money on missile and nuclear development.
As a result, their credit in the international community and market is the worst in the world.

Even now, North Korea is unable to pay back their debt from Korea. What's worse is that they are refusing to pay back by ignoring Korea's requests. The international community lent the money to solve the food crisis in North Korea, but North Korea ignores the sincerity, and treats the international society as "dumber" person, and Kim Jong-Un is refraining from becoming the "dumb" person by not paying back on his debt.
If this continues how will anybody bother to donate food, and lend money to North Korea? If North Korea does not change, the international community should no longer aid North Korea.

‘2012 Kpop super concert in America' at LA!!!

‘2012 Kpop super concert in America' will be hosted at at Home Depot Center in Los Angeles during August.
The K-pop you've encountered only in Youtube is coming to town.
You will be able to see the actual action live at site.
Shinee, 2PM, Girl's Generation, Kara, and other Kpop idols that you fancy is planning a joint performance!
I've always wanted to see them live at a concert. I don't think I can wait till August!

Girl's Generation(소녀시대) interview for SBS Super Concert in America :

For tickets : http://www.axs.com/los-angeles-ca/music-events/k-pop-super-concert-in-america-2012august10-3680.html

More info on Boryeong Mud Festival

▶ Period: July 14-24 (Sat-Tues), 2012
▶ Location: Dacheon Beach and neighboring area

▶ Directions to the 2012 Boryeong Mud Festival:
Seoul → Boryeong (Daecheon)
Central City Express Bus Terminal (Express Bus Terminal Station, Subway Line 3, Exit 2, Honamseon Line) → Boryeong, Daechon (Travel time: 2hr, 30min / first bus: 6:00 / last bus: 21:50 / bus every hour / fare: 9,900-14,500 won) 

Boryeong (Daecheon) → Daecheon Beach
From the Boryeong (Daecheon) Bus Terminal take a local bus towards Daecheon Beach→ Get off at Daecheon Beach (bus every 10min / travel time: approx. 20min) 

*** Transportation Tip!! ***
During the Boryeong Mud Festival period, there is a bus that departs from the Seoul Central City Express Bus Terminal and goes directly to Daecheon Beach. 

▶ 1330 tt call center: +82-41-1330 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
▶ Translation Services during the Festival
English: 010-5438-4865 / Japanese: 010-6717-5759 / Chinese: 010-2031-2270 
▶ Accommodations: A variety of accommodations such as motels and inns are available along the beach. The Mud Festival is one of the most popular summertime festivals in Korea, so make sure to book your accommodations in advance. 

- Tip!!
During the festival period, translation services are available for international visitors. Local officials are standing by to provide information about clean and affordable lodging facilities and help in making reservations. For assistance, please call 011-438-4865 (English). 

▶ Food: On and near the beach you’ll find plenty of seafood restaurants serving raw fish and grilled clams. If you are looking for just a quick and simple meal, try the fast food restaurant Lotteria located at the Citizens Tower Square. 

☞ Go to 2012 Boryeong Mud Festival 
▶ Homepage: http://www.mudfestival.or.kr/ (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)

And finally, for those of you that are interested, here's a post of a blogger that went to the festival:

Just random criticism about Kim Jong-Un

WARNING : This post is going to be really messy... both grammatically and in context...
Because I'm just gonna write random criticisms about Kim Jong Un.

So for those of you who don't know...
Kim Jong-Un became a marshal... WHAT???

Ole Kim Jung was promoted to Marshal likely due to his vast military victories......as Obama was made our Commander in chief due to his vast military and battle tactical history...well now; there you have it.. the USA and NORTH KOREA do have some things in common - both of our Commanders in Chief have NO background for a task assigned to them by millions of liberal idiots.......

And what's worse... He just wears the fake clothes made in china by poor slave child labor because he has no real talent knowledge experience efficiency success intelligence competency education and courage and all other characteristics to be a Marshal..!!!

For his sake, I hope that Hyon Yong Chol' doesn't take the last buffalo wing from the buffet table like Ri Yong Ho, before he "fell ill". He should learn from his cohort that snatching food from Fatboy is a very bad idea...
And here is a popular meme about Kim Jong Un...

Look out GOD, someone thinks he is on the same level as you. I seem to recall a German who thought along these very same lines. The whole world suffered then and will surely suffer again. Only this time much worse with nukes...
And a war now will end very bad for the fat kid. He is not experienced in warfare. The aged generals will be replaced by younger inexperienced generals and the army has no combat experience plus the people will take the advantage and may revolt if we offer bread and cheese. This is the time to take him on. Fuel and food shortages and his expenditures of aged worthless weapons will make him vulnerable in short time. He does not have a reliable launch system for his nukes and China will be very hesitant to get into this one. 

Kim Jong-Un making fuss out of nothing

I was following the news all day because North Korea made all the fuss today noon by stating that its state media would issue and "important report." Well... It turns out that it wasn't as important as I previously expected it to be... Kim Jong-Un just became the marshal of North Korea.
Kim is a stub fat man around 28 years old who became marshal just because he was the heir and son of Kim Il Sung, which I really don't understand. And I really don't think highly of North Korea for publicizing this petty news as important.
Kim Jong Un the fat stub man around 28 years old...
By publicizing this as important, they are making a laughing stock out of itself to the international community and the world.
Anyways I wonder if the North Korean people actually acknowledge Kim Jong-Un as the marshal of North Korea.
Marshal or not, I am predicting that their main interest isn't in who their leader is or what position he holds, but simply living, and not starving to death.

Boram Going all hardcore playing her guitar

Source: Boram’s Twitter

On July 17th, T-ara member Boram took to her Twitter with the pair of pictures above and two brief messages.
In the first picture, Boram looks focused as she strums her guitar. She attached the message: “Dinga dinga (the sound of strumming a guitar) roong-♩ 딩가딩가 룽ㅡ♩,” to amplify the peaceful atmosphere of the photo. With the second picture, she posted, “Dinga dinga ggu-ang!!! (ↂ⃝⃓⃙⃚⃘ㅁↂ⃝⃓⃙⃚⃘), 딩가딩가 끄앙!!!(ↂ⃝⃓⃙⃚⃘ㅁↂ⃝⃓⃙⃚⃘)” and showed a different, edgier image, ditching her composed look to gnaw at her instrument instead.
Fans commented, “So she’s learning how to play the guitar,” “You’re not supposed to bite the guitar, you’re supposed to throw it,” and, “Her legs are really thin.”

For those of you who do not know Boram, Boram is a South Korean idol, singer, actress and a member of girl group T-ara.

Boryeong Mud Festival Kicks Off!

The Boryeong Mud Festival is an annual festival which takes place during the summer in Boryeong, a town around 200 km south of Seoul, South Korea. The first Mud Festival was staged in 1998 and, by 2007, the festival attracted 2.2 million visitors to Boryeong.
This year, the Boryeong Mud Festival kicked off at July 14, and will end on July 24.
At the Boryeong Mud Festival, you can get unlimited mud packs. The mud is rich in minerals and used to manufacture cosmetics. 
During the festival, several large attractions are erected in the seafront area of Daecheon. These include a mud pool, mud slides, mud prison and mud skiing competitions. Colored mud is also produced for body painting. A large stage is erected on the beach, which is used for live music, competitions and various other visual attractions.
A small market runs along the seafront selling cosmetics made using the mud from Boryeong. Various health and beauty clinics offer massages, acupuncture and other treatments utilising the medicinal qualities of the mud. 

Although the festival takes place over a period of around two weeks, it is most famous for its final weekend, where there are various events from concerts to marathons. The festival is closed with a large firework display.
Come to Boryeong Mud Festival!
For more information, go to :

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

IU is on the frontline against school violence

School violence is a serious problem in Korea nowadays.
왕따 Wangta is the Korean term for a victim of school bullying. Wang means king, and Ta is a term for a loner or an ostracized person. The problem with wangta is that everyone in school targets the wangtas. And even the person who helps wangtas are often ostracized.
Source :  http://sccdn.chosun.com/news/html/2012/07/03/2012070301000239200017931.jpg 

Well here's the good news.
IU, a Korean singer song writer and actress, volunteered herself to be used for anti-bullying campaigns. The cute singer and ambassador for the prevention of school violence attended a fan signing event for the publication of "I'm Sorry" – a book about school violence at the Gwanghwamun Kyobo Bookstore in Seoul.
"I'm Sorry" is a book written about the experiences that the 13 members of the Police Agency's Prevention of School Violence task team had about this issue. The book's profits will be donated to the Foundation for Preventing Youth Violence in order to help the victims of school violence.
Source : http://cfile23.uf.tistory.com/image/146153464FF4FBFD061D0B

Through this meaningful event, I hope adults and kids will look up to IU, and read this book, which will allow people to be more aware and take interest in stopping school violence.

Kim Jong Un = Marshal

Today North Korea made all the fuss by stating that it will issue "an important report" at 12:00PM (Seoul time). I followed the news carefully since 11:50AM having lunch with my buddies. Well it turns out the "important report" was merely the promotion of Kim Jong Un into marshal.
After the report, major news medias were flooded with the news of promotion...
NKorea promotes Kim Jong Un to marshal by AP

North Korea says to issue important report at 0300 GMT by Reuters

North Korean Kim Jong Un promoted to marshal amid military reshuffle by AP

and so on...

This is an excerpt from one of the major news sites...
Here are the basic facts... 

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has been granted the title of marshal, state media reported Wednesday, cementing his status as the authoritarian nation's top military official as he makes key changes to the million-man force.
The decision to award Kim, who already serves as supreme commander of the Korean People's Army, was made Tuesday by the nation's top military, government and political officials, state media said in a special bulletin.
The formal move to bestow the title of marshal to Kim comes seven months into his rule and follows several days of reshuffling at the highest levels of the military.

Source : http://news.yahoo.com/nkorea-promotes-kim-jong-un-marshal-040017614.html

Well this is funny because on Monday, North Korea announced that the chief of the army, Ri Yong Ho, a high-ranking figure in both political and military circles, was dismissed from all posts due to illness. And even after that, General Hyon Yong Chol was promoted to vice marshal, one of four named to that position since Kim Jong Un took power.

It remains unclear how the military reshuffle will affect North Korea's tense relationship with its neighbors and the United States, which stations more than 28,000 troops in ally South Korea.

As the news said, I, too, have no idea what will happen in the future to the two Koreas, but what I know for sure is that things are changing in North Korea... Drastically...

What I wish is that Kim Jong Un not follow his predecessors' steps, and bring positive changes to North Korea... Reform both economically, politically, and in human rights.

NK is attempting to turn its internal discord into resentment towards US/ROK

North Korea claimed that they arrested a terrorist that received orders from South Korea and the US government to infiltrate North Korea.
In addition, they warned that regardless of position, status, anybody who dares to lay a finger or insults on the highest dignity (Kim Il-Sung·Kim Jong-Il·Kim Jong-Un) will face severe punishment.
According to a North Korean defector organization in Korea the ex-North Korean People's Army personnel defectors planned infiltrated into North Korea to demolish Kim family related statues and monument memorials. I am guessing that the terrorists are the ex-army defectors.
North Korea is exaggerating the infiltrators as a terrorist who took order from the Korean, and US government.
As internal discord that makes Kim Jong-Un's power in North Korea precarious, they are resorting to the expedient measures to pass on the responsibility and make the Korea and the US government a scapegoat. Their efforts are pitiful.

Medal Outcome Expectation At The London Olympics

Goldman Sachs has come out with a dazzling, 48-page report examining the economics and finances of the imminent London Olympics.
Let me show you their predictions for something that a lot of people will be wondering about: How many medals will each country win?
Goldman Sachs used econometric models to forecast country-by-country medal count based on previous Olympic performance and economic growth, which is (not surprisingly) positively correlated with Olympic success.
And so with that basic idea, here's their total Olympic medals forecast.

Note that China is actually expected to see a sequential decline in total medals, thanks to the fact that it's losing its home-country benefit from 2008, when the games were hosted in Beijing. According to Goldman, home countries outperform their expected haul by 54%.

So on with facts, Goldman Sachs expects the US to receive 37 gold medals, China 33, UK 30 in the 2012 Olympics. Korea ranked 8th with 10 gold. This year Korea's objective is to be within the top-10, and get more than 10 gold medals. I hope that Goldman Sachs' forecasts are accurate.

It would definitely be fun to see if the outcome is correct. 
Let's wait and see!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Korea Americans urge Congress to take more interest in North Korea

Korean Church Coalition for North Korean Freedom (KCC) and Korean Americans gathered across the country and led a rally in front of the congress, Washington DC. They urged Congress to take more interest in the repatriation of North Korean refugees.
It is the first time for the Korean Americans who led rallies at the White House, and Chinese Embassy before, to actively take actions to persuade the members of Congress.
They united to help those who are being oppressed by the world's most repressive regimes in the world.
Although human rights violation is a commonplace in North Korea, the international community, including the U.S. should pay more attention to the problem, and work together to come up with a solution to put an end to the violation, and let the North Koreans to live as all human should.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

North Koreans = Midgets?

North Koreans are getting shorter from shortages in food. Lack of nutrition is causing poor growth during the period of growth, making North Koreans shorter and small.
Due to this phenomenon, North Korea has changed the conscriptioin standards.
In 2008, the limit was 150cm, and 48kg, but from this March, the limit was changed to 142cm.
North Korean soldiers have the physique of elementary students.
Machine guns are 1m long in average. I wonder how a 140cm tall soldier can carry and handle a weapon more than half his height.
It's been told that the North Korean regime is encouraging its people to exercise, but without nutrition and food supply, all the efforts are deemed to be fruitless. It's pathetic that the North Koreans are unable to see the fundamental problem, and going off topic.

North Korea contradicts itself again

North Korean Foreign Minister Pak Ui-Chun participated the ASEAN Regioinal Forum, held in Pnompenh, Cambodia for the first time after Kim Jong Un took control of North Korea.
I was hoping for change this time, and read the article, but once again I was disappointed.
Minister Pak Ui-Chun insisted that it needs atomic weaponry to deter US nuclear threats, and vowed never to give up its right to launch rockets as part of what it called a 'peaceful' space program, and continued on with enriching uranium, which once again put the spotlight on North Korea for widespread criticism. This contradicts North Korea's previous arguments.
They claimed that nuclear development were to be used for civil purposes, but now they are contradicting themselves that the nukes are not developed for peaceful purposes.
If North Korea maintains its attitude to ignore other people's opinions and only emphasizing their rights/sovereignty, they will continue to be isolated by the international community.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Korea withdraws its plan for whaling

Last week, South Korea announced at an International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting in Panama that it planned to follow Japan's footsteps and use a loophole in the 1986 moratorium on commercial whaling to proceed with a scientific research program.
This drew immediate protests from many nations and environmental groups that suspect the plan may be a cover for commercial whaling.
Japan has for years cynically used a scientific exception to hunt and sell whale meat, using its immense capital to bribe the IWC to support its case.

Although Korea has grown economically, and may be able to financially find a loophole in whaling, Korea's intent to follow Japan's footstep would have been embarrassing.

Well... Recently, Korea heeded to international criticism decided against going ahead with the whaling program. Korea's Ministry of Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries reported that Korea is reconsidering its plans. This is a massive relief.
Korea is now a G20 country, and one of the wealthiest economic powers in the world.
I am glad that Korea can live up to its status (unlike some other East Asian country that's an island, and speaks Japanese). 

Scientific or not, whaling endangered species should not be allowed, and this goes for every country, no exception Japan.