Saturday, February 28, 2009

Less stingy than pepper spray, but about as effective.

Samsung is releasing a cell phone that can scream as loud as a snowmobile or a motorcycle. And if we're talking about Korean motorcycles, that's pretty damn loud

The idea behind the Samsung SPH-W7100's 100-decibel alarm is that it can be used to alert others if the owner is attacked or feels in danger. 

Great, all the more reason for muggers to go after iPhone users. 

[above: You can never tell a screamer just by looks.]

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50,095-won bill

In honor of Monster Island hitting the 50k mark, guess who has replaced Shin Saimdang (신사임당/申師任堂, or Sin Saimdang) to go on the new 50,000-won bill? 

Yeah, but they're probably going to revert back to their original plan for the bill to be released in June (since little Kushibo was so cute, people would be hoarding their money instead of spending it):

Actually, this rendering of the much revered Shin Saimdang looks a bit off. The stamp below is based on the classic portrait of this ideal Confucian wife and mother, often called Ŏjin Ŏmŏni (어진 어머니, or "wise mother"). Frankly, I think would look better: more attractive without being too MILFy. 

For past discussions on Korea's newly re-designed 1000-won and 5000-won bills, go here and here

[The above silliness was inspired by Stay Puff, who has some good ideas on the new bill as well, in addition to some inspiration for who to put on the 100,000-won bill, if they ever make one (they were going to but then changed their mind).]

Mark ("outpost of tranny") has my favorite so far. Well, actually, my favorite so far would be the actual omanwon bill that can buy me a dozen real cups of Joe at Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. 

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Hyundai's high-profile ads money well spent?

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that Hyundai has seen a boost in interest for its vehicles since its high-profile ads have begun airing, not just at the Superbowl but also at the Academy Awards. The ads play up the fact that the luxury Hyundai Genesis has won Car of the Year, along with the Innovative Assurance Plus program which allows buyers to return their Hyundai if they lose their job within a year. 

Specifically, visits to Hyundai pages at are up 27% compared to the same period a week ago, with an increase of 86% to pages featuring the Genesis. Hyundai said it saw a doubling of traffic on its own website around the day of the Oscars compared to the previous weekend.

The LAT explains:
... The Academy Awards telecast ranks second only to the Super Bowl in terms of advertising exposure, said Tim Calkins, a marketing professor at Northwestern University. Hyundai saw similar jumps in online traffic when it ran Super Bowl ads this year touting the Genesis, noted Kelley Blue Book, which runs an automotive site at
Kinda puts the naysayers' comments in a different light, but we'll have to see if the eyeball translate into buyers.

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California's jobless rate hits 10.1%, and that's not all that's high.

This is the highest percentage in twenty-six years. The state is bankrupt. The Assembly couldn't decide whether to kill the rich to save the poor (i.e., raise taxes and keep safety-net programs) or kill the poor to save the rich (i.e., lower taxes and gut safety-net programs), so they opted for maiming both (i.e., raising taxes halfway and cutting services halfway). 

I'm beginning to like the idea of State Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) to decriminalize the sale of marijuana under state law and then tax the sh¡t out of it. Proposed Assembly Bill AB 390 would basically treat pot like alcohol, even applying an age limit of twenty-one to buy it. 

Of course, the tax is a fee:
Until a different fee is determined pursuant to Section 34032 there is hereby imposed a fee of fifty dollars ($50) per ounce (avoirdupois) for the sale of marijuana sold at retail in this state on or after the date determined by Section 25406 of the Business and Professions Code.
I have never smoked marijuana in my life, except as a second-hand bystander, so I have no idea how much it costs. Is $50 per ounce too high a fee for people to pay for the privilege of smoking legally? Will there still be an underground trade of illegally produced and untaxed marijuana?

Those details would have to be worked out later, but tax-and-toke Democrat Ammiano is saying that marijuana has long been California's number-one cash crop (which is saying a lot when it's coming from the number-one agricultural producer in the country), and Sacramento is losing out on $1 billion per year in tax revenues. 

To make this Korea-related: I support the idea of making light drugs legal, such as marijuana. Their prohibition has by no means stopped their use but instead has engendered a lawless world that provides them through whatever means are necessary. 
South Korea, on the other hand, is nowhere near that point, so it would be stupid to do the equivalent of raising the white flag. And maybe then all the drug-addled English teachers in Korea would head back to California. 

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Watermelon Patch-gate update: Mayor Dean Grose to resign

Holy crap! In an update to an earlier story, Dean Grose, the mayor of western Orange County community Los Alamitos, has said he will resign over the controversy surrounding an email considered racist. For details (including updates), see my more in-depth analysis here

Oh, and I'd been spelling it Dean Gross all this time. Double holy crap!

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Coming soon to a theater (of war) near you!

North Korean weaponry has long been able to strike Seoul and much of Japan, but with advanced missiles such as the Taepodong-2 that may or may not work, they'll be able to strike Guam, Saipan, and the parts of Alaska and Hawaii where nobody lives. 

The deadliest thing depicted here is the little tiny man to the left of Scud-A. He's a little tiny man with big dreams and even bigger hair. (Please note that I took the high road and made no mention of how these things look terribly phallic or how someone or other might be compensating. Kushibo is all class.)

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Holy conflated images, Batman!

Y'know, one of the things that is frustrating for many people from South Korea is to explain to them that South Korea is the democratic one, and it's North Korea that is threatening its neighbors and starving its people. 

So what does the Washington Post use as a photo to go along with its story about North Korea saying it's preparing to launch a satellite that many believe is actually a test of a long-range missile? Little kids in South Korea playing near missiles (below with original caption).

 South Korea children play beside South Korea's Hawk missiles at Korea War Memorial Museum in Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2009. North Korea says it is in full-fledged preparations to shoot a satellite into orbit, its clearest reference yet to a launch that neighbors and the U.S. suspect will be an illicit test of a long-range missile. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

Nice. Is it any wonder that so many Americans still think M*A*S*H represents real life in Korea nowadays?

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Death of DMB?

The Los Angeles Times reports that South Korea's cellular phone operators may drop the DMB video service that allows them to watch "cable" TV even while on the subway. 

It's just too expensive, they say. Specifically, they blame declining ad revenue and debt from providing this expensive service at no additional cost to subscribers. 

Will the ten million South Koreans now getting the service for free be willing to pony up an extra 10,000 won a month to watch TV during their daily commute? My guess is that some of them will. 

Heck, if I'm willing to pay $20 a month for the data service that allows me to surf the Internet on my iPhone from anywhere within the AT&T network (which does not include most of Arizona north of the Grand Canyon — including the North Rim), I'm sure others will see this as a must-have service, now that they've gotten used to it.
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Death of a deal

Choe Sang-hun of the New York Times has an interesting postmortem on the Shanghai Automotive Industry's attempts to expand overseas by buying Ssangyong (Twin Dragons), South Korea's fourth largest automaker.
Walloped by declining sales and bitter battles with its Chinese parent, Ssangyong filed for bankruptcy protection last month. Its combative labor unions and some South Korean commentators have vilified Shanghai Auto as an exploitative owner that siphoned off Ssangyong’s technology, reneged on promises to invest, and dumped the company when the market turned sour.
Mr Choe writes good stuff, getting to the heart of the matter while remaining objective. 

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Mufi versus McLovin

Mufi Hanneman is the mayor of the City and County of Honolulu. He's a big guy, of mixed Samoan, German, and English stock. Like the Big Island with its 4200-meter high peaks, the 6-foot-7 (201 cm) mayor contains eleven climatic zones.

It's fitting that he would be the chief executive of the world's longest city, a place which he works hard to make better (though like any politician, he has his critics). So it was no surprise when I read this old bit of news from a year ago about Mayor Mufi trying to block the DVD release of Superbad, which included fake Hawaii driver licenses, à la McLovin. 

If you're ever in Hawaii and want to do the whole movie/TV locations tour, stick with "50 first dates," "Lost," "Forgetting Sarah Marshall," etc. I'm pretty sure Momona Street is in a bad part of town.  

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Friday, February 27, 2009

맛있는 무지개 송어 (rainbow trout)

Today's dinner was rainbow trout and peas. Peas are good for you. If you don't like peas, then all I can say is, "Give peas a chance." ㅋㅋㅋ The unskinned trout was prepared simply, much like last week's shark: baked at 375°F on top of olive oil and sprinkled with a dash of lemon pepper. Afterwards the skin pills right off, while the flesh generally slides off the bones. I find eating baked trout with chopsticks to be easier than with a fork, especially for the flesh-sliding-off-bones effect. 

Some people don't like to eat food that still has its head on. It's not very Martha Stewart. But animals were once living creatures, and we shouldn't be so glib as to pretend they weren't. And come on, isn't decapitating it before you eat it much worse? Grow a pair! 

(Although, I must admit, this trout looks especially sad. Maybe when he was caught he was thinking of his wife and all those kids he spawned. Maybe he regretted not getting that teaching credential. Ah, but in life, he was a predator, feeding off of smaller fish, so in fact, his death is rather ironic, don't you think? He died as he lived! [an eerie feeling of ironic foreboding rises on the back of kushibo's neck, compelling him to take a peek out the window to make sure some Godzilla-like creature is not ravaging its way through Honolulu, devouring the citizenry as it makes its way up Kapahulu Avenue].)

Instead of tea I had homemade "royal milk tea," much like the Te Java (데자와) sold in Korea. You take one bag of English Breakfast, break it open and pour it into a six-ounce mixture of water and milk: one part of each. Slowly heat the diluted milk so that the tea leaves have time to steep in the mixture. Pour it through a strainer into a mug, so that the tea leaves don't end up in your drink. Add up to one heaping spoonful of honey to sweeten. Below I'm actually making three cups of royal milk tea.

By the way, the kitchen in this part of our dorm is often quite messy, as you can see. It's shared by up to forty people (mostly men, many of whom never had to take care of or clean up after themselves before they went abroad to study), making it a real-world example of the tragedy of the commons.

Here's a little fun fact (and this one is true). The species name for rainbow trout is O. mykiss. And that, Kushibo thinks, makes it the perfect dinner entree for White Day next month. 

And nothing says "love" like giving the object of your affection the Heimlich Maneuver when she chokes on a tiny fishbone. Especially if it's followed by a little mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Rrrrrowl!

Credit where credit is due: The box at left is swiped from Wikipedia, the encyclopedia created by Wiccans. 

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Japanese relatives lose lawsuit to disenshrine loved ones at Yasukuni

The Yasukuni Shrine is a very touchy issue in Northeast Asia. Former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's annual visits to the site, which also enshrines fourteen "class-A war criminals" who were largely responsible for Japan's war of aggression, led to a souring of relations with Mainland China and South Korea, where citizens launched angry protests and even called for boycotts of Japanese goods. 

But it's easy to forget amongst all that hubbub that there are many Japanese opposed to the workings of the shrine, not just the visits by Japanese leadership (which some say violates the separation of church and state while others say, like the Koreans and Chinese, that it is part of the whitewashing of Japan's past aggression), but also the enshrinements themselves. 

Among them are the relatives of eleven servicemen and civilian employees of Imperial Japanese forces, who said the Yasukuni shrinekeepers had "infringed on their human rights to respect their loved ones and cherish memories of them by unilaterally enshrining them collectively without the relatives' consent." Each of the nine plaintiffs was seeking ¥1 million (roughly US$10,000).

[left: Ryuken Sugawara, leader of the plaintiffs, speaking to reporters in Osaka]

The Osaka District Court shot down their lawsuit, saying such rights are out of the range of legal protection. The lawsuit had also targeted the Japanese government, whom the plaintiffs said was complicit because it "has helped Yasukuni Shrine over many years by providing information on the war dead." 

This is no small issue. A large number of Koreans and Taiwanese, who were Japanese Imperial subjects during the war, are also enshrined there, much to their relatives' dismay (although I'm fairly certain at least a few of the Korean and Taiwanese dead would have been proud to be enshrined there, in line with how the educational system had inculcated some colonial subjects). 

Christians and others in Japan who don't follow the Shinto faith also are offended by the enshrinements. That brings me to what I feel is the best parallel I can think of in the United States, where the Mormon Church "baptizes" Jews who were killed in the Holocaust, effectively Mormonizing them posthumously. 

Jewish leaders have generally been quite offended by this, and the LDS (Latter-Day Saints, as the Mormons are called) has said after negotiations that they would stop, but it seems they have backtracked on that promise. Extending the parallel even further, Mormon media reprints stories of Jewish people who have come to peacefully accept what the LDS is doing

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And then there were 437

The Senate has passed a bill that would expand the number of seats in the House of Representatives by two. One fully voting seat would go to the District of Columbia, which is heavily Democrat, and the other would go to the next state in line for expansion, which is currently Republican-leaning Utah. The bill passed 61 to 37.

After reapportionment based on the 2010 census, the non-DC seat could go to a different state, but for now the addition of the two states is likely a wash. The WaPo says the number of House seats has not been increased since 1913, one year after Arizona and New Mexico became states. Alaska's and Hawaii's admission to the Union in 1959 did not change the House numbers (but of course, two Senate seats were added for each of the "freak states"). 

Were the territory of Guam and/or the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (which includes Saipan) to get Statehood, something similar to 1959 would likely take place. If the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, with four million residents, were to become a state, not providing for additional House members would mean several states would have to take a hit.

There will probably be challenges, and they could go all the way to the Supreme Court. Republicans opposed to the measure say that it is the "people of the several states" who, according to the Constitution, are to choose who sits in the House. Another problem is that the Senate version of the bill also seriously curtails gun ownership, while the House version does not.

This bill would not affect the Electoral College that picks the President, since the District of Columbia already has electoral votes that would be based on its membership in the House and Senate if it were a state (that number is now three).

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Kushibo hits the big 5-0!

If you're thinking I just turned fifty, um, no. 

For that milestone, talk to me in about twenty-five years, when not only will I already be fifty, but I might actually be ready to admit it. 

Rather, this is about hitting the 50K mark in my Sitemeter hits. 

Of course, this is only since November 2005, well over six months after I'd been blogging strong, but I figure those uncounted hits from before November 2005 probably cancel out the hits after November 2005 that are from me going to my own blog a few times each day. Sure, that might not sound very scientific or precise, but if it's good enough for voting officials in Minnesota and Florida, then it's good enough for Monster Island. 

I knew that the 50,000 mark was coming this week, but I forgot to pay attention, and now it's a few hundred past that, so I can't go back to Sitemeter and figure out who it was (I'm on the free edition, so it only records the past 100 visits). I wanted to give Rantburg a shout-out for putting me over the edge (a picture of Secretary of Commerce-designate Gary Locke's "hot wife" Mona Lee on my post got linked to this Rantburg rant), but the surge I got from Rantburg readers didn't come until after the milestone was reached. 

So, mysterious visitor whose name is known only to God and Sitemeter's premium package, thank you. If I ever figure out who you are, I'll buy you a Coffee Bean beverage of your choosing, redeemable at any Honolulu or Seoul Coffee Bean, as long as I'm there. 

Now, this may seem like no big deal. As of this moment, for example, The Marmot's Hole has had 5,187,312 hits (of which I'm about 23.1% of them), a hundred times greater than mine. This, of course, represents a longer period of tabulating (six years versus three years) and mine covers a period of around two years when I was on prolonged hiatus ("in retirement"). 

During that non-blogging period, I only got about twenty or thirty hits a day, not from regular readers or people who linked to my blog via comments I left elsewhere, like before and after my retirement, but from people Googling this or that, especially "Corea versus Korea" or Korean nudie pics

So that means that rather than getting only 1% of Marmot's traffic, I might actually be getting 2% or 3%. On some days 5%. And that makes me the Hyundai (or Apple) of the Korea blogosphere, baby! All I need to do is invent the equivalent of an iPod, and I be stylin'. 

Please click on the Google Ads so I can buy some coffee. Grazie, mahalo, 고마워요, ありがとう.

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Korean-American USC student from Orange County arrested for child molestation

UPDATE (same day, 12:15 p.m. PST):
MSNBC reports that Daniel Hansol Oh (오한솔) has confessed to molesting three girls besides his accuser, according to Fullerton police. He is being held in lieu of $250,000 bail.

The Orange County Register reports that Oh, who is pursuing a master's degree in music, was arrested during a music class. They said the alleged molestations were reported to police this past December. She said they had been occurring from the time Oh began teaching her in December 2003 until December 2006.

The OCR confirms that the victims are all "Korean," as I suspected (see original post below), though it is not clear if they were Korean-American or Korean immigrants. 

As I also surmised, embarrassment was an impediment to victims coming forward, which is hardly a surprise. Says Fullerton police sergeant Mike MacDonald: "In one case, the victim didn't report it because she didn't want to bring embarrassment to the family." 

The OCR says police are bringing this to the public's attention because Oh may have been teaching up to fifteen girls during that period. Anyone who may have been victimized by Oh is asked to contact Detective Kathryn Crum of the Fullerton Police Department at 714-738-5327.

ORIGINAL POST (Thursday, February 26, 9:30 a.m. PST):
Daniel Hansol Oh, a twenty-six-year-old USC student and music instructor from Fullerton, a northern Orange County community with a heavy kyopo population, has been arrested at USC over allegations of sexual abuse of a minor. He is being held at the Fullerton jail.

The victim (to be journalistically responsible, I should say "reported victim" or "alleged victim"), who is now fifteen, says this had been going on since she was eleven. It's not clear from the LAT story how Oh allegedly molested her, but during their weekly violin lessons — which were conducted in her house while her parents were home — the door to the room she and Oh were in was kept closed. 

The girl had told this to her pastor, who in urged her to contact the authorities, according to Fullerton police. 

If Oh really did this (and what a sad state of affairs society is in that we have to qualify such accusations from someone making allegations as horrible as sexual abuse), then kudos to this girl for being brave enough to come forward. At the very least she is going to have to deal with hacks like me, whose attempts to couch their words very carefully so as to avoid trying the accused in the public sphere have the unfortunate consequence of casting doubt on what turns out to be a completely true and horrific story. 

Police are contacting other students of Oh, to see if they were abused. This is where the authorities need to tread very lightly. It's entirely possible that Oh is guilty of molesting this girl but not the others, and it's even possible he's guilty of molesting no one, but when confronted with the knowledge of accusations by others (plus hard evidence, if they have some) then it has the potential to make even non-victims start to see ambiguous behavior in a sinister light. 

Of course, psychologists, sex abuse experts, and legal authorities are (or should be) aware of this. At any rate, they have Oh in custody, so no one is currently in harm's way, so take it slowly and carefully. Do it right.

It's terrible that we live in a society so dominated by fear. It's disgusting that people like Mark McDowell, a convicted child molester who left the country to teach more young girls in South Korea, come into people's homes purportedly to teach young children something when they are actually stalking their prey. Girls and boys who have been molested as children have had a huge barrier to adult normalcy placed in their way. 

With help from understanding loved ones and professionals, they can achieve that normalcy, but when the molestation is kept secret (by a scared child or embarrassed parents) or proper help is not available (a huge problem in our inadequate health-care system), you can get some really fu¢ked-up adults. It's sad. Very sad. And it angers me.

Okay, I got sidetracked in my "society dominated by fear" comment, but what I meant to say was that this is the reality, whether we like it or not: there are people who will do harm to your children if you let them. But there are little things we can do to protect our kids without locking them away from the rest of the world. Kids should be aware that there is such a thing as bad-touching (or whatever it's supposed to be called) and that kids can always tell their parents anything, no matter how much they think it's their own fault or how much trouble they think they're going to be in. Predators rely on kids to feel enough guilt or shame to not tell anybody. 

And keep your damn doors open, literally. There are not a lot of valid reasons why a non-relative adult (and even some relatives in many cases) should be alone in a room with a child with the door shut. Certainly a music lesson is not one of them. I'm not saying this to point out that this girl's parents were negligent (they must be feeling horrible over this, and my heart goes out to them); rather, I'm saying it offers a cautionary tale to other parents, to prevent future occurrences. 

I'm speculating here, but I am guessing that there is a good chance that Oh's accuser and his other students were also part of the kyopo community in Orange County. This brings me to a regular rant I've had since forever, that too few parents in Korea and among Korean-Americans are adequately aware of the signs of sexual abuse. 

Similarly, many are unaware that the predators are people they think they should trust (including teachers and uncles, etc.). Kudos to the pastor who urged the girl to bring this to the police than to deal with it in a way that would save humiliation for all parties involved.

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Thursday, February 26, 2009

South Korean hiker barely survives avalanche at Yosemite National Park

A thirty-eight-year-old man from South Korea was nearly killed when a wave of snow flung him one hundred yards down the mountain on Monday as he and friends were hiking around Half Dome. (Here's an earlier report on his situation.)

Jung Ho Wang (I'm assuming Wang is his family name, so 왕정호) and his buddies spent a night in the freezing cold because rescuers couldn't reach him. He had a broken leg and other injuries, but he plans to go back, to teach his kids a lesson about perseverance.

I have a friend of a friend who was an experienced hiker in Korea but succumbed to injuries sustained in a fall when he was hiking alone. He had planned to try to do the 212-mile-long John Muir Trail in ten days by himself, from Yosemite Valley to Mt Whitney at the eastern edge of Sequoia National Park, but everyone he met advised against it. 

When he didn't show up for his flight home, authorities scoured the John Muir Trail. Ironically, they were looking in the wrong place, as he had ended up heeding all the advice and was instead roaming around on a much less strenuous two-day hike in the Yosemite backcountry. A tragic loss of a good friend to many people.

There is a word of warning that conditions in the American wilderness can get a lot more treacherous than in South Korea. Yosemite's peaks are higher than even Mt Hallasan, South Korea's tallest mountain at 1950 meters. I've seen it suddenly snow in the summertime, and thunder and lightning are common occurrences. And don't get me started on the physical conditions of the cables used to make it to the top of Half Dome.

Of course, many Americans themselves are not immune to dangerous ignorance. The desert claims lives of tourist passers-by every year, people who didn't heed warnings about keeping liquids in the car, just in case, and not going off the beaten path. 

[above: Probably the most photographed natural rock in the world.]

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Chime in, per favore.

Aloha, sometime denizens of Monster Island! 

I know from all the technical doodads that there are a few "regulars" who make daily or weekly visits to this blog. Some have me listed in their Google Blogs list or their burnfeeders. 

Some of them, of course, are people I already know, but there are others about whom I have no idea, at least not based on their location. 

There are folks from all over California and Korea, some from Japan and Virginia, somebody from around Grand Rapids, Michigan (pictured at left), and someone from Rome, the capital of my favorite country (and which you've probably seen many pictures of, so I won't bother).  

So if you feel like it, chime in and say hello. Let me know if you have a blog I might want to link to sometimes. Or if you value your privacy, just drop me an email. Or do nothing

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The New York Times brings a WTF moment on Romanization

The Gray Lady (OMG, I'm channeling Shelton Bumgartner!) has an interesting article on how second-generation kyopo (교포, ethnic Koreans outside Korea; also spelled gyopo) are mixing Korean food with other cuisines to get a taco-kimchi sorta fusion going.

Fine, I'm all for the expansion of Korean food, especially if Korean food can be adapted to the tastes of the locals and vice-versa. The article cites things like the Kogi barbecue truck (kogi [고기] means "meat" in Korean; sometimes spelled gogi), which people track using their Twitter page

The article also mentions Gyenari, whose kalbi (갈비, ribs; also spelled galbi) is shown below, along with a variety of panchan (반찬, the ubiquitous side dishes that come with a regular Korean meal; also spelled banchan).

Now, I make no secret of my preference for the old-style official Romanization system that was in place prior to the World Cup in 2002, which was a variant of McCune-Reischauer. I think it was simple yet much more accurately reflected how words are really pronounced in Korean, especially those consonants that tend to change sounds depending on where they are within a word. Thus kogi is a better representation of 고기 than gogi, because those two ㄱ's are not pronounced the same. Similarly, I prefer Pusan over Busan, Taegu over Daegu, and Taejŏn/Taejon over Daejeon. 

But I understand why some people would prefer the new system (it's officially Revised Romanization of Korean, but let's call it the NAKL system, after the National Academy of the Korean Language, which proposed this rehashing of an older, inadequate Romanization system). After all, there is no messing with diacritic marks (i.e., the breve over the o and u [ŏ and ŭ] and the consonants were usually written in an easy-to-use (but not easy to accurately pronounce) one-to-one correspondence. 

So at least there is some consistency. But what gets me is when people take Romanization matters into their own hands and come up with some really confusing — and often downright weird — concoctions. 

Gyenari is one such example. By the looks of it, it can only be 계나리, which is rendered kyenari in McCune-Reischauer. Not sure what that's supposed to be, since there is no word 계나리 in the Yahoo! Korean dictionary

Of course, I don't know every word in Korean and not every word is listed at Yahoo!, but I can't help but imagine they mean 개나리, which would be kaenari in McCune-Reischuaer and gaenari in NAKL (and which would sound like kyenari/gyenari if there were such a word). 

Kaenari is forsythia in English, referring to a beautiful yellow flower that explodes across the hillsides and throughout the cities every spring, along with 진달래 (chindaellae/jindallae; azaleas) and cherry blossoms. 

So I go to Gyenari's website, and sure enough they have an explanation of their name in the ABOUT US link:
Named for the flower that blooms once a year, Gyenari Korean BBQ & Lounge (pronounced jin-AR-ee) brings a distinctive brand of flavorful Korean barbecue cuisine beyond Koreatown and into the thriving culinary scene in Culver City.
Huh? Gyenari is pronounced "jinaree"? There's no word 지나리, 진아리, 지날이, or 진알이, the only possible things that would spell "jin-AR-ee" in Korean. 

Really, if they can't even figure out their name enough to get it authentic, what hope is there for their food? I hope I'm wrong and restauranteur Robert Benson (of the Kimhae Bensons, I'm sure) does know what he's doing. In the meantime, I shall enjoy one of Honolulu's ubiquitous sundubu (순두부; tofu stew) eateries. [UPDATE: Benson-shi, watch your fingers.]

Sundubu tchigae (literally: soft tofu stew), Korea's perfect food. Not as spicy as it looks, and chock full of wholesome ingredients, unless they put MSG in it.
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Happy birthday, Lincoln

This month marks the bicentennial of the birth of America's sixteenth president, Abraham Lincoln, Defender of the Union and the man credited with freeing the slaves. When he was elected president in 1860, the South seceded and formed the Confederate States of America. Lincoln gave them the war he'd promised if they made good on threats to leave the Union. Lincoln was the Godfather before there was the Godfather. Total gangster. 

The war resulted in at least 620,000 military deaths and untold tens or even hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths. The South was devastated, much of it burned to the ground and rendered "simple waste and destruction." 

Slavery was a central theme of Lincoln's political life. He famously told of his experiences at a slave auction in New Orleans, describing a "comely mulatto girl" at a slave auction and how the bidders were able to make an "examination at the hands of the bidders," who "pinched her flesh and made her trot up and down the room like a horse" so they could see "how she moved." Despite being a pornographer, Lincoln was handily elected and then re-elected by a majority of Northerners. 

[left: Catherine Hardwicke, the director of last year's runaway teen hit Twilight, says Lincoln's sideburns and 'do were the inspiration for dreamy vampire Edward Cullen's coif.]

But Lincoln's alleged hatred of slavery was downplayed in his own autobiographies and it did not emerge as an issue until it became politically expedient. Let's not kid ourselves: The Emancipation Proclamation was a political maneuver to highlight the cruelty of slavery in order to get France and Britain to back off their support of the Confederacy, which was supplying them with cotton, tobacco, and... cotton and tobacco. The British and the French felt threatened by United States and figured it would be wise to help the Americans with their own self-destruction. 

At any rate, this celebrated Emancipation Proclamation didn't even apply to the "slave states" that were under Union control. Talk about a ballsy move — not!

Was the war necessary? The end of slavery was fast becoming a worldwide trend. The British had abolished slavery in 1807, without bloodshed, which seriously calls into question the need to go to war. There's some indication that the southern states would have eventually gone about it on their own — maybe with the help of companies up north and out west that did boycotts or whatever, but without all the killing and the maiming and the burning. 

Close to a million Americans died. That's a 9/11 or a Pearl Harbor every fu¢king week. And don't think that Southerners back then couldn't relate just because they'd never heard of al Qaeda or the Japanese: a death is a death. No wonder the South is so bitter; we instilled them with enmity that will last for generations. And that is one reason why civil rights for former slaves and their descendants were stuck in 1877 for nearly a hundred years. In the end, it was not another war that gave Blacks voting rights and ended segregation: The Supreme Court justices did it — without killing anybody.

Some people say that not going to war would have resulted in a permanent political division, but I doubt that's true. Heck, we beat the sh¡t out of them in the Civil War and by 1870 all of those jerkwads had crawled back into the Union — they wanted to be part of the United States even after we raped their women folk, killed their menfolk, and burned their houses to the ground. Imagine how things had gone if we'd maintained civility instead of Civil War?

So what is Lincoln's legacy? A South still stunted from the ravishes of near-total destruction struggling to rise up economically, and stunted also in its natural progression toward civil rights. Around a million dead and their prospective offspring never able to enjoy the fruits of liberty?

Yet despite the total failure of his presidency, for some reason we stuck him on both the nickel and the five-dollar bill, as if there's nobody else worthy to be on our currency (if you can't think of anyone, let's just say putting foreigners on our money would be preferable). Lincoln and that slave fu¢ker George Washington make me sick, and they are the reasons I pay for everything with a debit card: I refuse to carry cash or coins that might have their picture on it (Andrew Jackson was a genocidal megalomaniac who targeted Native Americans and Ulysses Grant was Lincoln's co-conspirator). 

Oh, and there's some statue of him at his oversize memorial whose land could be used for low-income housing. He just sits there and stares out into space, doing nothing. Oh, if only that's the tack he'd taken 150 years ago.

So, on this, the 200th anniversary of the beginning of your life, here's wishing you a Happy Birthday, asshole.

[left: The state of Nebraska named their capital city Lincoln, after the sixteenth president, even though he never set foot in their corn-husking state. The drive to name the city Lincoln was spearheaded by residents of Illinois, who felt the move would help obscure the fact that this horrible tyrant was from their state.] Sphere: Related Content

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Eighty-year-old nanas in wheelchairs tired of getting frisked at the airport

Proponents of racial profiling argue that when such-and-such racial/ethnic group is more likely to be involved in some crime like drug trafficking or terrorism, it makes sense to for the the police, the Feds, or the TSA to target members of those groups in higher numbers. 

A favorite icon of the pro-profiling crowd is the proverbial eighty-year-old nana in a wheelchair, who is being taken aside and patted down by the authorities while mean-looking hombres from Colombia or Egypt who smell of gunpowder and coke move unimpeded to their destination. It's an oft-repeated meme designed to point out the silliness of the idea that anybody could be a terrorist or a drug trafficker. 

The elderly lady trying to get to her grandkid's birthday was a highly effective symbol, I thought. Little did I know that these women actually were suffering from an inordinately high number of "extensive searches," a euphemism for treatment by airport security that is only about two shades better than how prisoners of war stateless enemy combatants are rendered at Guantanamo Bay. And I'm not talking a handful — it's hundreds every day.

Well, if you've ever had a curmudgeonly elderly neighbor who would just as soon stab your volleyball that went into her yard with a knitting needle rather than give it back, then you won't be surprised to learn that the old ladies are mad as hell and they aren't going to take it anymore.

That's right. The 80-year-old wheelchair-bound nana so heavily scrutinized at the airport has had enough. Indeed, wheelchair-bound octogenarian grandmothers have become so beleaguered that they have formed a nationwide lobbying organization so that the TSA will stop harassing them: Committee to Restore Ordinary Nana Existence (CRONE).

At left is Mabel Perkins of Palm Beach, Florida, the founder of CRONE. She has grown tired of being held up by "dumb-ass TSA workers" who think she has condoms full of cocaine shoved up her butt. "I've missed four flights to see my kids," she says. "And that's four flights too many." When she read that other senior citizens were also being held up due to them being targeted for extensive security checks, she knew she needed to spearhead an organization aimed at bringing back racial profiling "to get those PC nincompoops off our backs."

But, she makes clear to her Black neighbor and close friend at the Sea Coast Senior Living Center, she's not including elderly Black women in her list of who the heat should be turned back onto. "Just the young men," she explains, "and women who look skanky." She would also include Hispanics, and Whites with long hair, but probably not Asians (unless there's a war with North Korea, then all bets are off).  

One of CRONE's first experiences in the national spotlight came last summer, when they provided legal assistance to eighty-three-year-old Iris Knudsen of Anoka, Minnesota (below). Mrs Knudsen was given a one-year suspended sentence for disorderly conduct after she refused to let TSA workers at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport examine her girdle for C-4.

Though the case resulted in a conviction and a requirement that Knudsen register as a sex offender, CRONE considers this a victory: Federal prosecutors had pushed for life imprisonment for the Democrat-registered voting rights advocate. 

Perkins is very serious about her mission. She has notebook after notebook detailing thousands of episodes where seniors lost their dignity and sometimes their purse. 

On page twelve of the notebook she shows me is a photo of ninety-year-old Rosa Chung of Daly City, California. Mrs Chung has reportedly been strip-searched thirteen times in the past three years. 

In the margins are notes from an interview with Mrs Chung's relatives, who brought the case to Perkins's attention. "It's very disturbing," says granddaughter Linda Chung. "We think she's beginning to like the attention."

Perkins got me in touch with one Olive Baumann of Englewood, Colorado, who says she's frequently taken aside and frisked thoroughly before she's able to get on an aircraft. When asked if her anti-war paraphernalia may be part of the reason, she replied: "Well, duh! That's why I have them."

Okay, okay. Time to come clean. The above was all a little joke. Actually, I'm quite happy that racial profiling is being set aside and everyone gets scrutinized as much as they do. Clean-cut Timothy McVeigh and his all-White co-conspirators, for example, wouldn't have triggered any of the racial profiling checks (but Jordanian-American Ibrahim Ahmad was tracked down to Amman because it was initially assumed that a Middle Easterner — especially one leaving Oklahoma City that day and heading for Jordan — must be behind the blast).

And then there's folks like Orange County resident Adam Gadahn or John Walker Lindh, American supporters of al Qaeda who would blend in very nicely if they shaved off their beards. The same is true of many light-skinned Muslims of Lebanese or European, or even far North African descent. Some of them have blond hair and blue eyes even!

Yep, al Qa'ida in fact had reportedly planned to use such "European-looking" hirabi to do terrorist attacks.

So it's not just Arabs (Iranians, by the way, are not Arabs) or people we might think "look Arab." A terrorist can look like any one of us. Yes, even an Islamist terrorist can look like any one of us. See, by making sure that everyone has a somewhat equal chance at being carefully scrutinized, they can't use our own prejudices against us.

What I'm saying is that whining about apocryphal 80-year-old nanas in wheelchairs being frisked is wrongheaded (though any contact should be conducted professionally and with dignity) because our security at airports needs to be across the board, not just against those we fear the most. Terror organizations are looking for weak points, and using racial profiling would be a foolish exercise in narrowing our security focus.

[above: Scrutinizing even retired grannies as part of the War on Drugs™ is necessary to catch drug mules like this woman, if she is still in this line of work in fifty years. Which she might be. I mean, despite her gorgeous looks and her Oscar nomination for Best Actress, they haven't exactly been knocking down Catalina Sandino Moreno's door. Just sayin' is all.]

So to summarize, what I'm saying is that relying primarily on racial profiling would be idiocy for a number of reasons: 
  1. First, al Qaeda is already in a position to get around such profiling by using European-looking operatives for their taks. People who don't look any more "Muslim" or "Arab" than Ben Affleck or Johnny Depp. Al Qaeda has already reportedly been discovered years ago to be working on this with great seriousness.  
  2. Second, racial profiling of "Muslim-looking people" (whatever that means) ignores that fact that there are other terrorist threats. In the UK, for example, there was until very, very recently the threat of Irish Catholic nationalists blowing things up in London. And in the US, until 9/11, far and away the largest terror attack ever to occur was by a bunch of clean-cut White guys born and bred in America. 
  3. Third, treating a group of people with hostility because of what they look like is a very good way to engender hostility from some of them, especially the ones who didn't feel that way in the first place. This is true of almost any group, Muslim or otherwise.
A similar argument could be made for "Latin American" drug dealers. I am by no means saying that we should ignore the fact that Islamist terrorists (or Latin American drug dealers) remain such a massive threat to American security. But they are not the only threat, and we can't always tell who they are just by looking (and they know that).

* We in the West have co-opted the term jihad and jihadist when the very use of those words may be causing our own goals to become murky even among those who aren't supporters of armed struggle with non-Muslims. Some prefer the terms hirabah and hirabi in lieu of jihad and jihadist.

Here's an interesting
bit from NPR on the subject:
Professor Douglas Streusand says that's why U.S. officials should stop using the term altogether. Streusand is an Arabic and Farsi speaker with a doctorate from the University of Chicago. He teaches Islamic history at the Marine Corps Staff College in Quantico, Va. In a paper written for and circulated among top military brass in the Pentagon, Streusand argues that describing Islamist militants and insurgents in Iraq as "jihadists" is hurting U.S. policy.

Why? Because according to Streusand, "for a Muslim, jihad is a good thing. It literally means striving in the path of God." By describing insurgents or terrorists as "jihadists," he argues, we imply we are fighting meritorious Muslims. To make the point clearer, he says it would be as if al-Qaida called its enemies "freedom."

His suggestion? Use Islamic legal language. The term he suggests is "hirabah" —literally, an unjust form of warfare.
Yeah, calling bin Laden and his minions jihadists seems like the wrong tact if we just end up inadvertently praising them as "strivers in the path of God." The best parallel with Christianity I could think of was someone trying to bash those among the Christian faithful for their support of the War on Terror by calling them "Christian soldiers." Well, that simply would not have the negative ring that was intended, would it?

Calling them
hirabi (committers of hirabah) would be much more fitting to Muslim audiences as it rolled off the tongue of President Obama or UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon: they're a bunch of unjust fighters, pirates, and spreaders of disorder, a serious punishment in the Qur'an.

If nothing else, I would like to see
hirabah/hirabi replace jihad/jihadist in our rhetoric about these murderers and would-be murderers. It may end up making little difference to the people already in these groups, but to people on the sidelines, it might underscore the bad-faith acts of these killers and bringers of mayhem, bringing a clearer perspective to why it is that their actions are wrong even though they are of the same faith.

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Would you like some fried chicken with that, Mister President?

Mayor Dean Grose steps down over controversy (see below).

ORIGINAL POST: Humorists are complaining that (so far) there is nothing really to make fun of regarding President Obama. There's his "um... um..." when he talks without a TelePrompTer, and he's got those giant Dumbo ears, but without him being a womanizer or a serial bungler of the English language (well, not much of one), there really isn't that much. There's his name, I guess, but that sounds so childish (not to mention it's been done to death by his critics).

Still, it's disappointing that people looking for something "funny" to associate with the President have already begun resorting to racist caricature. The above picture is one example. Dean Gross, the mayor of Los Alamitos, a western Orange County community, emailed that graphic of the White House lawn turned into a watermelon patch. It included the headline, "No Easter Egg hunt this year." 

When one African-American businesswoman who had received the email, Keyanus Price, complained about such depictions, she gave the mayor an earful. Gross replied: "The way things are today, you gotta laugh every now and then. I wanna see the coloring contests." That just upset Price more and she took it to the press, after which Gross apologized. 

Said Price:
I have had plenty of my share of chicken and watermelon and all those kinds of jokes. I honestly don't even understand where he was coming from, sending this to me. As a black person receiving something like this from the city freakin' mayor — come on.
Racial stereotypes surrounding the US's first acknowledged African-American president (I'm pretty sure there were others, but they weren't saying) have brought out the stupid in some White people and the hypersensitivity of some Blacks. The cartoon below, in response to a crazed chimpanzee being shot dead by New York's finest, prompted some to suggest that the editorial cartoonist was comparing Obama to a primate, evoking memories of particularly nasty racial slurs about Blacks from the past. 

Actually, he is a primate. We're all primates. Some high-level Catholic clergy are double primates. Anyway, I don't think the monkey in the cartoon was supposed to represent Obama, but just to be safe, it would have been better if the NYPD had shot a rabid dolphin instead. 

People can be too sensitive about perceived racial slurs. I first noticed that in Korea when White people were complaining to me about children on the street yelling "Hello!" at them, calling it hate speech (I'm not making that up [UPDATE: see this link]). 

Then there is the New Yorker cartoon that tried to cram as many stereotypes and innuendos about the Obamas as possible into one page. Lots of people thought they were perpetuating stereotypes rather than mocking them. Boy, have I ever been there. 

Anyway, these things can be like the proverbial monster in the jungle: you'll know it when you see it. The White House lawn turned into a watermelon patch? Come on! You can't get any more obvious about that being offensive. 

That Mayor Gross didn't intend for it to be offensive doesn't make it any less egregious or racist (yes, there are loads of people of all races who think they aren't racist, but they are). It's right up there with Miley Cyrus doing the chink-eye bit: I think it reveals a deeper bigotry looming just below the surface — a bigotry neither the mayor nor Miley intended to let out, if they even know it exists.

What if the tables were turned, we ask ourselves. How would Mayor Gross or Miley Cyrus like it if Asian-Americans or Blacks started to... started to... Oh, geez, what could minorities do to make fun of Whites? Dance badly? Screw up a math question? That's the problem with trying to go after the dominant group: the media perpetuates too few stereotypes about them, and even when some negative generalization gains traction, other races have so much exposure to the many exceptions to the stereotype that it does no real damage. 

Maybe all Asian people should shout "Hello!" when they drive by one. 

Sigh. Hopefully B. Hussein Obama will throw up on a Japanese prime minister soon and we can all move on. 

UPDATE (Friday, February 27, 2009):
Mayor Dean Gross Grose has announced that he will resign from his post due to this controversy (Los Angeles Times story here). The Orange County Register quotes the mayor:
“The attention brought to this matter has sadly created an image of me which is most unfortunate,” he wrote. “I recognize that I've made a mistake and have taken steps to make sure this is never repeated.”
Some Orange County residents were "disgusted" that a public official would send a overtly offensive and racist email, while others are saying that "what was intended to be a joke has spiraled out of control."

Well, I don't know if racist humor amounts to a harmless joke, but I do agree that some things have gotten out of hand. The mayor found a smashed watermelon outside his office on Thursday, prompting the police to patrol both his office and his home. 

UPDATE #2 (same day, but much later):
Local station KCAL-TV says that Grose will remain on the Los Alamitos city council. They also report that he said he "wasn't aware of the racial stereotype that Blacks like watermelon." WTF?! If you really didn't know about that stereotype, why did you think the picture was funny in the first place? You are either full of sh¡t, Mr Grose and don't deserve to be in local government for that reason, or you really are telling the truth and you are too clueless to run a city. 

To make this Korea-related, the groundwork for the development of seedless watermelons is credited to Korean-Japanese U Changchun (우장춘, or Woo Jangchun), a man whose father may have been involved with the Ŭlmi Incident, the Japanese-led assassination of the Chosǒn-era Queen Min. I like seedless watermelons; when I was about six, my friend's brother had me convinced that eating watermelon seeds would make you pregnant. 

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A country gone mad?
(Or: Arson by candlelight)

A post from 2008 at Brian Deutsch's website that was about commemorating the Kwangju Massacre but delved into last year's mad Mad Cow protests compelled me to respond. This is addressed not necessarily to Brian himself, but to those who so easily conflate the chants and attitudes of anti-US protesters with the opinions and beliefs of the broader Korean public.

In reference to the continued use by chinboistas (chinbo, or progressive groups) of images of Shim Misun (Shim Misŏn, 심미선) Shin Hyosun (Shin Hyosūn, 신효순), two middle school girls tragically killed when they were run over by a US military armored vehicle in June 2002 in an incident that sparked angry anti-US protests later that year, he states:
I have to question the sanity of those who constantly invoke this incident, as it's not used to preserve the memory of those two girls, but rather to encapsulate a victimization complex that is so vital to the national psyche.
Oh, they are not insane whatsoever (and no, it's not part of the national psyche, but a key part of the modus operandi of the pro-Pyongyang left). They know exactly what they are doing.

At the core of many of the chinbo (진보/進步; "progressive") groups are individuals who are directly getting marching orders from Pyongyang. The goal is to whip up so many people against the US that the ROK government will demand the removal of USFK, which dramatically tips the balance of power on the peninsula in the North's favor.

On other fronts, in the things one might not recognize because they are in Korean, they also try to whip up so much anger toward the ROK government that people will topple the government.

[above: Students rushing off to protests aimed at toppling the government of Syngman Rhee during the so-called 4.19 Movement, referred to sometimes as the April Revolution, in 1960.]

This is not some pie-in-the-sky dream. This kind of popular "toppling" has in fact happened twice. But it did not lead to the revolution Pyongyang had wished, nor a weakening of South Korea. It led to another strong dictatorship in the 1960s and it led to a democratically elected government in the late 1980s.

The hoped-for removal of US forces has not happened in South Korea, but it did work in the Philippines and it is starting to work in Okinawa, where forces are moving to Guam, where there are also local agitators against the US military.

Anyway, the goal of the people behind the scenes is to spread disinformation and provide imagery such that the average Korean who does not suspect or does not want to believe in such pro-Pyongyang machinations, demands removal of USFK or takes to the streets to force out whoever's in the Blue House.

This is not to say that the Kwangju Uprising did not have legitimacy. Although I'm sure there were a few Pyongyang operatives within the rank and file, the majority of the people were fighting for a legitimate cause (and the government's side was overreacting on a belief that almost everyone in Kwangju was a pro-Pyongyang enemy of the state).

Anyway, you can see it with the Mad Cow protests. A legitimate beef (one's own government setting aside in-place safety regulations at the behest of their economically dominant ally) which reasonable people can get behind, distorted and manipulated by disinformation (an irrational fear of a rapid spread of Mad Cow Disease) that itself had some basis in reality (documentation of illegal use of downer cows in the United States and the US's own inadequate Mad Cow screening, as well as other health issues), bundled together in order to reach a critical mass.

Now here's the key: What was the goal? If you think it was to spread anti-Americanism then you have missed the point. Anti-Americanism was merely one of many tools to manipulate public sentiment toward the final goal, which was the ousting of President Lee Myungbak.

This same kind of thing plays out again and again. Each potential issue, regardless of its merits, must be pushed as far as it can go to see which has the potential to resonate with the larger public that is not accustomed to going out and protesting or even attending candlelight vigils. Like blasting solid rock with high-pressure water hoses to see where the one fissure is that will — if the pressure remains high and constant — eventually be the crack that splits the rock in half.

They thought they may have found it with the deaths of the two middle school girls — which was not a mere accident because it involved high degrees of negligence on the part of USFK, which was daily creating a deadly hazard where sleep-deprived soldiers were operating unwieldy machines while using faulty or out-of-order equipment including those used for communications (it was literally an accident waiting to happen, but the fault was with the commanders, probably not the two men who went on trial).

They thought they had it with Mad Cow, where legitimate complaints about the president scrapping legitimate health measures in a quid pro quo to get the US-Korean Free Trade Agreement passed were mixed in with (and eventually overshadowed by) frenzied claims about the real dangers posed by BSE (Mad Cow Disease). In time, some other issue will come up in the future, and these old issues will also be rehashed, too, because maybe the magic formula lies not with one issue, but with a critical mass of issues.

But the vast majority of Koreans has no interest in this. The deaths were tragic, and a lot of reasonable people were angry, but most Koreans don't want the USFK to pull out over this. Each and every South Korean president, from both left and right, has insisted that USFK is needed for South Korean security (Roh Moohyun so much so that he nearly committed political suicide to send troops to Iraq, though his slow-motion deployment was very ham-handed).

That's why we see candlelight vigils in favor of the hard-core protests with rock-throwing and tear gas volleys (though violence can still erupt, as well as graffiti). Anyone can grab a cup and a candle and join a peaceful vigil. Public transportation will take you there.

[above: Not far from my house is Kwanghwamun, which was ground zero for the Mad Cow Protests. Throughout the summer, there were nightly confrontations between the protesters and the police, with many police vehicles being vandalized like this one. Typical of the graffiti is what you see at right, "MB OUT," referring to President Lee Myungbak by the initials of the two characters of his given name. Below that is a slightly bewildering one: "MB = Pedophile." I guess they were testing that one to see if it would pick up traction; it didn't. If I hadn't been so busy, I would have stuck around and taken more pictures.]

And those citizens carrying candles may not realize that their participation is a tool for the ultimate goal of the political arsonists behind the scenes. The tens of thousands of candlelight villagers, many portrayed as meek young girls, are meant as cover for the true vigilantes: the hard-core who we saw in 2008 trying to provoke reactions by the staid and stoic riot police who long ago were participants in the tear gas-infused operas of lore, destroying government buses carrying those soldiers, blocking traffic, writing the graffiti that was to whip up the masses to take down Caesar, er... President Lee.

Sigh. The ultimate goal of this post is to provide some perspective and to point out the meaning of the fact that not only did the vast majority of the public not join in, but they condemned the protests and bought up the supposedly Mad Cow-tainted beef in record numbers. That meaning is that these perpetual protesters in Korea, as per usual, do not represent the whole of Korean society.

South Korea is a nation with a still-powerful enemy that works through many ways and many channels — some overt but many clandestine and insidious — to bring about their ultimate goal. I hate that I sound like some paranoid right-winger when I say things like this, but to anyone who chooses to look objectively behind the headlines, this stuff is just plain obvious.

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