Stories from Quick Reads and South Korea
On June 22 at the World Cup 2014 in Brazil, Algeria defeated South Korea 4-2 to keep its chance of qualifying to the knock-out round alive. Scenes of joy were numerous in Algeria [fr] but also in France where a dynamic Algerian community resides.
The joy was tempered by rumors that a church in Lyon, France was burned down during the celebration. The rumors turned out to be a complete lie spread by extreme right groups based on erroneous photos. Adrien Sénécat explains the details of his fact-checking on the story [fr] :
Peu après le coup de sifflet final dimanche, des tweets ont indiqué qu'une église aurait brûlé dans le quartier de la Duchère, à Lyon. Message notamment relayé par le Bloc Identitaire et des sites proches de l'extrême-droite. Sauf que l'église en question n'a pas brûlé, comme l'ont signalé plusieurs internautes sur les réseaux sociaux. Une église a en revanche bien été incendiée à la Duchère… mais en 2006 (et sans aucun rapport avec un match de l'Algérie).
Shortly after the final whistle on Sunday, some tweets suggested that a church had burned down in the area of Duchère in Lyon, France. These tweets were relayed by Bloc Identitaire and other similar extreme-right group websites. The thing is, the church was still intact, as reported by several twitter users.A Church in Duchère was lit on fire … but in 2006 (and it had no relation whatsoever with an Algerian football).
Various artists have joined in paying tribute to the victims of the Sewol ferry disaster which cost over 260 lives, most of them high school students. This stunning sand animation video commemorating the victims and their families uses nothing but sand on a flat surface and artist's fingers to arrange the sand to create depth, shadow and density. The sand art, which brought some audiences to tears, was created by artist Shin Mi-ri and directed by Nam Ji-sun.
In recent months, particularly murky allegations over the royal gate restoration have unfolded in South Korea. The project's ‘chief carpenter’ is accused not only of using substandard wood, but stealing donated wood. Moreover, several government officials involved in the project were also indicted on charges of bribery [ko], and a civilian investigator who revealed details about the flawed operation committed suicide.
John Rodgers of Marmot's Hole blog wrote about how things have developed, sparking a rather interesting discussion on the country's issues of corruption in the comments section.
Although South Korea seems to be plugging unification with North Korea, experts are a little hesitant about projecting North Korea's imminent collapse. NKnews.org published a nice post on the chance of the dictatorial regime's disintegration, concluding that ‘Pyongyang's belated economic reforms make ‘middle-run’ scenarios more likely'.
Any international readers interested in North Korea would probably come across at least once this famous photo of Korean peninsula from NASA demonstrating a stark difference in the light emission of two Koreas at nighttime. NASA finally updated a new satellite image and it is ‘even more dramatic than the monochrome NASA satellite image of old', writes North Korea Tech blog. The blog also introduces a video version of the image which shows North Korea in context with the rest of East Asia.
In South Korean capital Seoul, two subway trains collided last week, injuring over 200 passengers, mostly minor injuries. The accident occurred in the wake of the Sewol ferry disaster, and the timing of the event and passengers’ immediate responses to the crash have further fueled discussion. Noticeably, most of subway passengers choose to ignore an announcement to stay still and actively got themselves out of the subway car — the exact opposite of how Sewol disaster's victims reacted. Korea Bang's Simon Kim gathered and translated South Korean net users’ reaction to the news.
South Korean tech giant Samsung has launched a lawsuit against a local IT newspaper for publishing an unfavorable report. Marmot's Hole blog wrote about how things developed and the repercussion of Samsung's response to negative press coverage. Some of the highlights read;
I’d caution Samsung that in terms of PR, lawsuits of this sort often cause more harm than good[...] To make matters worse, a story at AppleInsider compares the Korean electronics giant rather unfavorably to the Cupertino Fruit Company, which—assuming the report is true—almost never sues newspapers/blogs despite the countless groundless rumors that accompany the release of just about every iPhone model.
Words adopted from another language, or ‘borrowed words’ permeate the Korean language. R. Elgin wrote an informative post about how borrowed English words are being used in Korea compared to loanwords in other countries; many English words are, instead of being completely or partially naturalized, phonetically rendered into Korean, often in forms of Konglish.
Disney's Oscar-winning animated film ‘Frozen’ is immensely popular in South Korea; it has become the second most-watched foreign film as of last weekend by crossing 10 million admissions. Korean fans have posted lots of parody images, as well as Korean artists who have chimed in by singing the movie's catchy hit song ‘Let it go'. This particular fan-made tribute video is rapidly gaining views on Youtube. The video was reportedly made by a 6th grader [ko] who took photos of her own drawings and added those 600 images together to make this video clip.
Timed with the start of President Park Geun-hye's second year in office, about 40 thousand South Koreans (police estimate 15 thousand) held protests across the country. The demonstration, spearheaded by Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, calls halt to a clampdown on labor groups, the government's move towards privatization of public sector and cover-up of the presidential election manipulation scandal. Prominent citizen journalist Media Mongu tweeted a photo of the protest (embedded below). More photos can be found in the union's Facebook page [ko].
국민파업. 서울광장 안입니다. 꽉 찼습니다. pic.twitter.com/ZwdJ9AFlYh
— 미디어몽구 (@mediamongu) February 25, 2014
General strike, at the Seoul City Hall Plaza. It is fully packed.