Newtapa [ko] (Korea Center for Investigative Journalism) published a web feature [ko] which displays list of politicians’ names who received political donations from construction companies involved in the statewide construction project ‘Four Major Rivers Project‘.
Latest stories from Quick Reads + South Korea
Spurred by the latest revelation about South Korean government's systemic interference in the latest presidential election, more and more religious leaders have begun to speak out. Following Catholic leaders’ mass candlelight vigils, the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism held a protest at Jogyesa- the chief temple of the Order. Prominent citizen journalist @Mediamongu tweeted this image with short description [ko].
한국 불교 1번지이자 최대 종단인 조계종 승려 1,000여명이 대선개입 규탄, 박근혜 정부 참회, 민주주의 수호를 염원하는 시국선언을 하고 있습니다. 여기는 조계사 입니다. pic.twitter.com/9YTs45Ex0A
— 미디어몽구 (@mediamongu) November 28, 2013
The biggest order of Korean Buddhism- the Jogye Order's 1000 monks [note: local article tells [ko] that is about 10 percent of the total number of monks from the Jogye Order] called for Park Geun-hye government's apology and denounced the election manipulation and prayed for protection of democracy', here at Jogyesa (or Jogye Temple).
Twitter user @zarodream has been receiving congratulatory messages from fellow South Korean Tweeters for providing crucial leads in unraveling the spy agency's election manipulation activities done via Twitter. According to interview [ko], @zarodream, a 40-year-old ordinary office worker with zero professional knowledge nor special interest in politics, has spent about a year following the spy agency trails on Twitterphere and was able to track down their key accounts and connected accounts’ online activities.
‘Wide Goose Father’ is a commonly-used term in South Korea referring to sacrificial fathers who send their wife and children abroad for better education, but themselves remain in South Korea to work and cover all the expenses. The number of wild goose fathers has been steadily increasing over the years and recently, local media revealed that 70 percent of them suffer from depression and 77 percent from inadequate nutrition. Simon Kim from Korea Bang site translated related articles and net users’ responses to the news.
North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong-un has an impersonator in Hong Kong. Hong Wrong interviewed the Australian Hong Konger, ‘Howard’, who had performed Kim Jong-un for an Israeli burger chain. Howard likes to wander around in Lan Kwai Fong and takes picture with passer-by so don't be surprise to run into Kim Jong-Un.
Although K-drama (South Korean soap opera) seems doing well internationally, South Koreans’ discontent and complaints on its repeated patterns and cliched scenarios and characters are bubbling under. Recently, as major network TV, KBS decided to extend a poorly-written soap opera ‘Princess Aurora’ which many call an ‘insult to viewers’ intelligence', net users have started gathering signatures. And this rather unusual online petition [ko] calling to end the show and overthrow an extremely powerful screenwriter, Im Sung-han, is gaining traction; the first round of petition already surpassed its target of 10 thousand signatures in about a week, and seven thousands have signed in its second round.
North Korea’s recently-launched Android-based tablet, Samjiyon appeared on eBay, listed by a Canadian account with a shipping location of Yanji in China. North Korea Tech blog also reports that the worlds's one of the best-selling applications, Angry Birds, was included on the tablet without proper permissions from the game maker.
A special webpage ‘NIS 2012‘ [ko] was set up by savvy net users to host an interactive timeline explaining how the NIS (National Intelligence Service)’ election manipulation scandal has unfolded over the year. The site also features a diagram displaying relations and dynamics between concerned interest groups and political powerhouses and a list of top ridiculous quotes made by politicians and spy agents.
Clashes continue to intensify in small South Korean village Miryang as senior villagers resist the government's decision to impose electrical power lines across their land, saying they will fight to the death for their land and living rights. An environmental group started a grassroot campaign in Daum Agora site [ko] of gathering small donations from individuals to provide solar panels for the villagers. Over 1400 net users have participated so far.
Protests have continued against South Korea's spy agency who allegedly interfered with the latest presidential election and manipulated public opinion to tip the scales in favor of current president Park Geun-hye. Ahead of Park's official visit to Western Europe, Koreans living in France held candlelight vigils denoucing the allegations and more are planned next week in the United Kingdom and France. @wjsfree posted a nice roundup of protest photos and links.
It took ten years for women's magazine Allure's Korean edition to finally have a Korean cover model. James Turnbull explains in the Grand Narrative blog that the reason lies in Korean readers taste who prefer foreign, Caucasian cover models.
Bahrain interior ministry allegedly ordered 1.6 million teargas canisters to use against protesters, and South Korean company DaeKwang is believed to be one of the major suppliers. R. Elgin wrote in Marmot's Hole blog about the ironic history of tear gas– a notorious symbol of Korean government's clampdowns back in 70-80s becoming a money-maker nowadays. Earlier this month, net users tweeted photos of protesters outside the Korean embassy in London, calling Korean companies to stop selling toxic gas.
South Korean conglomerate Samsung has come under fire for their notorious labor violations. ‘International Campaign for Health and Labour Rights of Samsung Electronics Workers‘ explains about South Korean Court's recent ruling that orders industrial-accident payouts to the bereaved family of a former Samsung employee who died of leukemia.
More revelations of the spy agency's election manipulation scandal came out, rekindling several month-long protests. Three agents were being probed on Oct 18 for tweeting and re-tweeting political articles to influence pubic opinion. On Oct 19, about 20 thousands[ko] attended a mass candlelight vigil in Seoul protesting the spy agency scandal. @Wjsfree gathered photos of this weekend's protests held across the country.
A Swedish underwear brand launched a ridiculous Ad campaign entitled ‘Weapons of the Mass Seduction’ that pledges to drop 450 pairs of free underwear to the country voted the most in the poll on Oct 31 by an airdrop. North Korea, so far, was placed on top by garnering over 5,500 votes and news has generated many comments in South Korean online venues.
South Korean Defense reportedly plans to launch military-purpose high-tech blimps at the disputed maritime border with North Korea next month. Tech blogger Martyn Williams explains in detail.
Occasional blogger, John Bocskay had an interview with travel writer Rolf Potts who championed the famed word ‘vegabond’. Potts, who spent several years in South Korea’s second largest city, Pusan, said:
Every second person at a given expat bar claimed to be a writer or artist, but you never saw much writing or art. It was all very bitter and petty and self-defeating, and I didn’t begin to write about Korea in a meaningful away until I learned to keep that expat crowd (friends and coworkers included) at arm’s-length and experience the city on quieter, more Korean terms.
President Park is under fire for her retreat on campaign promises of higher pension and tuition subsidies. Critics say her campaign pledges adopted against her own identity as a conservative candidate, helped Park to rake in more votes in the last presidential election. @metempirics gathered relevant links and web reactions [ko] in Storify.
Although South Korea is still a male-dominated society that ranks toward the bottom of polls in gender equality, more men seem to feel they are losing ground. It is partly true when it comes to marriage where social pressure for young men to provide a house for their brides is enormous, while men in their 20s and 30s still struggle to find jobs. Korea Bang translated net users’ reactions to the issue.
An international child advocacy organization, Save the Children's Korean office released a statement [ko] condemning a South Korean major newspaper for violating a child's privacy. Donga, one of the three biggest conservative newspapers in the country, recently published a column [ko] mocking an 11-year-old illegitimate son of the chief prosecutor who recently resigned over an extramarital affair allegation.
The Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan has launched a new campaign to gather 100 million signatures. Their online petition, in eight different languages, calls on Japanese government to offer an official apology and legal reparations to the victims and asks the international community to join their cause. Over 743 thousands have already joined online.
Prominent citizen journalist Media Mongu posted a Youtube video of Catholic leaders denouncing the state spy agency's interference in the presidential election. His description read ‘an unprecedented number of 4502 clergy members have gathered at Sogang University, the alma mater of the current President Park, to release a manifesto that calls on President Park’ to investigate and apologize for the spy agency scandal.
As it turns out radioactive water leaks at Japan's Fukushima plant are ‘much worse than‘ the authorities are willing to admit, South Koreans call on government to provide regular and thorough medical checkups for 108 Korean rescue workers dispatched to Fukushima immediately after the crisis. An online petition [ko] urging medical care for the rescue team has gathered less than seven thousand signatures so far.
Park Jeong-geun, a photographer/activist who was sentenced to 10 months jail term for satirically re-tweeting messages from a North Korean official account, was found not guilty [ko]. A flurry of tweets congratulating him were sent to Park's Twitter account (@seouldecadence), who tweeted after the verdict [ko] that there is a chance the prosecutor may appeal the case. Park added ‘but dont do that if you have any conscience left'.
During a parliamentary hearing on the spy agency election interference scandal, Cho Myung-chul, a ruling party lawmaker famous for being the first North Korean defector to take a senior government post in South Korea, went under fire for making snide and offensive remarks discriminating against people from certain province. More criticisms mount as prominent political blogger Impeter disclosed that [ko] Cho has misrepresented facts about his academic records, whether intended or not, and as news came out [ko] that Cho's family, even after Cho's defection, still enjoys affluent life in North Korea.
As protests against South Korea's spy agency's involvement in election gets bigger, overseas Koreans and Americans of Korean descent have joined the movement. This photo montage on the Youtube shows small rallies held in major U.S, cities, such as Washington D.C., New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Arizona and in Canada.
Although South Korea is rapidly turning into a multi-ethnic society, changes in the public notion or institutional preparations still lag behind. The Grand Narrative blog posted on how one Korean elementary textbook addresses multicultural families, along with links displaying how Koreans, who have been taught in school that they are “ethnically homogeneous”, respond to this new reality.
Packed with Asian stereotypes and fetishes, song ‘Asian Girlz’ by ‘Day Above Ground’ has invited controversy and angry comments. Blogger Angry Asian Man typed down the entire lyrics to comment [if they have not] ‘run out of stereotypical Oriental stuff to list off, the song would have gone on for another ten minutes”. The band defended itself on Youtube but it somehow fueled criticism even more.