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Quick Reads + South Korea

Media archive · 1035 posts

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Latest stories from Quick Reads + South Korea

South Korea: Samsung Sues Newspaper Over Negative Report

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.

South Korea: Royal Gate Restoration, Corruption and Suicide

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. 

Korea: English, Borrowed Words, Konglish

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

North Korea: When It Will Collapse?

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'.

South Korea: 6th Grader's ‘Frozen’ Tribute Video

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.

NASA's New Photo of North Korea

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. 

PHOTO: South Korean Labor and Civic Groups Stage Strike

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].

General strike, at the Seoul City Hall Plaza. It is fully packed.

Not All Bad, Talking Korean Plastic Surgery from Biz Perspective

There have been mounting criticisms on both local and international media's coverage of rampant plastic surgeries in South Korea; many reports are highly sensational, describing how reckless and ignorant plastic surgery patients are (focused on females ones rather than male) and have successfully generated numerous crass jokes and harsh comments not only about patients, but also about the country as a whole. Wangkon936′s post in Marmot's Hole blog leads readers to drop the narrow ‘good’ and ‘bad’ value position and approach the issue from a purely business perspective. Some of the highlights are: 

When it comes to South Korea, much of the press is negative and borders on reporting mostly on the strange and/or weird such as the so-called “tower of jaw bones”[...] However, is it all bad? If we are to take perhaps subjective values out of the equation and just look at economic impact, then is this all “bad,” per se? From an economic and business perspective, Korea’s highly demanding aesthetics culture is creating an expertise, technology and infrastructure base [...]

Ethnic North Korean Schools in Japan Face Ever-Hostile Situation

Koreans living in Japan‘ is a vague word glueing very different groups together under the same umbrella term. Based on their affiliation to North/South Korea and the timing of diaspora (whether it happened before/after the Japanese imperial rule during the World War 2 ear), each sub-group goes by a different name, sharing little similarities. Stark division between them is once again solidified by education system; North Koreans in Japan attend a special ethnic school that resembles ones that are in North Korea. Markus Bell, after visiting one North Korean school in Japan, wrote an extensive report on multiple threats those schools face, with some background information about the concerned ethnic group, as the financial help from their home country has been significantly reduced and also funding from the Japanese government was recently cut off. 

Correction to Chosun Newspaper in South Korea

Screen shot of Chosun newspaper

Screen shot of Chosun newspaper website (4 Feb, 2014)

In an article that lists Global Voices as one of several “non-legitimate”, “foreign media websites” who “spread rumors about South Korea” abroad, South Korean pro-government newspaper Chosun falsely describes our Korean editor Yoo Eun Lee as, “a dark-haired Korean-American blogger, who goes by a last name starting with L”.

Lee's identity is not in the least secret – she's a Korean media professional currently living in the United States (and actually she currently has light brown hair). We stand by her coverage of an election manipulation scandal in South Korea, clampdowns on labor groups, and an increasingly hostile environment for Korean journalists.

Chosun further tries to demonstrate our untrustworthiness by saying that Global Voices misrepresents itself as having an affiliation to Harvard Law School, but that their “own investigation” shows we are “just a blog site”.

Apparently there is an outdated description of Global Voices on a major Korean website (with no connection to us) that describes us as a Harvard Law School project. The truth is that Global Voices was founded in 2005 at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, which is indeed housed at Harvard Law School. But today, Global Voices is an independent non-profit organization incorporated in The Netherlands.

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