A tasteless skit by SNL Korea which makes fun of the Korean adoptee experience has understandably drawn the ire of the Korean American adoptee community.
The skit, titled “Meeting You Now,” depicts a Korean American man who has just arrived at an airport in Korea and sees his birth mother for the first time. Speaking in broken Korean with exaggerated misuse of honorific and casual speech, the man reads a letter to his birth mother.
It gets even murkier once you understand the dialogue. Some of the absurd lines uttered in a fake accent by the actor include the following:
“Why did you abandon me, mom? Were you ass broke? You get punished if you abandon your kids.”
“My American mom told me my heavy drinking comes from my Korean mom.” (more…)
A new service in South Korea allows women to flash the latest high-end handbag without forking over a lot of dough.
MBC reports that a luxury goods rental service has customers depositing their own upscale handbag with a broker which then entitles them to pick out a handbag for a fee of about $20 to $30 per week. If the customer’s bag is rented by another customer, they get a percentage of the rental fees. If they don’t add a bag to the pool, they can still rent a bag for a higher fee of about $50.
Members are reportedly happy with the service. (more…)
Chloe Kim landed on the podium at the last major snowboarding event of the season, making her youngest-ever World Snowboard Tour overall champion.
Chloe, 13, came in third at the Burton U.S. Open held in Vail, Colo., over the weekend, launching a huge switch method and a big switch frontside air during one of her three runs. Transworld Snowboarding said “Chloe put down one of the most original runs of the day,” on her way to bronze.
Recent Olympic bronze medalist Kelly Clark, who won the weekend’s event, had nothing but praise for her protege. (more…)
Japan Won’t Alter Apology to World War II Sex Slaves
New York Times
Japan will not revise a landmark apology to women forced to work in military brothels during World War II even as it moves ahead with a review of the testimony used to create that apology, a spokesman for the Japanese government said Monday.
Yoshihide Suga, the chief cabinet secretary, told reporters that the conservative government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had no intention of changing the 1993 apology, called the Kono Statement. The apology admitted for the first time that the Imperial military played at least an indirect role in forcing the women, known euphemistically as “comfort women,” to provide sex to Japanese soldiers.
Mr. Suga was responding to rising criticism from South Korea, a former Japanese colony where many of the women came from, of an announcement made two weeks ago by Mr. Suga that the government would review evidence used to support the apology. At that time, Mr. Suga said the government would form a panel of experts to review the evidence used to back up the statement, mostly testimony made two decades ago by 16 aging former sex slaves.
North Korea Election: A Sham Worth Studying
Kim wins. That is the unsurprising outcome of North Korea’s first legislative election under the leadership young dictator Kim Jong Un. State media report that nearly 100% of eligible North Koreans voted in Sunday’s poll, and 100% cast votes in favor of the status quo. This is only partly as ridiculous as it sounds: voting is mandatory and there is one option on the ballot.
Indeed, when North Korea votes, it votes. When exactly 100% of eligible North Korean set out to cast votes 100% in favor of pre-determined politicians, they were carried forth on “billows of emotion and happiness,” state media reported. And nowhere were they happier — or more billowy, presumably — that in Kim Jong Un’s district, Mount Paektu, the Korean peninsula’s highest peak. The group that voted at the storied site were so moved by the exercise that they spontaneously burst into song, state media said.
North Korean Flagged Tanker Puzzles Observers
Wall Street Journal
Is North Korea trying to import oil from rebel forces in Libya?
The Libyan government and militias are threatening to attack a North Korean-flagged tanker off its coast that they say rebels are hoping to use to export oil from the port of al-Sidra.
“Any attempt (by the tanker) to move, it will be turned into scrap,” Libyan Culture Minister Al-Habib al-Amin said on Sunday, according to the Associated Press.
The presence of the tanker, named “The Morning Glory,” has puzzled observers because it’s very unusual for North Korean-flagged vessels to appear in the Mediterranean.
Dennis Rodman pledges to end North Korea trips
Dennis Rodman, back from a North Korea trip that included an exhibition game and birthday song for Kim Jong Un, has pledged he will not make a return visit to the dictator if that is not what people want.
Rodman said he went to North Korea with pure intentions, stating that he only wants to “do great things in life” in a television interview with ESPN’s Mark Schwarz.
“I wish they understood the whole purpose of why I went to North Korea,” Rodman said. “I wish they did.”
Kim Jong-un’s Sister Secures Place in Nomenklatura
North Korea’s state-run media have for the first time mentioned leader Kim Jong-un’s younger sister Yeo-jong by name, suggesting she has established a position of some influence for herself in the corridors of power.
North Korean state TV on Sunday reported that Kim Jong-un visited a polling station at Kim Il-sung University for elections for the Supreme People’s Assembly on Sunday, accompanied by military politburo chief Choe Ryong-hae, Workers Party deputy directors Kim Kyong-ok and Hwang Pyong-so, “and comrade Kim Yeo-jong.”
Challenging South Korea’s Gender Barrier
Wall Street Journal
When Cho Eun-sook started her career as the first female software developer at LG Electronics Inc. in 1988, there was no such thing as maternity leave. Instead, she took vacation days to give birth to her two sons.
Now in her 27th year at the company, Ms. Cho runs mobile accessory development and is one of three female vice presidents at the company.
Ms. Cho was one of more than 120 female engineers who met to discuss women working in technology at an event hosted by Google Inc. in Seoul on Friday to mark International Women’s Day.
Fugitive tracked by Tribune is returned from S. Korea
U.S. authorities today extradited international fugitive Kyung Ho Song to Chicago from his native South Korea, more than a decade after Song fled Cook County to avoid being tried on charges of drunken driving and reckless homicide.
The hunt for Song was reactivated after the Tribune contacted prosecutors and police about the dormant case in connection with its 2011 “Fugitives From Justice” investigation. The Tribune separately tracked down Song in a suburb of Seoul and interviewed him there in early 2012.
Korean authorities arrested Song in December 2013 on a U.S. provisional arrest warrant, and the Korean ministry of justice authorized his extradition back to Chicago.
Affirmative action amendment has some Asian-Americans furious
Southern California Public Radio
A proposal to reinstate affirmative action at California’s public universities is riling some Asian-American groups more than any recent political issue, with critics unleashing their anger on social media and in protests and public meetings.
At issue is a Democrat-backed bill that would lift a 1996 ban keeping University of California and California State University schools from considering race or ethnicity in admissions and recruitment.
SCA 5 – short for Senate Constitutional Amendment 5 – passed on a party-line vote in the state Senate late January, and if it’s approved by the supermajority in the Assembly, Californians could vote on the issue as early as this year.
More charges after cyclist killed in W. Colorado
AP via Seattle Post-Intelligencer
A 29-year-old Palisade woman involved in a crash in western Colorado that killed a man on a cross-country bicycling trip is now facing several drug charges.
Prosecutors say Tonie Rosales used cocaine for two days in September before heading to Delta for a court hearing relating to a prior DUI arrest. She struck and killed 25-year-old Eunjey Cho on U.S. Highway 50 on her way to court Sept. 18 and was formally charged with the drug offenses Thursday.
The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reports (http://bit.ly/1gc4wnD ) Rosales already has been charged with two counts of vehicular homicide — one alleging DUI and another alleging reckless driving.
Brentwood girl gets two perfect ACT scores, looks to future in science
For most students, taking the ACT is a rite of passage.
It can be an eye-opening and sometimes brutal experience, often repeated to achieve better results and possibly gain college scholarship money and win selective admission.
But for Joyce Kang, a senior at Brentwood High School, the college entrance exam was a piece of cake both times she took it. That’s right: She made the highest possible score — 36 — both times.
Kang had to endure the exam a second time because she didn’t take the ACT written assessment the first time.
Folk rockers Run River North flows in the right direction on debut album
Society always celebrates the records that top the Billboard 200 album chart. Back of The Billboards is a Music Times weekly segment that looks at the opposite end: the new record that finished closest to the back of the Billboard 200 for the previous week. We hope to give a fighting chance to the bands you haven’t heard of.
Week of 03/07/2013
WHO: Run River North
WHAT: Run River North
Run River North first came to our attention in a method befitting the the style of music they play. The six-piece had assembled its own music video (under its then name Monsters Calling Home) shooting inside a Honda Fit. The car company appreciated the gesture and hooked them up with Jimmy Kimmel Live.
Uncomfortable questions with Shin-Soo Choo
Fort Worth Star-Telegram (Texas)
Shin-Soo Choo’s big league career began when he was 22 as a rookie with the Seattle Mariners. He is 30 now, and should be fairly secure with the seven-year, $130 million contract he signed with the Texas Rangers in the offseason. He should be able to live off that for at least two to three years.
A native of South Korea, Choo is expected to bat leadoff hitter, and be the Rangers’ every day left fielder. He was nice enough to answer some uncomfortable questions.
Dodgers to start Clayton Kershaw, Hyun-Jin Ryu in Australia openers
Los Angeles Times
Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly made official Sunday what had been suspected for some time: Left-handers Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu are set to start the team’s season-opening games against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Australia.
But anything beyond that, Mattingly said, is still to be determined.
“We still haven’t made all our decisions on exactly how we’re going to set up our roster,” he said. “So those are issues that we continue to talk with guys about.”
IOC Deletes Fake Quotes from Kim Yu-na
The International Olympic Committee has quietly deleted fabricated quotes from Korean figure skating star Kim Yu-na that appeared to downplay controversy over judging irregularities at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.
The IOC published an article with the implausible quotes on its official website on March 6, focusing on figure skaters from the Innsbruck Youth Winter Olympics who won medals in Sochi.
One skater in focus was Russian gold medalist Adelina Sotnikova. The IOC claimed Kim had been “magnanimous in defeat” after a highly dubious judging decision in Sochi put her in second place.
Kim Yu-na to hold farewell ice shows in May: agency
South Korean figure skating icon Kim Yu-na will hold farewell ice shows in Seoul this spring, her agency announced Monday.
All That Sports said Kim will take the center stage at her corporate-sponsored ice shows from May 4 to 6 in the nation’s capital.
The 23-year-old star retired from competition after the Sochi Winter Olympics last month. She picked up the silver medal behind Adelina Sotnikova of Russia, after winning the gold at the previous Winter Olympics in Vancouver in 2010.
The agency said the three days of performances will be Kim’s last appearances on ice as a figure skater. Through the agency’s press release, Kim said she hopes to take the opportunity to show her appreciation for her fans.
Beverly Kim and John Clark Plan to Open Parachute
When the husband-and-wife chef team Beverly Kim and John Clark took over the now-defunct Bonsoirée in 2012, they fulfilled a dream of working together on a Korean-inspired modern restaurant. Unfortunately, the dream lasted only a few months there, and Bonsoirée closed.
After a year-plus deferral, they’re leaping back into their restaurant-ownership dream, and if you leap, you need a Parachute (3500 N. Elston Ave., Avondale, no phone yet). The 40-seat, liquor-licensed, Korean-American-perspective restaurant is scheduled to open in April.
Kim and Clark say the food will pull together traditional Korean flavors with new and creative ones. “Reminiscent of familiar traditional flavors, but presented in a new creative way,” Kim says. As an example, they offer a crispy mung bean pancake with pork belly, black garlic, and kimchi. The menu breaks down into snacks in the $4 to $7 range, appetizers such as crudos or salads, rice and noodles, and larger plates intended for sharing and costing between $18 and $25.
Korea’s Most Popular Online Eating Shows
Wall Street Journal
One of South Korea’s hardest-to-explain phenomena in recent months is the boom of “mokbang”: Internet-streamed shows where hosts eat often supersized meals – for the audience’s pleasure.
Choi Ji-hwan, a top mokbang host, told The Wall Street Journal in a recent interview that one of his satisfied viewers was on a diet seeking a vicarious thrill. Others were living alone and enjoyed his virtual company as they ate “together.”
Every night on a local YouTube-like platform AfreecaTV, multiple show hosts vie to be selected by hundreds of thousands of viewers. Several of them make a living through these shows and have hundreds of thousands of subscribers.
Port Truck Drivers Make Their Case
A new report and class action lawsuit allege rampant labor exploitation in the industry.
by JAMES S. KIM
Chung K. Shin was technically never an employee at the port trucking company where he regularly hauled goods out of the Long Beach and Los Angeles ports for two years. From 2009 and through 2010, Shin drove for QTS Inc. and its related entities, as an “independent contractor,” though he says the company forbade him to drive for anyone else. If he ever turned down a job, the company would retaliate, he says.
“If I did not come when they asked me to, I received bad trucking assignments the next day as retaliation,” Shin, a Korean immigrant, explained through an interpreter. “In reality, the company controlled all of the conditions I worked under.”
A new report released by a national labor rights group suggests that Shin’s case isn’t unusual or limited to just Los Angeles County. The port truck driving industry is rampant with examples of companies employing tactics to exploit drivers, from the aforementioned misclassification as an independent contractor, to depriving drivers of employee benefits, workplace standards and proper wages, according to the National Employment Law Project (NELP). (more…)