Duc, sequere, aut de via decede!

Today’s Word: “Chugitmul” (추깃물)

August 27th, 2007 . by Gerry-Bevers

Chugitmul (추깃물) – water from a rotting corpse

The following is my translation of the example sentence that the Empas online Korean-Korean dictionary gives for the Korean word, “chugitmul” (추깃물):

“Some say that the water from a rotting corpse is medicine, so it may be good for you.” LINK

Except for McDonald’s hamburgers and KFC chicken, is there anything in Korea that isn’t medicine?

Vietnam criticises President Bush over Vietnam War comments

August 26th, 2007 . by Matt

President Bush commented on the Iraq War comparing it with Vietnam, saying that “One unmistakable legacy of Vietnam is that the price of America’s withdrawal was paid by millions of innocent citizens, whose agonies would add to our vocabulary new terms like ‘boat people,’ ‘reeducation camps,’ and ‘killing fields,'”. The Vietnamese have objected to the comparison.

Hanoi is dismayed by President George W. Bush’s invocation of the ignominious US withdrawal from Vietnam to explain the need to maintain US forces in Iraq.

Mr Bush suggested that Washington’s withdrawal from Vietnam precipitated a bloodbath in south-east Asia – including the Cambodian Khmer Rouge genocide – an assertion many Vietnamese see as a gross oversimplification of the region’s complex and tragic history, and Washington’s own role in it.

“It is very ill-considered and, frankly, cavalier to make use of Vietnam in such a way to extricate himself from the Iraq debate,” said Ton Nu Thi Ninh, former deputy chair of the foreign relations committee of Vietnam’s National Assembly. “Opening this up again can only rekindle resentment, antagonisms that have been put on the shelf for the sake of looking into the future.”

Vietnam was “an unjustified and a wrong war in the first place so to start analysing things only from the withdrawal of US troops is really puzzling”, she said. “The root of the problem is not the withdrawal, it’s the very fact of starting up the war in the first place.”

Ms Ninh also objected to Mr Bush’s “bad taste” in conflating post-war events in Vietnam with the Khmer Rouge “killing fields” in neighbouring Cambodia.

Hanoi views the withdrawal of US troops as the culmination of its successful nationalist struggle to reunify a divided country.

“With regard to the American war in Vietnam, everyone knows that we fought to defend our country and that this was a righteous war of the Vietnamese people,” Le Dung, foreign ministry spokesman, told a Hanoi press conference this week.

“And we all know that the war caused tremendous suffering and losses to the Vietnamese people.”

Vietnam’s communist rulers have struggled for 30 years to promote recognition of their nation as a country, rather than a war, as they sought to bury the ghosts of the past and forge an amicable working relationship with the US, their former enemy.

I agree with President Bush on one thing though – Iraq is the new Vietnam. Time to leave Iraq.

Lies, Half-truths, & Dokdo Video, Part 12

August 23rd, 2007 . by Gerry-Bevers

Korean Maps and Usando Ika-shima (イガ島) and Mano-shima (まの島 or マノ島) were old Japanese names for Ulleungdo’s neighboring island of Jukdo (竹島), which is about 2.2 kilometers off of Ulleungdo’s east shore. Though Koreans now call the small island “Jukdo,” which means “Bamboo Island,” during the Joseon Dynasty (1392 – 1910) it was generally known as Usando (于山島), as the following old Korean maps of Ulleungdo clearly show:

Why did Koreans decided to change the name of Ulleungdo’s neighboring island from “Usando” to “Jukdo”? Maybe the Japanese names for the small island influenced the Koreans in some way or maybe Koreans just felt that “Bamboo Island” (“Jukdo” in Korean and “Takeshima” in Takeshima) was more descriptive?
Koreans and Japanese on Ulleungdo’s Jukdo
In a 1692 document, HERE, Japanese fishermen reported that they landed at a neighboring island of Ulleungdo called “Ika-shima” (イガ島 or いか島), where they found a large catch of abalone that had apparently been left there by Koreans who were fishing in the area at the time. The 1724 Japanese map to the right shows that Ika-shima (イガ島), based on its location, was Ulleungdo’s neighoring island of Jukdo, which was called Usando by Koreans at the time. The 1692 document is evidence that both Japanese and Koreans were visiting Ulleungdo’s neighboring island of Jukdo and may have been using it as a base for their fishing operations. The 1724 map to the right also shows that the Japanese at the time were referring to Ulleungdo as “Takeshima” (竹島), which is pronounced as “Jukdo” in Korean.
Notice how things are starting to get confusing. In the past, Japanese used “Bamboo Island” (Takeshima) to refer to Ulleungdo, and today Koreans are using “Bamboo Island” to refer to Ulleungdo’s neighboring island of Jukdo. Adding to the confusion, today Japanese use “Bamboo Island” (Takeshima) to refer to Liancourt Rocks, which Koreans call Dokdo.
Usando and Bamboo
In the Japanese/Korean territorial dispute over Ulleungdo in the 1690s, the Korean side claimed that Korean fishermen also used the word “Jukdo” (竹島) to refer to Ulleungdo, though there are no Korean maps to support that claim. Whether the claim was true or not, by the 1800s, Koreans were using both Usando and Jukdo to refer to Ulleungdo’s neighboring island. Again, why did Koreans start using “Jukdo” to refer to Ulleungdo’s neighboring island?
In 1711, Korean inspector Bak Chang-seok (朴昌錫) drew a map of Ulleungdo that can be seen HERE. The map to the right is a cutout of that 1711 map and shows a small island off he east shore of Ulleungdo labeled with the Chinese characters 海長竹田 所謂于山島, which means “field(s) of haejang bamboo, the so-called Usando.”
Haejang bamboo (written as either 海長竹 or 海藏竹) is a kind of bamboo that can grow up to 6 or 7 meters tall, according to THIS KOREAN SOURCE. The scientific name for the bamboo is Arundinaria simonii, which, according to THIS SOURCE, is also called kawa-take or medake in Japan. Haejang bamboo was also mentioned in 1694 Ulleungdo inspection report. The following is what Korean inspector Jang Han-sang (張漢相) wrote:

東方五里許有一小島不甚高大海長竹叢生於一面 “There is a small island about five ri (two kilometers) to the east (of Ulleungdo) that is not very high and not very big and has thickly growing haejang bamboo on one side.”

Inspector Jang was almost certainly referring to Ulleungdo’s neighboring island of Jukdo, which is about 2.2 kilometers off Ulleungdo’s east shore. Notice that he mentioned that haejang bamboo was growing thickly on the island, which agrees with what was written on the 1711 Korean map above. The above maps show that Usando was Ulleungdo’s present-day neighboring island of Jukdo and that bamboo grew there. Usando could not have been Liancourt Rocks (Dokdo), as Koreans claim, since Liancourt Rocks does not have the soil needed to grow bamboo. Nevertheless, the question still remains, “Why did Koreans change the name of Ulleungdo’s neighboring island from Usando to Jukdo?
Japanese Maps and Bamboo
The Japanese map to the right was included in an 1877 collection of documents that Japanese authorities were using to investigate the histories of Ulleungdo and Liancourt Rocks. The map shows Ulleungdo (竹島 – Takeshima) and Liancourt Rocks (松島 – Matsushima), but it also shows a small island next to Ulleungdo labeled as マノ島 (Mano-shima). Based on the location of the small island, it was almost certainly Ulleungdo’s neighboring island of Jukdo. The “mano” (マノ) in Mano-shima was probably referring to a kind of Japanese bamboo that was called “mano-take (マノ竹), which was mentioned in an old Japanese document HERE. If true, this means that Japanese were essentially calling Ulleungdo’s neighboring island “Bamboo Island.”
The map to the right is a 1696 Japanese map that shows Ulleungdo, Liancourt Rocks (Dokdo/Takeshima), and Japan’s Oki Island. It also shows a small island next to Ulleungdo labelled as “まの島” (Mano-shima). Based on the location of the island, it was almost certainly Ulleungdo’s neighboring island of Jukdo. As mentioned above, the Japanese used to use the name “mano” to refer to a kind of bamboo. The まの spelling here was most likely just an alternate spelling of マノ.
Koreans Start to Lose Track of Usando In the 1800s, Korean maps were still showing Ulleungdo’s neighboring island to be Usando, but the name Jukdo was showing up in Ulleungdo inspection reports, which suggests that Korean squatters on Ulleungdo were using the name Jukdo instead of Usando for the neighboring island. By 1882, Koreans seem to have lost track of Usando, even though Korean maps were still showing it to be a neighboring island of Ulleungdo. The following is an 1882 conversation between King Kojong and Ulleungdo inspector Lee Gyu-won:

The king called Lee Gyu-won forward to give his pre-departure greeting.

The king said, “It is said that these days there is the evil practice of foreigners freely coming and going to Ulleungdo and doing as they please. Also, Songjukdo (松竹島 – 송죽도) and Usando (于山島 – 우산도) are next to Ulleungdo, but there are still no details on the distance between them and what products they have. You were chosen especially for this trip, so pay particular attention to your inspection. Also, we have plans to establish a settlement there, so be sure to prepare a detailed map with your report.”

Lee Gyu-won replied, Usando is just Ulleungdo. Usan was the name of the ancient country’s capital. Songjukdo is a small island about thirty ri offshore (相距爲三數十里). The products there are rosewood trees and pipestem bamboo.”

The king said, “It is called either Usando or Songjukdo (敎曰 或稱芋山島 或稱松竹島), which are both written in the Yeojiseungram (輿地勝覽 – 여지승람). It is also called Songdo (松島 – 송도) and Jukdo (竹島 – 죽도). Together with Usando, there are three islands that make up what is called Ulleungdo. Inspect the situation on all of them. Originally, the Samcheok commander (三陟營將 – 삼척 영장) and the Wolsong commander (越松萬戶 – 월송 만호) took turns searching Ulleungdo, but they were all careless, inspecting only the exterior of the island. This has led to these evil practices.

Lee Gyu-won said, “I will go deep inside and conduct my inspection. Some say that Songdo and Jukdo are east of Ulleungdo, but there is only Songjukdo, no separate Songdo and Jukdo.”

The king asked, “Did you possibly hear that from previous inspectors?”

Lee Gyu-won said, “I have not yet talked with previous inspectors, but that is the gist of what I have heard.”

When Lee Gyu-won returned from his survey of Ulleungdo, he reported finding two small islands off the east shore of Ulleungdo. One was called Jukdo, which was present-day Jukdo, and the other was called Dohang (島項), which was present-day Gwaneumdo. The two islands can be seen on the map to the right, which is a cutout of Lee’s 1882 map of Ulleungdo. Lee said that he could not find any island named Usando, though he climbed to the highest peak on the island on a clear day and looked for one. Ulleungdo residents told Lee that they had heard Ulleungdo had a neighboring island called Usando, but they did not know where it was. Lee concluded that Usando was just another name for Ulleungdo. In spite of Lee’s report, Korean maps continued to show Usando as Ulleungdo’s neighboring island, as the Korean map to the right clearly does. The map comes from an 1899 Korean geography textbook and was made by what was considered to be Korea’s Ministry of Education at the time. Moreover, an 1899 article from the Korean newspaper, “Hwangseong Shinmun,” described Ulleungdo as follows:

In the sea east of Uljin is an island named Ulleung. Of its six, small neighboring islands, Usando/Jukdo (于山島竹島) are/is the most prominent (崔著者). The Daehanjiji says that Ulleungdo is the old Country of Usan. It has an area of 100 ri. Three peaks stand out (律兀).

The above article seems to be saying that Usando/Jukdo were the same island, but it is not completely clear. Nevertheless, when Imperial Edit 41 made Ulleungdo a county the following year (1900), only the islands of Ulleungdo, Jukdo, and Seokdo (石島) were mentioned as making up the county. Usando was not mentioned, which suggests that Korean authorities decided to use the name Jukdo instead of Usando. It is unclear to which island Seokdo was referring, but it is seems likely that it was referring to either Ulleungdo’s second largest neighboring island, Gwaneumdo (觀音島), or was used as a catchall word for all the remaining rocky islets around Ulleungdo. Since there are no old Korean maps or other documents that show or mention Seokdo as a neighboring island of Ulleungdo, it seems more likely that it was used as a catchall word.
Usando Disappears
By 1903, Usando seemed to have become a lost, mystery island since not even Ulleungdo residents seemed to know where it was, as the following 1913 Maeil Shinbo article suggests:

鬱島郡 西面居 金元俊은 鬱島 東北方 4, 50里에 位置하는 于山嶋(無人島)에 移住코자 移住民을 募集하고 探索키로 決定하였으나 10數年前 同地 韓國人이 聯合 探索하였어도 發見치 못하고 海圖에도 없으며 現時 航海路가 頻繁한데도 이를 現認하였다는 일이 없다하여 中止하다. 每日申報 1913.6.22 Kim Won-jun, a resident of Seo-myeon (西面) in Uldo County (鬱島郡), wanted to gather people to migrate to Usando (an uninhabited island), which was supposedly forty to fifty ri northeast of Uldo [Ulleungdo], and decided to search for the island. However, he said that Koreans on the island [Ulleungdo] had tried conducting a joint search for the island [Usando] ten or more years earlier, but were unable to find it. He also said that the island was uncharted, and that even after several trips in search of it, he could notfind it, so he gave up.

Maeil Sinbo, June 22, 1913

As the above article suggests, even Ulleungdo residents in 1903 had lost track of Usando, though there was a rumor that it was forty to fifty ri northeast of Ulleungdo. By 1913, Koreans on Ulleungdo almost certainly knew of Liancourt Rocks (Dokdo), yet they were still searching for Usando, which tells us that they did not believe Usando to be Liancourt Rocks. Of course, the reason they could not find Usando it that it was just an old, forgotten name for Ulleungdo’s neighboring island of Jukdo, the “Bamboo Island.”
Rhee Syngman’s Land Grab and the Reappearance of Usando
When the Japanese were defeated in 1945, Korean President Rhee Syngman saw an opportunity to grab some free Japanese land. He did not only try to claim Tsushima, which had been Japanese territory for untold centuries, he even tried to lay claim to an island that did not exist. When it became apparent that the Americans were not going to accept his claims for Tsushima and a non-existent island, Rhee decided to focus his attention on the Japanese island of Takeshima (Liancourt Rocks), which was officially incorporated into Japanese territory in 1905 and had appeared on Japanese maps for hundreds of years before that. However, Rhee had a problem. Korea had no maps or documents to support a claim on Liancourt Rocks. Therefore, Korea started claiming that the Usando on old Korean maps and in old Korean documents was actually Liancourt Rocks, in spite of the fact that the maps showed Usando to be a neighboring island of Ulleungdo, not Liancourt Rocks.
The Koreans must have assumed that the Americans would just accept their claim without asking any questions or doing any research, given that the US had just fought a bitter war with Japan and would supposedly have no reason to support Japanese claims. However, the Americans did ask questions and did do research, and they decided that Liancourt Rocks belonged to Japan. In fact, here is what US Secretary of State Dean Rusk told the Korean ambassor to the US.

As regards the island of Dokdo, otherwise known as Takeshima or Liancourt Rocks, this normally uninhabited rock formation was according to our information never treated as part of Korea and, since about 1905, has been under the jurisdiction of the Oki Islands Branch Office of Shimane Prefecture of Japan. The island does not appear to ever before to have been claimed by Korea.

Realizing that the 1952 Peace Treaty would not give them Takeshima, Koreans decided to take it by illegally occupying the islets, where they are still.
Did Koreans just misinterpret the 1952 Peace Treaty? I do not think so.
In 1954, James Van Fleet visited South Korea as a special mission ambassador for the US. In his mission report, “Report of Van Fleet Mission to the Far East,” was written the following:

“When the Treaty of Peace with Japan was being drafted, the Republic of Korea asserted its claims to Dokto but the United States concluded that they remained under Japanese sovereignty and the Island was not included among the Islands that Japan released from its ownership under the Peace Treaty.”

Usando, the old name for Ulleungdo’s neighboring island of Jukdo, is now being used to support a ridiculous Korean territorial claim on Liancourt Rocks (Dokdo/Takeshima). I wonder how long it will take before Korean historians finally get the courage to stand up and tell the truth?
Japanese Translation by Kaneganese




地図 1-6: 朝鮮時代の鬱陵島地図



いかにしてこの問題がややこしくなり始めたのかお分かりでしょうか?この当時日本人は鬱陵島を”竹島”とよび、朝鮮人はその小さな隣接島を同じく”竹島”と呼んでいました。さらに、現在日本人はLiancourt Rocks を”竹島”とよび、韓国人は”独島”と呼んでいるのです。

地図 7: 「竹島松島之図」」(1724) (享保九年、鳥取藩が幕命により大谷、村川両家及び両島で漁労に従事していた水主について調進した地図。「竹嶋考」に所収されている。)


1690年代に起こった日朝間の鬱陵島に関する領土問題(いわゆる竹島一件)において、朝鮮側は自国の漁師も鬱陵島を”竹島”と呼んでいる、と主張していますが、それを裏付ける韓国側の地図は一枚もありません。その主張が正しいかどうかはともかく、1800年代まで、朝鮮人は鬱陵島の隣接島である竹嶼を指すのに、”于山島”と”竹島”と言う名称をどちらも使っていました。では何故、当時の朝鮮の人々は”竹島”と言う名称で、鬱陵島の隣接島を指していたのでしょうか。1711年、朝鮮の朝廷から検察使として派遣された朴昌錫は、鬱陵島の地図(「鬱陵島圖形」)を描きました。右にその切抜きを提示します。鬱陵島の東岸沖に”海長竹田 所謂于山島(海長竹の林、いわゆる于山島)”と記入された小さな島が見えます。海長竹(海藏竹とも標記される)は、この韓国の情報によると、6-7メートルにも成長する竹であるとの事です。学名は、Arundinaria simonii で、日本では川竹、もしくは女竹と呼ばれるようです。この海長竹は、1694年の鬱陵島の検察記の中でも言及されています。次に挙げるのは、検察使の張漢相によるものです。



地図 8: 「鬱陵島圖形」(1711) 


上の地図では于山島が鬱陵島の隣接島の竹嶼であり、その島には竹が生えている事を示しています。Liancourt Rocksには竹が生えるための土が無く、この事からも韓国人の主張するよう”于山島がLiancourt Rocks/独島”、と言う主張は事実ではありえません。しかも、何故韓国人は于山島と言う名称を竹嶼(竹島)に変えたのか、という問いの答えにはなっていません。


右の地図は、明治政府が鬱陵島と竹島/Liancourt Rocks について調査した経緯をまとめた1877年の公文録に含まれる地図です。この地図では、鬱陵島(竹島)とLiancourt Rocks(松島)が描かれ、さらに、鬱陵島のすぐそばにマノ島と記された小さな島も描かれています。場所からして、これは鬱陵島の隣接島の竹嶼であることはほぼ確実です。マノ島の”マノ”は、おそらくマノ竹、と呼ばれた一種の竹の名前から来ていると考えられます。マノ竹は、日本の古文書の中にも現れます。それが正ければ、日本人は基本的にずっと鬱陵島の隣接島を”竹島”と呼んでいたことになります。

地図9: 磯竹島略圖(1877)

右に掲げた1696年の日本の地図には、鬱陵島、Liancourt Rocks(竹島/独島)、隠岐諸島を描いています。また、”まの嶋”と書かれた小さな島も鬱陵島の横に描かれています。先に申し上げた通り、日本人は当時、ある竹の種類を”まの竹”とよんでいたことが分かっています。”マノ”と”まの”は、単なる表記の違いだと考えられます。

地図10: 竹島松島之図(1696)











地図11: 鬱陵島外圖(1882)



地図12: 大韓全図(1899)




” 鬱島郡西面在住の金元俊さんが、鬱島(=鬱陵島)東北40-50里の位置にある無人島の于山島へ移住するために移住民を募集して、その島を探すことにしました。しかし、彼によると鬱陵島の島民が、10数年前にその于山島を共同で探索しようとしたものの、発見できなかったということです。また、その島は海図に記されておらず、何度か探索船を出したものの発見できず、中止したそうです。 每日申報 1913.6.22″

この記事からわかるように、1903年における鬱陵島の住民でさえ、于山島を見失ってしまっていたようです。しかし、鬱陵島の北東40-50里にある、と言う噂はあったようです。ただ、1913年には、鬱陵島の韓国人がLiancourt Rocks(竹島/独島)を知っていたのは確実です。にもかかわらず、彼等は依然として于山島を捜していた訳です。ということは、彼等がLiancourt Rocks(竹島/独島)は于山島だとは考えていなかったことになります。彼等が于山島を発見できなかった理由はもちろん、それが単なる竹嶼(竹島)の忘れ去られた古名に過ぎないからなのです。


1945年日本が敗戦を迎えた時、韓国の大統領李承晩は日本の領土を奪う絶好の機会と見ました。彼は古代から日本固有の領土だった対馬の領有を主張しようとしただけにとどまらず、あるはずの無い謎の島までその領有権を主張しようとしました。アメリカが、彼の対馬と謎の島(波浪島)に対する主張を受け入れないことが明らかになった時、李は1905年から公式に日本の領土に編入され、しかも数百年前から地図に描かれてきた、竹島(Liancourt Rocks)に目を付け焦点を絞りました。しかし、李には問題がありました。韓国にはその領有権を主張する為の古い地図や文書が存在しなかったのです。そこで韓国は、古地図や古文書にある于山島が実はLiancourt Rocks である、という主張を始めました。しかし、事実はこれらの地図は于山島を鬱陵島の隣接島として描いており、Liancourt Rocksではないのです。
韓国政府は、アメリカが日本との苦しい戦争を戦ったばかりで日本の主張を受け入れるはずが無いと思ったのか、アメリカ人が調査したり、何の疑問もはさまずに彼らの主張を受け入れると思ったのでしょう。しかしながら実際は、アメリカ人は疑問をはさんで調査をし、そしてこのLiancourt Rocksが日本に所属すると決定したのです。事実、次に挙げる米国国務次官ディーン・ラスクから駐米韓国大使に宛てた手紙(ラスク書簡)で、彼はこのように伝えたのです。

“独島、又は竹島ないしリアンクール岩として知られる島に関し、この通常無人島である岩島は、我々の情報によれば朝鮮の一部として取り扱われたことが決してなく、1905年頃から日本の島根県隠岐支庁の管轄下にある。この島は、かつて朝鮮によって領土主張がなされたとは思われない。 ”

図1: ラスク書簡(1951年8月10日)



“アメリカと日本が平和協定草案を作る際、韓国が独島領有権を主張したが、アメリカは独島の統治権は日本にあると結論を下した。これによりこの平和条約では、日本が所有権を放棄する島々の中にその島は含まれないなかった ”

鬱陵島の隣接島である竹嶼の古名である于山島が、今では韓国によるLiancourt Rocks(竹島/独島)のばかばかしい主張を裏付ける物として利用されています。いつになったら韓国の歴史学者は、勇気を出して立ち上がり、真実を語ってくれるのでしょうか。

Links to More Posts on Takeshima/Dokdo (With Japanese translations)

Lies, Half-truths, and Dokdo Video, Part 2

Lies, Half-truths, and Dokdo Video, Part 3

Lies, Half-truths, and Dokdo Video, Part 4

Lies, Half-truths, and Dokdo Video, Part 4 Supplement

Lies, Half-truths, and Dokdo Video, Part 5

Lies, Half-truths, and Dokdo Video, Part 6

Lies, Half-truths, and Dokdo Video, Part 7

Lies, Half-truths, and Dokdo Video, Part 8

Lies, Half-truths, and Dokdo Video, Part 9

Lies, Half-truths, and Dokdo Video, Part 10

Lies, Half-truths, and Dokdo Video, Part 11

Lies, Half-truths, and Dokdo Video, Maps 1

Lies, Half-truths, and Dokdo Video, Maps 2

Lies, Half-truths, and Dokdo Video, Maps 2 Supplement

Lies, Half-truths, and Dokdo Video, Maps 3

Lies, Half-truths, and Dokdo Video, Maps 4

Lies, Half-truths, and Dokdo Video, Maps 5

Lies, Half-truths, and Dokdo Video, Maps 6

Lies, Half-truths, and Dokdo Video, Maps 7

Lies, Half-truths, and Dokdo Video, Maps 8

Lies, Half-truths, and Dokdo Video, Maps 9

Lies, Half-truths, and Dokdo Video, Maps 10

Lies, Half-truths, and Dokdo Video, Maps 11

Lies, Half-truths, and Dokdo Video, Maps 12

More Korean BS in Regard to Lone Star

August 22nd, 2007 . by Gerry-Bevers

UPDATE 2: Korean Banks Feel “Duped” by Lone Star

UPDATE 1:  Speak of the Devil–Another tax office raid on Lone Star 

An August 22, Chosun Ilbo article, “Lone Star in Talks to Sell KEB to HSBC,” said the following on the negotiations between Dallas-based buyout company, Lone Star Funds, and London-based HSBC to sell Lone Star’s majority stake in Korea Exchange Bank (KEB):

The FSC earlier rejected a bid by Development Bank of Singapore to purchase KEB, saying it was a non-financial company. HSBC has no such problem with its qualifications, but Korean financial authorities apparently frown on HSBC’s bid since the firm has a history of pulling out, withdrawing bids for the takeover of Seoul Bank in the late 1990s and Korea First Bank in the early 2000s.

Why would HSBC’s history of withdrawing bids cause Korea’s Financial Supervisory Commission to “frown on HSBC’s bid” to buy KEB? Isn’t that something that Lone Star should be worried about, not Korean authorities? It sounds to me like Korean authorities are just looking for another excuse to turn down a Lone Star deal to sell its stake in KEB. 

I think it is obvious that the real reason Korean authorities frown on such a deal is that they dislike the fact that Lone Star was able to come to Korea, invest in a failing Korean bank, and make a huge profit in a short time by restructuring that bank. For reasons that may stem partly from Joseon-era thinking, Koreans do not seem to like foreign companies coming to Korea and making what they consider excessive profits. Of course, Koreans do not seem to have any problem with Korean companies going abroad and doing the same thing. On the contrary, they seem to be quite proud when Korean companies have success abroad. It seems like a clear double standard.

Anyway, I am interested to see what Korean authorities will come up with next in their attempt to screw Lone Star.

Korean Language Institutes Seek Quality Foreign Students?

August 22nd, 2007 . by Gerry-Bevers

An August 22, Korea Times article, “Korean Language Institutes Seek Quality Foreign Students,” said the following:

The Korean Language Institutes Council will play a leading role in attracting talented foreign students. Choi Ju-youl, chairman of the council, told The Korea Times that Korean language institutes are a critical gateway for foreign students who hope to study at Korean colleges.

“Foreign students first look for Korean language courses if they want to study at Korean colleges. After completing their courses, many of them apply to Korean colleges. This is why we need to work on drawing excellent international students to our institutes for the development of Korean colleges,” Choi said.

Ignoring the labored logic in the above quote, I wonder how many of the Korean Language Institutes would turn down an applicant because they failed to meet their “high standards”? Moreover, are Korean colleges, even the better colleges, really that choosy when it comes to foreign applicants?

The way a school attracts quality students is to have quality programs, not vice versa, as the above article seems to be suggesting. The people in the article seem to think that getting good quality foreign students will somehow motivate Korean college administrators and professors to improve the quality of their curriculum and lessons or somehow improve the study environment.

I think the main problem in Korean colleges is that they have essentially become diploma-dispensing machines. Students do not have to really study too hard to get a diploma from a Korean college, so many students do not study hard, which probably causes many professors to ask themselves why they should waste their time preparing good lessons. Afterall, why study if you will be passed, regardless, and why waste your time preparing good lessons and good tests if the administration is pressuring you to pass students whether they do well or not?

In the Korean college classes that I teach I have found it hard to keep to a lesson plan because of all the out-of-class activities that Korean colleges allow. During a semester, I get several requests from different departments asking that I excuse their students from my class so that they can go on school trips, fulfill volunteer and work-study requirements, prepare for festivals, attend student council meetings, attend department volleyball or soccer games or just help the professors in their departments with various personal projects. Korean colleges seem more like summer camps than academic institutions, which makes me wonder how many of Korea’s colleges are really that much better than the diploma mills talked about in This Article.

If Korean colleges want to attract qaulity students, then they first must improve their curriculum and raise their academic standards. Then, they must start failing the students who fail to meet those standards. After word of that gets out, more quality students will start coming, and the goof-offs will start going elsewhere.

Loony Moonie

August 20th, 2007 . by Gerry-Bevers

Today, I just happend to come across a profile of Sun Myung Moon, the head of the Unification Church. Of course, I had heard about him and read articles about him, but I never realized just how loony this guy is until I read the profile linked below. How can someone who seems so out of touch with reality get so rich?


UN panel says racial discrimination widespread in Korea

August 20th, 2007 . by Matt

The UN is trying to do the right thing, but they mix in their ideological agenda, which spoils their message.

The Korean government must recognize the multi-ethnic character of contemporary Korean society, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination urged in a statement Saturday after reviewing reports from the Korean government regarding racial discrimination in Korea.
The international organization was “concerned that the emphasis placed on the ethnic homogeneity of Korea might represent an obstacle to the promotion of understanding, tolerance and friendship among the different ethnic and national groups living on its territory.”
The committee said societal discrimination against foreigners, including migrant workers and children born from inter-ethnic unions is widespread in Korea. It is concerned that terms like “pure blood” and “mixed-blood,” and the idea of racial superiority that it might entail, continue to be used in Korean society. The committee urged the Korean government to take appropriate measures to recognize the multi-ethnic character of contemporary Korean society through such fields as teaching, education, culture and information. It remained concerned that migrant workers face severe discriminatory treatment and abuse here.
The committee welcomed the Korean government’s adoption of a National Action Plan for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and of the Act on the Treatment of Foreigners in Korea. It also welcomed the establishment of the Interpretation Support Center for Foreign Migrant Workers. The Educational Support Plan for Children from Multicultural Families was also welcomed.
Although not directly related to foreigner issues, the committee also recognized the Korean government’s efforts to combat prostitution, including the adoption of the Act on the Punishment of Procuring Prostitution and associated legal measures.

While the emphasis on “pure blood” is a little bizarre, there is no need for Korea to “recognize the multi-ethnic character of contemporary Korean society” at all. Korea can promote its culture at the expense of other cultures in Korea, if it wants to do so, while respecting the fundamental human and civil rights of people that are not ethnic Koreans in Korea. There is very little the state can do to eliminate racism because racism is fundamentally a sin of the heart. Demanding that Koreans recognize contemporary Korean society as being “multi-ethnic” in character will just make Koreans see immigrants as invaders trying to change Korean society, and will cause a backlash.

I wonder what Koreans will think of this.

“Migrant cash is world economic giant”

August 18th, 2007 . by Gerry-Bevers

The following article made me realize how important the salaries of migrant workers are to their families back in their home countries. I think people need to show more compassion to migrant workers, even to the illegal ones. Afterall, most are just trying to survive, and migrant workers could possibly be the most economic way to fight poverty around the world. Not only do they send money back to their impoverished countries, they also send new ideas and ways of thinking that may eventually help make their own countries net importers of migrant workers rather than exporters, similar to what has happened in South Korea.

Migrant workers may also have a possible influence on the people of their host countries. For example, I think migrant workers in Korea have helped Koreans become more understanding of other cultures. In the United States, I think migrant workers help bring Americans back down to economic reality and help remind them of such old values as, “If you want something, you have to work for it.”

“Migrant cash is world economic giant”

Columnist and Asian supremacist sentenced to therapy

August 13th, 2007 . by Matt

For threatening a white neighbor with a hammer.

A former columnist and self-described Asian supremacist who applauded the Virginia Tech slayings has been sentenced to a year of mental health treatment for waving a hammer at a neighbor’s face and threatening to kill her and her family.

Kenneth Eng, 24, of Bayside, New York, pleaded guilty in Queens County Court on Thursday to an indictment charging him with attempted assault and harassment over the incident last April.

Eng was arrested May 9 for threatening the neighbor, Marissa Addison, 29, and her mother, Jane Rosovich, who were standing with their two dogs on their lawn in front of their Queens home.

Eng is accused of yelling at Addison, saying, “If your dog bites me, I will kill you and your family,” and then swinging a hammer at her.

Last February, Eng was fired from the San Francisco-based weekly newspaper AsianWeek for writing a column titled “Why I Hate Blacks.”

Three months later, in a Village Voice interview, Eng gloried in the slayings of 32 students and teachers at Virginia Tech and fancifully speculated that his own writings might have inspired the killer, Seung-Hui Cho.

Eng also told the New York weekly that his own plan for a similar killing spree at New York University was aborted only because he could not afford a weapon.

After his sentencing on Thursday, federal authorities produced an arrest warrant and took Eng into custody. The nature of that case was not immediately known.

His attorney, Joel Dranove, of Manhattan, said he expected Eng to appear in Brooklyn federal court on Friday, but had no further comment.

He is a pretty nutty guy, as this interview on TV reveals.

Heart’s in the right place, but the lyrics….

August 12th, 2007 . by Gerry-Bevers

With all the work that went into making the following song, why didn’t they bother to ask a native speaker to check the lyrics? Also, the singer should have worked more on his pronunciation. Are we to laugh or to cry?


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