Duc, sequere, aut de via decede!

Thanks, Oppa

October 23rd, 2007 . by Matt

The other day I met a girl that had just arrived in Sydney. She found shared accommodation in a place with 6 Korean guys and 2 other Korean girls. On her first day in Sydney, the first piece of advice her Korean male flatmates gave her was “don’t date Australian guys” – all 6 of them. Just in case that it might lead to dating, she was also told not to meet Australian guys. The reasons were that Australians were bad, untrustworthy, insincere, treated Korean girls badly etc.

She told me about this but I can’t say I am shocked because every single Korean girl is told exactly the same thing. As far as I know there are no Australians telling people not to date Korean men or giving reasons as to why they should be singled out as uniquely immoral or bad. Yet there seems to be a whole movement in Sydney among Koreans (especially Korean men) that want to racially slander Australians as a somehow morally and ethically inferior people.

As an Australian that can speak Korean, I have long regretted that understanding Korean means that I have to know the degree of contempt that we are held in by Korean immigrants and foreign students (the foreign students don’t matter though because they return to Korea – the immigrants are here forever). If the average Australian were able to understand this kind of thinking, they certainly would not be so enthusiastic about Korean immigration, and certainly would not consider Korean immigrants a ‘model minority’.

Are the morals and ethics of Korean men so good that they look down from their pedestals and pass judgment? I don’t think so. It is hypocrisy, pure and simple. If they could date Australian girls, they would, but they can’t so they have to make sure Korean girls are tightly controlled and corralled. It is the fear of mating competition, and despite protestations, the fact that a great many Australian men are sincere, kind, trustworthy, and would treat Korean girls with respect.

The funny thing is that warning the girls off meeting Australian (“foreigners”) doesn’t even work. It just makes girls want to find out if it is true or not, and the only way they can do that is to interact with Australians.

Update: I was with a friend and three Korean girls this morning in a 24 hour Korean restaurant and when one of the girls went to the toilet she was followed by a Korean guy who intercepted her and told her not to meet foreign guys. When she got back she told the other girls what happened (and by default us too, since my friend and I both speak Korean). I can’t say I was surprised, and neither was my friend, who has experienced similar things many times. One mitigating fact for the ‘oppa’ is that he was obviously very drunk.

Ban accused of Korean nepotism

October 21st, 2007 . by Matt

In the Washington Post

UNITED NATIONS — South Korea’s former ambassador to the United Nations, Choi Young-jin, will travel to Ivory Coast in the coming weeks to run the world body’s peacekeeping efforts, making him the first South Korean diplomat to lead a major U.N. mission in Africa, and the latest compatriot tapped for a significant position by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

The appointments have signaled South Korea’s emergence as a rising power on the international diplomatic stage. But they have also fueled resentment among some U.N. employees and delegates who feel that Ban — who became secretary general in January after serving as South Korea’s minister of foreign affairs and trade — is advancing the interests of his home government, which invested financially and politically in Ban’s rise to the top.

Ban and his aides said allegations of favoritism are wrong, and that some of the harshest criticisms smack of racism. He said that the South Korean nationals he has appointed — including Choi, who has served as a high-ranking official in the United Nation’s peacekeeping department — are highly qualified for their positions.

“This is just unfair, just unfair, just unfair,” Ban said in an interview last month, noting that South Korean nationals have been historically underrepresented at the United Nations. “I have intentionally, deliberately tried to distance myself from Korea. You may agree or not agree, but I have been troubled by the perception . . . that I have been relying too much on Koreans.”

Criticize Sec.Gen Ban’s decisions to employ crony co-ethnics, and be accused of racism. It looks like someone wants to shut down discussion of the issue rather than being open and accountable.

Korean-born Actor to Play Sulu? It’s illogical.

October 20th, 2007 . by Gerry-Bevers

John Cho has gotten the part of Sulu in “Star Trek XI,” due out on December 25, 2008. I know Cho from “Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle,” which was one of the funniest movies I have ever seen, but, honestly, I really cannot see Cho as Sulu. It should be interesting. 

“Star Trek Casting: Simon Pegg as Scotty, John Cho as Sulu; Budget $150M+”

“Heroes’ Sylar is Spock in new Star Trek”

Japan Could Learn a Thing or Two from Turkey.

October 17th, 2007 . by Gerry-Bevers

Ampontan has written a very good article on the hypocrisy of the Washington Post, which, in effect, means the hypocrisy of many in Washington.

 “The Washington Post: Worse than irrelevant”

Cute Mongolian/Chinese song

October 17th, 2007 . by Matt

Here are some singers from Inner Mongolia. They are singing in Mongolian and Chinese. It is a charming song that I came across quite by chance. I asked a Chinese business associate about it today, and he told me that it was quite a hit in China, and a lot of people have the song as their ringtone.

Below is the song as it was sung by the singers live in Yokohama. I actually prefer the video above, but the one below also has Japanese subtitles.

Prince William’s commander killed

October 15th, 2007 . by Matt

Major Roberts\
Killed by the Taliban – Prince William’s commanding officer

Prince Williams commanding officer at Sandhurst Academy has been killed by Taliban forces flush with weapons paid for with South Korean cash, in what the Telegraph describes as a “blitz”.

Millions of dollars handed over to secure the release of South Korean hostages in Afghanistan have been used to buy weapons deployed against British and American forces in the country, the Taliban claims.

Major Alexis Roberts, 32, Prince William’s former platoon commander at Sandhurst, was one of the victims of the Taliban offensive funded by the hostage money.

According to Taliban fighters interviewed by The Sunday Telegraph, the money has also been used to train recruits to carry out terrorist attacks in Britain and America.

South Korea has repeatedly denied claims by Afghan officials that it paid cash to secure the release in August of 21 Christian volunteers who were held for nearly six weeks. But in a recent meeting, three Taliban fighters involved in the conflict with the British in Helmand province said that $10 million cash handed over in two instalments had been used to boost operations in Afghanistan and abroad.

“It was a God-sent opportunity,” said Mullah Hezbollah, 30. “It has helped us to multiply our stockpile of weapons and explosives to wage battle for at least a year or so.”

Major Alexis Roberts, 32, Prince William’s former platoon commander at Sandhurst, was one of the victims of the Taliban offensive funded by the hostage money.

According to Taliban fighters interviewed by The Sunday Telegraph, the money has also been used to train recruits to carry out terrorist attacks in Britain and America.

South Korea has repeatedly denied claims by Afghan officials that it paid cash to secure the release in August of 21 Christian volunteers who were held for nearly six weeks. But in a recent meeting, three Taliban fighters involved in the conflict with the British in Helmand province said that $10 million cash handed over in two instalments had been used to boost operations in Afghanistan and abroad.

“It was a God-sent opportunity,” said Mullah Hezbollah, 30. “It has helped us to multiply our stockpile of weapons and explosives to wage battle for at least a year or so.”

The South Korean embassy in London characterized the Taliban claims of a payment as “lies”.

Asked to comment on the Taliban claims, the South Korean embassy in London described them as “lies” put out by the movement’s propaganda wing.

I have to wonder. If it was not money, then what did the South Koreans give the Taliban? Someone is lying, and I suspect it is not the Taliban.


October 7th, 2007 . by Matt

I found a new site, and linked it to my blog roll. It has plenty of Korean related stuff on it, including blog, forum, and jobs. It is called Mongdori – check it out!

Japan focus article reported in Korean media

October 6th, 2007 . by Matt

Daum Media has reported about the Japan Focus article on Kenkanryu.


한류열풍에 대한 역풍으로 일본내 ‘혐한류(嫌韓流)’를 우려하는 시각이 많다. 일본 대중문화의 한 축으로 자리잡은 한국 콘텐츠에 일본 젊은이들이 민감하게 반응한다는 것이다.

2005년 한국을 폄하하는 내용을 담은 만화 ‘혐한류’(야마노샤린)가 출간돼 1,2권 합쳐 65만부나 팔렸다. 이를 기점으로 ‘한류의 위기’를 토로하는 국내 미디어의 보도가 이어졌다.

하지만 혐한류라는 것이 미디어의 과장에 의한 허상일 뿐이라는 지적도 제기되고 있다.

일본의 평론웹진 ‘재팬 포커스’는 ‘혐한류의 실체’에 관해 의미있는 논평을 게재했다. 일본인 사마모토 유미와 미국인 맷 엘런이 글을 썼다.

“한국에 대한 애정과 혐오는 동일한 상업주의 마케팅 전략, 그리고 미디어 효과에 의해 일어났다”는 점을 지적했다. 혐한류를 일본내 ‘인터넷 운동’의 일환으로 분석한 것이다. “특정 운동의 내용에 대한 현실참여로서가 아니라 부조리하고 불합리한 운동일지라도 그 엔터테인먼트 가치로서 조작될 수 있다”는 설명이다.

일본 인터넷을 강타한 ‘쇼난 고미 히로이 호우 카이’라는 운동을 예를 들었다. 커뮤니티 사이트 ‘2채널(ch)’의 네티즌 수백명이 후지TV가 진행하던 해변청소 이벤트 직전 자기들끼리 먼저 청소를 해버린 사건이다. 메인스트림 미디어를 당황하게 만들겠다는 의도였다. 위 평론은 “인터넷 운동이라는 것은 이렇게 소모적이고 공격적이고 무의미한 일이다”고 해설했다. “따라서 인터넷에 기반을 둔 혐한류도 내셔널리즘으로 보기에는 무리가 있다”는 분석이다.

“만화 ‘혐한류’를 베스트셀러로 만들어낸 운동도 진지한 내셔널리즘 동참이나 반한 선언이 아니라 그저 실제세계를 인터넷 운동으로 한번 흔들어대는 것에서 흥미를 찾으려 했다”는 것이다.

일본 네티즌들은 서점에 ‘혐한류’를 비치하거나 그것을 베스트셀러 리스트에 넣지 않았다고 불만을 토로하거나, 그 책의 유통에 대해 서점 직원과 이야기를 주고받거나 혹은 만화카페에 ‘혐한류’를 비치하라고 요구하면서 벌어진 대화들을 인터넷으로 옮겨 적으며 즐겼다.

심지어 ‘혐한류’를 도서관에 기증한 후 다시 도서관을 찾아 그 책을 찾아달라고 요구한 일본인도 있다. 이런 이야기들은 부지런히 인터넷으로 올라와 엔터테인먼트 형태로 소비됐다.

“이런 유치한 즐거움은 민족주의를 지지하고 소비하는 것과는 다르다. 일본 네티즌들의 관심은 ‘혐한류’의 내용에 온전히 일치돼 있다고 보기 힘들며 그저 기존 체제에 대한 반항일 뿐이다”는 주장이다.

“결국 혐한류는 그 책의 이데올로기적, 내셔널리즘적인 내용에 의해 팔린 것이 아니라 엔터테인먼트를 주는 상업적 상품으로 또는 뉴스가치라는 부가가치로 팔렸을 뿐이다”이라고 규정했다.

혐한류라고 호들갑을 떨며 위기상황을 자처한 국내 미디어가 고민해 봐야 할 지적이 아닐 수 없다.

A Japanese netizen provided a translation into Japanese.








No need for any translation. It is a brief summary of some of the positions taken in the Japan focus article.

Follow up on Gerry’s Japan focus post

October 6th, 2007 . by Matt

Gerry posted about a Japan Focus article about Kenkanryu – “The Hate Korea Wave”.

Besides the hysterical spin, there are some glaring inaccuracies in the article.

Quotes from the article –

The internet has become an increasingly influential medium throughout East Asia. In this article we examine the case of Kenkanryu (‘”Hating ‘The Korean Wave’”), a manga published in 2005 in hard copy, but available online as a web comic for many months prior to print publication.

Ah, no, it does not mean “Hating ‘The Korean Wave’”. Kenkanryu actually has nothing to with the Korean Wave, and certainly nothing to do with hating it. As I explain here, “Kenkanryu” is a play on words and it means “The Hate Korea Wave”, as in a wave of hating Korea. It is saddening to see that one of the authors of the article is called “Rumi Sakamoto”, a Japanese name, which indicates to me that the Japanese education system is in such a poor state that things simply explained in a comic go misunderstood by Japanese natives. Although I am but a humble foreigner, I would like to offer to instruct her on the subtleties of the Japanese language.

Of course, they have a reason for saying that it means “Hating ‘The Korean Wave’” – it is the color and font style of the character 嫌. So rather than reading the content of the manga and using common sense for interpreting the meaning of the title, we have a bizarre interpretation of colors and font style.

[1] The title means “Hating ‘The Korean Wave’” rather than ‘The Hating Korea Wave’, as indicated by the different color and font used for the letter ‘ken’, or ‘hate’).

Ironically, the authors of the article make the same elementary mistake concerning Kenkanryu as was made by the Korean media. Japanese wikipedia makes the meaning of “Kenkanryu” clear


Translation: Furthermore, in Korea Kenkanryu is mistaken to be “Ken Kanryu” (hating the Korean wave), a book expressing antipathy towards the so called “Korean wave”. The subject matter is “Kenkan ryu” (the hate Korea wave).

Here is the relevant text explaining the meaning of “Kenkanryu”. It is on page 271.

explaining kenkanryu

The text says 現在マスコミでは「韓流」などと友好を演出しているが、水面下では韓国を嫌う日本人が急増している。マスコミが隠しているもう一つの韓流、それが・・・・・・「嫌韓流」だ!!

The translation: Nowadays the massmedia is promoting ‘the Korean wave’ and the like for friendship, but behind that Japanese people that dislike Korea are growing in numbers. There is one more ‘Korean wave’ that the massmedia is hiding, that is… ‘the hate Korea wave’!!

It is a pun on the Korean Wave, but that is it. It is just trying to warn of anti-Korean sentiments being created by anti-Japanese activism in South Korea.

Although it is unrelated to the content of the “The Hate Korea Wave”, the authors even manage to spin a classic conspiracy theory of the guys in black trucks really being in charge of Japan through their “close ties” with politicians, media and academia.

Though representing voices of a minority, these new-wave nationalists are strident, their messages amplified (often literally by loudspeakers on trucks!) through close ties with dominant conservative groups within the long-ruling Liberal Democratic Party, as well as within media and academia.

In the meantime, the authors spend their time trying to stigmatize Kenkanryu as reflective of nationalism among Japanese youth. “Nationalism” and its variants, “nationalistic” and “nationalist” are peppered throughout the article, appearing 54 times, and is in fact the the dominant word of the text as the only words beating it are “Kenkanyu” (the subject of the article), “Japan(ese)”, “Korea(n)”, and “media”. Just in case you miss the point the authors are pushing, the authors assure us that nationalist sentiment among Japanese people is “toxic”.

This essay looks at Kenkanryu, an anti-Korean comic book published in 2005 to address the two factors that contribute to the new toxic nationalism: the construction of the enemy figure and the popularity of this manga. The first section analyses the ideological structure of the manga itself, focusing on its representations of Korea and Koreans as Japan’s Other. The second section looks at the process by which Kenkanryu became a bestseller.

Indeed. Of course, they have chosen to justify their claim of “toxic nationalism” by providing some links to newspaper articles.

There is no doubt that Kenkanryu is a parochial, ‘toxic’ nationalistic and anti-Korean work, as has been reported in a number of English-language media.[6]

Yes, so because someone somewhere said it, it must be true, to be endlessly repeated in the echo chamber of incestuous amplification by like minded individuals.

The authors continue to assert that Kenkanryu is a backlash against the Korean wave.

Secondly and more immediately, Kenkanryu appeared partly as a backlash against the hype of the ’Korean Wave’ (hanryu) that Japan was, and in fact still is, going through.

This is incorrect. Kenkanryu does not attack the Korean wave, rather Kenkanryu owes its existence to the Korean wave, for as interest in Korea grew, people began to find out about the negative aspects of Korea, in particular the anti-Japanese sentiment that is prevalent in South Korea. Kenkanryu is a backlash – but it is a backlash against anti-Japanese sentiment in South Korea, not against the Korean wave. The failure of the authors to put this in its appropriate context is unforgivable.

How can so called scholars write about controversial subject matter when they cannot even get some basic facts right, like the meaning of the title of a manga? If an average Joe from Sydney can punch holes into the arguments of people that are supposed to be academics specialising in Japan, you know there is a big problem. There are two authors of the article, one Matt Allen (who by his name I suppose is non-Japanese), and Rumi Sakamoto, who sounds Japanese to me. Matt Allen I am more forgiving of, because people say and write stupid things about other people and cultures all the time, owing to their limited perceptions, language abilities, and contact with the natives. Sakamoto Rumi on the other hand should know better. Shame on you.

Articles on Occidentalism about Kenkanryu –

Initial review of Kenkanryu
Kenkanryu in the New York Times
A ‘final’ word on Kenkanryu
A full copy of Kenkanryu, translated into Korean

Koreans are not the only ones who cannot take a joke.

October 5th, 2007 . by Gerry-Bevers

Filipinos are angry about a joke made on the season premiere of the TV series, “Desperate Housewives.” (CNN Article) Here is the quote from the article:

In the season premiere that aired Sunday on ABC, Teri Hatcher’s character, Susan, goes in for a medical checkup and is shocked when the doctor suggests she may be going through menopause.

“Listen, Susan, I know for a lot of women the word ‘menopause’ has negative connotations. You hear ‘aging,’ ‘brittle bones,’ ‘loss of sexual desire,’ ” the gynecologist tells her.

“OK, before we go any further, can I check these diplomas? Just to make sure they aren’t, like, from some med school in the Philippines?” Susan fires back.

Link to the YouTube Posted Video

Link to Filipino News Segment on the Incident

Filipino News Article on the Controversy

Video Showing Filipino Doctors in the US

Wow! And I thought Koreans were too sensitive. Regardless of whether Filipino medical schools are third-world or not, the country, itself, is third-world in many ways, so I do not see a problem with the joke and think Filipinos are blowing it way out of proportion. Afterall, are there no jokes about America on Filipino TV shows?

By the way, I heard about a 90-year-old woman who is in what is essentially a Filipino-run nursing home in California. The woman hates it there because the food is Filipino, and the communal TV shows only Filipino programs. Supposedly, there is a chain of these bargain-basement nursing homes in California.

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