Korea going green – from church to nature

Rice paddies

Rice paddies

An article in the July 18th JoonAng Daily profiles a pastor-turned environmentalist.

Heo Byung-seob is a 68-year old former pastor from Seoul. In the early 1970s Heo served in one of Seoul’s poorest neighborhoods, Daldongnae, preaching the Gospel and administering to the poor. In 1988 Heo left his position in the church to embark on what would be a journey towards environmentalism. 

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Headlines

Amnesty Criticizes Rights Violations
The Korea Times
Amnesty International called on the Korean government to thoroughly investigate “excessive use of force” by police against anti-American beef import demonstrators, expressing concern over human rights violations.

Former LMB advisor takes over YTN
Hankyoreh
Apparently he was approved in less than a minute by shareholders, while union members were blocked outside by over 200 security guards. I guess that’s one way to bridge the media divide.

Typhoons leave Chungcheongbuk-do flooded
Korea Beat
A photo gallery of some pretty serious flooding in the wake of the latest typhoon to hit the peninsula.

Booze Prices on the Rise
Chosun Ilbo
Fortunately the price of soju isn’t going up. Still, with soaring grain prices causing food shortages globally, I never stopped to think about the price of beer.

The worst building in the world…

Ryugyong Hotel, Pyongyang

Ryugyong Hotel, Pyongyang

A story in Reuters reports construction on Pyongyang’s “Hotel of Doom” has resumed. Apparently begun in 1987 by the late great Kim Il Sung, the project was initiated in response to South Korea’s hosting of the 1988 Olympics, but remained in a “coma” for close to 16 years prior to now. A 330-meter pyramid with well over 3000 rooms, the project is slated to cost $2 billion, or ten percent of the nations economic output.

Protests erupt on Korea’s Constitution day

Protesters and police clash in Seoul  

Protesters and police clash in Seoul

After eighteen days of relative quiet, at least as far as candle light vigils go, protesters reappeared in Seoul’s Jongro area on Thursday to protest Korea’s importation of US beef. Police in riot gear clashed with what the Hankyoreh says was a crowd of over ten thousand as Korea commemorated the 60th anniversary of its constitution.

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Headlines

Making sense of NK killing
The Korea Times
An editorial in the Korea Times by Michael Breen offers what seems to be the most sensible explanation for the shooting death of a SK tourist by NK security forces.
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Illegal Koreans in the Philippines
Buhay sa Korea
South Korea is not a paradise and for some Koreans the land of milk and honey could be found overseas.
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At least the Korean kids aren’t making pregnancy pacts
The Marmot’s Hole
Singer/songwriter Randy Newman salutes “Korean Parents,” reports the LA Times Music Blog.
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Korean student in Japan claims discrimination
Asahi Shinbun
The debate club of Nihon University’s College of Law suspended activities after a third-generation Korean resident said she was refused entry because of her ethnicity.

Korea’s emotional logic

Performer   

Performer

There’s a communication barrier separating Koreans and Westerners that goes well beyond language. It’s a gulf that lies at the core of how we view the world, and often prevents any kind of mutual understanding. For the majority of us Westerners logic forms the basis of our understanding. If it doesn’t stand up to reason than it’s hard to justify. In Korea, as the recent beef protests have shown, emotion stands in logic’s place.

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Headlines

Suffering from private education in Korea
OhMyNews
The obsession with education here affects all aspects of Korean society, from social issues to child welfare and the nation’s economy. It’s a refreshing piece from a Korean mother pushing for a new direction.

Dispute over dog meat heats up
The Korea Times
Recent inspections of restaurants serving dog meat in Seoul have drawn the ire of both dog lovers, and dog eaters. The former say it is the fist step towards legalization of dog meat, while the latter say the inspections make them feel guilty.
     As an aside, a Canadian friend went once to the market mentioned in the piece to snap some photos. He took some pictures of the dog meat vendors and got chased by a man with a machete (not for the first time in Korea. On Christmas he got chased by a drunk Santa who didn’t like being photographed eating ramen). The vendor apparently thought the photos were for some anti-dog meat site. Later that night my friend had a bowl of dog meat, just to say he did.

No olympics for Korean basketball team
The Korea Times
Korea let go of a 12 point lead with three minutes left in the 4th to give the win to Canada.

Korea’s constitution day
Yonhap
Today marks the 60th anniversary of Korea’s constitution, with growing calls for constitutional reform.