Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Gloria Steinem Right About Korea's "Island of Women"

Asia Times Online's John Eperjesi hails Paul Yoon's Once the Shore "fictionalized version of Jeju Island [that] deals with the devastating impact of militarism, colonialism, and the cold war on a rugged island culture" as a vision of an "Oceania from below, an island multitude composed of service workers, farmers, divers, fishermen, war orphans, and various others who form strange friendships across barriers of age, gender, ethnicity, and nationality" — Jeju: From peace island to war island.

"The relevance of Yoon's stories to the real Jeju Island has recently intensified as concrete has begun to pour on coral reefs to make way for an 'eco-friendly' military base for South Korea's expanding blue water navy," which, the author notes, "may also provide 'lily pad' support for the United States Navy." He also notes that "peace activists from all over the world have begun to lend their support, most notably feminist writer Gloria Steinem," who is quoted as rightly saying, "Jeju Island means Women's Island. It stands for an ancient balance. We must save it from the cult of militarism that endangers us all, women and men."

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The Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers on Women's "Ordination"

The missionary society that planted the seeds of Catholicism both in me (through Orbis Books) and throughout much of Asia, has ruled — Maryknoll order to dismiss priest who advocates women’s ordination.

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Korean Ladies' Fashion, Then and Now




In the top photo, "Shin Se-kyung poses on the set of her new TV drama at Gyeongbok Palace in Seoul on Tuesday" — Today's Photo: August 10, 2011. The bottom photo also pictures Miss Shin.

Things sure have changed since I got here. Well, I haven't been here that long, but almost that long. Either things have changed or I have. Probably a bit of both.

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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Plastic P'yŏngyang

"South Korea media often tout North Korean women as 'natural beauties', comparing them favorably to women in the South who increasingly turn to plastic surgery," reports Sunny Lee; "However, lately North Korean women seem to be catching up in the surgery stakes, with the North seeing a boom in various operations" — Pyongyang waitresses sliced to perfection.

And yet Koreans will proudly tell you today so great was the filial piety of their ancestors, that they did not cut their hair as it was inherited from their parents.

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Monday, July 18, 2011

Taki Takes on the Rich and Powerful

Taki Theodoracopulos, no stranger to wealth and privilege, reminds us that "the rich and powerful are seldom held accountable" — Inappropriate Touching Among the Untouchables. He first mentions "the recent case of Albert II, the Prince of Monaco, and his new wife, Charlene Wittstock," reminding us,
    Rumors that Charlene was first kidnapped, drugged, and then forced to abide by the agreement she had signed with the Principality of Monaco—or else—went almost entirely unnoticed by the media once the runaway bride had been brought back to the palace and was allegedly sedated heavily. Her father was also reportedly held hostage and threatened unless he played ball and helped palace courtiers convince Charlene to stay put.
I heard these rumors, but ignored them. Mr. Theodoracopulos' is a voice a trust on such matters, however, as he has "known the Monegasque royal family for more than thirty years." I heard, perhaps from Mr. Theodoracopulos himself, that said royal family is pretty much shunned by other members of the European nobility, because they are descended from an usurper.

He next brings up Dominique Strauss-Kahn, and, after noting that "the victim has lied about her background" and "is most likely a liar and out for a payday," asks, " Did you by any chance, dear readers, know that merely because a woman is a prostitute, the legal penalty for raping her is the same as if she were a virgin?"

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I Was Wrong About Korea

When I heard about this in other countries, I thought this could never happen here — 'Slut Walk' protest held in Seoul. That said, the protests, while misguided, are not without reason:
    The protests began after Michael Sanguinetti, a Toronto police officer, said, “Women should avoid dressing like sluts” to remain safe.

    The Korean version of the Slut Walk protest was initiated by a woman who suggested the rally on her Twitter account after the alleged sexual assault by three male medical school students at Korea University on a female colleague during a school trip in May.

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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy's Laudate Pueri Dominum, Sung by the Female Choir of Shanghai Conservatory of Music

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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Miscarriage of Justice

Elena Maria Vidal is rightly "shocked to read that many women who lose their babies through accidents are being prosecuted" — Pregnant Women under Attack? One has to wonder, are these laws a misguided backdoor attempt by social conservatives to criminalize abortion?

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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Non-Statist, Personalist Interventionism vs. the Lord's Resistance Army

"How the people of Obo have guarded their town, and the role American humanitarians played in their success, represents a possible vision for grassroots security in a region that has long defied large-scale armed intervention" — African Village Uses Tech to Fight Off Rape Cult.

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Friday, June 24, 2011

Didn't Yasunari Kawabata Write About This?

News of a movie about a young woman "who is put to sleep for sessions with wealthy, elderly men" who "can do anything they like with her, but are told they can’t penetrate her body" — Film review - Sleeping Beauty. No reference is made to House of the Sleeping Beauties and Other Stories by Yasunari Kawabata on The Internet Movie Database's page for Sleeping Beauty (2011).

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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Ludwig van Beethoven's String Quartet № 3 Performed by Ensemble Ditto and Béla Bartók's String Quartet № 1 Performed by the Parker Quartet




"Some of the best-looking classical musicians are in town to perform at the third Ditto Festival to be held at various venues around Seoul, starting today," reports the Korea Times' Kwaak Je-yup — Ditto evolves with new talent and repertoire.

Noting that "[t]he festival marks its third year of a nauseating mix of in-your-face commercialism and classical music," Mr. Kwaak notes that the first of the above ensembles is "[p]opularly known for playing to a sold-out audience full of Korean female fans in their 20s with little knowledge of classical music."

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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Ann Curry


Townhall.com's Brent Bozell doesn't like her — Liberalism Lite with Ann Curry. "How light is Curry?" Mr. Bozell asks. "Last October, while narrating a story on how Russia implausibly unveiled a new set of inflatable weapons designed to fool spy satellites, Curry added her own touch: 'Wish all weapons were like that.'"

Quelle horreur! She also noted that "there are some American Indians who feel that Thanksgiving should be a day of mourning, not a day of celebration because of what happened to their people." Not only is she guilty of that thought-crime, she also promoted a "people-powered blender bike" and "showed her hippie-friendly stripes by promoting a concert with activist Trudie Styler, the wife of the rock star Sting." Worst of all, "Curry does not bow and scrape before Republican officials."

Maybe for me it's just that Ann Curry, like my kids, is of the Hapa tribe, a.k.a. the Race of the Future. Or maybe it's just that she's got such a nice pair of gams, as displayed in the photo above. Whatever it is, there are far more dangerous threats to what's left of our Republic.

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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Do These Two Stories Explain Korea's Abundance of Vocations?

"Men will find it harder than ever to find a bride" — Gender Ratio Gets Worse for Marriageable Korean Men — and "the number of Catholics rose by 1.7 per cent" — The number of Catholics continues to rise despite a lower birth rate. The first article mentions the ugly reality of "baby gender testing and abortions" and that "young men are now paying the price for the older generation's preference for sons."

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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

War and Peace and the "Battle of the Sexes"

    There were then as now conversations and discussions about women's rights, the relations of husband and wife and their freedom and rights, though these themes were not yet termed questions as they are now; but these topics were not merely uninteresting to Natasha, she positively did not understand them.

    These questions, then as now, existed only for those who see nothing in marriage but the pleasure married people get from one another, that is, only the beginnings of marriage and not its whole significance, which lies in the family.

    Discussions and questions of that kind, which are like the question of how to get the greatest gratification from one's dinner, did not then and do not now exist for those for whom the purpose of a dinner is the nourishment it affords; and the purpose of marriage is the family.
Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy was writing in 1869 about 1815, and about 2011.

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Saturday, June 4, 2011

Traditional Shoes on the Ground


"Women pose with traditional Korean shoes at The War Memorial of Korea in Seoul on Thursday" — Today's Photo: June 3, 2011. The link doesn't explain why. On Monday, Korea remembers her war dead.

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Friday, June 3, 2011

Where Women Were Said to Hold Up Half the Sky

"China's one-child policy causes more violence against women and girls than any other policy on earth, than any official policy in the history of the world" — China's War Against Women and Girls.

"What's ironic about this is that China instituted the one child policy for economic reasons. They wanted to reduce the number of rice bowls to fill to save money, but now it's really become China's economic death sentence."

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Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Bystander Effect, Crowd Culture, and Rugged Individualism

Joel at The Marmot's Hole reports on a story of a "man... arrested for sexually assaulting a female middle school student on a bus in the middle of the afternoon" and that "[d]espite the fact that many male and female passengers were riding the bus at the same time, no one made a move to intervene or offer any assistance" — Bystander Effect in Korea.

With examples, he rightly suggests that "Koreans in general, while prone to heroics in situations when the life of an individual is in danger, tend to only intervene in critical situations that don’t involve coming between two strangers." He then argues that "that the bystander effect is actually more extreme in collectivist societies where the tendency is to already view oneself as part of the crowd rather than as an individual."

Citing the local report, Joel says, "I found it surprising that the article spent almost as much time condemning the people on the bus as it did the actual perpetrator of the crime." I agree. I wasn't on the bus, so I'll give the passengers the benefit of the doubt.

The article informs us that the villain "groped" the poor girl in the "the back row." Back rows can be pretty private on a noisy public bus. If passengers did hear some commotion, they might well have chalked it up to a lovers' spat, and adverted the attention. Also, school girls can be quite noisy in public, and most people have learned to tune them out. I live across from a middle school, and when school lets out, I often hear screams that sound like some girl is being attacked, but they're just playing around.

My experience is that this whole distinction between collectivist and individualist cultures is not very helpful. Not only are we all individuals, cultures tend to be collectivist and individualist in certain areas. Koreans can be just as individualistic as the ruggedest American in some areas, whereas as far back as Alexis de Tocqueville the collectivist nature of American thought has been pointed out.

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The Art of Fuco Ueda


The Giorgio de Chirico fan in me liked the works of this Japanese illustrator I stumbled upon yesterday — 아픔이 느껴지는 성폭행당한 한 화가의 그림. The headline suggests that her artwork expresses the pain of sexual abuse. Interestingly, both perpetrators and victims of the abuse she depicts are female.

"The heroines of Fuco Ueda’s paintings are often on the brink of danger" — Japanese Surrealist Fuco Ueda. "These beauties are at once victioms and agents. But whether the threats are self-inflicted or not, they make for fierce and beautiful narratives."

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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

President Hamid Karzai Speaks Truth to Power

In "issuing his strongest statement yet against strikes that the military alliance says are key to its war on Taliban insurgents," following "a recent strike that mistakenly killed a group of children and women in southern Helmand province" — Angered by civilian casualties, Afghan president says he won’t allow NATO airstrikes on houses.

I'm tempted to think this is the equivelent of Charlie McCarthy talking back to Edgar Bergen, but I'll give the man the benefit of the doubt. The Pashtun is, after all, more of a man than any of the NATO heads of state I can think of.

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Shams Ensemble Perform "Spiritual Music of Iran"




A documentary hosted by a Persian beauty on the ensemble whose music appears in the post immediately preceding this one, from Supreme Master Television, an outlet of a cultist operation headed by bleached-blonde Vietnamese vegan Ching Hai, which produced a video seen on these pages yesterday — The ASEAN-Korea Traditional Music Orchestra's "Concert of Friendship and Harmony" Directed by Choi Sang-Wha and Eric James Watson.

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Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.