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ISC’s Open Lecture Series July Event: “War, Peace, Reunification”

We can easily forget as foreigners living in Korea that we are living in a forcibly divided country still at war. Join the ISC in a reunification tour to explore regions of significance to the inter-Korean conflict. You can sign up at http://bit.ly/1eTvmEL 


Visualize Whirled Peas


Giving is Winning: Liberty in North Korea Fundraiser

So I know you are all just itching to find out how to win the awesome gifts featured in my previous post. And now I'm here to tell you how.

In the spirit of the upcoming holidays, I have decided to change things up a bit and challenge all of you to participate in a fundraising campaign I've started with LiNK, or Liberty in North Korea. After all, 'tis the season for giving.

And while many people around the world need our help, North Korean refugees are a noteworthy group. Lacking basic human rights and needs, thousands of citizens attempt to flee the country each year only to be captured and killed, tortured or sent to labor camps. Those that do manage to escape are often captured by Chinese nationals, and are exploited, abused, or sold into the sex trade along the 3,000-mile journey to a safer country.

Pyongyang Racer – Having a Gas in Virtual North Korea


Queer Links from the Week

Reliving Korea’s Tumultuous History at the Korean War Memorial

There are many museums to see in Korea. In fact, sometimes I feel like it would be an impossible dream to be able to see them all. All kinds of historical museums, art museums, memorials, etc. are found throughout the big cities in Korea as well as the smaller, historical regions like Gyungju, for example.


The DMZ Tour

One of the places in Korea that I had wanted to visit more than any other attraction was the DMZ. Korea’s Demilitarized Zone.

It’s not an easy thing to see if you don’t live in Seoul because the tours that are allowed to take you there do not run on Sundays and Mondays, as well as holidays.

So hopping a train is not too easy, especially for me as I’m in Busan on the very opposite end of the country.

IMG 1504 1024x682 The DMZ Tour There are two different tour packages in general: the 3rd Infiltration Tunnel portion, and the Joint Security Area (JSA) portion.


North Korea Strikes Again; South Korea Fires Back

Last night, my husband and I were talking about what might happen to us if war breaks out between South Korea and North Korea. What sparked such conversation was theexchange of fire between the two Koreas on Monday, March 31, after several artillery shells launched by the North as part of its live-fire drills near the Western Sea Border landed in the South’s territorial waters. There were no casualties (thank God), but residents of nearby islands Baengnyong and Genpink were evacuated to temporary shelters.


North Korea Strikes Again; South Korea Fires Back

Last night, my husband and I were talking about what might happen to us if war breaks out between South Korea and North Korea. What sparked such conversation was theexchange of fire between the two Koreas on Monday, March 31, after several artillery shells launched by the North as part of its live-fire drills near the Western Sea Border landed in the South’s territorial waters. There were no casualties (thank God), but residents of nearby islands Baengnyong and Genpink were evacuated to temporary shelters.


Beyond the DMZ: You Too Can Visit North Korea

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea: a socialist paradise guided by the hands of the eternal president Kim Il Sung… or an Orwellian state of impoverished people oppressed by the whims of the world’s only communist dynasty.

Well, it might surprise you to know that you don’t have to be an ex US president, a UN dignitary, or even Dennis Rodman to visit the world’s most isolated state. Quite the contrary actually, for just about anyone can on an officially guided tour.


On “2.5 Oyajis” with YouTube’s Japan Vlogging King, Gimmeaflakeman

If you are interested in traveling and teaching in either Korea or Japan, your search will ultimately lead you to Gimmeaflakeman.  Victor is possibly the most recognizable figure in J-vlogging, so it was a pleasant surprise and honor to be asked to be part of his show “2.5 Oyajis”.

Along with Hikosaemon, also of Japan, the two lead a periodic show where they interview characters who live abroad as they do. They share stories and insights and provide for an entertaining but highly informational show. It was great to chew the cud for an hour with them covering topics such as South Korea’s relationship with Japan, my North Korean heritage, and North Korea in general.


Should Expat English Teachers Be Afraid of the North Korea and China Situation?

North and South Korea are technically still at war and of course we all know the supporting allies for each country are China and the United States, respectively. There are various opinions on the whole entire conundrum, but one thing we can all agree on, especially those of us actually in South Korea, is that the situation can be a little disconcerting.

For those of us who are here teaching and have been through those school days designated for mock disaster/war rehearsals, I’m sure we can agree that the situation on the peninsula went from being an online news story we read in the comfort of our own homes to a stark reality.

Not only do we as expats come to appreciate the tension more, but many of us start to look more meaningfully into the situation as a whole. This includes forming our own opinions on China and the presence of the United States in this region of the world.


KTO Cheorwon Tour PT. 2

IMG_5453-Edit

Day 2 started early with a trip to the Togyo reservoir to watch geese and other migratory birds do what they do best… migrate. Sadly the weather was not on our side that day and a thick fog rolled in, obscuring our view of pretty much everything. It still was great to see this mysterious fog and the sounds of the birds flying overhead. Soon it was breakfast time and a bowl of jook and fresh locally grown food hit the spot. Many of the vegetables were grown on site which is something you don’t find too often in the cities.


Queer Links from the Week

A couple of these links are about the HIV testing for foreign teachers ... However, I included them here for interested readers.


Global Giving: Rainbow Teen Safe Space
Kimchi Monster: HIV Testing of Foreign Teachers

Queer Links from the Week

NK News: Being Gay in the DPRK

I'll probably include this in my queer links for the week, but this article is a MUST READ! NK News' Oliver Hotham writes about how North Koreans don't normally have a concept of gays, and how their first exposure of gays in society often happens upon arrival to the South.




Definitely give it a read. 

I've also compiled a list of resources on North Korea in the past if you want to take a look. And I made the image above ㅋㅋ. Artsy or sloppy? 

You’ve Got Seoul- Korean War Vet’s Spirit Buoyed by Pen Pal: Metro News

Remembrance Day is held in Canada every November 11th to pay homage to the sacrifices made by war veterans. Often forgotten is the Korean War, which claimed the lives of hundreds of Canadian soldiers. Overshadowed by both World Wars and the Vietnam War, Canada’s and Canadian’s role in the Korean War is often misunderstood and under-appreciated at Remembrance ceremonies. This article, published by Metro News Canada, tells the story of one Korean War veteran who’s personal path to peace involved a pen pal relationship with a Korean woman. The article gives a glimpse into the lives of Canadian Korean War veterans, and is a reminder that the effects of the Korean War are still felt by Canadians and Koreans alike. To read the article, please download here.


The Current Status of Peace on the Peninsula: An Interview with Jejun Joo

Interviewed by Dae-Han Song

Jejun Joo is the Policy Chair of the Korea Alliance of Progressive Movements (KAPM) and the People’s Action Against the War and the Realization of Peace. The KAPM is a broad alliance of sectoral (workers, peasants, women, students, and a political party) and regional social movements in South Korea and a leading alliance for peace and reunification in the Korean Peninsula. The People’s Action Against the War and the Realization of Peace is a coalition of social and civil society movements recently created to deal with the current war crisis in the Korean Peninsula.

The interview is meant to shed some light on the current conditions on the Korean Peninsula regarding peace as well as offer analysis and perspective from some of Korea’s leading peace and reunification social movements.

Dae-Han Song: Can you provide some background to the current state of affairs?


Kim Jong Un Has a Smartphone!!

Will miracles never cease.

I couldn't believe my eyes when I read the other day that the infamous, fearless leader of the Hermit Kingdom is now equipped with a smartphone.  The article over at North Korea Tech (.org) explained how North Korea is now getting into handheld device game by introducing their own smartphone.

Named the "Arirang" after the popular Korean folk song which is, coincidentally, the de facto adopted national anthem of the ROK, it aims to please.  Or something along those lines.  It has a touchscreen.  And great "security".

This more than likely Chinese produced product is being billed as North Korean hailing from their May 11 factory.  Details surrounding this handheld are foggy, in line with all things DPRK.  With a "high pixel" camera and "Korean-style" applications, I wonder if we'll be able to follow Kim Jong Un on Twitter or catch up with him on Kakoa Talk.


Kim Jong Un Has a Smartphone!!

Smartphone Kim Jong Un Has a Smartphone!!Will miracles never cease.

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read the other day that the infamous, fearless leader of the Hermit Kingdom is now equipped with a smartphone.  The article over at North Korea Tech (.org) explained how North Korea is now getting into handheld device game by introducing their own smartphone.


Int'l Symposium on Concluding a Peace Treaty on the Korean Peninsula

 

By Taryn Assaf

For Peace

For Peace

On Friday, July 26th 2013, the ISC team participated in the International Symposium on Concluding a Peace Treaty on the Korean Peninsula held at the Seoul Women’s Plaza, organized by the People’s Movement for Opposing War and Achieving Peace. The conference was attended by a number of scholars, journalists, politicians and activists from Korea, Canada, Japan, the United States and China, as well as a number of veterans of the Korean peace movement, some of whom had spent over 30 years as political prisoners. The conference addressed key issues on the topic of peace on the Peninsula and reunification of the two Koreas. Speakers investigated the “threat” of North Korea, obstacles to peace (including United States militarism and imperialism, state nationalism, and the relationships between the countries of Northeast Asia) and recommendations for peace (including reunification, normalization of relations between the two Koreas, denuclearization of Northeast Asia, and independence from the United States).


George Orwell Sounds A Lot Like A North Korean (In Korean)

그러면 우리는 무엇을 해야 되겠읍니까? 그것은 밤낮 없이 몸과 마음을 다하여 인류의 타도에 힘쓰는 것입니다!

Romanization:

Guh-lu-myon oo-lee-nun moo-oh-sul hay-ya day-ges-soom-nee-ka? Guh-gos-oon bam-nat opshee mome-gwa ma-oom-ul da-ha-yaw il-yoo-ai ta-do-ai heem-suh-nun goshe-im-nee-da!

My literal translation:

So we-the what-the do should? Thing-the nightdayless body-and mind-the all-for humanity-of overthrow-at strength-using thing is!

George Orwell:

What then must we do? Why, work night and day, body and soul, for the overthrow of the human race!


Sending Money Home with Wire Transfers

It's come time for me to finally send money back home.  I've been procrastinating the task for quite some time, but I decided to just get it over with.  Not knowing where to start, I went to the administrative office of my school and asked for some direction.  I usually go to them for things like this since they are responsible for making withdrawals from my account for lunch and just overall dealing with the Busan Office of Education.  They also speak English very well!

The Significance of the 6.15 Declaration

By Dae Han Song

The morning of June 13, 2000 – with millions of Koreans watching on their televisions – marked a watershed moment in inter-Korean relations. What previous attempts to thaw inter-Korean relations had failed to do was instantly achieved, albeit momentarily, with the embrace between President Kim Dae Jung – the first South Korean to come to North Korea – and National Defense Commission Chairman Kim Jong Il: a cathartic moment between two leaders and two peoples of a nation divided by war and years of anti-North and anti-South recrimination and political education.


현충일: Memorial Day in South Korea

Today is 현충일 (Memorial Day) in South Korea. June 6th is a public holiday dedicated to soldiers who sacrificed their lives for their country and civilians who died during the Korean war. The Korean War began on June 25th, 1950 when South Korea was invaded by North Korea. The war that lasted for three years and …

Cheorwan: Tranquility on the DMZ

With all the recent media attention suggesting that the Koreas are on the brink of nuclear war, the world might be surprised to learn that the cities dotting the DMZ, or demilitarized zone between the counties, are as peaceful and quiet as ever.  Sure, there are signs of a military presence and a slight eeriness surrounding the remnants of the darker days, but it is perhaps the marked contrast of these very attributes that makes the natural beauty of the region so outstanding.

Cheorwan (철원), a lesser-known destination on the "security tourism" route, is one of these cities.

Is It Safe to Travel to Korea?

While eating breakfast at my hostel in Barcelona last month, a CNN news brief aired declaring that tensions were high and nuclear war was eminent on the Korean peninsula.  A Korean backpacker that I had met earlier that week looked at me and simultaneously, we rolled our eyes, irked by the excessive urgency and seriousness in the reporters' words.  The others in the room, who hailed from all corners of the globe, looked worried and advised us to prolong our stay in Europe rather than return to a country that was in such a hostile state.

The concerned comments didn't end there.  Messages from my friends in America began flooding my inbox with questions regarding my well being and my parents even offered to purchase for me a plane ticket back to Mississippi.

The Return of The World Famous (but all too infrequent) If I Had A Minute To Spare Global Caption Competition of Death and Love and Harmony

It has been over one year and six months since my last submission, and frankly I’m apologetic. But as a means of earning your forgiveness, I present to you the grand return of everyone’s favourite World Famous (but all too infrequent) If I Had a Minute to Spare Global Caption Competition of Death and Love and Harmony (yes, regulars will now not the World Famous (but all too infrequent) If I Had a Minute to Spare Global Caption Competition of Death and Love is now harmonious).

Imagine, December 2011 was the last time this competition graced these humble pages. It’s not because I don’t love you and your love of this wonderous competition, it’s just that I haven’t found the right moment captured by a humble lens, if I have bothered looking at all.


LTW - Soft or Firm, Abe Time, & Ramen Rage

1. National
1) Kim Jong-un softens as South Korea reacts firmly

Strong winds from North are letting up in Korean peninsula as South Korean president Park Geun-hye showed her teeth that she would not dance to Kim Jong-un’s music. Park made a bold decision to pull out the remaining 175 South Koreans in Kaesong Industrial Complex, making it the first time no South Koreans in Kaesong in 10 years. Probably realizing Park is much harder to crack, Kim went into soft drive mode, showing up in “Deppan Yaki” restaurant, not in military base, surrounded by civilians, not by generals. Kim also allowed a picture of him and his wife shopping at a cosmetics store under South Korean brand ‘Laneige.’ As the joint South Korea –U.S. military exercise winds down on Apr 30, experts think it will enter into a dialogue mode after two months of confrontation. 
  
Another chicken born after GM CEO Dan Akerson.  U.S.golf star Dustin Johnson and Zach Johnson decided to withdraw from the Ballantine’s Championship held last week at Icheon, 60km south of Seoul, as they got scared over threats from North Korea. They must be Americans whose national anthem sings “Oh, can you see …… and the home of the BRAVE!”
 


Should We Respect North Korea?


The short and obvious answer to this question is of course not, they are not worthy of any respect at all.  Their actions are ridiculous, dangerous, and the regime are more interested in respect than the well-being of their people.  Therefore we should hold our ground and give them nothing, right?

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