north korea

Is it Safe in South Korea on

I was asked to write an op-ed by, a news website from Ireland which connects stories and activities of Irish interest from around the world, about the ongoing crisis between South Korea and North Korea. Most importantly, they were interested in the situation here and the international media’s response.


The line which divides North and South Korea at Panmounjeom.

While I believe I carry the same opinion as many expats, and even experts here, my biggest concern at the moment is that I am not wrong about what I wrote. I wouldn’t be alone in this regard.

Here’s the article:

An Origin of Korean Discontent

A thought struck me as I was taking a shower before work this morning. With the renewal of tension along the North-South Korean border it’s a sharp reminder of the results of history, and what we’re looking at here, could be considered as one of the final plays in the game of the Great Powers. It, like so many skirmishes before, is taking place in a distant field which effects the lives of people so far away they don’t even look real. Well as one of these people I can assure you that it’s quite real.

Since Korea opened up to outside influence in the late nineteenth century, much like many other small kingdoms, was turned into a pawn in the chessboard of empire building. This process set Korea up to be misused and abused by forces outside their control, and today we are experiencing the continued results of this.

Queer Links from the Week

LTW - Sex, Bribes, & Video, Flexed Stealth Muscle, & Asia FTA

1. National
1) U.S. flexes muscles while Kim Jongun still opens his big mouth
Cold and warm in Korean peninsula at the same time. Cold because the U.S. flew two B-52 Bombers from Guam, and another B-2 Stealth Bomber from Missouri to South Korea to scare the hell out of Kim Jongun while Pyongyang Central Broadcasting Station said ‘Supreme leader’ Kim Jongun ratified a strike plan against the U.S. mainland (Austin, Texas), American bases in Guam, Hawaii, and  South Korea.  Warm because North Korea still allows free flow of South Koreans in and out of Kaesong Industrial Zone north of DMZ where 123 South Korean companies are hiring 53,000 North Korean workers, and North Korea’s General Bureau of Tourism is telling Chinese tour operators, “Don’t worry. There will be no war in Korean peninsula. Send more tourists” Analysts think Kim’s vicious rhetoric against the U.S. and South Korea is rather toward North Koreans to reinforce his position in North Korea. 

When To Panic About North Korea

It really is all bluster. Both Choe Sang-hoon of the New York Times and Ask A Korean have reached the same conclusion: so long as the Kaesong Industrial Plant stays open, war would appear to be unlikely.

Queer Links from the Week 2/22~2/29

The China Variable in the North Korean Conflict

Lately it seems like everywhere you look you're faced with a new story about North Korea's latest antics.  They just can't seem to put a top on it.  Now as things are heating up at the border of North and South Korea, many questions are coming to head.  What is going to happen?  Can North Korea back up their threats?  How are they allowed to act this way in this day and age, in that region of the world?  It's just crazy.

President Park

Yesterday in class I suggested that my students say “What do you think of…” instead of “Howabout…?”, since the latter is a pseudo-Konglish-y phrase thrown around all the time by even the most advanced learners as a segue from one topic into another—”Howabout Ameleekano?” was the inspirational disaster hurled my way in a fascinating discussion of coffee preferences (“Why do you like it?” “It is very delicious.”)—and as a more interesting example and possible kindler of more fruitful conversations I said the students could ask each other what they thought of Park Geun-hye, the new president of South Korea and the daughter of the dictator and (more-or-less) founder of the country, Mr. Controversy, Park Chung-hee. There was at once a collective gasp from the entire classroom. Eighteen students gaped their mouths and eyes: I had committed some sort of faux pas.

What To Do If The Second Korean War Starts?

Are South Koreans Afraid of North Korea?

Since I've been in Korea, the tension between the two "countries" has intensified.  Most recently, the threats and general language from the North has become more threatening and heated.  You're likely aware of it.

Being that I live in Korea now, and not the safe, protected haven of the United States, I'd be lying if I said I haven't felt concerned on a few occasions.  But being an American who gets information from western media outlets, I thought it would be a good idea to find out from South Koreans what their take is on the whole situation.  After all, it IS their country and they have the real pulse on things and will understand perspectives that we as foreigners generally won't.

So I started asking natives what their takes were - coworkers, friends, acquaintances, etc.  I was surprised by their reaction.  In this vlog I talk about what some of the perceptions are from natives of the peninsula.

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