Archive for July, 2012

The Games start soon!

July 27, 2012

Tomorrow night, my son and I will be watching Olympic swimming, and probably other sports and events.  I’m excited to see what the swimmers can do but also am envious of my son’s idealistic view of The Games.

If I were to write down my own version of an Athlete’s Credo, it would describe wanting to do my best but also wanting the same for my competitors.  I would prefer to win or lose and be secure in my belief that the outcome was correct.  If I were to win, I would want my opponent to say something like, “I did my best and you were better” rather than “If I’d had a better start…”.

Of course, I won’t be there competing and perhaps people who have put enough effort into getting there have different priorities.

Back to contrasting my son’s view of The Games with mine.  He doesn’t notice all the politics involved.  He happily sings the jingles of the Olympic-themed advertising.  He doesn’t know that one of Korea’s IOC representatives is a convicted felon who was pardoned specifically so as to improve Korea’s chances of hosting the ’18 Olympics.  He hasn’t read The New Lords of the Rings.  Again, I envy him.

I will not be burdening him with my views of the games for a decade or more.  Unlike Santa or Jesus, the idealism of The Games is not  imaginary.

I’ll probably share this story with him.

Kang Seung-woo gets it.

In my time zone, it looks Like Bak Tae-hwan is swimming 400 free at 6:52 tomorrow night. Finals around 4:00am Sunday morning.


Meteor shower this weekend

July 25, 2012

Yesterday evening, I hiked up a hill looking for a location with a good view of sky and not too much light pollution.  I am tired of looking at the sky and exclaiming, “Look at the stars.  There must be dozens of them.”

I think the word ‘peak’ is too grandiose but at the top, I had a good view of the Nakdonggang and the west. Before it was dark, I took these pictures:


It’s interesting how the fortress-like cloud on the right remained over more than 20 minutes.

Anyway, just after 8:00, I saw my first star and over ten minutes, I discerned several more, but no falling stars.

Oh, a link for you: meteor showers this weekend and in two weeks. The link describes this weekend’s shower as being best viewed in the southern hemisphere which I don’t recall reading the first time I checked that page.

While up there, I was cooled by a gentle breeze but also visited by a few mosquitoes.  When I began my descent, I used a flashlight.  I heard some strange rustling in the woods and a lot of cicadas.  I jumped and flailed quite vigorously  when I discovered they were attracted to the headlight!

I completed my descent without the light and was able to recognize rocky dirt from trees and brush.

I hiked in the dark comfortably but I don’t think my son would be so relaxed.  In the woods, out of the breeze, I was sweating again and I am not eager to carry my son: I may have to consider other places.  Perhaps the cicada population will have decreased by then.

parenting milestone

July 24, 2012

My son and I went for our first bike trip on Sunday.  We rode along the river and across a bridge to Eulsookdo, a park with ecological preserve, a drive in theater and other tourist attractions.


Previously, I had jogged or roller-bladed beside my son as he rode, careful to be close enough to try to catch him if he tipped over.

This time he was on his own and I followed . Oh, in taking this picture and others, I tried to hold the camera back enough to get my profile in the shot and ended up crashing into the fence.  That’s not really part of the trip as I plan to remember it.


Later, we were walking the bikes on a sidewalk and found this little lizard.  My son first thought it was a snake and I was able to give a little bio lesson about how the lizard’s hips cause the legs to jut out sideways so it runs in a slithery sort of way.

I don’t remember cycling with my father.  He certainly taught me to ride and I remember him running beside me as I started, but I don’t recall actually going anywhere by bike with him.

We travelled by canoe and that I do remember clearly.  His long powerful stroke, at a rate of one per two of mine, and the surge I would feel when he dug in.  We explored many rivers and lakes together.  I don’t remember him as the patient sort except when we travelled by canoe.

I intend to travel more with my son, by bike, canoe and on foot.  I don’t expect to be the homework dad or the team sports dad -the way I think my dad wanted to be with me – but I will be the explore and educate dad and I am looking forward to it.


Serious issues spoiled by incoherent ranting style

July 17, 2012

Child Abuse camp as advertised on the Democratic United Party blog and protected by corrupt police soon to be exposed

By [name redacted] and translated by Surprisesaplenty

My ‘translated by’ claim above is snarky, but I am starting from the man’s Facebook claims and following other links.  His writing is … challenging.

A sample from various locations (1,2) on Facebook (these are from large groups on Facebook so I don’t think they are private utterances.  The latter link is to “Every Expat inKorea” which sounds like it should be considered a public space):

“Korean Conman with no degree is touted as professor on the Korean Democratic United party blog, that also names his business that prior to that time had been in the papers (Korean Herald) for human smuggling US citizens with fake visas to work for free in his illegal unlicensed English camps the Jeju City Office of Education yet again has filed more changes against this week.

The full truth is not in the 1000s of newspaper report about this illegal business 제주국제영어마을 – that it includes pedophile activity and stupid foreigners who profit from job ads saying they get bonus money for working their kids, which should have been a know brainier that that is against the law.”

A “know brainier” indeed.  These 100+ words  in two sentences were separated in the ellipses by a citation.  Oh, alright, here it is: As seen On KBS News and 제주가 보인다 2012.2.1.

Still, [redacted] is passionate about his claims; so much so that I had to dig in and try to understand them.

Okay, I’ve looked into the claims and they are too hot – criminally hot – for me!

At 3 Wise Monkeys is a good description of the problem.  Giving real names and identifying businesses , even if the claims made are true, is considered libel.

The Korea Herald has reported as much as it dares here.  Dare I say it, the reporting is as well done as it could be without risking exposure to libel.

A second problem with discussing [redacted]‘s problems are their variety.  3WM and the Herald discuss (1)immigration and contractual issues, but [redacted] also claims (2) sexual abuse of the students, corruption among the (3) police (The Herald article looks at this) and (4) a political party and (5) death threats he has received*.  They might all be true but if too many claims are stacked like this, why not add one more: “(6)And he cancelled Christmas!”

I feel there is something wrong here and that [redacted] has been mistreated, possibly criminally, but I am honestly afraid to write further.  Korea’s libel laws are clear.

This is a serious issue and I feel for [redacted] but at the same time I must retreat into snark again and say that if his writing is a good example of his English communication skills, I would not much want to hire him either.

* Search for information from 3WM… You can find this claim if you wish.

Sorta Off-topic: Libel reform efforts in the UK

July 11, 2012

I have discussed libel issues in Korea and elsewhere, but chiefly in relation to Korea. The local problems with libel affect me as a blogger, but the UK is also infamous for its legal system.

Recently, Nature magazine faced libel charges and eventually defended itself successfully.

Libel Win Reveals Need For Reform:

El Naschie, a theoretical physicist and former editor-in-chief of the journal Chaos, Solitons and Fractals (CSF), sued Nature’s publisher, Nature Publishing Group (NPG), and its news reporter Quirin Schiermeier over the 2008 article ‘Self-publishing editor set to retire’ (see Nature 456, 432; 2008). The story reported that El Naschie was the author of a large number of papers in his journal, and that some physicists questioned whether the work had been properly peer reviewed. It also noted that certain scientists considered some of El Naschie’s papers to be of poor quality.

Nature did not deny that the article was defamatory, but claimed three defences: that the piece was true (the ‘justification’ defence), that it was an ‘honest comment’ on the matter, and that its publication was ‘responsible journalism’ in the public interest — the Reynolds defence.

Nature claimed three defences, but the first would not work in Korea: Truth is not a valid defence here.

The Man personally sued, Quirin Schmierirmeir, concluded with this point:

The bigger picture, I believe, is that this case demonstrates once again how English libel law can stifle justified discourse, including open scientific discussion. The burden of proof falls too heavily on the defendant to prove what they said was true, not on the accuser to show that it is false. The law is therefore more likely to stifle free speech and suppress legitimate criticism than defend the interests of science or society at large. As a matter of fact, England’s antiquated libel law has become a liability for the country and, in the age of online journalism, a nuisance to the world. If my experience helps to get it changed, it will perhaps have been worth every second.

I have discussed the UK’s libels in the past, in these posts (1, 2)

Children’s water park in Dadae

July 3, 2012

My son and I had a great afternoon at the new waterpark at Dadae Beach.  The location has a lot to offer children and a few things for adults as well.

  1. The waterpark is right on the beach which has a very gentle slope so there is lots of room for running and playing in shallow seawater.  At the beach, one can also take classes in kite-boarding and small-boat sailing.
  2. The somewhat-famous giant fountains are next to the park and beach and kids can also cool off there.  At night, there is a remarkable laser and music show at the fountains.
  3. Mollundae anchors the southern tip of the beach and has shaded hiking trails and an exploratory boardwalk.  I think it would be fun for strong-swimmers to hike through Mollundae to the open water side and snorkel or swim there, although I have never done this.
  4. There is no Starbucks but most other purveyors of cold drinks and ice cream are nearby.
The park itself has five pools.  Two are mostly for their rental boats; electric and hand-paddle boats

Two others have inflatable slides and most kids loved them – just scary enough.

Although these four pools had specific uses, many kids were splashing around in them as well.

Apparently, I don’t have a photo of the big pool.  It was around thigh deep and had several inflatable toys in it for the kids to climb on and try to tip.  The depth was sufficient for me to relax in yet not too scary for my seven year old son.  The bottom is strangely lumpy as it is just vinyl placed over beach sand.

The pools were evacuated for fifteen or so minutes every hour-and-a-half.  At those times, and others, this inflatable toy was popular.


Around the pools were large shaded areas that were pleasant to sit in and relax.  There was a stage for performances and a sign offering draft beer but I didn’t partake.

Our visit on July 1 was free as part of the ‘grand open’.  I think regular admittance will be around six thousand won, perhaps a thousand cheaper for kids and a thousand more for adults.  Tickets to ride the boats were five thousand for the electric and three thousand for the paddle.  In the big pool were ‘hamster wheel’ inflatables and I don’t know the pricing for those.

The park was a lot of fun and my son and I will definitely return.  We may make a full day of it, starting in the surf and catching crabs and shrimp near Mollundae, then using the park showers to wash the salt off.