Posts Tagged ‘life in korea’

November- a tough month for Surprises Aplenty

November 8, 2010

I was nervous and excited about starting Nanowrimo – I knew it is a bit of a gimmick, but I like to write and was eager for the encouragement.  I could probably have managed to keep going even though my weekend hours had been drastically shortened – I should have tried.  I do understand that  a writer can write anywhere, even if there are places he prefers.  I knew being on the farm all weekend would be detrimental to my health – and it was, I am in full allergic agony right now – but i could have tried.

Another international event, and one that I participated in last year, is Movember.  I grew a mustache last year, as did many of my coworkers, but had trouble starting it this year.  It seems my short-term memory is failing me.  I entered the bathroom on the morning of November 1st, thinking, “Don’t shave your upper lip.”

I remembered again after shaving the left side of my upper lip.  Dang!  I repeated this for several mornings.

I think I can catch up, though.  I am not sure if this is cheating.

The writing is backward as I am shooting into a mirror, but I have a box of minoxidil in my hand.  I won’t divulge which in-law uses the stuff.

I like the Donga Ilbo

October 9, 2010

But seriously, Tweeter? (My bolding)

When Tweeter’s role caught on, Mark Pfeifle, former national security adviser to President George W. Bush, said that without Tweeter, the Iranian people would not have been able to join hands to fight for freedom and democracy. He added that Tweeter should receive the Nobel Peace Prize. Can social media sites such as Tweeter and Facebook genuinely spearhead social revolution? Amid the widespread introduction of smartphones, the number of users on social networking services has surged, with that of Tweeter topping 150 million and that of Facebook exceeding 500 million. Considering the sheer number of subscribers, such services could change the world. There are skeptics, however. Malcolm Gladwell, a Canadian-born journalist and bestselling author, has provoked debate by saying social media is merely “a disorderly crowd lacking both central authority, leaders and a sense of consolidation” in the latest issue of the magazine The New Yorker.

That Gladwell article is here and I may touch on it, with regard to Dong-a’s article.  I am on Twitter, mostly to follow friends and haven’t really sent any ‘tweets’ myself.  I do know that individual messages are called ‘tweets’ though and that the network is called ‘Twitter’.

The Dong-a usually seems to have more of a weekly format, where articles are less about sex and more about facts and discussions.  I like it.  This article just caught my attention.  Oh, and the “Next year is the year of Darwin’ article they kept a link for on the main page for two years or more disappeared a month ago.

Alright, the article itself is a little interesting:

Tweeter allows contact among people who have little chance to meet each other in the real world and to exchange thoughts and feelings real time. Via Facebook, a member can have hundreds of “friends” with whom he or she has never met. Gladwell, however, says it is very difficult for people to share critical minds over pending issues that hold weight and values big enough to prompt them to bet their money, time, career and life and show a sense of consolidation to tackle them given weak relations in cyberspace.

Korea’s situation seems to be different, however. Yonsei University journalism and mass communication professor Yoon Young-chul said, “Koreans who have a similar propensity tend to gather together.” Unlike people in other countries, likeminded Koreans form communities from the very beginning and share information, he said. When sensitive issues such as a dispute over a person’s educational background flares up, Koreans tend to band together and consolidate through social networking services. A case in point is the netizens’ group “Tablo, We Demand the Truth,” which questioned whether the singer Tablo studied at Stanford University in the U.S. as he claimed. Gladwell might have overlooked Koreans when making his criticism of social media.

This seems a error in scale.  The Iranian revolution – failed- affected directly millions of people. Tablo’s (entirely correct) claims that he studied at stanford… not quite so important.  The Tablo networks feel more like those old Urban Legends, like  ‘Clean the internet day‘ or ‘post office charges for email‘.

It was a group of people who – seeing as their claims were false- seemed to be malicious in their attacks claiming that Tablo’s degree was forged.  I might support a group asking Tablo to get a less annoying name, by the way.

Oh, the Korea Herald article (linked above as ‘entirely correct’) spells Twitter correctly.

Sept 10: World Suicide Prevention Day

September 9, 2010

I am not sure what value having a ‘day’ is, but suicide is a big problem in Korea, with one suicide occurring every 34 minutes (as tweeted by James – did that link work?  I haven’t linked to a tweet before).

For more information on the day or warning signs or the like, visit Dr Deb.

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Hmm, this post is nearly short enough to go on Twitter.

Fitting in

April 23, 2010

It is common for Koreans to practice their English when they foreigners.  It is also common for youngsters and young adult Koreans to do so to show off, or to have fun, relieve the boredom, whatever.

My mother, having come to Korea form my wedding,stepped out of a car at my soon-to-be-in-law’s apartment and we were swarmed by a hoard of elementary-school aged children yelling Hello enthusiastically enough that my mother may not have wanted to leave the car.

Many times, i have walked past a group of teenagers or university students to have one of them call Hello to my back, after I had passed them.  The call is usually followed by laughter about the silliness of talking to foreigners.

I have to say I haven’t seen as much of it lately.  perhaps Korea really is becoming more multi-cultural.

I, however, may be slipping backwards.

Earlier in the week, I saw a foreign woman at the university.  Not recognizing her, but knowing there are many German and Russian students at the university, I said, “Guten tag” as we met on the stairs.

I kept going and heard a surprised, “Sprechen sie Duetsch” (ah, how’s my spelling?).

I had to turn and apologize that, no,  I didn’t speak much German. “Ich spreche ein bission Duetsch.”(that spelling does look wrong).

Anyway, we soon parted but now I have to worry that I might be taking up bad habits here.