Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Saturday Night Live: Korea Style!

September 1, 2013 Leave a comment

By Noh Hyun-gi

Legendary American sketch comedy and variety show Saturday Night Live (SNL) has entertained the world with its pointed political satire and priceless skits for the past 37 years.

Channel tvN is taking on the formidable task of producing a Korean version. Famed director and writer Jang Jin, who will be directing the program, called it a dream come true at a press conference in Cheongdam-dong, southern Seoul, Thursday.

But how the show full of acid political satire and sexual jokes will hit it off with the Korean audience remains to be seen.

The original

“Live from New York, Its’ Saturday Night!” Watching SNL, though not so well-known in Korea, is part of the American tradition. Every episode usually features a guest host, usually a celebrity, with a permanent SNL cast to perform live acts. In the opening sketch, various figures have made cameo appearances including President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The Korean version will follow the same format of a host and 16 cast members and will present 10 skits each Saturday.

Let’s talk politics

Last week, an opposition lawmaker shot a tear-gas canister into the main hall at the National Assembly as the governing party railroaded through a free trade agreement with the United States, prompting outbursts of criticism.

Jang believes today’s politics serves up a full dish for political satire.

“Before, any political satire could be directed at the ruling party. But nowadays there are a lot things to pick on in the opposition party as well,” he said.

Yet ridiculing politics is walking on thin ice and has been a realm for journalism. A podcast radio show “I’m a Weasel” has gained popularity by criticizing the current government. Recently Rep. Kang Yong-seok, who almost lost his Assembly seat over inappropriate remarks to female collegians aspiring to become announcers, filed a libel suit Thursday against comedian Choi Hyo-jong, for offending lawmakers during a show.

Jang said that he plans to be fearless and work on leveling the satire as the show goes on.

The hosts

The low recognition of SNL in Korea and the daunting role of the main guest host led many to decline the offer. Actor Kim Joo-hyuk, who has a calm and serious mask, will host the first episode. At the press conference Jang thanked Kim for taking on the challenge to make SNL Korea shine.

The producers of the show are well aware of these issues in importing the all-American show, which is why the show only has eight episodes planned. Jang said he hopes to make this a long-running show. He hopes the first season will attract more celebrities as hosts so it can continue. If Ahn Yeong-mi, the only female comedian for SNL Korea, can pull off either Rep. Na Kyung-won or Rep. Park Geun-hye like Tina Fey impersonates Sarah Palin it would be priceless.

SNL Korea will air starting Dec. 3 on tvN at 11 p.m.


Random Dan – I have watched a few different Korean comedy/sketch shows and they seem to be pretty funny.  The language barrier makes it tough to get the majority of the jokes but the best thing about stage comedy is that language isn’t exactly necessary.  If this show is anything like USA’s SNL it will involve current events, politics, and anything else to make an audience laugh.  I’m interested to see the reaction to this type of show in Korea.  Koreans take politics very seriously.  I’ve watched SNL for as long as I can remember.  I think Koreans need more laughter and hopefully this show can bring a new vision of entertainment.

Categories: Check-It-Out, Korea, Politics, TV, USA

North Korea Propaganda

August 23, 2011 Leave a comment

I love propaganda as much as the next guy.  Check out some of North Korea’s finer works:

So ronery.

Categories: Culture, Korea, Politics

Hacker Group to Destroy Facebook on November 5, 2011

August 12, 2011 1 comment


Hackivist group Anonymous vows to “kill Facebook” on November 5, citing users’ lack of choice in privacy as its reason for attack.

Update: Anonymous confirmed via a tweet that while some of its members are organizing the upcoming attack against Facebook, the hacker organization as a whole does not necessarily agree with the attack.

The group of hackers has claimed participation in just about every recent notable hacking attack of this year and successfully broke into 70 law enforcement websites and took down the Syrian Ministry of Defense website this week alone.

This recent interest in Facebook, despite a slew of privacy concerns raised against the social network since its founding, may be a result of Anonymous’s recent announcement that it plans to create its own social network, called AnonPlus. After the group’s Google+ account, called “Your Anon News,” was banned, it began fleshing out, “a new social network where there is no fear … of censorship … of blackout … nor of holding back.”

Below is a video and statement released by Anonymous explaining the reason for its upcoming battle with the world’s largest social network.


Anonymous Statement

Attention citizens of the world,

We wish to get your attention, hoping you heed the warnings as follows:
Your medium of communication you all so dearly adore will be destroyed. If you are a willing hacktivist or a guy who just wants to protect the freedom of information then join the cause and kill facebook for the sake of your own privacy.

Facebook has been selling information to government agencies and giving clandestine access to information security firms so that they can spy on people from all around the world. Some of these so-called whitehat infosec firms are working for authoritarian governments, such as those of Egypt and Syria.

Everything you do on Facebook stays on Facebook regardless of your “privacy” settings, and deleting your account is impossible, even if you “delete” your account, all your personal info stays on Facebook and can be recovered at any time. Changing the privacy settings to make your Facebook account more “private” is also a delusion. Facebook knows more about you than your family.

You cannot hide from the reality in which you, the people of the internet, live in. Facebook is the opposite of the Antisec cause. You are not safe from them nor from any government. One day you will look back on this and realise what we have done here is right, you will thank the rulers of the internet, we are not harming you but saving you.

The riots are underway. It is not a battle over the future of privacy and publicity. It is a battle for choice and informed consent. It’s unfolding because people are being raped, tickled, molested, and confused into doing things where they don’t understand the consequences. Facebook keeps saying that it gives users choices, but that is completely false. It gives users the illusion of and hides the details away from them “for their own good” while they then make millions off of you. When a service is “free,” it really means they’re making money off of you and your information.

Think for a while and prepare for a day that will go down in history. November 5 2011, #opfacebook . Engaged.

This is our world now. We exist without nationality, without religious bias. We have the right to not be surveilled, not be stalked, and not be used for profit. We have the right to not live as slaves.

We are anonymous
We are legion
We do not forgive
We do not forget
Expect us

RANDOM DAN – I enjoy Facebook as much as the next guy (or girl).  Shit, for some reason I always keep going back to it whenever I’m on a computer.  There’s something about that red flag that pops up in the top left corner that gets me excited.

If these guys were to actually do this and ‘destroy’ Facebook, I think it might be for the best.  Just imagine how many other random websites I could waste my time on instead of Facebook!

But I have to ask, what is all the hatred of Facebook really about?  I sort of touched on that question awhile ago when Google+ just came out. Well, based off the hacker group’s message, I think the main reason for the hatred of Facebook is that they steal information.  But what exactly what are (or would) they be doing with it?  If you’re not doing anything wrong, why should you be worried about it?

The thing is that if Facebook is shut down others will pop up just like it.  I’m even think that Facebook already has a contingency plan if anything like this were to happen…maybe even a different webpage that is a duplicate of all the information they currently have.

This story isn’t really big news now but I have a feeling as we get closer to November 5 it will be like the year 2000 computer bug that people were worried was going to shut down business and communication.  My guess is that November 5 will come and go and this story will just be a blip in your memory.

Korea: USA Teacher In Demand

July 31, 2011 Leave a comment

From the Korea Joongang Daily:

As many students emigrate from Korea to the United States for higher education opportunities, Korean hagwon (academies) and parents find it increasingly necessary to prepare children with exposure to a Western education by hiring American teachers.

Because Western norms have been embedded within these instructors’ gestures, speech and behavior, these teachers provide education in English while also exposing students to Western culture.

Kwon Yi-joo, a rising high school sophomore who currently attends a private academy in Gangnam District, Seoul, talked about the recent increase in the number of American teachers at her school. “In the past four years that I have attended this academy, there has been an increase in American teachers,” she said. “I think this [trend] is positive because as a student, I prefer having an American teacher, as it is guaranteed that someone who knows the material very well is capable of teaching the material precisely.”

“Sometimes Korean teachers can be somewhat unreliable when it comes to mastering a Westernized education.”A SAT academy in Daechi-dong, southern Seoul, has increased the number of American teachers it has hired in recent years. In 2000, the academy had only two American SAT instructors, but in 2011 this number increased to five.Similarly, another SAT prep academy in Sinsa-dong, southern Seoul, increased the number of courses taught by an American teacher from three, in 2009, to seven, in 2011.The Popularity of U.S. Study Abroad Programs has Fueled Demand for American Teachers.When discussing the reasons for recruiting American teachers, the Sinsa-dong academy described these American teachers as possessing something no Korean teacher can obtain: personal experience with American culture.

One tutor at a popular hagwon in an upscale south Seoul district, who asked to remain anonymous, described Korean students’ curiosity about the U.S.


“There’s a certain curiosity, and I’m sure they want to know what it’s like [in the U.S.],” said the tutor, who first travelled to Korea in 2000 to teach. “They can get that information from these teachers to gain knowledge about the country they’re going to study in – not just through the subject but also from the personal experiences of the teacher.”

This same tutor believes that an American teacher offers a certain trust to parents and students, which has increased their employment in Korea.

“There are lots of factors, but I think the overarching reason is that it is similar for most students,” he said. “[The] number one reason people go to these academies is to learn. And I think the biggest thing is [that they come with a] certain trust and feeling that they are going to get the best education from these native speakers rather than someone who can speak English but is not familiar with the culture. A lingering doubt evolves from that type of teacher.”

The trend has grown as numerous Korean hagwon are being swamped with an abundance of prospective students interested in studying in the U.S.

Competition is another driving force behind this trend, as Korean parents compete with one another to get their children to the top.

A woman with the surname Seo, who is the mother of a 15-year old teenage boy, hypothesized about why this trend is becoming prevalent.

“Because competition among students is becoming progressively more cutthroat, parents want their children to have a certain advantage over other students, in order to be victorious in the ‘battle,’” she said. “Therefore many students are registering at academies that offer courses taught by American teachers.”

In this environment, hagwon are also in constant competition with one another, and they are hiring American teachers to give themselves an edge.  Seo conveyed her aspirations for her son’s future.

“I want him to have the best future possible, so I think it is necessary to enroll him in courses taught by an American instructor,” she said. “Eventually he will be going to college in the States, so why not prepare him with someone who is familiar and has experience with not just the American academic system but with the people and culture itself.”



Random DanIt makes sense to want a language teacher from the country you will be studying in. But how much culture do you really expect to learn from a teacher (especially one that doesn’t speak your native tongue)?

I like this statement from the article: “I prefer having an American teacher, as it is guaranteed that someone who knows the material very well is capable of teaching the material precisely.” I’d argue that knowledge of material is definitely NOT guaranteed just because that teacher is from an English speaking country.

I’m not sure of the stats but I’d say 90% of the English teachers here don’t have masters degree and maybe 66%+ bachelor’s degrees aren’t related to teaching or English field (linguistics, literature, etc).

Maybe that’s why the requirements to teach in Korea (minimum: bachelors) are just for that reason: They don’t want an excellent grammar teacher or someone specializing in English but just having someone “provide education in English while also exposing students to Western culture.”  But like i said, how much culture do you expect from a teacher?  I didn’t learn any culture from my high school and university Spanish classes.  Maybe that was my fault, but I really doubt I would have learned much culture even if that was my only reason for taking those classes.

Well, I can’t complain that much.  I’m a white male from the USA between the ages of 25-40.  If only I had blue eyes I’d be the ‘ideal’ teaching candidate in Korea.

We can’t win ’em all.

Categories: Education, Korea, Politics, Teaching, USA

Norway Terrorist Manifesto: 2083 – A European Declaration of Independence

July 24, 2011 Leave a comment

Interested in reading the manifesto from that sick Norwegian extremist who killed all those kids?

2083 – A European Declaration of Independence

Another reason why extremists of ALL kinds are detriments to society.  If you’re views are so extreme that you believe killing an innocent person is ‘necessary,’ do us all a favor and kill yourself before you leave the house.

Categories: Crime, Culture, Politics, Terrorism

Gyopos Busted: Weed Grow House in Seoul

July 22, 2011 2 comments

Here is an article on the drug bust directly from a Korean news source with some more information (my thoughts after):

From the Korea Times 
By Kim Rahn

Police arrested two college students Thursday for growing cannabis at home to sell to foreign students and use themselves.

The students, including 23-year-old Seo, allegedly grew cannabis at their houses since July last year after bringing in seeds from the United States.

Studying in a Seoul university, they sold about 300 grams of marijuana (cannabis) to foreign students and Korean-Americans until recently. They earned 45 million won ($42,600), selling 1 gram of marijuana for 150,000 won, and the “customers” smoked the drug even on campus, according to police.

They learned how to cultivate cannabis through the Internet and had facilities at their homes such as cultivation trays, heaters, lighting, ventilating fans, fertilizer and nutrients.

Police booked 23 people without physical detention on suspicions of purchasing and smoking marijuana from them.

Police also arrested a 26-year-old woman, surnamed Jeong, for selling drugs here after smuggling them here via international post.

Jeong is suspected of having smuggled 7 grams of methamphetamine and 244 grams of marijuana from a dealer in the U.S. since January by hiding them in children’s clay products. She sold the drugs to foreign students here.

“It seems people from countries where marijuana smoking is relatively common compared to Korea commit drug-related crimes without a sense of guilt. People can learn marijuana cultivation methods easily from the Internet, and we need measures to prevent it,” a police officer said.


Random Dan-Whenever a foreigner is busted in Korea, it seems to make headline news.  There could be many reasons for this.  Maybe it’s xenophobia, maybe it’s to scare people about foreigners, maybe it’s to make Koreans feel better about themselves as the superior race…who knows.  But having weed in Korea seems to be a bigger deal than say rape and murder.

This weed bust would have looked a lot worse for us foreigners if the guys busted were not Asian.  Luckily, they were gyopos (any people of ethnic Korean ancestry who live outside Korea).

Either way, getting involved with any kind of drug in Korea is dumb as hell.  It’s not worth the risk and penalties.

The sad thing is, I think weed is exactly what this country needs.  The excessive alcohol abuse/binging is like nothing I’ve seen.  Koreans are overworked, undersexed, and depression (high rates of suicide) seems like a common trait here.  These Korean traits are something I will write about soon.

I’m interested to see the charge these two guys get for the drug bust.  Hopefully it will be in the news.

*On a side note I posted some stuff I did when Arnold got busted cheating on his wife.  There’s a lot of data to go through and need some time to get it all together but I put the summary of the whole thing I did here.*

(Korean girl smoking weed)


Obama smoked, and yes, he inhaled.

Categories: Crime, Culture, Korea, Politics

Facebook v. Google +

July 21, 2011 Leave a comment

Google Plus: the next big thing?  Millions have signed up with Google’s new social networking site.  I got my invite via a friend on ‘Facebook.’..oh the sweet irony.

I went through and checked out GP but it’s hard to really get an idea of what the advantages/disadvantages are without having a bunch of people on there.  I’m a visual learner, ya dig?

I have noticed many people posting on Facebook, ready to make the switch due to Facebook’s consistent privacy infringements, as well as other fine tunings it has done like setting changes on profiles and chats.  I think it’s funny that people would leave Facebook for Google because of privacy.  I mean, this is GOOGLE we’re talking about.  Like, the largest collector of information (of all kind) in the world.  You really feel safer with Google?  It’s like Coke and Pepsi.

That said, I do have the feeling that many people want to make the switch for a reason different than those listed.  In their minds  “Facebook isn’t hip anymore.”  It’s cool to be hating on Facebook nowadays.  

I don’t know another product that people hate so much (while at the same time expressing that hatred by using the same product they hate).  But, you know hipsters…

…once everyone likes something, it can’t possibly be cool.  So, they’ll move on to Google Plus and the cycle continues (see MySpace —> Facebook).

Either way, if Google Plus’ product is better than Facebook, I will eventually make the change (like I did MySpace to Facebook).  I’m never in the front when it comes to technology.  Shit’s too hard to keep up with.  I’ll let my more adept friends get into it and I’ll trust their opinions.

But for now, Facebook fits all my possible needs (that I know of) for social networking.

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