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∙ Ph.D. dissertation Neighborhood Shopkeepers in Contemporary South Korea: Household, Work, and Locality available online (E-Thesis publications a the University of Helsinki). For printed copies, please contact me by e-mail.
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Saturday, July 31, 2004

More about the serial murder investigation

Hankyoreh has a long and interesting article on the serial murder case, detailing the sorry state of the murder investigation.

• Police published Yu's words almost as such without thoroughly investigating the matter, so that the number of killed people went back and forth. "Police relied only on Yu's confession, and media followed and danced to his every word."
Investigation in the crime scene was a total kaep'an, the police were not able to hold back the hordes of reporters. The dummy playing the role of the victim got broke. (The photograph on the right linked from Hankyoreh is from the crime scene investigation.)
The article notes that the "crime scene investigation" was nothing but a show: when the police announced that Yu (or Yoo) had murder 21 people, all material evidence they could present was one hammer.
• When the police announced that Yu had purchased a knife from the Dongdaemun area in September 2003, they went to do the crime scene investigation to the Dongdaemun Stadium second hand market, which was opened in early 2004. (That was when the second-hand vendors from the Hwanghak-dong market were relocated to the stadium because of the Cheonggyecheon construction.)
• Yu's small apartment, which is likely to have been the crime scene of 10 murders, was opened for the media for two hours. Just about everyone could come and go. Reporters checked Yu's cabins and drawers, someone opened his computer and went through some files.
• One person that Yu had planned to kill was a former cabinet minister; fortunately for him and his family, someone was working in the garden of the house, so Yu chose another wealthy looking house and went there to commit a murder.
• The reason why Yu chose to commit murders close to churches was, according to his own admission, his resentment for an earlier burglary conviction. He said he had prayed for lenience in front of a small cross, but still got 10 months, so he wanted to show that it's no use believing in Jesus by committing murders close to churches.
• The article says that Hankyoreh at that time pondered (article from November 2003) the possibility of a serial murderer, but police chose to investigate the cases separately.
• There's possibility that the grieving woman's charge towards the suspect Yu, after which a police officer kicked her down, was planned in advance. The bereaved family member was escorted in a car of a Japanese TV station, which belongs to the company publishing a "far-rightist newspaper with an often contemptful (kyôngmyôljôk) attitude towards Korea." (Let me guess this is Sankei Shinbun.)

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Friday, July 30, 2004

a short story: Seoul winter, 1964

Kim Seung-ok's collection of short stories Sôul 1964nyôn kyôul (Seoul 1964 Winter) was mentioned somewhere; had to find out something more about it, and understood it's something I should read.
Quotes from the above link:
조선일보 : 첨단에 첨단을 거듭하고 있는 오늘날의 서울과 견주어 볼 때,김승옥이 그려 보이고 있는 1964년 서울은 단순하고 소박한 것이 퍽이나 인간적으로 여겨진다.인간적으로 말이다. 내가 세상에 태어나기 바로 전 해인 64년 겨울,오뎅과 구운 참새와 세 가지 종류의 술을 팔던 선술집이란 소설 공간 속에서 진행된 무의미한 대화들. 이제는 여러가지 의미에서 아득한 전설이 되어 버린 부끄러운 자의식은 그들의 배반을,무책임을,자살 방조를 어쩔 수 없이 용서하게 한다. - 신수정(문학평론가) (1997-07-16)

한국일보 : 지금으로부터 30년 세월 저쪽의 수도 서울,그리고 그곳에 몸담고 살던 소시민들의 초상. <서울 1964년 겨울>을 접할 수 있었던 행운은 이제 우리세대의 문학적 부채가 되었다.지금,바로,이곳에서 우리가 그려내야 할 또 다른 서울의 모습은 어떤 것일까. - 박상우 (소설가) (1996-12-02)
As much as I've been reading about Korea, I haven't used much time for fiction literature, thinking that I wouldn't apprehend it well enough. That's why I've remained ignorant of for example Kim Seung-ok and "Seoul 1964 Winter", which as I know learn is a real classic of Korean literature. After I red Jo Jung-rae(조정래)'s 10-volume novel Han'gang I understood how important fiction is to make sense of the atmosphere of an era, in this case 1960s and 1970s. No scholarly book on Korea has ever had that impact.

Perhaps it's also a matter of language; English for me is a non-emotional language of scholarly (or something) writing, while Korean has personally much more emotional meaning, and is in that sense closer to my mother tongue than English.

Here's a link to the whole text of the short story: 서울, 1964년, 겨울

All I needed to do was to browse our own bookshelf to find this short story, printed in a multivolume collection of Korean short stories. Now I just got to get used to reading vertical print. (When I started reading Korean newspapers, some still used vertical print, but I've never gotten used to it.)

I corrected the title of this post, because the Seoul winter, 1964 is a short story, not a novel.

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Thursday, July 29, 2004

Grad student etiquette

No other words are necessary...

From Phdcomics.

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Korean Studies conference in Pyongyang cancelled

It was Minjungûi sori ("The Voice of People") of all places that I needed to visit in order to learn that the 2nd World Congress of Korean Studies is cancelled. (My first and second earlier post on the subject.) I went to the Voice of People site to see what news outlets that do their utmost not to displease DPRK have to say about the hundreds of DPRK refugees recently entered ROK. In one article about the possible consequences of the entry of the refugess it was mentioned that DPRK has cancelled the international congress of Korean studies to be held in early August in Pyongyang as a protest or countermeasure against the ROK not allowing a condolence visit on the 10th anniversary of the death of Kim Il-sung. Some more searching at KINDS: the same thing is mentioned in Munhwa Ilbo (July 27, 2004):
8·15공동행사는 지난 4년간 남북공동으로 치뤄져왔다. 한국정신문화원과 북한사회과학원 공동주최로 20여개국 한국학 연구자들이 모여 오는 8월3일에서 7일까지 평양에서 열릴 예정이던 ‘제2회 세계학술대회’도 북한 사회과학원이 지난 24일 조문갈등을 이유로 “남한은 물론 외국인들의 평양방문이 불허됐다.행사를 열 수 없게됐다”고 통보해와 무산됐다고 정신문화연구원측이 밝혔다
In early June the southern and northern scholars had a joint seminar in the Academy of Korean Studies; of the seven prepared papers by DPRK participants, only two were deemed to a have bearable amount of propaganda to be presented.

It doesn't really look as if scholarly exchange with the DPRK is helpful to anyone from the scholarly point of view, but surely this indirectly increases our understanding of DPRK...

It was a good decision not to even think about attending the conference.

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Tuesday, July 27, 2004

People living with their bodies and people living with their mouths (quote)

Kim Gyuhang is a writer and social commentator, whose blog often has interesting stuff. In a recent post he records a following conversation with a person from "culture circles."
– With whom do you usually spend your time?
– With neighborhood friends.
– Neighborhood friends? – Yes.
– What kind of people are they?
– Just neighborhood people. Company guys, self-employed, their wives, children.
– What do you do together?
– We just have a good time. Go to mountains, ride a bike, have some drinks.
– Do you spend any time with writers or culture people?
– No. – You sound quite firm on that.
– I've been a writer since '98, and I've spent time with those people as well. But hardly any more.
– Is there a special reason?
– They are boring. You know for example "Peacemaking" (평화만들기). – Yes, many intellectuals and artists gather there.
– They are people who say they'll do everything. I went there a couple of times, but the atmosphere was really strange. – So?
– They come together every night and act like they were running the whole country. Activists with an elite consciousness. Really strange atmosphere. - Oh I see.
– Seems there are people living with their bodies and people living with their mouths.
– So your neighborhood friends live with their bodies?
– They are not without their faults but at least they don't live with their mouths.
– What do you talk about together? – Just about life. This and that about life, joking.
– You may say so, but don't you feel intellectual thirst among them?
– I don't think so. Like Jesus said, intellect is being able to express oneself in the most understandable language.
– Do they know who you are? – They mostly know. I wouldn't tell them at first, but it didn't go that way.
– Isn't there any uneasiness for their part? – No, I don't think so. They sometimes tease that I'm dull-witted.
– Don't they often find your talk difficult to understand? – I don't use difficult language. Someone saw a newspaper interview on me and said that Gyuhang doesn't use these kind of difficult words with us. – Oh, that's interesting. – We just laughed about that.
– So do you explain the difficult words for them? – No, we don't talk about theories and principles. Except when some men are too authoritarian towards their wives. – Do you get mad at them? – Mad as hell. – Do they correct their manners? – Little by little. It's because they haven't given a thought about this.
– Anything other? – During the last election we talked a bit about progressives and conservatives.
– Did they understand? – Sure. They are 100 times better than the nightmouths (밤의 주둥아리). – Who are the nightmouths? – Netizens. (Laugh)

김규항씨의 말로 입으로 사는 사람들보다 몸으로 사는 사람을 많이 사귀었기 때문에 공감이 잘 되는 글이다. 근데 내가 아는 "몸으로 산다"고 할 수 있는 동네사람들이 입으로도 상당히 살고 있다. 아니, 동네살이 그 자체가 입으로 살아야 한다고 할 수도 있다. 그리고 내 연구목적인 동네장사가 "말하는 장사"의 원형일 것이다.

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Translating Little Monk

Decided finally to start translating Little Monk (Tongsûng 童僧) (director Joo Kyung-jung, 2002), a sympathetic, humorous and little sad story of a child monk, young monk and an old monk.
I have tried in vain to contact the movie company and the distributor to get a copy of the Korean manuscript, but now I'll have to do with the English translation. Well, even that's better than doing the job directly from the video: I'm not that good in Buddhist terminology, and the broadcasting company pays only 50% more for translating without a manuscript, which takes twice as much time.
I don't cut corners when translating for tv, even though there are very few here who could detect flaws, but this time the Buddhist terminology gives some creeps. I'm not even sure how the k'ûn sûnim used as a term of address for the old master should be translated. (Terms of address and reference always give the most trouble.)

Figuring out a handy term which doesn't actually exist but describes the term to be translated understandably is one of the small delights of this work. So the ch'ilsôngdang (칠성당 七星堂) became Otavapyhättö.

Here's one review of the film.

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Monday, July 26, 2004

(Korean language) Awarded suggestion to replace "well-being"

Donga Ilbo writes that the suggestion to rename welbing (웰빙, from English "well-being") to purely Korean ch'amsari (참살이) has been given the first award in an ongoing campaign to find out replacement for loanwords (see the site Urimal tadûmgi).

Ch'am is here in its positive sense, "true", "real", added to sari, "living".

Seems that ch'amsal (斬殺), "decapitation", "beheading", is not a widely known term...

I like this idea of taking suggestions for replacements for some of the more cumbersome loanwords, but I'm afraid the chances of ch'amsari (or chamsari in the new Romanization) becoming a standard in everyday speech are not that high. The importance of English in conveying ideas of modernity and development is just so big. A lot depends on the media of course; is Donga, one of the organizers of the "language trimming" campaign, going to use the experession it has given a prize to? And throughout the history, Korean language hasn't actually shown much resistance towards loan vocabulary - on the contrary, to me one of the major characteristics of Korean is its ability and willingness to absorb foreign vocab - 외래어 흡수력.

But on the whole, I'm positive towards the campaign itself - which also reflects me being a speaker of a language which has been strongly molded and developed in a similar fashion. Learners of Finnish would perhaps like if for example "plastic" was plastiikki instead of muovi, which became the word for the concept in the similar manner with the Korean case above.

About the Urial tadûmgi site; registration with the Korean citizen number is required to leave suggestions or take part in polls.

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Sunday, July 25, 2004

Lotto money brings about breakup of engagement

This woman was not going to get married because of money, but now it seems she is not marrying because of money, lotto money. It's not even clear if there's the money, because the woman, who was told by his fiancee to buy lotto with the numbers he had written on a slip of paper, denied having bought the lotto after it turned out that those had been the winning numbers. The money was 5.28 billion W [3.5 mil €], and with tax deduced 3.4 billion [2.7 mil €]. But then the man heard that the winning coupon would have been bought right close to them in Jinhae; she admitted having bought it, and told her family was in possession of the coupon. She told him she'd go to her family to collect the money, but disappeared. Now the man is sure she had bought the lotto coupon which won the huge money, and has sued her fiancé's family for getting refunded 110 million W for "unjustfiable profiteering" (부당이득금 반환청구). "We're going to raise our demand, if Miss Choi's family proves to be in the possession of the prize money." (From Hankyoreh and Chosun)

Once again an example how lottery can bring down families or planned families (here's another post of mine from early this year). Shouldn't we be hearing demands for some measures against the disruptive influences of lottery money?
These kind of stories about the harmful effects of excessive and sort of unearned lottery money actually fit well with the ideas of good and bad money that I've sometimes heard; like the laundry grandfather (in the middle in the header photograph) who told that he was not able to use for a good purpose the money he made by bringing stuff in demand from Japan to Korea. (I think that's called smuggling.)
(The image linked from a lottery fortune site)

For the proper law terminology in the case, see the story by Sean Hayes in Ohmynews. I also missed the important detail, that the man had given the woman 50 000 won in addition to the numbers to buy the lottery coupon. Hayes tells that there's a long history of lottery litigations in the US; perhaps it tells of the difference between legal traditions that I can't remember any such cases from here, where people play lotto a lot, and there's loads of lotto folklore around.

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Friday, July 23, 2004

1960s and 1970s photographs

An anonymous comment tipped of the url to a bbs posting with lots of everyday neighborhood and school life photographs from 1960s and 1970s linked from various sources. There's no information about the photos, no dates nor places. Some of the place names I've looked up from the original source, in that case Donga Ilbo. The several pictures taken in schools were no doubt taken by a teacher.

A larger (but not much) picture opens in a new window by clicking the linked pictures below.

On the right: Dyeing clothes(?) and cleaning the floor (except the boys)

On the left: A comics shop, where comics could be read for a small fee.
On the right: The boys in front have lunch boxes, the girls behind eat cup ramyon.



Busan, Yeong-do 1965 (Photo: Kuwabara Shisei)
About Kuwabara's Korea photography in English. I find out that Kuwabara was the photographer whose pictures first brought attention to the Minamata mercury poisonings.
And still wasting more of my time on googling, I find out that Kuwabara also took many shots of people living at Cheonggyecheon in the mid 1960s before it was wholly covered. (same site in Korean and in English). I'll save those for another post...

Daegu, Nam-gu "Yeolcha-chon" (대구 남구열차촌), 1960s. Presently the site of Kkachi Apartments in Jung-gu. (Photo: Kang Mun-bae)


On the right: Going to school in Busan outskirts, 1946 (Photo: Im Eung-sik)

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Thoughts around the serial killings

It's already five days since Yu Yông-ch'ôl (Yoo Young-chul), the confessed serial killer of more than 20, was arrested.

• The "responsibility of the society" is taken up; what is wrong with the Korean society as horrible things like this happen? No interest for one's neighbors, estrangement even from one's family members. (When Koreans wan't to point out that the Korean family relations are superior over those of the West, they say that over there, even family members are "others" or "strangers" (nam) to each other.) This calling for a more communitarian life can be seen even in the Hankyoreh editorial (in English). (Now that I see, Chosun Ilbo writes its editorial (in English) as in refute of Hankyoreh's one, saying it's worrisome that reasons and blame are so eagerly sought from society.) Kyunghyang's editorial doesn't accept solely social reasons for the murders, but asks for social/structural measurers to prevent such happening.
불행의 원인을 모두 외부환경 탓으로 돌리며 19명이나 살인을 한 피의자의 범죄를 엄중히 다뤄야 함은 두말할 필요도 없다. 하지만 사회 전반적인 분위기가 이런 범죄를 유발할 수 있었던 것은 아닌지 짚어볼 필요가 있다. 이 범죄가 충동적인 일회성 범죄가 아니라 오랜 기일에 걸쳐 누적된 소외감과 사회 복수심에서 비롯된 ‘반복범죄’라는 점은 우리 사회가 전반적으로 병들어 있다는 사실을 보여주는 것이기 때문이다. 화성 연쇄살인사건에 이어 지존파, 막가파 사건 등에 이은 이번 사건은 우리 사회의 병리현상이 시민의 안전을 위협하는 수준으로 악화되고 있음을 뜻한다. 나 자신과 가족도 언제 어디서든지 불특정 다수를 겨냥한 증오범죄의 희생자가 될 수 있다.
따라서 건강한 사회를 만들기 위한 우리 모두의 노력이 시급하다. 우선 소외감·좌절감을 느끼는 사람들이 사회적 변화에 적응할 수 있는 제도적 장치를 마련하는 것이 요구된다. 아울러 극단적 이기주의, 인명경시, 물질만능주의 등을 타파하기 위한 사회 전반의 노력이 종합적으로 추구되어야 할 시점이다. 각종 제도마련에 따른 사회의 건강성이 보장되지 않는 한 이러한 유형의 범죄는 언제라도 되풀이될 수 있는 잠복성을 갖고 있기 때문이다.

If there is talk about Korean society gone sick or lost its communal values, I cannot but question when the time of good community living has been? As close in time as during Chun Doo-hwan's or Park Chung-hee's time? Cannot possibly be... But ironically enough, when a newspaper like Hankyoreh, which hardly wants to admit any human progress for the time of Park Chung-hee's presidency, criticizes the competition and individualism of the contemporary society, it will not decrease the nostalgy many feel for the Park years.
• The talk of Yoo going for a killing spree out of revenge towards the rich isn't very convincing, even though it's evident that "social reasons" have played an important part in what Yoo ended up being. He has spent most of his youth and adulthood in correctional facilities. The old people he killed were wealthy, the main reason those particular persons died was that Yoo measured he wouldn't get caught: weak people, living alone in detached houses. And the prostitutes were people who few would miss if they went missing.

• The old people that Yoo killed last year all lived in detached houses, usually called chut'aek (jutaek). While these people may have been wealthy, these murders will add to the negative image of detached houses and increase the gap in preference (and price) between detached housing and apartments.

• The life of a prostitute is cheap, a sad thing which still shouldn't surprise nobody. These are people nobody looks for if they are forcibly sold or murdered (except for the pimp who will look for his/her property). At least ten call-girls had gone missing, but the police said not a single report of a missing person had been filed.
(Once again I feel pissed for seeing Korea one level higher than my own country in the US government human trafficking report, and I'm one who's been diligent in correcting many Koreans' overtly rose-tinted image of Finland.)
• The incompetence of Korean police; again, thing that few are surprised of. Yoo was actually caught by the podobang keepers, that is pimps, who went to track the caller after whose calls two women had already disappeared. Police came to the spot only later. It was also told that police argued on the place for one hour over the identity of the arrested and over the honor for arresting him. "Why police is criticized even though it cought Yoo" (Ohmynews, Korean)
Update. The talk about abolishing death penalty in ROK will most likely be silenced, which is a pity. For a long time I've been hoping that South Korea would join the ranks of civilized nations and abolish death penalty, but now the too silent voices for the abolition will grow even weaker. During Kim Dae-jung's presidency no executions were carried out, which itself is positive. (Searching a bit more from KINDS, at the end of KDJ's term there were 56 inmates in death row; after that two people have been given a death sentence early this year in a cult sect murder case. During the last few years law bills for the abolition has been introduced at least a couple of times (one in November 2001), but no progress has been done.

Articles on the subject:
Chosun Ilbo

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Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Gangnam apartments quite expensive (+ Seoul housing prices)

This piece of news or something in Chosun quotes a survey done by a real estate information company (is it any different from a real estate agency?), which compares apartment prices in Gangnam, Seoul to prices in Manhattan and finds out that compared to the gross national income (GNI) per capita, Gangnam is twice as expensive as Manhattan. (Can't tell how it'd be if the incomes of those two locations were compared.)
W/pyeong €/sqm
Gangnam 22.8 mil W 4600
Songpa 18.8 3800
Seocho 17.7 3600
Yongsan 15.1 3100
Gangdong 14.1 2800
Seoul avg. 11.7 2400

Helsinki I 3455
Helsinki II 2654
Helsinki III 2143
Helsinki IV 1744
Helsinki avg 2503
(Helsinki housing prices in the first quarter of 2004 just for my own comparison.)

Here's a table on recent apartment prices picked from another real estate site; it should show the average size of an apartment and its price, the average price per p'yông (pyeong) (3.3 sqm), and price chance since the previous week.
 2004.07.16기준(1주전 대비)  (단위:만원)
아파트 평균크기 및 매매가 체감평균
평균(평)|평균매매가 | 평당가 | 변동율
강남구 31.13 66,654 1,842 -0.15%
서초구 35.03 64,109 1,567 0.00%
용산구 36.15 53,027 1,428 -0.04%
송파구 28.99 58,566 1,418 -0.13%
양천구 29.20 35,448 1,216 -0.11%
광진구 33.21 38,839 1,169 -0.01%
강동구 25.03 40,647 1,137 -0.74%
중구 32.43 35,983 1,109 -0.26%
성동구 31.64 31,962 1,010 0.11%
영등포구 31.95 31,125 971 0.02%
마포구 30.20 29,150 967 -0.05%
동작구 33.09 31,860 955 0.03%
관악구 30.60 25,590 834 -0.03%
종로구 33.37 27,579 820 0.00%
서대문구 30.92 24,855 804 0.00%
동대문구 31.16 25,639 803 -0.01%
강서구 27.82 23,399 779 -0.00%
성북구 31.82 24,541 771 0.00%
구로구 30.07 22,593 745 -0.03%
강북구 31.53 22,037 699 0.10%
중랑구 29.20 20,191 693 0.00%
은평구 30.92 21,274 688 0.00%
금천구 29.22 20,060 683 0.06%
노원구 26.13 17,355 656 -0.22%
도봉구 28.50 17,523 615 -0.22%
전 체 29.97 34,764 983 -0.10%

I don't know where the difference in the average between this table the date quoted above comes. Gwanak-gu is emphasized in bold because that's my own area in Seoul. It's placed higher in the table than I thought, but the high placement compared to the older image of the area and to the most likely lower comparative prices of the other kind of housing means that the apartment housing constructed there recently has been quite high-level. (If interested in what the construction in Bongcheon-dong in Gwanak-gu has looked like, see the pics in this older post of mine).

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Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Renaming "Seoul" in Chinese; the final nominees

This is very old news already, as the final two candidates for the new Chinese-character name for Seoul were announced already at the end of May, but I missed it then, and came to think of it only recently. (I have earlier posts on the subject here and here.) The metropolitan Seoul site I quoted earlier has not been updated for ages, so I had to do a search KINDS database, where I could find a few articles from late May (for example Hankyoreh and Munhwa Ilbo, May 22, 2004).

The final two candidates are 首爾 (Shŏuĕr/Shou3Er3) and 首午爾 (shŏwŭĕr/shou3wu3er3). Note that the last character in the two proposals is an unsimplified one: the correct forms for mainland China should be 首尔 and 首午尔 - are we going to see them presented to the PRC government and others for acceptance in that form?

I can't find any English-language Chinese commentary on the name change project; for those who read Chinese (I don't, except recognizing whole bunch of characters and words here and there), here's a Google search on 首午尔 首尔.

See a post from January 2005 about the selection of 首尔/首爾 (Shŏuĕr/Shou3Er3).

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Soju by bottle for customers in Virginia, USA

Some reverted googling (going to see the google searches from one's sitemeter referrals) brought to my attention this piece of news from Virginia, USA: a law has been passed which allows soju to be served by bottle. The legislation has prohibited the serving of alcohol in its original bottle (we have the same thing here), which as everybody who has drunk soju with Koreans does not correspond to the Korean drinking manners.

From the Alcholic Beverage Control Act of the State of Virginia:
§ 4.1-325 amended.
Alcoholic beverage control; prohibited acts by mixed beverage licensees; exception.
Allows a mixed beverage licensee to serve or deliver, or both, "soju" (a Korean alcoholic beverage) to a consumer in its original bottle. The bill defines "soju." HB 805; CH. 913.
Another quotation from Virginia legislation documents; wonder if the following means that sake was first going to be included in the "soju exeption". I don't see sake included in the final legislation.
The provisions of this subdivision [of prohibiting the sale of alcohol in its original bottle] shall not apply to the delivery of "soju" [ or "sake." . ] For the purposes of the previous sentence, [ (i) ] "soju" means a traditional Korean alcoholic beverage made from fermented rice, barley or other grains [ and (ii) "sake" means a traditional Japanese alcoholic beverage made from fermented rice ] ;

Went to a Chinese restaurant in Helsinki last month with a group of visiting Koreans; the waiter was ready to sell us a bottle of the Chinese koryangju (the Korean pronunciation), without the Koreans asking for it. I don't know if he was unaware of the legislation or just chose to ignore it, perhaps the former as he didn't speak Finnish and was apparently a newcomer.

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Monday, July 19, 2004

Blog block: reply from the office of rep. Kim Suk-joon

This morning I got a reply from the secretary of rep. Kim Suk-joon (GDP). He says that rep. Kim has requested material concerning the site block from the ministry, and that he will work for the quick solution on the problem at hand.

Roll a bit downwards to see the message (in Korean), which I've sent this far to ten of the 19 members of the parliamentary committee whose contact info I have.

저는 김석준 의원실에서 근무하는 박판열 비서관입니다.
보내주신 메일과 관련하여 의원님의 특별한 지시가 있었습니다.
의원님의 지시에 따라 한국의 사이트 차단과 관련해서는 이미 정부부처에 자료제출 요구를 해 놓았습니다.
빠른 시일내에 답변을 받을 수 있을 것이고, 선생님께서 느끼시는 불편함이 해소될 수 있도록 조치를 취하겠습니다.
한국에 많은 관심을 가져주신 것에 대해 감사드립니다.
앞으로도 지속적인 관심을 부탁드리며, 한국을 연구함에 있어 필요한 사항이나 불편한 사항이 있으면 언제라도 연락주십시오.

관심에 다시 한번 감사드립니다.
국회 김석준의원실
비서관, 박 판 열

Let's see, at least this adds to the awareness of the problem. Now how big is the leverage of members of parliament over the bureaucracy?

Sent the message on the post below to the rest of the members of Science, Technology, Information and Communications committee.

Next target, in case nothing happens, are the individual members of the Information and Communication Ethic Committee. Link to the list of members in the committee homepage.

Addition 2.
What should I think of the fact that someone googling for finnish chastity belt ended up at my site? If you were looking for what that thing is in Finnish, it's called siveysvyö.

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Saturday, July 17, 2004

(Small businesses) 5-day workweek, weekend sajangnim

Haven't seen much like this in Hankyoreh before, but this one is actually from the pages of the Economy 21 weekly: "The era of five-day work week and early retirement: what about becoming a weekend businesskeeper". (How come the English headline become so long?)
One example is Mr Yi (40), a company employee, who started a side business after his company implemented 5-day workweek. He spends 3-4 hours daily after company hours for his own "fragrance machine" (hyanggi punsan'gi) business, returning home after 10 in the evening. All Saturdays he spends visiting customers. Mr Yi has some 200 fragrance machines in 80 places, from which he makes 2-3 million a month on top of his company salary.
I guess his children are happy that their father has the whole Sunday for them, and his wife is happy for all the money the husband brings home. (But what do I know about the actual situation of the family; perhaps making such a good money is a chance that that they can't afford to miss.)

The Korean word for this is t'ujapsû (투잡스), "two jobs".

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Friday, July 16, 2004

Blog block: messages to members of Sci-Tech-Info-Comm. committee

I'm not sure if making contact the member of the Science, Technology, Information and Communications Committee is any efficient, but it's what I've done this morning (until my clicking finger started to ache). A couple of posts down is the list of the members and their websites (I've left the emails that I'm aware of out of the list), of which I've cleared now a bit more than half. Here's the text, pretty much the same I've been sending before with some modifications. I've only changed the name of the receiver. Again, unashamed use of my nationality and academic "position".
한국의 해외 블로그도메인 차단에 대해서 핀란드에서 연락드립니다


핀란드 헬싱키대학교 인류학과에서 한국에 대하서 연구하는 안띠 렙배넨입니다.
과학기술정보위원회의 회원이신 ___ 의원님께 연락드리는 이유는 지금 한국에서 3주일째 실시되고 있는 해외 블로그차단입니다.

한국 당국자들은 지금 비참하고 억울한 죽음을 당한 김선일씨의 살해현장에서 찍은 비디오에 대해서 한국인들이 경악과 분노를 느끼는 것과 그 비디오의 유포를 차단하고자 하는 한국 당국들의 심장과 의도를 잘 이해합니다. 비디오를 유포하려는 것은 경멸해야 하는 짓입니다.

그런데 유포차단을 위해서 해외블로그도메인 여러 군데를 완전히 봉쇄함으로써 비디오하고 아무런 상관이 없는 사이트들을 수십만, 수백만 곳은 지금 한국에서 접속이 불가능하게 됐습니다. 지금 한국에서 접속이 안 되는 곳은 적어도 blogspot.com, blogs.com, typepad.com일 겁니다. 이러한 무차별적인 도메인 차단은 민주주의국가에서 준수해야 되는 정보와 언론에 자유의 입장에서 납득할 수 없는 것입니다.

이 블로그 차단은 한국인 네티젠들은 잘 느끼지 못 하지만 한국 국내사이트 가입이 안 되는 외국인이나 한국에서 해외의 수많은 블로그사이트들을 접속하려는 사람들의 불편이 아주 큽니다. 중국에서 언론과 정보의 자유를 억압하는 당국들의 인터넷 차단을 회피하기 위해서 네티젠들이 사용하는 수단들을 지금 한국에서도 사용되고 있습니다.

개인적으로 블로그 봉쇄의 기대하지도 못 하고 실망이 큰 결과는 한국을 연구하는 사람으로서 학술활동과 학술교류를 위해 만든 블로그사이트가 지금 한국에서 접속이 불가능하게 된 것입니다.
핀란드사람으로써 한국의 정보화, 인터넷 인프라에는 부러운 것이 한두 가지만 아니기 때문에 실망, 아니 절망이 더욱 더 큽니다.

"김선일 비디오"의 유포를 과잉단속함으로서 미래지향적인 정보정책을 추진해 오던 한국 당국들은 한국의 선진적인 정보통신국가 이미지를 상당히 퇴진시키고 말았습니다. 억울한 죽음을 당한 개인의 명예를 지키는 것은 중요하지만 한국과 바깥세상을 연결하는 한 가지의 링크를 무차별적으로 막는 것은 잘못된 결단으로 볼 수밖에 없습니다.

한국의 민주화가 손꼽을 만한 성과를 거둘 수 있는 데에 정보통신 기술과 문화는 하나의 중요한 역할을 했었지만 이러한 과대한 수단은 한국의 사회발전과 국제교류의 큰 지장이 될 수밖에 없습니다. 한국의 인터넷과 관련된 긍정적인 이미지가 중요할 만큼 이러한 봉쇄정책으로 인한 상실이 클 것입니다.
블로그차단, 봉쇄 결단을 정보통신부와 여러 통신사들의 합의하에서 내려진 것으로 알고 있습니다. 국회에서 한국의 IT, 통신정책의 소관상임위인 과학기술정보통신위원회의 회원으로서 의원님께서 이 문제 대해서 관심을 가져 주시고 블로그도메인 완전 차단을 해지하고 수많은 네티젠들은 다시 자유롭게 한국과 블로그로 정보를 나누고 통신할 수 있는 데에 도움이 될 수 있으시길 진심으로 바랍니다.

의원님께 건승을 빕니다.

안띠 렙배넨 드림.
헬싱키 대학교 인류학과

A Korean friend of mine posted one of my messages to a Korean language Mac user board; here's what kind of replies it has gotten.

Seeing for examples some of Kevin Kim's latest posts (here and here) around the subject, targeting politicians really may not be too effective, as the whole thing is apparently done under the cordial and cooperative relation between the Ministry of Information and Communication and the Korean ISP providers, with guidance provided by the Information and Communication Ethic Committee(ICEC). All the power to the committees!

Still, it's ironic to read from Chosun Ilbo, that politicians are using more and more blogs and cyworld instead of "traditional" homepages.

Just for the comparison, the home page of the Finnish foreign minister Erkki Tuomioja; how simple, for Koreans perhaps shabby. I've heard he takes care of it himself. But the contents are of very high quality, and the booktips (in Finnish) is full of insightful reviews of non-fiction. And it's the only personal homepage by a politician that I ever hear being quoted in the news here.

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Thursday, July 15, 2004

(Small businesses) Creating a selling menu item (from whose recipe?)

Seeing the apparently informative and useful "Job-A" page about job-seeking and employment kept by Chosun Ilbo, I can understand why many who grind teeth at the editorial line of the paper cannot but admit that the paper's got resources of which it sometimes/often puts out a quality product.

고추장 닭발볶음Anyway, the article in Chosun that led me to those pages was about the often arduous routes it takes to create successful menu products. Interesting pieces of info, but I couldn't help paying attention to what was told about creating an anju called koch'ujang takpalpokkûm, grilled chicken legs with chili paste. There is or was a granny keeping a p'ojangmach'a Cheonho-dong in Gangdong-gu, Seoul whose grilled chicken legs were widely told to be tasty. So the company "Chicken-cooking village" (Tak ingnûn maûl) sent people to find out about it. The granny wouldn't reveal the recipe, the amounts of seasonings were never exact, and it changed from day to day according to her mood, so finding out it well enough to have a marketable recipe took more than 10 visits to the granny's drinking tent and the company people's aching stomachs and burning mouths.

Oh well, and what did the granny get from having her recipe developed into a marketable product, except well-spending customers for some time? The text says that the recipe was "handed down by" the granny (chônsu patta), but on the other hand she wouldn't tell the exact ingredients... But (sarcastically speaking) she was just a drinking tent granny, whose right to her own recipe didn't need to be acknowledged.
(The last sentence corrected a bit.)

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Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Trader's credit / credibility

Economy 21 of the Hankyoreh group has a column on credit and credibility of merchants, using the example from ancient China. The writer has the recent garbage mandu scandal (self-link) in mind, as given in the last paragraph.
"Chinese traders are normally stingy (insaekhada) and and very frugal. But traders in Nanyang (南梁 or 南洋?) are traditionally quite hospitable (insimi huhada), which is said to stem from the house of Kong."
Note the Korean view on Chinese and Chinese merchants; that Chinese are thought to be skillful merchants by Koreans, to which stingyness and frugality are associated; these characteristics on the other hand in conflict with expressions of warm-heartedness (having a good insim 人心, "human heart"): hospitability, open-handedness. Insimi huhada / chot'a vs. insaekhada.

Mr Pak the rice pastry baker (the second from right in the header picture) characterized me as kômsohada, thrifty, frugal, especially when he said that I had repaired my flashlight with a piece of tape. Wasn't sure if this was only positive appraisal, and talked about this with Ms Hong the hairdresser; she said that yes, there's also a bit of a negative feeling in it, meaning not knowing how to give (pep'ulda).

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Blog block; the Sci-Tech-Info-Comm. committee members

Sent a message both to the private e-mail and to the homepage message board of the committee chairperson Lee Hae-bong. (If interested, see the message in rep. Lee's homepage.)

So my cyber lobby still waits to be done, but here's a list of the members of the parliamentary committee (Sci.Tech.Info.Comm.) and their webpages. (The list of committee members in Korean in the committee homepage.)
Name           Party            website  
이해봉(李海鳳) Lee Hae-bong 한나라당 http://www.haebong.or.kr
서상기(徐相箕) Suh Sang-kee 한나라당 http://blog.naver.com/sks1946.do
홍창선(洪昌善) Hong Chang-sun 열린우리당 http://www.cshong.or.kr
강성종(康聖鐘) Kang Sung-jeong(?)열린우리당 http://www.kangsj.or.kr/
권선택(權善宅) Kwon Sun-taek 열린우리당 http://www.okchoice.or.kr
김낙순(金洛淳) Kim Nak-soon(?) 열린우리당 http://www.gokns.com/
변재일(卞在一) Byun Jae-il 열린우리당 http://www.open21.or.kr/
염동연(廉東淵) Yum Dong-yun 열린우리당 http://www.ydy21.or.kr/
유승희(兪承希) Yoo Seung-hee(?)열린우리당
이종걸(李鍾杰) Lee Jong-kul 열린우리당 http://www.ljk.co.kr
정동채(鄭東采) Chung Dong-chea 열린우리당 http://www.dc21.or.kr
정세균(丁世均) Chung Sye-kyun 열린우리당 http://www.skchung.or.kr
강재섭(姜在涉) Kang Jae-sup 한나라당 http://www.kang4you.com
김석준(金錫俊) Kim Suk-joon 한나라당 http://www.kimsukjoon.net
김영선(金映宣) Kim Young-sun 한나라당 http://www.kimyoungsun.com
김희정(金姬廷) Kim Hee-jung(?) 한나라당 http://www.khjkorea.com/
심재엽(沈在曄) Shim Jae-yup 한나라당 http://www.sjy.or.kr/
진영(陳永) Chin Young 한나라당 http://www.chinyoung.com
한화갑(韓和甲) Hahn Hwa-kap 새천년민주당 http://www.hhk21.com
류근찬(柳根粲) Ryu Keun-chan 자유민주연합 http://www.bestanchor.co.kr/

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Tuesday, July 13, 2004

(Social strata) Absolute poverty, social policy

Hankyoreh 21 has an interesting article (registration needed) on the problems of absolute poverty, increasing income gaps and government social policies. The main character of the article is Ryu Chông-sun (Ryoo Chung-soon?), the head of Korea Research and Consulting Institute on Poverty (Pin'gon munje yôn'guso), who points out that the minimum standard of living expenses (or whatever it's called) is the lowest in Korea among OECD countries. (In 2004 it's 1 055 090 won for a 4-member family, 660 €.)
Dr Ryu mentions the various "unfortunate neighbor" (puru iut) helping campaigns in media (Chosun Ilbo and Ohmynews among these), and notes that they of course fall short in providing structural solutions to the poverty. She had talked to a 1st-grade handicapped person who had been begging in the subway; the person's 3-member family lived on 730 000 won [480 €] a month, and he (?) was begging to acquire school expenses for the child. She is critical towards the citizens' organizations which went out to the street to protest agains the president's impeachment but have no interest in the poverty problem and fail to criticize the government when it should be done.
She is unhappy that the main emphasis of the government social policy is on the "ordinary people's" stratum, the sômin / seomin, especially on their housing. The effect of redistribution through taxes and social welfare on the income gap is 7.9% according to her, while in other OECD countries the effect is normally 40-50% according to Dr Ryu.

Let's note that Dr Ryu makes a distinction between the poor stratum (pin'gonch'ûng) and the sômin, which is not always done, especially among the politicians, who conveniently group everything below (in income) middle class with the latter category.

Dr Ryu points out a really serious problem, that will haunt the government's legitimacy. But as far as ways of solving it are concerned, I cannot be but reminded of the contradictory results of a social survey done earlier this year: government should pay for social services, but taxes should be lowered.(My earlier post on the matter.)

Haweol-dongAdjoining article (registration needed, perhaps) to the one above: citizen organization people on a one-month live-in expedition to live on a minimum subsistence level 609 842 W [400 €] in a poor neighborhood in Haweolgok-dong in Seongbuk-gu. Looking at the pictures (others than the one linked to the right), seems that it was exciting.
Now that Nan'gok has been razed to the ground and apartment construction has begun, Haweolgok-dong has perhaps replaced it as the "last hillside settlement".

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Monday, July 12, 2004

Blog block: Science, Technology, Information and Communication committee

Made a list of the members of the Science, Technology, Information and Communication Committee and their e-mail and website adddresses to be used soon in lobbying against the blog block. I took a few looks at the bulleting boards of the individual representatives' sites, and they don't seem to be so trafficed that a message would go unnoticed. I won't post the list, but in case anyone with a good reason in connection with blog censorship would like to have it, I'll send it over.

Link to the Science, Technology, Information and Communication Committee

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(Family and kin) Increasing postponement of marriage registration

Chosun Ilbo tells that couples are increasingly delaying the registration of marriages (honin sin'go) despite of holding the marriage ceremony (kyôrhonsik). Reading this piece of news it's good to remember that the legally registered marriage and socially recognized marriage are different; in these cases the latter is done but not the former, so the couples are in a culturally/socially sanctioned relationship, but not legally married.

It isn't that big survey, done on 231 couples by the "Korean Marriage Culture Research Institute", which has been founded by the marriage agency Sunoo, but it'll do for now. For women earning more than 2 million W, the average time between wedding and marriage registration was 89 days, for housewifes 59 days.
• The better the woman earns, the longer the registration of marriage after the wedding ceremony is postponed
• Main reasons for postponing the registration: "afraid of divorce", "not sure about the marriage partner"

Here we have signs of an institution or a practice resembling the Western cohabitation before marriage; both are socially sanctioned ways of forming a partnership; the Western one without any particular ritual, the Korean one with a wedding ceremony, which nevertheless does not seem to be that binding. Cohabitation in Korea, tonggô, done mostly but perhaps decreasingly in secret, is different. Note still that the surveyed lapse between wedding and registration is as long as 59 days even among the couples where the woman is whole-time housewife (chônôp chubu); this should be hugely different from what things used to be. Actually it's been mostly the opposite; if there's been a postponement, it's the wedding ceremony which has been done later, when enough money has been secured.

Recommended reading: Laurel Kendall: Getting Married in Korea: of Gender, Morality, and Modernity, University of California Press 1996. This is a scholarly book, but very well written. (See a review; at the publisher's site)

As soon as I wrote this post, someone came to my blog by a searching marriage is not a necessary institution in Daum Search. Talk about 烏飛梨落...
Perhaps the best that I've seen among the search terms leading to my pages is bearded woman; the persons attracting such words simultaneously must have been Kang Ki-gap and Park Geun-hye.

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Sunday, July 11, 2004

Ethnology of drinking across the Eurasian continent

The picture to the left is from the gallery Oranckay gave in his "hit meter experiment post", taken in Songjeong fishing harbor. The one to the right is taken in 1981 in a concert in Helsinki.
(c) Lee Seung-wook

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Esa Tikkanen to coach Halla Winia

The five-time Stanley Cup champion Esa Tikkanen will coach Halla Winia next season, tells Ilta-Sanomat.
Five-time Stanley Cup winner Esa "Tiki" Tikkanen packs his bags and leaves for Seoul, South Korea to coach the reigning champion Halla Winia.
Tikkanen has been searching for a coach post for some time, but he couldn't believe it was true that the decisive call came from South Korea. - It's a big challenge and responsibility, but I'm ready to face is, says Tikkanan to Ilta-Sanomat sports. According to Kalervo Kummola, the president of the Finnish Icehockey Federation, Tikkanen might even enter the rink as a player-coach, if the team needs it.

A later report says that Tikkanen and Halla Winia have differing opinions on what Tikkanen was supposed to do there. Halla expects him to mainly play, but Tikkanen says that there's no way his going there as a player. "It was clearly stated in the contract that it was about coaching" (Ilta-Sanomat).

Saturday, July 10, 2004

(Small businesses) Toast and hairdressing franchises

Chosun Ilbo writes in its "People" section of a toast franchise owner Kim Sôk-pong, who started from a single snack cart and has now a chain franchise with 15 shops. He has published a book of himself called "Sôk-pong toast, the story of the yearly salary of 100 million won". [That's 67 000 €.] He still works from 6.30 to 11 every morning, and uses the rest of the day for community work in orphanages, old people's homes etc.

Note the text kôn'gang ("health") in the wall behind Mr Kim in the picture; perhaps "well-being" is not really a piece of his marketing yet, but if busy suit guys are his main customers, as I assume, he better give an impression of healthy sandwiches. (His own toast cart is in Mugyo-dong in the front of Kolon Building in downtown Seoul.)

The other franchise owner is Ch'oe (Choi) Pok-sik, who opened her first hairdressing shop in 2000, and now has four franchise shops in her chain Môri mot hanûn chip (Shop that doesn't know how to do hair). (Hankyoreh21, registration obviously not needed.) The article tells that the business operating principles are exceptional; in my view not having hair-washer assistants is nothing special, as so many hairdressers work alone, but such a wide variety of pricing shouldn't be that common. From the most simple men's (no, "men students'") haircut for 3000 won to 100 000 W perms. The hair needs to be cut the bigger the price. Getting hair washed costs extra as well as drying. Now that's Westernization! That sounds like taking money for another filling of side dish at a meal.

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Friday, July 09, 2004

Some messages against the blog block

These are the two messages I've lately posted in two different message boards. The one on the left went to the rep. Chung Moon-hun, whom I chose because he had submitted the law bill to legalize internet contacts with DPRK. The one on the right went to the Science, Techonology, Information and Telecommunication Committee of the parliament, as rep. Chung mentioned it in his (or his assistant's) reply. I've used bits and pieces of the texts I've written about this matter in both, so they are pretty much the same in contents.

정문헌 의원 홈페이지 게시판에다 올린 글

핀란드 헬싱키 대학교 인류학과의 안띠 렙배넨입니다.
정 의원께서 북한인터넷 접속 자유화 법안을 제출하셨는데, 인터넷에 대해서 관심을 많으신 것 같아서 글을 올립니다. 한국에 큰 관심을 갖고 있는 외국인으로서 법안을 정말 추천하고 싶습니다.

글을 올린 까닭은 다음과 같습니다. 비참한 죽음을 당한 김일선씨의 살해현장에서 찍은 비디오의 유포를 한국단국들은 단속함으로서 비디오하고 아무런 상관이 없는 블로그사이트들은 무차별적으로 봉쇄됐습니다. 봉쇄는 정보통신부에서 하는 것으로 알고 있습니다.

물론 비디오를 유포하려는 것은 정신이 나간 인간이 하는 짓입니다. 그럼에도 불구하고 그들 때문에 도메인을 완전히 차단하는 것은 정보,언론의 자유의 입장에서 납득할 수 없습니다. 이 봉쇄는 한국인들한테 인터넷상에서 잘 보이지는 않지만 국내사이트 가입이 안 되는 외국인이나 한국에서 외국의 수많은 블로그사이트들을 접속하려는 사람들이 불편이 아주 큽니다. 지금 한국에서 접속이 안 되는 곳은 적어도 blogspot.com, blogs.com, typepad.com일 겁니다.

개인적으로 블로그 봉쇄의 기대하지도 못 하고 실망이 큰 결과는 한국을 연구하는 사람으로서 학술활동과 학술교류를 위해 만든 블로그사이트가 지금 한국에서 접속이 불가능하게 된 것입니다.

"김선일 비디오"의 유포를 과잉단속함으로서 미래지향적인 정보정책을 추진해 오던 한국 당국들은 한국의 선진적인 정보통신국가 이미지를 상당히 퇴진시키고 말았습니다. 억울한 죽음을 당한 개인의 명예를 지키는 것은 중요하지만 한국과 바깥세상을 연결하는 한 가지의 링크를 무차별적으로 막는 것은 잘못된 결단입니다.

한국의 민주화가 손꼽을 만한 성과를 거둘 수 있는 데에 정보통신 기술과 문화는 하나의 중요한 역할을 했었지만 이러한 과대한 관료적인 수단은 한국의 사회발전과 국제교류의 큰 지장일 수밖에 없습니다. 한국의 인터넷과 관련된 긍정적인 이미지가 중요할 만큼 이러한 봉쇄정책으로 인한 상실이 클 것입니다. 민주국가가 아닌 중국이 생각나는 것은 한국을 아끼는 사람으로서 정말 불편한 것이지만 어쩔 수 없습니다.

정 의원님, 저희를 한국과 블로그으로 인터넷 교류를 자유로이 할 수 있게 도와 주십시오.의원활동에 많은 성공을 빕니다.

안띠 렙배넨 드림.헬싱키 대학교 인류학과
과학기술정보통신위원회의 홈페이지에 올린 글

위원회 회원 여러분 안녕하십니까?

핀란드 헬싱키 대학교 인류학과의 안띠 렙배넨입니다.한국에서 지금 실시되고 있는 무차별적인 <블로그>도메인들의 봉쇄에 대해서 글을 올립니다. 억울하고 끔찍한 죽음을 당한 김일성씨의 살해현장에서 찍힌 비디오를 어떤 정신나간 인간들이 자기의 블로그를 통해서 유포하려고 했는데, 이것을 막기 위해서 한국 정보통신부는 blogspot.com, blogs.com, typepad.com같은 인기가 큰 블로그도메인들은 지금 한국에서의 접속을 완전히 차단했습니다. 물론 그러한 비디오를 유포하는 것은 납득할 수 있는 일이 아닙니다. 그럼에도 불구하고 이것 때문에 도메인을 완전히 봉쇄하는 것도 올바른 수단이 아닐 겁니다. 이 블로그 차단은 한국인들한테 인터넷상에서 잘 보이지는 않지만 국내사이트 가입이 안 되는 외국인이나 한국에서 외국의 수많은 블로그사이트들을 접속하려는 사람들이 불편이 아주 큽니다.

개인적으로 블로그 봉쇄의 기대하지도 못 하고 실망이 큰 결과는 한국을 연구하는 사람으로서 학술활동과 학술교류를 위해 만든 블로그가 지금 한국에서 접속이 불가능하게 된 것입니다.

개인적인 불편보다 훨씬 큰 이슈는 물론 정보와 언론의 자유입니다.

김선일 비디오의 유포를 과잉단속함으로써 미래지향적인 정보정책을 추진해 오던 한국 당국들은 한국의 선진적인 정보통신국가 이미지를 상당히 퇴진시키고 말았습니다. 억울한 죽음을 당한 개인의 명예를 지키는 것은 중요하지만 한국과 바깥세상을 연결하는 한 가지의 링크를 무차별적으로 막는 것은 잘못된 결단입니다.

한국의 민주화가 손꼽을 만한 성과를 거둘 수 있는 데에 정보통신 기술과 문화는 하나의 중요한 역할을 했었지만 이러한 과대한 관료적인 수단은 한국의 사회발전과 국제교류의 큰 지장일 수밖에 없습니다. 한국의 인터넷과 관련된 긍정적인 이미지가 중요할 만큼 이러한 봉쇄정책으로 인한 상실이 클 것입니다.

위원회의 의원님 여러분, 저희 한국과 블로그로 자유로이 정보를 나누고 통신하고 싶습니다.

안띠 렙배넨 드림.
헬싱키 대학교 인류학과

Suggestions for corrections and improvements welcome. 고치거나 바꾸었으면 하는 부분이 보이면 덧글을 남기시길 바랍니다. 아니면 프로그쉬를 통해서 글 올리기 안 되면 antti.leppanen달팽이helsinki.fi로 메일 보내시면 좋지요.

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Thursday, July 08, 2004

blog censorship note

Left a note at the site of Chung Moon-hun, who submitted the law bill for a free internet access between the Koreas. At least he's supposed to be interested in free internet access... Here's the notice board, and my note. My entry was pretty much the same in contents as in this earlier post of mine.

I got a reply to my post on rep. Chung's site.
먼저 대한민국에 대한 님의 관심에 감사드립니다.
또한 제가 대표발의한 남북교류협력에관한법률중개정법률안을 지지해 주신점 감사드립니다.
김선일씨의 죽음은 대한민국 모두에게 안타까움과 슬픔을 준 사건이었습니다.
대한민국 정보통신부에서는 처참한 살해장면 유포를 차단함으로써 국민적 동요와 정서 안정을 추구했습니다.
하지만 김선일씨 동영상 유포차단을 목적으로 다른 블로그를 봉쇄한것은 과도한 대응이었다고 생각합니다.
선생님께서도 지적하셨듯이 도메인의 완전 차단은 정보, 언론의 자유 입장에서는 납득할 수 없는 일입니다.
이 자리에서 현재 차단되어 있는 도메인에 대한 제한을 해지하는 것에 대해 확답을 드릴 수 없습니다.
그러나 정보통신부 관계자와 국회 소관상임위인 과학기술정보통신위원회 의원들과 접촉을 통해 외국과의 인터넷 교류가 합리적인 방향으로 이루어질 수 있도록 제언을 하겠습니다.

The reply, written in the name of the kwallija, says that while the site blocking was done with a large understanding from the Korean public, but the indiscriminate censorship is clearly wrong. He can't make any promises, but he will take up the matter with the MIC and in the Science, Techonology, Information and Telecommunication Committee of the parliament.
Now we should think of some other key persons to whom information and pleas about this block could be sent to increase awareness about the situation. Me being able to use the name of our department under my name isn't bad at all.

Update 2.
Wrote a message at the message board of the above-mentioned parliamentary committee, modifying somewhat the text I put on rep. Chung's homepage. (Link to my own message.)

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Sol Kyeong-gu does the Robert de Niro!

Sol Kyeong-gu is going to play the legendary Korean-Japanese wrestler Yeokdosan (力道山) (Donga Sports) with a robertdeniroesque fervor. He has added some 20 kilos to go for the wrestler, who wreaked havoc in the Japanese wrestling rings in the 1950s.
Sol Kyeong-gu (설경구)
Normal and fat Sol Kyeong-gu

Yeokdosan was born Kim Sil-lak (金信洛) in 1924 in Hamgyongnam-do, and went to Japan in the late 30s. (A page on him in Korean.) Yeokdosan, or Rikidoosan in Japan, is said to have been the solace of Japan after the lost war - especially when giving a beating to American wrestlers. (Now what kind of a scenes will there be in the movie remains to be seen.) The story says that Sol has learned Japanese for the role, which should add to the authenticity. I remember an article of another legendary Korean wrestler Kim Il (김일, "Kimiri"), the master head-butter, who learned wresting from Yeokdosan in Japan. He said Yeokdosan never spoke a word of Korean except when telling Kim Il the name of a plant (fernbrake?), kosari. Yeokdosan died to stabbing wounds after an argument with a yakuza in 1963.

Yeokdosan/Rikidoosan (力道山) 'Our cast-iron-head Kim Il'

From the left: Yeokdosan; Yeokdosan showing some moves for the whitey; "our cast-iron-head Kim Il"

Reports on the young Northern refugees in the South

The North-South issues in the Korean peninsula are not my cup of tea, but this series of reports by Chosun Ilbo is very interesting and revealing of the life of the Northern refugees in the South. Let's see if anything of it will be translated to English.

• "Children as South-North border people". Cheering for the ROK team in the 2002 World Cup, but being shocked after hearing the big losses DPRK suffered in the Western Sea clash in June 29, 2002. Becoming seemingly bothered from the thought of having turned one's back to the fatherland when seeing the DPRK soldier played by Song Kang-ho in the movie JSA to shout "Long live the Democratic People's Republic of Korea!" (조선 인민민주주의 공화국 만세!).
Few have really thought about having sought freedom; it's mostly about staying alive. Many express fondness for China, "more food than in North Korea but less competition than in South Korea." The idea of one nation is not much solace; the differences between the Koreas are too big.
• "The Northern refugee children we've abandoned: gaming, leaving home, suicides". Most young refugees try to keep the fact that they've come from the North hidden because the view of Northerners as somewhat lacking. There are 530 school-aged children (grammar, middle, high school) who are from the North; of them one in five goes to school properly. (Think of a case of a 12-year old who's in the 2nd class in grammar school.)
• "If there wasn't any hunger, I'd go back to the North". Don't know any Roman characters, afraid to take a bus or a subway, hate to go to school; after attending the settlement course in Hanawon operated by the Ministry of Unification, the Northerners are mostly on their own, and they are not faring well. Game-holism (?) and alcoholism are common among the young. As it's on the average 5 years between leaving DPRK and arriving at ROK, attending school and following instruction is a huge problem.
• "Most Northern refugees in need of psychiatric counseling and treatment". "Self-victimization, aggressiveness, reservation, overt attachment to money, strong desire to success" are some characteristics of the Northerners which have been formed in the difficult process of leaving the North and arriving at the South. They've learned to keep their mouths shut in the North, so people talking freely in the South may look intimidating. Money (bribes) makes anything possible in the North and in China. (Now that shouldn't be too different from the South...) And the desire to success too often meets the harsh realities of the South.

When Chosun is talking about DPRK matters, one would think it'd be just bashing DPRK and the ROK government, but these reports do discuss a real problem.

• Here's Andrei Lankov's latest column in Korea Times on the same topic: "Fate of Defectors"; Dr. Lankov's series of columns on DPRK, "Another Korea".

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Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Positive appraisal of Walmart in Hankyoreh of all places

Hankyoreh writes of the community activity by Walmart in a very positive tone, giving it as an exemplary case for its campaign for a socially more responsible companies. It does hint in the final paragraph that Wallmart's activity in this regard might be because of its recent legal cases, but still it's not that little surprising to see US capitalism treated as this exemplary in Hankyoreh. (We don't have Wallmart here, but so much of what I've heard of that company is negative that I'd like to "fisk" the Hankyoreh article, but I don't know enough, so I'll only register my surprise. I guess Walmart will be very pleased with the exposure it has gotten here.)

Small correction.
Hankyoreh does have an adjoining piece about the two faces of Walmart, one of generous community programs and the other of its poor labor conditions and heavy-handed attitude towards contractors.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Chinese diplomats' knowledge of foreign languages (in Korea, and elsewhere)

Chosun Ilbo has an interesting note on the level of Korean proficiency among the Chinese diplomats in Seoul. The number of staff in the Chinese embassy in Seoul is about 60, and close to 50 of them are fluent in Korean. "In general, all dealings with Koreans are done in Korean." The ambassador Li Bin, who is known for letting Koreans know what the Chinese opinions are, has served 19 years in DPRK, and has spent more than half of his life in the Koreas. The story also points out that the strong pressure excerted by the embassy towards Korean politicians not to take part in the inauguration of the Taiwanese president was possible thanks to the fluency of Korean of the staff.
The language proficiency of Chinese diplomats should not be at the same level here in Finland, but their embassy does have Finnish-speaking Chinese staff, and to my knowledge they don't need locals to read them local papers. For Korean diplomats two years is already a long service in one location, so who'd learn a less international local language. (As for Finnish diplomats in Seoul, they are no better.)

Monday, July 05, 2004

(Small businesses) Cheonggyecheon street vendors at Dongdaemun stadium

There was a quite a commotion last year when the Seoul metropolitan authorities were evicting street vendors from Cheonggyecheon (Ch'ônggyech'ôn), which was being reopened and built into a green vein going through Seoul, with water led or pumped into it running like sometimes in the past. ("Rebuilt" would have been a wrong word, because last time when the Cheonggyecheon stream was open, it was not much more than a sewer lined by shacks.)
Well, the street vendors were evicted and given a new place in the nearby Dongdaemun Stadium (how many unused stadiums there are in Seoul?).

손님의 발길이 끊긴 채 한산한 표정의 동대문 풍물시장. 서울시의 무관심 속에 상인들이 고통받고 있다Hankyoreh21 weekly (subscription required) has a story on the failure of the new location to attract customers; "earlier at Cheonggyecheon I sold for 100-150 thousand W a day, but now it's difficult to make 10 000" says one grandmother. The traders now moved to the stadium tell that the place is very inconvenient for the customers, too many stalls in a too small space.

For me, the marketplaces at Cheonggyecheon, especially the one for second-hand stuff called Hwanghak-dong market was always a favorite place to visit, and that was a place where I bought TVs and electric fans for my boarding (hasuk) room. Competition kept the prices low there. Now I'm not sure whether all the shopkeepers from the alleys behind the dilapidated 3-1 Apartments have been removed - my understanding is that those taken to the stadium were street stall keepers, while the second-hand shop keepers await relocation elsewhere.
The Cheonggyecheon reopening idea looks in principle ok - at least it makes a central part of Seoul look better, but it also destroys one piece of characteristic Seoul (for which I cannot but feel nostalgic, yes, nostalgic).

But here's something worth thinking for what could have become of Cheonggyecheon, with perhaps room for the street vendors to stay:
Cheonggyecheon boulevard park. (c) HardyandtinyI didn't think I would find much linkable from "Hardyandtiny", but his idea (picture to the left) of what Cheonggyecheon should have become instead of a reopened streamlet is great (see his blog for his opinion). But because there used to be the streamlet-sewer and the major Lee Myung-bak cannot ignore the 610 years of Seoul history, it's got to be a reopened stream, even with water pumped in it.

Woojay has a great note in the comment section, which I now quote in full (hope you don't mind - you've already made your comment public). This is what he has heard from the big boys.
Cheonggyecheon sae-woon sang-ka used to be THE place for students in high school / middle school to buy pirated porno videotapes. If you walked around, a dealer would approach you and cautiously ask if you wanna buy a "tape." If you say yes, they take you to a van somewhere and open the trunk, showing you a gazillion selection of "educational videos." Sometimes they rip you off. You go home, and with your heart beating like a drum, insert the tape into the VCR, and see...... morning aerobics recorded from KBS!
Some time ago some blogger (Marmot?) quoted a story that the Seun (Sewoon) Sangga porno tape dealers had been suffering from a bad business for a long time as all the stuff is available in the net.

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(Small businesses) The difference in stock investment between the "salarymen" and self-employed

Korean Development Institute (KDI) has surveyed, that there's a remarkable difference in the scale of investment in stocks between the white-collar middle class ("salarymen") and the self-employed (In Chosun Ilbo). To be precise, they are "wage earners" (imgûm sodûkcha) that invest almost twice as often (13.7% of them) in stock than the self-employed (chayôngôpcha), of whom 7.9% have stocks. Nevertheless, the average amount of stocks was higher among the self-employed than among the wage workers, 21 000 000 [14 000 €] vs. 19 820 000 W [13 000 €]

One reason given for the overall low participation rate in stock investments, 7.3%, is that the percentage of wage-employment in Korea is relatively low, 65% of the work force (USA 92%, UK 86%, Netherland 88%). The participation rate in stock market in these countries is 19.2%, 21.6% and 14.4%.
"Preference of real estate, low profitability of stocks, and the high proportion of self-employed" tells Im Kyông-wôn, researcher at KDI about the reasons of the low participation. "Income of the self-employed fluctuates greatly, so risky investments like stocks are avoided."

One shopkeeper among my neighborhood acquaintances, who has appeared also on these pages but who shall now remain unidentified, once revealed that he had lost a huge amount of money in shares, 130 million won [almost 90 000 €] (which his wife knew about but not how much). This tells that his business, which he did only together with his wife, had been highly profitable. As is more typical for people like him, and for Koreans in general as mentioned in the article above, he had also purchased land in the Seoul vicinity. But among the "neighborhood-level" shopkeepers, he was an exception, as very few would have made such money as to invest in stocks. (And those whom I knew had bigger investments, they were in real estate. One or two business mall (sangga) buildings, and there's one's livelihood for the old age.)

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Sunday, July 04, 2004

Housewive's side jobs

주부들이 한푼 집안 부업을 하는 것에 대해서 오마이뉴스에서 노트를 적을 만한 글이 있다. A text in Ohmynews worth noticing about housewives (chubu) seeking income-making opportunities, in which they are simultaneously able to take care of household chores, especially childcare. As the text is in the "Stories of life" (Sanûn iyagi) section, there's not much data but the writer's observations around her; it's also telling that texts like this are placed in "Stories of life", as this kind of side jobs are hardly defined as economic activity - it's after taking care of the child which is more important and which defines the scope in which the woman can do the work.
The writer tells that on internet pages where side job opportunities are presented, a new item gets a huge amount of hits in a moment. It's also the employer's market; the number of applicants is huge.
Monitoring would perhaps be the English for the Korean term based on that very word. Looks like it's about "monitoring" services and products which are close to housewives' own life sphere.
The other two kinds of earning opportunities are "discussions" (chwadamhoe) and market research. These both, are well as the previous item, are about sales of products.

Continues later.

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Friday, July 02, 2004

DPRK spies, a partisan, and struggle for democracy

Because I happen to have a fitting photograph and because I've met a couple of the kind of people that these pieces of news are about, I do this post.
The Presidential Truth Commission on Suspicious Deaths (in English) has concluded that the death of three "non-converted long-term prisoners" (pijônhyang changgisu) in prison in the 1970s be defined as democracy movement. Now the reason why especially Joongang Ilbo and Chosun Ilbo among many have a problem with this decision is that two of these three were northern spies sent down south in the 1950s but caught almost immediately, and the third was southern-born partisan who surrendered in 1955. The all three died in prison as a consequence of violence from authorities when pressuring them to "convert". For the illegal but condoned abuse of power and the death at the hands of authorities there is no disagreement, but it's about whether what was done to persons who operated to overthrow the ROK government can be designated as "democracy movement."

See Ohmynews for a different take on the matter. (And sure there is also a protest article against Joongang reporting.) There's also the Hankyoreh editorial.

I would almost side with the Truth Commission in this matter, at least in the sense that later awareness of the illegality of these deeds and them resisting forced conversion surely may have indirectly contributed to democracy, even though I wouldn't designate it as "movement" (undong). Even though the Truth Commissions decision would seem to be one step in handing over the Republic Korea for the Northern totalitarianism, it could better be seen as one step in taking the South further and further away from the North. Now if ROK authorities start referring to and addressing the former DPRK spies with honorifics like sônsaeng in the way of the younger nationalistic activists, then I'd get quite worried.

It took a few decades after 1918 in Finland before the Red Guard casualties of the civil war could be officially remembered as "those who died for their convictions." Even during the post-IIWW times of Soviet political pressure, it cannot have made the nation weaker, only consolidated the democracy.

In front of Andong prison, Jan. 29, 1999. (c) ALAnd now for my own thing. The picture is taken in front of Andong prison in late January 1999 when I accompanied a newspaper reporter, two South Koreans and two former North Korean spies (the old men in the pic), as these four went to see the person in prison on which the reporter was making a story.
It was interesting to hear how these old gentlemen, living at that time in the South after being released but never denouncing the North, talked how they had been taking part in the democratization struggles in the prison. Seeing now the new decision on the prison deaths, the Truth Commission has now agreed with the interpretation of things presented at that time in those circles. (The earlier Truth Commission had rejected the inclusion of the prison deaths of DPRK spies and southern partisans.) The young people hanging around with these grandfathers usually addressed them as sônsaeng (seonsaeng), not quite "teacher" but a honorific anyway. (For example Kim Ku, the conservative nationalist who was murdered in 1949 and still widely respected, is referred to as Kim Ku sônsaeng.)

The other of the two DPRK grandfathers is called Kim In-su, who is most likely the one on the right. His name is on the list of those who were sent to the North in August 2000, and I have no reason to think the other had not been also among them.

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Thursday, July 01, 2004

블로그 봉쇄에 대해서 나도 한 마디 / about blog censorship

이것은 한국 당국들의 무차별적인 블로그 봉쇄를 반대하는 온라인 탄원을 사인하고 남긴 메시지입니다.
자, 보니까 "봉쇄"보다 "차단"이라는 말이 더 적절한 모양이군요.

"김선일 비디오"의 유포를 과잉단속함으로서 미래지향적인 정보정책을 추진해 오던 한국 당국들은 한국의 선진적인 정보통신국가 이미지를 상당히 퇴진시키고 말았습니다.
억울한 죽음을 당한 개인의 명예를 지키는 것은 중요하지만 한국과 바깥세상을 연결하는 한 가지의 링크를 무차별적으로 막는 것은 잘못된 결단입니다.

한국의 민주화가 손꼽을 만한 성과를 거둘 수 있는 데에 정보통신 기술과 문화는 하나의 중요한 역할을 했었지만 이러한 과대한 관료적인 수단은 한국의 사회발전과 국제교류의 큰 지장일 수밖에 없습니다.
한국의 인터넷과 관련된 긍정적인 이미지가 중요할수록 이러한 봉쇄정책으로 인한 상실이 클 것입니다.

개인적으로 <블로그> 봉쇄는 다음과 같은 두 가지의 전혀 기대하지도 못 하고 실망이 큰 결과를 가졌습니다. 한국을 연구하는 사람으로서 학술활동과 학술교류를 위해 만든 사이트가 지금 한국에서 접속이 불가능한데다 처가식구들과 연락을 위해서 세운 개인사이트도 지금 막혀 있습니다.

정보통신부 관계자 여러분, 저희는 한국과 정보를 나누고 통신하고 싶습니다!
고칠 만한 부분이 있으면 덧글 남겨 주십시오. 뭐, 모국어 능력자가 아닌 사람이 쓴 것은 표가 나면 저한테 별로 상관이 없지만 틀린 것은 고쳐야지요.

Here's a translation of the above text, which I left at the comment section of the online petition against website censorship.
Native speakers and the like, if you have suggestions for better wordings, please leave a note (either Blogger or Haloscan). I understand those in Korea coming in through a proxy cannot leave comments - that's one reason to sign the petition!

Korean authorities, who have thus far been promoting a future-oriented communications policy, have ended up doing disservice to the image of Korea as a nation of information and communication with the excessive curbing directed at the "Kim Seon-il video." It is important to protect the dignity of a person who died so wrongfully, but to indiscriminately cut off certain links between Korea and the rest of the world has been a wrong decision.
The contributions of the technology and culture of communication for the laudable results of Korea's democratization have been considerable, but this kind of excessive bureaucratic measures will only be a great hindrance for the development of the Korean society and Korea's international exchanges. The more important the positive image of internet for Korea is, the bigger the loss for this kind of blockade will be.

Personally, the blockade of blogs has had the following kinds of unexpected and very disappointing consequences. The site that I have made as a researcher of Korea for scholarly activity and exchange cannot be reached from Korea. Moreover, the personal site made for exchange with my in-laws in Korea is also blocked.

Dear Sirs at the Ministry of Information and Communication, we want to share information and communicate with Korea!

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