Thursday, March 31, 2005


otherwise known as CNN discovers OhMyNews.
"Ohmynews" draws half a million visitors a day -- most are young and male, but nearly all are tech-savvy Koreans out to challenge the elite.

South Korea leads the rest of the world in terms of broadband Internet access, with more than seven out of 10 households having access.

Political observers say "Ohmynews" influenced the election of outsider president Roh Moo-Hyun in February 2003 -- and it was no coincidence that Roh granted his first post-election interview to the site.
Of course there are the inevitable charges of bias:
Citizen reporters file stories on subjects ranging from musings on daily life, to political essays and a lot of criticism of South Korea's conservative mainstream media.

Media analyst Yoon Young-Chul, of Yonsei University in Seoul, says "Ohmynews" is also guilty of bias because a lot of its content is not balanced.

"They (citizen reporters) don't want to be objective. They don't pretend to be objective. What's more important for them is to make it clear their viewpoint and (to) advocate to a certain group of people."


a parody? No, it appears to be the real deal (with photos and video clips to boot). Like the immortal Corey Hart, Churchill wears his sunglasses at night (or at least indoors).

I've always wondered whether it is ok to steal books at an anarchist book fair.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005


I didn't know this pheneomenon even existed in the Land of the Morning Calm. But, apparently it does. But with a twist:
With steam pouring from their nostrils and hooves pounding the sand, the two prize bulls square off warily, then clash head-on like freight trains.

There is plenty of blood and guts on display in Korea's own version of bullfighting that draws crowds of thousands to this rural community, the center of the sport in the southeast of the country.

But unlike Spanish bullfighting, there are no matadors, no swords and capes and no killing of any kind.
I'm not quite sure how they can claim that there is "no killing of any kind" when it seems that there certainly is at least the possibility that one of the bulls might successfully gore the other one. But I suppose the point is that the aim of the fight isn't killing.

A few more snippets:
There is no particular breed of prize fighting bull. Competitors are selected from ordinary Korean bulls with light brown hair and short but sturdy horns curving gently forward.

Training includes pulling heavy tires, climbing up hills, butting against poles and even swimming.

Stamina food is prepared before matches, recipes of which vary in accordance with handlers.

"Some bulls are treated to expensive herb tonics. Others enjoy mudfish and live octopus," an official of Cheongdo County says.

Ringside betting on bullfights used to be illegal but following a strong lobbying effort by bullfight organizers, South Korea's National Assembly in February last year passed a law legalizing the practice.
Thanks to a former student for sending me this interesting story.


(Via this site) is "antanaclasis"

A play on words in which a key word is repeated in a different, often contrary, sense.

[From Greek antanaklasis (echo or reflection), from anti- (against) + ana- + klasis (breaking or bending).]

Some examples of antanaclasis:

--Your argument is sound, nothing but sound. -Benjamin Franklin
--If you aren't fired with enthusiasm, you will be fired with enthusiasm. -Vince Lombardi
Thanks to the smart person who pointed this out to me.

Monday, March 28, 2005


don't seem to do very well in the rough and tumble of South Korean society. Choi Hyun Mi, however, might have a chance. Why? She's a boxer with Olympic dreams.
Choi said she was walking with friends on a street in the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, when a boxing trainer spotted her and saw the makings of a fighter.

Her parents were at first opposed -- her mother wanted her to take up art or music. But the trainer kept coming to their house and urging Choi to sign up, so she left her ordinary schoolgirl life for the privileged world of North Korea's top athletes.

Choi's parents said their daughter told them she wanted to make it to the 2008 Olympics in Beijing because "I want to make Kim Jong Il happy," referring to the North Korean leader.

North Korea relies on outside food aid to feed its people, and Choi's parents said adults receive rations of about 700 grams (25 ounces) of rice a day that is actuality cut down to 500 grams (18 ounces) after what they called "taxes."

As a potential star athlete, Choi was guaranteed the full 700-gram (25-ounce) ration along with meat and cooking oil, and all the clothes and equipment she needed.

It wasn't easy, though: She would wake up at 5 a.m. six days a week for a eight-kilometer (five-mile) run, then take classes, then train from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. After dinner she would have another hour of training. She saw her parents on Sundays only.
Things have changed some for Choi since she left the DPRK with her parents and ended up in the south:
Now Choi trains only an hour a day, bobbing and weaving to the beat of Korean and American pop music. She wears a plastic suit to help her sweat off weight to compete in the 63-65 kilogram (139-143 pound) division.

She also has had to learn new boxing vocabulary: South Korea uses English words like "jab" while North Korea sticks with the pure Korean variants.

She goes to school and is home every day now.
A success story? Time will tell.

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