Friday, 26 March 2010

North South tensions: The ship sinks

A South Korean ship with more than 100 soldiers is sinking by the bank of the Yellow Sea coast, not far from the border with Phoenian.

So far it is not confirmed if it was a North korean naval attack, I will keep you updated as soon as I know something accurate from my Korean sources.

The ship sank and 50 soldiers were saved. The fate of the rest is unknown so far.

It wasn't the North Korean torpedo. What was it then? I don't know, but definitely speculation is not an information.

As soon as I know something more, you will know it too.

Saturday, 20 March 2010


Everyone feels a lot... we do love, hate, desire, dream...
But are we devided in so called "national mentalities" in such"? Are we different in mental construct depending on where do we come from?

I am not sure...but let me give some remarks on Korean feelings ( though I am not specialist and never will be).

Average perception of East Asian in the West is... emotionless, dull, always correct, with no opinions, fake smile. This is what European and American people think about people from this part of the world usually putting them in one basket called somewhere in their heads "East".

Marching and wandering through Korean streets, stopping at the bus stops, traveling through the city I saw a lot of signs of passion and character in Koreans, and that would deny such prejudices and common sense perceptions.

Not once I saw two guys quarelling and shouting at each other on the subway. I have also seen people expressing their feelings so passionately that a "dull" German or Dutch would look startled at signs of affection of that kind.

Many times when I met Youna, she would grab my hand eagerly and walk this way admitting that Korean girlfriends do that if they are really close to eachother. We are close, so we marched this way down the streets or the malls...

I have to mention the entire storm of critisism and emotional discussion over my research project with the members of my lab, when I was attacked and cornered by remarks with almost agressive temper.

If Koreans conceal their inner feelings, those would be attached with other traits than opinions about topics.

When they really get passionate is if their national identity, history, achievements and other stuff is in the spotlight. They really can quarrel with others, oh yes they do...

Soju helps to open oneself and behave quite differently from official work hours attitude. If a huesaouon gets too drunk, noone remembers the next day his behavior. If he is drunk, everyone will let him sit on the subway and does not complain for as long as he does not become agressive.

I sometimes wonder what is really concealed? Which part of your soul if you are a Korean is the part where the light does not reach, the part which stays covered no matter the circumstances?

So I got philosophical a bit :)

Sunday, 7 March 2010

The fear is in Washington

I have just remembered the attitude of my folks to me, when I was packing my stuff for the journey to Korea.

"Ain't you scared? There will be a war soon!!! Are you crazy?!!!"

These are some of the most typical remarks. Not that someone is particularly protective about me, but yet, annoying comments were there.

When I applied for the visa, the embassy was empty. It was just after the panic raised by media after Kim Jong Il's attempted nuclear test.

The headlines screamed about rising tensions and possible outbreak of the war in Korea again after 60 years.

I ignored that, knowing that media are hardly ever right especially about far corners of the world.

After coming to Korea it has been some time before I dared to have an opinion about these issues.

Now I do have one and it is not a nice one, especially not for Reuters, AFP, AP and other agencies.

In my opinion the entire fear is created in Washington and spread around the world. No reporter actually sits in Seoul for years like it used to be in the old times, and does not cover events as he or she should.

If they had done their job properly, the world would know about South - North dialogue more, would know about reconciliation process, and would simply know about that North blackmails South each time there is a hunger or shortages. Would know about special economic zones and other things.

Where they can know about it then from? Yeah, you are right, from Wikipedia :) And from bloggers.

But I do have doubts if people can learn about it from Washington Post. Same for Frankfurter AZ, The Times and the others which would follow unsubstantiated psychosis of fear.

One thing pops up to my mind though? There are international troops in South Korea. Do they report what really happens? What do they say? To whom? How high can their reports reach? How is it interpreted?

Of course I do not claim that Kim Jong Il is not dangerous. The danger is there in the air and that is why each time North threatens South, Seoul aids them with economic goods, food and other things, especially because Korean chebols can become competitive on global markets having cheap goods in decent standard.

When will I read an up to date analysis in Western media...?