Thursday, 6 December 2012

Galaxy S4 new toy for men

 So Samsung, PLEASE DO NOT MAKE GALAXY S4 PINK


Samsung Electronics plans to unveil the latest in its Galaxy line, the S4, at a European exhibition in February, according to company officials.

They will show the phone at the biggest mobile technology fair : Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

This was announced 3 days after Samsung's rival Apple announced some new item it comes to the market with.

Speaking about phones. Recently Lucas has showed me his new pink phone which he purchased when his regular phone was damaged.

Does anyone know why some phones are pink?

Who designes them?

Why men designers think women like pink?

I do not know for others but I hate it. 

So Samsung, PLEASE DO NOT MAKE GALAXY S4 PINK

It can be blue for that matter. Duh.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Elections coming closer: gap between Park and Moon deepens

With presidential elections in South Korea coming closer, the gap between Democratic Union Party candidate Moon Jae-in and conservative leader Park Geun- hye is getting bigger. 


However independent candidate Ahn Cheol-soo, creator of Ahn Lab, stepped out of the elections he rather failed to give a strong support for Moon during his campaign closing ceremony.

“When I announced my intention to withdraw from the race on Nov. 23, I asked you to support the single opposition candidate Moon Jae-in,” the software millionaire told his supporters then.
This was the first and only time Ahn mentioned Moon by name during that speech.
Ahn was significantly more focused on criticizing the negative campaigning of Moon and Park, and had given a hint that his career in politics has just started. 

In one of the next posts: about Ahn Lab creator, professor of Seoul National University- Ahn Cheol-soo. 

----

If I was a Korean I would vote for him and not any other two.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

"Apaty” 아파트


...Korean architecture seen on the streets varies from luxury villa settings on the hills north from Cheog Wae Dae with tradition inspired walls, through not really typical and difficult to interpret small houses of the 50's, lots of them turned into offices, bars and restaurants by now. More modern buildings which are visibly planned in the space derive from the 1980's. They vary in type and size. Some of them are as low as 4 stories some 10. Most modern apartment complexes are even up to 20 something levels and they really reach the clouds... 

What I love Koreans for...

I never really have written about architecture in Korea before, have I? Maybe about bridge or old palace, but not about normal people housing.

I am amazed with how well Koreans design their modern apartment condominiums. I do not know how it was in the old times after the Korean War, but I will share with you what modern things I have seen.

1 level businesses
Korean architecture seen on the streets varies from luxury villa settings on the hills north from Cheog Wae Dae with tradition inspired walls, through not really typical and difficult to interpret small houses of the 50's, lots of them turned into offices, bars and restaurants by now. More modern buildings which are visibly planned in the space derive from the 1980's. They vary in type and size. Some of them are as low as 4 stories some 10. Most modern apartment complexes are even up to 20 something levels and they really reach the clouds.

It depends on the architect and size and price of land wether space between buildings is kept or not. In Gangnam district where some of most sophisticated apartments are, people can sometimes watch their neighbours through the window. But, usually space is kept. Older buildings are placed in irregular way, fitted wherever there was a spot to build, some place, some tiniest property. In between these little buildings there are car parks constructed of few metal pipes and platforms which can fit up to 10 cars one on top of another with help of the lift.

Normally big streets which take car traffic, subway stations and buses are not inhabited by rich people at all. They are surrounded by mixture of churches, public buildings, hospitals, and houses with restaurants and bars or shops fitted on many levels. Some have student rooms and other poorest private properties.

Away from central big streets hills usually start and narrow streets surrounded with brownish mix of buildings climb up the hill.

Modern setting is regular. Blocks keep 90 degrees toward eachother and sufficient space in between which is additionally helped by common altitude difference. Huge apartment condominiums are built on more flat areas, but with the same rule – there should be enough of light so 90 degrees and several hundred meters of space in between is kept.

I was lucky to live in my own room rented from Polish family living on campus in family dormitory of Seoul National University and this is how I discovered advantages and disadvantages of Korean modern architecture. 
Sadang Condominium


At first Korean apartments have lots of daylight influx via huge windows. Window usually takes the space of the whole wall, and is double. It means that every even poorest apartment has got a balcony.

These balconies are a seperate system. In most modest setting a door to the apartment is situated on one huge balcony which serves as a corridor to the apartments. Then another balcony is attached to the living room and kitchen does not have any own. It is either hugged to the small corridor or assembled as a small dark attachment to the living room. These smallest apartments are usually two room with toilet-shower, corridor-kitchen and a living room. One of these rooms reminded me of marine vessel beds, because two sisters fitted there with just their beds one on top of another and a wardrobe. Ah, there was some 30 cm of space so they could get in.

Bigger standard has a living room part where there is a „clear” balcony attached, and „messy” balcony near the kitchen. „Messy” one is where usually people keep washing machines, driers and whatever mess they can keep. Some housewives do kimchi in big barrels, some other still keep chickens in cages despite municipal ban for several years. Family trash is also kept there often, as well as vegetable storage etc.

Influence from American middle class style is that there is a clear common living area and bedrooms rather small, but not too small, not so tiny as in many European flats. Inner windows are also rather big, they take sometimes as much as the whole wall, some other start at the knee hight and reach the cealing.

By design and architecture life of the whole family focuses in common living room/ kitchen space with bedrooms being used almost only for sleeping. However adolescent students who try to get into college also keep their desks and their own tvs etc. 

50's and 60's no style "somethings" now holding businesses


This division between „messy” and „clear” space took a root in culture. Traditional houses had something called „madang” multipurpose room. This is where families kept all the junk or had small garden, or done kimchi or kept chickens etc. Since late 1950's balconies in the first built big apartment complexes had substituted for „madang”. Due course of time balcony near kitchen by default was used as junk storage and balcony near living room was rather clean and used as cultural display – I have seen a lady having her art exhibition over there.

Another thing which took a root in culture is heating system. It is an expensive way of heating, but taken straight from ancient history.

Ondol heating system was based on direct heat transfer from wood smoke to the underside of a thick masonry floor. It depends on how in which house but even at the sophisticated Confucian scholar home it was burnt in the hole under the rocky floor and via system of underside channels transferred underneath the house. Tradition of sitting on the floor started this way. After snowfall in winter temperature slowly drops reaching in January even 30 below zero. One meter above the floor in light wooden hanok houses it was already cold. Before dawn housewives or servants used to get up and make sure ondol started burning before any of the other family members or rulers were awake. First such site was excavated in North Korea about 1000 B.C.

In modern Korea it means any heating system which is located in the floor. There is a central thermostate which gives heat to water pipes in the floor which via radiators give hot air to the room. When it is on it is usually too hot, when off it gets cold very quickly, especially during cold Korean winter.

I have mentioned influx of daylight. Probably some of you know how dark it gets in winter especially on misty December days. Even in Korea it is a problem. And yet there is enough sunlight to turn on artificial light really late in the day.
Maetan-dong Condominium with visible glass walls


In some older apartments just like in Europe there is no elevator. I have once seen really genial way of moving simmilar to what I have also seen in some Polish blocks with narrow stairs. Instead of using 6 guys stretching their musles with some stubborn couch which doesn't wanna get through they just use an external lift and ...put it via the window.

Downsides... there is one. Most of modern 아파트 have electronic coded doors with automatic alarm. In Poland I know it from corporate buildings, public areas etc but commoners still carry traditional keys to their homes with them. Alarm systems if any are usually inside.

In Korea it's enough to touch one wrong button and police arrives or there is an angry neighbour irritated with a slightly drunk foreigner who again had mistaken herself...or himself or whoever one is at 3 am after nice time in the pub

Sometimes... there is a blackout.

Noone can get in or out...

...for some hours...

…Until somebody puts electricity again.


Electoral candidates: Ahn Cheol-soo steps out

Too soon to predict wether Democratic United Party candidate Moon Jae-in wins or looses against conservative candidate lady Park Geun-hye but there are no other candidates this time. 

Independent researcher and businessman Ahn Cheol-soo stepped out of the presidential race leaving  room for Moon Jae - in

He said at the press conference:  "I once told you I would put everything on the line to produce one final opposition candidate. Becoming president and ushering in a new politics is important to me, but I feel that the most valuable thing of all is for politicians to keep a promise once they have made one to the people."


His message was that keeping his promise as a politician was more important than becoming president. Indeed, he made keeping promises his priority as a politician.
 With this decision, the Democratic United Party's Moon Jae-in is now the sole opposition candidate to the Saenuri ( former Hannara) Party's Park Geun-hye.


Monday, 12 November 2012

Oppa Gangnam Style MTV Awards Best Recording


Yeah, Gangnam Style has just got MTV Music Awards for Best Recording like not any Korean music before.

I will try to be short and sincere with this post: I do congratulate my Korean friends for having their really international dancefloor club hit. This is absolutely awesome!

The clip to the song is showing some of Korean style: guy with slippers, girls in miniskirts with doll-like awesome makeup. The song in words is also sweet Korean - I am a boy you are a girl, warm during the day, hot at night etc. What is very Korean is the coffee theme in it.

I love it.

But I also have to say in style of music this is not very Korean. Not very K-pop. It is not any different in it's rythm from any other popular international dancefloor hits which might be the case that this and not any other Korean song really made it.

There are some I really love dancing to, only noone likes them cause they do not have this electonic international sound. Yes, everyone who's got a keen ear knows what I mean.

This also hits European club charts during recent weeks:


Listen. Listen also to Asaf Avidan to Otto Knows or to Avicii. Answer yourself if this is actually any different from eachother. I don't know what it is but Western dancefloor pieces are very alike, nice, with a rythm, but very alike.

Here is another example of a promising copycat:

Isn't it just Pussycat Dolls rythm and voice? She may as well come up internationally. She appeals to international taste.

And this is what used to be some best of K-pop last year:

Run Devil Run, Girls Generation. I love having my morning gym with it.
 Group of girls, oversweet, overdone, group voice, unified dance, no real leader - this is how it was.

I do not have to love K-pop. But I really love that it has it's own uniqueness. No need to go for "international taste". They don't like it, so be it. Stay yourselves.

Last but not least. I congratulate you MTV Music Awards. I wish one day world appreciates international music and not just one unified anglosaxon style of rythm.





Thursday, 8 November 2012

Moon Jae-in unifies arms with Ahn Cheol-soo



 Left on the move. Park accuses her rival of ignoring security issues of South Koreans and of having false attitude to Northern Line Limit. Meet Moon Jae-in - Park's equivalent of Romney's Obama. 




Moon Jae-in who won primaries in Democratic United Party this year is a long term human rights activist who played a major role in South Korean system transformation. He joined forces with the late president Roo Moo Hyun starting Busan Law Firm as human rights attorney. He had been Roh's best friend and political ally ever since.




Moon Jae-in was born on 24th January 1953 in Geoje and graduated from Kyung Hee University.
In 1988 he founded opposition newspaper The Hankyoreh which supported student protests. He also was human rights attorney at Pusan Bar and was actively involved in developing human rights awareness in South Korea ever since.

Despite being the chief of stuff for president Roh Moon was indifferent to politics ever up till this year when he decided to become a candidate in the presidential elections.

Moon was one of the architects of the Sunshine Policy which led to regular meetings between the leaders and increasing of economic aid for the North. Kim Dae-jung administration, which started it, helped as well to start family meetups between those who have been separated by the DMZ after Korean War in 1953.

During Roh presidency the idea of economic aid shaped itself into creation of the Kyeongsang Industrial Park. Approximately 15 South Korean companies employ there more than 40 000 workers from North Korea with perspective to employ 26 000 as soon as possible. Everything is supported from Seoul, facilities, constructions, energy and transportation system together with money to pay for wages. By 2012 the Complex was said to employ approximately 725 000 North Korean citizens and generate more than $500 million of income for North Korean Economy. However after sinking of Cheonan Lee Myung-bak's administration toughened it's course towards North Korea and decided to be based on the moment and adequate reaction, not on any program or ideology. This led to putting embargo on any trade with North Korea.

Critics of Sunshine Policy say that in this case Seoul will be often simply blackmailed by North Korea whenever it wants more of aid. Moon's main oponent, conservative leader Park Geun-hye accuses Moon of not having clear vision of securing Northern Line Limit. But this maritime border between two countries had never actually been exactly drawn, and had been disputed ever since Korean War.

Moon is also a strong advocate against South Korean regionalism which leads to unequal chances of people coming from different provinces or cities. 

More about Moon Jae-in:
From Arirang News, a short introduction to Moon jae-in.

My recent exploratory study shows that the era of conservatives in Korea has come to an end. But it does not mean that Moon stands chances alone either. He is backed by an independent candidate Ahn Cheol-soo who already once was a kingmaker during mayoral elections in Seoul.

The then Grand National Party (now the Saenuri Party) candidate Na Kyung-won who was supported by Park was beaten by independent Park Won-soon who took advantage of Ahn’s support.

Moon and Ahn decided for unified candidacy this time and it may make a difference.

In the first free elections of 1987, the two leading opposition figures, Kim Young-sam and Kim Dae-jung (both of whom later became presidents), were unable to overcome their differences and split the vote allowing ex-regime nominee Roh Tae-woo to win.

Park Kwang-on, a spokesman for the Moon camp, said that they agreed to pick a single candidate before the registration and will hold talks to make it happen. Let's see, who runs for a president and who becomes the Prime Minister.

******
Soon a story of Ahn Cheol-soo, a rising star of independent politics in South Korea. Also more about political plans of Moon Jae-in. Stay tuned.


Sunday, 4 November 2012

Electoral Candidates: Park Geun Hye

"... Park Geun-hye is an example of a woman who successfully applies elements of Confucianism to manipulate her image in the eyes of voters. At present Park Geun-hye is a major candidate in forthcoming 2012 presidential elections...."




          Although in Asian societies appreciation for women's public activities seems to be much lower than in the West, paradoxically women in Asia are capable of getting more power than their Western counterparts. Thanks to “brand” associated with their last name and power of the paternal clans, they are able to run the state or lead the political parties independently in certain circumstances. South Asian cases of Indira Gandhi, Benazir Bhutto or the current kingmaker in the Indian politics, Sonia Gandhi, present the perfect example of such “brand” politics.

           Park Geun-hye is an example of a woman who successfully applies elements of Confucianism to manipulate her image in the eyes of voters. At present Park Geun-hye is a major candidate in forthcoming 2012 presidential elections.

            Park Geun-hye was born 5th February 1952 in Daegu to South Korean dictator – president Park Chung Hee. In 1974 she majored in electronics and graduated from catholic Sogang University in Seoul. In the same year her mother was shot in an attempted assassination of her father by North Korean agent. This way forced by brutal circumstances she entered the world of politics as the First Lady of Korea until 1979 when her father died in the coup d'etat organized by his own chief of intelligence (KCIA). Until 1998 she stayed out of politics. She worked as a manager at Korean Cultural Foundation and Youngnam University in her native town Daegu. In 1998 she was elected to the parliament from the list of Grand National Party (Hannara). She has been elected in every elections organized since then. In 2007 she lost primaries in Grand National Party to former Mayor of Seoul, Lee Myung-bak. Despite dropping in polls she still remains a serious candidate in forthcoming presidential elections in South Korea.

            Such popularity of a woman politician in a country whose social system is so far dominated by Confucianism was decided probably by more factors than just changes in the legal system that enabled women to participate in the elections.

            Park Geun-hye had no political ambitions until 1998. She was then invited by Grand National Party to participate in the elections. It was a moment when Korean society was still painfully adjusting to the reforms imposed by International Monetary Fund after the economic crisis of 1997. It was then that Koreans remembered about president Park Chung Hee who persecuted political opponents, but on the other hand boosted Korean miraculous economic growth. GNP which emerged from small conservative parties decided to use growing positive legend of Park Chung Hee and put his daughter on stage.

          Despite leading GNP to a successful victory in 2006 Park Geun-hye did not win primaries when she lost to former mayor of Seoul Lee Myeong-bak. This year she managed to get over 86% in primaries and gathered hopes of all conservative Koreans.

            However she has not put any political plans, reforms or ideas up till now. Her official website contains only promises for future and daring visions of not clearly envisaged changes to come if people vote for her. If taken into account that she is already 14 years in politics, this is not big achievement. Using moral capital by appealing to her father's legacy and emphasizing filial piety, combined with personal charm and media image designed to address virtues supported by average voters had been so far enough tools to gain and maintain support.

         Exploratory study which I performed during 2011-2012 shows that conservative values are no longer appealing to the young generation, and due to survey performed on limited number of voters Park Geun-hye is critisized for being dictator's daughter and in this case family does no longer help.
Her father is revered by some for steering South Korea to economic and diplomatic power with North Korea at its doorstep. And he is loathed by the others for what rights groups call a long history of torture, unlawful executions and other abuses of power. He has been dead for more than 30 years, since his intelligence chief shot him down during a 1979 drinking party. But he has proven to be more and more problematic to his daughter's campaign.

 Park Geun-hye still holds chances to win 2012 elections. But I also see some room for the Black Horse: a person with no conservative legacy, with clear economic vision and someone who did not make it via connections, Ahn Cheol-soo. If there is an agreement between opposition candidates and Mr Kim runs against Park with Ahn promised to become Prime Minister, the whole picture will get even more tricky.

         Soon about Ahn Cheol-soo and  Moon Jae-in. Stay tuned.


Overeducated

Too much education...too many diplomas...no work?







One year ago Korean Government have noticed finally that in South Korea there are too many people with higher education. Simply not enough jobs for everyone who masters how the microprocessor is built.


So, they decided that employers who will stop following education fever will get tax exemption as high as 18 000$ monthly if they employ a person who does not have an university degree.

Looks like simmilar situation is in Poland. Everyone gets into the university with stupid hope that this is what will get him quite stable job for just enough that if both people in the couple work, they will hopefully, during their lifetime on this planet, pay credit for 2 room 50m2 flat.

Is a degree indeed what can get one from poverty and give stability?

I am very sorry to admit that one special guy from Germany who only got technical high school education there can do with computer systems, programming devices, and any electronics more than my SNU educated Indian engineers. This is genial intuition which got him where he is now. And portfolio of very satisfied clients.

But, on the contrary is there, really, a way back?

I cannot imagine that I can convince any employer in Poland that I am capable of cleaning the floor if I don't get a degree in "flat surface conservation problematics". Same is in Korea, for a long time from now on any employer will expect an employee to hold a degree from a University. Not necessarily SKY but still.

Last but not least. They say uneducated society is easier to be handled. Apparently true, but education is also: travelling, life experience, books, tv, theater. Not only university.

For now every Korean high school graduate goes into college, then MA then corporate job in chaebol or PhD. There are a lot of unemployed PhD's in Korea.




Wednesday, 19 September 2012

India against corruption

Not much new happens to Lokpal Bill, while organisers of demonstrations in support of Anna Hazere's idea are doing another protest over another thing.

Prices are rising dynamically in India in pace which means this is no longer a cheap country. This is always normal for every booming economy that certain huge companies take advantage of it. This price rise has nothing to do with EU crisis like some people would love to say. It is a stage in country's development and it will be a long stage unfortunately.

Societies of this world had been at first wondering gatherers- hunters. Then settled agriculturers which enables each form of tyranny and mediaval style feudal ruling. Because people could no longer just move to another place. They have settled down. And after feudal state there were always some era of chaos when modern democracy or modern form of dictatorship had constituted itself.

There is always a stage of booming growth but it usually is combined with inefficient state and justice system which leads to many problems. That was Poland in the 90's. Here this stage was short because at first we do not have way over 1 bln of inhabitants. Secondly we existed in early forms of democracy and free trade in historic times. We naver experienced any form of absolute monarchy or strict feudal state.

India with over 1 bln people entered Space Shuttle and microprocessor era but in brains of many people there is still a villiger who on one hand wants to have as much possible as fast as he only can and at the cost of others, on the other hand compromised corrupted aristocrat. And very very very limited number of real middle class.

India does need to have corruption stopped. With it all of the other crimerate will go down. Women will stop being raped so often. People will have guts to fight for justice of they were exploited by those higher in hierarchy.

But if I was organizing this I would focus on one. I would make sure that Lokpal Bill or any other bill stopping corruption is enforced first.

If people go on the streets protesting against price rize public may get confused. May lost truck of the goal.

Corruption goes first. It has to be stopped.

One lesson from Poland: here everyone complained that government installed anticorruption office. Everyone got used to giving or getting small bribes for almost everything. Now after some years we are much more clean if not almost entirely clean.

I would recommend Landes quote to inspire:


...the one lesson that emerges is the need to keep trying. No miracles. No perfection. No millennium. No apocalypse. We must cultivate a skeptical faith, avoid dogma, listen and watch well..."


No dogma. If you fall into dogma or ideology it will be a trap. 

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Korea sets emergency mode

East Asian Economies have been always known for their rapid growth, free market altered by touch of either Confucian thought or Shintoism, feudal structure of employment and business management, but nevertheless very efficient economic environment which has always created jobs, jobs and even more jobs.

It is enough to take a look at average Seoul street to notice it. How many things are there. How many shops with shoes, cloths, cosmetics, how many coffee shop branches, bakeries, necessity kiosks like Family Mart, or E-mart, how many bars and restaurants. These businesses lways have big lines waiting inside and crowds, crowds of customers.

Big portion of Korean economy ( or any other Asian economy) - street vendoring is also visible. Be it street market at Dongmyo Street or any other tiny shop with numerous delicious snacks oferred by skillfull Ajummas and Ajoshis.

But even this rapidly growing environment needs help, government decided.

The steps taken last Monday would save taxpayers some 2.3 trillion won ($2.0 billion) in personal income tax, home transaction tax and domestic sales tax on automobiles and large electronics appliances, the finance ministry said in a statement.

However this may be only a show before the elections to try to convince public that anything is actually done. With household spending rising, Koreans won't likely be risking whatever they save on tax cuts. In unstable economic future tendency to spend shifts into tendency to save. This is slowly killing any economy that has troubles.

Korea has shown it can do a miracle during lifetime of one generation. But will the global crisis hit it too much? Time will tell.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Kim Ki-duk triumphs in Venice

Let me quote Washington Post here:
"...South Korean director Kim Ki-duk’s drama “Pieta,” the brutal story of a debt collector who cripples those who can’t pay until he meets a woman who claims to be his mother, won the Golden Lion for best film at the 69th Venice Film Festival on Saturday.
In a departure from the usual acceptance speeches, Kim thanked the jury and festival audience with a short song in Korean, leaving the theater in rapt silence.

(...)

“Pieta” follows a young debt collector he goes about his business maiming debtors until his ruthless course is interrupted by a stranger who claims to be his mother. His acceptance of his mother weakens his resolve to brutally collect the debts, leaving him vulnerable to revenge.
South Korea’s Yonhap news agency called “Pieta” “a bruising but wisely woven drama (that) plainly shows how money can destroy humanity and create hellish interpersonal relationships.”
“Pieta” is the Italian word for pity, but also applies to the artistic image in sculpture or painting of the Virgin Mary cradling the dead body of Jesus, evoking a mother’s love for her son. Yonhap said the title “gives the false impression that the film is about trying to find meaning in life through religion....”

However Koreans do not appreciate Kim Ki-duk, he adds to their national pride, so after all, they are proud of him. But his movies are mostly recognised in Europe, cause we Europeans like and ...well...we make dark cinema of moral choices. In Korea cinema is a fairy take which has to end well, and cannot question the reality as such. But this changes also.

I will write a review of the movie as soon as I happen to watch it. Congratulations to Korea for the great director!

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Brand Wars

Samsung lost with Apple and has to pay at least 1 bln $ penalties for violating Apple's Intellectual Property Rights. Apple says: justice, Samsung:one business has monopolized rectangular shape with rounded corners. Who's right? 

It was only a matter of time as the case was in the court for quite a while. Korean electronics giant is often accused of stealing ideas and patents for applications. But this time it was largely about trade dress: shape, color, design, material etc. Not about actual brainwork: efficiency, IT patent, application etc. 

It's good that Apple exists, it is still one business that gives jobs to American people and American people do need jobs. 

But it is also about customer choice: let me copy a guy who develops applications for iPhones and for Android:

"... iPhone 4 is available for circa około 400$ with 1Ghz prock, 512MB ram, of which 312 is available, and up to 16GB (speaking about such price devices).
What if I buy Android? For 200$ circa I can obtain Samsung Galaxy S with equal parameters and I can stick 64GB into a slot - do I need to say more?.
iPhone 4S - take 16GB - 800Ghz+800Ghz - 1,6Ghz prock, 512MB ram, available 300MB,new graphics processor, price- over 700$.
Android? : Samsung Galaxy S II - processor 1.5 Dual Core which is - 3Ghz, 1GB RAM, available 750,  MicroSD slot for up to 64GB, graphic processor BETTER than 4S'. Price? 350 $ circa. ..."


This whole situation reminds me of Microsoft attempts to shut down any open protocol globally, open code would be only Microsoft code in terms of norms available. They even tried to force our industrial and technical norms institute to make such regulations that never again a group of kids could start any garage business that could grow into a rival of any contemporary giant. 

 I don't write this because I like Korean stuff or have preference for Samsung. They did a lot of junk, including my dad's old work cellphone, which had a touchpad too active and it was not possible not to double or tripple press anything. They never made anything as simply and elegant like low price level "Stupid" Nokia's. 

But quarelling about the shape, the color, the simmilar look? Will we ban any not Dell laptop's just because they are rectangular and they open, or they have simmilar sizes?

  

Welcome back after holidays

Welcome back after holidays

Dear readers, sorry for not writting for a while. But we all need a break sometimes. For several weeks I have simply been resting, and doing nothing but resting and travelling. I also have not read single Asian or Korean news meanwhile. Now it's time to write some more and be more regular. 

 

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Nonsense entry

To people who make my life special, and those who keep me up when I fail, those who accept me at my worst and cherish me at my best...

... thank you :)

You know who you are

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Asian Lover

"...I BECAME A PLAYER I've gone out with 100 women in a little over 2 years. I had sex with a good percentage of them, kissed even more. I spent very little money. In the beginning I used to take girls out to dinner. Later in my game, I was able to pull women to my house after a 10 minute phone conversation and have sex with them. ZERO MONEY Some of the women were very hot. Pretty faces, hot tight little bodies. So how did I go from being a total loser to the player I am now?..."


Scary, right? 
This is an excerpt from one of more and more popular sites advicing men how to get desirable women to have sex with them with least possible investment.  

I got inspired to write this one after discussion with my collegue following KBS report on Korean relationships with foreigners and how CBM responded to it. My collegue claims it is sexist attitude and that women are no harmless dolls and have their own will too. Hence they are not victims.

I was reading abstracts which people submitted for the following conference my Asian Studies Science Club organizes this Friday. I have seen one picture: that there is a global growing crisis of masculinity. Of what we used to understand as solid, reliable, strong testosterone which is there not to use and abuse, but to win and protect. Even in Asia such testosterone slowly diminishes. 

There is a growing pressure for getting laid free of cost with least possible investment. 

Why is it possible? Because women believe words. 
Here will be another excerpt from the same "expert":

"...Tip #4: Money is king. All of the women I dated had a change of heart after seeing my car. Focus on building wealth and in the meantime sell women the dream of a life of luxury. Remember, you don’t have to deliver it...." 

So why do we women fall for such promises? Because we want to believe. Because in the world of normal people we do not need written contracts and promises are usually kept. Every woman wants to believe in beautoful promises. 

We go to bed because we believe that our desires will come true. But also because distrustful cold attitude changes our personality not in the nice feminine direction. It is like running around with a full loaded pistol ready to fire if needed. Always on standby cause there might be cheating, deception, lies, games etc.  We want to trust someone at some point. We want to stop looking behind our back at each second.

Here is more from our expert:
Asian lover 
Read and you will get even more scared. Guy is on the hunt. He hunts for women with problems. Not confident, unaware of themselves, not tough, with bad experiences before etc. 

I am asking myself what is the reason of this attitude?  

I think that times are getting full with fierce competition between people. My ex who used simmilar techniques above mentioned on me admitted at some point that being better than his peers molded his personality forever. We are not talking anymore, seduced woman is quickly forgotten, no matter what words do you hear. They are only words. 

Key to deception on male side is that actions matter, not words. If you see actions not covering words flee for your dear life before you get hurt. No matter how cold and empty it feels. No matter how tough and male you might feel in a result. And try to believe that old fashioned gentleman who is not on the hunt exists out there. Strong, confident, ambitious, winning type who will be there only for you. 

*****

There is a very funny aftermath though. Very often beautiful women with perfect looks end up married to rather average guys. And those who used to be on the hunt end up with either 20 years younger student from him or he ends up alone, or he ends up with rather average woman. Or he ends up alone and miserable...

There is a stage in men's life when sex is no more than urinating. But it normally does not take long time. Simple truth that sex with an unloved partner is unfulfilling and may end up with disgust and detest to a woman is hidden with overlapping propaganda of how cool is easy life and how women should enjoy sex with no commitment. Well do they?   

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Men in Asia

On 6th July in Warsaw Campus of the University of Social Sciences and Humanities Asian Studies Science Club organizes an interdisciplinary conference under the theme Men in Asia. 

The event will be held in English. We kindly invite all foreigners living in Warsaw and those interested in contemporary realities of the world with special focus on Asia. 

How does the globalization change the mentality of young males? What is the role of religion in forming attitudes to social roles? What is the value of social expectations and influence of bigger cohorts? Are modern Asian women more emancipated and self-conscious than men? 



We also invite you to comment on the thesis and ideas presented at the conference, and take part in discussions in forthcoming days, during and after the conference on our FB page: Men in Asia


We invite everyone interested to take part in our discussions. 

The conference shall start at 10 am at Chodakowska 19/31 street (SWPS Campus). You can get there by tram 8 from Central Railway Station (get off at Gocławska).

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Kids in Korea



Korean kids are the cuttest creatures in the world

I was recently thinking a lot about modern obstacles in raising children. One of my best friends is two months pregnant, hence such thoughts.

If I think about providing good conditions and protection to children in modern world, I rather panic. Or I tend to think that if one does not put the wall of extensive personal wealth to make sure that his kid goes to the private school and later private high school where basic security and good psychological guidance is provided, chances of success are lame.

Kids pornography, kid to kid violence, mental and physical abuse, drugs, alcohol, pressure for early sex,  is a disease of modern world. Which parent who needs to work long hours to make ends meet for basic goods like food or cloths can provide guidance and security. Very often even if woman would prefer to stay home and make sure her kids are safe, she can't- she has to provide. She doesn't have time to watch over her kid in the playground and very often her kid gets kidnapped and either raped or used in kids porn business.

All above mentioned problems of so-called public school system are present also in Poland. If some children are victims of abuse noone really cares. No psychologist who sits in his room and doesn't stick nose out neither any blind teacher who walks school corridors and prefers not to see things. Or, very often, is bribed by parents of abusers with a new kitchen device, because teachers salaries are poor.

But there is definately one country I still had seen children playing safe. When I lived in Korea, daughter of my friends, little beautiful Olivia, had always gone alone to the playground and never anything had happened to her. I have seen children playing around and parents normally at home or watching over from the balcony.

I would love to be a mother in Korea.

Yet on the other hand what comes later, is not so fun.

When kid is very small and goes to first grade competition starts. Competition for grades. Every kid has to be the best. Problem is however, they are forbidden asking questions if they don't comprehend something. Their parents do their best to provide extra lessons, as later they aspire their kids to get into best universities both in korea and abroad.

I had often seen sleepwalking girls in short skirts in the middle of winter, at 10 pm going back by subway home from some lessons of math or physics or English.

I feel pity on one hand.

But on the other hand, it would be impossible to leave kid off sight in the West. Kid travelling alone on public transport is not thinkable due to many hazzards. Korea is still country where kids can go alone by subway, by bus, or anyhow alone and nothing hapens to them.

So which is better? This is for every person to judge individually.

 Personally I prefer Asian system of raising kids into responsible hardworking adults who don't steal, don't destroy property, can have fun in non-abusive way.




Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Importance of Triple Helix

Bit more than a month ago I participated at the conference Finance and Public Private Partnership, Polish reality and international experience organized by University of Information Technology and Management in Rzeszów and Polish Rectors Foundation, where I had presentation related to how Korean Higher Education Sector puts emphasis on Triple Helix.



Triple Helix is quite new concept developed by loet Leydesdorff and Han Woo Park. It explains how proper cooperation between governments both central and local, higher education and research sector and business sector are dependant on each other like triple helix DNA would be. Ths DNA is nowadays needed for any economy to grow and  be knowledge based economy.

During my presentation, but even more in aftermath paper I have written I put emphasis on how knowledge based businesses are important to country's growth and that global brand which operated in common electronics and home appliances sector does more to any country's diplomacy and international position than any Ministry of Foreign Affairs would do. Moreover it creates jobs and jobs means growth.

Basic example of such a business is Samsung. Even if it does not always make best phones or best appliances it has conquered the international market and even now i sit in front of Samsung LCD screen, not to mention my other two computers and my dad's cellphone ( I am fidel fan of Nokia though :P).

What lessons are there for Poland from it? Poland should focus on developing global brand based on graphene technology. Both european and Polish attitude to competition and business is focused on small competing with eachother technology companies. Some of modern crucial inventions have been done in Poland starting from Blue Ray ending on industrial processing of graphene. But if the money doesn't go to support one business with research center and create a huge conglomerate out of this, soon the technology will be there for sale from small businesses whoch owners are more interested in comfortable life than in far reaching visions of global electronics market. In worst case scenario Samsung just comes and buys the technology off.

Last remark I have after observing the reality and researching the topic is that stupid fashion focusing economy on trade and services should come to an end. To grow, any economy must have goods that are produced and sold, and trade and services are only surroundings. We see it very well in German economy which still has companies like BASF for example, and also others that develop. assemble, produce and sell real goods for real cash. Any economy which is based on virtual bank related non existing currency will eventually fail or suffer serious troubles like USA does. USA which starting from late 70's advertised trade and services, not industry based economic model. We all see where did it go.

Having said all this, I wish that Poland eventually unifies authorities, businesses and research cnters around creating Polish equivalent of Samsung. This merged with amazing brains and hardworking people should lead finally to success. Instead of supporting 10 smaller, create 1 big.

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Korea, sex and foreigners

Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation issued a report that outraged many foreigners living in Korea. The more heated reactions are, the more accurate accusations, life tells. In this case it is also truth. However patriarchal truth only about women. 


Here is the video. Watch and read further.

In many private conversations to guys I met in Korea I had this topic touched. One of the taboos was legendary orgasm. According to one "master in the skill" :
- Well, what my girlfriends told me is that guys usually releave theselves, turn and snorr. Just like we used to do in the 50's or earlier. They stick to foreigners for ars amandi.
-  Dude, what if they actually stick to foreigners for other things than just that?
- Like?
- Like a relationship?- asked I between one snack and another. We were somewhere at Global House near SNU or elsewhere. People seemed interested in the topic but I made sure we were quiet enough to limit the ears.
My partner in the conversation looked at me bit startled.
- What relationship? If I am able to hook her within a few days what can she expect? Besides I am not ready for anything serious! No guy my age is, they should know it!
- Uhmmm....

Depending on the situation and a guy many other contexts appeared. Some of them mentioned Darwin and that every guy is a seeder and that it is a game normal to guys. It's their thing to avoid investment as long as they want.

- Come on Aga! Are you my moral guardian or what?! - the conversation got on bit dangerous grounds. How to admit that no, but I like knowing motivation of people, getting into their little heads, no matter if they are men or women.
- Hmmm... how to tell you. Am just curious... how do you pick them? - I go deeper.
- Well I go to a bar and see which one is available.
- How do you know she is available?
- She approaches me this way or the other.

Well, this is quite universal. But point is Korean girls believe in romantic love. They are available cause they watch a lot of soap operas and have emotional needs to be loved and appreciated and they lived happily ever after. Topics like relationships or sex are not talked at home. So the average Korean girl is being simply seduced. And later it is her fault only right?

But the other side of this report shows extremely shauvinistic attitude of some Korean guys. These accusations are true, but if they want to keep their girls they should outscore foreigners in attitude and skills. One thing a foreigner usually does not want or cannot give to a Korean girl is commitment or future. So bit more skills in ars amandi and they are yours forever.

*****
My message to Korean girls out there. Keep your eyes open. Meet a guy at the university cafeteria, at work, or even at the concert. But simply don't go to a bar. Meet men in an environment that imposes communication. And read some guidebook on typical seduction techniques and texts men use to get under your underwear. Unless you like sex with no respect.



Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Korea Today: Middle Sized Power

Korean government has just decided to continue imports of Iranian oil resources. When rest of the world tries to stop financing regime in Iran, Korea does what it wants. 


As today's Korea Times writes the United States will give South Korea a waiver and allow it to continue importing crude oil from Iran, without being subjected to penalty in terms of sanctions, the foreign ministry said Wednesday.

A ministry official said a formal announcement will be made later this week. He said Korea and the U.S. completed their consultations and are now smoothing up the details. Korea is the fourth largest Iranian oil importer, import from Iran covers around 10 percent of Korea’s crude imports.




Ability to decide independently about major moves on the international arena counts for any country's independence and souvereignty. But the latter concept is very mild and subject to change in time and space. 

Some countries have lesser some bigger power, it all depends on variety of aspects. These are natural resources, size, population, economic development, finance, global brands or strategic gepgraphical location. 

South Korea counts for a number of the above. For USA Seoul is not only a capital under protection of the White House since the Korean War, but an ally in the region strategically situated between China and Japan. 

However major reason why Korea plays independently and basically does what it only wishes in international aspect is it's economic independence. Country that has built several global brands like Samsung, LG, Hyundai etc, that are bringing income despite of growing global economic concerns, that has citizens who prefer to buy locally manufactured goods instead of foreign cars or cloths, is a country that gathers domestic financial resources enough not to be blackmailed by any debt to a global banking institution. With this granted, despite considerably small territory ( bit under the third of Poland) Korea is undeniably a Middle Sized Power.

But in the game around Iran, West has comparative advantage. Obstacles remain as the EU plans to push ahead with an insurance ban on oil shipments from Tehran beginning July 1. Ninety percent of Asian nations’ oil shipment insurance is financed by European companies. Therefore Korean companies agreed to limit their reliance on Iranian oil sources. This situation proves that globalized world is interdependant, with few exceptions, power of country A is limited by powers of other countries and interest conflict or union of interests. 

So far, South Korea gently playing between China, Japan, USA and Russia seems to do very well. 
 
*******

I promise to be more regular in my writings. I apologize those who regularly read for not updating my blog in a while. 

Monday, 26 March 2012

Nuclear Summit in Seoul

Barack Obama visits Seoul for the Nuclear Summit that mostly talked the issues related with possible threats of proliferation of nuclear technology into terrorist hands.


Over 50 heads of states arrived to Seoul today with President of USA Barack Obama, Foreign Minister of Germany Guido Westervelle, Leader of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy,  Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning Schmidt.

North Korea was discussed as well. New young Dear Leader threatens to launch a test missile soon. Seoul had said that it will shot down the test missile unconditionally.

Time will tell which of these promises will be held, cause the situation at the Korean penninsula is a pat if to use Chess language. North can reach Seoul and south from it ( including southern wall of my dormitory at Ajou University) with standard tactic weapons, not to mention nuclear ones. And leader of the North is crazy enough to starve his own people to death, hence he won't hesitate to strike South if it shots down the test missile. Unless Russia tells it's not her business and China stops treating Pyongyang ( formerly Phoenian) as it's little brother who needs special protection from harm.

A lot of other things had been talked at the summit and a lot of paper pages had been printed I assume. Again, time will tell weather this all paper was printed usefully or not.

Only daily real talks between leaders of the world would solve anything. If they meet only occasionally what do they think thay can achieve by that???

This is my all comment on Seoul Nuclear Summit.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Korea, free sms gate

When your beloved ones are abroad:
have you ever wondered how to reach them cheaply?

Or have you ever been in a situation that you already arrived to Korea, all your friends have cellphones and you have no connection to them? And your mobile provider demands Alien Registration Card and you wait for it endlessly, weeks are passing, formalities prolonging, life goes by you?

Here is a Free Korea SMS Gate

Hope it solves burdens of people who are in a situation I faced when I was there.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Mr Toilet

A tale of Mr Toilet who lived in a toilet house


 Korea is a remarkable country.  I love tiny cafes and restaurants, street markets and long lines of open markets with all kinds of vendors. Nice smiling people that would always stop and ask where are you from and how are you doing.

As you walk on by Korean streets full of advertising neons, K-pop music clinges to your ear and makes your day another happy one. There is this energy in the air.

And then you want to visit a toilet at times, after all we all do have to sometimes, right? I never was too much disturbed by variety of standards of Korean toilets, some of them however, were rather shocking.

There is an island on the way to Taen-gun located halfway a very long bridge, popular spot where crowds of people stop by. Probably it was in some Korean drama, because drama site is a tourism booster in that country. How surprised I was when I had seen a multiple chain of holes in the floor that had been toilets.

My smart Korean friend, Youna, who took me on that trip, said:
- But you see this is easier to maintain good sanitation. Thousands of people stop here and use it.
Hmmm indeed. But it also happens that a small tiny cafe made a toilet for it's guests in the closest gate staircase usually downstairs or between 1st and 2nd floor and that toilet is dark, rather uncleaned and defitnately had seen better times.

I cannot say I was bothered much. After all how a traveller can be bothered by anything? Beauty does not have to be always clean. It adds up to what I call unique charm of a place even if it is a doubtful charm of low class sanitation.

But apparently there was a dude that was disturbed by it all and he was 100 percent Korean. Sim jae-duck, was so pissed off with Korean toilet standards that he even founded a Korean Toilet Association.

More  than that. When he became a Mayor of Suwon, it was just before the FIFA Worldcup in 2002. Some games were held in the city not far from my alma mater, Ajou University. The Mayor thought to himself "Ok, so we have nice stadium that everyone is jealous for, nice coffee shops, awesome restaurants, goodlooking women, lots of shops, all fine. But we do not have many nice toilets."

It was then when he started his biggest quest for higher hygiene standards. He had a prostate cancer and felt weaker and weaker but still restlessly advocated for his cause. He founded World Toilet Association.

He was born in a restroom due to old belief it brings luck. Sim jae-duck built a toilet that reminds the world of those who are either not wise enough to have a clean one or not lucky enough to have one at all.

He donated his Toilet House to the City of Suwon :)

Wow, what a cool city I have been at.
Sim jae-duck died in January 2009 due to prostate cancer.

Monday, 27 February 2012

This should stop ! Enough of double moral standards!

"We in India mostly live in a blind hypocrite society basking in the glory of past superior culture fantasy." says Prachi, my Indian friend, on a recent gang rape case from Noida. 


Four youths were Sunday arrested for raping a Class 10 student after abducting her and forcing her to drink alcohol, police said. However, a senior police officer said that the girl had gone with them willingly and all that happened was with her consent.

Himanshu Sharma, 23, Rahul Kumar, 24, Sunil Singh, 22, and Saurabh Chauhan, 23, were arrested from near the Spice Mall here and a car used in the crime seized. One more accused, identified as Neeraj, is still at large.
According to Superintendent of Police (City) Anant Dev, the accused had raped the 16-year-old girl Friday night.
Victimised girl was returning from her father's shop in Sector-12 Friday when she met Himanshu, Rahul and Sunil, all whom she knew. They took her to a place where others waited.

She was later forced to drink vodka, and afterwards dragged to the backyard of one of the hotels and there young men took turns raping her. Later they dumped her near the spot she was abducted from.

Yesterday a 37 year old woman died due to excessive vaginal bleeding after being gang raped.  Her husband suspects the locals.

Foreigners are also very often assulted, and definately should not travel alone, especially in the capital district.

****
The most shocking is the statement of senior police officer who claims that the girl agreed to everything and that actually it was not a rape. It contradicts the prior official press release. 

Human reactions are no different. I found remarks like that women should dress differently, walk always under male escort, not walk at all, etc. Maybe they should seize to exist, would not this solve a problem?

Other comments are that sexual curiosity is normal for guys and rape is part of growing up, what's the big deal if a woman is from slums or low caste, or a foreigner for that matter.

My Indian friend Prachi comments on this: "My blood boils at such things! and then i have a spiritually inclined friend, she is asking why I even read such disturbing things it's all karma! I am telling that in this case law should go to dogs, no need of any law if it's all karma!!!" after a while she adds "We in India mostly live in a blind hypocrite society basking in the glory of past superior culture fantasy.". Indeed all I hear from Indian males is how the West is bad. 

****

Mumbai Mirror. “Ask the Doctor” column: “I’m a married man, and I have the opportunity to have sex with my neighbour when her husband is often away for work. What is your advice?” Invariably, the reply neglected to mention any moral implications. Instead, it was always along the lines of, “If you think you can handle having sex with two people, be sure to use adequate protection to avoid pregnancy or infection.”

Photo: Phoolan Devi, the Queen of Bandits.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Yodok Stories. A review.

Father, don't just go to South Korea! Father, come to Yodok too!

  • My girlfriend beautifully danced and sang ever since childhood. She dreamed of musical career. Her father was accused of espionage, all his family was sent to Yodok. My girlfriend was raped frequently and starved to death in the camp. My parents were killed because I escaped. 
  • You cannot sympathise with the inmates. If you take pity on them you will be punished just like they are. 
  • When I was in Yodok I looked at other people as animals. Imagined them as boars or pigs so I could eat them. Outside the camp I met two people that ate others. One man grabbed the girl on the street, skinned her and ate her. 
  • I was Kim Jong Il's personal bodyguard for 10 years. He treated us well, we did not miss anything. After 10 years I was released from the army and came back to my village. Nothing changed there, nothing changed for 10 years. I could see holes in the floor and people around me were dying of hunger. I escaped to China but was caught and this is how I ended up in Yodok. 
  • I was sentenced for the camp because I was a friend of Kim Jong Il's wife. I knew too much of his actions. 
  • Only picture of South Korea we see are homeless people and beggars on the streets. When I ended up at Incheon airport I could not believe I was there. I saw people were smiling at me. 

Can you imagine you can make a musical on these stories? Nightmare, starvation, rape, humiliation, death? And yet there was a musical made about the stories mentioned above and during preparations to the musical, a documentary called Yodok Stories was done by established documentary maker Andrzej Fidyk.

Fidyk’s film alternates between rehearsal sessions and testimonies by other former prisoners that flesh out the harrowing, invisible reality of camp life. 7 stories show former inmates and their memories from the camp. Life in the camp is shown on the stage and former prisoners teach actors everything about what they had gone through.

Everyone could end life in Yodok camp. Former Kim Jong Il's family friend, former personal guard, a person that said remark about scarcity of food, or even someone who did not put the Dear Leader image on the wall. 





Yodok Concentration Camp is oficially known as a Penalty Colony number 15. The only one from which few prisoners could get out after serving their sentence.  From others, Fidyk says in first minutes of the movie, noone goes out unless escaping. 

Group of defectors who took part in preparations to the musical combine several inmates, but also a guard. He says stories on how he was taught about class enemies and that inmates were evil people in his eyes and how he took pleasure in harassing them until his own father one day had few drinks too many and critisized the regime for food shortages. It was enough for the entire family to end up in the camp. 

Guards escape also because they can take no longer. They are forbidden showing human feelings, forbidden normal human reactions, they are taught hatred round the clock. 

They met in the restaurant in Seoul, all of them who defected and took part in the movie. Former inmates and former guard. Their talks reveal horrible stories but serve as reconciliation. 

The guard is later shown during preparations and try-outs between the musical as he teaches about life in the camp and beating methods. He is portrayed crying secretly when he watches the show. 

The rest of the movie is a must watch for everyone. Fidyk is a masterpiece maker. Music is great, idea of the musical made success both to the defected artist who directed it and to Fidyk who did not worry much for the music part of his movie, he used scores from the musical for most of it.. 

North Korean regime lasts because it is isolated. But also because South Korea is not happy about perspective of having 20 million starving people knowing nothing about modern life or economy becoming citizens. Hardly anyone in the South knows anything about what happens in the North.

 

War games on the Penninsula

Kim Jong Un threatened that North Korean army shall make pre-emptive strike if its territory is 0,001 mm violated. USA and South Korea start their war games tomorrow.

There is a lot of propaganda flying on both sides. South Koreans and Americans emphasise that military exercises are mostly defensive and computer based. North Korea claims that has only peaceful and defensive intentions.

The threat arrived day after special envoy to Seoul Glyn Davies said that before Washington talks to North Korea about any improvement in bilateral relations, first North has to improve its relations with the South.

Kim Jong Un said that during a visit to the unit that shelled the Yeongpyeong Island back in 2010.

Threatening South Korea is a regular habit between regular joint American- South Korean military exercises which happen usually once a year.

It is yet to be determined which way the new regime in North Korea goes. But what we see is likely inherited same old tale, threat and blackmail.

To those naive that think South may win the war: it may win it, but if attacked its core economic heart which is situated in Seoul and around it will be shelled by normal range tactic missiles. Their southern perimeter ends at the Ajou University Campus in Suwon.

This means that the two states actually checkmate themselves. Spoiled South Korean population ( with small exceptions) that is used to driving super cars and walking on cute high heels would not even support the idea of war if it meant sacrificing silver spoon lifestyle they have.

More on the topic:
Rice and Money - my amatour movie

Kimjongilia - Sundance Offocial selection 2009
had seen it in 2010 thanks to the kind invitation by Justice for North Korea at Gwanhammun Seoul,

BBC Access to Evil by Ewa Ewart

Yodok Stories by Andrzej Fidyk

Saturday, 25 February 2012

K-Pop update

What is K-pop? Why isn't it pop, just pop? Well admirers argue that it has really unique national trait. Indeed it has.


What is in common to Korean pop music are women or men that are really done in fashionized way and they are perfect dancers, both girls and boys.

They are really looking like on a stage one should look, like Western stars looked back in the 1980's.

Rythm is usually what makes it, rythmy, easy to dance music. Lyrics are all about love, seduction, and triangles: him picking one of the two, or vice versa.

They grow in popularity, mostly in Asia, adding to what is called Korean Wave. But K-pop has it's fans globally, some of them are my friends and I will make them posting here more about it. 

I love it when I do my gym at home. And it is also real pleasure to look at women who do not have this annoying "neighborhood girl" style but they are really totally made up, seductive and confident. Aren't you tired with women who do simply nothing to look better but still require admiration? Here is a rest for your eyes.

Enjoy my recent discovery:
Girls' Generation Run, Devil, Run

So, me off to my gym.

*****
People say it is kitchy. Maybe, but it is one of the traits that make modern Korea.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Han Han and social media sales

While explaining this phenomenon editor says that internet is a perfect tool to make money, but provided that you sell both a very non-conformistic and easy vision of life. You need to engage with an illusion of not taking too much time, you also need to provoke.

Forbes Poland in it's newest online issue mentions Han Han as one among 20 people that can change the world.

Han Han is a Chinese blogger that writes about sex, cars, food, life, lifestyle, fashion, whatever else people would like to read about. His blog registered at Chinese equivalent of Twitter (sina.com) had exceeded 460 mln registered readers.



While explaining this phenomenon editor says that internet is a perfect tool to make money, but provided that you sell both a very non-conformistic and easy vision of life. You need to engage with an illusion of not taking too much time, you also need to provoke.

Well I have to apologise to you My Dear Readers for being such a boring person who writes long posts in decent English, hopefully with not too many typos. I do solemnly swear to provoke you once a while with harsh opinions.

I also promise some posts about K-pop, fashion, Korean soap operas and other of sort. 

Han Han Dude may be found at Wikipedia to read about him more :)

Monday, 20 February 2012

Desperation

Am not sure if this one is going to sound nice. But recently I decided to give up political correctness. My friend Martyna was nominated to the Traveller of the Year Award Kolosy 2011 in Poland for her Asian experiences.

While reading her blog I discovered that Seoul transforms into a city with no soul. Hi Seoul! Soul of Asia! slogan says. But what does it mean to have soul. It means to secure and preserve the best of Asia, common sense tells.

I have already written about Seoul Mayor closing down street vendoring and moving these people to more and more less payable locations. This increases done by the new Mayor also.

Will Koreans ever understand that we are not coming there for artificial things?! Not for created on purpose artificial junk! Junk like Hanok houses pretending to be ancient and being in fact rebuilt from new pieces only recently?! European sophisticated shops like Zara in Coex Mall or touristy mass production in Insa Dong?!

I have asked many friends if they have old Hanbok ( traditional female dress) inherited from their grandmothers or great grandmothers. Guess what, noone has old Hanboks!

- Obsoyo! There was a war and we don't have them anymore. - this is the reply I hear often. War cannot destroy everything.
Even Brother Anthony from Sogang University, who is a genuine specialist in Korean culture, sent me off to some factory making modern "traditional" Hanboks, all very colorful and nice.


 Photo from wikipedia, free licence with attribution: http://flickr.com/photos/paulcanning/314925845/ 
Above: This is what is available everywhere, colorful, nice, modern touristy production. 

Problem is this is not genuine. I will give more space later to Korean traditional dress how it really looked not longer than 40 years ago. But here I will shortly say that 2% of society could afford these sweet colorful Hanboks. Does it make it "traditional" already? What about other groups, what about farmers? They had Hanboks too, but white/grey.

Dear Readers, I am in desparate need of white/grey farmers Hanbok! Dirty, old, but genuine!!!! If you know about anyone, anyone who may be a happy owner of some, please let me know!

If it comes to Nation Branding Korea rocks. It is only pity that instead of preserving truth they build up stories of how rich they had always been.

I am not saying that there is nothing genuine in Seoul. There are still street markets and shops with everything and nothing, ginseng, spices of the world, hand painters making art pieces on silk or rice paper, but it slowly slowly goes away melted in unified asian version of global consumerism.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Nation branding

I have already mentioned about Korean Nation Branding efforts and how they impress me. In more developed countries than Korea comprehensive nation advertising and public diplomacy took much longer time or is not that well organized.
******
This entry of the blog has been featured on Arirang TV in Today's Blog programm, Trend Zone.
Coastal Asia Unrevealed on Arirang TV
Please watch in Internet Explorer like all Korean sites. Forgive me my voice, it is not really top voice ever.
******


Part of it is Korean Wave which currently hits Japan, China and other Asian countries. Korean boysbands and girlsbands, so called K-pop music to which you may find links in the video corner is just an example. Korean dramas with Winter Sonata leading among them, singer BoA and many others.

This year Seoul was choosen as one of the must-visit cities by UNESCO as a result of long term action of the Metropolitan Government. Maybe it was this little creature, Haechi, which was designed as a Seoul brand based on a fictional good spirit, symbol of the city, which caused it? Who knows...

Whether Haechi himself had blessed the city with good spirits or not, he definately works as a brand developed back in 2008. Metropolitan government uses it as a symbol which helps promoting good businesses for tourists.

I was taken for a dessert to one of the restaurants in a Korean traditional house situated in a White Collar area, next to the COEX Intercontinental, the very site were G20 was held. The restaurant which name is Pulhyanggi serves all sorts of Korean food for very sophisticated set of clients who usually go there for business negotiations and incentives.

 Inside the Pulhyanggi...

Btw. did I mention that my favorite Korean food is a pancake with seafood which is called haemul pajeon and I can even make it myself?

And this is how restaurants are promoted with the city brand sign:
The Haechi drawing is based on the ancient creature I have already mentioned, which looks like this:
And Seoul area is full of them standing in all sorts of places, both very modern and traditional ones.

As a city Seoul tries to catch up with modernity but also save what is the best from it's ancient spirits. For this all sorts of different things are done, one of them is Cheonggye Stream near Gwanhamun Plaza, or Design Street near Toksugung Palace. There we may find interesting things like design chairs or sculptures as below:
All fitted in traditional historic environment.

Haechi is successful in promoting business as well. An idea which had not been followed by other cities so far as I know. As a brand Hi Seoul is shared by all sorts of small companies which are given support by Seoul Metropolitan Government. The partnership is perfect for both sides: the city promotes itself even better and business gets money and stable environment to grow.
Above is one of the example of the shared brand products. We visited the exhibition with the TV crew from Arirang and were given a gift set with very useful and very nice items including a pen with a flashlight which I use a lot right now.

Haechi itself is a legendary animal representing justice and integrity. The mythical creature distinguishes good from evil and was believed to bring fortune and luck and provide safety from disaster. The creature has been believed to serve as a guardian of Seoul for a long time.

At Gwanhamun Plaza the souvenir shop opened and the top sells are Haechi dolls in all sizes. I got myself the small one... maybe it will bring me the luck?

*******
Just as I shared with viewers of Arirang I will repeat here. Despite constant threat from the North Seoul flourishes. Korea flourishes. South Koreans take steps foreward, round the clock, like a circle in a spiral... strive and persist.

Special thanks to Yoon-mi Jung and her crew who assisted me for more than 6 hrs on a freezing Friday in Seoul driving me around the city wherever I wanted. Thank you for your hospitality and patience. I love Korea! Although it was pictured more than a year ago I still remember the day and am very happy it happened :)

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Links to explore:
http://english.seoul.go.kr/gtk/news/news_view.php?idx=7700
http://www.idwseoul.com/interdesignen/user/bizapp/link/link_01.asp?sBBS=0501