It is an annual rite of spring for college instructors across Korea. The inevitable result of three things:
-Women wearing tight, low-cut pants. -The same women wearing tight, waist-length shirts. -Those women leaning forward in their desks as I walk around the classroom checking their work.
The result: Plumber's butt.
Well, some of the young ladies at my school have discovered another way to share their panties with the world. As the Chosun reports, skirts have gotten much shorter in Korea:
Miniskirts which are so short that passersby feel embarrassed just to see them are hitting the street in Korea in the spring season of 2006. They are not just mini. They are super-miniskirts with their total length less than 25 cm. Such super-miniskirts, which got some 10 cm shorter from 10 years ago, are selling like hot cakes[.]
As someone who stands in front of a room of seated miniskirt-clad young ladies, I have a slightly different perspective than the general population.
Question: What happens when you have a bunch of 18 to 20 year-old women wearing micro-skirts, and who do not know how to sit properly with them, planted in front of you? If you said 'up skirt panty shots.' you win the prize. I have seen three so far this spring.
While I the aesthetics are hard to deny, they are my students, so I ignore the views as best as I can.
It is actually a tricky problem. You cannot mention it to the student in class or she will be fatally embarrassed. Taking her aside to speak to her about it privately is not really an option either. About the only thing I can do is 'accidentally' bump into an empty desk while walking around the classroom so that it slides in front of her and obscures my view of her lower half from the front of the room.
I have learned one thing: When my daughter gets old enough to want to go out of the house in a miniskirt, the first thing I will do is tell her she can't. The second thing I will do is teach her how to sit in one (knees together and to the right, ankles together and to the left).
Shin Sang-ok, a movie director who lived a successful and tumultuous life including nine years of captivity in North Korea, died Tuesday night while hospitalized.
He is survived by his wife, Choi Un-hee, two sons and two daughters.
Born in 1926 in North Hamkyong Province in what is today North Korea, he debuted as an art director soon after he graduated from a Tokyo university in 1945. He made his first movie in 1952.
He married Choi, a popular actress at the time, in 1953.
He and his wife were abducted by North Koreans in 1978 while in Hong Kong and held captive before their successful escape through Vienna in March 1986. They said they were forced to make movies eulogizing North Korean leader Kim Jong-il and his regime.
I confess that I am not familiar with the man's work. Alas, you will have to go elsewhere for a proper eulogy. He is considered to be one of the masters of early post-independence Korean film makers. The Guardian has a piece on Shin's experience as a film maker under Kim Jong-il.
The timing of Shin's death cannot be good politically for the Roh administration, which is taking some heat for being "lukewarm" on trying to secure the release of South Korean abductees compared to Japan's more vigorous efforts on behalf of its citizens. The attention brought on by the death one of the most famous abductees might turn the heat up more.
No matter how long you live some place, there is something new to discover. I have just discovered that banks sometimes double as match-making services (Chosun):
Korea’s banks rely heavily on matchmaking as a way of attracting well-heeled private customers. This lunar year is especially propitious for tying the knot as it covers two spring equinoxes, and banks are organizing singles parties to help children of wealthy customers meet their perfect match. If they do, bank executives even officiate at the wedding.
Righteous. Banks even hire people specifically for their matchmaking skills:
Shinhan Bank recently hired Kim Hee-kyung (40) as the head of its private banking business. Kim has been a flight attendant with Korean Air -- and a manager with matchmaking firm Duo. The bank was clear that it wanted not a financial wizard but a matchmaking professional to meet demand from wealthy customers. Kim says she plans to visit customers’ homes to find out more about how they live and then arrange private meetings between those who are mostly likely to make a good match. "I’m already getting lots of phone calls from customers,” Kim says.
But don't rush your son or daughter to the deposit window just yet. The match making service is only for prime customers:
Hana Bank says one the secrets of its private banking business’ success is the matchmaking parties it has been holding every May for the last seven years. The bank invites some 100 children of its most prized customers to a demure knees-up featuring dancing and a magic show. Last year's total result was two couples, one of them getting married on April 12 with the bank's vice president Kim Jin-seong officiating at the wedding.
Woori Bank is waiting till the year’s second wedding season in autumn to arrange a match-making meeting for some 100 of their rich customers’ offspring. Korea Exchange Bank will encourage its VIP customers to sign up for a “wedding plaza” program, where their children can see each other's profile and choose a mate, financial compatibility guaranteed.
I must admit that this is a brilliant concept from the perspective of rich parents. Only the children of a bank's richest customers can even get their foot in the door. Their is almost no chance of your precious child meeting some poor slob off the street pretending to be rich enough (the bank knows his assets). While it sounds cold and elitist (which it is), it also reduces the chances of your kid coming home with a goldbricker.
In any case, the whole business is strange, and I mean that in the most culturally objective way possible.
Just about every public entity in Korea seems to have some cartoon mascot, so it is hardly a surprise to see this guy on a few posters around campus:
His name is Hogugy. He is the mascot for the Korean army. Here is what GloabalSecurity.org has to say about him:
Hogugy symbolizes the "Hoguk Jungshin (patriotism)" and the nation's holy animal, tiger. It also symbolizes the Korean peninsula and the spirit of the "Baekdusan(Mt. Baekdu) Tiger" roaring towards the world. Hogugy's gesture expresses the future-oriented ROK Army and symbolizes the beloved Army from its people.
I suspect they lifted that from someone whose English is not so good.
The Rev. Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk, Archbishop of Seoul, was Wednesday appointed a cardinal by the Vatican.
With his appointment, Korea has two cardinals simultaneously for the first time in its Catholic history, which began in the 18th century. The Rev. Stephen Kim Sou-hwan has served as the nation's only cardinal since 1969.
As a practical matter, this means that Korea will have a vote when it comes time to elect the next pope. Since Cardinal Stephen Kim Sou-hwan is over 80, he is not allowed to vote. Once Cardinal Kim is called home and a younger man replaces him, Korea may have two votes (Cheong is 75).
Cheong is also the Vatican's administrator for Pyongyang (for what good that does them).
(This isn't really news. It is more like a public service for anyone looking into this particular east-Asian custom. Go to the comments section to see why Korean hospitals do not have a fourth floor.)
I stayed a couple of nights with my wife in the hospital last week while she was having our baby.
To get a little exercise, I would take the stairs to her room on the fourth floor rather than an elevator. Did I say fourth floor? Of course, most (all?) Korean hospitals do not have a fourth floor.
To be more precise, they have a fourth floor but they call it something else. In some places, it is the "F" floor. In others (like ours), they skip the fourth so that you go strait from he third floor to the fifth.
I have the pictures to prove it.
I hope this post helps some budding anthropologist.
I've been enjoying Rome since it hit OCN a few weeks ago. It seems that I'm not alone:
In the cable world, where a 1 percent viewer rating is on the high side, the show has brought a landslide 3.18 percent in the AGB Nielsen Ratings on its first airing. Average ratings over 3 weeks dropped off slightly to around 2.15 percent. Viewers who are fed-up with the overabundance of soap opera fare are saying finally something has come along that's actually worth watching.
Check out that first link. It has a lot of good stuff.
I am a little busy today, so I'll just share this bit of Korean culture and be off:
Love comes at a hefty price in South Korea. There are up to 21 anniversaries, special days and celebrations a year for couples to shower each other with affection and gifts, and as a result some relationships are crushed under the weight of festivities.
It is a really short piece, so there is no excuse not to read it all.