Friday, August 31, 2007

이화여대 2006학년도 후기 학위수여식 aka Commencement: Finish-shee!

Update 1 (@4:47pm):

Yep, I was right. I got a beautiful bouquet of roses. I'd held my composure together up until then but, literally, every professor the department that I work for and our two assistants were there.

I cracked. I cried. The new M.A.C. eye makeup (color: Lovestone) I bought yesterday at Lotte Department Store is a mess.

I feel bad when I cry because I'm not crying about getting a bouquet of roses, I'm crying about something else. So I say my thanks and then I run away and hide. That's what I'm doing right now. I'll recover in a few minutes.


Graduation is done! I held it together when facing the university's president when she was handing me my degree.

Oooops! I just remembered that I was in such a rush to get out that I forgot to pick up my award (those were in my department's office.)

I'm at work now and my department wants me to stop by the office later. I'll probably get flowers which is a nice gesture.

Here is a pic of me and Soha, a graduate student from Iraq. Below that, a picture of me and my classmate Jiyoung.

More to follow later. Now I have to get ready for my 2pm class.


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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Pretty but ... ohmygod

"The only reason some people get lost in thought is because it's unfamiliar territory." - Paul Fix

That's a good quote to start this one off with.

This video is just burning up over at I heard about this story this morning as I was getting ready for work. Honestly, I know I'm a few days behind the curve, but it's depressingly hilarious. All I have to say is thank goodness for George Hotz. We need stories like that to, at least, try to balance stories like this out.

Here is Miss South Carolina, 18 year old Lauren Upton, a contestant in this year's Miss Teen USA pageant, trying in vain to answer this: Recent polls have shown a fifth of Americans can't locate the US on a world map. Why do you think this is?

Before people rush on here saying that I'm calling her stupid, I'm not. I don't know the girl. Also, yes, people make mistakes and crack under pressure. However, whether it be merely nerves, bad public speaking skills or that she's a complete dimwit, she's the current poster child for the Dumb American.

I have to give a high-five to the US education system and that No Child Left Behind program for holding things down while I've been overseas.

I haven't laughed so loud in a long time. Too bad the laughter was at someone else's expense and tinged with some heartache.

Seriously, the educated elite (yes, the US has one even if it's not completely evident these days) is the exception, but most Americans really need to simply know more. I say this anecdotally. Sometimes just conversations I have with folks back home hurt because it's so painful what they don't know. The thing is I'm not talking about obscure, specialist topics and information. I'm talking about just everyday info, like the dismal state of education in the US. However, if this were actually common knowledge in the US then the system probably wouldn't be so dismal.

I'm not claiming by any stretch to be a walking encyclopedia, but I could have answered that question. In a contest that is supposed to judge not only beauty and charm but also poise, she should have been able to put together a coherent answer. In fact, this is one that really doesn't require facts. It's her opinion and she couldn't even articulate that. I know they teach this in just about all public speaking or interview classes: take a moment, collect your thoughts and THEN speak. Also, if the question isn't clear ask that it's repeated. Hint: this also buys you more time even if you did understand the question.

However, honestly, this flub will probably earn her more in endorsements than the winner. Not bad for coming in fourth place.

More links: Miss Teen S. C. makes her mark with flub
Guardian Unlimited: Now, where is America anyway?
New York Daily News: Beauty queen: 'Americans ... don't have maps' and Beauty maps out better day
National Post: Yoni Goldstein translates for Miss Teen South Carolina
Toronto Star ( Miss Teen USA hopeful a superstar after flub
and in her defense, one from home - The IslandPacket: Give her a break! A few kind words for Miss Teen South Carolina


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Playboy Spoon? Hugh Hefner Would Be Proud ;-)

Update: September 1st @ 3:37pm

I saw a delivery/dirty dish scooter while walking home and I snapped a photo with my camera phone.

Yes, my theory was right. The delivery guys do double duty. The metal box on the left, which holds food, the driver basically held on his left. The blue bin is where the dirty dishes go. Okay, that question is answered.

A new semester has started which means I went back to work this week.

I've been a bit reclusive lately and just didn't feel like going to the faculty cafeteria where it's a crap shoot whether someone will try to join me or not. I've just been quiet and not really chatty lately.

What's great about Korea is you can call local restaurants and they'll deliver a hot meal to you door. Now, yes, some restaurants do that back home, but it's NOT in the same way.

The one thing you notice is the guys on scooters zipping in and out of traffic (or on the sidewalk). Well, a lot of these scooters have big metal rectangular boxes on the back and in those boxes is food on it's way to be delivered. Others have trash buckets on the back and those are out to collect dishes that have been recovered to be washed and used again. I'm not sure exactly how it works because I think the guy who delivers can also be the guy who picks up, but, I'm not going to research this one.

Yesterday I ate lunch in my office. I had 모밀 정식(Japanese style buckwheat noodles a cold soya sauce soup, green onions and wasabi) with 조밥 (raw fish on rice - sushi). Today I couldn't shake my reclusiveness and ate lunch in my office again. Today I had 순두부 찌개 (a soup with lots of soft tofu, egg, small clams, and veggies in a deunjang (the very strong Korean version of miso)). If you need a Korean food primer check this link out or browse along the sidebar and click over to Mary Eats or ZenKimchi.

Anyway, tomorrow I think I'll do the same.

Anyway, today
when my 순두부 찌개 arrived. It arrived it the usual "eat it now" dishes which they usually swing back by an hour or so later to pick up. The spoons in Korea are metal with handles that are much longer than table spoons are in the west.

Actually, the length of the handle is similar to an iced tea spoon (my dad had tons of these as he loved iced tea in the summertime.)

As I said, they come with dishes that the restaurant will turn around and pick up later. Today, I had to look twice at my spoon and noticed it had a replica of the Playboy bunny on it...seriously, check it out.

That was just so weird that 1) I was tempted to keep (okay, steal) the spoon and 2) I just HAD to take a picture of it and blog it (yes, life is pretty dull right now.)

Just a bit of weirdness, Korea style.

*Pics of the dishes lifted from this page.


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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Deal With Taliban To Free Korean Hostages

Update 3 (September 1, 2007 @10:31pm): Choson Ilbo: Hostage Drama Ends With Release of Last 7 Koreans and CNN: Released South Korean hostages apologize for 'causing trouble'

Update 2 (August 29, 2007 @9:04pm) from Eight South Korean hostage freed

Update 1 (August 29, 2007 @ 7:20pm) from Taliban frees 3 South Korean hostages


This story is still developing and I read the headlines saying a deal had been made this afternoon. The Korean papers didn't give a lot of detail. However, this CNN blurb doesn't give a lot either.

Sohn Jie-ae is on CNN International reporting on it, so for those who still don't know, it looks like the remaining hostages will be freed soon. That's good news, so it's worth blogging.

Taliban to release Korean hostages

Story Highlights
  • Taliban agrees to release 19 South Korean hostages held in Afghanistan
  • Two male hostages killed, two female hostages released by the Taliban
  • Christian aid group was abducted in Ghazni province on July 19
SEOUL, South Korea (CNN) -- South Korean negotiators in Afghanistan have reached a deal with Taliban militants holding 19 South Korean Christian aid workers for over a month, a presidential spokesman in Seoul said Tuesday.

Seoul welcomes the deal, but the spokesman cautioned that many details must still be worked out and the aid workers will not be released immediately.

Under the terms of the agreement, South Korea agreed to stick by its previous decision to withdraw its 200 non-combat troops from Afghanistan, which work mostly in an engineering and medical capacity.

In addition, Seoul will halt all Christian missionary work in Afghanistan.

The spokesman said there was no agreement to pay the captors, nor was there any mention of releasing Taliban prisoners -- a major demand of the kidnappers.

Twenty-three hostages, all church volunteers, were seized July 19 by the Taliban militant group while they were traveling on a bus in Afghanistan. Two were executed and two others were freed, leaving 19 still in captivity.

Here is another article from the Voice of America website:

Taleban Agrees to Release 19 South Korean Hostages

Taleban representatives say they have agreed to release 19 South Korean hostages held captive in Afghanistan for more than a month.

A South Korean presidential spokesman has confirmed that a deal for the release has been reached.

The announcement came Tuesday, after the Taleban and South Korean officials held a new round of talks on the fate of the hostages.

Face-to-face talks between South Korean officials and Taleban militants had broken down after the kidnappers released two female hostages earlier this month in what they called a gesture of goodwill.

The militants earlier executed two male hostages and had threatened to kill the rest if the Afghan government did not release Taleban prisoners.

Kabul rejected a prisoner swap.

Taleban militants abducted the 23 South Koreans as they traveled by bus to southern Afghanistan to do charity work on behalf of their Christian church.


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Monday, August 27, 2007

Rachel's Tavern: Why There is a BET and There isn't a WET

BET Girl illustration lifted from this blog and is probably drawn by this person, but I can't find the original link :(

I just love Rachel's Tavern. She put up a great post today about a question I've been relieved not to have heard for awhile. There is a benefit to living in South Korea in that I can play dodge the scary and crazy white person (much more terrifying to me than the scary and crazy black person for obvious reasons).

Well, I can't dodge them all of the time, but I manage to do so quite well as there are less of them in number. However, the proportion of both scary and crazy is increases exponentially as expat populations are a really interesting selection of people ranging from open-minded free-spirits to criminals and nutters who can't get or keep a job back home.

Dodging these types mean I don't get the "I have many black friends" or "you're very articulate" spiels much, thank goodness. It means I also don't have to single handedly get put on the spot to justify or explain the existence of things like BET, NAACP or historically black colleges and universities. However, she does as it's her job.

She's got a great post on it: Why There is a BET and There isn't a WET.

She introduces and explains the concept much better than I can at 1:10am, so read on.

Editor’s Note: I’m posting this over at Allywork where comments will be open. I also need to do a second proofreading since it’s really late, and I had to retype this three times.

Nearly every semester, I get this comment, “Professor, why is there a Black Entertainment Television when there is no White Entertainment Television? They would say it is racist if we had WET, so why can they have BET?” There are other variants of this question, such as: “Why are there historically black colleges and not
historically white colleges?” “Why is there an NAACP and no NAAWP?” “Why is there a minority scholarship, but no white scholarship?” “Why is there an Asian/Black/Latino student’s center and no White student’s center?” I’m sure most of my readers have heard one or more of these questions, but for some reason, the BET question is the most common way this sentiment is expressed. The comment comes up so often that I have a set of canned answers ready for when it comes up. It is significant because it is indicative of many of the elements of contemporary racism–colorblindness, the normativity of whiteness, and the invisiblility of power inequalities in social institutions. 1 When I answer this question, I attempt to challenge students to think outside of the confines of contemporary racial ideology and whiteness.

My first reaction to the BET question is to reject the premise of the question. I tell students that there are many channels that are White Entertainment Television–they are called NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX, the Home and Garden Channel, TLC, etc. At this point, many of the students of color laugh (as do a few white students), but most of the white students have a look of puzzlement. Then someone usually says, but those channels have black people on them too. I respond by telling them that there are white people on BET. At this point, I also take the time to explain how most shows on the white oriented channels have predominantly white casts. It usually helps to give examples of shows like Friends, The Hills, and Everybody Loves Raymond, where all of the main characters are white. I also explain that there are very few predominantly black (Asian, Latino, or American Indian) shows. I often have students of color who explain how or why certain shows or networks don’t appeal to them, which helps drive home the point.

Many whites don’t notice whiteness, so this is a good opportunity to talk about how whiteness is often unmarked and invisible. Schools, neighborhoods, churches, fraternities, and other groups and organizations that are create for whites are not marked as such. Part of the reason we don’t call our groups white is that we don’t even realize that these groups are catering to us. Part of being white means not having to think about whiteness and the opportunities it grants. In fact, even thinking
about whiteness makes many of whites uncomfortable, which is why the reaction to BET is so strong. There is a knee jerk reaction that says “calling something white is wrong so calling something black is wrong.” But what my white students don’t realize is that what is more offense than calling something white is excluding people of color (whether it is intentional or not). They are oblivious to how the groups they are part of operate to exclude people of color. On the other hand, they don’t realize that most groups that are labeled black don’t exclude whites; they incorrectly think that whites can’t join black fraternities or sororities or go to historically black colleges, which just isn’t the case. ((There are indeed some organizations that cater to people of color, which exclude whites, but they are quite rare, and obviously BET doesn’t not have any no whites rule.)) At the same time, they don’t realize that the groups they are part of are not doing much if anything to appeal to people of color.

The BET question also gives us the opportunity to talk about the psychology of being in the minority or the majority. It is difficult for many whites to imagine how being outnumbered and ignored affects people of color, so I try to make students think about how predominantly white programs dominate. This makes it difficult for people of color to find role models and realistic reflections of their lives. I tell them that the feeling that they have of being left out when they wonder why there is a BET, is something that people of color in this country deal with every day. I ask them to imagine how they would feel if they were the only white person or one of a few white people in our class. I explain that since the dominant culture’s views are everywhere people of color have to learn the norms and rules of whites in order to get by, but whites don’t have to understand what it means to be black (Asian, Latino, American Indian, Middle Eastern) to function in this society. 2

This question allows us to discuss the historical dimensions of discrimination. Many black groups and organizations have been formed because blacks were not allowed to be part of white organizations. So we have historically black colleges and universities because white schools did not allows blacks to enroll. When I note this, some students will say that black organizations should have been disbanded with the end of legal segregation. The problem with that view is that discrimination didn’t end with the change in laws; moreover, using that same logic white segregated schools should also have disbanded. If we never had racism, I suppose there wouldn’t be any BET. We would not even refer to people by their skin color, but there was and is racial discrimination, so we can pretend color doesn’t matter.

By this point, I’ll still have a few people that don’t understand, and really feel that there shouldn’t be any BET at all. Then, I tell them that BET is currently owned by whites. This seems to delight some of the more prejudiced students, but it throws others off because they don’t realize how many whites are profiting off BET, and damn near every other black oriented form of entertainment.

So next time someone asks, why is there a BET and no WET, you can give a long treatise explaining why.

  1. The normativity of whiteness refers to the idea that whiteness is viewed normal, unremarkable, and often invisible. Moreover, this concept reflects the idea that whiteness is both the standard of comparison for other racial groups and the category to which people should aspire. [back]
  2. I often make a joke about a stereotype that many blacks have of whites–white people’s hair smells like a dog when it is wet. I ask how many of my students have heard of this. Usually, the only students who have heard it are black. Many students laugh because this stereotype seems absurd. Then, I say, “How
    many of you have heard the stereotype that blacks are violent and crime prone?” Almost all the students raise their hands, and nobody laughs. I make the case that the first one is humorous to them because it really doesn’t have an impact on the day to day lives of whites, but the crime stereotype isn’t funny because it has a profound impact on blacks. [back]


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Sappy Stuff

The master's cap and gown with those weird wing sleeve thingies. (A link to a pretty detailed hisotry of what all the patterns and colors mean.)

Update 1 (August 29, 2007 @ 10:43pm): I picked up my graduation gear from the cleaners and I still can't figure out what color that damn hood is.


p.s. It's now Thursday morning and, yes, it's peacock blue. There is no way it's aqua. I wonder has anyone every been vain enough to choose a major based on the hood color? I say this because music master's get to wear a pink hood. I'm jealous.


I picked up my cap and gown today for my graduation cerimony. I have both Aqua Marine and Peacock Blue pictured as I really have no idea which color the hood is. I took the whole ensemble to the dry cleaners tonight, so I'll figure it out when I pick it up from the cleaners.

The cerimony will be this Friday for all you stalkers out there. I just figure that most of you will have a very long way to travel to stalk me so, I'm good. Plus, you'd still have to figure out the time and location ;)

I was filled with some sappy emotions trying my graduation cap and gown ensemble on. I was conversing with my department's administrative assistant. It was kind of bittersweet after all of the grief I caused for my department and, at times, this particular assistant.

My last year I realized the direct approach doesn't work quite as well as indirect here in the Land of the Morning Calm. I changed my strategy and got on much better than I did my first year. That was crucial as my first year I didn't work, but I went back to work my second year which means I didn't have time for stress. I work in Gyeonggi-do, the county surrounding Seoul. I commute about 45 minutes to an hour or more depending on traffic. When I changed jobs the commute changed but it's still around one hour. A softer touch meant a softer landing for me this year.

Graduating is cool in that I've earned some sort of award. Each department has one student getting a special award of some sort during the cerimony and my department will be with a few others in one big cerimony. Honestly, I'm still not quite sure what kind of award exactly. It seems none can really describe it in a way that I understand and I've yet to see the name of the award in Korean, so I'm at a loss to ask anyone else about it. However, from how they describe it, it seems to be the Korean equivalent of valedictorian for my department. At least, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

I've also earned best thesis for my class. Now that was one in which I definitely had an unfair advantage as I was the lone native English speaker working on one this term. I think just in terms of grammar, structure and writing style I had the best one. I have the advantage of having been published while in law school which means the one thing I can do quite well is academic writing. Plus, I'd mulled over topic and content forever and did tons of research, so it was clear I'd put a fair amount of work into it. Here in Korea I noticed that even theses are put off to the last minute, whereas I completely geeked out and pretty much lived in the library on the weekends last term.

What was sad for me was hearing that I'd earned these honors and immediately thinking about my parents. I'll write it in Korean and you can go to Bablefish or somewhere else to translate it. I started writing this earlier today and stopped here. However, in Korean I'm so focused on getting the grammar right that I can turn off the emotions.

제 부모님을 돌아가셨어요.

What that means was upon hearing the news the first people I wanted to tell I couldn't. At least, not literally. That led to some tears. What that means is there are going more tears that I won't be very comfortable explaining during the cerimony. The event itself will shield me as most will assume I'm merely sentimental and über-mopey.

From the fun point of view, I did bust out my toy lightsaber for my law school commencement. I've got to admit, if I had it here I'd probably take it again. The Koreans wouldn't be happy, but I would be walking with a mark of my geekiness and that would make me happy ;)

Anyway, a new semester of work starts for me tomorrow and I need to get some sleep, so I can be that alert and somewhat chipper instructor.


P.S. Yeah, and no comments on this one.


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Sunday, August 26, 2007

"Lady": A Lady-man Pop Group in Korea

From left: Binu, Sine and Sahara

I saw this headline today on the Chosun Ilbo's website and I had to blog it.

I mean I had a cross dressing roommate when I was in San Francisco. Very strange not because he was a cross dresser, but because he just wasn't a good one. I lived a couple of blocks from a great drag bar, so I saw great looking drag queens all the time.

Anyway, the article talks about how a new pop group whose members are transsexuals is set to debut here in Korea. Now that might sound strange but when I first arrived Harisu, 하리수, was huge news here in Korea.

Honestly, I think it's great that it's happening. I know that in the States the protest groups would be out in force and an entertainment company wouldn't dare to put together and promote a group like this. As I've said a few times on this blog before, believe it or not, but Koreans have a quicker discrimination learning curve than we do in the West. This is just another example.

Manufactured Transgender Pop Group 'Lady' Set to Debut
Pretty pop princesses are a dime a dozen, but meet “Lady,” not your typical girly group. These four foxy sirens are creating media frenzy as they poise to take the entertainment industry by storm. Korea's first transgender group is set to release its debut album in a Euro-dance style.

And its members -- Sine, Sahara, Binu and Yoona -- born as 'he's are now 'she's with looks that many natural-born women would kill for.

"We love chocolate, shopping and gossip. Mentally we were always women, the only difference being that we changed something physical, simply we are women with an extra scar," said one group member.

And Lady's agency is banking on this with the manufactured group. In fact, the decision to create a transgender quartette is already reaping a marketing pay off.

It's hard to believe that the members of lady aged 22 through 29 had to compete with other transgender contenders in an audition, where they say, almost 400 other showed up for their shot at fame.

"Many people are speculating that you are trying to cash in on the novelty of being transgendered, but many are skeptical about if you have any talent, what do you say to that?" "Soon we'll show everyone what we've got on stage."

Part of the paparazzi can be owed to the pioneering role of the Korean singer Harisu, who successfully created a niche for transsexuals in the traditionally conservative Korean entertainment industry.

All post-op transgenders, the members of Lady say that they are hoping to find acceptance from the public, having been warmly embraced by their families. "It was hard for them at first, but now they support me." "I was very fortunate, when I became an adult and went to get my gender reassignment surgery, my whole family came to support me."

But in a fickle industry their long-term popularity will depend on the quality of music they deliver, and only time will tell. Waiting in the wings until the curtains go up on their big debut, each day is spend to the hilt, focusing on preparation, and for now they are just "ladies, in waiting.”


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iPhone Hacker - Right On!

I remember in one of my first posts on the iPhone one of the comments was about having to use AT&T. In reply to that comment, I said people might be able to get around it.

Well, now that's the case. Some industrious folks spent the summer hacking the iPhone and now you're not limited to AT&T. Now it takes breaking the phone open and busting out the soldering tools, but some are saying a software code hack is coming soon.

The person getting the credit is 17 year old George Hotz. I saw an interview with him on CNN International this morning. I think it's great and he's got a great start too (he's off to college soon.)

I love the fact that he's not selling the hack and that it's online for all to access (see the links below). I also love that when the CNN reporter asked him if he'd done this alone, he said no. He then went on to give credit to the "community" of people who he worked with to successfully hack the iPhone.

Click "read more" for some videos. If I can find the video to the interview he had with the clueless CNN reporter, I'll link that too.

Hotz on YouTube announcing the hack:

Engadget verifying that it works:

An interview with Hotz on MSNBC:

Hotz's blog: Finding the JTAG on the iPhone
Hotz's website (I have no idea what's on it): The NEW


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Saturday, August 25, 2007

My Frustrated Inner Curator ;-)

Honestly, I should have indulged my right brain moreso than my left.

No huge regrets either way, but I wanted to be an artist when I was a five year old, a poet at one point, and ended up at a performing arts high school as a teen. I've always had leanings that way, but reacted strongly to the general assumption that artsy types were stupid.

So guess which route I went? Of course, had I gone the other way, I'd probably be blogging about how I should have gone to law school instead.

Plus, these interests aren't mutually exclusive by any stretch, so who knows what I'll get into in the future. As they say, the grass is always greener but this game ain't over yet.

Anyway, I've been surfing around and I've found some really interesting art websites. I think it's time to share a few.



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Friday, August 24, 2007

Hello Baby!

Photo and caption from the JoongAng Ilbo website: The more educated, the more babies? There seems to be a correlation between levels of education and the fertility rate. Women and babies gather yesterday at Seoul International Mother and Baby Fair at COEX. [YONHAP]

Over the last few years the birth rate in South Korea has fallen. Of course, that sets government officials in a panic because a shrinking population is bad news for a growing economy as well as for society in general. So for the last few years there has been increased pressure on Korean women to literally breed more Korean children to keep society going. I've heard of incentives such as government aid to encourage women to get pregnant and have more children.

The headlines recently report that the birth rate has turned around after a six year slump: Number of Newborns Rises After 6 Years.

The article below explains the increase by saying there is a positive correlation between a woman's education level and the number of children she has. Of course, conventional wisdom is the more education a woman has the less likely it is that she'll have a lot of children. Now the writer explains this away as "common sense."

Educated women have more babies

It is a widespread phenomenon that well-educated, successful women are more likely to stay single longer. But a recent study by a central bank- related think tank shows that once these high achievers get married, they tend to give birth to more children than women with less education.

According to a report based on research into women between 20 and 40 years of age over a five-year period beginning in 1995, women with a higher educational background also have a better chance of marrying men with similar educational levels.

“The higher the husbands’ income as a result of higher education, the more children their wives give birth to,” said the report from the Institute for Monetary and Economic Research under the Bank of Korea.

The report presented statistical proof of what ordinary Koreans might consider common sense.

For example, for each additional year of a husband’s education, the chance of his spouse giving birth increases by 0.23 percent.

However, the direct statistical correlation between the educational level of women themselves and their birthrate was not available, said Kim Woo-yeong, the researcher who conducted the study. Mathematical complications hindered obtaining exact figures.

Another noteworthy result of the study is that women who have already given birth to a son are 7.3 percent more likely to bear children again than those who previously gave birth to a daughter.

That indicates that women who deliver sons have less psychological pressure to give birth to children regardless of gender, while those with a daughter as a first child are more prudent in their attitudes, for fear of having yet another daughter, the study said.

Kim cited this as an indication that the traditional preference for having a son still prevails in modern Korean society.

According to Kim, Korea’s fertility rate, or the average number of children a woman has during her life-time, has been in a downward spiral since the late 1950s, when the post-war baby boom occurred. It tumbled to the lowest level in the world at 1.08 in 2005.

Should the downward momentum on the rate persist, Korea will see its population start to shrink around 2020.

It might very well be that, but I also see it as a difference in how Korean society works in contrast to my society. I'm arguing anecdotally 'cause I haven't looked up figures, but, in general, it seems that more education does mean less children.

However, a key difference in Korea is a woman who marries an educated man has the option to not work at all and to have a very comfortable existence. That's still very much preferred here. I do know a lot of well-to-do Korean moms who work, but they have all sorts of working mom versus stay-at-home mom drama too.

In contrast, it's lesser educated Korean women with less resources don't have the option to have a lot of children. (They marry foreigners - I'm serious, it's the rare, well-off and highly educated Korean woman I see marrying a foreigner, fooling around, okay. Marrying, no.)

The focus on education here is great, but it is also a huge money drain. Not only do parents send their kids to school, but the preference is for kids to get the kids into school abroad or into the few foreign schools that are here. If they can't then the preference is to get into the best Korean schools. There is also the hagwon culture where children keep going to school after class ends in the afternoon. They attend English classes, music classes, martial arts, etc. I've known kids to not get home until well after dark. That's expensive.

Layer on top of that just the cost of living and the hard work ethic of Koreans and I can completely see why uneducated Korean women aren't having as many children. They don't have the time or the resources. I think a lack of resources for these women is the biggest reason I believe.


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Waegooks in Korea - Over 1,000,000

Oh boy! The number of waegooks, foreigners (외국), in South Korea is over one million. According to the article linked below, that's two percent of the total population.

I have to say I've definitely noticed the increase during the time I've lived here. I think it's good for both Korea and foreigners like me who, well, aren't really into explaining the subtext of what they're saying all the time.

It's nice to be in a crowd of foreigners who just get it. It's also nice not to be limited to English teachers as friends (nothing against my friends who are English teachers but you know my opinion on the most of them.) It's nice going to movies where when the funny scene happens you laugh in unison. Yes, I'm not always into cultural exchange. In fact, I find it to be incredibly tedious most of the time.

Funny, considering I do like living abroad. However, there were a couple of years where I was downright hostile. The undiagnosed Graves' Disease I'm sure didn't help. I think excess of hormones only exacerbated the sheer agony of living out in the country as I'm born, raised and educated in the big city. I'm just too used to activity and a buzz around me. I got over the tendency to sneer a bit too much once I escaped the country. I am NOT cut out for rural living, especially in Korea.

Anyway, here is the Korea Herald's article on this new shift in demographics in Korea.

Foreign residents top 1 mil.

The number of foreigners residing in the country surpassed the 1-million mark for the first time, accounting for 2 percent of the total population, according to government data.

The Justice Ministry said that foreign residents total 1,000,245, a 15 percent increase from 865,889 recorded in July 2006 and 1.58 times more than 386,972 in 1997.

Of them, 220,000 are staying here illegally.

By nationality, Chinese take the lion's share, tallied at 441,334, or 44 percent of the total foreign population. The figure includes some 266,000 Korean-Chinese. Americans are the second largest group with 117,938, or 12 percent, followed by Vietnamese with 64,464, or 6 percent.

Of the total, 724,000 are registered as long-term residents including industrial trainees and spouses of Korean nationals.

The survey said 64.5 percent of the foreign population reside in Seoul or the surrounding metropolitan areas.


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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Problems Recruiting Professors at SNU

This is more interesting than the last story. It looks like with the heat turned up with fake degrees and Seoul National University's big embarrassment with the Hwang Woo Suk stem cell research cheating they're being more careful about who they hire.

Seoul National University (SNU) is supposed to be the best university in Korea. I don't necessarily agree because I find the evaluations of schools here to be based more on old school connections and legacies than on the quality of research and teaching coupled with an impressive student body. However, I don't know much about this particular university except for a few anecdotes, the lore surrounding it, interaction with students from their GSIS program and their administrative staff.

Seoul National University Fails to Hire Professors

Seoul National University Tuesday failed to hire engineering professors as all the applicants were deemed unqualified.

It was the first time for the nation’s most prestigious university to reject applicants for the six engineering and science professors.

About 40 people applied but none of them met the screening guidelines, the school said.

A school spokesman said many talented Ph.d. holders in science and engineering shun applying to the state-run university due to the low compensation package.

Last March, the university announcement the recruitment of seven professors at colleges of science and engineering for the second semester.

The five departments included the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering; Department of Material Science and Engineering; and Department of Naval Architecture and Ocean Engineering.

Last June, the college of science and engineering also invited applicants for the position of dean, and professors from other universities were allowed to apply for the first time _ but all the eight applicants were from SNU.

Many cited that the failure illustrates a crisis in education at colleges of science and engineering.

"A bad tradition in the college of science and engineering is a problem," said Kim Doh-yeon, a dean of the college of science and engineering. "Once you are hired as a professor, you will get the same amount of salary regardless of how big a breakthrough you make in your studies and are treated as other professors"

Successful candidates who study abroad and gain academic achievements do not want to return to Korean universities, Kim said.

Universities need to be like a market where competition makes products better and attracts customers, he said.

This is a big issue with name universities here and a part of globalization that subjects them to international competition. Also, with Korea's drive to increase its appeal as a place for foreigners to live and do business they've got upgrade the education options from top to bottom.

As I've said before, I used to work for one of the big three. The attitude was "We're great!So just be happy you work here, peasant!" Of course, with an attitude like that you don't stay happy for long. Their compensation package at the time was competitive. I knew that SNU's was not and never bothered to apply.

That's part of the problem as the article says. I also think it's the attitude that they don't have to compete for talent because of who they are.

But they have to realize that outside of Korea very few people care to even come here much less apply, as none of Korea's major universities even register on worldwide rankings. In Korea that's usually okay in the EFL/ESL market. For foreign English instructors the market is ripe with people who'll take the crappy job at the big name uni as well as crappy jobs just about anywhere else. Believe me, it makes for some pretty dull conversations with most English teachers here.

However, this happened in the engineering and sciences field. Those people are in very high demand. Thus, SNU has been looking for awhile and they'll continue to look until they evaluate the market and adjust not only their benefits but policies accordingly.

I find that my best job is the one I have now which is at a small college where both the professors and the administration are more humble, wonderfully organized, and are just easier to work with.

Y'all can have the big names. They're a bit too big, autocratic and conceited for their own good.


Two holdout professors explain what they think the problems are: Why Even SNU Is Seeing a Brain Drain (ChosunIlbo)


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Another Academic Fraud

Chang Mi-hee's 1985 film Deep Blue Night

I just got back from a faculty retreat at Ocean Castle in Taean. It was fun weirdness in many ways, but I don't want to blog it. Why? Someone else has pictures and none were taken in any scenic areas. Blogs need pictures. I know a lot of you have ADD issues. If you have questions on how I faired at the faculty training, send me an email ;)

However, speaking of education, at this point the whole "I lied about my education" thing is just growing tiresome because a new story of yet someone else having a crisis of conscience comes out every few days. Honestly, I've got a much more cynical read on this. People are digging now most likely, so instead of getting exposed people are playing the noble but sorrowful role. If that will get them out of trouble, and it probably will to a certain extent here, okay. I sense more to come.

But sorry to break it to you all in Korea but most expats here already knew there were big issues. Of course, it was only en vogue to expose lying foreigners and not lying Koreans.

I'll keep linking the stories for the benefit of those who don't live or work in Korea and for those who are just curious.

Here is one I saw today: Movie Star Chang Mi-hee Confesses to Bogus Resume

Chang Mi-hee says she's not trying to pass the buck and diminishes the importance her fake degrees held for her job, so why lie in the first place? It's that kind of inconsistency. Why lie about your education level when you're already a famous actress and financially successful? That points to this being a bad symptom of mostly positive cultural traits.

What's funny is in my home sweet home of L.A. it's common knowledge that most actors AREN'T even college grads much less suited to teach based on academic merit. If they do teach, it would be based on their practical job experience. There is nothing wrong with that. In fact, if I'm taking theater or acting I want an experienced actor to show me the ropes and not some academic. However, in the course of the development of its culture and modern society that was never a possibility here.

Anyway, read it and come to your own decision. For me, it just seems like there was no reason for her to even lie. So she just had a drive to layer more status on her already high status? Or maybe it was the fear of working with teachers and professors she assumed did have degrees so it was lying to save face with them?

Chang Mi-hee, 50, a leading screen star of the 1970 and 80s and now a theater and visual arts professor at Myongji College, is the latest high-profile Korean found to have lied about her educational background.

Chang, who is also a member of the Korean Film Council, claimed to have graduated from Dongguk University College of Buddhist Studies, Hawthorne University in the U.S. and Myongji University Graduate School of Education, according to the film council website and Internet portals like Naver.

But Dongguk University, responding to an inquiry by the Chosun Ilbo, said they had no record of any graduates by that name. Hawthorne University, meanwhile, was found to be an unaccredited school.

Reflecting on her 1978 visit to Stanford University in an essay published in 1998, the film star mentioned that she was a Dongguk University student. In a 2000 interview with Chosun weekly magazine, she said, "My Buddhism major was a philosophical choice, not a religious one."

Confronted by reporters at Myongji on Friday, Chang told them to check the facts with the schools and quickly left campus. But two hours later in a late-night interview, Chang broke down in tears and confessed to having lied.

"I'm embarrassed," Chang said. "I will willingly accept all criticism. But I stand firm in my belief that my teaching at Myongji was based more on my acting career than my degree. That's all the pride I have left."

― First, please clarify the facts.

"I debuted as an actress at age 19. A few years later I enrolled in Dongguk's Buddhist Studies department through 'extra admissions', which is how it's called these days. I didn't graduate but I took classes like other students."
― Hawthorne is known to be an unaccredited school.

"Believe it or not, I really didn't know. And that fact wasn't important. My childhood dream was to become an elementary school teacher. I really wanted to teach."

― The public is especially upset with you because you're a professor.

"I'm truly embarrassed. But when I was appointed to teach at Myongji's Adult & Continuing Education institute in 1989, the institute didn't appoint instructors based on their educational degrees. Over the years, I've done some 80 TV shows and films. I considered the appointment as recognition of my career. The hourly teaching fee was W8,000 then, while I received W50 million per movie. I put teaching before acting. I was famous for not skipping classes. I even received an award of merit in 1997."

― And what about the appointment to professor at Myongji College that came later?

"I'm not trying to pass the buck but I think that decision was up to the university. I still believe that the school considered my career more than my degree. Regarding Hawthorne, I still don't know what happened. I heard that the Education Ministry will launch a probe on the recent scandals next week. I will follow its decision."

Debuting on TV in 1975, Chang rose to stardom as the lead in the 1977 film "Winter Woman." Along with You Ji-in and Jeong Yun-hee, she was a top silver screen actress in the 70s and 80s. Chang has been teaching at Myongji College since 1998. She is a member of the Korean Film Council and executive committee chief of the Goyang International Children's Film Festival.

Another actress that confessed last week. Honestly, it was so underwhelming that I didn't blog it. However, now I can't find the link, so once I do, I'll add it here.

Update 1 - here is the link: Leading Actress Admits Faking Educational Background


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Friday, August 17, 2007

Death Proof - Second Chance Freebie, You Stragglers ;-)

Y'all get a second chance to see Tarantino's Death Proof gratis.

So say "thank you Metropolitician!". Okay, "thank you Mike" will be fine too.


One More Chance to See Death Proof!


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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Okay, Um, So It's Not Global Warming...It's Just Weather Cycles...riiiiiiiiiiiiight

Now in Seoul it's been raining non-stop. Yes, it's rainy season, but this is uncommon.

Here are a couple of stories that are definitely news worthy but also point to the uncommon weather in this region. I wouldn't argue that they're scientific by any stretch. However, I feel, they both point to global warming being real.

Take for what it's worth. It's just my two cents.

13 dead as Japan endures hottest ever day

The temperature hit a record high in Japan on Thursday, with the extreme summer heat killing at least 13 people across the nation this week, officials said.

The mercury shot up to a record 40.9 degrees Celsius (106 degrees Fahrenheit) in Tajimi city in the central prefecture of Gifu on Thursday afternoon, according to the weather agency.

The reading eclipsed the previous highest temperature recorded in Japan of 40.8 degrees set in northern Yamagata prefecture in 1933.

Five people have been killed since Tuesday in Saitama prefecture just north of Tokyo, officials said.

"Many of the victims are elderly people. They are hard hit by this heat wave as they are not so physically strong to begin with," local disaster-prevention official Toshihiko Yamasaki said.

In one of the latest deaths, an 88-year-old man was found unconscious in his bed Thursday morning and rushed to a hospital where he died, Yamasaki said.

"He had a heart illness but heat stroke is suspected to have caused the death," he said.

Two other people, aged 78 and 59, were also confirmed dead Thursday in Saitama in addition to deaths of a 92-year-old and a 80-year-old on Tuesday.

In Gunma prefecture, also north of Tokyo, at least five people have been killed since Wednesday.

A 93-year-old man died in northern Akita prefecture Monday and a 13-year-old boy died Thursday, two days after he collapsed practicing basketball at a school gymnasium in Tokyo.

Also in Tokyo, an 87-year-old woman died on Sunday after being found unconscious in her room.

Hundreds of people have also been sent to hospital due to heat-related illnesses and injuries.
North Korea Opens Up Over Flooding
Pyongyang, the world's most reclusive capital, prefers to keep the outside world in the dark about the country's misfortunes. It's part and parcel of North Korean founder Kim Il Sung's ideology of juche, or self-reliance, that has helped keep the country isolated from the outside world for much of the past 50 years. But this rainy season, North Korea has thrown the international community a curveball, announcing it had been hit extremely hard by floods after a solid week of torrential rains, and that it desperately needed assistance from the outside world.

It isn't the first time North Korea has gone cap in hand to international aid groups for relief. In 2006, when torrential rains in July left hundreds if not thousands dead, Pyongyang officials appealed to Seoul for aid that was subsequently held up following the North's nuclear test in October.

But this week's request was different. For starters, Pyongyang has reacted quickly to the latest disaster, requesting help while the waters are still high — rather than keeping silent as long as possible, as it has done in the past. After last year's floods, for example, government ministries waited nearly a month before they sought help from the outside world. "It's remarkable," says Paul Risley, a spokesperson for the World Food Program, of the change in attitude.

Unlike in past floods, North Korea has not tried to veil the extent of the damage. Television footage from the North showed citizens in Pyongyang wadding in knee- and waist-deep waters along the capital's grand boulevards — an extraordinary concession of weakness to the outside world. Government officials invited foreign diplomats in Pyongyang to venture out to the countryside to view first-hand the devastation wrought by the relentless rains. "This is definitely rare," says Professor Ryoo Kihl Jae, at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul. On Tuesday, the North's official Korean Central News Agency reported that hundreds were dead or missing, 30,000 homes had been destroyed and more than a tenth of the country's farmland inundated. The agency said at least 800 public buildings and 540 bridges were also destroyed.

So what's with Pyongyang's new upfront approach? Some analysts say that the country is starting to realize that secrecy may not always be the best option. "North Korea is learning the best way of winning support from the outside is to be candid and open," says Professor Moon Chung In, a Professor of comparative politics at Yonsei University. Pyongyang could be trying to be more straightforward, encouraged by the current thaw in relations with its neighbors and the international community. North Korea recently allowed United Nations inspectors to verify it had shut down its nuclear reactor at Yongbyon, and continues to take part in six-party talks aimed at the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. South Korean President Roh Moo Hyun, meanwhile, will be driving up to Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, for a three- day summit with Dear Leader Kim Jong Il at the end of this month.

It probably helps, too, that the North Koreans are likely in serious trouble. The hermit state's ability to feed its own people is limited at the best of times; even before the flooding, it carried a food deficit approaching a million tons of cereal. The destruction of vast swathes of farmland only worsens the situation, and has sparked fears of looming famine.

Finally, there's the cynical view: that Dear Leader Kim Jong Il is desperate for aid and savvy enough to understand that showing his cards — for now — is the best way to get it. It is still far too early to know how much international aid will flow into the stricken North. But donors will be apt to dig deeper if Kim Jong Il appears to be reading from the same page. Scorching U.S. heat in 2006 blamed on humans


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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Not A Surprise: Professors 'Routinely Pass Substandard Work'

My energy is inching back up, so let's hope it lasts.

Since I've been picking up on these education stories in Korea, here is another. A professor at Sungkyungwan University where Kim Ock-rang earned a doctoral degree after essentially lying about her educational background.

In March 2004 Kim earned a doctoral degree in performing arts from Sungkyunkwan University, the first in the country to earn such a degree.
She was one of the professors recently discovered to be a fraud.

It's honestly not much of a surprise. I'm proud to say that my experience in grad school here has been challenging and had me working hard. I was surprised how some of my classmates were shocked when professors held firm to their demands for high quality work. I think part of it is bound up in the culture where there is so much focus on status, respect and pride that the bigger virtue of education and knowledge, which are also huge attributes of Korean culture, is lost in the modern drive get rich and be a capitalist.

One big objection I've had working here on the college/university level is how an "I'm sorry" is supposed to earn a student a good or passing grade when they've not come to class and essentially bomb an exam. My reply is a terse "I'm sorry too" when handing back their test with a nice fail scribbled on it. What the administration does after I hand out these grades, I don't know, but I'm not having it.

That's probably one big reason there is such a push here for people to send their kids abroad for their education and the push to get advanced degrees in foreign countries.

Professors 'Routinely Pass Substandard Work'
Some 60-70 percent of advanced degree holders in Korea are unqualified, and professors are to blame for approving substandard work, Sungkyunkwan University art professor Jung Jin-soo said Monday. In a phone interview with the Chosun Ilbo on Monday, Jung said, "I have approved many poorly written dissertations.” He said a scandal surrounding fake degrees from the U.S. was only the tip of the iceberg. “Master's and doctoral theses passed through the legitimate process are also substandard,” he said. “Graduate schools are bent on recruiting students, so they are lenient in approving theses."

"If I were to take issue with the matter by myself, I would have had to quit my chair long ago,” Jung said. “Most college professors are accomplices in this lenient screening. Seventy percent of papers written by professors themselves only to add to their resume are rubbish. They are assessed by colleagues who don't examine one another’s work thoroughly."

Jung teaches at Sungkyunkwan, where Kim Ock-rang, the head of the Dongsoong Art Center and Dankook University professor at the center of the latest fake degree scandal, received her master's and doctorate. Jung graduated from Sogang University in British and American Language and Literature and got his doctorate at the University of Illinois.

Jung’s remarks are likely to put the cat among the pigeons. Already one professor of drama called them “outrageous”, saying many professors examine theses with scholarly integrity.


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Repost: 'Glamour' Editor To Lady Lawyers: Being Black Is Kinda A Corporate "Don't"

Update 2 (Oct. 8, 2007 @7:36am)

Some more stuff:

The blog written by the now identified editor, Ashley Baker, saying she was going to do this talk. The blog has new been taken over by another fashion editor, so don't mistake the girl whose pic is on the blog now as the stupid one who couldn't be bothered to think ahead.

Remember she was armed with pictures, so someone had to go out their way to find pictures of people with afros and dreds. The word is Ashley has now resigned. I can't say that my heart goes out to her hearing that because what she said was just fucking stupid.

Also, that means the Making Connections post, linked below, from is wrong and it wasn't Suze Yalof Schwartz. I don't remove links, I just update as needed, so it's there if you want to check out who they were pointing their powerful blogger finger at.


Update 1 (Oct. 7, 2007 @9:12pm)

Here is an editorial by Deborah Douglas from the Chicago Sun-Times on women and beauty and the stupid editor from Glamour: More Women clued in on beauty, body image

Nobody gains by making females feel ugly, but that doesn't stop a whole beauty industry designed to sell us improvements from trying.

Take Gerren, a 12-year-old model featured in the new documentary "America the Beautiful." She wants to wear mascara and a padded bra to school, but her mother says no; it'll just make boys gawk. Gerren pouts, holding the flesh-colored bra to her face, declaring that her mom is destroying her high school years.

Another girl, Ashley Crisp, 12, insists she's unattractive. She thinks stars like Mya and Monica are "beautiful," but it's lost on her that they look good because stylists fry and dye their hair and cinch them within an inch of their lives.

Women and girls have come a long way toward owning their beauty and body images but still have a way to go, as I learned while screening filmmaker Darryl Roberts' documentary, which debuted Saturday at the Chicago International Film Festival.

"Who benefits from women not feeling beautiful?" Roberts asks.

While Gerren and Ashley still have time to get straightened out, grown women online are taking control of messages about beauty double standards.

I learned this recently from an e-mail I was forwarded about a Glamour magazine editor who declared afros and dreadlocks "shocking" and "political."

Two generations removed from the black power afro, I didn't know anybody still had such primitive views. At the same time we're being urged to be greener, go natural and achieve authenticity, this obtuse woman set virtual tongues wagging with her uninformed "expertise."

What happened was: A young, white editor at Glamour was invited to a brown-bag lunch at Cleary Gottlieb, a New York law firm, to discuss the do's and don'ts of corporate fashion. Instead of informing a supervisor of the invitation, she took it upon herself to attend and offer advice to female lawyers. When slides of black women wearing an afro, then dreadlocks popped up on screen, the unnamed editor denounced the locks as "truly dreadful." She couldn't understand why people feel it's OK to wear "those hairstyles at the office" and that "political" hairstyles have to go, according to Vivia Chen, who wrote about the incident in the American Lawyer magazine.

Black female lawyers at the firm were taken aback, as was Chen, who, as a writer of Asian descent, is tuned in to issues of beauty double standards and ethnicity. "It struck me as being stereotypical and insensitive," Chen told me.

I was just as flabbergasted as all the other professional women who had been copied on my e-mail. Pulitzer-nominated writer and National Public Radio host Desiree Cooper, who wears locks, even called up Glamour editor Cindy Leive. So did I, because I had to hear her explanation for myself.

Alas, Leive is in Uganda, but in a letter to readers she stated: "The idea that a woman cannot be herself and still get ahead at work runs contrary to Glamour's message of empowerment (and, incidentally, to the reality of today's workplace), and I am still outraged that women heard such nonsense."

The young editor's view does not represent Glamour, Leive said. She has apologized and has been dealt with severely.

Unlike some of the women copied on my e-mail, I instantly knew the editor wasn't spouting from the magazine's beauty or feminist canon. But I couldn't help but wonder how she could function in an environment of inclusion and still be so freaking clueless.

After the Dove real women ad campaign and well-preserved, naked old ladies featured in magazine ads, it's hard to believe some girls and women are missing out on some important feminist values. But this time, they're in the minority and are getting called out on it.


Funny post from the Jezebel blog and a big, big reason I don't bother reading most fashion magazines anymore. They're selling a ton of advertising space to collect my money on products which would be better left on the shelves (and this is said from someone who is quite the shopper). They're most certainly not catering to me. I've managed to unplug from the Matrix.

Read on to see what I mean by that.


The latest issue of Glamour advises readers use Kimble leave-in conditioner followed by a flat iron followed by a curling iron followed by spritzer and augmented with hair extensions to achieve "Mary J. Blige's loose beautiful curls." Um, how about time better spent solving the mortgage crisis? Well, a recent slide show by an unidentified Glamour editor on the "Dos and Don'ts of Corporate Fashion" at a New York law firm shed some light on the topic, according to this month's American Lawyer magazine.

First slide up: an African American woman sporting an Afro. A real no-no, announced the 'Glamour' editor to the 40 or so lawyers in the room. As for dreadlocks: How truly dreadful! The style maven said it was 'shocking' that some people still think it 'appropriate' to wear those hairstyles at the office. 'No offense,' she sniffed, but those 'political' hairstyles really have to go.

Um, hey, 'no offense' taken -- my hair has been totally apolitical ever since I learned about the dangers of "Republican highlights" -- but next time you tell a group of professionals they'll need to submit to extensive regular treatments if they expect to survive in the corporate world, maybe try a crowd that isn't so familiar with, like, the law?

The story ends happily, with the law firm Cleary Gottlieb's managing partner Mark Walker, who wasn't at the lady luncheon, sending everyone an email pointing out the stupidty of the Glamour editor and of fashion magazines and yeah pretty much all the things we here at Jezebel hold so near and reviled.

As for the identity of the editor, neither Cleary Gottlieb nor Condé Nast Publications Inc. (publisher of 'Glamour') would say. Indeed, almost all of the half-dozen 'Glamour' editors contacted for this story professed not to have ever set foot in a law firm. 'Cleary what?' asked several. And Walker says he has no idea whether the editor who sparked all this controversy is a well-known fashionista. Not that Walker would know, even if Anna Wintour herself crossed his path. 'Who is she?' Walker asks. 'I really don't know people in the fashion industry.'
Ah, to be a white man.

How much of an idiot is this said unidentified Glamour editor? The folks over at Gawker have an idea who the offending moronic Glamour editor might be: Making Connections

Nappy hair and the hairstyles that go with them are "political"? Um, okay this picture of Sweet Honey on the Rock shows how "political" those styles are:

Oh, so political! Not to mention scary! Please...spare me the stupidity. All of those women, except maybe for blondie, would be just fine in a corporate setting with the right makeup and clothes.

So if I were white or Asian and wore my naturally straight hair as it is that's political too? I hate it when "stupid" and "fashionista" intersect. I really, really do. Good she's not at Vogue.

Oh wait, Vogue has problems too: Former 'Vogue' Staffer's Woes Prompt Age-Old Question: Is Publishing More Racist? Or Classist?


More links: Glamour: Being a black woman is so out -

a couple of great pics of black female attorneys with natural hair styles Glamour Editor Causes Tempest in Teapot at Cleary Gottlieb? -

The comments are interesting and have a couple of conformist morons who choose to follow the straight hair aesthetic. Fine, fine, fine. But don't tell me that my nappy hair is unprofessional when you're not going to tell someone with straight hair that their natural hair texture is unprofessional.

I know when I was doing the summer clerkship, on campus interview circuit I wore my hair in braids which I kept in a bun. I would NEVER straighten my hair for a damn legal job.

Plus, lawyers are boring and wear crappy clothes anyway. No offense to my friends still in the practice you're the select few that aren't ;-)


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Saturday, August 11, 2007

Death Proof: A Fun Ride and One Bad Ass Movie

Quentin Tarantino's Death Proof is one of the most entertaining films I've seen in awhile. In Korea it's not paired with Grindhouse but is being released on its own, so they've added more scenes. That means the version in Korea does start off a bit slow, but it picks up and is just crazy entertaining once it picks up.

I saw it tonight at a free screening here in Seoul (thanks Mike aka The Metropolitician).

I'll leave the reviews to the pros, but I'll just say "wow" what a great ending.

A bit of warning. You've got to be a movie fan, I think, to like the dialogue. I've read a few reviews which are critical of it. I think, however, if you can follow Tarantino's brand of wit, you'll like it most of the film. If you can't, you'll probably only get a rise out of the action scenes.

Yes, it's got violence. Yes, there is blood. It's a Tarantino movie! I'm squeamish with movie blood and gore, but I dug this. Then again, I loved the Kill Bill movies too. If I say anything further, I'll have to flag this for spoilers.

Oh, the Death House soundtrack is pretty tight too.

Now I'm going to dust off my Reservoir Dogs DVD and have a late night movie festival.
Speaking of spoilers - if you don't want any, don't bother clicking on these links. However, I don't think it really matters.

Cannes Festival: Death Proof
Cinematical: Cannes Review - Death Proof
Movie Patron: Death Proof
The Guardian Unlimited: Death Proof is silly but wildly enjoyable


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Monday, August 6, 2007

ExpatJane: MIA

Hey everyone. I've pretty much been MIA for the last few days. I've mentioned before I've got Graves' Disease which is a thyroid disorder. Basically, my immune system successfully took out my pancreas years ago which makes me an insulin-dependent (ain't the one your granny got unless she's had it since childhood) diabetic and now is working on my thyroid...oh joy, oh rapture.

That means my hyperactive thyroid has now been medicated into a docile thyroid which leaves me exhausted almost all of the time (yep, I'll tell my doctor. In fact, I see him this week). Basically, my hyperthyroidism is now hypothyroidism and, to be honest with you, I think I was happier when I couldn't sleep versus now because I sleep I all the time.

It just means I'm being patient with myself, taking it easy and dealing with the exhaustion the best I can. It also makes me feel a bit better as I'm a bit too pleasantly plump than is usual right now.

So I know I've been tagged and the Eight Things You Don't Know About Me post is coming, but everything is working in slow motion for me right now. Plus, there are some interesting stories about Korea. It's just that now all I can do is bookmark them because just thinking about translating my thoughts to words truly exhausts me.

Just a little update on why there hasn't been much from me lately. However, now it's time to schlep to the kitchen and make dinner. I'm exhausted but I have a Korean class tonight, so I have to give myself enough time to grab a caffeine packed beverage en route to class.

A good article that explains the emotional components of this disease and how it's going to affect the person with it as well as family and friends: INFORMATION FOR FAMILY AND FRIENDS. Hopefully, if you find this and you've got someone with Graves' Disease in your life, you can understand it better.

Mayo Clinic: Graves' Disease


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Saturday, August 4, 2007

World Public Library Association: Freebies, Y'all, Freebies!

Update: August 10, 2007 @ 8:46pm

August 4th has come and gone as have the freebie ebook downloads.

These aren't quite the same as it's not free ebook downloads but they're good ways to read literature online.

I didn't post them because I wanted you all to run off to download as many ebooks as you could before the cut us all off ;-)

  • Bibliomania - Free Online Literature
  • Project Gutenberg - There are 18,000 free books in the Project Gutenberg Online Book Catalog

  • I also got an email from someone with this site. I checked it out and it's similar to Bibliomania as you can access classics online.

  • Read Print

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    Oh man! How did I miss this!

    The World Public Library Association has a download Free E-books from July 4th until August 4th.

    Sheesh. It's August 4th here already, so I've got a lot of downloading to do.

    Here is the link: World Public Library Association

    K, bye...


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