Tag Archives: south korea

Another Revolt Against Fate Is Not Korean

24 Aug

duck faceJust when I thought I had left South Korea, it pulls me back in! Rob Beschizza (incorrectly, it seems) thinks he’s identified a new fad – Joker face, or duck face. Westerners are responsible for this bizarre revolt against genetics and – life.

The trend of Duck Face photos can be attributed to the emergence of social networking profiles, most notably with the launch of MySpace in 2003 and its rise to mainstream popularity in July 2005. Myspace users could create profiles including biographical information and photographs of themselves, many of which exhibited the facial expression that eventually became known as the “duck face.” On May 13th, 2006, the first Urban Dictionary[2] definition for “myspace face” was submitted by user Crohnser, which described the female version of the expression as a combination of pouty eyes and pursed lips (shown below). On September 13th, an Urban Dictionary[3] definition for “duck face” was submitted by user Mair Mair, which defined the mannerism as a two-lipped pout.

What seems to have changed from 2003 is that the intent fuelling the procedure has evolved from flirtation to mood. The original emphasis on poutiness almost sounds ironic, but trying to look happy is depressing. At the risk of sounding morose, being able to read on a person’s face, that he/she is sad is useful. If no one can tell if one is having a bad day, how would anyone know when to intervene? Reading faces is a very important skill for humans.

But, it’s clear that Americans, not Koreans, started this bad practice.

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The Kaesong Delusion

19 Aug

I don’t get the whole Kaesong fixation.

North and South Korea have moved a step closer to reopening a joint industrial complex, raising hopes of improving relations on the peninsula.

Pyongyang and Seoul vowed on Wednesday to “actively” co-operate so that operations could resume, although their statement did not indicate when the Kaesong complex, in the North’s third largest city, might reopen.

The news followed six failed rounds of talks on the issue. Pyongyang said last week that it would reopen the zone – minutes after Seoul indicated it was willing to see the facility closed permanently. Kaesong was the last symbol of inter-Korean engagement until this spring, when tensions soared with the North threatening nuclear strikes against the South and the US after sanctions for its third atomic test in February. It then pulled its 53,000 workers from the site.

Seoul’s chief delegate, Kim Kiwoong, told South Korean media that Wednesday’s joint statement was “not the end but a beginning”.

Unexpectedly, Seoul and Pyongyang said they also sought to attract foreign companies adding that internet and mobile phone connections would be added to the site.

North Korea has sought foreign investors for other economic zones, but companies are likely to be even warier of Kaesong after the four-month shutdown. One of Seoul’s key demands has been a reassurance that Pyongyang will not pull out its workers again.

But has ever a negotiation been conducted in such bad faith by both sides. Seoul looks especially hypocritical – and that’s quite a feat considering Pyongyang’s tactics.

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There Can Be Only One

19 Aug

Those naughty Europeans!

During the negotiations, EADS, the manufacturer of the Eurofighter, had agreed to several requests made by DAPA. DAPA had asked that 15 of the 60 total jets be two-seaters and that R&D work be done for weapons system integration so that the South Korean air force could use the fighter weapons it already has.

But the DAPA later discovered that EADS had subsequently made the arbitrary decision to decrease the number of two-seaters from 15 to 6 and had excluded the R&D cost from the final bidding price.

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