This blog may contain not-so-strong languages and slightly strong ecchi pictures. Please proceed with caution.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Here comes five-week hiatus. Annyeong...

Today, I will not writing any posts or make the Korean Tour projects for five weeks starting this week. On this hectic five weeks, I have to focus on my final project proposal presentation in October 1st and Final Examination, starts from October 20th till November 1st. 

Further ado, I would like to say I'm sorry if I made some witted and sarcastic views in the making of this blog. Thank you for tremendous support and I hope that I can post more entries on this blog.


P/S: I'll be back on November 3rd.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Koihime Musou Girls and Famous Koreans, Part XXXIII: Lü Meng and Yeo Hyung-koo - 2nd Deputy Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport of Korean Republic

Yeo Hyung-koo (Hangul/Hanja: 여형구/呂泂九; Born: October 28th 1959 in Nonsan, Southern Chungcheong Province) is the 2nd Deputy Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport of Korean Republic. He obtained Diploma in Architecture at Hanyang University, Master of Engineering (M. Eng) at Yonsei University and PhD in Transportation Engineering at Hanyang University.

Yeo passed the 16th Technical Examination of Korean Republic in December 1980, before he posted to the Ministry of Transportation (교통부/交通部/Gyotong-bu) in April 1981 under Chun Doo-hwan's Presidency. He served the ministry 33 years until now, with the highest position as 2nd Deputy Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport of Korean Republic (MOLIT/국토교통부/國土交通部/GuktoGyotong-bu) under Park Geun-hye's Presidency since March 13th 2013.

Gracious and Groovy Gaya (3G), Part VII: Bonghwang-dong Historical Site, Gimhae, Southern Gyeongsang

The Precinct of Bonghwang-dong, Gimhae, Southern Gyeongsang was designated a historic site, where it includes an important shell mound from the Gaya period, which is located in Hoehyeon-ri. In 1920, it was the first archeological site to be excavated in Korea. The site also contains the Bonghwangdae tomb (Former Data for Cultural Properties No. 87), which was the largest tomb of Geumgwan Gaya area. On top of the hill remain Yeoui Pavilion and Hwangse Rock, which are part of the legend about General Hwangse and Yeoui. This is also where the remains of raised houses and a residential site of the Gaya period were excavated.

Bonghwang-dong Historical Site (Hanja: 鳳凰洞遺蹟地) in 51 Garak Avenue 63rd Street/Garak-ro 63beon-gil, Bonghwang-dong 158-beonji, Gimhae, Southern Gyeongsang with 7m high, 130m long and 30m wide hill was formed in the early Iron Age. A section revealing shell layer and white shells on the hill are visible because a village was formed near the south of the hill and houses were built underneath the northeast cliff. This place was first discovered in 1907 (First reigning year of Emperor Sunjong-Yunghui, Last Emperor of the Korean Empire). And through a full scale excavation in 1920 and several excavations after that, the characteristics and date of this site were identified. 

When it was excavated, a variety of relics such as clay pots, bone implements, stone ware, wheel, carbonized rice, Chinese coins and animal bones were also found. The pots are usually of tile quality with colors of red brown and bluish gray, and the major bone or horn implements excavated here are hafts of daggers.

The excavation of carbonized rice contributes much to the study of rice cultivation on the peninsula. Archaeologists who excavated the tomb nearby the shell mound found a pot coffin, dolmen, site of human residence as well as many artifacts of the Bronze Age. Hoehyeon-ri shell mound in Gimhae helps to understand how southern part of Koreans lived during the first to the fourth century. In addition, the excavation of the Chinese coins, Hwacheon, and the pot tomb indicate that this area was the international place linked to China and Japan.

It is a very important prehistoric site. Most of the excavated relics were pieces of earthenware called Gimhae Earthenware. And, ironware such as axes and knives were discovered. From this, it can be estimated that ironware was already used as everyday tools at the time. In addition to ironware, bone tools such as bone arrowheads, needles, and awls were found. Gimhae Earthenware was hard pottery fired at a temperature higher than that for the previous plain pottery. Its unique feature is that it has stamped patterns such as lattice pattern and mat pattern. To make the pottery harder, it was hit with an engraved rod. It is also called Primitive Silla Earthenware because it became the base of Silla Earthenware. A Hwacheon, currency of Chinese Xin Dynasty which circulated in 14 BCE was found during the excavation in 1920 and the date of this site's upper limit was identified. Also, carbonized rice was found. 

It is a very important material for the research of Korean rice. During the excavation between 1934 and 1935, a group of stone coffins and jar coffins were discovered. In one of the jar coffins, slender bronze daggers and bronze items were found. In addition, a big stone looking like a lid of southern style dolmen still remains. Bonghwangdae, the largest historical site of Geumgwan Gaya, and shell mound in Hwayeon-ri were designated as Gimhae Bonghwangdae Relics (Hanja: 金海鳳凰臺遺蹟地) on January 21st 1963.

The historical site is accessible either by rail, using Busan-Gimhae LRT Line to Stations B115-B116-B117: Buwon - Bonghwang (Jeonha) - Royal Tomb of King Suro (Gimhae Express Bus Terminal) or car, using Interstate 10: Namhae Expressway to EXIT 38: East Gimhae/DongGimhae IC via Gimhae City Hall at Buwon-dong.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Gracious and Groovy Gaya (3G), Part VI: Daeseong-dong Tumuli Site, Gimhae, Southern Gyeongsang

The tumuli in Daeseong-dong, located to the east of the Royal Tomb of King Suro (26 Garak Avenue 93rd Street/Garak-ro 93beon-gil, Seosang-dong 312-beonji), reflect the formation and development of the Gaya Era. The Daeseong-dong Tumuli are located in the center of the shell mounds of Hoehyeon-ri, setting of the founding of the Gaya Kingdom (according to local legend). On the hilltops, which were viewed as prime burial places, are the tombs of kings and rulers; on the slopes are the tombs of the lower classes. 

The site is excavated 3 times by the museum of Kyungsung University between 1990 and 1991. The site is the tombs of ruling class of Geumgwan Gaya between 2nd ~6th Century CE. Diverse grave types including wood coffins, wooden burial chambers, stone coffins, stone burial chambers, and jar coffins have been discovered. Especially in a wooden burial chamber that seemed to be a tomb of ruling class of Geumgwan Gaya, various relics were found and these revealed the true status of Gaya culture that had the advanced ironware culture and cavalry army. In addition, mirrors of the late Han Period of China, cylinder shaped bronzeware and swirl pattern bronzeware that are usually found in Japanese tumuli were found. They are very important material for the research of the trading relations between Korea, China, and Japan at the time. 

A total of 136 tumuli were found in the Daeseong-dong area. Further investigation of the tumuli revealed several important and interesting facts. First, from the end of the third century, men and horses were buried alive along with the dead. Also, weapons were bent and buried as well, with many of these artifacts being unearthed among the tumuli. Other materials found in the tumuli such as cylindrical bronze items, pinwheel-shaped bronze items, and jasper items showed that Gaya was involved in trade with Japan. The Daeseong-dong Tumuli is significant in that it gives a glimpse into the political and social structure of the Gaya Kingdom, and the cultural exchange between Korea, China, and Japan. A repair project started in July 2001 and the Tumuli Museum was opened in August 2003.

The Daeseong-dong Tombs Museum (Hanja: 大城洞古墳博物館) in 126 Gayaui-gil, Daeseong-dong 434-beonji, Gimhae, Southern Gyeongsang displays artifacts unearthed from the four excavations of the Daeseong-dong Tumuli. Highlighting often overlooked relics of the Geumgwan Gaya, the museum has three ground floor exhibit halls and several underground auxiliary facilities. Main exhibits include a life-sized statue of a mounted solider and a statue of a warrior, both of which were recreated based on bones excavated from the tumuli of Yean-ri. The museum relies heavily on the use of videos and dioramas to help visitors explore all that the museum has to offer.

Silla Superiority Complex, Part XXVI: Divine Bell of King Seongdeok the Great, Gyeongju, Northern Gyeongsang

The Divine Bell of King Seongdeok the Great (Hanja: 聖德大王神鍾) is a massive bronze bell, the largest Korean bell ever to be preserved, stands 3.75m tall, has a lip diameter of 2.27m, and is 11-25cm thick. In 1997, Gyeongju National Museum weighed it at 18.9 tons. It was also known as the Emille Bell, after a legend about its casting, and as the Bell of Bongdeoksa Temple, where it was first housed. The bell is currently stored in the Gyeongju National Museum (Specific Location: 186 Iljeong Avenue/Iljeongno, Inwang-dong 76-1 beonji, Gyeongju, Northern Gyeongsang) and designated as the 29th national treasure of Korea on December 12, 1962. 

The bell was commissioned by King Gyeongdeok to honor his father, King Seongdeok the Great. However, King Gyeongdeok never lived to see the casting of the bell, as he died in 765 A.D. The bell was finally cast in 771 A.D., during the reign of Gyeongdeok's son, King Hyegong. Because the bell was installed at Bongdeoksa Temple, it has also been called the Bell of Bongdeoksa. The bell is also known as the Emile Bell (에밀레종), a name derived from an ancient legend in which a child was sacrificed in order to give sound to the bell, whose echoes of ‘em-ee-leh’ resemble the traditional Korean word for “mommy.” 

According to legend, the first bell that was cast produced no sound when it was struck. The bell was recast many times but with no success. The king that had wanted the bell cast died after a while and his young son took over with the help of the queen. The son carried out what his father had started but still he didn't have any success. Later, a monk dreamed that if a child was cast into the metal, the bell would ring. The monk then took a child from the village and had her cast into the metal. When the bell was complete, the bell made the most beautiful sound when struck.

Some, however, believe the legend may actually be a modern invention, and that the story and name originated in the 1920s. A story that was published about the "Eomilne bell" (어밀네 종) may have been distorted in retelling. The most recent argument is that legend about other bell became confused with the legend of the Emille bell.

The tubular sound pipe at the top of the bell that helps the sound reverberate is a unique feature that can be found only in Korean bells. The yongnyu, which servers as a loop to hang the bell, has been decorated to resemble a dragon’s head. A band of arabesque patterns can be found at the shoulder, and the striking point of the bell is in the shape of a lotus flower. The magnificent design and inscription methods used in this bell exemplify the craftsmanship of artisan’s from the Unified Silla period. The bell is also inscribed with over one thousand Chinese characters, and its beauty and integrity have been meticulously preserved despite the passage of over 1,300 years.

Silla Superiority Complex, Part XXV: Royal Tomb of King Seongdeok the Great, Gyeongju, Northern Gyeongsang

King Seongdeok the Great of Silla (Hangul/Hanja: 성덕대왕/聖德大王; Born: 691 - Died: 737; reigned 702–737), whose born as Kim Heung-kwang (김흥광/金興光) was the thirty-third king of the ancient Korean kingdom of Silla. He was the second son of King Sinmun, and the younger brother of King Hyoso. King Seongdeok was the third Sillan king received the appellation 'the Great', together with King Taejong-Muyeol and King Munmu.

In 704, Seongdeok married Lady Baeso (배소부인/陪昭夫人, later Queen Seongjeong 성정왕후/成貞王后), the daughter of Kim Won-tae. In 715 their son, Junggyeong (중경/重慶), was named Crown Prince and heir presumptive. Shortly thereafter, and for reasons unclear but quite likely having to do with a power struggle at court between the king and the clan of the queen, Queen Seongjeong was evicted from the palace in 716. As further evidence of a possible power struggle, the next year Crown Prince Junggyeong died under circumstances that remain unknown. Following the fall from favor of his first wife, King Seongdeok married Queen Sodeok (소덕왕후/炤德王后) in 720, the daughter of the minister Kim Sun-won. Kings Hyoseong (Kim Seung-gyeong) and Gyeongdeok (Kim Heon-yeong) were among the sons of Seongdeok and Sodeok.

Despite suggestions of continued power struggles between aristocratic and royal prerogative, the reign of King Seongdeok is seen by most Korean scholars as the apogee of the Unified Silla state. Relations between Silla and Tang China reached unparalleled levels of cooperation. This accommodation following years of confrontation and competition over hegemony in Korea had much to do with Tang‘s realization that Silla would prove more valuable as an ally on its flank than as a rival, during a period when Tang was facing continued challenges to its authority in the far west and on the northern steppes – by Tibet, the Malgal, dynamic Islamic forces emerging out of Central Asia, as well as the state of Balhae, which had emerged in the late 7th century from the ruins of the old Goguryeo state. Indeed, troubled by an increasingly confrontational Balhae (which had actually launched a seaborne attack against Tang in 733), in 733 the Tang emperor Xuanzong enfeoffed King Seongdeok as Military Commander of Ninghai (Ninghai junshi/寧海軍使) with orders to chastise the Balhae/Malgal state. Though King Seongdeok did in fact launch a northern campaign that same year, it was foiled by a blizzard.

Silla, too, was concerned by the Balhae resurgence. In 721 King Seongdeok ordered the construction of a great wall across Silla‘s northern border. Remnants of this wall can still be seen in what is today Southern Hamgyǒng province, North Korea. Plagued as well by the raids of Japanese pirates along the southern coast, the following year (and quite likely with the same laborers) Seongdeok also had a large fortress erected near the capital of Gyeongju that extended ten kilometers in circumference. According to the Samguk Yusa, a 13th-century Korean record of history and fable that deals with the period in question, the fortress (known as Mobeol prefectural fortress) required the labor of nearly 40,000 men, a massive mustering of manpower that is testimony of the increasing power of the centralized monarchy.

The reign of Seongdeok also bears evidence of continued attempts at reforming the land system of Silla. The dispersal of “able–bodied land” (jeongjeon/정전/丁田) is first mentioned as taking place in the twenty–first reigning year of King Seongdeok (722). The exact nature of able–bodied land is disputed since almost no corroborating evidence remains. However, based on the title, it would seem to be land distributed to able bodied commoners, though whether to work or own outright is unclear. In any case, whatever its precise nature, it would appear to be an attempt to buttress royal authority by nurturing relations with the peasantry at the expense of the land holding aristocracy.

In fitting culmination to Seongdeok‘s reign, and symptomatic of improving relations with Tang, in 735 Tang Emperor Xuanzong formally granted the Silla king the territory south of the Pae River (the modern Taedong River running through Pyongyang), land that had been held at least formally by Tang ever since the 7th century and the Tang–Silla campaigns that had toppled Goguryeo.

Seongdeok‘s reign was one of relative prosperity and peace. As one Korean scholar has contended, during his rule "...the paramount authority of the throne was finally secured, and with this accomplished the kingdom at last was able to enjoy unaccustomed domestic tranquility.".

According to one account in the Samguk Sagi, Seongdeok invented Korea's first water clock, in Korean nugak (누각/漏刻), in 718. However, this is likely a mistaken rendering of Nugakjeon (누각전/漏刻典), for elsewhere the Samguk Sagi relates that in 718 was established for the first time the Nugakjeon, or Office of Timekeeping. Regarding the death date of Seongdeok, as period Chinese histories record that in the second month of 737, a Tang envoy was dispatched to confer investiture upon Seongdeok's successor (later King Hyoseong) as King of Silla. King Seongdeok the Great was buried at Joyang-dong san 8-beonji, Gyeongju, Northern Gyeongsang Province, next to his older brother's tomb - Royal Tomb of King Hyoso.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Koihime Musou Girls and Famous Koreans, Part XXXII: Ma Dai and Ma Hae-yeong - Legendary Busan Lotte Giants Baseman

Ma Hae-yeong (Hangul/Hanja: 마해영/馬海泳; Born: August 14th 1980 in Busan) is a former Korea Baseball Organization batting champion and Korean Series MVP. He hit over 250 homers as well in his career. He is a member of Jangheung Ma Clan (장흥 마씨/長興馬氏), originated from Jangheung County, Southern Jeolla Province - where a minister who served Goryeo and Joseon Dynasties, Ma Cheon-mok (마천목/馬天牧; 1358-1431) originated from the same clan as Ma Hae-yeong. Ma graduated from Korea University in Degree and Master of Physical Education Studies.

As an amateur, Ma played for the South Korean national team and Sangmu Baseball Club after graduating from Korea University. In the 1993 Intercontinental Cup, he hit .273/.342/.545 as the second baseman. Japan's Toshihisa Nishi was named the best at the position in that tourney. Ma was 2 for 6 with 3 walks in the 1994 Baseball World Cup.

Ma debuted professionally in 1995 with the Lotte Giants, hitting .275/~.365/.460 with 18 HR and 87 RBI. In 1996, he batted .276/~.328/.435 with less than half as many walks (67 to 33) as in his rookie year. In his third season, Ma produced at a .259/~.330/.487 clip with 25 homers. In 1998, he improved to .292/~.377/.465 despite the introduction of foreign players to the KBO. The next year was his best - he hit .372/~.448/.672 with 111 runs, 35 HR and 119 RBI to win his only batting championship, 23 points ahead of Lee Byung-kyu. He was about 10 points behind OBP leader Lee Seung-yeop.

Ma regressed in 2000 with a .294/~.380/.497 batting line with 23 home runs and 90 RBI. That year, he was part of the successful effort to form the Korean Pro Baseball Players Association which was spearheaded by Song Jin-woo. At one point, it appeared as if Ma might be banned for life from the KBO due to his unionizing efforts.

In 2001, he moved to the Samsung Lions and hit .328/~.418/.557 with 30 HR and 95 RBI. He finished sixth in average; among those with a better average, only Felix Jose hit more home runs. Ma was the DH for the South Korean national team in the 2001 Baseball World Cup. He led the round-robin phase with five doubles but his .265/.342/.412 overall line was not among the leaders for the South Koreans.

Ma had another fine season in 2002. He hit .323/~.377/.592 with 33 homers, 92 runs and 116 RBI to join with Lee Seung-yeop in leading the charge for the Lions. He finished second in the KBO in average, trailing Jang Sung-ho by 20 points and tying Lee and Shim Jeong-soo at .323. He led with 172 hits. He won the KBO Gold Glove at DH as the best offensive DH, not the best potential fielding one. In the Korean Series, he dominated. He drove in a run in game three, was 4 for 4 with 3 RBI in game four, cracked two homers in game five, then saved the best for last. With Samsung down 9-6 in the bottom of the 9th, Lee Seung-yeop homered off of Lee Sang-hoon with two aboard to tie it and Ma followed with a shot against Choi Won-ho to end it. Ma won the Korean Series MVP award for his excellence.

Ma stayed strong in 2003, with a .291/~.373/.568 line, 90 runs and a career-high 38 HR and 123 RBI. In 2004, the 33-year-old moved to the KIA Tigers and hit .281/~.381/.394 as his home run production fell from 38 to 11. Ma batted .266/~.349/.423 in 2005.

Through 2005, Ma ranked 11th all-time in the KBO in average (.298), 5th in doubles (286), 17th in games played (1,378), 1st in double plays ground into (145, 5 ahead of Lee Man-soo), 4th in hits (1,520, trailing Yang Jun-hyeok, Jang Jong-hun and Jeon Jun-ho), tied for 5th in home runs (252, even with Lee Man-soo and Park Kyung-wan), 3rd in RBI (964, trailing Jang and Yang), 7th in runs (815), 7th in strikeouts (855) and 14th in BB+HBP (659).

In 2006, Ma moved once more, now to the LG Twins; he had played for half of the KBO teams by this point. He hit .270/~.338/.379 and was seeing reduced playing time (80 games, 282 AB).

In 2007, Ma was just 2 for 28 in 11 games for LG, his career over for all intents and purposes. He had been one of the highest-paid hitters in the KBO thanks to a 4-year, $3 million deal he had signed before 2004. He was released at year's end. He said he would be willing to take a pay cut to keep playing in 2008. The Lotte Giants signed him, giving him a one-year deal for $52,640. Ma hit .153/~.291/.236 in 32 games in 2008 to end his career. Overall, Ma's career batting line read .294/~.374/.497 with 260 HR and 1,003 RBI.

In May 2009, Ma published an autobiography saying that many foreign players and some local ones used steroids. The KBO had not begun steroid testing until 2007 and had not (as of 2009) ever instituted a policy of mandatory steroid testing due to financial reasons. They had issued a policy of testing all foreign players, prior to Ma's book.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Confucian Confusions in Korea, Part XXV: Jeonju Hyanggyo, Jeonju Wansan-gu, Northern Jeolla

Jeonju Hyanggyo (Hanja: 全州鄕校) in 139 Hyanggyo Alley/Hyanggyo-gil, Gyodong 26-3 beonji, Jeonju Wansan-gu, Northern Jeolla Province is a Confucian school that was established during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) and is designated historical treasure No. 379. This was a national education center during the Joseon period. 

The school was originally located at the Gyeonggijeon Shrine site. However, Gyeonggijeon Shrine and Jeonju Hyanggyo were completely destroyed during Japanese Imjin Invasion in 1592. In 1603 (36th reigning year of King Seonjo of Joseon Dynasty), the hyanggyo was rebuilt and relocated at the present location in the vicinity of Jeonju Hanok Village.

The memorial enshrinement area centers around the Daeseongjeon (Confucian shrine hall) in the front - where the mortuary tablets of seven Chinese Confucian scholars and 18 Korean scholars are enshrined in the main building, while the educational area centers around the Myeongyundang (lecture hall) that is located the rear. There are 99 rooms at the Jeonju Hyanggyo - an unusual configuration for a hyanggyo throughout Korean Peninsula.

Hallelujah Korea, Part XVI: Hapdeok Cathedral, Dangjin, Southern Chungcheong

The vast plains of Dangjin in Southern Chungcheong Province have no mountains, but there is a small hill on the plain over which strong winds blow all the time. On the top of the hill stands the Hapdeok Cathedral, a landmark of the area, which looks over the small village of Hapdeok-ri, in which 95 percent of the 85 households are Catholic. Almost every household in Hapdeok-eup, the surrounding administrative town, has Catholic martyrs among its ancestors.

Catholics nearly disappeared from the area due to a century-long persecution throughout the 19th century. However, the Korea-French Treaty of 1886 granted religious freedom across Joseon and Catholics returned to the area, which was then called Naepo. Afterward, Catholicism started to revive. As the congregations expanded rapidly, Eugéne Jean George Coste, a temporary bishop of Joseon, sent Father Jean Curlier to a Catholic church in Yangchon in 1890 to oversee 12 regions, including Seosan, Yesan, Dangjin and Buyeo, all in Southern Chungcheong.

Most of the priests sent to Naepo at that time belonged to the Paris Foreign Missions Society (Missions étrangères de Paris). The Vatican ordered the Paris Foreign Missions Society to propagate Catholicism in Joseon-era Korea and the society sent out priests to do the missionary work. Their most important duty was to select and educate indigenous priests from the region to which they were sent, in this case Joseon. The French priests sent the future St. Andrew Kim Dae-geon, Korea's first native priest, as well as Thomas Choi Yang-eop and Francis Choi Bang-je to Macau to study Catholicism.

The Hapdeok Cathedral (Hanja: 合德聖堂) in 16 Hapdeok Cathedral 2nd Street/HapdeokSeongdang 2-gil, Hapdeok-ri 274-beonji, Hapdeok-eup, Dangjin, Southern Chungcheong Province; which was newly built in 1929, boasts over 100 years in history. Built in Gothic architectural style characterized by two belfries, it is considered the most iconic building demonstrating a western architectural style. Seated on a low hill, displaying the characteristic topographical features of the region, it offers a panoramic view of the area. The church, known for its elegant and classical beauty, blends beautifully with the dense old forest and is surrounded by splendid scenery. This is the reason it is a popular filming location for films and TV series.

The Catholic church in Yangchon was designed in a hanok style, emulating traditional Korean houses. The origins of the Hapdeok Catholic Church lie in Yangchon. In 1890, the parish was established and the church and rectory building with 12 rooms was built. They were relocated to the present-day location in 1899 and it was renamed as Hapdong Parish. Father Perrin (Korean name Baek Mun-pil, 1885), who was appointed as the parochial pastor, completed the first-stage construction in 1929 and performed the extension work by bringing in Chinese technicians, which resulted in the present-day church. Because of the two bell towers which are built with bricks and wood, it is regarded to display an architectural style that is rarely seen in Korea. The bricks comprising the building were made out of the earth from the region.The Hapdeok Cathedral was considered a huge cathedral at the time. Standing high on a hill, overlooking a vast plain, the church has spectacular surrounding views in all directions.

It can be said that the catholic churches in Korea are a form of a religious achievement that was made after more than a hundred years of persecution, since it was the result of the faith of devout Catholics who persevered through persecution and turbulent history. In that sense, instead of viewing the Gongse-ri Cathedral, Asan from the artistic or aesthetic perspective, we recommend that you reflect on its history. One should not forget that this exquisite church was built based on the spirit of the martyrs.

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Hallelujah Korea, Part XV: Solmoe Holy Grounds, Dangjin, Southern Chungcheong - Birthplace of Saint Andrew Kim Dae-geon

Solmoe Holy Ground is of major significance as one of the sites Pope Francis Jorge Mario Bergoglio is scheduled to visit during his official visit to Korea from August 14 to 18, 2014 for the 2014 Asia Youth Day. The papal trip is all the more momentous as it is his first visit to Asia and he will only be visiting Korea. 

Solmoe Holy Ground is located at 132 Solmoe Avenue/Solmoe-ro, Songsan-ri 108-beonji, Ugang-myeon, Dangjin City, Southern Chungcheong Province, and is considered to be the sacred land of Catholic martyr St. Andrew Kim Dae-geon. Priest Kim Dae-geon was the first native Korean Catholic priest to be executed on the Saenamteo execution grounds (Nowadays Saenamteo Cathedral in Seoul Yongsan-gu) in Seoul following the religious persecution of Catholics in 1846. Read on to learn more about the sacred land of Solmoe, which is where the Catholic religion took root in Korea.

A central location for Catholicism in Korea, Solmoe is the birthplace of St. Andrew Kim Dae-geon (1821-1846). Four generations of the Kim family [Pius Kim Jin-hoo (Great-grandfather), Andrew Kim Jong-han (uncle), and Ignatius Kim Je-joon (father)], all of whom were martyred, were born and lived here. The Kim clan produced as many as eleven martyrs.

Solmoe was sanctified in 1906. In 1946, a monument was erected to commemorate the centennial of the martyrdom of Priest Kim Dae-geon, in addition to the restoration of his childhood home and the construction of a memorial museum. 

The memorial cathedral at Solmoe Holy Ground is in the shape of a water glass floating on water. The design is based on a modern interpretation of the Raphael boat that Priest Kim Dae-geon and emissaries took on their way to Joseon (modern-day Korea). It visualizes the Raphael losing its direction in a rainstorm, with the sail and helm broken, but entering the shores of Joseon safely under the blessing of St. Mary.

Near the entrance to Solmoe Holy Ground is a small stone well at the site of Priest Kim Dae-geon’s birthplace and a pine tree grove to the left. It is quickly evident why this place is called Solmoe, which literally means a little hill with a pine forest in archaic Korean. A walk up the pine tree road leads to a bronze statue of the priest holding a bible in his left hand and delivering the message of the Gospel. Nearby is the Path of the Cross, symbolizing the path of the ordeal that Jesus had to walk carrying a cross to his crucifixion as detailed in the Christian Bible. Visitors can walk along this path to reflect on Priest Kim Dae-geon’s hardships. Solmoe is a historic place where four generations of the Kim clan lived, including his father, uncle and great-grandfather. Catholicism in Korea first sprang up in Naepo-ri, spreading across the provinces of Chungcheong, and then to Jeolla, Gyeonggi, and Gyeongsang. A notably large number of Catholic priests and nuns are from this region.

The Solmoe Holy Ground memorial hall has on display various documents on the life of Priest Kim Dae-geon, detailing the persecution of members of the Korean Catholic Church, and letters and reports on martyrs written by the priest. With illustrations, the reports offer a detailed documentation of the persecutions at the time, serving as a valuable historic material on how Catholic priests and believers were oppressed. The memorial hall offers video on the life of Priest Kim in Korean, Chinese, and English. In between Priest Kim’s birth home and memorial hall is the Solmoe Arena, which is surrounded by statues of the 12 Apostles. The Solmoe Arena signifies sand or sandy beach, but in modern interpretation, it means a round stadium or performance area. The area highlights the martyrdom of St. Kim Dae-geon and his emissaries at a sandy beach.

The Path of the Cross features a mosaic path showing the hands of Jesus and a bronze path on a large scale. This is where many Catholic pilgrims pray or meditate while walking among pine trees. The Korean-style statue of St. Mary is said to be of spiritual significance, and that many people who had difficulty conceiving were finally able to after praying there.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Take Fivers (NSFW Edition!): Bad news for Cheongwadae Officials, the telephone line has been wiretapped to Call Girl's Service.

This situation happened during final years of President Lee Myung-bak (2MB) in the Cheongwadae - before President Park Geun-hye settled in the complex on February 2013.

That time, President 2MB felt very irritated with some erotic voices.

Gangnam Finance Center, Seoul Gangnam-gu: Home of Google Korea

Gangnam Finance Center is a prestigious landmark and the largest office building in Korea, located at 152 Tehran Avenue/Teheranno, Yeoksam-dong 737-beonji, Seoul Gangnam-gu. It has got 39 offices and a number of meeting rooms that can be suitable for meeting and conferences. It offers numerous sized offices, meeting room facilities, training and project rooms as well as Virtual office and secretarial services. This building serves as the home of Google Korea.

Korea’s the most plugged-in country in the world and Google is leading the way in the ongoing mobile revolution. For example, Korea has the most Google Play Store downloads per capita in the world. Korea’s enthusiasm for technology gives us a different set of opportunities and challenges than other Google offices.

Google Korea has a relentless focus on serving Korean users, customers and partners. The engineers have worked on customizing Search for local users and developed products that cater to the global markets, such as Google TV and Google Maps technologies. The company partnered with chaebols like Samsung and LG to develop Android phones and other products. The sales teams work closely with Korean advertisers to help them grow with Google.

Google Korea developed products like Mobile Search with local users in mind, but also made global impacts through products like Google TV. The sales teams help advertisers utilize rising ad platforms like Mobile and Display Ads, and grow with Google by reaching both Korean and international clients. The company named the No.1 foreign employer in Korea (for the fourth time in a row) by the National College Newspapers Association in 2011.

Inside Google Korea office, there are three conference rooms that refer to notable places in Korea such as Hallasan (Mount Halla at Jeju Island), Dokdo (disputed Liancourt Rocks in Ulleung County, Northern Gyeongsang Province) and Hangang (Han River). The workplace inside the office is vividly fun and colorful with everything from foosball and pool tables to bean bag chairs and singing rooms a.k.a Noraebangs. In addition, Korean delicacies such as Bulgogi and Bibimbap are served inside the cafeteria.

Q&As regarding to Google Korea
Q:Where’s Google Seoul located?
A: In Seoul Gangnam-gu, amidst some of the tallest office buildings in the city. Our building, the Gangnam Finance Center, is itself the ninth tallest in Seoul. We’re on the 21st and 22nd floors – the views are amazing. We’re two subway stops away from COEX Mall, the city’s largest underground shopping center, and Bongeunsa, a Zen Buddhist temple built in the 8th century, and a short walk from Kukkiwon (a.k.a. World Taekwondo Headquarters).

Q: How is Google Seoul different from other Google locations?
A: Because we’re smaller than many Google locations, we’re especially nimble. We work quickly, collaborate a lot and are able to make an immediate impact. What we do makes a meaningful impact on Google’s presence in Korea.

Q: What are you doing to grow Google’s business in Korea?
A: Koreans are tremendously tech savvy. The country has outstanding technology infrastructure. Broadband and mobile networks are lightning fast, for instance, and Seoul is rolling out free WiFi in public spaces throughout the city. We see that as providing tremendous opportunities for products like Android, YouTube and Google TV. We’re at the forefront of some of the most exciting innovations in the mobile space – for example, our engineers have made huge strides in Mobile Search. And Korea is one of the countries in which world-leading Android OEM partners, like Samsung and LG, have introduced next generation Android devices.

Q: Have any cool launches come out of Google Seoul?
A: We’ve shipped key features of Search and Transit Navigation for Google Maps which helps you get from here to there using public or mass transit. And recently one of our engineers developed a very cool Korean input method editor (IME) for Android. He patented it, and it’s gotten rave reviews from Korean users.

Q: Do you do anything to help Nooglers and Googlers from other countries adjust to working at Google Seoul?
A:We offer Nooglers small-group tutoring in English and for our international Googlers, Korean lessons.

Q: How do Seoul Googlers have fun?
A: We’ve hosted everyone from YouTube sensation David Choi and K-pop girl group 2NE1 to former government ministers and Vint Cerf, one of the fathers of the Internet. We go on cool team off-sites – everywhere from ski resorts to the opera to the stunning island of Jeju. We have an awesome year-end party. And we get together informally for activities like karaoke.

Q: Does Google Korea do anything to build relationships with Korean developers?
A: We host several Google nights each year, to which we invite developers and students to demo our products and take part in technical talks. And Googlers from across our office come together to promote and work on hackathons a couple of times a year, which are a huge success. We also participate in external developer events and host Android Developer Lab (ADL) with more than 300 Korean developers every year.

Hallelujah Korea, Part XIV: Seosomun Martyr Shrine, Seoul Jung-gu - A shrine inside Seosomun Park

Seosomun Martyrs’ Shrine (Hangul: 서소문순교성지) which is located inside Seosomun Park at 5 Chilpae Avenue/Chilpae-ro, Uijuro 2-ga 16-beonji, Seoul Jung-gu occupies a central place in the history of Catholicism in Korea. During the 19th century, an estimated 10,000 Catholics were martyred across the country as a crackdown on Catholicism intensified amid power struggles, foreign intervention, and ideological conflict that put the converts at odds with the reigning Joseon state. 

The four-way street right in front of the Seosomun Gate area was once an official execution ground in the Joseon Era. It was also called “Sigumun/시구문,” literally meaning “the gate where dead bodies were carried out.” The corpses travelling through the gate scared many people, alerting the public to keep away from criminal acts and actions against the royal regime. 

Many Catholics who were executed during this period lived out their final moments in front of Seosomun, one of eight historic gates surrounding Hanyang, the capital of Joseon. The Joseon state had long used the crossroads outside Seosomun Gate as a public execution ground. 

Yi Seung-hun, the first Korean be baptized and founder of the first Roman Catholic Church in the country, was among those martyred at Seosomun during the Shin-yu Catholic Persecution of 1801, the first in a series of crackdowns that put Catholics on death row. 

Today, Seosomun Martyrs’ Shrine, the largest shrine dedicated to the victims of 19th-century persecution, is revered by the country’s Catholic community. Of the 103 people canonized by Pope John Paul II during his visit to Korea in 1984, 44 were martyred at Seosomun. Additionally, 25 out of 124 martyrs approved for beatification by the Vatican in February this year were beheaded at the gate. 

During Pope Francis’ five-day visit, he will visit the Seosomun Martyrs' Shrine on the 3rd day of his trip. On August 16, 2014, the pope will hold a Mass for peace at the shrine. Seosomun Martyrs' Shrine plays a significant role in Catholic culture and its followers in Korea as many beatification ceremonies were held here and was also where father Lee Seung-hun was baptized. The shrine also has a park area where many sculptures of martyrs can be seen.

A memorial tower dedicated to martyrs of Seosomun can be found in the public park, which stands on the former execution ground. The gate itself was torn down under the Japanese colonial occupation. The Seosomun Martyrs’ Shrine is a stop along a customary pilgrimage route for Catholics, along with the Jungnimdong Yakhyeon Cathedral, which oversees the shrine. 

Appenzeller Noble Memorial Museum, Seoul Jung-gu: Origins of Pai Chai University

The Pai Chai Institute (Hangul/Hanja: 배재학당/培材學堂) is Korea's first western style modern educational institution and was established in 1885 by the American missionary Henry G. Appenzeller. The Pai Chai east hall was built in 1916 with modern architecture and has a deep history. In 2008, it was reborn as the Appenzeller Notable Memorial Museum (배재학당역사박물관). Located at 19 Seosomun Avenue 11th Street/Seosomunno 11-gil, Jeongdong 34-5 beonji, Seoul Jung-gu, it is equipped with study resources, a permanent exhibition hall, a planning room, a hands-on classroom, a seminar room, and other facilities which affirm its modern appearance. 

The Pai Chai Institute is Korea's first Western style modern educational institution and was established by North United Methodist missionary Henry Gerhart Appenzeller (1858-1902). In 1886, Emperor Gojong-Gwangmu (1852-1919) named it the 'Pai Chai Institute' because 'Pai Chai' means “cultivate talented people”. 

Some notable alumni of the Pai Chai Institute who have made a big impact on Korean modern history include the Repulic of Korea's first president Syngman Rhee (1875-1965), Korean scholar Ju Si-gyeong (1876-1914), and poet Kim So-wol (1902-1934). The Pai Chai Institute has also strengthened the reputation of their athletics. The Pai Chai Institute has since cultivated talented individuals through the Pai Chai Middle School, Pai Chai High School, and Pai Chai University. 

On the second floor exhibition hall, there are family relics on display of Henry Dodge Appenzeller (1889-1953) who became principal by succeeding the founder Henry Gerhart Appenzeller, his father. There are also relics of the family of William Arthur Noble (1866-1945) who became a teacher. Korea's oldest performance piano on record is also exhibited. 

On the first and second floor of the museum, there are special exhibitions that are held at the temporary exhibition hall about Pai Chai's history. In 2009, for the first anniversary, a special exhibition on “Pilgrim's Progress” (first English novel to be translated into Korean). In 2010, there was an exhibition called “The Graduation Album: 125 years of Pai Chai History”, and in 2011 there was an exhibition called “5 buildings with Historical Layers”.

The museum is accessible by using KORAIL-Seoul Metro Line 1 and Seoul Metro Line 2 to Seoul City Hall Station (Station 132/201) or SMRT Line 5 to Station 532: Seodaemun Station.

Inside Gyeongbokgung, Part IX: Hamwonjeon Hall and Heumgyeonggak Pavillion

Heumgyeonggak Pavilion (Hanja: 欽敬閣) in Gyeongbok Palace lets us glimpse how the king of an agrarian society strived to understand the movements of celestial bodies and to accurately measure time for the benefit of his subjects. In 1438, King Sejong the Great ordered the construction of Heumgyeonggak, where many of his scientific inventions, including the rain gauge, sundial and water clock, as well as instruments for astronomical observation, were installed. 

Inside the Pavilion, there is a sundial and water clock invented by Jang Yeong-sil, an inventor during the reign of King Sejong the Great. Jang Yeong-sil, the inventor of the sundial in 1434, was a scientific genius. His sundial not only tells the time of day, it also indicates 24 subdivisions of the season. The fact that this sundial was built in the shape of a hemisphere shows that Joseon scientists at the time could accurately read the sun’s movement and knew that the Earth is round. Jang and his assistants also developed clepsydras (water clocks), in which figurines propelled by water automatically strike a wooden gong, drum, and bell to tell the time.

Hamwonjeon Hall (Hanja: 含元殿) is a building used for Buddhist events, is also believed to have been built during Sejong’s reign. After their destruction by fire several times, these buildings were last rebuilt in 1888, only to be dismantled in 1917 (seven years after Korean Empire annexation by Japan), ostensibly to provide building material for Changdeok Palace, which had been destroyed by fire that year. As with Heumgyeonggak Pavilion, Hamwonjeon Hall was restored in 1995.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Korean Twisted Mass Media, Part V: Seoul Broadcasting System (SBS) - Running Man, everyone?

SBS Main Office at Mokdong, Seoul Yangcheon-gu
Seoul Broadcasting System (Hangul/Romanization: 에스비에스 or 서울방송/SBS or Seoul Bangsong; Korea Exchange Stock Code: 034120) is a national South Korean television and radio network. It is the only private commercial broadcaster with wide regional network affiliates to operate in the country. In March 2000, the company legally became known as SBS, changing its corporate name from Seoul Broadcasting System (서울방송시스템/Seoul Bangsong System). It has provided terrestrial digital TV service in the ATSC format since 2001, and T-DMB (Digital Multimedia Broadcasting) service since 2005. Its flagship terrestrial television station is Channel 6 for Digital and Cable.

SBS was launched and formed on the day MBC celebrated its 30th Anniversary on October 9, 1991. SBS is the second commercial broadcaster in South Korea after MBC. The purpose was to become an attractive and alternative channel to the audience that before 1990 was mastered by MBC. In 1980s, MBC was a mouthpiece of KBS to broadcast sporting events like the 1986 FIFA World Cup. After the democratic reform in 1987, as well as the separation of MBC from KBS, the government allowed the creation of a second commercial station in Seoul on November 14, 1990. SBS began trial transmissions on its television and radio channels on December 1, 1990 in Seoul. On March 20, 1991, the first regular SBS Radio broadcasts was launched on AM 792kHz, marking the start of SBS.

On December 9, 1991, SBS TV started broadcasting at 10:00am in Seoul, which was designated as the "The Day of Birth of SBS". Initially, SBS only broadcast terrestrially in Seoul and its surrounding areas. On October 9, 1992, the government began accepting applications for private broadcasting stations in other regions of the country. SBS had planned for a television and radio broadcast affiliate network that aims to air SBS' programs in other new regional channels before its 5th anniversary. In 1994, the private channels KNN (Korea New Network) in Busan, TJB (TaeJon Broadcast) in Daejeon, TBC (Taegu Broadcasting Corporation) in Daegu, and kbc (Kwangju Broadcasting Corporation) in Gwangju were created after government approval. On May 14, 1995, SBS successfully launched its national television network with its new local affiliates, KNN, TJB, TBC, and kbc. SBS had managed a network that airs SBS programs in other regional channels while local stations created local programming to suit the local residents needs.

In 1996, plans for a FM radio station to complement the existing AM station became realized. On November 14, 1996, SBS Power FM began broadcasting on 107.7 MHz as a music-centric station. On January 4, 1999, the original SBS Radio on AM 792 kHz began broadcasting on FM as well. The station rebranded as SBS Love FM on 103.5 MHz, simultaneously airing on both AM and FM frequencies. High-definition digital television was introduced in 2001. Digital Multimedia Broadcasting (DMB) was introduced in 2005.

SBS introduced its current logo on November 14, 2000 after its 10th anniversary celebrations to ensure the overall coherence of the current identity. SBS' logo has three embryos placed in a circle of the model where three colors are used to represent the symbol of human-centered, cultural and creative, future-oriented management philosophy, showing that the 'life' and 'the seeds of civilization' has centered on the theme of SBS. SBS' branding is used in all sectors such as vehicle, microphone, envelopes, business cards, memorabilia, helicopter, signs, ganpanryu, seosikryu, uniforms, program title, etc. SBS also had used the slogan "Humanism thru Digital" until January 2010 where a new slogan is currently used. Gomi is the mascot of SBS-oriented as the new face of 'Humanism thru Digital' through the harmony of nature and human life where green environment is important. The new slogan introudced in 2010 is "See the Bright Tomorrow". On October 29, 2012, SBS TV became South Korea's second channel to go 24/7.

SBS Prism Tower at Digital Media City, Seoul Mapo-gu - Home of Inkigayo
SBS dramas have been part of the "Korean wave", exported to many countries across the world. Sandglass has one of the highest viewership ratings in South Korea, and is considered the breakout drama for the network. Other dramas that have enjoyed high viewership include Lovers in Paris, Trap of Youth, Brilliant Legacy, Rustic Period, and Temptation of a Wife. 

SBS airs a variety of entertainment programs ranging from informational, comedy, music, reality, talk shows, and auditions. Many programs are popular throughout Asia, including X-Man, Family Outing, Running Man, The Music Trend, and many more. SBS documentaries encompass a wide range of issues, from foreign affairs to the environment. The Its Know premiered in 1992, and has since earned notoriety for its investigations from a journalistic standpoint. 

SBS also broke tradition by creating its flagship newscast SBS Eight O'Clock News, airing at 20:00 instead of 21:00, giving itself the slogan "News an hour earlier". It also produces news-analysis programs such as Morning Wide, Nightline, SBS Current Affairs Debate, Curious Stories Y, and In Depth 21 covering the political, economic, social and cultural issues of the days.

SBS Tanhyeon Production Center at Goyang IlsanSeo-gu, Gyeonggi Province, Headquarters of SBS Artech - SeeU's birthplace
We want to watch SBS but we live outside Sudogwon-Gijeon Region. Which channels we suppose to tune to SBS outside the capital area?
  • KNN (Korea New Network) - Coverage: Busan Metropole and Southern Gyeongsang
  • TBC (Taegu Broadcasting Corporation) - Coverage: Daegu Metropole, Northern Gyeongsang
  • kbc (Kwangju Broadcasting Corporation) - Coverage: Gwangju Metropole, Southern Jeolla
  • TJB (Taejon Broadcasting Corporation) - Coverage: Daejeon Metropole, Sejong City, Southern Chungcheong
  • ubc (Ulsan Broadcasting Corporation) - Coverage: Ulsan Metropole
  • JTV (Jeonju Television) - Coverage: Northern Jeolla
  • CJB (Cheongju Broadcasting) - Coverage: Northern Chungcheong
  • G1 (Gangwon No.1 Broadcasting) - Coverage: Gangwon Province
  • JIBS  (Jeju Free International City Broadcasting System) - Coverage: Jeju Island

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Moe-Korea's Dev Log, Part V: Behold, my new desktop - empowered by Windows 8 and AMD A10-5800K

I bought my new desktop two weeks ago. Looks powerful, powered with AMD A10-5800K Quad-core processor. The price tag for this desktop is about RM1500 (486,635won/US$ 469.12) - CPU only, more cheaper than the desktop which on-parred with Intel core i7. Remember, you can't afford to buy this Quad-core processor-powered desktop if you choose Intel. If you buy that desktop with Intel core i7, the price will be two or four times higher than my desktop.

AMD A Series Microprocessors are using APU module. The APU (Accelerated Processing Unit) is a combination of CPU (Central Processing Unit) and GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) which makes the processor can do two jobs (Computer Processing and Graphics Processing) at the same time. That means, you don't need to add-on your Graphic Card to accelerate your frame-skip when playing computer games. 

Who gives a shit when they say AMD is easily heated and some reasons that makes this processor become less powerful compared to Intel? At least, I can do my job. Further ado, these are some footage from my desktop, empowered by Microsoft Windows 8.1 Pro K.

My current desktop
My computer status, using Piriform Speccy

My Start Screen

By pressing down button, the apps list is shown and full-view of Start Screen Wallpaper is revealed.

Koihime Musou Girls and Famous Koreans, Part XXXI: Sun Quan and Son Yeon-jae

Son Yeon-jae (Hangul/Hanja: 손연재/孫延在; born 28 May 1994 in Seoul, South Korea) is a South Korean rhythmic gymnast. A member of the South Korean national gymnastics team, based in Taereung, Seoul Nowon-gu. she is the 2010 Asian Games bronze medalist, and is managed by the IB Sports agency. Son currently trains in Russia. She is a member of Miryang Son Clan (밀양 손씨/密陽孫氏), a clan which is originated from Miryang City, Southern Gyeongsang Province - Home of Miryang Arirang.

Son began gymnastics at a young age to help her lose weight. In 2009, she performed for the opening ceremony of Olympic and World figure skater, Kim Yuna's Fiesta on Ice. Son became a star in Korea after grabbing a medal in the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, becoming the first Korean gymnast to do so. Soon after that, she went to Russia for long-term training.

Son Yeon-jae made her international debut at Corbeil-Essonnes International Rhythmic Gymnastics Tournament on May 2010. She placed 11th. At the 2010 World Championships, she placed 32nd in the individual all-around and did not advance into the finals. At the 2011 Grand Prix, she placed 19th in the individual overall with the total score of 100.700 points.

At the Grand Prix series held on February 2012, she tied for the 18th place with Wong Posh San with the total score of 100.850 in the individual overall and third in the Hoop final. On April 2012, Son became the first Korean rhythmic gymnast to medal at the World Cup Series, Category B by winning a bronze medal in the Hoop final in Penza, Russia, and placed fourth in the individual overall. On May 2012, she finished last in the Hoop final at the World Cup Series, Category B in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, and placed fifth overall. Son finished second to last in the individual all-around at the World Cup Series, Category A in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Son placed 6th at the Qualifications. At the All-around finals, She was ranked 3rd in the rankings up to the 2nd rotation until a drop from her Clubs scored her a 26.750 points. Son placed 5th overall at the Finals with a score of 111.475 points. Son became the first Korean Rhythmic Gymnast to qualify and reach the All-around Finals at the Olympics.

In 2013, Son started her season competing at the 2013 Moscow Grand Prix where she won bronze in clubs, she competed at the 2013 Lisboa World Cup where she finished 9th in all-around and won bronze in ribbon. On 30 April 2013, Son got a silver medal in the ribbon finals at the 2013 Pesaro World Cup, it was the first time a Korean athlete won a silver medal at any discipline of a rhythmic gymnastic World Cup. Son finished 4th in all-around at the 2013 Sofia World Cup and shared the bronze medal in hoop with Ukrainian Ganna Rizatdinova. Son then competed at the 2013 Minsk World Cup where she finished 4th in all-around, at the event finals, she took the silver medals in hoop and in clubs who was tied with Russian rising star Yana Kudryavtseva, she finished 4th in ribbon and 7th in ball. Son competed at the 2013 Asian Championships in Tashkent, Uzbekistan where she became the first Korean rhythmic gymnast to win gold in the all-around, she also helped Team Korea win the silver medal. At the finals, Son won gold in hoop and clubs, she won silver in ribbon behind China's Deng Senyue and finished 4th in ball. She competed at the 2013 Summer Universiade where she finished 6th in all-around, she qualified to 3 event finals where she won silver in ball, placed 5th in clubs and 7th in ribbon. At the 2013 World Cup Final in St.Petersburg, Russia, Son finished 4th in all-around and in the event finals won silver in hoop, bronze in ribbon, placed 4th in clubs and ball. At the 2013 World Championships in Kiev, Ukraine, Son qualified to 3 event finals where she finished 7th in hoop, ball and 6th in clubs behind Deng Senyue. She finished 5th in the All-around at the 2013 World Championships again behind Chinese rival Deng Senyue who finished 4th.

In 2014, Son began her season competing at the 2014 Moscow Grand Prix finishing 6th in the all-around, at the event finals she won bronze medals in ribbon, clubs and hoop. Son then competed at the 2014 Stuttgart World Cup finishing 7th in All-around, she qualified to 3 event finals: she took silver in ribbon, placed 8th in ball and 5th in hoop. Son won her first gold medal in the World Cup at the 2014 Lisbon World Cup becoming the first Asian and Korean rhythmic gymnast to win and medal in the All-around. She scored a total of 71.200 points ahead of Melitina Staniouta (silver) and World Cup debutante Dina Averina (bronze). In the event finals, Son became the first Asian and Korean rhythmic gymnast to win 3 gold medals (in ball, clubs, ribbon) and won bronze in hoop behind Staniouta and Maria Titova. She followed with her next event at the 2014 Pesaro World Cup, where Son finished 5th in all-around and won silver in clubs and bronze in ball final. In May 30-June 1, Son competed at the 2014 Minsk World Cup and finished 10th in all-around, she qualified to 3 event finals and won a silver in hoop, bronze in ribbon. In August 8-10, Son competed at the 2014 Sofia World Cup and won the all-around bronze medal with a total of 70.250 points. She qualified to 4 event finals: taking 2 bronze medals (in hoop, ball), 4th in clubs and 5th in ribbon. In September 5-7, competing at the 2014 World Cup Final in Kazan, Russia, Son finished 5th in the all-around behind Katsiaryna Halkina with a total of 69.750 points. She qualified to 3 event finals taking bronze in hoop, placed 5th in ball and 6th in clubs.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Korean Twisted Mass Media, Part IV: The Hankyoreh (100% Hangul-based newspaper in Horizontal Alignment)

The Hankyoreh (literally "The Korean Race", or "One Nation") is a daily newspaper in South Korea. The headquarters of the newspaper is located at 6 Hyochangmok Lane/Hyochangmok-gil, Gongdeok-dong 116-25 beonji, Seoul Mapo-gu with its postal code: 121-750.

The newspaper was originally established as Hankyoreh Shinmun (Hangul: 한겨레신문) on May 15, 1988 by ex-journalists from the Dong-a Ilbo and Chosun Ilbo after widespread purges forced out dissident journalists, and was envisioned as an alternative to existing newspapers, who were regarded as unduly influenced by the authoritarian government at the time. When it opened, it claimed to be "the first newspaper in the world truly independent of political power and large capital." At the time, government censors were in every newsroom, newspaper content was virtually dictated by the Ministry of Culture & Information, and newspapers had nearly the same articles on every page. 

Hankyoreh was intended to provide an independent, left-leaning, and nationalist alternative to mainstream newspapers regarded as blindly pro-business, pro-American, and opposed to national reunification. To underscore its patriotism and its break with tradition, the Hankyoreh became the first daily to completely reject the use of hanja and use only hangul; it continues to make only limited use of the Latin alphabet and limits the use loanwords. It was also the first newspaper in Korea to be printed horizontally instead of vertically. The newspaper has web edition in English.

On the conflictual nature of the territorial sovereignty of the Liancourt Rocks (Takeshima in Japanese; Dokdo in Korean), although exceeded by the Chosun Ilbo in its coverage, the Hankyoreh's coverage has been described in “A Comparative Analysis of News Coverage of Dokdo Island” by Yoon Youngchul and E Gwangho as reflecting the foreign policy interest of South Korea versus the U.S or Japan. In general, on issues pertaining to national sovereignty, the Hankyoreh's editorial stance can be seen as one issuing aggressive criticism on a government's undemocratic attitude or United States unilateral policy towards Korea, the Korean peninsula or elsewhere. Where the Hankyoreh has criticized the George W. Bush administration's foreign policies on numerous occasions, it has tended to be favorable on the Obama administration's foreign policies on North Korea. On the domestic front, Hankyoreh has been mischaracterized as opposed to big business, and has been cited as working to correct that image of being “nationalist, anti-American and anti-corporate.” The Hankyoreh does not negate the philosophy of the free market economy, individual liberty and personal freedom, and has been critical of Korean big business and conglomerates that overwhelm the market, the Korean university entrance system, widening income disparities in Korean society, and the rapid opening and globalization of the Korean economy, while maintaining a generally favorable attitude towards organized labor, trade protectionism and the redistribution of income.

Other legacies of its early dissident history include a strong emphasis on human rights in South Korea, a position it continues to hold today together with several international organizations have criticized South Korea for its retreat in democracy, human rights and press freedom. The Hankyoreh's advocacy of human rights also extends to North Koreans and tends to support normalization of relations with the U.S. and have been critical of approaches towards improving the situation by encouraging system collapse such as the Lefkowitz approach and absorption by South Korea or by encouraging defections.

The Hankyoreh opposes censorship and wiretapping and encourages active debate on news that is circulated, and like many newspapers in South Korea, is opposed to circulation of graphic news content and took a strong stance in the instance of the video footage of Kim Sun-il's death in Iraq It strongly endorsed the 2008 "mad cow protests" as a victory for "substantive democracy" over merely "procedural democracy." It strongly encouraged coverage of the 2008 demonstrations and a greater understanding of "candlelight spirit" that academics are referring to as an emergence of a new social movement and form of democracy in South Korea that protests policy development on trade, liberalization of public education, the privatization of health, and the environmental consequences of a cross-country canal project without substantial public opinion gathering.

In line with the newspaper's nationalism and aspirations for reunification, its reporting of inter-Korean and East Asian affairs is based on its editorial policy seeking reconciliation, stability and peaceful co-prosperity through dialogue rather than pressure on government of North Korea. In terms of national affairs, Cheongwadae, Office of the President, studies on the editorial policies of South Korean newspapers have found that the "Hankyoreh Shinmun, which published its first issue early in the Roh Tae Woo administration, has shown little fluctuation from administration to administration. Hankyoreh also runs a "Hankyoreh Foundation for Reunification and Culture" as a forum for advocacy of peace and reunification on the Korean peninsula. Notwithstanding the newspaper's support for democracy, human rights, and free speech in South Korea, in June 2009, the Hankyoreh described the arrest and imprisonment of two US journalists in North Korea, condemned by Reporters Without Borders as a sham trial, as a "not entirely negative signal" of North Korea's openness to communicate.

In its business, Hankyoreh departed from established convention by relying more on sales, periodic private donation campaigns, and the sale of stock, rather than advertising from major corporations to sustain itself. The newspaper currently has more than 60,000 citizen shareholders, none of whom have a more than one percent share. Core shareholders include students, professors, lawyers, writers, dissidents, liberal, progressive urban industrial workers, and leftwing farmers. The company remains intentionally unlisted to avoid hostile takeover; it has also never shown three consecutive years of profit, one of the requirements for listing. Readership of the newspaper is evenly distributed between provinces and the major metropolitan areas, of which 63.2% were in their twenties and thirties, and 44.5% were college graduates. Hankyoreh's readership is mostly of low to middle class income.

Hankyoreh enjoys high popularity and prestige among graduates seeking employment, with over 8,000 applicants applying for 33 positions as of 2006. To some degree, prestige is its own reward for Hankyoreh's employees, as salaries are roughly half those of competing organizations. Management at the newspaper has been affected by factionalism since its inception, with all the members of the founders' committee having left, and with various divides between founders who came from the Chosun Ilbo and the Donga Ilbo, as well as provincial rivalries between Jeolla and Gyeongsang making themselves evident.

After two decades in print, Hankyoreh's subscriber base is still comparatively small. Its circulation of about 600,000 readers, puts it at one third the size of any of the three major dailies (the Chosun Ilbo, JoongAng Ilbo, and Dong-a Ilbo), though still ahead of specialist economic dailies. It is the fourth largest newspaper in Korea.

The Hankyoreh has campaigned for higher standards of ethics in journalism since its founding and had initiated a campaign against journalists' taking bribes, which had been customary in the industry in South Korea until the late 1990s. As in the past, much of Hankyoreh's editorial content consists of strident criticism of the three major newspapers. It has also endorsed boycott campaigns of companies that advertise in its competitors.

In 2009, Hankyoreh joined Amnesty International, the Broadcaster Producers Association of Korea, and other civic groups airing concern atypical behavior by prosecutors in the detention Korean TV channel MBC journalists and the attack on press freedom in South Korea. Although there has been controversy over for distortions in MBC's reporting on US beef imports, acts of arresting journalists and continued persecution of the press has been a primary concern for the Hankyoreh and other international journalist organizations.