Wednesday, July 07, 2004

The Competition to be the Most Out-of-Touch

First up, the on-going ban by the Ministry of Idiots and Censorship (MIC) continues. According to an article by Asia Media:
With its emergency monitoring system running for 24 hours, the Ministry of Information and Communication said it would advise Web sites to get rid of the clips as soon as they discovered them. "The Web sites that fail to follow through the instructions will be subject to shut-down or police investigation," an official at the ministry said.

"The current law dictates that the government is allowed to call for the revision of Web sites that have unsound or cruel content. On top of that, we will take strict measures, like prosecuting the operator of the Web site."
Um, I don't think the Korean government has any right to do such a thing, especially regarding a website run outside their own country. Block sites they may technically be able to do, but prosecute the operator (presumably for the "crime" of providing access to the feared video)...well they can ...

Second, on-line shopping and access to Korean sites that require the Korean Registration Number. I hate that Korean sites, notably the TV and music websites require the registration number even to enter. But now the government is trying half-heartedly to increase accessibility to such sites, but like Koreans Foreign residents are required to enter foreigner registration numbers or passport numbers when using the system. Now, maybe its just me, but I have a problem with that kind invasion of privacy and big brother type tracking system. Why should the Korean immigration office know what on-line shopping site I visit? I'm personally not one for on-line shopping but I suspect other sites don't require such registration requirement to enter/browse their sites. And they wonder why their sites aren't popular with foreigners; I don't think requiring passport numbers is going to bring any crowds.

Third, Korean political parties. Now there is always much hype about the instability of political parties in Korea. Accordingly there are a few theories as to what is causing this. Some say the parties lack ideology, some say Korean society lacks western-style class identities that would allow parties to represent certain groups, others blame the focus on personalities, and some blame the perpetuation of regionalism. I say its because politicians in Korea are a bunch of clueless fools. For example,
First, there was the controversy over the naming of a new prime minister to start what the ruling camp called the second phase of the Roh presidency, to succeed Goh Kun who acted as president during Roh's suspension. A recent turncoat from the GNP, former South Gyeongsang governor Kim Hyuk-kyu was chosen and naturally the opposition party took it as a deliberate political provocation. A good many Uri members also disliked the choice and Roh eventually canceled the nomination, smearing a new start.
Who, I mean honestly, WHO could possibly think that this kind of move was going to do anything but outrage the public and make party members from both the ruling and opposition parties see red!!?? But there's more:
disclosure of intra-party "donations" by a proportional representation candidate to ensure her selection, and a number of Uri members voting to deter the arrest of a GNP lawmaker accused of illegal electioneering all happened in quick succession, alienating many former supporters of the party and administration.
Now if party politics, as it is often accused of being, is a tool for fulfilling political aspirations then you could at least expect politicians to be a little more savvy and possessing of a longer-term vision for their ambitions than this kind of blatant short-sighted jostling. Maybe the public will be less fickle in their voting (and approval) patterns when the politicians themselves gain some principles and start thinking long-term.

Currently reading:

"Hell" by Yasutaka Tsutsui