Friday, December 19, 2008

Is this the end of Kathreb?

No, don't be so silly. It is however, the end of I have moved to a new site

Friday, November 07, 2008

The Good the Bad the Weird

I went to the Barbicanto see The Good The Bad The Weird including a talk by the director Kim Ji-Woon (also directed the great movie "Tale of Two Sisters") and actor Lee Byung-hun. See trailer below but more importantly, see the movie - it was fantastic! The Director mentioned influence of Mad Max and there was clearly and Indiana Jones element as well.

This is part of the Barbican Korean film festival that is currently on. Tomorrow I'll be catching some Korean anime and then a couple of more movies during the week.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Book banning - it never goes out of fashion

The South Korean military is trying to prevent military types from reading certain books. by banning them. Even more strange is that they banned Bad Samaritans by Ha-joon Chang. I read that book earlier this year and found it to be quite excellent. The best part is that by getting the issue reported in the papers, these books are now going to be big hits and - as already noted by GI Korea - are probably easily available anyway.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Checking facts

The Korea Times has an article about the Amnesty report which includes the following paragraph:
This seems to be a correct observation, considering there have been controversies on the police's use of water cannons, liquefied tear gas and undue physical force, which led to the fractured bones and broken noses of demonstrators, including women. It is the first time the human rights body made an official report on specific issues involving Korea, showing how seriously it considers the issue.
That last sentence struck me because it is obviously untrue. Even without checking the facts, it seems pretty inconceivable that in 50-odd years that Amnesty has been around, including the dictatorship years, that Amnesty has never done a report on South Korea. A simple search taking no longer than a minute reveals that Amnesty is no stranger to writing reports on South Korea. Indeed the search only goes back ten years so I suspect there are more reports than this search shows which are not available on line. Its great to discuss the report but we're starting from a pretty low point when we can't even establish basic context of Amnesty's track record of work in Korea.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Remember the protests?

It seems like only a short time ago that the blogs were full of the 'beef protests' and bloggers were keen to get their opinions on the record. Particularly their opinions on the controversial visit by Amnesty International. At the time everyone poured over the one page press release. But now that the actual Amnesty report of the 'beef protests' and police violence is out, there seems to be a lot of nothing.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Is Aso Taro a gaffer?

With the resignation of Yasuo Fukuda it looks like Aso Taro could be the next PM of Japan. This is understandably news amongst key bloggers on Japan. One Free Korea gives a short and entertaining history of things Aso Taro has said in the past which have upset people. He refers to these as gaffes. I guess that is true but I think there is more to it than that. The offensive comments made by Aso Taro are social blunders. They do upset people and he is then pushed to make flimsy, insincere, "apologies". But can they still be called gaffes if we think that what he says is genuinely what he believes? They are not 'mistakes' or 'blunders' in that sense. He does mean those things. They are only miscalculations because he's too far removed to see or care about those who are offended by what he says. In one of the examples given by Joshua, he apologises for hurting the feelings of the Koreans but he doesn't apologise for what he said. If we think of a gaffe as a mis-interpretation or what is said/or bad wording on the part of the speaker at an inappropriate time, does Aso Taros words which are not mis-interpretations or bad wording but are spoken at inappropriate times (ie: anytime) still a gaffe?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Benefits for Bogus Information

The North Koreans can strike deals like nobodies business. The Japanese have agreed to loosen some sanctions in return for North Korea's assurance of investigating further the issue of the Japanese abductees. I haven't heard if they are investigating further the cases they have already claimed are dead or those they claim never happened. Either way, any "findings" from an investigation that counters North Korea's current stance can only lead to further demands and anger on the part of the Japanese. And any "findings" that reveal what North Korea has already stated won't be accepted as credible. Unless the Japanese are being allowed to go in and investigate or observe the investigation I see that little will come of this new move. Except more tension when the unhappy results of any investigation become known. But kudos to the North Koreans for getting a do-over on this issue. They certainly botched it the first time.

Currently reading:

"Hell" by Yasutaka Tsutsui