Saturday, April 28, 2018

LTW: The Summit

As you have probably seen live on CNN on Apr 27, Kim Jong-un became the first North Korean leader to cross DMZ for a meeting in S.Korea since Korea got divided right after liberation from Japan in 1945. In a joint Panmunjom Declaration after a big bear hug accompanied by their spouses, Kim Jong-un and SK president Moon Jae-in pledged to make nuclear-free Korean Peninsula, agreed to officially end the Korean War by the end this year, promised to hold another summit meeting in Pyeongyang this fall, and vowed to halt hostile acts along the DMZ, such as loudspeaker propaganda broadcasting. While most Koreans are excited about the dramatic turnaround from just a few months ago when Kim and Trump threw mud at each other over the size of their nuclear buttons, some critics caution that the Panmunjom Declaration is not much different from the two previous summit meetings in Pyongyang between Kim Jong-il and Kim Dae-jung in 2000 and with Roh Mu-hyun in 2007. The critics argue Kim Jong-un would be very reluctant by instinct to throw away for nothing the very thing that made him get all the attention from the rest of the world including the mighty U.S.

The Moon-Kim summit served only an appetizer as there were no details over how and when the denuclearization can be completed. The main menu will be coming when Trump sits on the table with Kim Jong-un in 3-4 weeks for CVID of nuclear program. My two cents for Trump and Moon for their Nobel. Trump better understand Kim Jong-un has Hitler's DNA in his family blood . Kim's grandpa started Korean War in 1950, much like Hitler did WWII, Kim's father blew up Korean Air flight in 1987, killing hundreds of innocent passengers, much like Hitler's Auschwitz, and Kim Jong-un himself terminated his own cronies, brother and uncle, much like Hitler did away with his Nazi friend Ernst Rohm in Nacht der langen Messer in 1934. Two previous S.Korean presidents got duped by Kim Jong-un's father in the past. President Moon better keep in mind, "If deceived the first time, it can be a mistake. If cheated the 2nd time, it is because you are a fool. If third time, you are an accomplice." Below is what Moon's barber will make Moon should he become an accomplice.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

LTW: #MeToo all Over Korea

The Me Too wave from Hollywood has crossed the Pacific, hitting Korean peninsula hard. It started when Seo Ji-hyeon, a district attorney, appeared on TV on Jan 29, accusing her then boss Ahn Tae-geun groped her in a funeral home in 2010. That opened the gate, and a flurry of Me Too came out. Seoul city government removed a tribute to Ko Un, 84, a respected poet and perennial candidate for Nobel Prize in Literature, for multiple accusations of his sexual misconduct in the past. Police questioned Lee Youn-taik, a prominent playwright and a best friend to President Moon Jae-in over 50 years, on sexual allegations on a dozen women in his theater troupe. An Hee-jung, the governor of Choongcheong Province with high potential to be the next president, had to resign and face prosecutors when his own secretary accused him of raping her. Rep. Min Byung-doo of the ruling party announced his resignation at a news report that he made an unwanted sexual advances at a karaoke bar in 2008. A famous actor and a professor at a university committed suicide out of shame when media reported their sexual misconducts to would-be actresses and students. Can go on with 10 more stories. A big puzzle is why all this Me Too are taking place with those in the liberal, instead of conservatives.

Ann Taegeun/Ko Un/Lee Yountaik/An Heejung/Min Byung-doo  from left to right

Korean society had been generous about men jokes in the past, especially while in drinking. Not any more. The Minister of Defense was in trouble for his joke at a dinner speech last year. "What do speeches and skirts have in common? The shorter, the better." He meant good to have his hungry soldiers not wait too long for his speech to end, but it was not appropriate. "A good speech should be like a woman's skirt:long enough to cover the subject and short enough to create interest." Good thing Winston Churchill made this comment over 70 years ago. If now,

Monday, August 14, 2017

LTW: The Barking War

Good morning,

A series of bellicose rhetoric exchange between North Korea and Donald Trump keeps raising tension in Korean Peninsula. North Korean Foreign Minister threw the first punch on Aug 7, declaring his country will “teach the U.S. a severe lesson with its nuclear strategic force.” Trump countered on Aug 8, saying “North Korea best not make any more threats to the U.S. They will be met with fire and fury the world has never seen.” The commander of North Korean Army responded on Aug 10, threatening they can fire four Hwasung-12 ICBMs over Japan to lfall 30km (19 miles) away from Guam with the final order from Kim Jung-un. Donald Trump then tweeted on Aug 11 that U.S. military plans are “locked and loaded” and ready to go “should North Korea act unwisely.” Gen.Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff met with President Moon Jae-in Seoul on Aug 14.

 Guam:North Korea에 대한 이미지 검색결과Guam:North Korea에 대한 이미지 검색결과fire and fury에 대한 이미지 검색결과

While the rest of the world is watching Korean Peninsula in worries, South Koreans are not really feeling the tension. South Koreans have lived under Kim family’s verbal threats since Korean War ended in 1953. If South Koreans cannot sleep because of Kim Jung-un’s recent bad words from his mouth, neither can Japanese because of earthquakes. My wife can be more concerned about possible Louis Vuitton store pullout from Lotte Department Store than possible North Korean ICBMs flying over Japan to Guam. The recent exchange of menacing words between Kim Jung-un and Donald Trump fits below scenes to many South Koreans.


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Korean Women Do It Again!

Good morning,

Rfreshing news came to Koreans under stress from THADD dilemma with Chinese Xi Jinping and ICBM fire works by Northern brother Kim Jong-Un. The 72nd U.S. Women's Open Championship held in N.J. on July 16 turned into a Korea Women's Open, with rookie SungHyun Park winning the title and $900K while 7 other Korean women ranking in top 10. It was Park's first LPGA win also.She was a star in Korean LPGA until last year with 7 tour wins in 2016. The club owner Donald Trump was at site to give thumbs-up to the players, becoming the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Open. This is the 9th U.S. Open victory by Koreans since Seri Pak's first in 1998. Koreans girls worked together to capture 9 wins from 19 tournaments so far this season.

The saga of Korean women in LPGA started with Seri Pak's dramatic U.S. Open win in 1998. In the playoff against Jenny Chuasiriporn(U.S.A), Pak's ball from 18th tee flew to land on a rough just a few inches away from a lake. As both were equal after 17th hole, everyone thought championship would go to Chuasiriporn with Pak's ball practically inside hazard zone. Pak then took off her shoes and socks, went into the water and made a nice trouble shot to tie her opponent. Both went into sudden death play off, and Pak won in the first hole with a birdie. The picture of Seri Pak in the lake making an unbelievable comeback from tough situation was a huge encouragement for Koreans who were then suffering from economic meltdown under Asian Crisis, and is regarded as one of the best photo shots in Korean sports history. This was also the beginning of poor Korean men getting compared and judged, unfortunately.


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

President Moon

Good morning,
Moon Jae-in of the liberal Democratic Party was elected as Korea’s 19th president with 41.1% of the votes in a snap election following President Park Geun-hye’s impeachment in March, beating a conservative runner-up with 24.0%.  Moon’s election is expected to make a dramatic shift from government polices formed in the past 9 year under conservative Lee Myung-bak and Park Geun-hye leadership.  Born in 1953 to parents who had fled from North Korea to South Korea during the Korean War in 1950, Moon fought against dictatorship as a law student in the 70's, against Park’s own father, and worked as a human rights lawyer in Busan in the 80’s.   He served as a chief of staff under ex-president Roh Moo-hyun who killed himself in a scandal in retirement in 2009.  Moon ran for presidency in 2012, but was narrowly defeated by Park Geun-hye.  From his ideology and political path, it is likely Moon will show his warm heart to North Korea, and reveal sharp teeth towards the U.S. and Japan.


While many South Koreans are happy to see beaming Moon shine in dark nights, Korean business communities are not.  Moon is sympathetic to union, but hostile against conglomerates. Moon wants to lower unemployment rate by hiring more government workers, and  spend big money on social welfare programs, but plans to fund the money through raising corporate taxes and income tax.  Just hope Moon doesn't go too extreme, otherwise  South Koreans will be soon riding on Moon's bullet train to Venezuela. 


Friday, March 10, 2017

Korean President Park struck out

Good morning,

Breaking news. South Korean president Park Geun-hye got fired on Mar 10 when Constitutional Court has unanimously upheld a decision by the National Assembly to impeach her. Park became the first president to be impeached. Park's problem
 began on Oct 24 last year when local TV station revealed the unhealthy influence scandal Park's female confidante Choi Soon-sil had over the president. South Koreans have been deeply divided between those who were for the impeachment, and against. The downtown in Seoul near Park's Blue House was packed with tens of thousands of protesters every Saturday,holding candle lights (for impeachment) and Korean flags (against) in the past four months. 

An election will be held within 60 days to replace Park. If the election is held today, Moon Jae-in from opposition party is likely to be the next president with nearly 40% approval rating, far ahead of the runner-up with 15%. Despite the court decision, the Korean political theater is expected to be pretty noisy and chaotic until the next election.

My first son just joined the same company his father did exactly 30 years ago. Like father, like son. My son was sitting on the South Pole while his father was camping on the North Pole over Park's impeachment. Unlike father, unlike son.


Wednesday, November 2, 2016

LTW: Choi Soon Sil Scandal

South Korea has fallen into unprecedented power vacuum as President Park Geun-hye had to make an apology on Oct 25 over the involvement of Choi Soon Sil, Park's personal friend of 40 years, in state affairs. Park’s apology came right after a media report that Choi has received drafts of presidential speeches and sometimes edited them, which was backed by confidential document files on Choi's tablet computer. Park admitted she sought help from Choi for her speeches during presidential elections in 2012, and continued do so even after she became the president. Choi is also at the epicenter of a corruption scandal in which Choi used her connection with the president to solicit 77.4 billion Korean won (U$69M) from Korea’s 62 large corporations for her cultural and a sports foundations. Despite Park's firing of 10 of her close aides involved in the scandal, and arrest of Choi over the weekend, the public is still very much outraged, suspecting Choi has been the real president of Korea and Park was only Choi's puppet. Political chaos seems unavoidable as Park still has 16 months to run the nation until Feb 2018 with both of her legs cut off.

 Protesters wearing masks of South Korean President Park Geun-Hye and her confidante Choi Soon-Sil perform before a candlelit rally in central Seoul on Saturday.
South Korea and the U.S. have been a blood ally for many years, sharing glory and pain together in good or bad times. It was manifested once again as the soon-to-be U.S. President Hillary Clinton, feeling sorry for ally nation's president's agony over document files in an aide's computer, has done her share with her e-mails to Huma Abedin's computer.