Friday, October 9, 2009

News links for October 9, 2009

  1. Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama to promote the idea of a regional economic bloc with South Korean and Chinese heads-of-state (Wall Street Journal, Reuters via WaPo)
  2. Unification Ministry official says Pyongyang has suspended campaign promoting Kim Jong-il's son Kim Jong-un as successor (AFP)
  3. President Lee Myungbak offers full government support to help South Korean companies secure ten percent of the global electric car market by 2015 (AFP, Korea Herald, Yonhap, Joongang Daily)
  4. Foreign Minister Yu Myunghwan says sanctions against North Korea should remain even if Pyongyang returns to nuclear disarmament talks (AP via WaPo, Yonhap)
  5. Seoul considers sending 300 troops to Afghanistan to protect South Korean contingent of aid workers already in country (Korea Times)
  6. Blue House welcomes move by Tokyo's Foreign Ministry for history book jointly penned by Japan, South Korea, and China (Korea Times, Yonhap, Joongang Daily)
  7. South Korea to restrict state-controlled companies from taking out USD-based loans in effort to curb the rising value of the KRW (Bloomberg)
  8. Trade Ministry says South Korea and European Union will sign free-trade deal next week; agreement expected to go into force next July (AFP)
  9. Controversial OECD report lists South Korean army as "gayest military in the world" (San Francisco Weekly)
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9 comments:

  1. Ah...so, now I'm catching on. Your last news items is always the Jon Stewart-ish one. I was wondering why all your other news posts were serious and the last one a bit odd. By the way, if that is a real pic of the ROK military, then they are pretty gay. Not that there's anything wrong with gay soldiers.

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  2. Those are real pictures of the ROK military. I think what they were going for was showing how tough they are. And I would say that that's pretty tough, hard work, lifting people like that and stuff. Those guys are ripped.

    If anything (and this was part of the irony of this kind of humor), it makes as much fun of how latently homophobic North Americans are when it comes to non-sexual physical interaction between two males. I mean, there are people who are absolutely paranoid about it.

    Worrying about who's gay, worry about oneself looking gay to others, calling each other gay, etc., etc., is a deeply embedded thing of American culture (line from The Simpsons: "You kissed a girl! That's so gay!") but it is utterly absent in Korea.

    Two guys holding hands, two guys dancing, two guys practically falling over each other to show their close buddy relationship is anathema to American sensibilities, and American visitors to Korea have to write it off closeted homosexuality, latent gayness, national and cultural denial, etc.

    Korean tough guys in the military look at that and think, "Wow, those guys are tough," but North Americans easily come up with, "that's so gay." And that's part of what I'm mocking here.

    I guess I shouldn't explain my jokes.

    Anyway, Korea is the country that invented the bromance, the man crush, etc. Only recently are North Americans able to come out and admit, "I love you, man."

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  3. Regarding link # 9...

    Shut-up kushibo... you know you liked it... ;)

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  4. Holding a man and jamming his ass into your crotch is the gayest thing I have ever seen. Are they serious? Is that really the OK army? Although, I had heard that smaller cute guys would get asked to snuggle with other guys in the barracks.

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  5. Oh, I completely agree with you, Kushibo. We are a bit too paranoid, but I must admit that I also fall into that by growing up in the US. I remember my cousin from Korea came to visit and we were walking around and he put his arm around me (he's 5 years older than me) and I told him that he shouldn't do that here and he was like "gosh, is there anything men can do in the US without looking gay??!" (in Korean of course).

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  6. A FOB guy once put his hand on my thigh...

    I punched him. My understanding for Korean bromance only can go so far...

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  7. 1994 wrote:
    Holding a man and jamming his ass into your crotch is the gayest thing I have ever seen.

    It certainly does look gay, but ultimately it's in all in the intent of the two players. If they are from a culture where this "skinship" and physical contact even of this kind is devoid of sexual suggestion, then it's not gay at all.

    Are they serious? Is that really the OK army?

    According to the site from which these came (a gay-themed site I found when I Googled "South Korea army gay" or some such), this is training for special forces in the ROK Army.

    These guys are ripped. I'd hate to get in a fight with any of them (well, I'd hate to get in a fight with anybody).

    Although, I had heard that smaller cute guys would get asked to snuggle with other guys in the barracks.

    Aye, but that's a different animal. I've heard of sŏnbae in the ROK Army making new hubae take it in the ass as a form of humiliation and control (the ROZ Army, anyone?) but I've only heard those stories from USFK personnel, so I'm not certain of the extent to which this exists, if it exists at all.

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  8. Edward wrote:
    A FOB guy once put his hand on my thigh...

    I punched him. My understanding for Korean bromance only can go so far...


    When I was in junior high, there were two FOBs that were both cool and hopelessly nerdy at the same time. Anyway, during jock strap inspection (how gay is that!) we had to show the PE instructors the strap of either our jockstrap or tighty-whiteys by pulling down on our shorts (really, how gay is that!).

    Each student had to hold open the side of their gym shorts when "Coach" walked by. And FOB1, when it was FOB2's turn to be inspected, ran across the formation and pulled down FOB1's gym shorts in front of everyone and laughed hysterically. So did FOB1. So did everybody else, but for entirely different reasons.

    If FOB1 and FOB2 knew what some of those white bread kids were saying about them, they would have kicked some ass (and believe me, they could have).

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  9. LastNameKim wrote:
    I told him that he shouldn't do that here and he was like "gosh, is there anything men can do in the US without looking gay??!" (in Korean of course).

    Back in the 1980s, pink shirts were considered cool, and even manly (I guess). But now that's considered so gay. What gives?

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