Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Walking Practice

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Tuesday, January 05, 2010


North Korea Watch: He Needs to Get Out More

Signs indicate that Kim Jong-il will be visiting China soon, this report from The Herald says.

"If Kim did visit Beijing, it would most likely be to discuss plans for the next round of the stalled six-nation talks aimed at ending the North's nuclear weapons programs, those close to the matter said."

Also, in the aftermath of North Korea's experiment with currency reevaluation and its subsequent skydive, it would appear that Korea is more in need of aid than usual.

"There seem to be no other pressing issues, although visiting China could help emphasize North Korea's wishes to make better friends with the rest of the world for the sake of its economy," said another ministry official requesting anonymity.

As stated before, Kim's big promises about the future of the nation appear to have backed him into a corner that he will have to negotiate his way out of. It doesn't mean they won't try reckless, dangerous stunts now and then, but they are almost certain to make more overtures in the near future.

The question will be how other members of the six-part talks respond.


Monday, January 04, 2010


North Korea Watch: The Promise of New Year

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak has proposed regular dialogue with North Korea, even going so far as to propose that the two nations establish liaison offices in one another's capitals.

North Korea has not gone for that yet, but has sent other signals of a shift in their approach, though questions remain as to whether or not they're prepared to negotiate out of their nuclear arsenal.

The Herald also reports that, for the first time, the North has included English letters in its New Year's message, perhaps to due to the fact that heir apparent Kim Jong-eun has received a foreign education, which they will surely emphasize as he comes to power, if not sooner.

Furthermore, the North's messages regarding the New Year emphasized not military strength, but an improvement in industry, agriculture, and standard of living. To do accomplish these things, the North is almost certainly going to have to open its diplomatic channels.



Snowed Under

Today brought record snow in most of East Asia, including a little more than 7 inches in just a little more than four hours in Seoul. Our newspaper had to publish two hours early and 90 flights were canceled at Incheon Airport.

This photo belongs to AFP.

Saturday, January 02, 2010


Resolving to be Resolute

I have a wife that I adore. I am one of the few people to graduate from Southern Adventist University's School of Journalism & Communication to actually have a journalism job. This year my wife and I added a new addition in Daniel, a little man whose resemblance to me left even me surprised.

And yet at the moment so much feels wrong: When I married my wife I married into her family, and that meant marrying into the debts her late father incurred through a combination of bad luck, poor choices in business partners and a continent-wide financial crisis about 12 years ago. It also meant the problems that my brother-in-law has (he has lost three jobs in the last 18 months) would become my problems.

As a result, all five of us live together in an apartment with four rooms, one of which is a bathroom and another of which is a closet. My job has its enjoyable factors, but they are often the backhanded sort of pleasure and workplaces in Korea are based less on what you can accomplish and more on who you schmooze (yes, American workplaces are also like this, but at least they pretend otherwise).

Things were pretty tolerable until December, when I got sick. It happens every winter, and probably will continue to happen until I have enough money to move to Fiji. My mother-in-law means well, but was already paranoid about germs even before I started coughing convulsively. She now closely monitors my diet and wardrobe, which has angered me, which has in turn angered my wife, which has then angered her mother, all of which has made my home one that I often don't want to go to at night.

My wife works a three-shift job, which keeps her schedule erratic. Last night and tonight, for example, she is on the 9 p.m. to 9 a.m. shift, which means she'll be asleep all day today until she has to work tonight. The time she's awake will mostly be spent feeding the baby. If she and I are lucky, we get one day together each week.

I have long turned to role models and hoped to derive inspiration from them. What can they teach me about my current situation? For example, Pete Sampras: When Sampras fell behind Richard Krajicek in the 2000 US Open, it appeared that the Dutchman's head-to-head advantage over Pistol Pete was about to get even better. Sampras, however, had other ideas.

But unlike Sampras here, my goal, to create a better environment for my family, can't be accomplished in one night. Maybe I need a role model who is closer to me in terms of my skill set.

In the field of modern journalism, I think that one of the few people doing really good work is Matt Taibbi. Along with Glenn Greenwald and Jon Stewart, Taibbi is the boldest journalist who actually has a wide audience, and such is his boldness that he has no fear of taking on those whom he believes control our government and our economy.

That mentality would serve me well. What's more, within a couple of years I have a reasonable chance of accomplishing my goals; when two years have passed, no matter how popular Taibbi gets, our government and both its parties will still be corporate owned.

And so my resolution is that, by this time next year, my family will be in a better place, hopefully physically but I'd settle for emotionally. If that means finding a new job, I'm willing to try that, though I'd rather make this one work. I plan to study Korean this spring at Yonsei University, which should be good for my career, particularly if I have to stay here.

But mostly I will believe that God has something planned for me, and for us. I have believed that in times past, and it has carried me through hard times before.

Go with me, God.

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