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Moving backward
I had lunch with Srirak Plipat, Asia-Pacific director of Transparency International (TI), in Seoul on Nov. 21. He came to Korea as part of an Asian visit before the anticorruption watchdog released its Corruption Perception Index (CPI) on Dec. 3.

Learning from Joseon-era kings
Controversy is raging over allegations that a group of President Park Geun-hye's closest confidants abused their positions of power. In the Korean language media, this group is known as "sipsangsi," which refers to a group of corrupt eunuch court o..

Tradition vs. innovation
These days, I have the good fortune to travel to various parts of South Korea to meet with traditional artisans. These trips often take me down to the most southern parts of the peninsula, where the vista that emerges after a four-to-five hour bus ..

Arms acquisition rotten to the core
I attended a luncheon meeting hosted by the chief of the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) a few years ago when I was an editorial writer. During the meeting, a DAPA official briefed me on the role of the administration, saying it h..

Engage more with North Korea
President Park Geun-hye had a rare encounter with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Monday during a gala dinner at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit. The impromptu meeting came with the two leaders seated beside one another and progress..

After the miracle on Han River
As a person who mostly uses the subway to commute, one of the things I notice most is the presence of the elderly. As most people know, those 65 or older enjoy free access to Seoul's mass transit system, so you will often see the elderly onboard. A..

Ban Ki-moon as mediator for inter-Korean peace
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon may be one of the most popular figures in the world, alongside Pope Francis. Both have been nominated as candidates for the Nobel Peace Prize. A recent survey by the Daily UNN, a newspaper for university students ..

Renewable energy on Mt. Seorak
I went hiking on Mt. Seorak last month. It was about 15 years since I last climbed the scenic mountain. And it was early autumn and I enjoyed the wonderful nature. My love for the national park began one day in May 1990, when I first went there to ..

The North Korean trio's visit
For the hosts of the Incheon Asiad 2014 - Incheon, South Korea and President Park Geun-hye - the Oct. 4 visit by three top North Korean officials was the icing on a successful closing ceremony. Even though the opening ceremony was criticized for sh..

In the name of 'gwanchi'
The nation's financial sector has made efforts to improve its competitiveness since the outbreak of the 1997 Asian currency crisis. But such efforts were not successful in turning local banks and other financial companies into global giants.

The Sewol divide and common cordiality
There is a story from an ancient Buddhist text in which the Buddha begs for food outside a rich man's door. When the holy man knocks, the master comes out and yells at him to go away. Instead of getting angry, the Buddha smiles. "May I ask you some..

Addressing climate change issues
Weather used to be one of those few predictable things in Korea. There were four seasons, with the monsoon season in July, the hot and humid summer following immediately while fall began in September and the first snow falling in November.

Lawmakers and lawbreakers
The "hide-and-seek" game between five lawmakers and prosecutors ended in a victory for the law enforcement agency last Thursday. However, it has set a bad precedent for those tenaciously trying to avoid arrest on corruption charges. Without questio..

Pope and his message for Koreans
For many people, Pope Francis' visit offered precious opportunities for healing. The biggest beneficiaries may have been the families of the victims of April's Sewol ferry tragedy. I hope the elderly women who, as young girls, were forced into sexu..

'Seoul Chic'
The screams from fans when G-Dragon appeared on stage on Aug. 9 in a special edition of M!Countdown held as part of KCON2014 in Los Angeles was deafening. The leader of the K-pop group Big Bang was performing solo but the fans at the 15,000-seater ..

Hazing deaths disturbingly unsurprising
How the young victims died was undeniably shocking. But their deaths were equally disturbing because they felt probable.

'Five Bandits'
The sinking of the overloaded ferry Sewol reminds me of Five Bandits written by poet and writer Kim Chi-ha.

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