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Sun, May 22, 2022 | 22:50
About the past - Robert Neff
Dragons in the Palace
For many young foreign diplomats, Seoul in the late 1880s was a wild and exciting adventure. It was, of course, filled with political intrigue and assassinations; the main players were disgruntled court officials, members of the royal family and, reportedly, even the supernatur...
Shocking treatment: Electricity in 19th-century medical treatment
In the summer of 1877, a new type of medicine was introduced into Korea. Dr. Yano, a Japanese naval surgeon, established a hospital in Fusan (now part of modern Busan) where he treated not only the Japanese residents of the enclave but also Koreans from the surrounding regions....
The open secrets of Korea's 'namsadang' art troupes
In the late 19th century, large itinerant troupes of male entertainers - known as “namsadang” - roamed the Korean countryside providing the people with a brief respite from their everyday lives through acrobatics, music, dance and puppet plays. They have been described as the “...
Imbricated Chaos - Emanuel Pastreich
In defense of Donald John Trump
The lawyers employed by Donald Trump have amassed an impressive pile of arguments to defend him against charges that he incited a mob of his supporters to stage an armed insurrection in the Capitol and to murder people in an effort to stop the selection of his democratically el...
The nightmare born when technology took the place of science
Even small children are starting to sense that we live in an age when literally none of the information provided is reliable or believable. Information on a global scale is subject increasingly to Gresham's Law: low-quality information spreads everywhere and the truth is hoarde...
'Silhak' tradition as a solution to the current geopolitical crisis
South Koreans are having tremendous trouble grasping how familiar political and academic institutions in the United States have ceased to function as they once did. Koreans are confused to see Harvard professors promote nonsensical arguments about COVID-19 or to see politicians...
Voices from the North - Casey Lartigue Jr.
My 'Greenlight to Freedom'
Growing up in North Korea, I was a tomboy who wanted to play, run and wrestle. I was so active, I had so much energy, and I was constantly in motion as a child.
North Korean artist pursues her dream
I was destined to be an artist. My father was an artist in North Korea and when I was there, I became interested in art from a young age. I was 14 years old when I started learning painting in earnest.
Blackmailing from China
Sometimes it is difficult for North Korean women to tell their stories because people may judge the situation without understanding how desperate some North Koreans are in China.
Korea: deConstructed - David Tizzard
K-pop stars and Korean Politicians: Standards of morality
The word 'idol' is used here for a reason. South Korean pop stars are expected to live up to almost impossible standards of behavior. They present themselves as an image of something beyond human: A Platonic ideal standing in stark contrast to the corruptible and damaged existe...
Le Sserafim: Whisper-pop techno
Starting the recent EP from Le Ssefarim, I must confess I wasn't expecting to be greeted with dirty techno, Japanese lyrics, the word bitch in a single, and a chorus unashamedly declaring “I don't give a shit.” After all this is K-pop. However, it probably explains why the vide...
Korean dramas vs K-dramas: What is a mother?
What is a mother? Are there certain standards regarding age or socio-economic class that determine when it is acceptable or desirable to become a mother? Do these standards differ by country and over time? Finally, do Korean dramas have a responsibility to show us reality or fa...
Parchment Made of Sheepskins - Scott Shepherd
Self-help?
Once when I was walking out of the British Library, I saw a woman outside on the floor having some kind of fit or seizure. It was a wintery evening - it may even have been snowy if I remember correctly - and the library was just closing, so there were dozens, perhaps hundreds, ...
Ukraine needs Korea's support
Time goes past so quickly. Dear reader, you may not remember, but last month everyone was fixated on the Beijing Olympics. Look, she's wearing a hanbok! Hey, the referees are biased! Let's boycott the Games! It all feels like another age, an innocent time of relative peace when...
Hanbok stealing?
Nearly everyone in Korea is furious, it seems, because a Chinese national woman in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics opening ceremony wore the traditional Korean dress, hanbok. Numerous editorials and opinions have been published in condemnation, calling it another item in the l...
Dialogues with adoptees
Adoptee's journey tracing her mother, origin and heritage
I feel the weight of knowing that I represent one out of hundreds of thousands of Koreans who were sent overseas through international adoption. I'm an independent film director and I have spent most of my adult life trying to find my way back to Korea to look for profound answ...
Today's inter-country adoption system is not fit for purpose
I will first comment on where we are today in terms of inter-country adoption (ICA) practice at the global level, then consider our experience of the outcomes of a suspension of ICAs, and finally - in all modesty as an outsider - offer some thoughts on what the path forward for...
Gratefulness in the eyes of an adoptee
The word “grateful” is such a small word but it can carry a significant impact. Being “grateful” for something is supposed to have a positive effect, however, society has caused me to resent the word. Adoptees tend to hear this term from strangers, acquaintances, extended famil...


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