Archive for the 'News' Category

Sewol

Sewol

I’m not writing this because I want to be a journalist, I’m just writing it down so I can remember when this happened.

A ferry called the Sewol was carrying passengers, mostly high school students, to Jeju Island and it somehow capsized on April 16th. The last count I saw, about seven days after the incident as of now, was 174 rescued and 302 either confirmed dead or missing out of 476 total passengers. 325 of the 476 were high school students. Two of the big items in the news cycle have been how the captain and crew were among the first to abandon ship after instructing everyone to stay in their rooms (wtf), and the shockingly incompetent response of the Korean government when the news broke. A lot of people probably could have been saved but weren’t and now, of course, fingers are being pointed.

I hate to admit this, but I’m really not shocked by the death toll which could have (should have) been much lower. For some hard-to-explain reason, it just seems so… “Korea”. I vaguely remember the 2003 Daegu subway fire (arson) that killed nearly 200 people where the conductor of one of the trains involved grabbed the master key and ran for his life. Weird coincidence that the Sewol captain did basically the same thing. The subway trains in Daegu were also ill-equipped for fire emergencies; apparently there weren’t any fire extinguishers onboard. The good news is that subway trains and buses now appear to be equipped for fires and, starting now, Korean passenger boats will probably be a lot safer as well. Are two similar but unrelated disasters enough to conclude that Korea is a place where the norm is reaction, not prevention? I dunno but, yeah probably.

For those interested, this Seoul National University professor sums up the Sewol disaster pretty well in an honest and heartbreaking essay.

posted by Michael in News on 4/23/2014 | No Comments

People on facebook are funny

posted by Michael in News on 4/6/2013 | No Comments

Well that sucked

I like watching torrential downpours. It’s fun to watch people trying to run through them, fun to watch streets become rivers. So last summer while I was in the US, Seoul got some major flooding from an extended period of nonstop pouring and of course I missed it. I was really hoping this summer’s Typhoon Bolaven would make up for that but IT SUCKED!

For the past two days people have been crowing about this supposed perfect storm headed for Seoul; schools even closed for the day. It was supposed to “hit” today, and it sputtered big time. Instead of rain coming down in sheets it was just unusually breezy. What a ripoff! I guess if I really want to get rained on I’ll have to move to Jeju (the island off Korea’s southern coast). Apparently they got stormed on hard.

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posted by Michael in News on 8/28/2012 | No Comments

Tsunamis are bad

I’ve seen this video on a couple of blogs/news sites, and now people are posting it on Facebook. It starts off slow, like eh it’s just a little flooding, but then this town in Japan just gets its ass kicked by the sea… it literally goes from ankle-deep water to entire buildings being swept away within about 5-6 minutes. Tragic, but pretty amazing to watch.

Btw, Seoul is completely unaffected by any of the chaos that’s currently destroying Japan. BHYB recently reported that she had the pleasure of experiencing a civil defense drill while riding the subway, no doubt a test of readiness prompted by Japan’s sudden misfortune, but since we’re west of Japan and the earthquake and tsunami happened on their east coast it seems Korea is in the clear. *cough* knockonwood

Luckily for Korea, the earthquake in Japan was more east than west

Luckily for Korea, the earthquake in Japan was more east than west

posted by Michael in News on 3/16/2011 | No Comments

North Korea is funny

Thanks Dad! Good stuff.

posted by Michael in News on 12/6/2010 | No Comments

Koreans are dying to play online games!

Hey look, some mildly interesting news that doesn’t involve North Korea:

South Korea’s government is close to adopting a “Cinderella” law to ban youngsters from playing online games past midnight amid growing concerns about Internet addiction, officials said Thursday.

A bill to be submitted to parliament as early as this month will require South Korean online game companies to cut off services at midnight for users registered as younger than 16, the culture and family ministries said.

The government is also considering requiring companies to limit young users’ access to online games to a maximum number of hours a week or a day if parents request this.

This kind of shit would never fly in America… corporate gaming execs would be bitching about it, teenagers would be bitching about it, parents would somehow find a reason to bitch about their responsibility being usurped… but this is a good law because:

Last month a 15-year-old South Korean boy committed suicide after killing his mother for scolding him over playing computer games too much.

In February a 32-year-old man died after reportedly playing for five days with few breaks.

A month later police arrested a couple accused of leaving their baby daughter to starve to death while they raised a “virtual” child on the Internet. The baby had long been malnourished, an autopsy showed.

That last one… WTF!! I swear I’m not making this up. It’s. Real. So kudos to the Korean government for trying to do something about it, for kids anyway. Not much you can do about the utter stupidity of grownups.

posted by Michael in News on 12/3/2010 | No Comments

Eh, big deal

Yes, North Korea fired artillery shells at South Korea. And no, that isn’t a photo of Seoul burning to the ground; it’s Yeonpyeong, the little island they attacked. And I’m saying “big deal” about the small scale of the attack, not the fact that three people died which definitely is a big deal to the people who knew them.

As for what the locals think of all this, I can’t really say! I only watch the news when I wanna see if they have any hot anchors on air since I can’t understand what they’re yammering on about, and people on the streets aren’t exactly running for cover. Some people are probably worried but it’s not like I’m out there conducting man-on-the-street interviews.

I’ll worry when “getting bombed in Kangnam” actually means getting bombed in Kangnam. That would be tragic.

posted by Michael in News on 11/23/2010 | No Comments

EARTHQUAKE!!!!

Ok, it was only a 3.0 and it shook Alaska’s apartment for all of 2 seconds… but at least it proves I wasn’t high when I texted three people to ask if they felt the quake.

A THREE-POINT-ZERO magnitude earthquake rattled Korea’s capital Seoul and the surrounding Gyeonggi Province at around SIX P.M. today Tuesday that is.

The Korea Meteorological Administration says the epicenter of the mild tremor was around eight kilometers north of Siheung city in Gyeonggi Province.

Residents in Seoul felt buildings tremble briefly. This is the third and biggest quake near Seoul since 1978 when the nation first installed such equipment.

Arirang.co.kr, FEB 09, 2010

posted by Michael in News on 2/10/2010 | Comments (2)