Saturday, April 12, 2014

Kim Jong-un Was in S.Korean Students' Club at School


/Rodong Sinmun /Rodong Sinmun

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was a member of a 15-member Korean students' club during his time at a Swiss boarding school, TV Chosun reported Thursday. Kim attended boarding school in Bern, Switzerland from 1993 until 2000.
According to agencies that monitor North Korea, 12 South Korean and three North Korean students, including Kim, met at Gstaad, a luxury resort in Switzerland, in February of 1998.
The students from boarding schools in Aiglon, Bern, Cesis, Lugano and Rosey formed a social club. The other two North Korean students were Kim's bodyguard Mun Kwang-chol and one Ri Ryong, whose identity remains unclear.
The students named their social club after the resort. Kim used his alias, Pak Chol, did not interact much with the other members and usually sat in the far corner, according to the South Korean students.
According to the South Korean students, Kim spoke English and German but apparently no French. He liked basketball and skiing and enjoyed playing poker and drinking vodka.
They recalled that Kim at times looked for escort girls to sit next to him while he was enjoying a drink.
One South Korean student later told intelligence officials here that Kim inquired about admission to a school in Rosey before he went to Bern but decided not to attend the school because there were too many South Korean students. Another recalled that Kim went to a ski resort but chose not to ski and just enjoyed the scenery and played poker instead.
South Korean intelligence officials interviewed the South Korean students to assess Kim's personality, TV Chosun said.
According to a report based on those interviews, Kim was "aggressive and active," but "has a hard time controlling his impulses." He was also presumed to experience stress and anxiety due to the potential instability facing his father's regime due to the dire economic situation in his country.
He ended up feeling a "growing sense of crisis" from the pressures of the dynastic succession and the North's increasing isolation and economic misery. This played a part in his execution of his uncle and former eminence grise Jang Song-taek, the report said.

Source : The Chosun Ilbo

90% of Foreigners Would Date a Korean, let's find out the reason


Some 90 percent of foreigners would be happy to date a Korean, a straw poll by a dating site suggests.
Korea's largest matchmaking company Duo and social media side Korspot in a survey asked 1,147 people in North America, Southeast Asia and Europe whether they would to date a Korean -- 505 men and 642 women -- and 90 percent said yes.
For women, the biggest reason was because they were interested in Korean culture and language with 27.4 percent. The second biggest reason was because they thought Korean men seem hardworking and have a great sense of responsibility. The third was that Korean men look "cool."
Among men, 23.2 percent said they are interested in dating Korean women because of their looks. The second biggest attraction was that they act cute, followed by Korean culture and language.
But of the 115 people who said they are not willing to date a Korean, most cited cultural differences, followed by Koreans' perceived work obsession and conservatism.

Source: The Chosun Ilbo

I am also waiting here in India : Just Like Apple! Smartphone Shoppers Are Waiting in Line for Samsung's Galaxy S5


On Friday Samsung released its Galaxy S5 smartphone, the Apple rival’s top competitor to the iPhone. And just like each new iPhone does, the Galaxy S5 attracted lines of eager shoppers hoping to be among the first to own the new phone.
Well, it attracted lines in some cities, anyway. 
Here’s the scene in London, spotted by the (slightly-biased) folks at Android Central. “It’s no iPhone line, sure” Android Police officer/writer Richard Devine concluded, “but it’s still damn impressive.”

Just Like Apple! Smartphone Shoppers Are Waiting in Line for Samsung's Galaxy S5
Twitter user Ianus Keller shared this panoramic shot of a long line in the Netherlands:
And the Singapore Times snapped this photo of “hundreds” queued up for the Galaxy S5 in — well, Singapore.

Here’s another, more modest line from Singapore, shared on Digital Life Singapore’s Facebook page:


It wasn’t all lines and queues for Samsung, however. Whereas almost all Apple stores tend to attract huge crowds on release day, the Galaxy S series isn’t quite there yet in terms of broad, overwhelming appeal — a fact that some Apple fans gleefully pointed out on Twitter.
Here’s Australia-based Apple developer Ryan Jones, sharing a photo from Melbourne.
Here’s James Covington, in Jersey City, New Jersey:
Even in Seoul, South Korea — where Samsung is based, and where almost everybody owns a Samsung phone — the scene was subdued. Jonathan Cheng, who covers Samsung in Seoul for the Wall Street Journal, described the mood as “really, really quiet” in a tweet:
You may remember that Samsung mocked Apple fanboys who waited in line for the iPhone in a series of ads for last year’s Galaxy S4. Those ads were apparently so successful that now Samsung has attracted line-waiters of its own. 
You don’t have to wait in line to follow Yahoo Tech on Facebook


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Amhaeng-eosa: secret royal inspector in Joseon Kingdom


A scene from “Amhaeng-eosa,” an epic drama series in the 1980s

This is the seventh of a 20-part Jangseogak Archives series in collaboration with the Academy of Korean Studies. ― ED.

By Sim Jae-woo (The Academy of Korean Studies)
Professor Sim Jae-woo of the Academy of Korean Studies
These days, news of a modern version of the “amhaeng-eosa” or secret royal inspector prevails throughout the country.

There was a story about a military unit that introduced an undercover system to unearth internal problems in its barracks. Meanwhile, undercover election observers have reportedly worked against fraudulent and manipulated elections.

This shows that the concept of the Joseon Kingdom-style secret royal inspector is still being applied today.

So, who actually were the amhaeng-eosa in the Joseon Kingdom? They were undercover officials directly appointed by the king and were sent to local provinces to punish corrupt officials and comfort the sufferings of people while traveling incognito. The amhaeng-eosa system was one of the most excellent inspection systems in the world, the likes of which is very unique and hard to find in other countries.

In early China, there were royal inspectors appointed by the emperor looking over local provinces, but they did not perform inspections incognito like the Joseon secret royal inspectors did.

The secret royal inspectors were dispatched to local provinces to monitor government officials and look after the populace on behalf of the king. If the inspectors found cases that were unjustly judged, they presided in a retrial to redress wrongdoing. Consequently, they became welcome guests to the public. Amheeng-eosa were the secret officials dispatched by the king in the era but their achievements are worth reviewing from this point of time.

Generally, young and incorruptible officials were recommended for amhaeng-eosa by retainers and were appointed directly by the king, though their positions were not as high a rank as people may think. For their secret missions, they received a letter of appointment or “bongseo” from the king, and a description of their destination for surveillance was written in the letter. The appointed officials were basically required to leave as soon as they received their missions.

The secret royal inspectors kept "horse requisition tablets" called “mapae” and “rulers” called “yuchuk” with them throughout their missions. Mapae was a symbol of the secret royal inspector. There were horses carved on the mapae, meaning the inspectors could commandeer as many horses as were carved on the mapae. The mapae was used not only to ask for horses but also to prove identity. Whenever the inspector made an appearance, a team of royal inspectors reportedly exclaimed: “Now entering, the secret royal inspector,” presenting the mapae in hand. The mapae was used as a stamp of the inspector.

Yuchuk is a brazen ruler and usually two yuchuk were given to the secret royal inspector. One was to measure the implements of punishment for criminals, to restrain the overuse of punishment by checking whether each province implemented the right punishment according to the code of law. The other one was to investigate whether the measurement system for taxation was correctly followed.

However, the mission of a secret royal inspector was not an easy job. Although they were the rigorous royal inspectors who even terrified tyrannical officials, they faced many challenges. They traveled wearing ragged robes, broken hats with little money. Sometimes they had to sleep in an old inn, were exposed to danger or even got mysteriously killed while performing surveillance and concealing their identity.

After the completion of their mission, inspectors presented reports to the king called “seogye” and “byuldan.” In seogye, rights and wrongs committed by former and active local officials were written in detail, and the byuldan included indictments of the province that they inspected, the mood of the populace and virtuous villagers for awards. The Joseon Kingdom took actions based on the reports of the inspectors, for instance, taking disciplinary measures against corrupt local officials and conferring awards on virtuous women and exemplary sons.

Of the secret royal inspectors of the Joseon era, Park Mun-su (during KingYeongjo's reign) is considered to be the most famous figure. He had a lot of administrative experience and was thoughtful and caring about the lives of ordinary people, so he insisted that the government help people starving from famine and make a national effort to encourage old maids to marry. It is obvious that such a person must have left a strong impression on the people when serving as righteous a judge and secret royal inspector.
Although the extraordinary works of the inspectors have been known as Park's achievements in many legends and folk tales so far, it is important to remember that there were numerous scholars and officials who served as inspectors besides Park.
Representative figures who served in the Middle Joseon period include Yi Hwang, who is the most prominent Korean Confucian scholar; Park Se-dang, who had advanced views and ended being accused as a samunanjeok (one who causes social agitation by interpreting the dogma of Confucianism samunanjeok from a different standpoint); Nam Gu-man, who was active during Sukjong's reign; Jeong Yak-yong and Kim Jeong-hui who were the greatest scholars of the 19th century; and Uh Yun-jung and Lee Gun-chang during Gojong's reign.

There were a large number of inspectors who tried to share the suffering, joy and sorrow of the people by travelling in rags instead of donning official uniforms.
As mentioned above, various secret royal inspectors were in action during the 500 years of the Joseon Kingdom.

The system was very effective in reducing corruption in provinces and tightening discipline among government officials. Therefore, we need to inherit and develop the secret inspector system and its sprit as an exemplary case for bureaucratic operations.

Currently, the Jangseogak Archives contain many documents about government officials who served as royal inspectors, and even literature related to the 21st King, Yeongjo, who made a special effort to solve the civil complaints of people by sending secret royal inspectors frequently.

In this ideal season for an outing, why don’t you come visit the Jangseogak Archives and see the vivid tracks of the Joseon secret royal inspectors?
Source: The Korea Times

Rice Still the Main Source of Energy for Koreans


Rice is still the main energy source for most of the Asian Countries, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said last month, though the proportion is dwindling steadily.

Rice accounted for 31.6 percent of energy sources in 2012, down from 42 percent in 1998. Daily calories obtained from rice also decreased 25 percent from 834.2 kcal to 629.4 kcal. People now consume less than two bowls of rice a day.

The main reason is a growing variety of available food and the resulting dietary changes. But we must stick with rice as it gives energy and moreover staple for us.

Who deosn't love Fashion : Kim Jong-un Brings Sunglasses Back into Fashion


North Korean leader Kim Jong-un speaks during his visit to the Samji Monument at Mt. Baekdu on Tuesday. /Rodong Sinmun North Korean leader Kim Jong-un speaks during his visit to the Samji Monument at Mt. Baekdu on Tuesday. /Rodong Sinmun

                         North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has made a rare departure from copying the image of his grandfather, nation founder Kim Il-sung, by sporting a pair of sunglasses.
The elder Kim disdained the shades beloved of many of his fellow despots in the latter part of the last century. But his grandson donned a fine pair during a visit to the Samji Monument at Mt. Baekdu on Tuesday.
His father Kim Jong-il had a whole arsenal of tinted spectacles, though they were mostly of the elderly-widower type. Kim Jong-un's are snazzier.
Observers believe that Kim junior, marking his third year in power, is now trying to shape his own distinctive image after being made over into a clone of his grandfather in a bid to lend legitimacy to the young leader.
A source cited rumors that Kim's younger sister Yeo-jong has been coordinating his wardrobe since the ouster and execution of his mentor Jang Song-taek.

Source: The Chosun Ilbo

Samsung Posts Solid Q1 Earnings


Samsung Electronics announced preliminary first-quarter earnings on Tuesday with sales totaling W53 trillion and operating profit W8.4 trillion (US$1=W1,052).

Sales were up slightly compared to the same period of 2013 (W52.9 trillion), while operating profit shrank 4.3 percent. But operating profit was up 1.1 percent compared to the previous quarter’s poor results.

The earnings largely met forecasts by analysts.

By division, the mobile business achieved an operating profit of W6 trillion, similar to a year ago. Smartphone sales totaled around 90 million units, setting a new record. Semiconductor and TV sales also boomed.

The latest results confirm that the global smartphone market is approaching saturation and the explosive growth seen two to three years ago cannot be expected any longer.

But analysts said that although Samsung's explosive growth phase is over, the electronics giant will continue to post quarterly operating profits in the W8 trillion range. This suggests that Samsung and rival Apple have now achieved a stable market share where they account for a combined 97 percent of operating profit in the global smartphone market.

But analysts point out that Samsung remains too dependent on smartphones and could face a crisis if it fails to roll out innovative products.

Source: The Chosun Ilbo