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The CBS Evening News reports on the excruciating vigil being maintained by the families of those still missing in the Sewol ferry disaster. The report does a good job of explaining the grim routine that has developed to identify the dead:
When a body is found in the wreckage, anything that can help identify the person is posted on slips of paper. A female with pink nail polish who had a root canal. Someone else was wearing pants with a flower print. Or a man with a blue watch. Details and vivid reminders of a life lost.
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YTN reports that a temporary memorial altar for the victims of the Sewol ferry disaster has been set up at Ansan Olympic Memorial Hall. The Sewol death toll has reached 150 as Navy and civilian divers continue to recover bodies from the ferry.
Port becomes epicenter of grief – JoongAng Ilbo
Crew member made ultimate sacrifice, and is laid to rest – The Hankyoreh
After Ferry Sinking, Grief for a Wife Lost at Sea – Wall Street Journal
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Political damage control is hard to pull off gracefully, as South Korean President Park Geun-hye amply demonstrated Monday. With her administration under fire for its shockingly amateurish mishandling of the Sewol rescue operation, Park tried to convey a sense of shared outrage over the situation during a cabinet briefing. Rather than limit her remarks to the government’s own culpability in the botched rescue effort, she decided to plow ahead and comment on the measures taken by the Sewol’s crew as well.
Based on what we’ve heard so far, there appears to be little question that the craven actions of Captain Lee Jun-seok were morally bankrupt. But it was rather jaw-dropping to hear Park herself condemn Lee and his crew for “actions akin to murder” (“살인과도 같은 행위”). Needless to say, it was extremely inappropriate for the chief occupant of the Blue House to be passing judgment on a suspect in a criminal case, no matter how politically expedient it may have been to do so.
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In the wake of this week’s sinking of the Sewol ferry, an editorial in Friday’s Chosun Ilbo excoriated South Korea’s seeming indifference to the need for stricter safety regulations and improved emergency response training:
The behavior of the ferry’s captain and many of the crew, who were responsible for the lives of hundreds of passengers, raises the question whether it was unique to this tragedy. In emergencies like a sinking ship, passengers panic and lose their ability to make decisions. On planes, trains or other form of public transportation, those responsible need to be trained regularly and be well-versed in how to deal with emergencies.
But here in Korea, how many people in such positions actually know how to operate a fire extinguisher or administer resuscitation? These terrible tragedies keep happening because Korean society has focused only on fast progress, while treating safety regulations as a hindrance. The government, businesses and the whole of society need to reflect on these fatal shortcomings.
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The death toll in the Sewol ferry disaster is creeping higher without any signs of additional survivors. As we learn more about the accident, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that human error is to blame for what is sure to be a devastating number of fatalities.
According to the JoongAng Ilbo, 20 of the 29 crew members, including Captain Lee Jun-seok, abandoned the Sewol without ever revising their earlier instructions to passengers to stay put. Lee was rescued barely 50 minutes after the ship issued its initial distress call – and a staggering hour and a half before the ship completely capsized.
James Shirley, an accident investigator in Newtown, Pa., tells the New York Times that the two and a half hours it took for the Sewol to sink provided the crew with enough time to get most of the passengers off the ship:
I don’t understand why the crew would be instructing passengers to stay inside the ship. I would think that if nothing else, they would be getting them outside with life jackets on so if it sank, they could at least get into the cold water with their jackets.
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The potential magnitude of the Sewol ferry disaster is almost too terrible to contemplate. Of the 475 people who boarded the vessel, 287 are still missing.
Hundreds missing in tragic ferry sinking - The Hankyoreh
What Caused the Ferry Disaster? - Chosun Ilbo
Navy, Coast Guard lead rescue effort - Korea Times
Fears rise for missing in S. Korea ferry sinking - Associated Press
Students Among Hundreds Missing After South Korean Ferry Sinks - New York Times
South Korea Ferry Sinking Leaves High School Reeling - Wall Street Journal
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The London Evening Standard reports that a hair salon in South Ealing was visited recently by two officials from the nearby North Korean embassy. Why? To complain that the salon’s use of the poster above was disrespectful to their (hilariously coiffed) leader, Kim Jong-un.
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The 27th annual Mangyongdae Prize Marathon took place Sunday in Pyongyang. The race, which is sanctioned by the International Association of Athletics Federations, has long been open to elite foreign runners. But in an effort to boost tourism, North Korea opened this year’s marathon to foreign amateurs.
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After dinner this evening, we walked home via Times Square (not the one in Seoul) and were surprised to see that K-pop stars B.A.P were performing at that very moment at the Best Buy Theater on 44th Street.
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Mike Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas who ran for U.S. president in 2008 and might run again in 2016, flashed his knowledge of world affairs Saturday during a gathering of Republican presidential hopefuls in New Hampshire.
After criticizing the “radical left” for supposedly attacking everyone else’s constitutional rights to freedom of speech, Huckbee asserted that, “My gosh, I’m beginning to think that there’s more freedom in North Korea sometimes than there is in the United States.”
Even as hyperbole, what an idiotic thing to say. Huckabee compounded the stupidity of his remark by using it as a segue to allude to the GOP’s fake concerns about an imaginary epidemic of U.S. voter fraud.
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DJ Spooky recently completed a two-month residency at the Seoul Institute of the Arts, where he created “Seoul Counterpoint,” a multimedia work that “juxtaposes the diverse landscapes, histories and sonic cultures of Seoul and New York.” He’ll present it Friday, Saturday and Sunday at La Mama on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, with visuals by art/technology incubator CultureHub.
The video above provides a glimpse of the project. To be honest, I don’t find the clip terribly compelling, but it may not be representative of the entire work. My weekend is already spoken for, otherwise I’d try to check it out in person.
He is one of my favorite Seoul photographers on flickr… his photos have this quiet theme where the light is coming from a single pojang macha or cafe window and black all around.
This shot looks like an Edward Hopper painting.
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Someone forwarded me this hilariously exacting “performance” of “Let It Go,” which aired last month on the SBS variety show “스타킹.” No matter how good you may think you are lip-syncing to this song, I guarantee you, this dude is better.
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What a nice surprise: former Major League infielder Jorge Cantu, a journeyman player whom I respect a lot, is now playing for the Doosan Bears. Cantu, a Texas native who grew up in Mexico, played parts of four seasons for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays when I used to live in Tampa. The Rays were godawful back then, but you could always count on a handful of players to give it their all everyday. Cantu was one of them. I’d lost track of him since then, so it was extremely cool to see him smash a three-run homer for the Bears the other day (see clip above) and become a Doosan fan favorite. Good ballplayer, all-around good guy.
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