Author Archives: Scott

Living in the past: South Korean Defense Ministry steps up radio broadcasts into DPRK

The South Korean Defense Ministry reportedly (North Korea Tech) stepped up shortwave radio broadcasts into North Korea from 9 August.

Why?

The North jams most, if not all, of the signals, few North Koreans own shortwave radios, and decades of similar expense and effort have resulted in … well, nothing.

Instead of spending money on radio programs no one can listen to, using signals the North will jam, it’s time for a new tool. The South should be investing in cellphone towers along the DMZ and in supporting efforts by defectors to infiltrate phones into the North (read more on those efforts from The Asahi Shimbun or The Atlantic).

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Censored in South Korea?

As you can see from the flag graph below, I get my second largest number of visitors from South Korea. Not exactly stunning news, given how many of my posts are about Korea.

However, according to How to Get Censored in South Korea, a 13 August article in the New York Times on growing Internet censorship in South Korea (never mind the North), certain content can get your site banned in the South. The Times article not only carries some of the banned content, it offers to share it with other websites.

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Nation Building in South Korea: Koreans, Americans, and the Making of a Democracy

[Book Review] Wonky, but surprisingly readable – Nation Building in South Korea: Koreans, Americans, and the Making of a Democracy traces the history of U.S. “nation building,” or “stand back and let the Koreans do their thing – ing” in South Korea.

For a book in English, it contains a surprisingly large amount of the Korean perspective in building their nation into the success that it is today. Still, it seems too heavily focused on the U.S. role, while underplaying the role of the South Koreans. Perhaps a more reflective title would be The U.S. Role in South Korean Nation Building.



Either way, the book is an informative, readable history on U.S. – Korea relations and Korean development.

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Amtrak’s Northeast Regional train – slow and utilitarian, but beats the hell out of I-95

UPDATE (13 MAY 2015): My thoughts are with the victims and families of last night’s Northeast Regional 188 that derailed in Philadelphia.

Having ridden the DC-NYC portion of Amtrak’s Northeast Regional twice a month for the past three years, I feel I should write something about it, but do so more out of a sense of obligation than any deep feelings for Amtrak at its most utilitarian. To quote Theroux’s The Old Patagonian Express, “No good train ever goes far enough, just as no bad train ever reaches its destination soon enough.” The Northeast Regional lies squarely in the mildly pleasant middle.

Northeast Regional

 
First off, compared to most other routes, the Northeast Regional is expensive – which is probably why it’s the only Amtrak line that pays for itself. It can also get crowded, forcing people to roam from car to car in search of a seat or, as I did one Thanksgiving-eve, sit on the floor between cars, surrounded by fumes (the tunnel into Baltimore was especially pungent) and the occasional snowflake.

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North Korean Propaganda Posters

UPDATE (JUL 2015): It’s been a while, but just added about a dozen new posters and images to the Facebook page, plus posted a couple below.

UPDATE (DEC 2014): I added some new posters below (including a translation of the Korean on the movie poster promoting ‘The Interview’) and to the Facebook page. As always, thanks for stopping by and let me know if you have any posters you’d like translated.

UPDATE (JAN 2014): The propaganda posters and English translations have now been compiled into a brief ebook introducing North Korean history, culture, and ideology – WORK HARD FOR THE KIMS!, available now on Amazon, iBooks/iTunes, Nook, and Kobo. The images and translations in the book are from those below and on the Facebook page. Please let me know of other images you’d like to see translated.

UPDATES (9 Dec 2013, 25 Apr, 18 Jan, 7 Dec 2012, 15 Nov, 18 Oct): More images have been uploaded. Please feel free to suggest additional images you’d like to have translated.

In what will hopefully be an ongoing project, I’ve posted a few North Korean propaganda posters, with rough translations, to the Facebook page. Once there, click the photo to read the translation and related comments.
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  • Good start: Google can now search for datasets. https://t.co/V866rx4Yuv - posted on 05/09/2018

  • Makes you realize how many English loanwords there are in Korean. Guessing things would be different in Pyongyang.… https://t.co/SRFOJG4mlr - posted on 04/09/2018

  • Interesting use of open source and social media capabilities. https://t.co/xaRqmvl4qw - posted on 03/09/2018

  • Well said, ‘The spectacle we have witnessed at Mount Kumgang, as often before - is, let’s face it, grotesque. This… https://t.co/zqH2bqcCcD - posted on 20/08/2018

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