Monday, January 5, 2009

Tuttle News Update

So, let's see, what's been going on around here? Well ...
1) Three days of winter camp down, only sixteen to go! Today we played "Twenty Questions" and the "advanced class" really sucked! Tomorrow we're playing "Who Am I?" where I will put names on the back on PostIt notes and they have to ask Y/N questions of random classmates to figure out who they are. I'm guessing Aristarchus of Samos will be the ball-buster ...

2) Still no winter coat. Hwang assured me it was to be delivered Monday afternoon, but when I got home circa 1 PM on Saturday, there was a sticker on my door that a delivery attempt had already been made. So, he called the number on the notice this morning, and was assured it will come tomorrow between 4 and 5. Imagine my chagrin when I got home today and found a second delivery attempt had been made this morning.

The Korean postal service: what it lacks in inefficiency, it makes up in miscommunication.

3) Korean politics is even crazier than usual, as a sit-in by the loyal opposition has reached epic proportions. Of what, I can't say. The ruling GNP (Grand National Party) of Lee Myung-bak wants to push through about 80 bills that formed much of their platform in the last election, including the FTA with the US that sparked the beef protests this summer.

Image captured from
Dozens of lawmakers have been arrested and numerous skirmishes and melees have marred attempts to reach compromise. There were rumors today of an agreement to end the unpleasantness, but we're not holding our breath. Other issues include massive tax breaks for the wealthy, relaxing antitrust laws for news conglomerates and privatizing the Korean trade bank.

4) Relocating US military units from Yongsan base in central Seoul may be postponed from 2014 to 2016, apparently on US concerns over costs. This could throw a wrench into the works of President Lee's plan to build 5 million homes in Seoul over the next ten years, as at least some of the real estate in that plan was to be in what is presently Yongsan. Remember, South Korea is still technically at war. With the North.

5) There is no number five.

6) Young Koreans place a high priority on their looks are the most vain people on planet earth. They probably think this blog is about them. Don't they, don't they? Elevators, subway stations, building lobbies, etc., are decorated with mirrors more often than public art so Koreans can check their look every three minutes. You doubt me? In this IHT article about the ramifications of the worldwide economic downturn, we get this:
From a luxury limited to the wealthy a decade ago, according to ARA, plastic surgery has become so common that an estimated 30 percent of Korean women aged 20 to 50, or about 2.4 million women, had surgical or nonsurgical cosmetic procedures last year, with many having more than one procedure.

While fewer Koreans can now afford rhinoplasty due to the current economic crisis, there is an upside, at least for plastic surgeons: "South Korea's currency has fallen so far that procedures here are now cheap when calculated in dollars and other currencies. This has led to growing numbers of Japanese, Chinese and Korean-Americans coming to Seoul for relatively inexpensive cosmetic procedures," according to the story.

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