From the Korean Peninsula

Quite a bit to talk about…


The TPP will be a boon for South Korea:

The Korea Institute for International Economic Policy says Korea’s real GDP will grow 1.7 to 1.8 percent 10 years down the road if it joins the TPP trade pact, but if it does not, GDP will shrink 0.12 percent.

That puts opponents of the Washington-led deal here in a difficult position, especially since Chile, Malaysia, Vietnam and other countries with smaller economies did join the TPP.

If Korea is to join the ranks of the world’s advanced economies, it needs to stop dragging its feet over opening its markets out of fear of opposition from various interest groups. It must take the initiative by further opening the agricultural market and streamlining regulations on intellectual property and tariffs and customs. If it is to pull its economy out of the low-growth trap, additional market-opening measures are essential and unavoidable.


One hundred and nine professors have boycotted the government’s official textbooks for middle and high-school students while the government claims it will re-introduce the texts to counter left-wing bias. There has been a lot of discussion about the textbooks. Some believe that the tone of the texts is too leftists while some believe current texts will adopt a more pro-Japan sentiment (for background, see here and here).

Imagine such a discussion in North America.


But… but… tolerance!

Nine Korean totem poles that were severely damaged by religious fanatics in St. Petersburg have been removed from the site.

They were donated by Korea as a symbol of friendship to Russia’s second largest city on its 300th anniversary in 2003.

But the Jangseung totem poles, which are traditionally placed outside Korean villages to frighten away demons, attracted the ire of religious fanatics who insisted that Russia is a Christian Orthodox country and attacked them with chainsaws on April 15 this year.

They were irreparably damaged. According to local media, city officials removed the three remaining totem poles, which had stood in a park, on Sept. 22 while officials from the Korean Consulate General looked on.

City authorities apologized to the Korean Consulate General and began an investigation but failed to catch the vandals.

Kim Jong-heung, a famous Jangseung sculptor, made the totem poles from Russian pine trees.

They will be replaced by Harubang, a stone folklore symbol of Jeju Island believed to bring protection and fertility and ward off evil spirits, the consulate said.


Wow. Russia has really turned over a new leaf.


(Sidebar: Jangseung are Korean totem poles thought to protect villages and crops. One still sees them in rural areas though not many people see their significance beyond the cultural.)


  • Rosenmops

    Those look a lot like totem poles made by the Haida on the Queen Charlotte Islands.

    • The Koreans are what the aboriginal whiners could be if they stopped blaming everyone for their problems.

      There. I said it.

      • Maggat

        Yup, you said it, and it needed saying!

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        • South Korea is one of the most wired countries on the planet. They didn’t get there by being dumb-@$$ IT guys.

  • FactsWillOut

    A RC bashing Orthodox Christians for not being multi-culti.

    • Once again, you have missed several points.

      These were gifts given to Russia from largely Christian South Korea. Would South Korea be gracious if it decided to burn Dostoevsky’s works (and how many Russians still read him or appreciate him? Did they raise a stink when Pasternak was banned?)?

      Secondly, you again mistake the larger Russian culture as something to aspire to simply because it doesn’t like Teh Ghey. How cosmopolitan can these thugs who destroyed these items be if the only thing they can think of is destroying things they just plain don’t like?

      This leads me to my third point: the kind of people who destroy works of historical or cultural importance are the same inbred @$$holes people would like Putin destroy but isn’t at an appreciable rate. I don’t have to be a Buddhist to be bothered by the Taliban’s destroying Buddha statues. I certainly wouldn’t chisel away Latin because it is reminiscent of Romans and their pantheon of Greek-based gods. Indeed, the kind of people who don’t appreciate the basis upon which successful civilisations are built are usually the sort who think a good day’s work includes banning children’s Christmas pageants and destroying museums after a spate of child-killing.

      Sorry if my religion allows me to see things you clearly didn’t.

      • FactsWillOut

        Your bigotry against the Russian people is disgusting.

        • Bigotry of the Russian people? From where do you get that? From legitimate criticism?

          How does one know your blind defense of Putin isn’t on purpose?