4/29/13

Monster Meeting Tips

There are some websites telling organizers how to put together a good rally or demonstration. But in my search I didn't come across tips for people who participate in rallies.

So here are some tips that I'm putting together now (will updated whenever an idea comes to me).


Participate: Be a participant, not an attendee. This is an importance difference. An attendee watches. A participant gets involved, is part of the event, makes it better than it would have been.

Recruit: The cheesiest pickup line is probably, "Hey, baby, what's your sign?" At tonight's rally, participants can use a similar line: "Hey, baby, what's your sign--and, wanna hold this protest sign?"

Invite others: some will join the rally when asked. Even if they don't join, they can't say that no one asked them to join. It will give them something to talk about, then one day when they are watching the news or reading, they'll remember that they were invited to join an event.

Represent: don't embarrass your cause. Bill Gates came to Korea with smiles and the best of intentions, then got denounced in crazy Korean Netizen land for the quality of his handshake. So remember that hypersensitive people and opponents will use any and everything against you.

Have fun: As Emma Goldman has been attributed with saying: "If I can't dance, then I don't want to join your revolution." We will be dealing with a sensitive issue, but that doesn't mean that it must be treated like a funeral. At least we can express joy about those North Koreans who have successfully escaped.

Cheer wildly: Whenever a speaker is introduced, them applaud or cheer. Some speakers are nervous and need encouragement. Even if the speaker makes a dumb joke, laugh. At tonight's rally, speakers have been ordered to keep it brief, so don't worry, they will run out of time quickly.

Chant slogans: Whenever the rally organizers or speakers ask you to do something, please do it. If they ask you to chant, do so. If they ask you to sing, sing louder than anyone else.

Chant my name: Yes, this one is important. Whenever I speak at a rally, and you happen to be a participant, don't forget to chant my name. Ladies, it is okay to scream my name--just pretend that I am Will Smith or some cute K-pop idol.

Be understanding: the rally organizers of this particular rally are all professional people with full-time jobs. Organizing rallies is not something that they do very often. So everything may not go according to schedule and some speakers may get moved by the spirits and talk too long.

Be clean: if someone hands you a flyer at the rally, either trash it in a garbage can (okay, there are only 4 in all of Seoul) or put it in your bag, purse or pocket. But don't trash it at the rally area--when your rally is over, it should appear that nothing had happened there.

Arrive as early as possible: it helps to have more than just the rally organizers present at the beginning. Many worry that no one will show up, so a few friendly faces can help them relax as they deal with last-minute problems. Offer to help. But even just standing around is valuable for a rally, the more, the merrier.

Join whenever you can: There is no such thing as being late to a rally. Some others may have left early. Plus, you can help cleanup.

Don't be shy: You are part of a rally. That's not the time to hide. Let people know that you are happy and proud to be a part of this moment.

Mood Music: On the way to the rally, listen to whatever music that gets you revved up. In my case, it is the dance mix of "Let's Go Crazy" by Prince, from the movie "Purple Rain." Or "Shut 'em down" by Public Enemy, turned up so I can't hear anything else.





 *****************************************************************************

* Tomorrow I will be speaking (briefly) at the "Road to Life" rally in support of North Koreans trying to escape from North Korea. But don't blink, because all of the speakers have been asked to limit their remarks.

Of course, I am sure that I will be the only one to speak briefly.

* I am scheduled to speak at 7:55 or 8:20. Things could have been even better--I was invited to perform with a music group, but because of my lack of availability lately, I couldn't get away to practice with them.

We had also considered doing a role play--I volunteered to pretend to be Dennis Rodman.

But again, too busy lately to get together to get it done..


* * *

Blaise Pascal once wrote: "If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter." A month ago, when I was at TED, they asked if anyone wanted to make a three minute speech. A three-minute speech? Hey, I need time to prepare to be that precise. On the other hand, if they had asked for someone to speak for 30 minutes? No problem! I've been preparing my whole professional life for that.

So my speech tomorrow will be brief. I am thinking about what to say because I must be precise, the host organizers will want the microphone back quickly and will try to grab it if I take a breath.

* * *

Several years ago I was interviewed on 1500 WTOP in Washington, DC. I believe that it is one of the biggest radio stations in the area. I was told that I would be on for two minutes. So I prepared five minutes of material, and talked until they interrupted me because they HAD to go to a commercial.

* * *

* On Friday from 5:30, I will be moderating a discussion with Blaine Harden, the author of the book Escape from Camp 14 about North Korean escapee Shin Dong-Hyuk. I attended a conference in Washington, D.C., on April 10, 2012. Shin and Harden were both speaking--but I missed the speech to attend at a protest in front of the Chinese embassy instead. I finally got to hear Shin this past July at a 10 Magazine event. I met him in February 2012 at a different conference. When I heard about his story, I suggested that he should write a book.

Shin Dong-Hyuk, Casey Lartigue, July 2012

Haha! The book by Harden was just about to come out, an international best-seller, translated into numerous languages.

So at last, I will get to hear Harden directly, as the moderator of the event.

* * *

I know that many people fear public speaking. I think it was Winston Churchill who was credited with saying something like: There are two things every young man is afraid of. One is asking a beautiful woman out on a date. Two, giving a speech in public.

But I love it. It is always a good chance to tell people what I think about things. Like blogging to a live audience...

* * *

Here is the petition asking the Chinese government to end the repatriation of North Korean escapees.

Casey

4/28/13

Casey Lartigue quoted (at length) by NK News

On Expertise and Ethics: Tourism in North Korea

Does visiting North Korea as a tourist provide any useful insight?
by Alexander James , April 27, 2013

In the words of Hong Yin-chel, Head of the Publicity Bureau for North Korea’s National Tourism Administration, “tourists from the whole world” are now welcome in North Korea. Notwithstanding Mr. Hong’s enthusiasm, North Korea remains a rather niche destination for holiday makers. Receiving just 75-80,000 tourists in 2011 (in contrast, nearly ten million tourists visited South Korea that year) nuclear weaponry, rather than sightseeing, still characterizes North Korea in the eyes of many.

So who actually goes to North Korea on holiday? Unsurprisingly, the vast majority of tourists are Chinese. Said to be lured by “the popularity of movies and songs from the DPRK in their youth,” North Korea’s appeal is more likely to be couched in its affordability and its proximity to the Chinese border. Despite accounting for just a fraction of the 70 million trips made by Chinese vacationers in 2011, the 70,000 Chinese tourists that did visit North Korea contributed a sizable $300 million to Sino-DPRK trade that year.

With Chinese tourists parting with $73 billion annually, North Korea’s recent investment in its tourist infrastructure and the increasing number of Chinese tour operators offering trips to the DPRK indicates that money is to be made by both sides.

In a stark contrast to this so-called “Chinese invasion”, just 3,500 Western tourists visited North Korea in 2011. Naturally contingent on issues of time, distance, and funds, it still remains that for many in the West the DPRK is still an unknown entity — both as a holiday destination and as a country. Yet in spite of North Korea’s mysteriousness, Western tourist numbers remain steady, with over twenty tour operators now handling demand for travel to the DPRK.

Naturally, a holiday in North Korea is unlike any other. From the ever-present tour guides to the obligatory visits to monuments and propaganda-laden museums, restrictions are part-and-parcel of any itinerary. This Potemkin-esque facade has led some, such as Brian Myers, to question the usefulness of tourism to North Korea for those who seek to ‘know’ the country. Others, such as the recently travelled Sophie Schmidt, have instead urged tourists to visit North Korea, if only to observe the glitches in its virtual reality.

As interest in tourism to North Korea grows, two questions seem increasingly important: Is tourism essential for those looking to understand North Korea? And, can tourism to North Korea ever be ethical? Answering these questions are Chad O’Carroll, the founder of NK NEWS; Casey Lartigue, Jr., an international adviser to the Mulmangcho School for North Korean Adolescent Refugees in Yeoju, Gyeonggi Province; and New Focus International, a North Korea-focused media organization run by exiled North Koreans.

Expertise and North Korea

Expertise and Tourism

“As a member of an escorted tour,” Temple Fielding observed that “you don’t even have to know that the Matterhorn isn’t a tuba”. In this vein, can North Korea-watchers ever accumulate true knowledge when visiting the DPRK? Chad, you have commented before that, besides knowing the Korean language, time spent in North Korea is a prerequisite for claiming expertise. Is this possible through tourism?

Chad: Yes, I believe so. While Pyongyang is where most people go, don’t forget there are lots of off-the-road locations now available. It’s in these places that interesting material / perspectives can be found. So to assume you can’t acquire knowledge from a tour to North Korea seems a little off, to me at least.

Casey: What is the wisdom from people who have gone to North Korea? It seems that Dennis Rodman came back dumber than when he went there. People engaged in tourism are going there to make money or have a good time, not to help North Koreans escape. That’s okay. The more successful they are, the more likely they are to undermine the North Korean government. I look forward to the day McDonald’s opens a chain of restaurants across the country, those golden arches highlighting the sign, “24 million comrades served daily.” Also, with every movement, there seems to be “rites of passage” used to prove that someone has knowledge or expertise. It is a good way to pull rank in a cause, but it doesn’t really help enlighten people.

New Focus Intl: Seeing Pyongyang isn’t seeing the reality of North Korea, it’s seeing one of many distorted versions of it. This should be kept in mind by anyone on a tour group!


How do North Koreans in exile view Western experts’ analyses and prescriptions for their country? 

New Focus Intl: There are two North Koreas — one created by Western experts, one of reality. Western experts tend to apply their own biased theories to North Korea, instead of drawing from the North Korean mindset to look through the North Korean lens.


Academic exchanges are said to be a tool for garnering mutual understanding between North Koreans and the outside world. Business with North Korea has also been seen in a similar light by its proponents, such as Felix Abt. Regardless of outcome, are ‘boots on the ground’ helpful in terms of soft-power and as added sources of information? 

New Focus Intl: North Korea is a duality — there is an exterior North Korea and an interior North Korea (cf. John Everard’s views). You must always ask yourself — are we dealing with the exterior or the interior? Any official channels often reach only the exterior, which is formed of people who wish for the status quo to remain. If we care at all about changing North Korea, we should aim to go straight to the interior. Working with the North Korean state and expecting change for the country is like fishing off an aircraft carrier, rather than off a fishing boat – it may work, but it is a hugely inefficient endeavour if relied on solely.

Casey: Whether or not such academic exchanges help, the South Korean and U.S. governments should not block them.

Chad: Certainly! How can they not be? The more testimonies from foreigners on the ground, the more we know. It’s certainly not the closed and isolated information black hole that it once was.



What are your opinions on the growing body of ‘everyman’ travelogues of North Korea? Here I’m thinking of Vice’s ‘Guide to North Korea’, the various ‘undercover’ documentaries available online, and the seemingly obligatory tourist blogs. Do they help generate interest in issues such as human rights or does their sensationalism devalue serious issues?  

Chad: I think they play a useful part. They actually get some serious people interested in North Korea in the first place, so they can be useful from that perspective alone. You are right though, there is an increasing strand of North Korea blogging based on the sensationalism of being there — this stuff just goes over the old stereotypes of being behind the iron curtain etc. It goes back to the idea that a lot of people seem to visit North Korea just to facilitate fascinating dinner party conversations for months ahead…

Casey: I suspect that the people reading such sensationalist stuff aren’t going to be very helpful when it is time to do things to help North Koreans trying to escape from North Korea.

New Focus Intl: There is only one Kim family in the world — in North Korea. Only today’s North Koreans (exiled or not) are the ones who can teach us about today’s North Korea. So yes, common sense is entirely missing, sadly.

Bruce Cumings has argued that while policymakers continue to overlook North Korea’s unique historical milieu they are destined to keep prescribing the wrong policies. Others, such as David Kang, Alon Levkowitz and Suk Hi Kim, make similar points: chiefly, that North Korea is sui generis. Is knowledge of issues such as ideology or Korea’s pre-modern political culture really important for today’s policymakers or is common sense the crucial missing commodity? 

Casey: North Korea is the equivalent of a burning building. People need to get out. I don’t need to know about the history of the building to want to get the people out. Would it have been helpful to understand the Nazis or Stalin to have engaged in exchanges? Evil leaders need to be eliminated, not understood.

Chad: I believe it is critical. A policy maker focusing on a country should know about the country in detail well beyond a reading of policy briefing papers on said country, think tank reports, etc.

Ethics and North Korea

Ethics and Tourism

It is argued that the consequences of tourism to North Korea are harmful, thus tourism is ethically wrong. But should more consideration be paid to the motives of the tourist? For example, if a tourist travels to North Korea with intentions that are inherently good — such as engaging in people-to-people contact — can we say that the ethical case for tourism is sound?
Chad: Good question. Is it ethically sound for regime sycophants to go and praise the North Korean leadership? Dubious. Is it ethically sound for tourists to go and photograph North Koreans like they’re animals on a Kenyan safari? Definitely not.
Casey: Let the tourists go there. I don’t care about their motives. They should be allowed to go or they should not; it shouldn’t depend on their feelings.


U.S. tourism to Cuba has long been subject to a government-imposed boycott. Additionally, Burma faced a tourist boycott instigated by international human rights groups, with Aung San Suu Kyi once remarking that tourism was “tantamount to condoning the regime”. North Korea’s behavior has arguably been less salubrious than that of Cuba and Burma, yet tourism has rarely faced calls to be boycotted from governments or human rights groups. In your view, why has this been the case?

Casey: There’s no need to boycott when the other side blocks people from going in. If North Korea opened the border to allow people to come in, the South Korean government would probably put up barriers to block leftist sympathizers and others from going there.

Chad: Probably because the numbers are so miniscule compared to Cuba and Myanmar.


Today, pro-democracy groups encourage tourism to Burma so that ongoing injustices can be exposed. Would a similar form of critical engagement with North Korea be of any use?

Chad: Yes. Sometimes the hosts slip up in North Korea and it’s good for tourists to be there to witness, share stories, and photographs. Especially when they take you to rural areas — things aren’t as controlled as some critics like to think.

Casey: The injustices are well known to anyone who has paid attention. Would it have made sense to engage in tourism in the American south when Africans were held in captivity? The term “of any use” is too vague — for North Korea almost anything would be of some use.


Intourist, the infamous state-run Soviet Union travel agency (comparable to the Korea International Travel Company), gave work to thousands of Soviet citizens and opened the eyes of many more to the outside world. Are comparable advantages in North Korea possible?

Chad: Yes, certainly: tourism creates jobs and develops contact between foreigners and locals. How can that not be a good thing?

Casey: Those agencies aren’t doing it to help North Koreans, like most business people they are in for themselves. Any help for North Koreans will be a delightful unintended consequence.

Thanatourism — the visiting of locations once associated with death or suffering, such as Hiroshima or Auschwitz — is said to be morally justifiable due to the historical and moral worth gained in viewing sites retrospectively. With death and suffering still ongoing in North Korea, do similar claims of knowledge accumulation from those who travel to the country, such as Rüdiger Frank or Han Park, seem morally questionable or even more pressing?

Casey: I am supportive of people engaging in trade with North Korea, but I personally won’t do it. The leaders of North Korea are, to borrow a phrase from William Lloyd Garrison, “men stealers and women whippers.” I am more interested in trying to get information into North Korea and helping people to get out, not in engaging in trade with the government.

An important caveat: this debate focuses on the choice of the individual traveler and not their means of travel. It offers no value judgment on travel agents or tour companies that cater to the growing demand for tourism to North Korea.

On Expertise and Ethics: Tourism in North Korea, by Alexander James, April 28, 2013, NK News

Op-eds Why I won't go to North Korea, by Casey Lartigue, Jr., December 27, 2012, The Korea Times
http://caseylartigue.blogspot.com/2012/12/why-i-wont-go-to-north-korea-korea.html 

Common Sense on North Korea by Casey Lartigue Jr., April 2, 2012, The Korea Times

Quoted
Western tourism on the rise, says N. Korea, March 15, 2013
http://caseylartigue.blogspot.com/2013/03/casey-lartigue-quoted-in-todays.html

On Expertise and Ethics: Tourism in North Korea, April 28, 2013
http://www.nknews.org/2013/04/on-expertise-and-ethics-tourism-in-north-korea/

4/26/13

Latest and upcoming

"Escape from Camp 14," with author Blaine Harden, 10 Magazine forum, May 3, 2013 (moderator)
"Road to Life" radio interview, "This Morning" on TBS eFM, May 1, 2013 (radio interview).
"Road to Life"--Rally for North Korean escapees, Seoul, April 30, 2013 (speaker).
"On Expertise and Ethics: Tourism in North Korea," by Alexander James, NK News, April 27, 2013 (quoted)
"Casey Lartigue update," Plan B Lifestyles Radio Show, April 17, 2013.
Interview on Dreams, 2032 Magazine, April 2013. 
"Western tourism on the rise, says N Korea," by Simon Mundy, The Financial Times, March 15, 2013 (quoted)
Liberty Society Emerges as a top global think tank, 2032 Magazine, March 2013 (feature article)
Is Tourism in North Korea Really Booming? If tourism is growing, should it be encouraged?, NK News, February 21, 2013 (quoted)
There's no place like home, The Korea Times, February 12, 2013 (op-ed)   Humanitarian with a Guillotine, The Korea Times, February 1, 2013 (op-ed).
Open Letter to Park's Advisers, The Korea Times, January 28, 2013 (op-ed).
Open Door to N. Koreans, The Korea Times, January 16, 2013 (op-ed).
North Korean refugees in South Korea, TBS eFM 1010.3, January 1, 2013 (radio interview).
Chang Ha-Joon's Foolish Consistency, The Korea Times, January 1, 2013 (op-ed).
Why I won't go to North Korea, The Korea Times, December 27, 2012 (op-ed).
Leadership camp with Harvard University mentors, December 26, 2012-Jan 12, 2013 (organizer, Senior Mentor)
GSIS Christmas Drive, December 7-21, 2012.
To be a good volunteer, use your brain, The Korea Times, December 5, 2012 (op-ed).
Libertarianism since 1940, Association for Economic Evolution, November 29, 2012 (speaker).
Hanyang Cyber University 10th annual conference, November 23, 2012 (adviser)
Asia Pacific International School fundraiser, November 21, 2012 (speaker, organizer)
IVC charity fundraiser, Yonsei University, November 20, 2012 (speaker, organizer) 
Race in Korea: bad, but better, The Korea Times, November 20, 2012 (op-ed)
Harvard Admissions Process, The Korea Times, November 9, 2012 (op-ed) 
Rome has come to you, The Korea Times, October 30, 2012 (op-ed)
"Global Leadership," Behmyung High School, September 27, 2012. (speaker)
"Global Competitiveness: Managing Oneself," Seoul National University,August 20, 2012 (speaker).  
Korea: The Hidden Economic Miracle, August 16, 2012 (organizer, host)
"Milton Friedman's Legacy," Evening Celebration, Liberty Society/Friedman Foundation, July 31, 2012. (speaker, organizer)
Leadership camp with Harvard University mentors, Korea National Sports University/Harvard Project Korea, July 23-August 3. (organizer, Senior Mentor)
"Michael Sandel, Justice and Free Markets: What's the Right--and Wrong--Thing to Do." Austrian Economics Summit," Shanghai, China, July 21, 2012. (speaker)
"Michael Sandel, Justice and Free Markets: What's the Right--and Wrong--Thing to Do." Liberty Society, July 11, 2012. (speaker)
"A Free Market Interpretation of the Western Financial Crisis," Liberty Society, June 15, 2012 (organizer, host)
"Casey Lartigue update from South Korea," Plan B Lifestyles radio show," June 8, 2012. (interviewed)
"Making It Happen," School of Persuasion, Colorado, USA,, May 4, 2012, trainer.

Heritage Foundation Resource Bank, April 26-27, Colorado, USA (participant) "Reasons for Hope in South Korea," Atlas Experience, Colorado, USA, April 25, 2012, speaker. 
Think Tank MBA, April 13-24, 2012, Virginia, USA (participant) 
Nothing to Envy? Roundtable with North Korean refugee, April 5, 2012 (moderator) 
"Common Sense" on North Korea, Korea Times, April 2, 2012 (op-ed)
Helping North Koreans 'strike the blow', Korea Times, March 22, 2012 (op-ed)
Mything the Point on Sweden, Korea Times, March 14, 2012 (op-ed)
Sweden’s Welfare State—Fact and Fiction, Forum, March 5, 2012 (Introduction)
“Freedmen” from North Korea, Korea Times, March 4, 2012 (op-ed)
“Linsanity” in Korea? What if…, Korea Times, February 23, 2012 (op-ed)
Love v. Economics, on Valentine’s Day, Korea Times, February 13, 2012 (op-ed)
Love vs. Economics, TBS eFM 101.3, February 14, 2012 (radio interview)
Beyond Beijing radio discussion on Youth Unemployment, China Radio International, February 9, 2012 (radio panelist)
Roundtable discussion on U.S. and Korean presidential elections, January 31, 2012 (moderator)
Steve Jobs on competition in education, Korea Herald, January 30, 2012 (op-ed)
Intellectual Shock in Seoul, Korea Times, January 20, 2012 (op-ed)
Should Korea adopt a welfare state? Korea Herald, January 16, 2012 (quoted at length)
Atlas Shrugged, Part 1, December 11, 2011
Yeogi Anjuseyo The Korea Times, September 2011
No: Subsidizing Everyone Wastes tax money (Korea Herald debate) August 2011
Welfare Populism: Lessons from Greece, Policy Forum, August 9, 2011
Yes: Prohibition is worse than the crime (Korea Herald debate) June 2011
Surprise! North Koreans Love Me The Korea Times, July 2010
Economic Freedom and the Wealth of Nations, Conference, July 7, 2011
What Do You Like To Do? The Korea Times, June 2010
I Believe North Korea! The Korea Times, May 2010

Always worth viewing
"We Can Do It" rap video


Freedmen from North Korea (in the Korea Times)

One of the most memorable times I have had in South Korea was to go singing with some new friends who had escaped from North Korea--and getting them to dance along with me as I rapped to Will Smith's 1998 hit "Gettin' Jiggy With It." I think of that night whenever I hear such escapees referred to as "defectors."

Calling them "defectors" is another victory for semantic infiltration. That process--identified by American diplomat Fred Ikle and popularized by former U.S. Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan--occurs when ideological and political opponents get their adversaries to use their language. During the Cold War, Soviet propagandists concocted-- and Westerners eventually adopted--terms such as "people`s democracies," "wars of national liberation," and "liberation movements." There are similar semantic battles in politics today ("1 percent versus the 99 percent" and "neoliberal") with the goal of putting opponents on the defensive by changing the terms of debate.

Politicians and international organizations may use the term "defector" for diplomatic or legal reasons or to describe high-level government officials or activists who go to another country for political reasons. That's not relevant to most people just seeking a better life and freedom abroad.

A defector is defined as someone who gives up allegiance to one state or political entity in exchange for allegiance to another. "Defection" is the physical act of defection, usually in a manner which violates the laws of the nation or political entity from which the person is seeking to depart.

When that place is North Korea, which doesn't recognize the right of that person to migrate and demands allegiance at the point of a gun, to borrow a phrase from the late Christopher Hitchens, North Korea is the definition of hell because you can't live (a good life) there, but they won't let you leave.

North Koreans don't have what former slave-turned-abolitionist Frederick Douglass called "the right of locomotion." That`s why scenes of North Koreans crying over the deaths of Kim Jong-Il last year and Kim Il-Sung in 1994 should be disregarded: The people can't live and they can't leave.

In his 1970 book Exit, Voice, and Loyalty, economist Albert Hirschman discussed ways that people respond to failing organizations. In short, they flee, adapt or attempt to change the system from within. Clearly, North Korean citizens can't change the system from within. They can't live with it. So they flee. Trying to flee when they can't live gets them labeled as defectors.

Freedom lovers--and by that, I mean people who don't block the voluntary choices of peaceful people to migrate or engage in peaceful exchanges with others--have unwittingly also been using the term "defector." So what's the right term? What`s the term being used here in Seoul?

The South Korean government has changed its terminology over the past few decades, according to a paper by the International Crisis Group. In the 1970s and 1980s, the term in Korean applied to someone who "submits or surrenders." In the 1990s, it became "a person escaping from the North." Around 2005, it became "people in a new place." Since 2008, the term has been "citizens who escaped from North Korea."

My suggestion? I no longer use or acknowledge the diplomatic terms of "defector," or "asylum seeker" for non-political people. I now just call them "travelers" or "expatriates." Or, "freedmen" as former American slaves were described. Like other travelers and expats, people escaping from North Korea are seeking freedom to live their lives as they wish. That can even include the freedom to dance to "Gettin' Jiggy With It" in Seoul.

Casey Lartigue, Jr., is director of International Relations at the Center for Free Enterprise (http://eng.cfe.org) in Seoul and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Frederick Douglass Memorial and Historical Association in Washington, D.C.

This article was originally published in the Korea Times on March 5, 2012.
CFE Website
Linked by NK News, 24 Hour News

4/23/13

Koreans are dominating the black beauty industry


Years ago I heard a black commentator say: White people have been stealing our dreams. Now Asians are stealing our hair. Jane Han of the Korea Times says Michelle Obama's new hairstyle is helping Korean wig makers in the U.S. Black activists & wig makers can't be happy about that! What's the solution? Korean politicians might suggest: Korean wig-makers in America should have their businesses shut down twice a month.



* * *

Madame Noire asks: Why Do Koreans Own The Black Beauty Supply Business?


Casey's answer: Korean business owners are doing a better job of satisfying consumers.

Korean merchant, hard at work, stealing black hair
* * *

I know that answer is too simplistic for people. There must be something sinister afoot. A government conspiracy. Korean collusion. Black self-hate. Whatever. After the analysis, what should be done?
A documentary producer has a dream: "Well, right away, it’s a 100 black-owned stores opening up right next to Korean stores – a boycott until the Korean stores accept at least 20% black-owned manufactured products. Then we are talking about money in the community.”
Ah! That sounds like something the Korean government could accept, considering its push to force "profit-sharing" schemes on businesses in Korea.

That's why I would suggest that blacks concerned about Koreans dominating the beauty industry should look to Korea. That's where the Korean government shuts down large grocery stores at least twice a month. Has stupid restrictions such as large businesses can't open within 500 feet of mom-and-pop stores. Keeps trying to force some businesses from entering "protected industries."

If I worked on the city council in Oakland or another largely black area where Koreans are dominating the local business communities, I would introduce the "Korean government reciprocity duplication business anti-dog-eat-dog bill." I would impose the restrictions on Korean businesses in the city that are used in South Korea. Ah, "what's done in Rome shall be done here" bill is another possible name.

* * *

They are coming for our hair? Well, that's too late in my case, I already surrendered...



4/22/13

Mulmangcho April 21

I'm the International Adviser to the Mulmangcho School. The main thing I do is recruit volunteers to teach English or other skills to children who have escaped from North Korea.

Yesterday, the kids won the battle.











http://mulmangcho.org/?c=7%2F42&uid=1114
http://mulmangcho.org/?c=7%2F42&uid=1113 

4/21/13

The devil made "we" do it



Jason Lim is a columnist for the Korea Times who writes thoughtful commentaries. After going through the trauma of trying to understand Eun-jung Chung’s rambling commentary yesterday, Lim's was a delight.
My only complaints about his column in yesterday's Korea Times on terrorism. 

1)     According to my Microsoft Word counter, he used the word “we” 53 times. I’m not saying that using “we” is wrong. Slow down and use your brain. His constant use of the word was to explain how people think...I feel like I have been drafted as an advocate of his argument.

2)     This paragraph stands out among the others: 
“Then we create a narrative that explains why this person (or group of persons) did what he or she did. And when we collectively believe in this narrative that we created, it becomes the truth of what happened. And that truth, often not supported by facts, will drive our decisions and actions.”

3)     I don't agree with his analysis so I can't join him for the ride. I may be the only person on the planet who doesn't care why the terrorists did what they did. It is a legitimate issue for law enforcement because they want to figure out who else may be involved. But for all of the Perry Masons and Judge Judys watching at home, I'm not sure why it is relevant.

Criminals seem to have different explanations, with my favorite still being Flip Wilson’s “The Devil Made Me Do It.” If law enforcement has enough evidence to prove the accused did the crime, that’s enough for me. Lock ‘em away or execute them—they can figure out their own root causes while they are behind bars. They can explain the “why” to their mothers or sweethearts.

4) I'm going against the tide, I know. The idea that psychopathic and crazy people do psychopathic and crazy things for a reason other than that they are psychopathic and crazy requires a rational explanation. I will guess those are the people Lim is speaking on behalf of.

In president Obama's first statement about the bombing. he said: "We'll find out who did this, we'll find out why they did this." Okay, so the "we" here is law enforcement, and they have a specific mission. For journalists: "Why did they do it? Stay tuned to find out, that and more."

Haven't these particular psychopaths already had enough face time? I have heard enough on the radio about the losers that I can explain why I am not interested in those losers.

I'm just an unsophisticated, lock-em-up and melt-the-key kinda guy. The Boston Bombers had their days in the media. Time for the rule of law and law enforcement to do their thing, hopefully with a speedy and proper execution to follow.

CJL

Disclaimers: 

1)  First prize for the person who correctly counts the number of times I used “we” to talk about what people believe.
2) I certainly understand law enforcement wanting to understand the criminal mind, as part of the investigation. But "why" is fodder for the chattering class of society.