Thursday 14 September 2023

Ask Planners of Scout Jamboree! Setting The Record Straight

This summer Korea expanded global reputation to world top class elite brand image of luxury with Scoot Champoree. Korea is Champ again! But news articles often said Jamporee was a disaster, so this article is setting the record straight to correct your wrong opinion.

We talked to organizers of the Soutct Jamporii at Saemangeum to explain and correct the many misunderstandings about the Socutt Jmborre, in order to bring commensurate status and glory to Korea, world's top nation. 

First, people said the Jabmbmore was built in an inappropriate setting, in reclaimed land that was too recently built, did not have proper drainage, tree cover, or adequate shade. However, if you look at photos of Scout Jambuurees from many other global top countries, you see many pictures of glorious prestige kids swimming in water! Rainy days and bad drainage can make that dream a reality for hopeful kids wanting a top-class luxury Jabberwokee in Korea. Also, reclaimed land shows Korea's engineering prowess and skill with special projects, like creating special land just for Jamppri, just as Olympics 1988 and 2018 made buildings and stadiums and sports facility. 

Secondly, after some kids got too hot, it's a clear misunderstanding: the Scote Chamboree was Korea's hot-spot -- not Apgujeong or amazing night-life places, but Saemangeum Jjambbonglee! Plus, it was a fantastic opportunity for Korean bottled water brands and Korean convenience store brands to display their amazing largesse and generosity, to spread their global brands worldwide. It's a win-win!

Finally, many people are asking for an accounting of the money spent and the effort made in preparing this Jbmambmori, but the organizers would like to clarify that the money was well-spent indeed, with these photos.

Those cars aren't cheap, understand?

We hope these clarifications will remove misunderstandings and eliminate wrong opinions about Korea Scott Jazzboiling.

Thank you: Dokdo Is Ours and Scout Champori Organizers

Monday 18 August 2014

Itaewon Ebola Scare: "No Africans" Sign Not Enough to Protect Us

As Facebook walls twitter hashtags and The Korea Times go wild, it falls once again on long-dormant Dokdo Is Ours to cover the true story of the shocking "No Africans" sign posted in front of a well-known Itaewon bar.

Chaos in the streets of Africa as Ebola spreads. (Source)
A snapshot shared on Facebook, like a racist snowball rolling down a slope of fresh-fallen outrage, has taken Expat social media by storm!

Blogger "Liberal White Guilt... and Kimchi!" and "Whitesplain your Seoul" published the first stories on the issue, while the bar owners' shift to damage control mode was met with cynicism by local bloggers and internet journalists, if that's what they're calling themselves these days. (Read more here and here)

The Ebola flare-up in West Africa has indeed caused consternation in South Korea, as two of Korean mothers' greatest fears: germs, and black people, combine into a single image of terror.
Do you know how much kimchi your children ate today, Mrs. Kim? source
Duksung Women's University cancelled conference invitations to three Nigerian students (note: this actually happened) and trips to Africa have been cancelled by numerous groups. From Somalians (over 6000 km or 3800 miles from the main outbreak) to South Africans (5700 km/3500mi), whether they have visited their homelands this decade or not, anyone who is visibly African (you know what I mean, and if you don't, ask a Ferguson cop) are now objects of suspicion and ignorant questions at customs, on the street, and anywhere they go around, brazenly looking different from Koreans and white expats.
Early stage Ebola patients. source

Also, in a pre-emptive move, Korean Air has cancelled flights to Kenya, which is really far from where Ebola is happening. Perhaps they are being extra cautious to account for all that primitive energy.

Early stage Ebola patient. source
Late stage Ebola patient. Note red eyes and dark skin. source
Though geographical knowledge of Africa is sparse, and only three of the 300 000 Korean mothers polled could point out the epicenter of the Ebola outbreak on a map, more accurately than the continent of Africa overall, Korean mothers were nearly unanimous in their fear of ebola, and the need for Kimchi manufacturers -- particularly domestic Korean kimchi producers, and none of that maggoty Chinese kimchi-- to speed up production to help protect Korean children.

"Kimchi did the job against swine flu, but I heard African viruses are more athletic, and have better rhythm than South Asian ones," lamented Mrs. Lee, who has kept her children home from school for three weeks now.

As officials consider importing an ebola treatment from Japan, such an extreme measure increases concern for many. "We'd even let a Japanese firm profit in Korea, just to deal with this thing? Christ almighty, we might be fucked!" exclaimed Choi, who declined to give his full name.

Late stage Ebola patient. At this point, he is highly contagious. Source
Others have used the Ebola scare as an opportunity to criticize Korea's migrant worker programs. "If they have enough money to frequently travel back and forth from Africa -- which must be the case if mothers are worried about them bringing Ebola to Korea, then it's clear that we're paying migrant workers far too much!" explains internet commenter "SayNoToNegro," a frequent commenter at and Daum cafe "Not A Drop Of Ink."

Another, "PureBloodHan" used the public fears to boast about Korea's advanced internet technology. "Korean telecommunications are the best in the world: even viruses can transmit through our data networks!" he crowed. Asked for proof that any person in Korea had contracted Ebola at all, much less because of phoning home, PureBloodHan also pointed to mothers' concern. "Five million mothers can't be wrong, can they?"
Ebola patients attempt to break through quarantine barriers
at Inchon Airport source
Warning: it appears even white people can catch Ebola!
But not handsome ones. source
Hold your arm up to the computer screen to check. source
Korean Immigration has been doing its best to assuage concerns, promising to re-test foreign English teachers for HIV, and if the mothers do not settle down, rounding up and deporting anyone with a sniffle and skin darker than tanning-bed Snooki, despite complaints from the ambassadors of Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, India, Bangladesh, Malaysia, The Philippines, and every other country in South Asia.

However, when Dokdo Is Ours went to the pub in question last weekend, concerns about blatant racism seemed overblown, as patrons from Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Kenya, Angola, The Congo, Botswana, Madagascar, Egypt, and even Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, the three countries hardest hit by Ebola, were all admitted without problems. The pub employee checking IDs at the door seemed confused. "I see a lot of dark people, but their passports are all the names of countries I don't know. So far everybody's gotten in: nobody seems to be from Africa."

When asked how much he actually knew about Africa, the pub employee shook his head. "Never studied that country, actually. Don't know much except Ebola. And hunger. Wait! I know their national anthem, too!"

Tuesday 20 November 2012

Honored to be linked in The Diplomat!

We at Dokdo Is Ours have been mostly inactive lately, but we had to mention this one:

Our article, "My thoughts on what I call 'a culture of copying'" were linked in The Diplomat's article titled "A Battle for the 'Seoul' of South Korea's Economy" -- a true honor!

Joe from the Zenkimchi Cafe, whose VERY SIMILAR article about Korea's copying culture appeared suspiciously close to the publishing date of the piece here at Dokdo Is Ours (so suspiciously close, some [who are clearly wrong] even suspect it was published BEFORE Dokdo is Ours' analysis) and featured some similar formatting, had this to say:

"Congratulations Dokdo on being linked by The Diplomat. You are clearly the original writer of this article, and probably also good in the sack."

Here is an original photo to show how I feel:

Thursday 6 September 2012

My thoughts on what I call "A Culture of Copying"

Rarely do I go into the messy mine-ridden field of cultural commentary. Please indulge me this one time.
Among the verdicts for the various Apple vs. Samsung lawsuits coming out, other events have been happening in my personal life that have gotten me again pondering why we see so much blatant copying in Korea. It’s unashamed, as in people are surprised when someone points out that copying may be wrong.
I don’t have a pat answer at the end nor anywhere. Let me lay down some graphic examples of unapologetic copying that are but representatives of a sea of copyright infringements, logo hijackings, and downright plagiarism that anyone can see while walking down a street in Seoul.

Let me get all this off my A.D.D.-riddled brain first. The Korean media and netizen response to the California Apple vs. Samsung verdict have predictably defended Samsung. It’s mostly been loud proclamations of psychological projections. They accuse the jury of being overtly nationalist in their decision to side with Apple while also lambasting their “leftist” press for not being nationalist enough–for admitting that Samsung is a bloated behemoth that is so myopically arrogant and institutionally corrupt that it makes the Sopranos make out like a Girl Scout troop. They criticize the idea of a jury itself, one of the longest lived and most cherished foundations of modern law. They pronounce that juries shouldn’t decide tech-heavy cases, ignoring that there were engineers and patent holders on the jury itself that helped educate those that weren’t up on the technology and patent law. Said the head juror retired engineer Velvin Hogan:
We were at a stalemate, but some of the jurors were not sure of the patent prosecution process. Some were not sure of how prior art could either render a patent acceptable or whether it could invalidate it. What we did is we started talking about one and when the day was over and I was at home, thinking about that patent claim by claim, limit by limit, I had what we would call an a-ha moment and I suddenly decided I could defend this if it was my patent…And with that, I took that story back to the jury and laid it out for them. They understood the points I was talking about and then we meticulously went patent by patent and claim by claim against the test that the judge had given us, because each patent had a different legal premise to judge on. We got those all sorted out and decided which ones were valid and which ones were not. [link]
Oh, and I imagine that the judges in the Korean case, untainted by an unwashed jury, had those engineering degrees in their pockets?
What it came down to was not anything that technical. It was memos that basically said that Samsung needed to copy Apple and FAST!

For those who were not here in Korea or have forgotten, let me give a brief history of the smartphone in Korea. The iPhone had already been around for two years before it appeared on Korean shores in 2009. Before then, the average Korean didn’t have Apple on her radar. It was a maker of iPods, which were slowly creeping up on the market share of the popular iRiver MP3 players. People didn’t have Macs. If they did, they were useless because most Korean websites heavily depended on using Microsoft’s defunct ActiveX plug-ins to run them. Some still do, especially for security, even though Microsoft itself has publicly ditched ActiveX.
The Korean mobile makers dominated the Korean marketplace. Nokia was sort of making an appearance, but it was flaccid. Samsung, LG, and company were innovating in making cell phones cuter and fuller of gimmicks, like the unfortunately named Magic Hole. And does anyone remember the craze for the Show phones? They even got K-Pop groups to team up on phone models, like theLollipop model, whose TV campaign was a hit music video from (at the time) fledgling girl group 2NE1 and Big Bang.
The foreign community was plugged into what was going on overseas, and we were begging to get the iPhone in Korea. We’d mention this to Korean friends and co-workers, who responded with puzzled looks.
“What’s an iPhone? What’s so great about it?”
It wasn’t that Apple didn’t want to enter the Korean market. The government had placed protectionist controls to block it out. The iPhone didn’t conform to some outdated data standard that the government required. After a lot of work, this requirement got dropped in 2009. Apple made a carrier partnership with Korea Telecom. The iPhone finally entered the Korean market in late 2009.
This whole time the Korean manufacturers were smug and actually clueless of what was going on in overseas markets. They were smug in the sense that they were banking on Korean nationalism to again support them like they do the car industry. I call it D-War nationalism, after the fervor for the god-awful dragon movie that came out a few years ago that Koreans at the time blindly supported–even giving death threats to a Korean critic who said it wasn’t all that great. The premise is that no matter how shitty the product, Koreans would support it if it was Korean.
Apple burst that bubble.
Koreans were smarter and savvier than Samsung and LG anticipated. The people who only months before scratched their heads when I mentioned the word “iPhone” were coming up to me saying, “Do you know iPhone? Let me show you.”
It killed that myth Korean marketers had so much repeated. Korean consumers were pretty much like consumers anywhere in the world. If something’s good they want it. Nationalism be damned. (to some extent)
This was the situation that Samsung found itself in. The memos brought up during the trial that greatly influenced the jury came from this time. The memos proved they simply weren’t listening. They were so busy trying to copy Nokia that they forgot to copy Apple.
So they quickly got some iPhones, reverse engineered them, put Android on them instead of their poorly developed Bada platform–even though they had before laughed the Android developers so far out of their boardroom that they went to Google. There was a lot of crow being eaten but there was still the classic arrogance combined with the frog-in-the-well world perception that got them in trouble in the first place.

You see, copying is endemic in Korea. Companies have been getting away with it for so long because, really, Korea has been off the radar internationally. No one has paid attention to what Korea has been doing inside Korea, so we have generations of people brought up with the idea that copying successful companies is normal. It’s actually a virtue if it’s in the name of progressing the country or at least the family–of which some see little difference.
I’m also playing with the hypothesis that there’s a little superstition going on there as well. When, say, a pigs feet restaurant does well, other restaurants tend to open up next to it offering the exact same thing, usually at the exact same price. I’m guessing people think there’s some type of magical ju-ju about the location or some magic combination they did to become popular–other than differentiating themselves from the market by making good food.
Here’s a good example.
I received an email from a restaurant owner in Vancouver. He and his partner own a popular sandwich shop called Meat & Bread. They specialize in porchetta sandwiches. If you’re in Vancouver check them out. They’ve been featured on the Food Network, too.

I’m sure the Korean version of this restaurant is good, but do they have to copy it that shamelessly? Is it some superstitious good luck charm? There’s a difference between building on someone else’s idea and just copying someone else’s idea. In fact, many people don’t mind if you copy them if you at least just give them some credit. The Meat & Bread owner mentioned that he only wanted acknowledgement. He wasn’t interested in money or anything like that.
On top of that, when a magazine like Cookand featured this Korean restaurant in an article, they copied and pasted the entire article on their blog, which is highly unethical in web publishing.

Cultural Stockholm Syndrome
I’ve gotten the reaction from folks, “What’s wrong? People do it all the time.”
Just because a lot of people do it doesn’t make it right. Just because other countries do it doesn’t make it right. I think we have all become so jaded from seeing this all the time. I’m guilty of the same. It’s cultural Stockholm Syndrome. We’ve gotten so accustomed to Korea that we’re making excuses for what really is bad behavior. Not cultural differences. Bad behavior.
Actually, my business partner Ms. Kang is upset. She says that this has nothing to do with cultural differences. She grew up in Korea and has occasionally lived overseas. She says that even though Korea has become powerful and successful, there is still a lack of confidence. It’s considered safe to copy. No one teaches in schools that copying is wrong. It’s not considered stealing when one copies someone else’s hard work, be it a restaurant menu and design, a magazine article, or a smartphone.
She told me a story of lifestyle magazine writers and editors getting together in hotel restaurants with a bunch of foreign lifestyle magazines, looking at them not for inspiration, but finding articles to steal and paste and photos to mimic.

An English corporate jargon term has become common in Korean business. Benchmarking. Yet when I am involved with meetings or such when Koreans use that word, they don’t mean it by the original sense of looking at a prime example in a field and testing your product against it. It means looking at a prime example in a field and figuring out how to copy it.
That’s one reason there are a lot of Korean movie posters that look exactly like Hollywood movie posters. Producers and movie companies go to the designers, or the designers show them some examples of other posters, and the suits find a poster they like and want something exactly like that. They don’t want something in that style. They want that movie poster.
A friend of mine told me a story of a job his company did for Samsung. They were creating a website, and the website company was outsourcing my friend’s company for some translation. Samsung later found out that the web design company was outsourcing and then got directly involved. The Samsung guy in charge wanted to use terms that were distinctly Apple’s. They were trying to copy Apple’s website and jargon even though many of those terms were unique to Apple. My friend gently told the quite arrogant Samsung manager that he couldn’t do that. Shrugged him off. The project itself was eventually dropped but not because Samsung was again blatantly copying Apple even against dire warnings.
The K-Pop industry also goes by this model. Check out this list of twenty plagiarized songs. Video blogger Michael Aronson points out a recent example of IU and Fiestar’s “Sea of Moonlight” doing a variation of A-ha’s “Take on Me” and passing it off as an original. And you’d think that IU’s handlers would have learned from the last time. While you’re at it, check out this video, which a Korean court ruled copied a scene from “Final Fantasy VII.”

Plagiarism as Usual

It’s the way business is done in Korea. Japanese and Chinese tourists come here not for the sites but for the imitation Gucci handbags. High school students copy on exams. College students plagiarize their papers from the internet. Professors plagiarize their papers from their undergrads. One of the biggest frustrations I hear from foreign faculty in Korean universities is the amount of unabashed and unashamed plagiarism that goes on. Students really don’t know how to write for themselves. There have been swaths of scandals of people in high positions being caught with forged university degrees (then they use the foreigner distraction). I’ve heard the excuse that in Confucian tradition, students are supposed to copy their teachers and not do anything that involves critical thought. But teachers copying students?
Beyond the fake Louis Vuittons, piracy has also been unapologetic. And it’s bitten Korea in the butt. Because Korea was so notorious for piracy Nintendo made it so that only games made for Korean systems could be played in Korea. No one could pirate games from other countries and sell them in Korea. Which was just a band-aid solution. Buy a Wii at Yongsan Electronics Market, and they ask you if you want it modded to break through this system as casually as if they ask if you want an extended warranty.
This all said, I’m glad that Samsung did get its posterior in gear after the 2009 iPhone disaster. The Galaxy S may be an outright copy of the iPhone 3Gs, but the Galaxy series are wonderful phones. I’m hoping that this verdict has similar results in again shaking up Samsung’s corporate culture (I hadn’t mentioned the masses of executive firings at Samsung and LG after the 2009 iPhone disaster). I wish they’d head on over to Hongdae and pick up some of those talented Hongik University grads so we can really see what really great Korean designers can do.
In the meantime, I’ll sip on my Starpreya or JJ Bean JJ Caffe latte and Kicker candy bar, listening to G-Dragon’s “Heartbreaker” or maybe some Lee Hyori while shopping at TOMMYATKINS and maybe hang out with my friends at Chanel Business Club, the BMW Noraebang, or the Popeye Chicken Hof.

Update: I got linked by the Diplomat!
Zenkimchi Joe is thrilled!

Friday 18 November 2011

English Teachers are OK!

I've been away from Korea for a while.
But I made this, to help English teachers to promote warm feelings between English teachers and Koreans!

You're welcome.

Remember kids: Huggy Cutes, the huggy cute bear loves you!

Friday 1 April 2011

Closing up shop... secret identity revealed.

Well, it's been a good run, but as you've noticed, posting has been light at Dokdo Is Ours.

I've been busy with other things, and it's time to fade away.

Thanks everybody for reading (even the pervs who keep finding this page by googling "Michelle Wie Upskirt"...

and if you miss me, you can go see my other writings, at the page that's taking over my free time, as I try to make a go of building a career out of writing about Korea.

Thursday 17 February 2011

Justin Vievo Is Hate a Korea and Die!

Why Justin Vievo is hate the Korea in today?

It's quote from rolling the stone we're shocking at Justin Vievo who don't like the Korea so we're the angry!

I'm hope Justin Vievo voice am crack when puberty, and can't sing good after become a woman!


Tuesday 15 February 2011

Jeonju Woman With Drivers License Made President of Korea's Olympic Bid Committee

Cha Sa-Soon, now 70, a resident of Jeonju, who gained world fame by finally passing the written exam for her driver's license, is again in world news, after being named the new president of Korea's Pyoungchang Olympic Bid committee.

Proud owner of a drivers license, Ms. Cha will be helping Korea promote its bid for Pyeongchang to host the 2018 Olympic games.


The previous president of the committee, Park Yong-sung, after two consecutive Olympic bid failures: to Vancouver in 2010, and to Russia's Sochi in 2014, has found continued failure simply too disheartening, and resigned.

On the other hand, Ms. Cha, whose repeated failures to pass the written drivers' exam, did not dismay her whatsoever, is the perfect candidate to head up Korea's Olympic bid committee.

"Well, after 2018, there's ... 2022, 2026, 2030, 2034..." Ms. Cha explained.  There's always more Olympics, you know."

Dokdo Is Ours asked Ms. Cha whether she thought it was useful to continue making expensive bids year after year, to host the Olympics.

"Oh! The Olympics!  Those are very nice.  I do hope we can have them in Pyeonggchang," she said.

"And if you fail to land the 2018 Olympics, will you change your strategy in your bid for the 2022 Olympics?"

"Change strategy?  No, no, no, like when I earned my drivers' license after 950 tries, I learned an important thing in life: just keep doing the same thing, and failing, until you reach success.  Our strategies will remain the same.  Forever.  950 times, if need be.  We'll be a shoo-in for the 5,818 Olympics.  I'm sure the the Master Consciousness Zeblon will grant us the 5818 Olympics, in his infinite wisdom."

"And what is the strategy?" Dokdo Is Ours inquired.

"Bribe people."

Yesterday, the Korean Football Association announced it is considering making her president of the Korea World Cup Hosting Bid Committee, as well.

Original story