Sunday, February 21, 2010

We moved...

The Morning Clam has moved to Wordpress...

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Welcome back, Clam

My other blog, Ask the Expat, is rolling along quite well, but I miss this one as well, so I'm going to pick it back up. I'm also going to pick up "Musings Over Makkoli" so I can make fun of other bloggers as well.

While getting my daily dose of war history, I came across an excellent paper by Professor Richard C. Kagan of Hamline University. He titled it, DISARMING MEMORIES: JAPANESE, KOREAN, AND AMERICAN LITERATURE ON THE VIETNAM WAR and I recommend that you take a look at it.

It's quite long and I'm going to mention a couple things about it soon.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Ask the Expat

Ever since the US election ended, I've tried to refocus some of my attention back towards Korean issues and have found it trivial and tiring. The K-Blogosphere is already so polluted with everyone writing the same thing, that I decided that I have had enough of it.

That being said, I am not abandoning Korea or the scene, but I will alter my focus.

I have been an expat in Korea for nearly half a decade and have seen just about everything. On top of that, I am the creator of the largest ESL Teacher group on Facebook where I constantly field questions on everything ranging from immigration and teaching to kayaking and rock climbing. There really is nothing that has not been addressed.

So, rather than relying on the sometimes confusing design that Facebook and other forums offer, I decided to answer each question I receive in detail. I'll usually answer your question on the blog within 24 hours and if I don't know the answer, I'll point you to someone who does.

I also understand that this is very similar to Ask a Korean, but I figured adding a helpful twist to it for us expats wouldn't hurt.

So, if you wanna check out Ask the Expat, then there's your link...

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Texas Secedes from the Union...finally.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry decided that his state has had just about enough of the Obama administration and Democratic rule and has declared Texas as a sovereign... something.

“I believe that our federal government has become oppressive in its size, its intrusion into the lives of our citizens, and its interference with the affairs of our state,” Gov. Perry said. “That is why I am here today to express my unwavering support for efforts all across our country to reaffirm the states’ rights affirmed by the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. I believe that returning to the letter and spirit of the U.S. Constitution and its essential 10th Amendment will free our state from undue regulations, and ultimately strengthen our Union.”

Of course, Palin and Glenn Beck approve.

The real question is how do we rescue the more liberal-minded Texans? Would they stay and form a internal resistance, like the French Resistance during WWII? Or would we need to form an underground railroad to shuttle them to safety? What happens to the NASA space center in Houston?

My ideas:

1) Let Texas go and we build one of those fences they love so much around them.

2) Encourage Mexico to reclaim it.

3) Allow them to elect W again.

Honestly though, I doubt that Perry could point to even one specific change that has negatively impacted Texas. Could someone please name ONE single Republican that is not acting like a little baby nowadays?

As Jon Stewart said, "You're in the minority. It's supposed to taste like a shit sandwich."

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Koreatown vs. Little Bangladesh: The Dokdo of America

The Korean-American community in California has had their hands full recently. It hasn't even been a week since Susie Kim was shot and killed in Santa Ana and now another Korean-American, Joseph Han, has met the same fate.

The details surrounding those shootings have yet to surface as the investigations continues, but Korean-Americans are facing another threat. Their bastion in LA known as Koreatown has been invaded by the pesky Bangladeshis.

"The Bangladeshi American community says that its numbers have swelled to more than 10,000. Last year, proponents filed a petition with the city to designate the area from Third Street to Wilshire Boulevard and Vermont Avenue to Western Avenue as "Little Bangladesh."

The problem with this is that the inhabitants of Koreatown have never had to file a petition before. (They have now.) The law didn't protect such enclaves, but offered only de facto status and since no other migrant community has threatened their "sovereignty" they saw no reason to do so.

In the last 30 years or so, a six-square-mile area west of downtown Los Angeles has become an enclave of some 50,000 Korean-Americans, the largest concentration of Koreans in the country. The district is now commonly known as Koreatown. But on the city’s official maps, Koreatown is nowhere to be found, because until 2006, Los Angeles had no formal process for designating neighbourhoods. Korean civic groups say they always simply assumed that the area was officially Koreatown."

The amount of Bangladesh's living in LA as per the 2000 Census was a measly 1700, but now some estimates are closer to 10,000. That's a huge increase that has been fueled mostly by natural disaster, poverty and civil war.

Let's take a look at what we're talking about here. Below is a wider view of LA with Koreatown highlighted.

Now, here is a closer look at it with the area that was petitioned to become "Little Bangladesh".

That's a pretty big slice right out of the center of Koreatown and the local Korean community is angry.

"It means power," she said as she hemmed a pair of pants inside the dry cleaners where she's worked for a decade. "Koreatown is already established. . . . Why can't they find another place?"

Besides the obvious rants that some Koreans aren't great with multiculturalism, she brings up a good point. It's clear that the Bangladeshis want to capitalize on the progress that Koreatown has made and kind of bypass the whole process of creating a migrant district. LA is huge. There are tons of places where rent is also cheap, but they chose Koreatown and it's very center at that. If the Bengladeshi population continues to grow at the rate that they have been for the past decade, then the location of Little Bangledesh certainly poses a threat to Koreatown. If the proposed location was, say, on the outskirts of town, then its growth wouldn't necessarily threaten Koreatown as much.

I totally side with the Koreans on this one. They moved to that area over 40 years ago. Since then, they have opened stores, dry-cleaners, restaurants and other businesses. It's been a cultural destinationa and a haven for Koreans for decades. During the LA Riots, they defended it from thugs, gangsters and looters. They have shed blood for that district. They deserve to be able to retain the naming rights to the area. The City of LA should not ignore the shared experiences that have bound the Korean-American population to that area.

Luckily for the Koreans, I do not see this passing. I hope that LA would not shit on their Korean community like that.

If it does pass and "Little Bangladesh" does get recognized by the city, then Koreans have a couple options. They can try to bully the Bangladeshis out or they could work together and try to collaboratively promote the area.

Not a great month for Korean-Americans in Southern California.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

"Field Trip to the DMZ"

ROKDrop and One Free Korea have this PBS video up. I thought I'd psot it here.

Shouting for their mothers was the saddest.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Hyundai Nuvis: It's Pretty Damn Cool

It looks like Hyundai's got a few fresh ideas.

The 11th concept car penned by Hyundai's California Design Center in Irvine is called the Nuvis. Sporting gullwing doors, the Nuvis is noteworthy for two reasons: First, its hybrid drivetrain will find its way into the next-generation Hyundai Sonata, and second, Hyundai says the concept's styling hints at what the Santa Fe's replacement could look like.

I must admit that I don't know about much cars, but this one sounds pretty cool. I like the gull-wing doors and the big entrance to the back seat. I've had a two door before and it was always a pain for my passengers to get back there.
"The large gullwing doors open to a luxurious 4-seat cabin with a "cascading" floor and ambient blue lighting. The seat fabric is made from 100-percent reclaimed soda bottles, while the seatbelts were made by Harveys Original Seatbeltbags (they make handbags out of seatbelts); Harveys also provided two matching handbags for the Nuvis."

I'm not sure about the seat fabric being from bottles, but it sounds "environmental". Still, the best part is that it's a parallel hybrid. That's cool.
"...the Nuvis can be driven in all-electric mode, gasoline-engine-only mode as well as any combination thereof. Engine management software automatically shuts off the gasoline engine when the Nuvis comes to a stop, improving overall fuel mileage and providing zero emissions, while Hyundai's Integrated Starter Generator (ISG) restarts the engine once pressure is applied to the accelerator pedal."

This concept video -while a little overdramatic and blue- sold me.

Did you see that steering wheel? That's sweet. On a side note, did one of the guys in the video pronounce "Hyundai" (현대) as "Hundai" (헌대)? I guess it's better than Hun-DYE (헌다이) as it so often is in America. I'm still not sure why they didn't spell is Hyundae from the beginning. It would have saved some trouble. But, I guess it's the same as the name issue -any effort will suffice.

They did manage to add an extremely useless high-tech bragging point component to the car's computer system.
The Nuvis's instrument panel streams information throughout the cabin, with passengers able to access each other via Methode Electronics TouchSense technology that links all four seats; after all, why go to the trouble of actually talking to one another?

This is a great time for Hyundai to introduce a new concept like this. Aside from the recession, they obviously have America's attention and should take advantage of it and keep on riding the wave.

Not that you care, but my wife and I bought new bicycles today. They're foldable and totally sexy.

2NE1's New Song: Lollipop

At first I hated it. Then I liked it, but by the end of the song, I decided that I hated it again. It kind of reminds me a little of DISCO by 엄정화 which was equally fun at first, but also grew irritating by the end of the first listen. Even though this one might be my favorite Lollipop-based song, I don't think Lil Wayne or The Chordettes should be worried.

The lyrics are repulsive and the hair is absurd, but in its defense, it does have a fun 90s-era dance beat to it. Then again, that's all Big Bang-related groups do, so this is nothing special. I think K-Pop needs to start taking some cues from Heavy D & The Boyz or move past its current, but already tired sound.

Would I add to my MP3? -no. Will I ever listen to it again? I hope not.