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Re: The Korean Wave & Domestic News


Looks like it played out as expected and as the polls suggested.
__________________________
News via CNN:

Park Geun-hye claims South Korea presidential victory

Conservative candidate Park Geun-Hye claimed victory Wednesday in South Korea's presidential election, a result that will make her the country's first woman president.

Addressing crowds in Gwanghwamun Square, Park said her win was a victory for the people.

"I will be the president of the nation who keeps pledges," she said.

Her rival, liberal candidate Moon Jae-in, conceded victory, according to South Korean network YTN.

South Korea's outgoing President Lee Myung-bak congratulated Park on her win.

The result has not yet been confirmed by the country's National Election Commission.

But Park was leading with 51.63% of the vote to 47.94% for her rival Moon, with more than 90% of the vote counted, election officials said.

The three major broadcasters in South Korea all projected a win for Park, the 60-year-old who heads the governing conservative Saenuri party.

Voters who headed to the polls amid frigid temperatures faced a choice between a conservative and a liberal candidate to lead the strategic Western ally and fourth largest economy in Asia.

Opinion polls suggested Park, 60, had an edge over the left-leaning candidate of the Democratic United Party going into the vote, held at a time of rising economic anxiety.

She will assume office in February 2013, in a country grappling with income inequality, angst over education and employment prospects for its youth and strained relations with North Korea.

"I hope the next president can put what the people want and how the country can develop before the interests of their own party," said Yong Sung-hwa, who voted in the morning.

Like many other elections around the world, the economy is the No. 1 issue for South Korean voters. Though the Asian country has fared far better than other countries, including the United States, during the economic crisis, its export-led economy has still felt the pinch.

"This country depends on the world's economy," said Jong Kun Choi, associate professor in the department of political science and international studies at Yonsei University in Seoul. "Eighty-nine percent of our GDP comes from the international trade."

The election appeared to be a showdown of generations. Park enjoys broad support from the older Koreans in their 50s and 60s, while Moon has strong support from younger Koreans.

In a survey conducted by the National Election Commission, 80% of the respondents said they would vote.

Lee, the current president, is not running for re-election, as it is prohibited by Korea's constitution. He will leave office next year dogged by low approval ratings, an impasse with North Korea, and corruption scandals involving his family and inner circle. The Korean presidency has not enjoyed a sterling reputation.

Park and Moon also bring baggage from the past.

Park is the daughter of former president Park Chung-hee, whose legacy left the Korean public divided. Some claim he was a dictator who ignored human rights and cracked down on dissent, while others credit him with bringing economic developement to South Korea. Her father's assassination in 1979 ended his 16 years of rule.

Moon is a former human rights activist who was imprisoned in the 1970s for protesting against Park's father's regime. He is also a former Special Forces commando and holds a black belt in judo. Like Park, he carries divisive associations with the past. He was chief of staff for the late President Roh Moo-hyun, who was in office from 2003 to 2008. Roh committed suicide in 2009 amid an investigation into a bribery scandal.

Throughout the campaign, Moon portrayed himself as the down-to-earth choice, calling for welfare reform and economic democracy. Both candidates pledged reforms including engagement with North Korea, reining in the country's big conglomerates -- like Samsung and Hyundai -- support for small and medium-sized businesses and more social spending, although their proposed methods differ.

....
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Re: The Korean Wave & Domestic News


Looks like Ms. Park has won the election! I'm not too surprised, since most of the polls had been predicting her victory for the last few weeks.
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Re: The Korean Wave & Domestic News



__________________________________

OP-ED via: New York Times

South Korea's Generation Gap

By HANS SCHATTLE
Published: December 21, 2012

SEOUL — There is an expression in Korean — “men-boong” — which means feeling shell-shocked to the point of mental collapse. My university students here are saying they are completely men-boong with the election of Park Geun-hye as South Korea’s next president. And many of us following South Korea’s growing pains as a democracy can understand why.



Park is the daughter of South Korea’s former president, Park Chung-hee. He spearheaded the country’s economic miracle, but his 18 years in power are remembered as a very dark period for democracy and human rights.

To the younger generation, that Park Geun-hye would run for president is offensive. That their parents and grandparents would elect her is repulsive.

The election result exposes a generation gap: Older voters remember the country’s poverty before Park Chung-hee took power in a 1961 military coup. They lived through South Korea’s rags-to-riches transition; they still revere the former president. Some of their children and grandchildren feel the same way. Every year, I have my students write a letter to a past or present head of state, and occasionally students pen valentines to Park Chung-hee.

Most of their classmates, like most South Koreans under 40, see Park Chung-hee differently. They never knew the poverty their elders escaped. For them, Park Chung-hee and the two military men who followed him as president in the 1980s were scoundrels who ordered imprisonment, torture and, in some cases, death sentences for people they saw as threats to their authority.

At first glance, the election of Park Geun-hye as South Korea’s first female president seems like a milestone. Korean culture is still very male-dominated, even chauvinistic, and Park’s election could be a golden opportunity to improve the standing of women.

For the younger generation, though, Park Geun-hye embodies a throwback to the bad old days. They know the stories of student activists who were labeled communists and had to hide to avoid getting hauled in for questioning by the police. These people feel betrayed by their elders who voted for Park.

Democracy advocates around the world are also concerned. South Korea’s democratic credentials have been slipping under the outgoing president, Lee Myung-bak. International human rights monitors are worried about an increase in prosecutions as a tactic to silence critics of the government. Freedom House even downgraded South Korea’s press freedom ranking in 2011 from “free” to “partly free” because of government meddling in the broadcasting industry.

But the South Korea of Gangnam Style is well beyond the South Korea of Park Chung-hee. Internet media and alternative news outlets are reshaping public debate. South Korea now has its own version of “Saturday Night Live,” and the skits lampooning the presidential candidates were a hit — the male actor who played Park Geun-hye presumably has a steady gig for the next five years. Younger Koreans are addicted to a podcast that combines the satire of the Colbert Report with biting political invective targeting conservative politicians. The program is called “I’m a Petty-Minded Creep” — a shot at Lee Myung-bak — and the title just might become even more harsh once Park Geun-hye takes office. The big television networks have become more deferential to the ruling party, but South Korea’s netizens have no plans to hand her a free pass.

Winning the election with 51.6 percent of the vote is one thing, but it will take much more for Park Geun-hye to win widespread confidence and trust. And South Korea has a tragic history when it comes to presidents — corruption has been rampant over the years, and not a single president since the country’s founding in 1948 has left office in high public esteem. Is there any chance Park Geun-hye could break this cycle just as she has broken through the proverbial glass ceiling for women? As a first step, she needs to show her country and the world that she is wholeheartedly dedicated to advancing a robust and transparent model of democracy.

Hans Schattle is an associate professor of political science at Yonsei University.
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Re: The Korean Wave & Domestic News


Another notable Psy development.

_______________________________
News via: MTV News

Psy's 'Gangnam Style' Posts Record 1 Billion YouTube Views: How Did It Happen?

'When I'm reflecting on the year, it was the biggest year ever, not only for my career, but my life and my family's life,' says Psy about his record-smashing 2012.

South Korean pop sensation Psy has plenty of things to celebrate this holiday season, but the biggest one is a gift that came wrapped in the gaudiest of bows on Friday (December 21): his one billionth YouTube view.

Yes, just five months after the oddball "Gangnam Style" clip began to buzz around the Internet, Psy can lay claim to creating the first, and only, video in YouTube history
 to pass that previously incomprehensible plateau.

"I'd be hard-pressed to declare this normal," said Kevin Allocca, YouTube Trends Manager. "We're seeing the scale of these things increase over time, but I don't know that it can go much bigger than this ... [it's] a very special thing and it's very difficult to create or recreate." Allocca said the conditions were just right, and the combination of the novelty and catchiness of the song, the rapid sharing factor and the intense connection people all around the world had with the video helping to create the perfect storm.

At this point, only one other video is even close to "Style" numbers, and it happens to be by his label mate, Justin Bieber. The singer's breakthrough hit, "Baby," is closing in on 815, but, like the rest of the top 5 (Jennifer Lopez, Eminem, LMFAO, Shakira), he represents a major label artist with global appeal whose success is not as shocking as the formerly little-known South Korean singer whose lyrics are, for the most part, indecipherable to much of the world.

"When I'm reflecting on the year, it was the biggest year ever, not only for my career, but my life and my family's life," Psy told MTV News earlier this week about the outrageous ride
 his hit single has taken him on this year. "When I perform 'Gangnam Style' all around the world, I feel happy and sorry at the same time because people have no idea what I'm talking about! They're just waiting for the sexy ladies to come out! But I came to the conclusion that maybe people have their own lyrics for the song, which probably only made it more popular."

Allocca said he expected the video might cross the billion mark before year's end, but its steep rise and record-breaking push kept surprising him. "As people are looking back [on the year], it probably accelerated," he said of the hefty December numbers.

While the explosive viewership of "Style" signifies one way entertainment is going and the web is changing, Allocca said the numbers are outrageous and still a bit hard to grasp. "Things like 'Charlie Bit My Finger' and Bieber are classic, really mainstream parts of the web," he said. "This is in a whole other place."

There are a number of things that he believes make Psy's video different from those more mainstream ones: it's not from an artist most people have ever heard of, it's completely different from everything else out there that the immediate reaction is to forward it to friends and it is one of the first globally shared cultural experiences made possible by a massive platform like YouTube. Add in the desire of fans to post lipdubs, spoofs and commentaries (which are seen an estimated 20 million times a day) and "Style" turns into a shared cultural touchpoint that just about everyone can relate to or enjoy.

Someone who knows a lot about the stickiness of global memes, Webby Awards president David-Michel Davies, told MTV News that "Gangnam" is typical in one way. "The stuff that becomes important and has a big impact is [often] different and quirky," which exactly sums up Psy's video. "The way to get to one billion views is by being something that appeals to people in many countries and cultures."

Early YouTube hits, like the "Saturday Night Live" digital short "Lazy Sunday," scored tens of millions of views and were considered massive, but had virtually no resonance in say, Korea, where audiences would be hard-pressed to get the quick, inside English-language jokes. "This is so unique because it doesn't really rely much on language," he said. "It relies on visuals and music and can cross boundaries and be appreciated by people all over the place. You don't have to share common cultural norms."

The video posted in late July and started taking off in August and by September, at which point it was being seen 7-10 million times a day, and up to 12 million on Saturdays. By then, it had already reached across the world and Allocca said he can't think of a wired country where it hasn't been seen at this point.

Psy's explanation for his record-setting success is much simpler. "If you look at K-Pop, it's kind of popular around the world, but it's known for some skinny boys or pretty girls," he said. "So I'm proud to be here without that skinny body! If I can do it, anybody can!"

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Last edited by SuperRookie, 12/22/2012, 12:22 am


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Re: The Korean Wave & Domestic News


Wow. I remember when Gangnam Style reached 1 million views. Can't believe he's at 1 billion now.
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K-Pop continues to lose some of its essence in the last few years in its attempt to access the highly valued and larger external (western) markets. In the last few years most of the K-Pop is pretty much becoming just western pop/rap/hip hop/R&B with "Korean" singing and less homegrown personalization. Unfortunately that's the name of the game, in business, South Korea's internal market is relatively minor compared to other regions, hence the exportation of K-Pop/Culture as a business model. Popularity or striving for it, comes at a price.

I like Girls' Generation, but for me, their recent songs have been losing its luster as far as music to listen to.

___________________________

News via: Korea JoongAng Daily

World’s leading composers unite in the name of GG

As the leading ladies of K-pop, Girls’ Generation is used to doing things on a global scale. The nine-member girl group has recruited the best of the best producers from around the world to help launch its fourth album on Jan. 1.

SM Entertainment said that the group’s title track “I Got a Boy” was the end result of a dream team comprising of SM’s in-house composer Yoo Young-jin as well as Norwegian songwriting company DSign Music and other leading hit-makers from Europe.
GG’s agency said that the song is unlike any other K-pop song and that fans will be treated to an array of different genres and tempos in one song.

“We recruited the leading names in song composition to refrain from making songs that sound the same as any other K-pop song,” said a spokesperson from SM.

Previously, the band’s third album’s title track “The Boys” was highlighted for having been produced by Michael Jacksons’ former producer Teddy Riley.

Last edited by SuperRookie, 12/27/2012, 3:58 pm


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I guess this is one of the consequences of K-pop's newfound popularity across the world. Interesting read.
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I must be an oddball because I really can't stand Gangnam style any more. It was catchy once or twice but that's it for me. I also don't watch Girls Generation because I can't take all those legs and elbows and awful singing. too many odd voices. I like Kara and T'ara and I really admire Ga-In who is such a talent. I think she is going to be a big star for a long time. Very brave and very well rehearsed in her moves and dancing. If GAGA is 'Lady' then GA-IN is 'Queen' in my book.
Good luck to Psy though, because he is a hard worker and gives all he can to his audiences. His outside concerts in Korea are immense.
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Peg, I feel the same way. I'm a little over Gangnam Style. LOL! It's being played everywhere—from shopping malls (it's become the new elevator music, LOL!), to random talk shows/radio channels, etc.
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Feel lucky that you aren't watching every K-Drama, where it's bombarding every Summer/Fall series and sometimes horribly out of place. emoticon

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