[GOING TO THE BLOGS]PAINFUL REUNIONSLed as it is by a bouffant-haired, Cuban-heeled, cognac-quaffing martinet, North Korea has a well-earned reputation for odd behavior. But to hear Joshua at “The Korea Liberator” (http://www.korealiberator.org/) tell it, the South’s government is displaying increasingly Monty Python-esque tendencies of its own in its dealings with the North. Pointing out the uncanny resemblance between a quote from the movie “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” and an unnamed government official counseling against “bickering over what is right and what is wrong” ― vis-a-vis whether Kim Yong-nam was, as reason screams, abducted by the North or, as Pyongyang claims, rescued by it ― Joshua lambastes the Roh administration for “never publicly demand[ing] the repatriation of its 468 kidnapped citizens, or the hundreds of South Korean POWs still held since the Korean War, or conditioned the provision of aid on their release.
“It’s difficult to imagine the inner pain Kim Yong-nam must have experienced,” he writes, “seeing his mother without the chance to really tell her of his emotions at seeing her again after all these years, forced to deliver this fraudulent account of the fate of a woman who had been his wife and the mother of his child.” (At a press conference, Mr. Kim repeated claims by Pyongyang that his Japanese wife and fellow abductee Megumi Yokota had killed herself in 1994.)
In another post looking at the terrible human cost of the North’s sporadic tizzies ― and Seoul’s toothless responses thereto ― GI Korea (http://jetiranger.tripod.com/BLOG/) writes about the fourth anniversary of a Northern ambush of a South Korean patrol boat in the Yellow Sea, in which six sailors died and another 18 were wounded. “The South Korean ruling party politicians hide their heads in the sand every June 29th because this incident is a perfect example of the failure of the Sunshine Policy. The South Korean government gives massive amounts of aid to North Korea and what do they do? They murder Korean sailors. You give them more massive aid and what do they do? They build nuclear weapons. You give them more massive aid and what do they do? They threaten to test fire a tactical ballistic missile, which would further heighten tensions in the region.”
“[Unless you’re] an expat... happy eating kimbap every meal and living in a 10-pyong apartment on the outskirts,” writes Nomad at “The Lost Nomad” (http://www.lostnomad.org/), “Seoul [is the] 2nd most expensive city in the world.” Or so say the results of a survey of 144 cities around the world released by a global consulting firm this week. “That is,” scoffs Kushibo at "Monster Island" (http://kushibo.blogspot.com/), “if you are a New York City executive trying to live the lifestyle of a New York City executive outside of New York City.”
Also stretching K-Blog credulity is the attempted comeback of Korean academia’s very own Walter Mitty, Hwang Woo-suk. “If I were discovered to be a fraud,” writes Kevin at “Big Hominid’s Hairy Chasms,” (http://bighominid. blogspot.com/), “whose duplicity had dashed the hopes of thousands of people expecting cures for their ills, and had shamed millions more who saw me as a national hero, I'd do exactly what Dr. Hwang is doing: reassemble the old team and reopen the lab!”
But to K-Bloggers at least, most bewildering of all is the news that, according to another one of those handy surveys, the strength of Koreans’ national pride ranks near the bottom among 34 democratic countries. “For a country that makes frequent references to its national pride, it appears Korea has surprisingly little of it,” says Robert at “The Marmot’s Hole” (http://www.rjkoehler. com). How can this be? “Corruption scandals and Roh Moo-hyun's incompetence have ruined any pride in the government; the Hwang fiasco pretty much ruined any national pride in science; then many Koreans perpetually think the economy is bad even when it isn't,” suggests GI Korea.
by Niels Footman