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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Blogging for the uninitiated . . .

Note that I have not titled this "Blogging for Dummies" - just because someone doesn't have the same information does NOT make them dumb.

It was brought to my attention yesterday that I has a spelling mistake in my most recent blog and had used the word "cum." I quickly checked, hoping I hadn't inadvertently offended anyone, and found I had used the word in its accurate and literal sense, not the locker room version, to refer to "amateur psychologists cum journalists."

For those unaware of the literal meaning, here's the Merriam-Webster definition:

cum conjunction 
: along with being : AND -- used to form hyphenated phrases 
I've also noticed that some of my readers, sometimes the older, less computer-savvy of them, are not always aware that highlighted words, such as these, are a link to another page or site. I realized that when someone posted the URL to a video I had linked to in my post.

So, I have a slight dilemma.

Many of my regular readers are affiliated with the military, but that does not for a moment mean I think them less intelligent for that. It does, however, suggest that their lexicon may be very different than that of myself - a Humanities graduate with a degree in English Lit, Theater and Linguistics and a decidedly theatrical background.

But I have never liked to dumb down my writing, even when a fledgling reporter working for a chief reporter who believed in catering to the lowest common denominator. I believe good writing should be entertaining, readable, informative and educational. I never want to get to the arrogant high-brow level of the U.K.'s "The Guardian," where even I need a dictionary to fully understand some stories, but if you need to look up the definition of one word per blog post, I think that a positive thing.

I'm not sure I could dumb down my writing anyway, without it becoming stilted and no longer my voice.

So I guess if you think I've made a typo, please let me know. As a copy editor by trade, I know how easy it is to make mistakes, especially in an online format, but who knows, we may both learn from the dialogue.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Psy's past comes back to bite him . . .

The Kiwi has consciously chosen not to join the ranks of amateur psychologists cum journalists hunting for meaning in Psy's viral hit "Gangnam Style" but chooses not to ignore the rampant hypocrisy that was pointed out to her last week. Or the inadvertent irony of members of the U.S. military filming their own tributes to the song without knowing Psy's past.

To put this in context, one needs to go back to 2002 when two schoolgirls were killed in a tragic accident involving a U.S. armored vehicle. The incident was taken advantage of to spread anti-American feeling with the narrative being that it was a deliberate murder. Candle-light vigils became a regular event as did rampant anti-foreigner rhetoric. Anyone Caucasian was considered American and the Kiwi was spat on herself by an elderly Korean man and told to "Go back to America" - difficult when I'm not from there. GI Korea writing on the Rokdrop Web site has a better and well-researched explanation than I can manage from memory.

Fast forward to August 2002, when Psy took up the cause, tapping into the groundswell of nationalism to come out against the United States, at least until it embraced his song and brought him those oh-so-desirable greenbacks. The following is from a Korea Herald story datelined Dec. 5, 2002:

'Socially Active Celebrities' Now Supporting ROK's Anti-American 'Cause'

Anti-American sentiment ignited by the deaths of two Korean schoolgirls run over by a U.S. armored vehicle in June has finally boiled over to the local entertainment industry. 

Following the acquittals of two U.S. soldiers from negligent homicides charges late last month, a growing number of local celebrities have offered their heart-felt sympathy with the victims in public, while expressing their strong resentment over what they see as an unfair ruling by the American military court. 

These public figures have composed protest songs against America to pitch in their voice, join public rallies, or have gone as far as calling for revision of the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), which governs the status of 37,000 American troops stationed here, through official statements. 

Even though these pop stars have managed to put in their own two cents' worth, pop vocalist Psy, who has upheld the cause since August through many concerts, is among the most outspoken of them all. 

What price social consciousness when you're trying to sell records and concert tickets, it seems.

From the same story:

During the opening show for the 2002 m.net Music Video Contest held last weekend, the 25-year-old singer belted out "Killer" with a plastic model of an armored vehicle and smashed the plastic prop onto the floor in the middle of his show. Psy went on to beat it with the microphone stand into pieces, sparking a thunderous roar of agreement and excitement from the audience, mostly teens. 
If that description seems far-fetched, you may find the You Tube video a good deal less endearing than his more recent offering. One face for his Korean fans, a totally different face for the world's largest economy. Hypocrisy, thine name is Psy . . .


ADDENDUM: It has been pointed out to me I perhaps should add in a translation of the lyrics to "Killer." I did not, because I do not speak Korean, but here is what they have been translated elsewhere as:

"Torture them slowly
Those GIs who tortured captured Iraquis
Torture them, kill them slowly
Those GIs who fuck she-dogs and he-dogs
Torture them, kill them slowly
And their daughters, moms, pas and daughter-in-laws
Torture them, kill them slowly
To the fatal consummation of their fucking pain


If there is a bilingual reader of this blog that can tell me if that is an accurate translation, I would greatly appreciate your input.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Punching above the Kiwi's weight . . .

On Monday, Sept. 24, the Kiwi scrubbed up, dressed up and pretended to be a lady, to accept an award from United States Forces Korea. Given to to recognize/honor those who make "exceptional contributions that have created a significant positive impact on the ROK-US Alliance and Korean-American relations," the Kiwi got her (Non DOD Civilian category) award for the volunteer and communications work she does here. Her USFK friends do much more for her and the company she was in was much more impressive than thesmall, round flightless bird.

They were:

Ko, Young Mi (Angel) and Kim, Kyung Tae (Joseph) of Korea Farm. Co. Ltd
2012 Good Neighbor (Individual) 
Angel and Joseph have spearheaded a Marine Corps Forces Korea (MARFORK) outreach program in which MARFORK "adopted" a special needs home (because we all know jarheads are "special").
The couple also took Marines and their families to local cultural events and  hosted a kimchi-making day at the family farm. The kimchi was donated to needy Korean families.

Lee, Jong Min
2012 Good Neighbor (Individual)
The director of the Foreign Goods Transaction Office, Mr. Lee was a Korean Augmentee to the U.S. Army (KATUSA) from 1991 to 1993 and has continued his involvement with USFK, particularly with the military police. He plays a key role in promoting USFK-KATUSA relations and contributes time and money to support the American Forces Spouses Club, Seoul American High School Parent Teacher Organization, Yongsan Football Club, USO Six Star Salute and Military Ball.

Kim, Young Mee
2012 Good Neighbor (Individual)
As vice president of Pyeongtaek University, Ms. Kim has played a key role in establishing the USFK Study Center, to foster goodwill and understanding between the USFK and Korean communities.

Pak, Sung Wook
2012 Good Neighbor (Individual)
Mr. Pak is president of the Changwon Social Welfare Association and has volunteered for more than 20 years to help U.S. service members and their families. He has helped introduce Korean culture to the U.S. Naval Base in Chinhae, arranged cultural exchanges between local students and their American peers, led field trips and connected U.S. Chinhae families with local low income families to share holiday meals.

Ahn, Byung Yong, Mayor, Uijeongbu City
2012 Good Neighbor (Individual)
Mayor Ahn conducts cultural trips for 2ID soldiers and families, personally guiding some. His council also sponsors the 2ID Band Christmas Concert to enhance friendship between locals and U.S. soldiers. He also initiated the Children's English Camp, which brings together local elementary students and USFK soldiers.

Dr. Lee, Chung No
2012 Good Neighbor (Individual)
As deputy chief Executive officer of CHA hospital, Dr. Lee consults for Yongsan Garrison's 121 Hospital, hosts Soldier of the Month dinners, donates to USFK and works to nurture the alliance.

Yang, Chang-koo
2012 Good Neighbor (Individual)
Mr. Yang is president of the New Seoul Chapter of People-To-People International (PTPI) and at the forefront of supporting KATUSA-US Soldier Friendship Week. He and PTPI supports many USFK and Republic of Korea alliance events, financially and with gifts of food and beverages.

Won, You Don
2012 Good Neighbor (Individual)
As chairman of the Dongin Development company, Mr. Won has, over the past year, helped more than 300 active duty personnel and and their families in the Osan Air Force Base area.

Social Welfare Foundation Kojedo Aikwangwon
2012 Good Neighbor (Organization)
Since its founding in 15-952, Aikwangwon has partnered with the U.S. Navy through Fleet Activities Chinhae caring by orphans displaced during the Korean War. The relationship continued when the organization became a home caring for mentally and physically disabled children and adults in 1978.
Each year, the foundation hosts an average 300 navy personnel to educate them about Korea's rich history and culture.

CSM Edward L. Herron
2012 Ambassador for the Alliance  Good Neighbor (Individual)
CSM Herron is battalion sergeant major to the Korea Service Corps Battalion where he promotes the ROK-U.S. Alliance on a daily basis. His efforts have been featured multiple times in both the Korean and USFK media.

PFC Derrick Breznicki
2012 Ambassador for the Alliance  Good Neighbor (Individual)
PFC Brezniki has volunteered hundreds of hours of his time to support the Good Neighbor Program at 6th Battalion, 52nd Air Defense Artillery, where he teaches English to the children of the Republic of Korea's 10th Fighter Wing as part of his units English education project. PFC Breznicki is also a regular participant it a Good Neighbor program the unit conducts with the House of Dream Orphanage in Suwon and a reliable recruiter of his fellow soldiers wanting to volunteer.

1LT Neil C. Maley
2012 Ambassador for the Alliance  Good Neighbor (Individual)
As Special Operations Command Korea's primary liaison to three SOCKOR-sponsored orphanages in the Seoul area, 1LT Maley developed and leads an outreach program called SOCKIDs, which assigns service members as sponsors for the residents of they orphanages. 1LT Maley also organizes seasonal events to give the children the chance to experience American Holiday traditions.

Master Sgt Daniel L. McOmber
2012 Ambassador for the Alliance  Good Neighbor (Individual)
Master Sgt. McOmber has organized all Seongyook Boyukwon Orphanage events for the 607th Air Operation Center since October 2011, organizing six orphanage trips to Osan Air Base to participate in goodwill events. Master Sgt. McOmber also actively recruits new volunteers to take part in teh program each month.

Sgt Daniel Wrobel
2012 Ambassador for the Alliance Good Neighbor (Individual)
Since his arrival in South Korea, Sgt Wrobel has volunteered his time and donated goods to several Korean organizations, and been involved with a range of outreach programs for Koreans and U'S. personnel.

Commander, Fleet Activities, Chinhae
2012 Ambassador for the Alliance Good Neighbor (Unit)
For decades, Fleet Activities Chinhae has proudly adopted a number of local orphanages, schools and facilities for the elderly and handicapped. For more than 60 years, the installation has developed a tradition of community engagement and service, with more than 300 projects in 2011 alone.
Fleet Activities Chinhae is not just a good neighbor but an integrated, functional and valued member of teh Korean community.

8th Fighter Wing, Kunsan Air Base

2012 Ambassador for the Alliance Good Neighbor (Unit)
Wing personnel, as a whole, volunteer thousands of hours each year in more than 400 Good Neighbor events, including teaching English, visiting orphanages and nursing homes, learning Korean and gaining a broader understanding of the culture through Support Squadron tours. 

Mrs. Mary Kitzmiller, U.S. Navy Family Readiness Group
2012 Good Neighbor (Family Member)
Mrs. Kitzmiller has been an active member of the U.S. Navy Family Readiness Group for many years and is particularly proactive in her support of the Hye Sim Won Orphanage. Naval Forces Korea has had an ongoing relationship with the orphanage since 1956, and Mrs. Kitzmiller has further built on that long-standing friendship.

Mrs. Tamaria Smythers
2012 Good Neighbor (DOD Civilian)
As overall point of contact for Area IV and 2nd battallian 1st Air Defense Artillery, Mrs. Smythers provides soldiers and family members with information on the various military agencies and local post community, as well as the local community.

Ms. Tracie Barrett
2012 Good Neighbor (Non-DOD Civilian)

Ms. Barrett, a dual citizen of New Zealand Maori and Irish descent has been involved with the Good Neighbor Program since 2003, when she trained and worked as an Emergency Services Case Worker for American Red Cross. A journalist by trade, Ms. Barrett is the publicity coordinator for the American Women's Club Thrift Shop Association and seeks to build understanding between USFK, the Korean community and expatriates of other nations.