Notes from the Library

Fri, 23 Jan 2015

I know that lots of people refuse to subscribe to Sky because of its connection to Rupert Murdoch, but News Corp owns only 39 per cent of BSkyB and the Murdoch family owns only 12 per cent of News Corp. That means that more than 95 per cent of Sky is owned by not-Murdoch, which as far as I’m concerned puts it in the clear. Murdoch’s 4.68 per cent of Sky is only a fraction more than Libya’s 3.27 per cent share of Pearson: I’ve never heard of anyone refusing to buy a Penguin book because of Colonel Gaddafi.


Fri, 16 Jan 2015

Steviebee123 comments on Seoul’s food prices among highest in the world

Mon, 05 Jan 2015

What the World Will Speak in 2115

A nice antidote to thinking that simplifications necessarily reduce expressive power or beauty.

Sun, 04 Jan 2015

This is the the sixth and final post in a series. First post.

The Korean word for Korea is Hanguk, though you won’t hear this much in the TV News. Instead you’ll hear woori nara which means ‘our country.’ I asked a friend about this and she reckons that a TV news presenter who didn’t say woori nara would be thought not to care enough about his own country, and that’s not acceptable. Perhaps, though, woori nara is just a turn of phrase that doesn’t carry nationalist connotations. I don’t think that’s true. Recently a plane crashed and the news was occupied with establishing how many Koreans were on board. British news is just as bad in this regard but Koreans take it a step further. The formal Korean word for a Korean person is Hangukin. But the TV news presenter reporting on the plane crash was talking about woori Hangukindeul (‘deul’ is a suffix indicating plurality). That is, translating non-literally, “our Korean brothers and sisters”, must more important than the several hundred other people on that plane.

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Fri, 02 Jan 2015

For my first six months here, I operated under the impression that Koreans are the busiest and hardest working people on earth. At some point during my first semester, that illusion fell apart.

In the west, image is important. But we’re taught that being dependable and producing quality work are the way to cultivate a positive image at the office. In Korea, image is everything. Quality of work and efficiency are relatively unimportant here. Convincing others think that you are a hard worker is far more important than actually working hard. (source)

This is the fifth post in a series. First post; Next post

All over the world people try to make things look better than they are. Marketing is perhaps the most systemised example. But in Korea, it feels like half of all adult activity is making things look good for other adults who know very well that everyone is spending a big chunk of their time on making just-good-enough jobs look good. It’s quite strange, and also deeply ineffective and stifling. I’ll give three examples from my elementary school.

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