Asia in 2016: Korea

Asia in 2016: KoreaSouth Korean President Park Geun-hye was stripped of her executive powers after the country’s legislature voted for impeachment in December, the culmination of a year of political scandal that saw massive protests in Seoul and other major cities in the last quarter of 2016. Park’s confidante, Choi Soon-sil, was detained on charges of extortion and…

Trickle-Down Economics Doesn’t Work

Trickle-Down Economics Doesn’t WorkConcerns are arising that South Korea’s potential for economic growth is plummeting. These concerns are followed by arguments that policies that emphasized growth were, in reality, focused on the benefits of the few and the wealthy, and therefore resulted in polarization and widened income inequality. A fundamental doubt has been cast upon the so-called trickle-down…

MERS’s Best Friend is Ignorance

MERS’s Best Friend is IgnoranceThe full story of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) is yet to be told. Would South Korea now be in the grip of one of the disease’s largest-ever outbreaks if more had been done sooner to unravel its mysteries? So far, 175 cases have been reported in South Korea, 27 persons have died, more than…

South Korea’s Press: The Illusion of Freedom

South Korea’s Press: The Illusion of FreedomOn the surface, South Korea’s media appears to be thriving and even serves as an example to a region where liberal democracy is the exception rather than the norm. The country’s peaceful transition to democracy in the late 1980s promised journalists a newfound freedom to report without fear or favor.  But reporting without fear or…

South Korea’s Alpha Women Myth

South Korea’s Alpha Women MythRecently in South Korea the term ‘alpha girls’ has been used to describe women who are extremely successful in their work, accomplished and ambitious in pursuit of career advancement. This icon, and the discourse surrounding it, has emerged thanks to the rapid growth in the number of women in high-powered professions that had formerly been…

The Middle Kingdom Comes to the Hermit Kingdom

The Middle Kingdom Comes to the Hermit KingdomFor Xiao Lei, a 30-year-old office worker from Beijing, visiting Korea was all about following in the tracks of Kim Soo-hyun, the actor of the Korean television drama “My Love From the Star,” now a mega hit in China. “I came to visit places where Kim was filmed,” said the tourist, who was on a…

Some North Koreans Head Home

Some North Koreans Head HomeThe number of North Korean refugees reaching South Korea is on the decline. The South Korean government says it’s due to tougher border security, enforced by their ruler, Kim Jong-un. But advocates say there’s also been a rise in the number of North Korean defectors who want to go back. Son Jeong-hun is one of…