Happy Independence Day, Korea :)

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August 15 marked Korea’s Independence Day. If you are in any way capable of using Google Search, you can discover some of the festivities that took place across the country to commemorate the occasion. What did YOU do to celebrate?

To highlight Korea’s Independence Day, I decided to attempt making a yummy Korean dish: Hae-Mul Pa-Jeon 해물 파전 or Korean Seafood Pancake.

Check out this fabulous step-by-step recipe and try it for yourself.

My final result looked something like this:

Granted, it was my first time making it (without Mr. Eom there to lend his magical Korean hand), and granted I didn’t have half of the necessary ingredients, but I prevailed… somehow. I even succeeded in flipping the darn thing in one shot (check out the

video snippet on my Blogger Post)… and judge for yourself.

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Of Politics and Policy…

Aside from the cultural celebrations, it was an eventful day on the politics and policy side as well! Below are some major highlights.

As many of you may or may not know, this past winter semester I spent interning at the Canadian Embassy in Washington DC. I worked primarily as a “Policy Analyst/Officer” with the Political Section and developed a keen new geopolitical interest: Asia-Pacific, namely politics and policies emanating from Canada and the US towards South and North Korea, aaaaand vice-versa.  In any case, many of you are probably aware of this year’s turbulences stemming from our South Korean friend’s neighbourà North Korea… The little fat man (as I like to sometimes call Kim Jong-Un) first threatened to attack, but failed to execute, then he proceeded to run missile tests and failed yet again, then he threatened once more and stopped in his tracks most likely because he realized he would fail after all. You see, since yesterday (South Korea’s Independence Day) North Korea’s schizophrenic and violent trends may have truly come to a halt. An unusual yet welcomed step towards “Peace” perhaps? It’s too early to tell, but here are some of the highlights from this 2013 South Korean Independence Day.

1) Instead of starving its people by spending money on developing missiles, North Korea now starves them by developing its own smartphone named Arirang 아리랑 (yes, just like the famous song). I do not know which consumer markets these will be available to, but I am guessing Kim Jong-Un will initially offer these as party favours to his elitist guests at one of his lavish events he’s so famous for (when he’s not too busy playing with rockets). Anyways, here is a sneak peak at the newly designed phone.

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NK’s Arirang(above) ; My Huawei Ascend(below)

Strangely enough, it bears a striking resemblance to my Huawei Ascend P1 (Taiwanese) phone. It’s almost identical!!!! I am growing suspicious of both the origin of my phone and Taiwan’s connection to North Korea kekekeke. Alright jokes aside, I for one am very glad to see technology used to “instill national pride and self-respect”, as Kim Jong-Un so nicely put it, by promoting communication and information sharing, as opposed to military expansion of capabilities and capacities; especially in the case of North Korea.

2) Kae-Song 개성 is open for business again and is offering great “bang” for your buck (no pun intended 🙂 … you know… missiles create a bang, and South Korea’s BigBang is just as explosive)! Although it hasn’t happened yet, a grand opening has in fact been scheduled. Without giving specific dates, North and South Korea have nevertheless come to a new business understanding regarding this industrial zone from which the northern counterpart pulled 53 thousand of its workers some time ago due to increased tensions on the peninsula. Obviously this sounds like good news, but we have yet to learn of the details. Most importantly, I wonder if the YG Family will host a celebratory concert on opening day, and if that day may coincide with my travel plans to Seoul next year. Mwahaha… Kidding of course.
3) I Love you, you Love me, and we’re a happy familyyyy… Does anyone recall this song? If it doesn’T ring a bell, you didn’t grow up with the big purple dinosaur staring at you while worryingly bursting of joy (or of drugs) from the TV screen. Speaking of “family”, to upkeep this week’s positive trend in Korean relations, President Park of South Korea has made a plea to KJU to provide families on both sides of the border the right of reunification. Most families who were separated during the war have unfortunately not had the opportunity to reunite for over half a century. Could this be a road towards a united Korea???!!
Coming from a war-torn country myself that split into 5 independent national and political entities, I often relate to these types of realities and hope for peace, prosperity and a single-unified nation. However, having observed the case of the two Koreas over the last year, I cannot help but wonder if this is an instance where separate and independent existence is the best-case scenario.
In fact, after conversing in-depth with some of my Korean friends of different ages, I gather that none of them wish for reunification, albeit all of them wishing for a cessation of conflict and betterment of life standards for everyone. Many of them cite cultural and even linguistic differences, as well as the fear of hurting South Korea’s growing economy. Whatever events may follow this wonderful South Korean Independence Day 2013, one can only hope they will be of a positive nature.

If you are a Korean national, of Korean origin, or not even remotely related to anything Korean, I would love to know what you think of the reunification subject, what you expect will happen to the Korean peninsula in the near and distant future, and how you commemorated/celebrated this wonderful occasion in case you actually did 🙂

Best wishes,

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This entry was published on August 17, 2013 at 1:05 am. It’s filed under Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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