Sunday, February 7, 2016
Happy lunar new year / 새해 복 많이 받으세요 to all of my (rather neglected for the last six months) readers out there. There have been lots of changes for me during that time, with the larger ones being that I moved to Seattle and am pursuing an MA in Korean studies at the University of Washington. Needless to say, I've been learning lots that could easily be blogged about, but have just been too busy, especially adjusting to the first quarter. I was thinking of posting during the Christmas break, especially after seeing this (I still think it's a shame the archives weren't kept), but an unexpected lack of internet put the kibosh on that idea. Time at last to get the ball rolling and post something here, and hopefully keep that ball rolling. There are a few series I've posted here that could stand to be finished (English Spectrum, the '88 Olympics come to mind) and a few unkept promises, especially in regard to posting about Korean music history.
Just to start, here are a few links I've seen over the past few days:
A Korea Times article about the "Foreign Book Store" near Noksapyeong, its history, and how Seoul Metropolitan Government chose it "as one of its "Future Heritages" in an effort to preserve valuable tangible or intangible heritages within the city." I once found an first (paperback) edition of Alexander Trocchi's "Cain's Book" there, which was quite a surprise.
Film critic Tony Rayns wrote an open letter to the people of Busan supporting the work of Busan International Film Festival Director Lee Yongkwan and castigating the Busan Metropolitan City Council's vendetta against him, warning that they could do damage to the festival and Busan's reputation. It reminds me of when Bucheon mayor Hong Gun-pyo's personal vendetta turned PIFAN upside down in 2005.
And lastly, the New Yorker asks "Can a Big Government Push Bring the Nobel Prize in Literature to South Korea?"
It's funny how on the one hand national government money is supporting a push to bring acclaim to the nation (and check off another box on the "legitimate member of Western modernity" list), and on the other hand an endeavour which has contributed to Korea's soft power / reputation abroad / cultural exports may yet be sabotaged by a local government trying to throw its weight around.