The top ten Blogoseyo Moments of 2009 - my personal favorite/significant Roboseyo moments of 2009
This is a companion piece to the other year-end retrospects I'm publishing this week, including:
The Top Ten Things Roboseyo Learned Personally This Year
The Top Ten K-Blog Stories of 2009
The Top Ten Expat Stories of 2009 (in the Korea Herald)
And to go with it: some of my favorite songs from 2009.
MGMT - Kids (note the zombie theme in the video)
1. Writing subtitles of supposed translations as the Korean swimming announcers' heads exploded over Park Tae-hwan's gold medal swim took a long time, but was eminently worth it. The post is mentioned more often in comments and e-mails than any other. Eat that, Dokdo is Ours!
2. On Ugly English Teachers and Racist Journalists
Choi Hui-seon wrote her four part hit-piece on English teachers just as I was leaving for my summer vacation, so instead of reporting with the freshness, this five-part series tried to pull together a few themes going around on discussion boards, while taking a look at the Expat/English teacher community as it stands today, and the gap between what we expect and what we get from Korea, and the gap between what Korea expects and what it gets from us.
3. Tony Hellmann, ATEK forming, and The Wagner Report
Blogging The Wagner Report was one of the most time-consuming single-posts of the year for me, but trying to shed some light on the content of Benjamin Wagner's complaint to the NHRCK, and trying to find a middle ground concerning the misunderstandings and bad blood stirred up between E and F series visas was hella stressful, but necessary. The formation of ATEK, and then AFEK, were both positive steps toward a more connected, and truly viable expat community in Korea. Unfortunately, Tony Hellmann - the subject of my first bold statement on the topic - found himself a target of some attacks, but hopefully everyone involved has learned a thing or two about what is and what isn't OK to do when you disagree with someone.
4. Travel Twofer: Morning Calm Garden and Kyoto
My two favorite travel destinations this year were Morning Calm Garden and Kyoto... Morning Calm Garden because sweet mercy, that place is beautiful, and the photos practically took themselves, and Kyoto because, though I didn't announce it on blogoseyo, it's where I proposed to Girlfriendoseyo. Plus, she totally said yes! And later that night, we totally French-kissed, too. Sweet! Other trips this year included Andong, Hanoi, Gyeongju, Canada (more Canada) along with day trips to Paju, Yangpyeong, Jaraseom, Yongin,
6. Freedom of Speech and what NOT to Joke about in Korea
I fired this post off after a really interesting discussion class. The way Korean freedom of speech laws work is way different than it is in North America. It demonstrates a very different view of public and private discourse: to oversimplify, let's say harmony ranks much higher on the cultural value list here than it does back in Canada, and possibly even higher than truth.
Radiohead: Four Minute Warning
7. Pro-Gamer's Tournament
Almost a year after actually taking the photos, I finally ran this write-up about Korea's competitive computer gameing tournament: online gaming is a fascinating cutural phenomenon in Korea, and worth a closer look.
8. The Korea Times Crashes and Burns, and other Media Hijinks (Yonhap, Kang Shin-who, Choi Yong-hee)
While Brian in Jeollanamdo and Popular Gusts had the most extensive (PG) and timely (Brian) coverage, Seeing Kang Shin-who cover English teachers was like watching a car crash in slow motion, and watching him run the Korea Times' credibility into the ground as he went was sad for one of Koreas's few English reporting sources. At this point, between the continuous embarrassment of the comment boards, the increasing number of simply asinine articles, refusals to print corrections, retractions or apologies, and expressions of straight defiance and contempt for its critics, rather than an attempt in good faith to improve, has me in a position now where I have to encourage readers to read the Korea Herald instead: at least they're actually trying to give expats a voice, rather than treating us with contempt. If you're going to get a subscription, I highly recommend the IHT/Joongang mashup: International Herald-Tribune (of the New York Times) and the Joongang Daily. Oh, yeah: let's not forget the Alien Graveyard (good lord I wish I'd bought a paper copy of that issue). It's pretty sad when a paper goes from being linked regularly at The Marmot's Hole, to being linked regularly by Dokdo Is Ours and Koreangov, in the space of a single year. (Yonhap News and Chosun Ilbo were other subjects of roboseyo media criticism)
9. Jon Huer and the Top Ten Favorite Things about Korea Survey
After a bunch more outrage over yet another Jon Huer essay that put words into foreigners' mouths, I challenged people to come up with their OWN top ten list of things they liked about Korea, and the results, published originally on The Hub of Sparkle and in The Korea Herald, were pretty fun to read. While Hub of Sparkle's down, and possibly out, the Korea Herald article is still up for reading.
10. Zombies Zombies Zombies!
Guilty pleasure of the year was zombie movies, and man they were fun. A few of my zombie posts... and also the one about the rise of the craptacle.
And, two bonus "Hurt to Omit" specials:
Only You can Save Roboseyo From Hating Korean Music! - loved the comments on this one. and this, the post/comment thread that inspired it.
How to get noticed in Kblogland
Service Bell, by Feist and Grizzly Bear