Friday, 27 January 2012

Weekly Round-up: Links from the Radio Show, and Something Funny

Every Thursday, at 8:30AM, I present a short piece called "Blog Buzz" on TBS English radio 101.3's morning show. In it, I discuss the stories that have been generating buzz, or just catching my interest as something unique, interesting, or worthwhile, on the Korea blogs, during the last (approximate) week.

Here are some of the things I shared this week:

My Two Favorite accounts of Seollal this year were Xweing, a Chinese Malaysian who lives in Busan, reflects on the differences between Lunar new year in Malaysia, and in Korea -- because I'm from a culture that doesn't celebrate Lunar New Year, Korean New Year is basically a family thing, where in Malaysia, there are street parties, decorations and fireworks -- it's a much more public event.

There's a wistfulness here, kind of like the writings Western expats have when they write about Korean Christmas, that you don't get from Western writers talking about Korean New Year, and it's very interesting. Western expats write about Korean Lunar New Year with more curiosity, because it's new to us, so Xweing's perspective is refreshing.

Ask A Korean continued his series on Suicide in Korea with part four: worth reading, and a reminder that saying "Korea has a suicide culture" and leaving it at that is an intellectually lazy cop-out: observing a cultural phenomenon insists we ask, "How did the culture get this way?" --there's still work to be done. Especially in Korea's case, where in the early '80s, Korea's suicide rate was one of the world's lowest.

What should you do this weekend?

If I had to choose only one thing Chris in South Korea has ever made, to be linked, spread, and shared, this would be it. The entertaining and helpful flowchart "What to do this weekend?" (a polished final version of one he made a little while ago) asks a bunch of simple questions that guide you towards a host of sights and activities to try or see all around Korea. Good weather? Bad weather? Flush with cash? Broke? Wanna live it up? Wanna take it easy? Tired of palaces and temples? There's something for you. It's Seoul-centric -- Going to Daegu or Busan are options on the "Get out of town" side, but it's interesting, and if you try to do every single activity on the list, you'll have a frantic year (or two) in Korea, but come away having had a pretty darn good experience of the country.

Last One:
Finally, we didn't have time to cover it on air, last week or this, but I'd like to send you to check out Charles Montgomery's great piece on the problems (he's had) with Korean self-study. It's an entertaining account of the circular "new book/tail off/forget what I've learned" cycle. The article ends with a good argument for getting into formal classes.

Interestingly, it's hosted as a guest post on the blog of Hanguk Drama, whose author is a self-taught Korean speaker, and has managed to find a method or motivation Mr. Monty didn't. Go read it here.

A couple more:
These weren't on the radio, of course, but Stephen Colbert's interview of "Where The Wild Things Are" author Maurice Sendak is laugh-out-loud hilarious. Part 1:

Part 2:

And... I've been on a Tom Waits kick lately. He's probably my favorite singer... and that's some rare air up there... and he's made about ten albums I'll listen to without even thinking about hitting the "Skip" button... and that's hard to do. Offhand, I can only think of two or three other artists who have made more than two albums during which I'd never hit "Skip"

Maybe some day I'll blog a list of albums I listen to without ever hitting "Skip," but not today.

Today, here's a list of Tom Waits' albums, ranked from worst to best, and I'd recommend any of the top ten to you, if you love music that takes you on a journey, and a well-written song.

1 comment:

Charles Montgomery said...

That'll be "Mr. Full Monty" to you, buster!^^