Thursday, November 17, 2011

Bits and pieces

The Joongang Ilbo interviewed Professor Lee Chong-sik, likely best known for co-authoring the book “Communism in Korea,” with Robert Scalapino. In the interview he talks about the trilateral meeting held in London from Sept. 12 to Oct. 2, 1945:
[R]elations between the United States and the Soviets deteriorated after the London conference. Before that, they were on lukewarm terms .?.?. but their ties froze up in London. We could describe this as the de facto onset of the cold war. [...]

The Soviets wanted the northern part of Hokkaido in Japan after the war, but the United States refused to agree. But what really enraged Russia was the refusal by the U.K. and the U.S. of its demand to take over Tripoli in Libya. The records of the London Conference show that then-Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov asserted Russia’s need for a port in the Mediterranean for its commercial vessels. He said it was for the country’s commercial vessels, but evidently the Soviet Navy wanted to have a base through which to expand its forces around the world. [...]

After Molotov disputed the port issue with his U.S. and British counterparts on Sept. 15-16, Soviet policies regarding the Korean Peninsula and China were completely changed. On Sept. 20, Stalin made a secret order to set up a “democratic government” in North Korea.
The article is titled "Revisiting Stalin’s role as Peninsula’s puppeteer." Some might object to such an idea, since Jeju 4.3 took place when Korea was under US control and the UK apparently helped design Japanese Zeros (hint for those wanting to put the UK in the 1등급 victimizer-of-Korea range - a search for 'Anglo-Japanese Treaty' might be more fruitful) (see more here). On a note related to the Joongang Ilbo's interview, this article has a great deal of information about how Korea came to be divided into zones of occupation by the USSR and US.

Also in the Joongang, in its [GLIMPSE of KOREAN CULTURE] series, is an article about the Yakult ajumma.
Korea Yakult first started with 47 saleswomen in 1971 but the number of saleswomen has jumped to 13,000 in the first half of this year, according to Korea Yakult. [...] The company said the average age of a Yakult ajumma is 44.3 years old and their monthly income is about 1.7 million won. They walk around 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) on average per day.
If there's one kind of food I can count on to be better in Korea than back home, it's yogurt.

Another article in the series looks at marriage officiants (Jurye); I hadn't realized that such a wide range of people could officiate at weddings until a friend who is a high school teacher told me he was going to do so for a former student. Which is kind of neat.

And the KT looks at a documentary (and photo book, etc) about stray cats. I used to have a lot around my old place (in a villa). In fact, I came home one night to see a dozen cats at the end of the alley where the gate to my place was. They scattered pretty quickly, which I imagine disrupted their planning session for the takeover of the neighbourhood from the humans.

And I'm no Picasso brought up Korean poetry in translation yesterday, so there are lots of links and suggestions in regard to reading material in the comments.

1 comment:

kushibo said...

Interesting about the Soviets wanting Tripoli.

Oh, and Honolulu is overrun with feral cats. I love cats, but these are very unfriendly to humans, so they aren't very endearing.

Efforts by the parks departments, universities, and the City & County government at large to control the population are undermined by well-intentioned residents who engage in large-scale daily operations to feed the cats in the wild in places where they've been prohibited from doing so, including areas near streets and in parking lots.

Back in Seoul, my apartment complex has a colony or two of feral cats. They hang out near the garbage/recycling area, but I think they also work to keep the area free of rats and other vermin. They, too, are not exactly human-friendly, but they seem to solve more problems than they cause, so I don't mind them.