Friday, December 31, 2010

How I view Graduate School in 2011

Last year, applications to doctoral programs in economics spread into my celebration of New Year's Day. I wanted to see how sure I wanted to apply to terminal masters programs.

Me: Jan. 1st, a year go (2010): Of Malibu, 2010, and the puzzling dearth of Korean Nobel Laureates

It's 2010 and it's been twenty-two years since the Dodgers won the pennant, one hundred years since Japan annexed Korea (Joseon/Chosun/朝選), and ten years that I've had the right to vote. And, probably a a little more time than that since I've been to the Rose Parade in Pasadena (the Rose Parade's on TV right now). And, on a side note, it's interesting how there are probably as many floats from Chinese companies as there were from Japanese companies back when I went to the Rose Parades. My younger brother graduated from La Canada High School in La Canada-Flintridge, which would make a float for the parade each year. I attended the school for a semester as well and, well, it's a pretty big thing in that city.  
 Me in 2011: My attitude has changed considerably. I will not  apply to doctoral programs out of both the questionable likelihood of being able to pursue research interests life long in academia and due to the attractive feature of terminal masters program in economics being able to function as a  prognosis to measure how suitable I am to pursue my research interests within academia. I would like to return to London and attend the MSc in Economics program beginning in October of this great new year. I guess you see the first paragraph of my statement of purpose first draft. But, that's also what this blog does - share thoughts

 I view these programs as prognostic programs that see whether I am suited to continue studies within Academia.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

How many North Koreans Are Relegated to be just Waitresses for China?

About a month ago, I was in a long line to see one of my old professors, and sitting next to me at the time were three graduate students from China. If you ever meet me in real life, you'll notice that I like to talk and ask quite frequently about people, places, and things I identify with, such as California and Korea and a multitude of cities in both states. And sure enough, I asked the graduate students if there were any North Koreans in China and was told that a lot of North Korean ladies are in the service industry in China with a belittling look. I rarely get offended by such talk, but as I sit here and wonder how many North Koreans are relegated to be waitresses in China, I wonder how the conversation would've went if I brought up that the manner in which you describe North Koreans is the exact image that Chinese nationals hold in South Korea. Also, pregnant North Korean refugees in China that are caught by North Korean fascist agents undergo abortion forcibly as they try to ensure that Korean blood does not become tainted. I'm curious how their reaction would be to such a comment and if I were to see them again, I want to see if Chinese nationals really view Koreans to be too nationalistic as I have picked up on the Internet during the Winter Olympics some time ago when Korean female athletes held up a sign claiming that "Mt.  Baekdu is ours." 

Anyways, I would be grateful if someone could provide a link to a paper or data set that can provide an answer to how many north Koreans are relegated to low level service jobs in China. Happy New Year ^^

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Happy New Years! ^^

So 2011 is near as January 1st floats ever closer. And, no, I don't think Steve Jobs qualifies as person of the year. Wouldn't it be more appropriate to give him a decade?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A planned visit to South Korea. What does North Korea's attack on Yeonpyeong Island mean? rev 1

Dec.23.10 - Part 1, draft

I plan on visiting South Korea for a month or so in the new year, contingent on my schedule for 2011. I find news of North Korea's attack on Yeonpyeong Island to be quite shocking and the numerous number of protests that followed the provocative act.  After North Korea's attack on Yeonpyeong Island, this was then followed by a number of demonstrations that were either targeted against North Korea or South Korea's response for being too forceful.I would like to get a first hand impression of how things are/ in South Korea in late spring of the new year.

The United States finally sent the U.S.S. George Washington to the Yellow Sea in live fire exercises. This was not followed by another North Korean response by North Korea's military, but rather hideous claims by North Korea re-inviting inspectors to suspected sites in North Korea's nuclear weapons program and of the existence of a nuclear weapons program not unlike that of Pakistan or Iran (parallel uranium enrichment program).

I lived in South Korea in 2001 - 2005 and I cannot imagine how South Korea could be now. The years I was there were memorable for its livid Anti-American protests.

I had earlier thought that in the wake of the deployment of the USS George Washington that another North Korean act of aggression in the 2010 calendar year to just not be possible out of North Korea's fear over a China angry that there happened to be a U.S. nuclear powered aircraft carrier off  the waters that surround Beijing and Shanghai. Furthermore, the sinking of the ROKN Cheonan brought forward a (weakly worded) UNSC statement and large joint military exercises between the United States and South Korea in both the waters west and east off the Korean peninsula.

However, this was then followed in November with a North Korean attack on South Korea's Yeonpyeong Island, which happens to be located in the Yellow Sea. North Korea then announced that the country welcomes back inspectors to suspected sites for its nuclear weapons program and also happily announced an existence of a parallel, uranium enrichment program. 

This finally brought the USS George Washington off the waters of the heart of China and an easy way to bring forward thoughts that criticize China -- such as the AEI's proclamation of concern for North Korean aggression.

To finally bring the USS George Washington to the Yellow Sea as well as provide the AEI or organizations that lack any genuine interest over North Korea to use the country as a convenient method to attack China -- by attacking North Korea, the attacker could bring to attention how useless and ineffective Chinese leadership in the region is. Almost as in a textbook example, China protects North Korea out of concern for her provinces that border North Korea and North Korea responds by selling out China in order to gain a security guarantee from a power that rivals China. 

With a transition in North Korea leadership still in progress and this being situated next to promises by South Korea's Lee Myung Bak Administration for a more forceful response to future North Korean acts of provocation, it might be too early to say these events will be followed by a long period of silence. This should in no way lead to absolute fabrication of heightened tensions resulting from President Lee Myung Bak's policy toward North Korea being too aggressive towards fascist North Korea.

This is a political environment that I'd like to see first hand.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Reportage of causes for Reduced inter-Korean trade figures in both North Korea Economy Watch and Yonhap are just flat wrong or blindly misguided. *final rev*

12/27 rewritten for clarity

Causation in the posting below is just flat wrong.
Inter-Korean trade falls sharply amid heightened tensions

According to Yonhap:
Inter-Korean trade has fallen about 30 percent this year, largely affected by South Korea’s move to cut almost all business relations with North Korea after the North sank one of its naval ships in a torpedo attack in March, the customs office said Wednesday.
This is absolutely ridiculous. If a state takes hundreds of lives from a neighboring country, then to suppose the response of country that had lost hundreds of her citizens is the cause for the fall in trade between the two countries is bewilderingly ridiculous. It is as if this article completely ignores the horrendous sinking of the ROKN (Republic of Korea Navy's) Cheonan and the attack on South Korea's Yeonpyong island. The fall in trade reflects terrible relations between North and South Korea as North Korea seeks a security guarantee from the United States as North Korea has announced a successor to Kim Jong Il.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Doubts about how North Korea was lost to China VERIFIED...

draft: 12/21
Back in September I posted against Aiden Foster Carter's (a senior research fellow of Modern Korea at Leeds University) view that influence over North Korea is prized over that over South Korea -- a slightly more academic version of a political view that embraced the Sunshine Policy.

In August China loudly complained against the proposed deployment of the largest aircraft carrier in the world -- the U.S.S. George Washington --  in the Yellow Sea. The United States minded these concerns when China had just condoned North Korea's sinking of the South Korea's Cheonan by deploying the U.S.S. George Washington off the eastern coast of the Korean peninsula rather than off the western coast.

I earlier bet that:

Consider that as a result of the Cheonan fiasco -- from none other than a Sinocentric point of view --  the huge cost for China has been South Korea. I would think the ultimate end game for China  -- again from a Sinocentric point of view -- is to dominate East Asia, which includes kicking out or splintering the U.S.-Japan and U.S-ROK alliances and unifying with Taiwan. The end game for China is not about paying for North Korean food, roads, and ports and extracting natural resources that North Korea may have. The real gold is elsewhere.

I'd bet that North Korea surely sees this too and would love at any cost to get the United States to guarantee the security of the country any day over the Chinese. In the meantime, China will continue to feed North Korea, build North Korean roads and ports, and bring the northern half of the peninsula out of the dark ages all of which North Korea will not be grateful for. After all, China is doing this for self-serving reasons. 

And, now it seems quite clear that North Korea on the flip side would rather transfer Chinese aid in exchange for a grand bargain with the United States.

Joshua Stanton:

Most political analysts in Seoul said the most likely scenario was that the North had decided to bide its time while waiting to see whether its attack last month would pressure South Korea and the United States into talks, and possibly even concessions. They said this was a recurring pattern in the North’s unique brand of brinkmanship: making a provocation in hopes of forcing the other side to the bargaining table.
China was rewarded with a November deployment of the U.S.S. George Washington in the Yellow Sea after North Korea attacked South Korean troops deployed in Yeonpyong Island in the Yellow Sea. Influence over North Korea doesn't seem to be much of a blessing. Doubts about how North Korea was lost to China VERIFIED.

By the way, I did suppose that there wouldn't be another North Korean act of provocation, but more on that later...

Wikipedia: [King] Sejong the Great


Early life

Sejong was born on May 6, 1397, the third son of King Taejong[4] When he was twelve, he became Grand Prince Chungnyeong' (충녕대군忠寧大君) and married a daughter of Shim On (심온沈溫) of Cheongsong (청송靑松), commonly known as Lady Shim (심씨沈氏), who later was given the titleQueen Soheon (소헌왕후昭憲王后).
As a young prince, Sejong excelled in various studies and was favored by King Taejong over his two older brothers.
Sejong's ascension to the throne was different from those of most other kings. The eldest son, Yangnyeong (양녕대군), viewing himself as lacking in the requisite skills for kingship, believed that Sejong was destined to become king. He believed it was his duty to place Sejong as king, so he acted extremely rudely in the court, and soon were banished from Seoul. This plot ultimately brought Sejong to the throne. The eldest prince became a wandering traveler and lived in the mountains. The second son traveled to a Buddhist temple, where he became a monk.
In August of 1418, following Taejong's abdication two months earlier, Sejong ascended the throne. However, Taejong still retained certain powers at court, particularly regarding military matters, until he died in 1422.

[edit]Strengthening of the Korean military

King Sejong was an effective military planner. In May of 1419, King Sejong, under the advice and guidance of his father Taejong, embarked upon the Gihae Eastern Expedition, the ultimate goal of this military expedition to remove the nuisance of Japanese pirates who had been operating out ofTsushima. During the expedition, 243 Japanese were killed, and another 110 were captured in combat, while 180 Korean soldiers were killed. 146 Chinese and 8 Korean kidnapped were liberated by this expedition. In September of 1419 the Daimyos of Tsushima and Sadamori capitulated to the Joseon court.
The Treaty of Gyehae was signed in 1443, in which the Daimyo of Tsushima recognized and obeyed the suzerainty of the King of Joseon; in return, the Joseon court rewarded the Sō clan preferential rights regarding trade between Japan and Korea.[5]
On the northern border, Sejong established four forts and six posts (hangul: 사군육진 hanja: 四郡六鎭) to safeguard his people from Manchurian nomads living in Manchuria. He also created various military regulations to strengthen the safety of his kingdom.[6] King Sejong supported the advancement of Korean military technology, and cannon development increased. Different kinds of mortars and fire arrows were tested as well using gunpowder.
In 1433, Sejong sent Kim Jong-seo (hangul: 김종서, hanja: 金宗瑞), a prominent general, north to destroy the Manchu. Kim's military campaign captured several castles, pushed north, and restored Korean territory, roughly the present-day border between North Korea and China.[7]

Science and technology

A modern reconstruction and scaled down model of Jang Yeong-sil's self-striking water clock.
Sejong is credited with technological advances during his reign. He wanted to help farmers so he decided to create a farmer's handbook. The book—the Nongsa jikseol(hangul: 농사직설, hanja: 農事直說)—contained information about the different farming techniques that he told scientists to gather in different regions of Korea.[8] These techniques were needed in order to maintain the newly-adopted methods of intensive, continuous cultivation in Korean agriculture.[8]
During his rule, Jang Yeong-sil (hangul: 장영실, hanja: 蔣英實) became known as a prominent inventor. Jang was naturally a creative and smart thinker as a young person. However, Jang was at the bottom of the social class. Taejong, the father of Sejong, noticed Jang's skill and immediately called him to his court in Seoul. Upon giving Jang a government position and funding for his inventions, officials protested, believing a person from the lower classes should not rise to power among nobles. Sejong instead believed Jang merited support because of his ability. Jang created new significant designs for water clocksarmillary spheres, and sundials.[9] However, his most impressive invention came in 1442, the world's first rain gauge (source?); this model has not survived, since the oldest existent East Asian rain gauge is one made in 1770, during the reign period of King Yeongjo. According to the Daily Records of the Royal Secretariat (hangul: 승정원일기, hanja:承政院日記) King Yeongjo wanted to revive the glorious times of King Sejong the Great, and so read chronicles of Sejong's era. When he came across mention of a rain gauge, King Yeongjo ordered a reproduction. Since there is a mark of the Qing Dynasty ruler Qianlong (r. 1735–1796) of China, dated 1770,[10] this Korean-designed rain gauge is sometimes misunderstood as having been imported from China.

Korean celestial globe first made by the scientist Jang Yeongsil during the Joseon Dynasty under the reign of King Sejong
Sejong also wanted to reform the Korean calendar system, which was at the time based upon the longitude of the Chinese capital.[8] Sejong, for the first time in Korean history, had his astronomers create a calendar with the Korean capital of Seoul as the primary meridian.[8] This new system allowed Korean astronomers to accurately predict the timing of solar and lunar eclipses.[8][11]
In the realm of traditional Korean medicine, two important treatises were written during the reign of Sejong. These were the Hyangyak jipseongbang and theEuibang yuchwi, which historian Kim Yongsik says represents 'Koreans' efforts to develop their own system of medical knowledge, distinct from that of China.'[8] They were now separated.


Sejong supported literature, and encouraged high class officials and scholars to study at the court. King Sejong created the written language of hangul and announced it to the Korean people in the Hunminjeongeum (Hangul:훈민정음, Hanja: 訓民正音), meaning 'The verbally right sounds meant to teach the people.'
Sejong depended on the agricultural produce of Joseon's farmers, so he allowed them to pay more or less tax according to fluctuations of economic prosperity or hard times. Because of this, farmers could worry less about tax quotas and work instead at surviving and selling their crops. Once the palace had a significant surplus of food, King Sejong then distributed food to poor peasants or farmers who needed it. In 1429 Nongsa-jikseol (hangul: 농사직설, hanja: 農事直說) was compiled under the supervision of King Sejong. It was the first book about Korean farming, dealing with agricultural subjects such as planting, harvesting, and soil treatment.
Although most government officials and aristocrats opposed usage of hangul, lower classes embraced it, became literate, and were able to communicate with one another in writing.
Sejong's personal writings are also highly regarded. He composed the famous Yongbi Eocheon Ga ("Songs of Flying Dragons", 1445), Seokbo Sangjeol ("Episodes from the Life of Buddha", July 1447),Worin Cheon-gang Jigok ("Songs of the Moon Shining on a Thousand Rivers", July 1447), and the reference Dongguk Jeong-un ("Dictionary of Proper Sino-Korean Pronunciation", September 1447).
In 1420 Sejong established the Hall of Worthies (집현전集賢殿; Jiphyeonjeon) at the Gyeongbokgung Palace. It consisted of scholars selected by the king. The Hall participated in various scholarly endeavors, of which the best known may be the compilation of the Hunmin Jeongeum.[12]


King Sejong the Great profoundly impacted Korean history with his introduction of hangul, the native phonetic alphabet system for the Korean language.[13]
Before the creation of Hangul, only members of the highest class were literate (hanja was typically used to write Korean by using adapted Chinese characters, whileHanmun was sometimes used to write court documents in classical Chinese). One would have to learn the quite complex hanja characters in order to read and write Korean. Further, despite modifications to the Chinese characters, hanja could prove cumbersome when transcribing the Korean language, due to considerable differences in grammar and sentence order.[14]
King Sejong presided over the introduction of the 28-letter Korean alphabet, with the explicit goal being that Koreans from all classes would read and write. He also attempted to establish a cultural identity for his people through its unique script. First published in 1446, anyone could learn Hangul in a matter of days. Persons previously unfamiliar with Hangul can typically pronounce Korean script accurately after only a few hours study.
Each hangul letter is based on a simplified diagram of the patterns made by the mouth, tongue and teeth when making the sound related to the character. Morphemes are built by writing the characters in syllabic blocks. The blocks of letters are then strung together linearly.

[edit]Death and legacy

The tomb of Sejong the Great located in Yeoju, Gyeonggi Province, South Korea.
Sejong died by diabetes complications at the age of 54 and was buried at the Yeong Mausoleum (영릉英陵) in 1450. His successor was his first son,Munjong. Sejong judged that his sickly son Munjong was unlikely to live long and on his deathbed asked the Hall of Worthies scholars to look after his young grandson Danjong. As predicted, Munjong died two years after his accession, and political stability enjoyed under Sejong disintegrated when Danjongbecame the sixth king of Joseon at the age of twelve. Eventually, Sejong's second son Sejo usurped the throne from Danjong in 1455. When six martyred ministers were implicated in a plot to restore Danjong to throne, Sejo abolished the Hall of Worthies and executed Danjong and many ministers who served during Sejong's reign.
The street Sejongno and the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts– both located in central Seoul– are named after King Sejong, and he is depicted on theSouth Korean 10,000-Won note.[15]
In early 2007, the Republic of Korea government has decided to create a special administrative district out of part of the present Chungcheongnam-doProvince, near what is presently Daejeon. The new district will be named Sejong Special Autonomous City, and is to replace Seoul as the future capital of the Republic of Korea.
The life of Sejong was depicted in the KBS Korean historical drama King Sejong the Great (TV series) in 2008.[16]


  • Father: King Taejong (태종)
  • Mother: Queen Wongyeong of the Yeoheung Min clan (원경왕후 민씨)
  • Consorts:
  1. Queen Soheon of the Cheongsong Shim clan (소헌왕후 심씨)
  2. Royal Noble Consort Yeong of the Jinju Kang clan (영빈 강씨)
  3. Royal Noble Consort Sin of the Cheongju Kim clan (신빈 김씨)
  4. Royal Noble Consort Hye of the Cheongju Yang clan (혜빈 양씨)
  5. Park Gwi-in (귀인 박씨)
  6. Choi Gwi-in (귀인 최씨)
  7. Hong So-yong (소용 홍씨)
  8. Lee Suk-won (숙원 이씨)
  9. Song Sang-chim (상침 송씨)
  10. Cha Sa-gi (사기 차씨)
  • Issue:
  1. Royal Crown Prince (왕세자), 1st Son of Queen Soheon of the Cheongsong Shim clan.
  2. Grand Prince Suyang (수양대군), 2nd Son of Queen Soheon of the Cheongsong Shim clan.
  3. Grand Prince Anpyeong (안평대군), 3rd Son of Queen Soheon of the Cheongsong Shim clan.
  4. Grand Prince Imyeong (임영대군), 4th Son of Queen Soheon of the Cheongsong Shim clan.
  5. Grand Prince Gwangpyeong (광평대군), 5th Son of Queen Soheon of the Cheongsong Shim clan.
  6. Grand Prince Geumseong (금성대군), 6th Son of Queen Soheon of the Cheongsong Shim clan.
  7. Grand Prince Pyeongwon (평원대군), 7th son of Queen Soheon of the Cheongsong Shim clan.
  8. Grand Prince Yeongeung (영응대군), 8th Son of Queen Soheon of the Cheongsong Shim clan.
  9. Prince Hwaui (화의군), Only Son of Royal Noble Consort Yeong of the Kang clan.
  10. Prince Gyeyang (계양군), 1st Son of Royal Noble Consort Shin of the Kim clan.
  11. Prince Uichang (의창군), 2nd Son of Royal Noble Consort Shin of the Kim clan.
  12. Prince Milseong (밀성군), 3rd Son of Royal Noble Consort Shin of the Kim clan.
  13. Prince Ikhyang (익현군), 4th Son of Royal Noble Consort Shin of the Kim clan.
  14. Prince Yeonghae (영해군), 5th Son of Royal Noble Consort Shin of the Kim clan.
  15. Prince Damyang (담양군), 6th Son of Royal Noble Consort Shin of the Kim clan.
  16. Prince Hannam (한남군), 1st Son of Royal Noble Consort Hye of the Yang clan.
  17. Prince Suchun (수춘군), 2nd Son of Royal Noble Consort Hye of the Yang clan.
  18. Prince Yeongpung (영풍군), 3rd Son of Royal Noble Consort Hye of the Yang clan.
  19. Princess Jeongso (정소공주), 1st Daughter of Queen Soheon of the Cheongsong Shim clan.
  20. Princess Jeongui (정의공주), 2nd Daughter of Queen Soheon of the Cheongsong Shim clan.
  21. 2 Daughters of Royal Noble Consort Shin of the Kim clan.
  22. Princess Jeongan (정안옹주), Only Daughter of Lee Suk-won.
  23. Princess Jeonghyeon (정현옹주), Only Daughter of Song Sang-chim.
  24. A Daughter of Cha Sa-gi.

[edit]His full posthumous name

  • Hangul : 세종장헌영문예무인성명효대왕
  • English : King Sejong Jangheon Yeongmun Yemu Inseong Myeonghyo daewang
  • Hanja : 世宗莊憲英文睿武仁聖明孝大王


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ Encylopedia of World History, Vol II, P362 Sejong, Edited by Marsha E. Ackermann, Michael J. Schroeder, Janice J. Terry, Jiu-Hwa Lo Upshur, Mark F. Whitters,ISBN 978-0-8160-6386-4
  4. ^ Encylopedia of World History, Vol II, P362 Sejong, Edited by Marsha E. Ackermann, Michael J. Schroeder, Janice J. Terry, Jiu-Hwa Lo Upshur, Mark F. Whitters,ISBN 978-0-8160-6386-4
  5. ^ (Korean)계해조약
  6. ^ <<책한권으로 읽는 세종대왕실록>>(Learning Sejong Silok in one book) ISBN 10 - 890107754X
  7. ^ <<책한권으로 읽는 세종대왕실록>>(Learning Sejong Silok in one book) ISBN 10 - 890107754X
  8. a b c d e f Kim (1998), 57.
  9. ^ (Korean)장영실 蔣英實
  10. ^ Kim (1998), 51.
  11. ^ (Korean)Science and Technology during Sejong the Great of Joseon
  12. ^ (Korean)Introduction to Sejong the Great
  13. ^ Kim Jeong Su(1990), <<한글의 역사와 미래>>(History and Future of Hangul) ISBN 10 - 8930107230
  14. ^ Hunmin Jeongeum Haerye, postface of Jeong Inji, p. 27a, translation from Gari K. LedyardThe Korean Language Reform of 1446, p. 258
  15. ^ (Korean)Tourguide - Tomb of Sejong the Great
  16. ^ Official website of the drama King Sejong the Great


  • Kim, Yung Sik. (1998). "Problems and Possibilities in the Study of the History of Korean Science," Osiris (2nd series, Volume 13, 1998): 48–79.

[edit]Further reading

  • King Sejong the Great: the Light of Fifteenth Century KoreaYoung-Key Kim-RenaudInternational Circle of Korean Linguistics, 1992, softcover, 119 pages, ISBN 1-882177-00-2
  • Kim-Renaud, Young-Key. 2000. Sejong's theory of literacy and writing. Studies in the Linguistic Sciences 30.1:13-46.
  • Gale, James Scarth. History of the Korean People Annotated and introduction by Richard Rutt. Seoul: Royal Asiatic Society, 1972..

[edit]External links