I know better than to accuse someone groundlessly, but having seen both the good and the ugly in my three decades inside the Korean American churches it is hard not to cling on my experience and intuition when I see a clergy openly hint at something.

The head of well-known North Korean ministry in South Korea was visiting Albuquerque not too long ago, and the main purpose of his visit was to gain support for his ministry of course. My pastor and the elders seemed to have agreed. I think that was his second visit. While eating with him, bunch of church members, and North Korean girls he had brought with him, I noticed that he was comfortably embracing one of the teen girls without hesitation.  I understand that physical touch, and such embrace used to be something very common in Korean culture, and I’m sure all the other adults in the restaurant probably didn’t think much of it, but it really bothered me.  He was sitting down, and one of his arm embraced the girl below the waist around her buttocks after he had called up the girl to introduce her to the group. The girl enthusiastically massaged his shoulders at one point, too. I had an internal knee-jerk reaction. Here’s a pastor who was traveling globally to gain support for this ministry, and yet his actions and how he embraces these girls doesn’t even come close to meeting any international standards on etiquette. Again, let me point out that many adults in his age group is more comfortable about physical touch than subsequent generations, and I even know how such things are rationalized–“oh, he’s treating her like his own daughter”–but enough with the bullshit.

Three decades in different churches, mostly as a youth pastor, taught me that pastors are human beings, with all of its glorious flaws. And many mega-churches have come to ruins because of the illicit conducts of its senior pastors. This is no news. And in light of such cultural failures, you can only expect dimwits to believe that this respectable(?) pastor from Korea is clean with his hands when it comes to dealing with these girls?  If he’s not hesitant about such embraces of these girls in the open air, I don’t want to imagine what he could be capable of when he’s alone with these girls. Growing up hearing so much of sexual misconduct by pastors, I personally became hesitant to even shake hands with youth group girls, much less embrace them “in Christ.”  I had created a big, internal monitor on self to check my thoughts and behaviors. Even with my own daughters, after reaching certain age, I’m more careful about how I embrace them.

Would you allow your own daughter to be handled that way by ANY ONE?  Start there.  I don’t know why these adults continue to allow these self-designated religious leaders to handle girls this way. Since he left, he’s requested to have various things translated–for free. After completing one of the translations, my heart turned weary… with the barrage of news coming from Korea about pastors who secretly raped teenage girls under their care (the latest is so-called the verified “x-file” of pastor Kim Gi-dong of Sungrak Church)… I really pray and hope this specific pastor would be pure in his life, but I’m not naive enough to have no serious doubts about it.

귀성 (歸省)

연어나 홍어 같은 어류는 알을 낳기 위해서 상류로 올라간다.

온 힘을 다하여 온 몸이 부딪쳐 만신창이가 되가면서 귀성한다.

본향의 자리에서 죽어 새로 부활하는 고기.

본향을 잊고 물 보다 더 빠른 속도로 물을 앞서려는 어리석은 자들이 현시대의 우리의 모습이다.

저 고향의 냄새를 맡고 돌아가자, 우리.

Korea has been the dumping ground for low-quality meat

(Sorry, but the video is in Korean.  The documentary clearly brings awareness to Koreans who have been fooled by believing that the beef quality increases with the fat content. The most expensive beef in Korea are the ones with the most fat content.)

When I was growing up in Korea back in early 1980s, eating meat was for special occasions.  I’m not sure if that’s the real reason why there weren’t many fat people back then, but it’s a different landscape now. Although I have been living in the U.S. for over 30s year now, it seemed like a lot of Koreans ate meat on a daily basis starting at some point in recent past. I guess the price has gotten lower and people just oriented towards what tasted good for them. For a while, our own family didn’t eat that much meat, even though my wife is an ethnic Korean. She immigrated back in early 1990s. Anyway, after recently joining a local Korean American church what surprised me once again was how much Koreans liked sam-gyeop-sal (sliced fatty pork belly meat).  It’s basically 90% fatty bacon.  People usually consume it by frying it on a grill in front of them, and wrap it with a leaf of lettuce w/ chives and other side dishes with rice. Once or twice a year there would be sam-gyeop-sal party at the church. Koreans love meat.

The video on top is basically an exposé of how the Koreans value meat is strictly based on taste and not on the soundness of health. Basically, the beef certification system strictly based on how much fat beef contains. The higher fat content, the better beef, thus more expensive.  The documentary points out that such rating system started in the U.S., and then moved to Japan, the home of Wagyu Kobe beef, and then popularized in South Korea. It also features how Argentinians prefer lean meat, and compares the Korean beef cert system to the U.S. one. It also shows how Australians, preferring lean meat themselves, intentionally fattens cows to sell to Korea, a large meat market now.

How did Korea become such a meat loving country?  The answer lies in the not too distant past. Koreans were under dire poverty right after the war, and for many growing up during those years being able to eat meat was associated with well-being, and so that generation instilled in the next that eating meat, with little regard to health — which was taken for granted, thanks for their vegetable-based diet — is something that is promoted within families. In fact, it was only on special days that my father came home with cha-dol-bae-gi, thinly sliced beef, that was roasted on top of a frying pan.  However, all such factors contributed to where Korea is today.  A dumping ground for unhealthy meat. And paradoxically, it has also become a nation of health craze.  Maybe, it was only a matter of time that this type of exposé comes to the general public.

This is yet another documentary that exposes the other meat — pork.  Korea has been the dumping ground for the fatty pork belly meat.

Is this because Korean people in general are more gullible than other nations?

한국어: 정경유착

2017/2/17 KBS News

“한국의 정경유착을 끊을 중요한 시기”

政 정사 정/칠 정
經 지날 경/글 경
癒 병 나을 유
着 붙을 착, 나타날 저

기업가(企業家)는 정치인(政治人)에게 정치(政治) 자금(資金)을 제공(提供)하고 정치인(政治人)은 반대(反對) 급부(給付)로 기업가(企業家)에게 여러 가지 특혜를 베푸는 것과 같은, 정치인(政治人)과 기업가(企業家) 사이의 부도덕(不道德)한 밀착(密着) 관계(關係

한국어: 지양, 추경

출처: 2017년 1월 17일 뉴스

반기문 왈: “죽기살기식으로 정권만을 잡겠다는 행태는 지양돼야한다”

止揚 (지양) – reject [for the sake of improving]

①더 높은 단계(段階)로 오르기 위(爲)하여 어떠한 것을 하지 아니함  ②어떤 사물(事物)에 관(關)한 모순이나 대립(對立)을 부정(否定)하면서 도리어 한층 더 높은 단계(段階)에서 이것을 긍정(肯定)하여 살려 가는 일


출처: 2017년 1월 11일 뉴스

“한국은행의 기준금리 인하로 추경 편성이 급류를 타고 있다”

追更 (추경) => 追加更正豫算의 약자 – supplementary budget

예산(豫算) 작성(作成) 후(後)에 생긴 사유(事由)로 해서 기정 예산(豫算) 경비(經費)에 부족(不足)이 생겼을 경우(境遇), 이에 추가(追加)하여 작성(作成)된 예산(豫算)

A repost of “Why I Chose to No Longer Wear Leggings”

For girls.

A post by Veronica Partridge (now deleted, but the old link was

For the past several months, I have been having a conviction weighing heavy on my heart. I tried ignoring it for as long as I could until one day a conversation came up amongst myself and a few others (both men and women). The conversation was about leggings and how when women wear them it creates a stronger attraction for a man to look at a woman’s body and may cause them to think lustful thoughts. God really changed my heart in the midst of that conversation and instead of ignoring my convictions, I figured it was time I start listening to them and take action.

I went home later that day and shared the convictions I was having with my husband. Was it possible my wearing leggings could cause a man, other than my husband, to think lustfully about my body? I asked my husband his thoughts on the matter when he got home. I appreciated his honesty when he told me, “yeah, when I walk into a place and there are women wearing yoga pants everywhere, it’s hard to not look. I try not to, but it’s not easy.”

I instantly felt conviction come over me even stronger. Not that I wasn’t feeling it earlier, or else I wouldn’t have thought twice about the conversation, but after talking to Dale, it hit me a lot harder. If it is difficult for my husband who loves, honors, and respects me to keep his eyes focused ahead, then how much more difficult could it be for a man that may not have the same self-control? Sure, if a man wants to look, they are going to look, but why entice them? Is it possible that the thin, form-fitting yoga pants or leggings could make a married (or single) man look at a woman in a way he should only look at his wife?

And at that moment, I made a personal vow to myself and to my husband. I will no longer wear thin, form-fitting yoga pants or leggings in public. The only time I feel (for myself) it is acceptable to wear them, is if I am in the comfort of my own home. I also want to set the best example of how to dress for my daughter. I want her to know, her value is not in the way her body looks or how she dresses, but in the character and personality God has given her. I have been following the vow I made to myself for the past couple of weeks now and though it may be difficult to find an outfit at times, my conscience is clear and I feel I am honoring God and my husband in the way I dress.

20 Rules for a Knight and comparative notes from Bushido (Part 1/2)

Recently, Shane posted a recovered letter by Sir Thomas Lemuel Hawkes of Cornwall (c.a. late 15th century) regarding 20 rules for a knight, which was written to his children.  I found that in essence the virtues outlined here coincide with classical virtues of Confucianism, which the Japanese bushido (code of warriors) had adopted.  Here’s a quick association and notes on each of the rules from Shane’s original post.  This is part 1 of 2.

  1. Solitude
    • “Create time alone with yourself. When seeking the wisdom and clarity of your own mind, silence is a helpful tool. The voice of our spirit is gentle and cannot be heard when it has to compete with others. Just as it is impossible to see your reflection in troubled water, so too is it with the soul. In silence, we can sense eternity sleeping inside us.”
    • 男兒一言 重千金 = the word of a man should be as heavy as a ton of metal
      This is the complement of the old proverb that says a mistake in inevitable with many words.  Hawkes’ purpose of solitude is as a meditative means to grasp a better reality of things through introspection, whereas the context for the promotion of solitude is in the context of relationship with others, reinforcing the wholistic notion of relational universe in Confucianism. The value of solitude is as an instrument of integrity (信 trustworthiness).
  2. Humility
    • “Never announce that you are a knight, simply behave as one. You are better than no one, and no one is better than you.”
    • 禮/礼 (rei) or 礼儀 (reigi in Japanese) = politeness or manners
      In Bushido, the essence of politeness is that of humility. This is often considered to be the external manifestation of 義 (righteousness), which could be expressed as a moral expression of one’s responsibility to others as a member of a society.
  3. Gratitude
    • “The only intelligent response to the ongoing gift of life is gratitude. For all that has been, a knight says, “Thank you.” For all that is to come, a knight says, “Yes!”
    • Hawkes’ religious context as a Christian is a type of all-encompassing gratitude towards the Almighty for all things, past, present, and future. Where as in Bushido, again, this is an aspect of 礼儀 (reigi) where the gratitude for the other person is the other side of humility. Even in today’s kendo keiko (古 practice/training), for example, you are required to say “[respectfully] thank you very much” (どうもありがとうございます) at every practice session with your practice partner.  Gratitude for the opportunity to train in a lifetime cultivation as a shugyosha (originally a Buddhist term as a “seeker of enlightenment,” or more commonly, someone whose life is dedicated towards the perfection of virtues and skills), and gratitude for helping to realize one’s weaknesses.
  4. Pride
    • “Never pretend you are not a knight or attempt to diminish yourself because you deem it will make others more comfortable. We show others the most respect by offering the best of ourselves.”
    • The idea very much overlaps one found in Bushido.  気位 (kigurai = pride or self-respect) is to be expressed through proper posture, etiquette (礼), and most importantly through the spirit (気 ki). In regular practice sessions, one is to give one’s utmost (physically, mentally, and spiritually) as a sign of respect for others’ time.
  5. Cooperation
    • “Each one of us is walking our own road. We are born at specific times, in specific places, and our challenges are unique. As knights, understanding and respecting our distinctiveness is vital to our ability to harness our collective strength. The use of force may be necessary to protect in an emergency, but only justice, fairness, and cooperation can truly succeed in leading men. We must live and work together as brothers or perish together as fools.”
    • 和 (wa, harmony) is one of the virtues not only in Bushido, but in its greater Japanese cultural context. Japanese had even labelled themselves as a people of 和, as one of the most highly prized virtues. This can also be considered as a outward manifestation of 仁 (jin, benevolence of mercy), which is one of the four major virtues of Confucianism, and considered to be the very essence of all other virtues. Hawkes is not so far from putting this as the most important concept like in Bushido when he equates the absence of this virtue as a sure destruction.
  6. Friendship
    • “The quality of your life will, to a large extent, be decided by with whom you elect to spend your time.”
    • Hawkes’ understanding of friendship is one that we, as Westerners, can easily identify with. The Bushido’s idea of friendship is one that is characterized by a deep, relational commitment that can seem to override even the absolutes of moral codes at times. 忠義 (chugi, loyalty) is tightly bound with the idea of 名誉 (meiyo, honor), and more often than not, the traditional version of this idea represents a deep sense of loyalty.
  7. Forgiveness
    • “Those who cannot easily forgive will not collect many friends. Look for the best in others.”
    • In Bushido, a similar virtue is also encouraged, more often expressed as overlooking the offense of others. The central tenet of 仁 (jin) expresses this idea implicitly, although when it comes to the actual practice it is often limited to one’s close circle of relationships.
  8. Honesty
    • A dishonest tongue and a dishonest mind waste time, and therefore waste our lives. We are here to grow and the truth is the water, the light, and the soil from which we rise. The armor of falsehood is subtly wrought out of the darkness and hides us not only from others but from our own soul.
    • 真実 (shinjitsu) truth, along with 誠実 (seijitsu) sincerity are considered as one of the eight virtues as outlined by Nitobe Inazō in his well-known book on Bushido. The spirit and the attitude around honesty happens to coincide very closely with Spartan stoicism, with its strong emphasis on frugal living and abstinence from any form of greed, which usually acts as the originating force towards dishonesty and pretentiousness.
  9. Courage
    • Anything that gives light must endure burning.
    • 勇気 ( yuu-ki) courage is the modus operandi of 義 (gi) righteousness or rectitude, and it is always in service of 義 and outside of that it would not be called courage. This is also one of the four important elements of kendo.