Given that Canada has just elected another Trudeau to be Prime Minister, I thought it would be fun to revisit this blog entry I wrote a couple of years ago on Chun Doo-hwan’s visit to Canada in 1982.
I re-watched the video a couple of times and, sadly, there’s no signs of a young Justin Trudeau. But I hope you might enjoy it nonetheless…
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ORIGINAL FROM HERE:
I just came across this Daehan News feature about South Korean President Chun Doo-hwan visiting Canada in 1982 and thought some people might get a kick out of it.
Chun, of course, came to power in 1980 (officially), following the assassination of Park Chung Hee in 1979 and the short-lived presidency of Choi Kyu-ha. It was a pretty dicey time for North-South relations, so Chun probably needed all the legitimacy he could find.
There’s a short New York Times article on his visit here.
Just to give an overview of this video:
0:00 – Leaves African leg of his trip
0:05 – Ottawa and Parliament buildings (“Canada is a peaceful country,” says the narrator)
0:31 – Chun Doo-hwan and his wife Rhee Soon-ja disembark their plane. Greeted by Edward Shreyer
1:13 – Rideau Hall for official reception
1:31 – Prime Minister’s residence for some garden party
2:01 – Choppers to Montreal to meet with Korean War veterans
2:45 – Back to Ottawa for an awkward-looking meeting with Pierre Trudeau
Not mentioned in the video (unsurprisingly) is the assassination plot to kill Chun during his visit. Choi Jung-hwa, a son of the International Taekwondo Federation founder and North Korea-friendly Choi Hong-hi, had been living in Mississauga at the time. The younger Choi allegedly tried hiring a couple of people to kill Chun while the South Korean president was in Canada. But apparently that plot was broken up months before the visit — Choi went into hiding in Europe for years before returning to Canada and spending a year in jail.
There’s more about Choi and his return to Korea in the JoongAng Daily, including the great news that North Korea disguised its agents as taekwondo masters working for ITF and dispatched them abroad. Given that I studied taekwondo at an ITF gym while in high school, it makes me wonder if I could be a sleeper agent.
I just added the first chapter of Young-Hee and the Pullocho to its page here on my website. So now you can check it out, for free, in whatever format you prefer — PDF, .mobi or ePub.
It’s just a few pages long, but it starts out in the middle of some action, so hopefully it will give you a sense of what’s in store in the rest of the story.
It looks like we somehow survived the great ebola plague of 2014. Korea was, of course, devastated with, uh, zero cases. The United States somehow turned back the zombie-like scourge that infected, what, four people? Most of whom had been to Africa.
By coincidence, I have started reading an excellent history of the 1854 cholera outbreak in London: The Ghost Map: The Story of London’s Most Terrifying Epidemic–and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World. Just an excellent book so far.
It is especially fascinating to compare how fear and superstition back then got in the way of understanding and treating the disease properly — much as happened in the United States with ebola (fortunately, medicine and science was able to mostly out-muscle the politicians). I particularly liked the saying: “Whilst pestilence slays its thousands, fear slays its tens of thousands.”
Korea, like most of the world, has had to deal with periodic cholera outbreaks over the years, going back to at least 1821 when it came via China (that date would be before the disease made it to Europe). Cholera would continue to flare up over the years, well into the 1980s. This is an interesting paper on cholera and Korea in the colonial era. The cholera outbreak of 1919-20 appears to have been the most deadly in Korea, when 25,000 people died.
How things change. Today, the International Vaccine Institute, which is based in Korea, is working on an oral cholera vaccine specially designed for developing nations (being cheaper and easier to administer).
But I still got my flu shot.
Okay, for no particular reason, I thought I would give a brief rundown of my favorite coffee shops in Hongdae. By “Hongdae,” I mean the greater region, going from Yeonnam-dong in the north, to Donggyo-dong, Seogyo-dong, and south to Hapjeong and Sangsu. It’s one of the most unusual parts of Seoul and home to a huge number of independent, quirky, cool, and otherwise different coffee shops (and of course the big-name chain brands on the main roads).
This is not a complete list. I don’t claim to know every one of the hundreds of coffee shops in this part of town — some are very nice, a lot are terrible, and others are in-between. But I do know a few places that I think are worth mentioning, places where they roast their own beans or at least are actively involved in shaping the flavor (so they are not just part-time workers hitting a button).
This is also a personal list. For me, the more times I see the word “barista” used in reference to a coffee shop, the less likely I am to enjoy it. So don’t expect many award-winners here.
Simple, unassuming, but run by a very nice couple. While they have a few snacks, the focus is very much the coffee. They roast their own beans here and put a lot of care into the beverages. It has a big patio out front and a lot of open space inside, so it is quite relaxing.
Located close to Sanullim Theater on the north side of Hongdae, in Changjeon-dong, on Seogangro 9-gil.
Widely considered one of the best coffee places in Korea, Cafe Libre certainly is serious about their brews. And its rustic interior is both unusual and memorable. However, its coffee is also one of the prime examples of the “sour” style that is so popular in Korea and that I personally detest. But many people love it, so you probably should check it out. Plus while you are in the neighborhood, you can eat at Tuk Tuk Noodle and enjoy the best Thai food in Korea.
Located in Yeonnam-dong, down Hyanggi 1-gil alley (by Seoul Dongbu Church).
You Are Here
The coffee shop co-run by Simon and Martina of Eat Your Kimchi and the language blog Talk to Me in Korean. The coffee here is excellent, especially the espressos — dark, strong and flavorful. Really my style. (The milkshakes and carrot cake are excellent, too).
It can get crowded at times, but the space is fairly large and there are plenty of spaces to hang out. I find earlier in the day it is usually quieter.
Located at Donggyoro 25-gil and World Cup Bukro 6-gil.
Another place that roasts its own beans and is very serious about coffee. The menu isn’t huge, but what they have they do well, with the rich, bitter espresso that I like. (Very good macarons, too).
(Grr… cannot find a decent pic or URL … They renovated recently, and the new patio is much nicer than the old layout).
UPDATE: So, I was walking past Belief today, so managed to take a new pic. Not a great photo, but at least it is something.
Also, I remembered another very good cafe, Organic. It’s just down the street from Belief. In addition to very good coffee, it has homemade ginger ale which is excellent.
Note: The number of places in the greater-Hongdae area that are notable for ambiance or interior design is huge. Many of them are open 24-hours, too, including Ethiopia (which is frequently used for filming TV dramas) and Gabia (very stylish interior, good coffee, and probably busier at 3am than at 3pm) — both are located very close to Sanullim Theater. In the Sangsu Station area, Jebi Cafe, Yri Cafe and Mudaeruk all have excellent coffee and ambiance out the wahzoo.
Note 2: Don’t bother using Google Street view on Yeonnam-dong or Sangsu. It hasn’t been updated since 2009, and back then there was nothing in either neighborhood. Even Naver’s street view, which was made in 2012, is now totally out of date. As always, it is amazing how fast Korea changes. Daum’s street maps seem to be the most recent, having been updated earlier in 2014.
LATE UPDATE (On Oct. 31): I finally went to Anthracite, the very funky building that’s right beside Mudaeruk in the Sangsu area. And, wow, that place is crazy about its coffee. A bit too pretentious for me, but many people seem to love it.
The middle of August is the height of vacation season in Korea, so plenty of shops are closed at the moment — kind of like in Europe, but instead of a month off, in Korea its just a week. Or often just 2-3 days.
The weather has been quite pleasant lately, so I’ve been walking around Dongdaemun a bit. Here are a couple of shopping alleys that are usually full of shoe stores, but this week were pretty dead:
However, there are still a fair number of places open, including the book stores. Today was a good day for browsing and I ended up buying these art books:
Tiger and Sanshin!
In case you are wondering where I bought these books, here’s a map:
Nearly a decade after KBS tortured us with “Misuda”, or “Chattering Beauties,” a show featuring foreign women talking about Korea (and perhaps being objectified a bit), JTBC gives us “Non Summit,” a rather similar show featuring young men from around the world who speak Korean.
I recall a lot of foreigners complaining about “Misuda” back when it was on the air, claiming that Koreans would never do a similar show with men. But now here we are, with foreign men being treated just as ridiculously as foreign women were way back when.
Here’s a story talking a bit more about “Non Summit” and what they are aiming for.
Anyhow, I know I’m complaining too much. But it is genuinely interesting to see a show like this on the air now. It’s amazing how much Korea keeps changing — both in terms of how well people around the world are learning Korea, and how much better Korea is becoming at dealing with the rest of the world.
So, there’s a new Weird Al album out. Which is not exciting as it once was.
However, there is one part of each Weird Al album that I do enjoy — the polkas. He usually has a medley or something like that. I don’t know much about his new album, but I do know that he has a polka cover of Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky.”
Imho, this is an awesome thing.
Hey, here’s a Ha Dong-kyun song that I totally missed out on, called “From Mark.” It’s like my song!
Okay, so it’s not about me. But it is a good song. And given the lyrics of the chorus — “I will fly away … from Mark” — it sounds like the anthem for every woman who ever broke up with me.
Or, if you prefer, here is a version of the song on Youtube with the lyrics translated and on screen: