Korea University Ruckus
Apologies for prolonged absence. Been busy helping to win an election. For more commentary on the British general election I'll direct you elsewhere.
Meanwhile a few things I wanted to blog have passed me by, so I'll try to catch up on some of them, starting with this:
All hell broke loose last week when head of Samsung, Korea's most powerful corporation, went to Korea University (one of the country's top three universities) to receive an honorary philosophy degree. The Kodae students, known since time immemorial for their fiery reaction to anything smelling too strongly of capital, held a rather successful demonstration that was able to strip the Lee Kun-hee of some of his dignity by forcing a change of venue (from the intended 'Samsung Hall' which he had partially paid for no less) and making him scuttle out of the backdoor of the building. Oh My News, as always, was on the scene to provide some excellent pictures. There's something on the debacle in English at Korea Times and they have the usual finger-wagging conservative editorial too, which makes good use of that favourite word 'irrational'. (It's quite irrational just how much this word gets used in newspaper editorials.)
Of course, this led to something of a conservative backlash against the students at Kodae, but strangely enough it also seems to have caused quite a few commentators to point fingers of blame at the big corporations themselves (chaebol) for being so corrupt and useless at PR. Another interesting outcome is that because the demo seems to have been organised by socialist group Ta Hamkke, this has focused some attention on them and they even get a mention in this Korea Times article. In response, Ta Hamkke have produced a special edition of their paper, defending the actions of the students, which you can find here. They even have a couple of translated articles in English on their newly revamped English website.
It seems that the student protestors have a hit a deep vein of well-deserved dislike and distrust toward Korea's glorious business leaders, but of course this is not something unique to Korea by any means.
Protestors hold up a mock degree certificate reading "Doctor of Labour Repression"