Saturday, January 23, 2010

proposal for anti-rascism bill in south korea - I sincerely hope that this goes through

Great story here; I sincerely hope for the sake of Korea's continued cosmopolitan development that this bill is embraced.

Although it is certainly debatable if racism can simply be fixed via legislation (how's that working out for South Africa? It's complicated...), I think that bringing the issue into the open within Korean society might start discussion and cause people to start reconsidering their attitudes.

I personally cannot recount many instances of racial discrimination towards myself while I have been in Korea. This is probably due to me being a white male from the US.

In some cases, I have experienced the "foreigner seat of death", where no one will sit next to me on the train until there are no other existing options. 

I have seen this happen as well with people of Southeast Asian decent.

However, such stories are trivial compared to what the person who wrote the article above had to deal with. His is not the first such story I have heard along those lines; the author of this blog - - has had his share as well.

I am not holding my breath that these attitudes in Korea will change overnight; I have hope that the younger generation handles it better; they mostly seem more tolerant and worldly to me.

In a larger context, such stories like this have been and will probably continue be repeated across the world in nations that were traditionally of limited ethnicity soon have to deal with an influx of immigrants.

The US, Canada, and perhaps Australia and the UK could offer some examples for how to better integrate immigrants, though countries newly in this situation will have to be willing to learn.

back in Shanghai, back to blogging

It's been a long week, and I was actually quite behind on providing any blog updates.

I'll try and address some of the happenings from my first weekend in town, since those were fun:

Friday - 

Met up with Lisa, a friend originally from New York but who has been living in China for the better part of the last decade. Doing pretty well at the moment, also a mutual friend of my good friend Taichi, who I've known since I was an exchange student in Beijing in 2000.

Had Hunan food for dinner. Excellent dishes; spicy and the flavors were awesome. Pictures were uploaded a while ago. Odd in that the restaurant clientele was entirely foreigners...I guess that was more due to the location of the place than anything else. 

Tried to go to a bar in the Renmin (People's) Park. It was undergoing rennovations, so no luck...ran by the nearby movie theater where we saw lots of people milling around and waiting for tickets to Avatar in Imax 3D. The shows were sold out through Sunday evening, when we looked in.

Met up with Taichi at some central hotel (can't remember the name). Went to bar on 64th floor or so. Great view, drinks were priced at ~$10 USD each. Had a couple, moved on.

At this point I'm hitting the sleep deprevation / jet lag wall...but I break on through!

Unfortunately, it's only 12 am or so, but many bars are shutting down for the evening already. Not sure if it was some freakish weekend thing or we were going to the wrong places or people in Shanghai go to bed early (UNLIKELY). 

We found one place, and the bar looked like it was closed, but a party was raging upstairs, we turned around but a western girl came down the stairs, stopped us, and said,

"Hey, I'm leaving this party but you can have my wristband...just go on in!"

We thanked her, and asked what the party was about.

"It's a joint birthday/farewell/debauchery party. My name is Juggalicious."

Her name certainly did justice to the cleavage spilling out of her top. Still recovering from jet lag, I was not in the presence of mind to take pictures.

"You can get a discount on beers with the wristband!"

So we went up and checked out.

Full bar; but weird in that it was 95% foreigners there. We got beers, the "discounted" price was 35 RMB, or about $5.50 USD. 

(the pricing, layout, and clientele - nothing remotely 3rd-world about the place)

We stuck around a bit, had beers, pretended to dance a bit, and then left.

Now ~3 am, not much was went back to my place, got beers at the convenience store across the street, then some BBQ lamb on a stick and fried rice from our local street food vendors and then hung out at my place to chat. 

In bed at 4:30...

Sunday, January 17, 2010

update on updates

Well...if I'm blogging strictly in a chronological order, then I'm already running a week behind or so.
Lots was going on during the past week.
I find myself in Korea at the moment, for personal reasons. Should be back to Shanghai Wednesday night.
I hope to resume normal posting then.