Monday, March 31, 2008

darn the socialite gossip

I was doing fine earlier this morning reading my daily routine of perezhilton, pharyngula, RD and lastly the news (got my priorities straight huh?..:-) ..
Anyways, I was at abs-cbn news when i read this article about a blogger who's saying some nasty stuff at some socialites.. so naturally, like any gossip-loving-creature that I am would do, I googled and found Brian (wouldn't it be easier if they'd just linked to your site?).
I have already spent 3 hours reading about every nasty details in there (I had to forgo my hair appointment for this.. sucks huh... :)
One question remains for me; why are these people still not in jail? As this column pointed out, with the drug bust going on almost everyday in the Philippines (so they say), why are the rich folks not included? because of power? because of money?
They're like every self-indulgent "rich" kids who think they own the world and everything else revolve around them. Sorry, I do not like people who think they are "entitled" just because they have money. Now, I do hope you get your money back Brian..


this is from my friendster blog. just thought i'd include it here. same topic.


The internet is abuzz about the controversy surrounding Brian Gorrell / DJ Montano and the now infamous Gucci Gang ( not a positive thing for them though).
Here is Brian's blog if you haven't heard of it (I wonder how that's possible)..

The culprits involved are what make the whole thing controversial. It even made the prime time news:

People are fascinated, angered, intrigued etc. about this whole thing because Brian exposes the society that we normal people rarely see. In an article by Nereo Lujan, he asked the things I would have: If the drug allegations are true, are they so untouchable that they're not being investigated? We all know how corrupt the Philippines is, but do these elites really have no respect, no fear of the law? Here's Lujan's articles in the Iloilo Review:

According to information in Brian's blog, the GG members are hiding. Out of the country. Yeah, cuz they have money, they can just run and hide until the whole thing is over. But with the effect of the internet, instead of the controversy dying down, it has now reached millions of readers and growing. People want to see results, we want justice. We have made up our mind that Brian cannot get justice from the Philippine courts and thus the empathy.

Thus a mob will be born. In the US the suicide of Megan Meier and the subsequent harassment of Lori Drew by the "cybermob" (as one newspaper called it) led to her moving into another state. She's even included in the 'people you'll see in hell' list.

I'd assume the GG members must be feeling cornered right now. It's a small world and theirs is closing in on them. That's the power of a single blog.

It's scary sometimes.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

No safe place

Just when I finished posting something about the rarity of heinous crimes here in Korea, I found this, and this.
I thought I live in a safe place. It maybe my naivete but my thought process on these things comes from what I've experienced so far. I have lived here for almost 9 years now and I am just now realizing the extent of evil here.

I've always complained about the unfair treatment of women, not just here but around the world. I knew some women who came here the same way as the Vietnamese girl in the news. They (more than one girl) met them in a hotel as arranged by the matchmaker. The man picks his type based on his preference. Like picking an apple on a fruit stand. Girls line up, man OKs, it's all set after that. Most women I've met just wanted to leave the Philippines hoping they'll find something better here. They thought since the men pay the agency to be with them, they must be special. Korean men's thought process is different ( as reported by a women's group here in Seoul), they're paying for a commodity so they can do whatever they want. It's just a pity when something like this ends with death.

There are lots of missing children here. You see photos of them everywhere. It was always thought that when a child goes missing here, especially if they're too young, they're placed at adoption homes. These homes don't report the name or where they found the child in order to receive more funds from the government. Next thing you know they're adopted by couples abroad. Google adoption and Korea and you'll find 336,000 articles about it.
Anyways, back to the missing child. Her death is a tragedy and the way she died was just barbaric. A kidnapper/murderer out on the street is just frightening.
I have kids and seeing this news makes me worry about my children more every time I send them alone to school.

Friday, March 14, 2008

atheist in korea

I've been updating my blog and I have wanted to post a link to RD's site and Pharyngula. It took time for me to figure out how to do that plus the fact that I stopped writing for a long period of time.

I recently lost a friend to leukemia and it made me think of the theist belief of the after life. Before my friend died, he promised to let me know if and when it happened. He did, under weird circumstances which are too personal to detail. Not talking about anything spiritual here. He also promised to visit me from the other side. I was actually hoping he would show me any sign that there is something out there. Alas, there's none.

Anyways, I'm here in Seoul and I've been trying to find like-minded atheist. I just joined Pinoy Atheist but they're based in 'Pinas.

I've had a lot of experience with theists here. There's a group of Christians, from Church of God i think, who wouldn't stop coming to my place. There's a Jehovah's witness lady who lives near my place who gives me pamphlets every time she sees me. I toss them away as soon as she's out of sight. Dealing with these kind of people takes patience. At first I tried to be polite. Even told them I'd visit the church when I have the time just so they'd leave me alone. These days, I don't do that anymore. I tell them flat out that I'm an atheist. I get the same reaction every time. Like, "What? Why? God have mercy on you!" .. For some reason their reaction always makes me laugh inside.

Half Justice

Twelve years for murder? The guy should be jailed for life. He treated the woman as his commodity just because he paid money to the matchmaking company. This occurrence happens alot, just under-reported mainly because they happen in rural areas and in most cases, because of the language barrier.
There was once a Filipina in my area who jumped from an apartment building and died. The report said it was suicide. Her body showed signs of physical abuse. Apparently she suffered from domestic violence for a long period of time. The police couldnt do anything about it because it was a "family matter".

Murder Suicide

The recent murder/suicide involving a once famous baseball player here is on every news channel. Heinous crimes are rare here in Korea. I've read some recently like the one involving the disappearance of women; considered heinous because the killer/suspect has not been apprehended yet despite years of police work.
Anyways, back to the first topic.. there's a lot of speculations on why the crime took place. Most news channels are investigating the financial side of it. What's interesting to me is the reaction of the Korean people as a whole.
A comparison would be helpful to understand what I'm saying here:
I watch TV Patrol on the web everyday. And I am amazed at the contents. People killing people for no apparent reason, deaths caused by accidents and the never-ending idiocy in the Philippine government. Korean news consists mostly of government issues mostly bribery scandals. Then there's weather, traffic/accident, more economic issues, education; like what programs would be more beneficial etc. I've often asked why there are no crimes (even petty ones) reported. The answer given was that even if there were crimes committed, most never make it to the evening news. It's like crimes are just petty and thus filtered or just that people are more interested in the nations economy.
So when a once famous baseball player killed 4 women (mother and 3 daughters) and then commit suicide later when the police identified him as the suspect, the news/documentary channels are on their third day trying to analyze what went wrong. Most reactions I saw/heard were more of shock than disgust. One reaction that I heard more than once was "he killed for money?" implying that 170 million won (roughly 150 thousand dollars) isn't a reason for murder.
Pinoys see murder/death on the news and they shrug it off. Happens everyday, that is. We're still disgusted by most of it but unlike Koreans (shock and disgust) our reactions are that of someone who are predisposed to seeing it on the news everyday.

Suicide, Depression and Cyber Bullies

In less than a month, two well-known young actress and singer committed suicide. Articles about the causes leading to their deaths abound. The two most striking articles for me were the ones that discussed depression and cyber bullying.
In the Feb. 13 article on the Korea Times by Kim Sue-yong, he (or she) wrote about the growing trend of cyber bullies. Pop singer Yuni killed herself less than a month ago. Her agency said that she got depressed due to pressures from the upcoming album and the apparent abundance of younger, sexier singers these days. Anti-fans (yeah, they have those people here, equivalent to celebrity stalkers abroad) posted negative comments about her sexy clothes, called her artificial lady (in reference to her plastic surgery). After her death, meaner comments surfaced such as “I am so happy that she is dead, now I don’t have to see her on TV anymore”.
In light of the recent events and growing complaints from affected citizens (families of actors/singers), the government plans to introduce an identification system that would require netizens to reveal their real names if they want to post comments. In actuality, most Korean sites already have that in place. In order to be a member or to post anything on the web, netizens are required to submit their name and ID number. Korea has an enforced ID checker where your number and name must match. Some are not too thrilled about the whole thing. They worry that this would increase identity theft. Others worry about their right to free speech.
The suicide of another young actress (Jeong Da-bin) just a few days ago was surrounded by mystery at first. She was found hanging in the boyfriend’s house. Her family didn’t accept the suicide story told by the bf (he said she tried to kill herself before) since they said there is no reason for her to be depressed. Reports said that her depression was due to a slump in her career. She used to star in various TV and movie drama but in recent months (or year), she couldn’t land a job. She also suffered negative comments on some websites same as Yuni.
According to Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), South Korea has the highest suicide rate among its member nations. This now growing epidemic, which I think the government is still ignoring, needs to be addressed quickly. In order to do so, depression and mental illness’ stigma needs to go away. People who suffer from depression should be able to get the help they need without them being labeled as underclass and hopeless. The government is doing nothing (I think) to erase or at least ease the strain on this issue. But then again, just like all the other issues here in this land, society needs to change so there can be a chance of changing the government and their policies.

Korea’s Obsession with Beauty

Korean women always fascinated me. Their extreme attention to beauty is just over the top. As far as I have seen, they won’t leave the house without make-up. Another alarming trend going on now especially with college girls is anorexia. Statistics showed that the reported clinical anorexics are on the rise. The now accepted or considered ok for most women is size 44 (extra small or size 0). Health clubs, beauty clinics, dieting salons are abundant. It is even propagated by the entertainment media where most young singers and actresses are of that size.
There was also a recent article (Korea Times) about women job applicants, who spend some years before their actual application, recovering from surgery and making sure that they look good for that day. Beauty is considered one of the qualifications for a job. The writer asked the government to abolish the said discrimination and move beyond the looks aspect. Apparently most companies base their hiring on that. If they look good in person, they can get a second interview.
But looks are not the only reason for cosmetic surgery. Marriage, getting a husband is also a factor in a woman’s decision to go under the knife. It’s been said that a woman needs to be acceptable to her future husband (physically), while a man needs only to be financially ready.
CNN even had a feature on cosmetic surgery here in Seoul. Almost a third of the women population go under the knife to have eyelid surgery so their eyes would look bigger. Second most popular is rhinoplasty. I think their natural nose is beautiful enough but they go for perfection. The nose had to be in perfect size and shape.
Try going to a sauna here and you’ll see them without make-up. I have met few women who live in my neighborhood but failed to recognize them because they looked so different without the make-up.
Another thing I noticed here are the ads on TV. Most of the ads feature beautiful, skinny Korean women. Be it a car, insurance, appliances, or anything. One time when I was bored, I tried counting how many of the TV ads consisted of women. It was women after women so I just gave up (realized it was a waste of time... hehehe...).
I might never understand their obsession with beauty and for sure I will not agree with them. I guess all I can do is watch from a distance the society I belong to now.