Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.

Now Blogging Afresh at Ad Orientem 西儒 - The Western Confucian

Sunday, February 29, 2004

Ethics of Cloning

From ZENIT comes Koreans Rekindle the Cloning Debate.

Saturday, February 28, 2004

Off to the In-Laws'

We'll be spending this weekend at my wife's family's home in Ulsan this weekend. Here's the church we'll be attending on Sunday, Ujeong Catholic Church:
Quote of the Day

Deal Hudson, from his Crisis Magazine e-Letter, on A Report on the Crisis in the Catholic Church in the United States:
    "...[M]ost of the abuse involved gay priests molesting teenage boys. This is called homosexuality, not pedophilia."
A Concerened American

Read about Michael Horowitz and The North Korean Freedom Act.
The Christless

The Passion of the Christless: Interpreting the words of fear offers an excellent analysis at what is really behind all the anger directed at Mel Gibson's flim.

From Environmental doomsday? Jesuit magazine says it's overstated:
    "The article was titled, "Is the world in danger?" and the answer seemed to be: Not really. It suggested that ecological threats often are overstated. 'Real environmental problems cannot be ignored, but it's not right to exaggerate them in order to better defend the environment. Nor does it seem that these are the worst problems in this world,' said the article, written by Jesuit Father GianPaolo Salvini. After citing a number of doomsday predictions that have so far failed to materialize, the article said the media was often to blame for fueling the 'catastrophic visions' that seem to mark the modern age."

From Revolution by Fiat by Charles Krauthammer:
    "Not again. We are the only Western country to have legalized abortion by judicial fiat rather than by democratic approval of the people or the legislature. Are we going to do it again with gay marriage?"

Friday, February 27, 2004

Korean Patriarchal System Under Attack

Time-Honored Family Headship System Faces Demise
On the Demise of Reading

An interesting read for anyone who loves the printed word, “Reading Culture” describes the shift from "the age of letters" to the "age of images" here in Korea.
Human Trafficking

U.S. rights report draws mixed views: Korea described as origin of human trafficking, ministry disagrees

The Filipina and Russian "bar-girls" mentioned in the report are ubiquitous here in South Korea, and the fact that young local women are often held in sexual servitude is well-known and in the open. Yet, the Justice Ministry disagrees with the "embarrassing" report. Cho Young-sook, secretary-general of the Korea Women's Associations United, however, said, "I think the report just pointed out the facts."

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Our First Parents?

An illustration from How religion defines America:
Faith in America

Dr. Richard Land, of the Southern Baptist Convention, from How religion defines America:

    "According to an ICM poll in January 2004, Americans believe in the supernatural (91%), an afterlife (74%), 'belief in a God/higher power makes you a better human being' (82%), God or a higher power judged their actions (76%), and perhaps most tellingly 'would die for their God/beliefs' (71%).

    "In 1880 Dostoyevsky wrote in The Brothers Karamazov that 'If God does not exist, then everything is permissible.'

    "The history of his native Russia, wracked by the atrocities of atheistic communism for most of the 20th century, serves as a most graphic example of the truth of his conclusion.

    "Nazism, above all detested religion because it called for allegiance to something greater than the state, namely God.

    "When 71% of Americans say they would die for their faith, they are pledging allegiance to a loyalty beyond their loyalty to their country and are saying the exact polar opposite of 'my country, right or wrong.

    "It is very important at this point to make a critical distinction: to be willing to die for one's faith is utterly different than to kill for it."

Where is Anti-Semitism Flourishing Today?

Not in Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ," says Geroge F. Will, but in The Left's Anti-Semitic Chic.

From New Film May Harm Gibson's Career:
    "Mel Gibson's provocative new film, 'The Passion of the Christ,' is making some of Hollywood's most prominent executives uncomfortable in ways that may damage Mr. Gibson's career."

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when men revile and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you (Mt. 5: 10-12 RSV CE).

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Gentle Teacher?

The subtitle of this review of The Passion of the Christ betrays its author's orientation:
I wonder if the merchants and money-changers in the temple who were at the receiving end of His whip (John2: 13-22) would have given Him such a limiting label as "gentle teacher." St. Peter certainly didn't when he affirmed Him "the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16: 16).
Gospel Realism

From Do You Recognize This Jesus?:

    "Watching 'The Passion of the Christ,' Mel Gibson's new movie, I kept thinking the following: it is Christians, not Jews, who should be shocked by this film.

    "Mr. Gibson's raw images invade our religious comfort zone, which has long since been cleansed of the Gospels' harsher edges... In sermons... the emphasis all too often is on the smoothly therapeutic: what Jesus can do for me.

    "[T]he love of God, as Dorothy Day liked to put it, 'is a harsh and dangerous love' that requires real transformation. It is not the sort imagined by today's spiritual seekers who are 'into' Asian religions.

    "Significantly, the Passion and death of Jesus is the chief element in the Gospel story that other religions cannot accept. In Islam, Jesus does not die on the cross because such a fate is considered unfitting for a prophet of Allah. By Hindus and Buddhists, Jesus is often regarded as a spiritual master, but the story of his suffering and death are considered unbecoming of an enlightened sage. Like the Buddha, the truly liberated transcend suffering and death. But Jesus submits to it — willingly, Christians believe — for the sins of all."
Excellent Words

President Bush, as quoted in Bush Urges Amendment to Ban Same-Sex Marriage:
    "After more than two centuries of American jurisprudence, and millennia of human experience, a few judges and local authorities are presuming to change the most fundamental institution of civilization."

Ash Wednesday Reading

Why do we Fast?

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

"Mourning Sickness"

The following article was brought to my attention by A conservative blog for peace:

From: 'Mourning sickness is a religion'.
    Britons are feeding their own egos by indulging in "recreational grief" for murdered children and dead celebrities they have never met, claims a report.

    Think-tank Civitas said wearing charity ribbons, holding silences and joining protest marches all indicated the country was in emotional crisis.

    The author said "mourning sickness" was a substitute for religion....
    The report said Diana's death was the epitome of 'recreational grief.'

Patrick West, author of Conspicuous Compassion, on the causes of all this "manufactured emotion":
    "Mourning sickness is a religion for the lonely crowd that no longer subscribes to orthodox churches. Its flowers and teddies are its rites, its collective minutes' silences its liturgy and mass.

    "But these new bonds are phoney, ephemeral and cynical," he said.

    "We saw this at its most ghoulish after the demise of Diana. In truth, mourners were not crying for her, but for themselves," he wrote.

What would Mr. West have to say about those red ribbons people wear for AIDS?
    Moving on to the wearing of charity ribbons, the report said the act served to "celebrate the culture of victimhood" and was an egotistical gesture to announce "I care".

And demontsrations are, according to Mr. West
    "too often an exercise in attention-seeking".

    "Next time you profess that you "care" about something, consider your motives and the consequences of your words and actions. Sometimes, the only person you really care about is you."

Mr. West illustrates something I felt, but could not quite articulate at the time, twelve years ago when I attended a demonstration against Gulf War I. I had the feeling that there was something grossly wrong with that protest, not the anti-war cause necessarily, but the protestors themselves, with their proud, arrogant expressions of righteous indignation. It was my last anti-war demonstration.

I'm also reminded of a photo a person had taken of himself in front of the makeshift memorial at "Ground Zero" in Lower Manhattan several months after the terrorist acts, as if to say, "I was there and I care."

While the article singles out Britian, I think its conclusions are valid for much of the post-Christian Western World.
Korean Bishops Speak

From Religious, Civic Groups Voice against the Embryonic Cloning Success by Korean Scientists:

    Most Rev. Francis Xavier Ahn Myong-ok, President of the CBCK Bioethics Committee, said, "It is very regrettable that people simply regard it as a scientific 'achievement,' without thinking about the possible misuse of result and violation of human life. It is also disappointing that the government, who should take the lead in protecting human life, supports such a research."

Monday, February 23, 2004

More Concessions?

[South Korean] President Urges U.S. to Make Concessions in N. Korea Nuke Talks
S. Korean Civic Groups Urge U.S. to Accept N.K. Nuke Freeze

Both the South Korean President and a coalition of 60 South Korean NGO's have called on the US to make more concessions to North Korea in the talks over the nuclear crisis, which began today in Beijing. According to South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun, "We need to give something (to North Korea) to make further progress and help each other save face."

Concessions to Kim Jong-il have been made for the past ten years. The result? Kim Jong-il has indeed "saved face" and also biult an arsenal of nuclear and biological weapons. From CIA, Drudge Report: North Has 2-4 Nukes:
    "The Internet news site Drudge Report reported Sunday that CIA reports reveal that North Korea possesses between two to four nuclear weapons of limited yield and one factory producing biological agents for use in weapons."
John Kerry's Korean Buddhist Connection

From Kerry: 'I'd Like to Visit Korea's Buddhist Holy Sites.':
    "...Kerry is very close to [Korean Buddhist martial art] Shim Gum Do's founder, Zen Master Kim Chang-sik, and has been a very strong supporter of Kim's activities in the United States. They exchange letters once a month to exchange views on Zen and spiritual discipline, and meet whenever the need arises.

    "Just to give you an example of how close the two are, when Kerry's father passed away in 2000, he secluded himself at home to console his grief-stricken mother. He met with no one. No one, that is, except Zen Master Kim, whom it's said he met even then. According to those associated with Shim Gum Do, Kerry is not a student of the practice, but is know to have much interest in Eastern Zen and other forms of spiritual training. Although he's never visited Korea, he is reported to have said he would like to visit Buddhist holy spots in this country."

    Zen Master Kim Chang-sik, founder of president of the World Shim Gum Do Association
Ambivalent Support for the US

6 in 10 Koreans Back US Military Presence: Nearly Half Say US Biggest Barrier to Unification

The article notes that a recent poll stated that 61.4% of Koreans support the continued presence of the US military in Korea. Interestingly, 46.3% chose the US as the biggest barrier to national unification, while North Korea was second at 25.1%.

Sunday, February 22, 2004

Joe Shriner

While Katolik Shinja has yet to endorse a candidate for the 2004 U.S. presidential election, the Average Joe Shriner Campaign merits further consideration.

Among other things, he's...
    against abortion, capital punishment, euthanasia, cloning, the IRS, and

    for family farms, a "just war" policy, less consumption, and alternative energy sources

Foreign policy seems to be Mr. Shriner's Achilles' Heel. He doesn't seem to have a strategy to fight terrorism. "Root causes" are mentioned, meaning poverty, but not a word is said about militant Islam. If poverty were truly the cause of terrorism, we'd see more terrorists coming from places like Bolivia, the Central African Republic, or Laos.
Cult of the Self

Here's an article that's so horrendous, I couldn't resist quoting from it:

After expounding upon the themes listed in the title, the author justifies his claims by quoting from the "great genius heretic Joseph Campbell:"
    "'The wicked thing about both the little and the great 'collective faiths', prehistoric and historic, is that they all, without exception, pretend to hold encompassed in their ritualized mythologies all of the truth ever to be known.

    "'They are therefore cursed, and they curse all who accept them, with what I shall call the 'error of the found truth,' or, in mythological language, the sin against the Holy Ghost.

    "'They set up against the revelations of the spirit the barriers of their own petrified belief, and, therefore, within the ban of their control, mythology, as they shape it, serves the end only of binding potential individuals to whatever system of sentiments may have seemed to the shapers of the past (now sanctified as saints, sages, ancestors or even gods) to be appropriate to their concept of a great society.'"

After this long quote from "our finest minds" [sic], the author advises the religious to "to drop the dead weight of a dead book from the spinning modern kaleidoscope of your ever-evolving id." He goes on to advise us as to what to do after we've been liberated from the clutches of religion:
    "Dumping stagnant doctrine and tired patriarchal notions does not mean you must immediately pick up another system to replace it. You want a new worldview? You want a fresh, unbounded ideology, as flexible and porous as you are? Simply start looking inward, at the one true god of the self."

We need need, however, completely reject the notion of God, but only God as a "misogynistic homophobic Republican male,... one with a thing for guns and trucks and repressed Catholic priests?" We can, of course, "reignite the feminine divine in this exhausted, macho world."

Finally, once "happily self-defined" and free from that "scowling bearded father figure who pulls strings at random and builds monster warehouses of guilt and dread in your heart like some sort of dour Wal-Mart Supercenter," we can then spread this new gospel to those still living in the darkness of a religious worldview and "introduce them to their own personal Jesus: themselves."

Sadly, this solipsistic worldview, which the author surely holds to be liberating, revolutionary, and counter-cultural, is nothing new. It is only an updated version of the of the radical individualism that has been the dominant worldview of most of the Western world since the so-called Enlightenment. What else are the New Age Movement, "cafeteria" Catholicism, and I daresay the endless divisions and interpretations of Protestantism if not the attempt at "individual spirituality, independent of dogma and screed" touted by the author of the above article?

"Obedience is life. And the opposite is also true." - Saint John of the Ladder


Saturday, February 21, 2004

Prayers by Sunhee Joo

Cloning, the "Perfect Sin?"

From Does Cloning Break All Ten Commandments?:
    1. Thou shalt not have strange gods before Me.

    Is there a stranger god than a scientist who usurps the Creator by giving and taking life in a laboratory?

    2. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.

    (As a Catholic, I'll rely on the analysis of the Catholic Catechism for this one.) "God calls each one by name," says the catechism. "Everyone's name is sacred. . . . It bears respect as a sign of the dignity of the one who bears it."

    Cloning strips dignity from embryos by creating and killing them without naming them, or even properly calling them human beings. They're not Sarah or Stephen; they're steps on the way to SCNT-hES.

    3. Remember that thou keep holy the Sabbath day.

    Cloning's abuse of life goes around the clock. They don't empty the petri dishes Saturday and start again Monday.

    4. Honor thy father and mother.

    Cloning disrupts the unbroken chain of mother-father procreation that has perpetuated the race since Creation. Egg donors aren't honored as mothers; fatherhood is nullified.

    5. Thou shalt not kill.

    "Therapeutic" cloning creates embryos to kill them. Reproductive cloning can only be achieved if many embryos are sacrificed to perfect the process.

    6. Thou shalt not commit adultery.

    Cloning uses women to create children by means other than their husbands.

    7. Thou shalt not steal.

    "Therapeutic" cloning steals stem cells from embryos; all cloning steals a child's right to a natural father, conception, gestation and a unique place in the human family.

    8. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.

    Cloning is predicated on the lie that a human embryo is not a human life.

    9. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife.

    Because of the many human eggs cloning demands, practitioners will covet women as donors.

    10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house, nor his field, nor his servant, nor his handmaid, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is his.

    Therapeutic cloners covet an embryo's stem cells. And is it unreasonable to assume the drive to clone arises from an inordinate desire for money or power?

Today's Saint

Saint Peter Damian

Friday, February 20, 2004

DPRK Deck of Cards

North Korean Leadership
French Head-Scarf Ban

Through the Veil, Darkly: Why France's Ban on the Wearing of Religious Symbols Is Even More Pernicious Than It Appears by Ruth Teitel

This is not at all surprising coming from the country whose revolution spawned Robespierre, the Reign of Terror, and "Temples of Reason" that replaced Catholic churches.
Today's Saint


From Netian Proposes Preview of 'Comfort Women Nude' Video, Photos:

    In connection with her recent "comfort women-themed nude photo-taking," actress Lee Seung-yeon kneels down to apologize to former comfort women at "The House of Sharing," a residence for former comfort women, in Gwangju, Gyeonggi Province on Tuesday morning.

N.B.: "Comfort women" were those women from Korea, China, the Phillipines, and other countries forced into sexual servitude by and for the Japanese Army during WWII. Currently, a controversy rages in Korea over actress Lee Seung-yeon, who posed for nude photos as a "comfort woman." The executives of Netian, the company that prodcued the photos, shaved their heads as an act of contrition.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

7 kgs.

My wife and I have been worrying about our eight-month-old daughter Joy's 7 kg. (15 1/2 lb.) weight for some time now. That was until I saw Famine in North Korea - Hilary Mackenzie for the New York Times (c) 1997, a video link from The Chosun Journal, which showed a seven-year-old child weighing as much as our eight-month-old!

That was seven years ago, but the famine continues. Meanwhile Kim Jong-il builds his nuclear stockpile (cf. Building the bomb: North Korean exiles reveal 15 year history of nuclear cheating).

Come, Lord Jesus!
North Korean Gulag Archipelago

Drawings by North Korean Refugee Jang Gilsu

From The Chosun Journal:

    A man cuts up a human body and puts it into a boiling pot in order to eat it.

    The bulletin board states that a father will be executed in public because he had entered a neighbor's house to steal rice for his family.

    A guard announces the list of crimes of the condemned man in front of a crowd.

    Guards bind him around his mouth, abdomen, and knees with a rope.

    The guards execute him by shooting.
Saint Andrew Kim Taegon

Katolik Shinja is hereby dedicated to Saint Andrew Kim Taegon. May his intercessions be with this site.

    "The Korean Church is unique because it was founded entirely by laypeople. This fledgling Church, so young and yet so strong in faith, withstood wave after wave of fierce persecution. Thus, in less than a century, it could boast of 10,000 martyrs. The death of these many martyrs became the leaven of the Church and led to today's splendid flowering of the Church in Korea. Even today their undying spirit sustains the Christians of the Church of Silence in the north of this tragically divided land." - Pope John Paul II at the canonization of Andrew in 1984

The Countries I've Visited

create your own visited country map
A Must-Read

NIETZSCHEAN PSYCHOLOGY AND THE BOSTON CATASTROPHE by Fred Martinez is one of the most insightful articles I've read in a long time. It details how the ideas of Nietzsche, Weber, Freud, and Jung have led to the "therapeutic culture" and the "idolatry of self" evident in ideals like "self-actualization" and "life-style choices" so prevelent in today's society. This should be read by all those who look to Oprah, Dr. Phil, or Deepak Chopra for personal guidance.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Buddhist Intolerance

Many years ago, I was told by an American convert to Buddhism from Catholicism that his new faith was alone among major world religions in that it had no history of intolerance, oppression, or persecution of religious minorities. Sadly, that is not the case (see Anti-Christian Feeling Rises in Buddhist Sri Lanka). Perhaps the perception of Buddhisms's tolerance is widely-held in the West due to the other-worldliness of the religion; I was later told by that same friend that Buddhism was the realization that human life was nothing more than a dream from which we would one day wake up.
Local Condemnation of Korean Cloning

Kim Hwan Seok, a sociology professor and activist in People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy, as quoted in South Korea a Fertile Field for Research Into Cloning:
    "We think there is an ethical problem with artificially producing a human embryo for the purpose of experimentation. In Korea, scientists seem to be more concerned about being first in the international arena than worrying about ethics."

Tuesday, February 17, 2004


Fareed Zakaria, author of The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad, would doubtless agree with Cho Se-hyon about the chaos that results from abuses of the democratic system of government. Mr. Cho, in an article entitled Quid pro quo, describes the current Korean situation thusly:
    "The greed and selfishness of many individuals and groups, coupled with a gutless and rudderless national leadership with no vision for the future, are driving the nation into utter, unending confusion and chaos. I have the feeling the country is like a car driven by a blind man running at full speed toward a brick wall."
More Condemnation

LIFE spokesperson Patrick Cusworth, as quoted in UK Charity Condemns Cloning In South Korea:
    "To create a new human being with the intention of mutilating and destroying it can never be justified in a civilised society."

Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., as quoted in Death, terror in N. Korea gulag
    “It's one of the worst, if not the worst situation — human rights abuse situation — in the world today. There are very few places that could compete with the level of depravity, the harshness of this regime in North Korea toward its own people.”

And one of the more chilling accounts, from Soon Ok Lee, a former prisoner:
    “And then, from time to time there a living infant is delivered. And then if someone delivers a live infant, then the guards kick the bloody baby and kill it. And I saw an infant who was crying with pain. I have to express this in words, that I witnessed such an inhumane hell.”

Cardinal Keeler on the Korean Cloning

Here are His Excellency's excellent words, as quoted from Human Cloning Announcement ‘Sign of Moral Regress,' Says Cardinal Keeler:
    "I am saddened to learn that South Korean scientists have used cloning to create and destroy dozens of human embryos. While touted as scientific progress, this is a sign of moral regress. Human cloning turns procreation into a manufacturing process, treating human life as a commodity made to preset specifications. Moreover, using this or any means to create innocent human lives solely to destroy them is an ultimate violation of research ethics.

    "Neither this study nor any other has shown that human cloning is a workable or necessary path to medical benefits. At the same time, adult stem cells and other morally sound avenues are producing treatments for the devastating diseases often cited to justify
    human cloning research. Seldom have researchers done so much harm to so many fellow humans, with so little justification.

    "The human cost of the Korean experiment was very high. Dozens of human embryos were created and destroyed to produce a single stem cell line for further research. Also deeply troubling was the use of potentially harmful fertility drugs on 16 women, to produce 242 eggs for this experiment. These women were used as egg factories while their embryonic offspring were treated as nothing more than objects of research, their human dignity ignored in the name of progress.

    "Science and technology are great human goods when placed at the service of the human person. Here the opposite occurred. Human beings were treated as products of technology, then used and discarded. If scientists will not voluntarily turn away from this abuse of science, a national and worldwide effort to ban human cloning is more urgently needed than ever."
Population Implosion

The Winter of our Population Freeze, by Fr. Casimir Song Yul-sup, is an article describing the population implosion in Korea (now the country with the lowest birth rate in the world) and the Catholic Church's fight against it.

Monday, February 16, 2004

Quote of the Day

Cardinal William H. Keeler of Baltimore, as quoted in Vatican official, U.S. cardinal criticize South Korean human cloning:
    "Seldom have researchers done so much harm to so many fellow humans, with so little justification."

Sunday, February 15, 2004

Saturday, February 14, 2004

Catholic World News (CWN) Subscribers Comment on Korean Cloning

From Scientists create, kill cloned humans to extract stem cells:
    I believe that we have passed a watershead mark in human history. People will be deceived into believing that this is good, but in the process human beings with souls will be discarded after "harvesting". May God have mercy on us.
    Posted by:
    Feb. 13, 2004
    3:26 PM EST

    When a child is conceived, something new and wonderful that has never been before comes into being: a new soul. To destroy that life is to deny that soul's natural and God given potential. It is a sin against Hope. It is a sin against God. There is no middle ground here. This is abortion. This is murder.
    Posted by:
    Feb. 13, 2004
    10:19 AM EST

    Worldwide society seems to be moving faster and faster on this slippery slope. I just pray that Jesus comes sooner than later. Lord Jesus, Come!
    Posted by:
    Feb. 12, 2004
    8:47 PM EST

    Great scientific advance or the first step on the slippery slope to a master race? Since I place no trust in human nature, my money is on the latter. I just pray that God gives us the grace to stay our hand on this one.
    Posted by:
    Feb. 12, 2004
    6:34 PM EST
A Vatican Response to Korean Cloning

"Therapeutic" cloning seen as "doubly immoral"
S Koreans call for baby clone ban...

...but not for a ban on "therapeutic cloning."
    The South Korean scientists are the latest group of mainstream scientists to call for a global ban, an idea which was first discussed at the United Nations three years ago.

    Late last year, around 60 national academies of science from around the world called for a global ban on reproductive cloning, but said researchers should be free to experiment, as the Korean team did, with therapeutic cloning.

    That was the position adopted by a number of governments led by France, Germany and Belgium during UN discussions.

    But they are opposed by another block led by the United States and Spain which wants a complete ban on all cloning research.
From Stem Cell Research Exhilarates S. Koreans:
    Although criticism of the research has been scarce in South Korea, the People's Coalition for Participatory Democracy, a Seoul civic group, said the research "unveils the naked truth about the irresponsibility of the researchers and related government agencies."

    In a statement, the group said the work "destroys the human embryo, confirms the possibility of human cloning and opens the door for damaging human dignity."

Friday, February 13, 2004

JoongAng Hurts Korea's Science Reputation
"Korea's science reputation" was not hurt by the violation of Natural Law in cloning human embryos (as I had hoped would be the case before reading the article), but rather, according to the above article, it was by "unilaterally reporting on research without any confirmation from researchers [that] has hurt the international standing of Korean science."
Anything to Make a Won

Nudity, Profits Anger Surviving Comfort Women

A Korean actress is selling nude photos of herself via the Internet which depict her as a "comfort woman." "Comfort women" were the Korean women forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese army during WWII.
South Korean Appeasement

From 'N.K. tested gases on prisoners':
    ....South Korea officials played down the allegations, saying North Korean refugees often touch off emotional controversy by making statements before they can be confirmed.

    "We need yet to ascertain the credibility of the allegations," Unification Minister Jeong Se-hyun said yesterday.

    The Seoul government has been accused of turning a blind eye to human rights abuses by the brutal regime of Kim Jong-il, fearing possible strains on inter-Korean relations. Human rights activists want North Korea to resolve the issue as part of any deal that would settle the 16-month-old dispute over Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program. [my emphasis]

Thursday, February 12, 2004


Scientists clone 30 human embryos: South Korean scientists have cloned 30 human embryos to obtain cells they hope could one day be used to treat disease.

I find it appalling, but not suprising, that the first verified cloning of human embryos has occured in Korea. Koreans have long wanted to acheive some scientific breakthrough or be first in the world in some acheivement. There is a feeling among many Koreans (North and South) that they are the world's cleverest people, and that the only reason they are not at their rightful place as the world's greatest nation is due to interference from Japan, China, Russia, and the United States, all of whom recognize the inherent greatness of the Korean people and have conspired to thwart their efforts at world domination.

Well, now the Koreans have indeed done something first. This has not, however, come about due to the unique scientific talents of the Korean people. Rather, it has come about due to an ethical vacuum that exists in this country. After animal cloning had been acieved the only barrier to human cloning was an ethical one. Koreans have now broken that ethical barrier. What held the West back from this "breakthrough" the Koreans can now claim as their own? Two-thousand years of Christian ethics, which even post-Christian Europe cannot so easily set aside. Korea is not burdoned with such ethical baggage, but rather follows that utilitarian and even situationist ethical system known as Confucianism.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

"Slavic View of History"

Europe’s Problem—and Ours by George Weigel from the latest issue of FIRST THINGS explores the fascinating and fundamentally Chrisstian understanding of history that focuses not on economics but on culture embraced by Soloviev, Solzhenitsyn, Pope John Paul II, Vaclev Havel, and others.

This "Slavic view of history" is exemplified by Poland, a country I am begining to admire more and more:
    Poland is one embodiment of this way of thinking, which Poles believe has been vindicated empirically by their own modern history. In 1795, with the Third Polish Partition, the great powers of the region—Russia, Prussia, Austria-Hungary—completed the vivisection of a political community whose origins went back to the last years of the first millennium of Christian history; thus for one 123 years, from 1795 to 1918, the Polish state was erased from Europe. Yet during that century-and-a-quarter in which you could not find “Poland” on any map of Europe—a time in which the Russians and Prussians, in particular, made strenuous efforts to eradicate the idea of “Poland”—the Polish nation survived. Indeed, the Polish nation survived with such vigor that it could give birth to a new Polish state in 1918. And despite the fact that the Polish state was beset for fifty years by the plagues of Nazism and communism, the Polish nation proved strong enough to give a new birth to freedom in east-central Europe in the Revolution of 1989.

    How did this happen? Poland survived—better, Poland prevailed—because of culture: a culture formed by a distinctive language (Slavic, yet written in a Latin alphabet and thus oriented to the West as well as the East); by a unique literature, which helped keep alive the memory and idea of “Poland”; and by the intensity of its Catholic faith. Poles know in their bones that culture is what drives history over the long haul.

Back in the R.O.K.

After a wonderful seven weeks visiting my family in Chico, California, my wife Hyunae, daughter Joy, and I are back in Korea.

We attended our last mass in the U.S. at the ornate Saints Peter and Paul Church in San Francisco.

Thursday, February 05, 2004

Zakaria on Blogs

From The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad, a call for public-spirited elites and authority by Fareed Zakaria:
    In the world of journalism, the personal website ("blog") was hailed as the killer of the traditional media. In fact, it has become something quite different. Far from replacing newspapers and magazines, the best blogs - and the best are very clever - have become guides to them, pointing to unusual sources and commenting on familiar ones. They have become new mediators for the informed public. Although the creators of blogs think of themselves as radical democrats, they are in fact a new Toquevillean elite. Much of the Web has moved in this direction because the the wilder, bigger, and more chaotic it becomes, the more people will need help navigating it. (pg. 254)

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Monday, February 02, 2004