Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Shanghai Scrap does it with glee. You'll want to read the whole thing, but here's the conclusion:
The staff of Shanghai Scrap conclude that, a) Foreigners can feel confident that they can quote Shakespeare, in English, when discussing restaurants in China on the phone; b) the New York Times needs to widen its circle of sources on censorship beyond people who quote Shakespeare, in English, when discussing restaurants on the phone. Further study needed on whether or not phones used by New York Times correspondents and assistants are the most reliable means of judging phone censorship in China.
Of course one set of anecdotes doesn't necessarily disprove the validity of another set of anecdotes. But I have to say that Shanghai Scrap's conclusion is far more reasonable sounding to me than those of the NYT.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Sunday, March 13, 2011


Before and after pics of the earthquake and tsunami damage.

Heart wrenching.

UPDATE: More here.

Here's an example

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Interesting thoughts (and photos, charts etc.) here.


A South Korean fortune-teller in Pusan (originally found here).

If we can resort to P'y├┤ngyang-ology, why not fortune telling?
A prominent fortune teller in Yangkang and Hamkyung Provinces has declared that power in the post-Kim Jong Il era will rest with “Mr. Jang”, according to a source. In North Korea, where belief in superstition is exceedingly common, the declaration has attracted attention.

“Mr. Jang” refers to Jang Sung Taek, Director of the Ministry of Administration of the Chosun Workers' Party and a leading figure in the Kim Jong Il regime.
If defector testimony is to be trusted, there are at least a few well known fortune tellers in the DPRK:
North Korean defectors and sources often mention a reliance on or belief in superstition. For example, in Dongkye Workers District, Baekam-gun in Yangkang Province, there is a well-known female fortune teller. She is 27 years old this year.

A North Korean defector from Yangkang Province commented, "I know her. People often seek her out when looking for a thief or lost animal. It is only possible for people to get to see her at night, because cadres who have a sick person at home visit her in the evening and take her to expel evil from their homes."

When the woman first became famous, the authorities tried to stop her activiities and security agents arrested her for spreading superstition. However, her father, who was set to be sent to a training camp, protested, "She doesn’t do this because she wants to. If she does not do this, her body aches, so what are we supposed to do?"

Thursday, March 3, 2011


List here. The number one on the list should surprise no one. Where the ROK ranks was somewhat surprising to me (lower than I expected). And Kazakhstan? Who knew?