15 November 2005

Looking Back to the US from Abroad

It's early Wednesday morning, but by the time this post actually makes it to the blog, it'll be Friday the 18th. I will be taking a long bus ride to Jinju, on the Korean peninsula's south coast, today, as part of my business, followed by a train trip to Busan, the nation's No. 2 city and also on the south coast, tomorrow for sightseeing. And I have no intention of hauling around my laptop to log on to the Net today and tomorrow. With W arriving in Busan anytime now, security will be super tight, and every cop will want to inspect my belongings and check my passport.

It is so nice to be away from the ugly mess back home in the United States. Based on the news I am picking up, Pat Robertson seems to be glad that his God punished New Orleans with Katrina because of Ellen DeGeneres hosting one of the Mardi Gras festivals, and is warning the city to replace her with a heterosexual host, or face even more wrath. It is amazing that this guy continues to be taken seriously by the American media and people; even here in Korea, with its large population of evangelical Christians, Robertson would be considered insane by the vast majority of the people, and few would sympathize with him.

Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito seems very proud of his anti-choice record, which is just as disturbing a news to hear.

But for now, I've been feeding the folks at Democracy Cell Project, and its blog, with the observations I make about the Korean society, and what America can learn out of it, particularly in the light of Korea's past fascist regimes and the recent democratization. And I've been getting my news primarily from Korean Broadcasting System (KBS); though KBS is owned by the government (collecting television license fees as a result, like the BBC in the UK), and often reflects the current regime's bias, it is far fairer than the corporate media (especially Fox News) back in America. Korean speakers can tune into other media here, like MBC and YTN, for even more viewpoints. In any case, it is so refreshing to be away from the likes of Pat Robertson and Samuel Alito.

And contrary to what the American media would like people to believe, I am not feeling much in the way of anti-Americanism. Granted, W is not welcome here. But start talking about Britney Spears (even though she supported W) or Mariah Carey, and the Koreans light up.

Last, but not the least, Korea Telecom (KT) seems to be allowing me to access just about anything on the Net, including lesbian and transgender websites. Granted, my username is only temporary (good for 24 hours only, off of the prepaid cards) so KT can't identify me personally, but it's still nice to know that the censors are no longer shutting me up unlike the way they supposedly would've done just a few years ago. If I were a Korean with a normal KT account (and KT had my National ID number as a result), I would worry a bit more though.