18 November 2005


I have left Seoul for the suburban city of Seongnam, the birthplace of South Korea's most famous transgender woman, entertainer Harisu. At my current place, there is a WiFi hotspot near enough that I get a weak but usable signal, allowing me to log on the Internet without having to haul my laptop all over the city. I love the privacy.

I've been tuning into KBS News. With the APEC summit being a great opportunity for South Korea and its corporations to show themselves off to the world, the anti-APEC summit protesters are looking like pests to them, and KBS News's attitude shows it. This is despite the fact that APEC's libertarian philosophy is not necessarily beneficial for the poorer members. Let's remember that South Korea's own automotive industry would not have taken off in a "free trade" environment; only by banning all imports for a while, and keeping Japanese imports banned for a bit longer, did the Korean automakers get enough of a volume to get the momentum rolling for more research and development, and eventually better cars that can survive a free trade environment.

The other major news item worries me a bit, as Asiana Airlines had three of its six Boeing 777s develop malfunctions simultaneously. Although I am flying a 747 back to Los Angeles, this may reveal a flaw in Asiana's maintenance regimen, which will be bad news. I'm already avoiding Korean Air like a plague because of safety issues, and if I have to ditch Asiana, I'll have no choice but to put up with United and its inferior service and inconvenient schedule the next time I return to Seoul.

I'll look forward to one more full day here in Korea, as I wrap up by making a day trip back to Seoul and spending time in the downtown area, again retracing my old steps.