October 6, 2011 |
Stroking through the water confidently and surely was as satisfying as Janet Evans remembered. So was the pure joy of getting her body to obey her mind. But soon after the five-time Olympic medalist began training for a return to competitive swimming she was reminded of aspects of athletic life that had — mercifully — slipped her mind. "I'd forgotten how cold pools can be at 4:45 in the morning," she said. "I'm always the last person in the water. " Then there was the night officials of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency arrived on her Laguna Beach doorstep around 10 o'clock to collect a urine sample for drug testing.
August 25, 2011 |
Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon announced his resignation Friday, following through on his pledge to quit if voters failed to cast ballots in a city referendum that was invalidated due to a low turnout. "I will fulfill my duty by resigning to minimize the controversy in political circles," he said at a City Hall press conference. "I believe this is the will of the citizens. " In recent days, Oh had demonstrated that he was far off the mark when it came to gauging voter preferences. The 50-year-old mayor, once considered a candidate for next year's presidential election, on Sunday gave an emotional press conference in which he wiped away tears, vowing to step down if voters did not respond to his call to support his agenda.
August 24, 2011 |
Call it astute politicking or a career-damaging blunder, a case of bad acting and brinkmanship rarely seen even in a nation known for its emotional roundhouse-punch politics. Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon wants to limit free school lunches to poor children and take students from wealthy families out of the gratis cafeteria line. And he warns that if voters don't back his agenda in a Wednesday referendum, he's going to quit his post. Or, as critics put it, collect his marbles in a huff and stalk off the playground.
August 21, 2011 |
When he was 35, Park Jin-hun quit his job, left his family and moved to Exam Village. Pursuing his dream of practicing law, the salaryman told his wife he would see her and their young son only once a month until he passed the bar. He gave himself two years maximum. Five years in a row, he failed the exam, each time resolving to stick it out for one more attempt. He spent his days in neurotic study rooms that demanded total silence (no paper rustling, please!), too consumed to think of anything but the intricacies of South Korean law. Sometimes he thought he was going mad. With each failure, he ratcheted up his study hours and became increasingly antisocial, driven by fear of failure.
August 17, 2011 |
Hong Ji-min cannot forget that crowded, morning rush-hour commute when she felt someone groping her. "I knew that someone did it on purpose, but it had happened so fast," the 25-year-old nurse recalled. "I couldn't do anything but look around with angry eyes. But there was no way I could identify the person in that sea of people. " Seoul city officials now may have a solution for victimized female commuters: women-only subway cars. South Korean officials next month will begin a program offering the exclusive train coaches, reviving an idea that was abandoned two decades ago. Reaction to the plan has been so mixed, however, that the city is going to test those cars only late at night to see how it goes.
July 29, 2011 |
South Korea struggled to recover Thursday from the nation's heaviest rainfall in decades, a torrential two-day downpour that triggered landslides and flooding, killed at least 57 people and left countless others missing or stranded. Military officials scrambled to retrieve explosives swept away by the storm. In one incident, a military ammunitions depot collapsed under a landslide, and officials said only half of the explosives, including 93 land mines, had been found. They also worked to retrieve numerous Korean War-era land mines that were dislodged by the storm from grounds near an air-defense unit outside Seoul.
July 18, 2011 |
Kang Hyun-min remembers the first time he slid an album from its cardboard jacket and delicately, almost reverently, placed it on the turntable. It was 1979, and Kang's father had made the record player off-limits to the 10-year-old. But home alone one day, the young Kang gave in to his curiosity; he flipped through his brother's album collection, thinking he might for once take control of that magical music player. Unable to read English, he knew musicians only by their album-cover art. He knew he had to hurry — someone could arrive at any minute.
June 27, 2011 |
Perched outside the Posco steel company office, the jarring 30-foot-tall object looks like the remains of a plane crash — all crushed steel and gnarled parts — because that's what it is. Creator Frank Stella built what he considered a modern work of art and named it "Amabel," in honor of an artist friend's daughter who died in a plane accident. But many passersby for years have considered it to be something else: an eyesore. The work is one of the more avant-garde sculptures in Seoul and the symbol of an art controversy in South Korea.
June 26, 2011 |
In South Korea, they're known as "errand men": hired street muscle who play often-violent mercenary roles in property disputes that law enforcement agencies refuse to handle. Their ranks are filled by physically fit young men who, critics allege, lurk in the gray area of the law, using violence and intimidation to assert the will of clients such as landlords, businessmen and even the government . A Seoul government ward office recently has resorted to using yongyeok , errand men, to chase away illegal street vendors from a popular tourist district.
June 8, 2011 |
Some simply viewed their children as late bloomers. Others refused to discuss or accept the diagnosis. But many of the affected parents in Ilsan seemed to at least have an inkling when they were told for the first time that their son or daughter had a disorder that in South Korea had long been seen as shameful. "They knew from the bottom of their hearts that their children were suffering, struggling," said Dr. Young Shin Kim, a Yale psychiatrist who led a groundbreaking six-year study of autism among children in the middle-class suburb of Seoul.