commentary

Tharp On: Regret
31 weeks 9 hours ago

BUSAN, South Korea -- It was not long ago that I found myself taking in the exploits of Rob Ford—Toronto’s train wreck of a mayor—with a mixture of fascination, horror and glee. Whoever said Canadians are boring?...

The K-Pop Cringe: Is the Korean Wave Living Up to the Hype?
32 weeks 2 days ago

BUSAN, South Korea -- Six high schools in three countries in three years. That was me from 1989 to 1992. Considering how awkward it is for a teenager to change schools even once, you can just imagine how I...

Tharp On: Haters
39 weeks 3 days ago

 


“Haters gonna hate.”

--Ancient Assyrian proverb

BUSAN, South Korea -- Every once in awhile, usually in the boozy confines of one of Busan’s drinking establishments, I am approached by a wide-eyed fellow expat who just so happens to have literary ambitions of his own. “How did you go about getting your book published?” he’ll ask. “Can you give me any advice?”

I’ll eye him like...

Shaking the Model Taboo: More Korean Magazines Portraying Korean Women as Sexy
40 weeks 4 days ago

"Women’s magazines for over a century have been one of the most powerful agents for changing women’s roles, and throughout that time—today more than ever—they have consistently glamorized whatever the economy, their advertisers, and during the wartime, the government, needed at that moment from women."

...

Tharp On: Family
49 weeks 3 days ago

BUSAN, South Korea -- “Royal Baby Arrives!”

This is the headline that greeted me after returning from a camping trip in which I was entirely off the grid. For one solid week, neither newspapers nor computer monitors taxed my sun-blazed eyes. I was wonderfully ignorant of the...

Should Korean Stars Have to Serve in the Military?
1 year 4 weeks ago

SEOUL, South Korea -- There's some heated talk going on within the ranks of the Korean netizenry that entertainers serving their required military service should no longer receive preferential treatment and the government is promising to give it a "top...

Tharp On: America
1 year 5 weeks ago

BUSAN, South Korea -- The other night I was sitting at home, listening to some old cuts of recently-departed country legend George Jones. There I was, steeping in whisky and soaking in his honey-dripped honky-tonk croon, when suddenly a...

Tharp On: Money
1 year 14 weeks ago

BUSAN, South Korea -- Let’s start with the obvious: being poor sucks. There’s nothing fun about it. A certain amount of poverty may be slightly romantic for say, six months in your early 20s,...

Feature: The Trend in Korea of Living Alone
1 year 15 weeks ago

“I know about high rents, low wages, no wages, exploitative landlords, travel costs, dangerous areas, debts, student or otherwise, and the housing ladder... But come on. For Britons, if you've always been healthy but you're still living with your folks in your late-20s, never mind mid-30s, something has gone wrong. And no amount of defensive yammering about high rents is going to change that.”

...

PSY`s New Video: Making Obnoxious Cool? Or a Clever Piece of Satire?
1 year 15 weeks ago

BUSAN, South Korea -- When I first heard PSY's new song, "Gentleman", I thought, “Meh, nothing special... not bad.” It will appease the big fans and is impressive enough for me that I won't turn the dial...

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