Not a cat person, but …

… darn, I had to reblog this. GOM Player, South Korea’s home-grown and most popular media player, now offers a ‘Cat Mode’. If you select this mode, all standard shortcut keys will be disabled, so that you will be able to watch a movie without interruption even with your cat sitting on your keyboard.

(Cat Mode on, as indicated by the paw symbol)

Since we are on the topic, let me also share another collection of mine that I put together a while ago. (There are quite a few on this blog alone, such as this, this, this, and this.)

The Cute Cat theory (Ethan Zuckerman, 2008)

Towards a theory of internet cats (D. E. Wittkower, MiT6, 2009)

Srsly phenomenal: An investigation into the appeal of lolcats (Kate Miltner, unpublished master’s dissertation, LSE, 2012)

RT @jeanburgess The internet is made *of* cats, and *for* porn. Get the facts right @Hermida #science #mit8 (3 May 2013)

Cats and academia: A short history (Glen Wright, Times Higher Education, 18 December 2015)

Downing Street cats: All the essential information about the most important Westminster residents (Robert Midgley, Telegraph, 3 January 2017)

A softer side of government: How Larry the cat became a purr-fect political companion on Downing Street (Lauren Scott, CBC News, 22 January 2017)

South Korean president’s rescue pets are so popular they have their own fan art (Yi Shu Ng, Mashable, 15 May 2017)

나는 정치하는 고양이로소이다 (Hankyoreh, 14 August 2017)


Typing away [2]

I have bought a bluetooth keyboard for my mini tablet. I was very reluctant to do so because I felt that would just turn the device into another laptop, slightly smaller and lighter. What would be the point of having a tablet then? I kept saying.

Having said that, I am sure this will date me, but I am definitely more a keyboard person than a touchscreen person. Were you here in 2007? Do you remember the fuss that I made about searching for a right keyboard for my PDA(!) back then? Also, as I boasted before, I type effortlessly. So, why shouldn’t I make it suit me better? My resistance didn’t make much sense, come to think of it.

Whenever I see people (including myself) try to improve a piece of technology by fashioning it with accessories and software, I end up remembering this line and chuckle.

The typewriter through the eyes of an 8yr old: “A computer that prints while you type and you don’t have to plug in.” (cited in Martin Bryant, The Next Web, 13 October 2011)

Who knows – typewriters could strike back big time. I, for one, never imagined I would see Pokémon being relevant again (see also Peterson, 2003: 11-16).

Ajumma FTW

Back from a DH workshop by CHASE colleagues. The programme was great. More importantly, when we were doing an exercise on ‘crossmedia search’ scenarios, my little idea earned my team the creativity award (i.e. not a real award but an invisible one that the instructor just made up). It was about putting in tactile information on a fabric and getting corresponding laundry instructions in return. Ajumma for the win. 😉

Watching digital paint dry

It looks like today is a data crunching day. Even ‘big data‘ at that. So, [co-conspirator] Fabio and I were joking during the seemingly endless wait that staring the progress bar is the digital equivalent to watching paint dry.

Then it suddenly came back to me that a few years ago there was a following of people watching cheese mature in real time. Yup, call me an Internet historian.

An acronym trilogy?

Some of you might remember that my PhD thesis (2009) was about Nosamo. I also wrote a paper (2015) about Eonsoju. Now another paper of mine (co-authored with Jiyoung Kim and Han Woo Park) has just been published online first, and it is about Nakkomsu. Three phenomena I have studied all happen to be popularly referred to by acronyms. Silly me, I find the odds to be amusing. It almost feels like having my own ‘Cornetto Trilogy‘.

For inseparable love

Years ago I posted a few joke photos about South Korea’s famous Internet addiction. Let’s consider this as a sequel. 🙂

At a hairdresser’s (Image from @tw_uram, 6 August 2015)


Inside a toilet cubicle (Image from @annafifield, 13 January 2016)



Meanwhile, in the neighbouring country,

RT @PDChina Chongqing City has set up China’s 1st “exclusive sidewalk for mobile phone users” to avoid possible crashes on Fri (13 September 2014)

Apps for everything [3]

Wifi-deprived I may be at the moment, I must share this one!

I introduce you to an app that will decipher mobile phone deals for you. (Screenshot originally from @Fine07f)


For non-speakers of Korean, the example goes:

Dear [SKT] Customer,

While we settle with your existing carrier a cancellation charge of [KRW 100,000] on your behalf, you can have the newest handset of [Galaxy Note] and use it [for free] on a [24-month] [LTE52] plan.

Translation: I want to sell a Galaxy Note to you at KRW 327,600.

For my inner nerd

Speaking of a wishlist


Daddy’s Little Girl Tee (from


Contour Canvas Bag (from


Theob​romin​e Mole​cule Pend​ant (from


There Is No Cloud Mug (from


Sphinx rubber duck (from

* Random addendum

I started this post rather whimsically as I was sorting my Amazon wishlists (Notice the plural!), but apparently yesterday was also Geek Pride Day. I hadn’t even heard such a day existed until this year, perhaps because I don’t see myself as one. Nevertheless, let this post be my little contribution to the celebration. 😉

Like a moth to a flame

There is a folktale in Korea called Shim Cheong the devoted daughter – a story that every Korean knows. It’s about a blind single father and his filial daughter. His wife died as soon as she gave birth to the girl, Cheong, so he raised her by begging mothers in the neighbourhood to breastfeed the baby. Those mothers felt pity for him and everyone chipped in. Cheong was raised by the village, in the most literal sense.

Just back from a conference. It gave me a lot to write about and reflect on, but in the meantime, here’s something else. I realised long ago that the first thing I do at a conference is to quickly scan the venue with my eagle-like eyes and locate all power outlets. If there are seats next to them, I dash to secure one. If not, I usually spend the coffee breaks sitting poorly next to a socket feeding my laptop and mobile, like today. Then, every single time I do, I end up thinking about Mr Shim – or rather feeling like him.

+ (2 August 2015)

Have been forwarded an image today, which happens to be so aptly fitting for this post. 🙂


Translation: “What difference is left?

Live long and prosper.

A few years ago, I came across an aspiring writer raising funds to have his first novel published through Kickstarter. In his plea, he stated: “The main character in John Fante’s novel Ask the Dust ate oranges every day until he could finally afford to eat something better. I think I can get by eating oranges. I will do what it takes.”

It jumped out at me because of what I had learnt a few weeks before from a colleague at Malaysiakini while attending my very first FOTN meeting in Kuala Lumpur. The colleague was showing us around the offices, and at the corner of one room we found a box of individually wrapped oranges. He explained to us that it is a Chinese custom to give oranges to people around you during the two weeks of Lunar New Year celebration. The oranges in this context symbolise prosperity because they look like, well, gold. Now you see the contrast in food symbolism that fascinated me.

20150219_110126_new_year_oranges(The photo actually from the Malaysiakini office in 2011; I amaze myself sometimes…)

Today I walked around with a dozen of mandarin oranges in my bag and gave them away to colleagues that I saw. It felt good. Only if they were real gold!

p.s. Oh that’s right; I have given up on *educating* people about Korean New Year.