Having a life of its own

Flex your age.

I don’t know if this is a thing at the moment, but I have noticed in my social media timelines, both in Korean and in English, that people are competitively sharing memories from their childhood that a young person of today would not understand. (What has shocked me most is that children have an entirely different hand gesture for ‘being on the phone’. 🤯)

I naturally have quite a lot to offer on the topic, but perhaps I will choose two for now.

There was a phone number you could dial just to find out what time it was.

A rock star that I was a fan of when I was about 12 lived with his parents, and their home phone number was available from directory enquiries.

L’enfer, c’est parmi nous. [3]

A colleague I admire has shared on Facebook her experience of being a recipient of corporal punishment in school in India. A lot of comments have followed, echoing the post. I haven’t chimed in myself, but I could have. After all, I am no stranger to the topic, having gone through the South Korean schooling system.

One thing, however, that seems to set my memories apart from what’s shared in the post and comments is collective punishment. Teachers set a task, where some are bound to fail, and if anyone does fail, the entire class gets punished, usually physically.

They might have thought they were raising collective-minded citizens, but in reality, they were simply programming kids to loathe the weakest link in the group. I regularly think about that giant psychological experiment we were subjected to, how the practice still prevails in schools and military bases, and how it has shaped Korean society as it is.

Navigating life through screens [3]

Déjà vu, déjà entendu [11]

“너, 고소할 거야” 이별 여성 협박도구로 악용되는 낙태죄 (이지훈 et al., 동아일보, 27 November 2017)

Emigrants called #HometoVote in abortion referendum (Ciara Kenny, The Irish Times, 8 February 2018)

Poland abortion: Protests against bill imposing new limits (BBC News, 26 March 2018)

낙태가 죄라면, 그 범인은 국가입니다 (한국여성민우회, OhmyNews, 17 August 2018)

‘공범’인 남성의 책임은 어디에도 없다… 낙태죄를 폐지하라 (이진송, 경향신문, 9 September 2020; see in conjunction with RT @allyjung It’s official: South Korea will abandon its 66-year-long ban on abortion as the Constitutional Court ruled today the criminal laws banning abortion unconstitutional, saying the laws “excessively infringe upon women’s rights to choose.” It means S.Korean MPs will have to revise the current criminal laws on abortion by December 2020, after which the laws will no longer be effective automatically. […] (11 April 2019).)

All abortion bans are about controlling women (Denise Maes, Colorado Politics, 2 October 2020)

“A Polaroid Guy in a Snapchat World”

This title came from the very first audiobook I listened to, written and recorded by David Spade (2019). I had always enjoyed his storytelling, but in this particular case, it was the title that sold it to me instantly.

I still think I am more comfortable interacting with people online than in person. A “digital innate“, I have so far quietly insisted. However, this is where I must also throw my hands up in the air and admit that live-streaming [라방] a class is a whole other world, especially for someone who can never do two things at the same time. My sincere bows to 마리텔 백주부 and 대한민국 어게인 나훈아

“Ritual technology” [2]

I came across these viral pictures a while ago, on separate occasions, and saved the links for my own amusement. Tomorrow I am hosting a virtual meeting with near 150 students, and suddenly these are pretty much me.

Please, Collaborate, don’t go rogue on me.

(Unlikely to be the original source, but the image from here)
(Unlikely to be the original source, but the image from here)


That ambivalent space

Been thinking a lot about group chats on WhatsApp and the like. The ambivalence of those little pockets of space.

— “To put it another way, “a meme is never just a meme,” in the words of Phillips and Milner (2017, italics added) with reference to Harvard’s decision to rescind admission offers from ten prospective students for having posted rape-apologist, pe­dophilic, and violently racist memes on Facebook. A May 2018 court ruling in India, ob­serving that forwarding a social media post is equal to endorsing it, also echoes the point that content sharing is a speech act in its own right (Ashok, 2018).” (Lee & Scott-Baumann, 2020)

Exeter university students suspended over racism and rape claims (BBC, 20 March 2018).

University of Warwick suspends 11 students over hate posts (BBC, 9 May 2018).

Spycams, sex abuse and scandal: #MeToo reaches Korean pop (Justin McCurry, The Guardian, 22 March 2019)

Inside the secret border patrol Facebook group where agents joke about migrant deaths and post sexist memes (A. C. Thompson, Pro Publica, 1 July 2019)

German state suspends 29 police officers in far-right online chat group (DW, 16 September 2020)

Scottish police officers lose disciplinary fight over racist messages (Severin Carrell, The Guardian, 16 September 2020)

WhatsApp Vigilantes: An exploration of citizen reception and circulation of WhatsApp misinformation linked to mob violence in India (Shakuntala Banaji & Ram Bhat, Media@LSE, 11 November 2019)

Facebook’s role in the genocide in Myanmar: New reporting complicates the narrative (Evelyn Douek, Lawfare, 22 October 2018)

Hate speech on Facebook is pushing Ethiopia dangerously close to a genocide (David Gilbert, Vice, 14 September 2020)

Food in our genes? [2]

I am a carbs person. Carbs (and sugar) in all shapes and forms. Probably unsurprisingly though, rice will always hold an extra special place in my diet.

It is still to my surprise that yogurt rice has become part of my comfort food repertoire. While having a bowlful of it, I put together this random post that is a collection of a few ‘rice-related’ online memes I have recently come across.

1. A “rice breaker”.

2. “You can only add 2 things to this plate of simple rice. Name them.”

3. Uncle Roger and “crimes against rice”.

p.s. It escalated so much (read: the female presenter being massively trolled) that they ended up doing a series of ‘peacemaking’ videos together, such as this, this and this.

4. “Spicy Korean rice gnocchi” versus “bland Italian potato tteok” (as in Chinese ravioli versus Italian dumplings).

5. #CarbSolidarity