September 2021

  • Always Look on the Sunny Side of Life

    What distinguishes Sunny (써니) from other movies of its kind is that it is less a nostalgic movie as it is a movie about nostalgia. In other words, the motive that drives the film is less about wanting to relive a moment that is now long gone, but about the act of being nostalgic (and the dangers inherent in it). This is a movie set in 2010, not 1986. The Eighties, you might think, would be an odd period for Koreans to be nostalgic about. After all, this was a decade that began in bloodshed and climaxed in chaos,

  • The World is Still on Fire

    Before writing a controversial book on Asian parenting, Amy Chua wrote a very good book called World on Fire – How exporting free market democracy breeds ethnic hatred and global instability (2003). Her key point in the book – borne of personal experience as well as extensive research – is that in most countries outside of the United States and Western Europe, economic power is held by an ethnic minority group. She refers to them as MDM (market-dominant minority). For instance, in Chua’s country of origin (the Philippines), the ethnic Chinese make up 1% of the population but control 60%

  • Why I can’t read ebooks

    From a technological point of view, my reading habits have definitely regressed. I still buy plenty of books, but only those made from trees. My ebook purchases have fallen to zero, and this has been true for several years now. This is probably music to publishers’ ears (but not to bookstore owners because in the same period, I have not bought a single book in a physical bookstore). There was a time when I bought many an ebook, but – let me be very honest with you – I have not read a single one of them from digital cover

  • To Read: Sunday, September 5, 2021

    1) India’s DNA COVID vaccine is a world first – more are coming Opinion 2) We Studied One Million Students. This Is What We Learned About Masking. 3) More than 50 long-term effects of COVID-19: a systematic review and meta-analysis | Scientific Reports 4) Public human microbiome data dominated by highly developed countries | bioRxiv 5) An Irrational Party of Rational Members: The Collision of Legislators’ Reelection Quest With Party Success in the Japan Socialist Party – Ko Maeda, 2012

  • Korean Boatman

    Korean boatman (photograph circa 1904). Willard Dickerman Straight papers, #1260. Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library From: Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library

  • Marianne Stokes (1855-1927)

    A Capri witch More here from Randy Byers. When I was poking around looking at Symbolist painters recently, I came across Marianne Stokes’ meditative portrait of Melisande (from the Maeterlinck play Pelleas and Melisande, which Debussy adapted into an opera). Stokes was not herself a Symbolist, and the Wikipedia article says she started out painting in a rustic naturalist vein but eventually came under the influence of the pre-Raphaelites and started painting Biblical and medieval subjects in a more stylized or ornamental manner. Not surprisingly I’m most interested in her pre-Raphaelite-influenced stuff, but even in this small selection you