Curtis File

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July Yonhap: Hanwoo farmers worried about uncertain market

SEOUL, July 2 (Yonhap) — Kim Kee-Seong has operated a small ranch with about 100 prized Hanwoo cattle in the Hoengseong countryside in Gangwon Province, about 137 kilometers east of Seoul, for the past 30 years. Housed in pens just a few yards from his front porch, the cows are close to the farmer, now well into his 60s, both literally and figuratively.

“I grew up on a farm in Hoengseong,” he says. “These cows are my livelihood and they represent a tradition for my family and for all of Korea.”
Indeed, the free-range Hanwoo cattle are extolled by government organizations and citizens alike for being of much higher quality and taste than their factory-farmed American cousins.

When asked what makes the Hanwoo meat so tender, the 165-centimeters-tall farmer cracks a smile and says, “It’s a secret. But I’ll say that it’s 50 percent good breeding and 50 percent the raising process.” When it comes time to talk about the business though, Kim gets more serious.

Read more at: Hanwoo farmers worried about uncertain market


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May Yonhap: Urban explorers find life in abandoned spaces

SEOUL, May 23 (Yonhap) — Broken glass and splintered wood crunch underfoot as Yangban Tal weaves his way through a cramped alley. Armed with a camera and a Korean mask, from which he draws his pseudonym, he’s come to a small cluster of abandoned traditional Korean homes, called hanok, to photograph, explore, and document urban decay and growth across Seoul.

For the last eight years since his arrival in Seoul, Yangban Tal, a 33-year-old writer and photographer, has been leading the urban exploration community throughout Korea.

At the heart of it is his ongoing photo series featuring traditional Korean masks, which commoners used to mock the aristocracy, juxtaposed with urban decline across the country. He also organizes meet-ups and connects with other artists and explorers across the country.

Read more at: Urban explorers find life in abandoned spaces


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April Yonhap: For world’s most wired country, breaking Internet monopoly is hard

SEOUL, April 16 (Yonhap) — Nine years ago when Kim Kee-chang came back to his native country of South Korea, he had no idea he was coming back to start a tech war. But when he booted up Linux on his computer something strange happened: he couldn’t use Korean Web sites.

“Basically I couldn’t do anything,” said Kim, the founder of OpenWeb, an organization dedicated to expanding web accessibility in Korea. “Pages were not adequately displayed on the screen, links didn’t work, menus didn’t work. Nothing worked.”

Kim had discovered a glitch in an otherwise perfect system: for all intents and purposes, South Korea had become a slave to Internet Explorer and, by extension, Microsoft. It’s a problem that Kim believes is rooted in pride; pride that has had damaging effects to Korea’s Internet culture.

Read the rest at: For world’s most wired country, breaking Internet monopoly is hard