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Archive for June, 2008

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Mad Cow Disease Or…?

Saturday, June 28th, 2008

The demonstrators are still at it in South Korea, I see on CNN tonight.

When I was in Hanoi this month I was sitting on the front steps of my guesthouse waiting for a van to take me on a day trip when all of a sudden a tall, young good looking guy appeared at my side. He was obviously Asian, but never knowing if you are talking to an American, or an Asian from some other country, I asked where he was from. South Korea he said. Then we traded travel stories.  He is traveling long-term.   He has excellent English and is obviously well-educated. Hmmm, well-to-do, I thought. He wissoft-spoken…not anything like his older countrymen that I have come across.  I said that I had noticed that a lot of South Koreans weren’t happy these days. He laughed. Oh, yeah, he said, we don’t like your country selling your beef to us. But, I said, we aren’t getting sick from Mad Cow Disease. Then we get down to it.

South Korea has a strong long-held tradition of dissent. My son’s best friend, Mike, who lived in Seoul for 10 years teaching English told me once that many young demonstrators are paid by in-country interest groups, like the many unions, to demonstrate. Every week almost, there is a demonstration against something…they’ve got it down to an art, he said once.

However, in this case South Koreans are not so much unhappy with the U.S. as they are with their own new President. He has disappointed them. He is not conforming to the will of the people on many issues, my friend in Hanoi said. Like why do we have to buy beef from the U.S. which competes with our own farmers. And your beef is more expensive than ours. Why does our president have to do everything the U.S. wants? Seems his new president is a little too chummy with us. You wouldn’t know this from listening to the media reports in the U.S. But, he said, we have a soft spot in our hearts for you Americans because you defended us in the Korean War. Then we talked about how the U.S. wants a lot of things from many countries. Then his van arrived. I have to go, he said, as we shook hands and said goodbye. As he darted for his ride, he looked back and said, “I don’t want to leave you!” Of course I loved that conversation! This is one of the great moments when traveling.

Instant Run-off Voting

Thursday, June 19th, 2008

Wikipedia says instant Run-off voting is a voting system used for single-winner elections in which voters have one vote and rank candidates in order of preference. If no candidate receives a majority of first preference rankings, the candidate with the fewest number of votes is eliminated and that candidate’s votes redistributed to the voters’ next preferences among the remaining candidates. This process is repeated until one candidate has a majority of votes among candidates not eliminated. The term “instant runoff” is used because IRV is said to simulate a series of run-off elections tallied in rounds, as in an exhaustive ballot election.

Sounds good to me! What do you think?

Return To Oregon

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008
After 19 hours traveling from Bangkok to Tokyo to Portland, I am finally home...of course still waking up at night and napping during the day...a vicious cycle. This is what I have come home to: Retired Major General Antonio Taguba, who investigated ... [Continue reading this entry]

Joshua Visits His Mother

Saturday, June 7th, 2008
Well, enough of politics and the weariness of world crises. When I couldn't get a visa for a three day trip to Burma (should have used a travel agent instead of going to the embassy myself) and to keep from losing ... [Continue reading this entry]

19th Anniversary of Tiananmen Massacre

Wednesday, June 4th, 2008
The world must not forget. China's Grief, Unearthed June 4, 2008 By Ma Jian FOR three days last month, China’s national flag flew at half-staff in Tiananmen Square to honor the victims of the devastating earthquake in Sichuan. It was the first time in ... [Continue reading this entry]

Doctors Without Borders & Burma

Wednesday, June 4th, 2008
Aid to Burma Wednesday June 4 Press Conference with Doctors Without Borders Foreign Correspondent's Club of Thailand in Bangkok Question: How many people still need help? Answer: Cannot estimate people who still need help...there are little huts among many little rivers...don't know what was a ... [Continue reading this entry]