Friday, February 21, 2020

ah, Daegu. Daegu, Daegu, Daegu.

I'm glad I was in Daegu for only a year. The weird accents were hard to understand. My boss at the university was a micromanager on a power trip. Some of my fellow faculty members were good eggs, but some turned out to be raging dickheads, including one constantly self-aggrandizing professor who, while drunk, lewdly catcalled one of my students on the street. My point is that Daegu is a nice place to visit, maybe, but I wouldn't want to live there. My year in Daegu was basically preparation for my happy return to Seoul—a twelve-month-long interlude between life in America and life back in Korea.

Daegu has made the news again, and unsurprisingly, it's not for a good reason: a strange Christian sect called Shincheonji (New Heaven and Earth) now seems to be the epicenter for a sudden spike in the number of confirmed COVID-19 infections in South Korea: a 60-some-year-old woman, who attended worship services in the Daegu area, has been labeled a "superspreader" of the virus. Korea's number of COVID-infected patients shot up by 100, boosting Korea's total to 204 (as of this writing). Here's a DW News video about Korea:

I still maintain that South Korea has been doing, and will continue to do, an excellent job of managing the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Information is being disseminated promptly and routinely; the virus is the talk of the town, as I constantly hear when I'm in an elevator and listening to a mother talk with her child about the problem. Every Korean is using the English term "coronavirus," albeit with a Korean accent. Will South Korea succumb to a pandemic? Will we see desperate runs on grocery stores as people panic? Will there be mass violence as people become unhinged in the face of a microscopic threat? I seriously doubt it. As I marveled during the Park Geun-hye demonstrations, Koreans can be loud, fractious, and disorderly, but they are also capable of impressive displays of civilized behavior that would put America and Americans to shame. I think this country will weather the current problem just fine. I don't, however, have the same confidence about China, which may end up losing a very small but significant chunk of its population.

Have you heard the slew of Captain Trips jokes? They've gone positively viral.

ADDENDUM: here's a video of a brave woman in China who calls out the Chinese government for its malfeasance and ineptitude regarding COVID-19 and other matters. You might want to turn your volume down low: the woman gets rather... passionate:

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