China’s Coronavirus Outbreak

Here’s an overview of China’s Coronavirus

Currently, leaving not only the city of Wuhan infected, but also other international cities vulnerable, China’s coronavirus is continuing to spread unabated. Patient zero appeared on December 31st last year, and the SARS-related respiratory disease quickly grew at an alarming rate. Today, this virus reached a shocking number of  42,000 confirmed infections over 28 countries. Most of the stores and businesses in China are closed, and other Asian countries closed down major department stores and places that usually hold a high population. In such, the Coronavirus became a global health concern all around the world. 

After the virus contaminated a handful of people in Wuhan, scientists and the World Health Organization were quick to identify the disease and its origin. Researchers found out that bats were New Coronavirus’ reservoir host. Although scientists are not sure how it was transmitted, they predict that it either transmitted to other animals, eventually leading up to us, or was sold in illegal black markets (as China consists of a lot of black markets for animals). 

Although scientists and the WHO were able to recognize the vaccine, the Chinese government denied proposing an action to prevent the disease from mushrooming to other countries. Due to its rapid outbreak, there were only a few ways in which the government could respond (they could only use thermometers and workers to look for potential patients). In such, people from Wuhan and other cities that had Coronavirus patients immediately took refuge in nearby countries, positioning South Asia and East Asia in danger. People were readily able to leave as it was difficult to differentiate the new Coronavirus to a regular cold. In social media, there were constant stories of how patients escaped Wuhan by taking fever-reducer drugs, indicating how easily people could get away from the government’s eye.

Currently, the control of the disease is still in the process as more confirmed patients are found all over the world. Although the world has a better grasp of what Coronavirus really is and ways to prevent it, it is still difficult due to its subtle symptoms and contagious characteristic, making everyone paranoid. To make matters worse, there has been racism against Asians from Caucasians that discriminate Chinese. People were trying to find a scapegoat for this crisis as their lives were put into danger. Korean social media is also quick to criticize foreigners from China. In addition to social issues, there have been political conflicts; for instance, many younger generations are criticizing President Moon for opening doors to Chinese tourists despite the virus. This phenomenon is happening to other countries as political parties clashed in these types of problems. Coronavirus is bringing political, social, and economic problems to our society. 

Many experts compare this crisis to that of MERS and SARS. Although this virus is less lethal than those two, its rate of contagion is much higher. The only way to keep ourselves safe is to wash our hands and wear masks. Stay safe!

Featured Image Source: Al Jazeera

-Mark Park (’20)-

The Myth, The Legend, The Cho Kuk

It has been a month since South Korea was outraged by the Cho Kuk scandal. Cho Kuk, a professor for law studies at Seoul University, was alleged with the exploitation of Kuk’s social status to help his daughter falsify her academic achievements. This provoked immense controversy as Korea has long been an academically competitive country with millions of students stressing over college admissions. This further aggravated when his family was given a travel ban due to allegations of illegal business practices, investments, and management. Despite all these debates, on September 9th, President Moon officially appointed Kuk as the Minister of Justice. Although Cho Kuk eventually stepped down, the scandal became a momentous subject to the whole nation. 

On August 27th, it was reported that about 20 locations were raided by the prosecutor’s office. The allegation was sparked off from the paper the daughter took part in an international medical research paper (Korea Journal of Pathology), listing herself as the head author, which is almost implausible for a highschool student to accomplish. Despite the fact that she failed her exams at Pusan National University twice, she not only did not get removed from the university but also got a scholarship for over six semesters (2016 to 2018). Moreover, she was accepted to Ewha medical school which triggered even more suspicion. Making matters worse, Kuk’s wife was also charged with forgery of administration documents. 

During an 11-hour long news conference, Kuk did concede to the aforementioned allegations that his daughter gained unfair advantages in her academics while maintaining that he did not violate any legislation. Within no time, students from all over Korea, including students from Seoul National University, protested against Moon’s decision and Kuk’s corrupt behaviors. Surprisingly, this incident led to a nation-wide candlelight protest against Minister Kuk, which was very similar to that of President Park’s impeachment. 

Moon’s presidency centered around the value of fairness and justness, deriving this driving value from Park’s corrupt presidency. Kuk’s scandal, however, proved that inequality still existed within this “just, established” system. Korea was once again was divided: the Democratic Party of Korea (the political party that Kuk is in) had ambivalent responses. Some had criticized Kuk and Moon while others defended him asserting that there are no illegal actions nor does Kuk’s action interfere with his role as the Minister of Justice. 

It has only been two years since Park’s presidency of threatening Korea’s democracy, yet Moon also faces massive outrage filled with protesters seeking impeachment. Cho Kuk resigned due to the massive appeal from the protests, but the heated discussion of current president Moon’s qualification still circulates around the political discussion. Was it right for Moon to impart a position to whoever he wants? Should Moon have also issued an apology or even resignation? But, most importantly, should one’s personal scandals be considered when examining his qualifications as a candidate? 

I still believe that these are the questions that should be asked in these heated political discussions. However, there is no doubt, unlike the past when corruption silenced the people’s voice, that people are more aware of their democratic rights. Citizens directly protest to their leaders if they see a flaw or exploitation in the system-an indication of a healthy democracy. Still, amends are needed in this current government. Like how President Park’s scandal dissolved into thin air, it will be only a matter of time. In such, we can only hope that this scandal prompted Korea’s democracy to be one step further and learn from its mistakes. 

-Mark Park ’20

Featured Image: The Hankyoreh

11 Netflix Shows to Binge-watch

Every weekend, you may be studying for the SAT, writing your college apps, meeting your family members, or living in a PC-bang for the whole week. However, we all know that you are going to spend at least some time on Netflix. So, here’s a list of movies to keep you entertained.

Mindhunter

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Source: IMDb

Recently premiering its second season, Mindhunter has been screening back-chilling episodes of psychological drama. Majority of the episodes were produced by David Fincher, the mastermind behind Seven, Zodiac, and other mystery thrillers. The show follows the story of a new unit from the FBI called Behavioral Science Unit as it interviews past serial killers to chase for potential ones. Shocking us with appalling scenes-such as Ed Kemper (Co-ed killer) describing his murders and Jerry Brudos (shoe-fetish killer) finding pleasure in high-heels-Mindhunter is favored by avid crime tv show junkies, delving deeper into the minds and confessions of world-famous serial killers. Although the second season does not give us the tight unsettling experience, it is still one of the most intense shows on Netflix. 

 

Black Mirror

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Source: Cnet

Gaining an avid fandom, Director Charlie Brooker’s social commentary drama quickly became one of the central and most popular shows on Netflix. Consisting of individual storylines for each episode, the show clearly depicts a skewed view of dystopian future, subtly disturbing the audience with its close resemblance to reality. In addition to its series, the Christmas special that offered a game

 

Hannibal

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Source: Vox

 

Extrapolating the framework of the storyline in Thomas Harris’s novel Red Dragon, Hannibal follows the story of the relationship between an unstable FBI agent, who is able to reconstruct murders from the crime scene, and his therapists, who is a copycat killer. Although the show illustrates one of the most gruesome murder scenes in history, the plot, performance, and visual are beautifully and elaborately constructed. It has already been 4 years since season 3 and left us in a dead-end with its cliff-hanger. Since its beginning, the series has been critically acclaimed and is still remembered as one of the best TV crime dramas. 

 

Breaking Bad

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Source: AMC

 

No matter how disconnected you are from the media, it would be a shame if you haven’t heard of this show: Breaking Bad. Accompanying the story of a high school chemistry teacher on his path to becoming one of the most infamous drug lords, the series grapples the audience with unexpected twists and turns of the plot. Although it has been more than 6 years since its season, a trailer of the sequel as a movie premiered, prompting avid fans to rewatch the whole 62 episodes. 

 

Stranger Things

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Source: NME

 

Recently returning with its third season, the nostalgic sci-fi show continues its reign as one of the most popular shows on Netflix. Set in the suburban town in its 80s, the story follows four boys, along with a girl with psychokinetic powers, investigating the world of “upside” that constantly disrupts the reality amid supernatural events. Developed with a strong and structured plotline, the show also consists of moments of nostalgia of the 80s and comedy, further enthralling the audience. 

 

American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson & The Assassination of Gianni Versace

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Source: Vanity Fair

 

Similar to the renowned series American Horror Story, the American Crime Story developed two 10 episode mini-series: the trial of O.J. Simpson and murder of Gianni Versace. Developing a story around the two of the most infamous events in America, the series is compelling enough on its own. Furthermore, the performance by actors in the first series (Cuba Gooding Jr. as Simpson and David Schwimmer as Robert Kardashian) was riveting in such that they received a 22 Emmy nominations. As captivating as the first season, the second season does not fail our expectations: it reveals an eccentric, darkly skewed characteristic of the murderer of Gianni Versace. Overall, both shows give us a new, dramatic insight into what might have happened in these global, notorious events. 

 

Dark

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Source: The New Yorker

 

As the first German Netflix Original series, Dark is a brooding and volatile sci-fi series. What might seem like a simple mystery series about a missing teenager, it takes a twist into time travel. Although the show may be dull or too convoluted when compared to other sci-fi series such as stranger things, it is because Dark has a mature storyline, illustrating how characters would react to such supernatural events in real life. 

 

Masters of None

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Source: AudNews

 

Produced by the prominent comedian Aziz Ansari, Masters of None is a light comedy show beloved by the Millenials as it follows the life of a New York-based actor who struggles to live his young and single life. While some of its scenes aim for light comedy, it delves deeper into how the world really works, instead of one-dimensional comic characters. Each episode deals with specific themes ranging from old age, racism, parents, infidelity, and more. Although this show sometimes fails to deliver both its message and comedy and consists of a narrow audience, it is worth a try. 

 

Maniac

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Source: Netflix

 

As a short 10 episode mini-series, Maniac delivers a straightforward yet skewed plot, along with trippy visuals and excellent performance by Emma Stone and Jonah Hill. Accounting the story of two strangers drawn to a mysterious pharmaceutical trial, the story digs deeper into each character’s personal issues as the experiment does not go as it is planned. Each episode focuses on the two character’s past while illustrating their bounded relationship in each realm. Although the tension of each episodes gradually dwindles, the almost-hallucinatory visuals make it up. If you are a fervent fan of trippy and eccentric visuals, it is definitely a show you should watch. 

 

Bates Motel

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Source: Netflix

 

Based on the iconic thriller Psycho, the 6-year-old television show delivers a solid and chilling plot and performance. After the death of her husband, the mother and her son moves into a small town and opens up a small hotel. Their close and intimate relationship, however,  is not normal and even harmful for each other. Expanding the plot of Psycho, it delineates how the son’s intimate bond with his mother forged him to become a serial killer. Although the scenes are not as gruesome as other serial killer series, the character’s development of an unstable mind draws the audience’s attention. 

 

Atlanta

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Source: Entertainment Weekly

 

Directed by Donald Glover (a.k.a. Rapper Childish Gambino), Atlanta is a comedy television show, following the life a Princeton drop-out working as a manager for his cousin, a rising rap star in Atlanta. It portrays how the characters navigate themselves in the jungle of Atlanta music industry. Rather than a simple music industry drama, it strongly illustrates the relationship between race and money, delving into the life of a poor black male in Atlanta. Along with its suitable soundtracks, Atlanta is an eccentric television show, as evidenced by critical acclaims and accolades. 

Featured Image: iVrox

Mark Park (’20)

Rising Artists to Watch in 2019

2018 has been a rich year for music as has expanded the limits of its genre, style, and more. With the start of 2019, learn more about who will expand and lead the music scene for this year.

The Sound is a column on all things music written by Charles Park (’20) and Mark Park (’20). -Ed.

Zacari
Zacari is a new signee of the most prominent Indie Label, Top Dawg Entertainment (TDE) which consists of artists such as Kendrick Lamar, Jay Rock, SZA, and more. Comparing himself as the “lone wolf,” Zacari delivers a new style of music—an amalgamation of Jazz, Soul, Hip-Hop, and lo-fi. The R&B singer first appeared in the public by featuring in Kendrick Lamar’s song “Love.” The song gained significant spotlight due to his mellifluous voice and unique R&B beats style. Then, he featured in the song “Redemption,” Black Panther album, one of the best Original Soundtrack for 2018 consisting of major artists such as Kendrick Lamar, Travis Scott, Khalid, and Swae lee. Recently, in 2019, he posted his first single, “Don’t Trip,” which has been on the rise for popularity in all music streaming services. The new single has already been appraised by critics, gleaming hope for his upcoming project many TDE fans.

Prominent songs: Don’t trip, Love, and Wat’s wrong

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Source:XXL Magazine

Gesaffelstein
The French DJ was already producing with major artists such as Kanye West, A$AP Rocky, Daft Punk from 2013; however, the public did not know him as he worked behind the spotlight of these artists. The recent album, “My Dear Melancholy,” by The Weekend solely features Gesaffelstein, gaining attention from the public. Following his feature, he releases a new single in collaboration with The Weekend, topping the charts. Unlike other EDM and techno artists, he carries a dark and threatening yet enchanting style of music. Finding himself in the public more than usual, many are keeping an eye on his punk-rock EDM music.

Prominent Songs: Lost in the Fire (feat. Weekend), Pursuit, Viol

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Source: BBC

XXX
The South Korean Hip-hop duo XXX-rapper Kim Ximya and producer FRNK-is an outlier in any Hip-hop scene. Rather than gaining popularity from Korea, they first caught the eye of the international community. In 2017, they were the first Koreans to feature in Maison Kitsune Fashion Show playlist for its after work exhibitions. Despite their relative silence with only two album releases, XXX is considered as one of the most subversive hip-hop groups. Working with frenetic electro beats and dark and vitriolic style, the duo continues to be on the rise while being the outlier in the music industry.

Prominent songs: Flight Attendant, Sujak, Dior Homme, and Ooh-Ahh

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Source: The Korea Herald

Aries
Starting from a home-made youtube channel that remixes popular songs, Aries only has 8 songs released, yet most of the songs were able to rack up 1 million streams on Spotify. Merging late-stage emo and modern hip-hop, his music delivers a wide range of emotion such as rage and sadness in a flip of a dime. There’s not a lot of information about Aries, yet his music is a paradigm of the current trend in rap music-emo. However, unlike Lil peep and other emo-artists, his songs feature some light moments, establishing a diverse spectrum of his style.

Prominent Songs: Carousel, Racecar, Sayonara

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Source: Youtube

Masego
Though an underground musician, Masego continues to establish a strong fan base, transforming avid, hardcore hip-hop fans into fans of jazz and soul. With his hit song, “Tadow,” Masego represents the younger generation of jazz hip-hop (as jazz was one of the most used genres in hip-hop beats by many hip hop legends). Collaborating with few R&B and unique artists such as TDE’s SiR, Masego’s style soothes out every R&B song.. Employing modern DJ sets and his iconic saxophone, his music has the elements and formula to become one of the most funk-styled artists such as Outkast.

Prominent Songs: Navajo, Pink Polo, and Tadow

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Source:Vibes

Ella Mai
With her first debut album, “Ella Mai,” two of her songs were nominated for Grammys; moreover, her song, “Boo’d up,” was considered as a ‘breakthrough hit’ by charting in the Billboards. Although Ella Mai may be considered as a typical now-days R&B singer, she is able to have the perception of 90’s heartthrob emotions with break-up anthems, soulful ballads. In other words, she was an affinity for classic R&B artists. The already bright start of her debut album illustrates the bright future of her career, hyping many R&B fans.

Prominent songs: Trip, Boo’d Up, Whatchamacallit, Everything

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Source: Billboard

Blueface
Blueface has stirred almost all hip hop community debating about his style and controversy. Coming from the Crip gang, the Los Angeles Bluface represents the younger generation of gangster rap with the mix of trap and trendy beats. The carelessness and young energy engendered by the rapper attracted many younger followers to his fanbase. Most of his beats conform to the trend; however, his offbeat flow is what catches Internet’s attention, polarizing many rappers and fans. Consequently, the stirred controversy left the young rapper in the spotlight, getting co-signs by Drake, Lil Uzi Vert, and other artists (even Kendrick Lamar took Twitter to acknowledge his young presence).

Prominent Songs: Thotiana, Bleed it, and Studio

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Source: Youtube

Colde
Appearing as the third Korean artist in the Colors Studio-an aesthetic music platform channel in Youtube-the R&B singer Colde is on the rise in the Hip-hop scene. Originally, Colde was in the OFFONOFF hip-hop duo; however, he currently came off as an independent artist, fully revealing his talents. Having a strong connection with mainstream artists such as Dean, Crush, and Punchnello, Colde continues to dominate the Korean music charts. Similar to Dean and DPR Live who both performed in the Colors Studio, Colde continues to build an international fanbase.

Prominent Songs: Your Dog Loves You, Poem, String

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Source: Pinterest

Reason
As the newest member of the indie label TDE (along with Zacari), the Compton native Reason is one of the most anticipated rapper this year. His debut album, “There You Have It,” fully divulges his true rhyming skills, accounting his life story of how his come-up from Compton. Similar to major artists in TDE such as Jay Rock and Kendrick Lamar, Reason excels in telling his success story and the struggles of his neighborhood.

Prominent songs: Better Dayz, Situations, and There You Have it

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Source: Rolling Out

2018 has already been a bright year for avid hip-hop and R&B fans. Rising artists topping Billboard hits with singles, not to mention old artists making a come back to the music industry. There are a handful of others that deserve this title and achieved more last year (such as all the members in 88rising Entertainment) yet these artists seem to hold the most amount of potential. All of them holds the prospect of being able to expand the limits of music.

Featured Image Source: Complex

Mark Park (’20)

Doubt in Kanye West’s Redemption

The Sound is a column on all things music written by Charles Park (’20) and Mark Park (’20). -Ed.

Whether or not if you’ve been following the news or music, most people know that Kanye West is one of the most controversial entertainment figures today. The past years have been a rough road for his fans, shocking them from his advocacy for Trump, from problematic tweets, and from the defense of problematic artists. Despite his sincere and apologetic reflection addressed in his latest album, “ye,” and the address of his unstable mental health, all is not forgiven. He still faces criticism from the majority, finding himself as the most polarizing artist last year.

From the absurd comments such as “Slavery is a choice,” and “George Bush doesn’t care about Black people,” Kanye lost everything: he jeopardized his marriage with Kim Kardashian,  lost one of his closest friend, Don C, and, most importantly, disheartened all of his fans. In an interview with 107.5 WGCI Chicago, Kanye West breaks down into tears on his so-called “downfall” and struggles with his mental health issues. He wholeheartedly apologizes to everyone for his comments, insinuating that his struggles with mental illness drove him to this problematic state. This became a tearful moment for many, prompting people to assume that this was the turning point: a redemption for Kanye West.

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Source: DJ Booth

West started his redemption in the later half of 2018. His latest album, “ye,” truly reveals his raw emotions and insecurities in this whole tumult. Unveiling the rationales of his questionable beliefs-his unstable mental health-Kanye tries his best to reach out to those who were damaged from his comments. Kim Kardashian also tried to control the damage by referring his tweets as a form of “therapy” for his mental illness-schizophrenia. As an ultimate apology, he tweets, “My eyes are now wide open and now realize I’ve been used to spread messages I don’t believe in. I am distancing myself from politics and completely focusing on being creative !!!” The sole belief of Kanye distancing himself from Trump and political opinion sounds ridiculous; however, it did sound plausible as he was working on his new album. This promise still satisfied what everyone wanted: enjoying his music without any hatred against his words. So, fans started to hope that the “old Kanye” would return in 2019, redeeming himself as one of the legendary rap-stars in the 2000s.

Unfortunately, his promise broke this year, unable to contain that “dragon energy” he kept during his album workshop. In January, West posted his first tweet: “One of my favorite of many things about what the Trump hat represents to me is that people can’t tell me what to do because I’m black.” This, again, devastated his fans, failing all anticipation that everyone has hoped from his real self. Kanye, blind to the world that Trump envisions, continued to ignore the voices from the community that he once supported.

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Source: Tone Deaf

The only thing that we could really hope for is West to redeem himself in 2019 as there are plenty of opportunities. For instance, the new album, “Yandhi” is a sequel to his past albums, suggesting he maybe could go back to his past self. Furthermore, he plans to have “Sunday Services,” wherein he hosts religiously themed concerts by adding gospel vibes to his songs. Although this news shines no definite light on his comeback efforts, these suggest positive things that we could hope for.

Throughout his whole career, Kanye always was put in the spotlight with either quality music or unexpected behaviors. So, the ultimate question is whether we separate the artist from his or her work. Personally, I do enjoy listening to some songs produced by controversial artists as my playlist are filled with them such as XXXTentacion, Kanye West, Famous Dex, Chris Brown, and more; however, it is a guilty pleasure. I do acknowledge the wrong in supporting these controversial artists. Others outright dismiss their music, condemn them in social media, and more. It’s a difficult question to be had.

Almost everyone has a song or two by Kanye West, Chris Brown, Dr.Dre, or even David Bowie in their playlist. So here is a slightly different perspective. Perhaps, actions that we take for our ethical concerns are not the best for us. Rather, the incomplete rectitude and guilty enjoyment to their music help us better understand the complicated world we live in and lets us become more self-aware. Ultimately, whether we like it or not, these artists will always pop up in the “recommended” lists for our playlists, and it is up to us on how we take responsibility. A song or two from these artists in our playlists would not change their whole career, but we should still condemn these artists for their outrageous behaviors but while giving them a second chance at the same time. 

– Mark Park ‘20

Featured Image: USA Today

PC Bang Murder: Millennials’ Lack of Anger Management

On October 14th, a PC Bang part time worker was brutally stabbed to death by a customer due to his bad service, yet his punishment has been mitigated, sparking a nationwide controversy in Korea.

On October 14th, Kim Sung Soo, a mentally ill patient diagnosed with impulse disorder, a 29-year-old, repeatedly stabbed a PC Bang part-time worker to death. Although this murder happened more than a week before, it still has shaken everyone into terror, reminding that it could happen to anyone, anywhere. This tragic incident has sparked nationwide controversy in Korea, consisting of hot debates on mental illness and its relation to violent crimes. Netizens have voiced further concerns on the government’s lack of management in mental health.

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Source:Ohmynews

According to surveillance footage, Sung Soo asked the worker to clean his cigarette buds and food plates before he goes to the bathroom. Although the worker did not clean it when he came back, he did eventually clean it up in order to end the small quarrel. However, because of the “bad service,” Sung Soo asked to reduce the fees while verbally abusing the worker. His brother and the victim called the police, stating, “This is the PC Bang, there’s a customer here who keeps cursing. I would like you to come here and do something.” When the cops came, they deemed the fight to be nothing pernicious, thus, left the scene after 15 minutes. As the conflict escalated, Sung Soo left the PC Bang and came back with a knife, threatening to kill the worker. Witnesses started to call the police, describing that the suspect was continuously stabbing the victim while his brother held on to the victim. When help came, the victim died from the injuries of his wounds.

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Source:JTBC

Right after the case hit the news, the role of his brother was put into the spotlight, questioning his intentions of holding the victim. The ambiguity of his actions perplexed the Netizens, prompting to speculate various theories. When the suspect was interviewed, he strongly denied the malicious intentions of his brother, arguing that he made the killing more “difficult.” Still, some believe his brother grabbed him in order to attest his innocence while helping the suspect; on the other hand, others asserted that his brother was completely innocent and maintained good intentions in his actions. Currently, his brother does not hold accountable for the murder but still faces outside controversy.

More than 800,000 citizens signed an online petition attesting against the mitigation of Sung Soo’s punishment due to mental illness (the number of signatures passes the minimum number-20,000 signatures in order to propel a formal response from the president). The petitioner for this case acknowledged Sung Soo’s depressive tendencies from his formal medication but have condemned the system, criticizing “when will this country stop reducing charges against criminals who claim to have depression or mental problems.”

Although the criminal justice system may seem like the sole problem, Korea’s mental health administration should be considered as the bigger flaw of the government. According to Korean Police statistics, one-third of the violent crimes are derived from accidental anger rages, depicting lack of anger management for many Korean citizens. Furthermore, the number of patients with impulse disorder has increased 21.3 percent compared to 5 years ago. This problem has yet to be recognized since there has been no call for action against these dangerous emotional tendencies.

Currently, the mitigation of Kim Sung Soo’s punishment is still hotly debated, questioning if it is acceptable to forgive these violent tendencies from someone who has an impulsive disorder. Although it is necessary to comprehend these disorders as natural incidents, the Korean government cannot mitigate any more “accidental” crimes. Many of these “accidental” and violent crimes are derived from small disorders that could be cured. Thus, it is unacceptable to pardon for mild emotional disorders. On the other hand, crimes caused by severe mental disorders such as schizophrenia should have alleviated punishments. It is apparent that these boundaries are indefinite-the main dispute for this case between among politicians. Therefore, there is only one thing that everyone could say: It matters case by case. The government must deal each case with a basic principle/law, constructing and amending their criteria as they judge more suspects.

So, what’s the case for Kim Sung Soo? Does he run along the lines of severity? Is it his burden to control his emotions when he is diagnosed to be incapable of it? Coming to the final conclusion, a mitigation would not compromise Kim’s deeds as he embodies a feeble mental disorder-impulse disorder. It is at his responsibility to care for himself, including medication and therapy appointments. He has failed to uphold this obligation, thus, bringing the consequences to himself. But what about his brother? In brutal honesty, it is nearly impossible to hold his brother accountable due to the lack of evidence. Despite this mystery, everyone must wait until another tragedy is reported, deemed as “accidental murder,” in order to see if his brother embodies that same sanity.

Featured Image: KBS

– Mark Park (‘20)

Why is Korean food cheaper than Western?

Why is the Korean menu at our cafeteria cheaper than the Western menu? It’s something we’ve all accepted as a given, but it presents no obvious answer. Like, why do Japanese Ramen cost 500 won more than Jjajang Rice?

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Since the displacement of JJ catering, Hyundai food has been able to execute better quality of food than JJ did (in my personal opinion). There’s always three choices of food during lunch, and it is always an indecision for most people. Whether it’s the quality, the quantity of the food, or the length of the line, everyone’s choice was impersonal and varied. Yet, the cost of the food was invariable: Korean meal being 4800 won while Western meal being 5300 won. Despite the 500 won difference, it was important for us to discover the truth behind the costs.

Throughout our research, we faced multiple leading questions: Which food was more popular? Which food was easier to make? Which food consisted of minimal materials? It even led us to question if there was a bias between Korean and Western from the lunch ladies. Western cuisines may be harder for the lunch ladies to cook. However, these factors did not come into the calculations of costs according to the KIS Hyundai Food management. Specifically, they appointed the factor of disparity between the costs, simply, as ingredients.

Historically, Korea has had a reliance on foreign capital and foreign resources for its modernization, beginning with projects like the Saemaul Movement or even the Miracle on the Han. So it’s no surprise that the Korean economy, specifically in regards to agriculture, is largely dependent on import. Bananas. Salmon. Tomato. None of these are native to Korea, and yet they’re all ubiquitous in any supermarket.

Only prominent for its fertilized food and rice, Korea lacked agriculture of major ingredients to our daily meals, prompting them to import foreign goods in order to meet the population demand. Korea has initiated 45 free trade agreements, effectively connecting it with 70% of the world economy, and our trade deficit for agri-food and seafood as of 2017 is 21 billion USD. So when you eat that spaghetti or burger, chances are, it’s all imported, at possibly a marginally higher cost than the Korean Cuisines. Although the servings for Korean menu may be larger than those of Western food, the cost of the imports for the ingredients in Western food still outweighs the that of ingredients for Korean dishes.

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Lunch probably is the favorite time of the period for most of the people. What we eat in lunch decides how we are going to spend the second half of the day. There’s always three menus, prompting us to think for at least a minute or two. So, what’s a better choice? We can’t be sure. But that 500 won could be a waste of money or a significant boost in your day. It’s always up to you.

-Mark Park (’20) (Co-written with Charles Park)

Featured Image: KIS Website

Hip-hop: the Safe Haven for Domestic Violence

As much as we love rap, controversy always trailed rap’s trend. For more than a decade, Hip-hop has served as a political medium for representation of their community, proving to the world the power of free speech. However, trending artists brought domestic abuse and physical assault as a norm in the Rap Scene, aggravating rap’s image.

The Sound is a column on all things music written by Charles Park (’20) and Mark Park (’20). -Ed.

As much as we love rap, Hip-hop has perpetually related to violence. Hip-hop is starting to become a major division in the music industry; it has expanded the scope of influence. The genre was not only a culture enjoyed by the black communities, but it also became a part of a global trend. At least 40% of the songs are categorized as Hip-hop in the Billboard charts; Hip-hop has become the most popular genres in all streaming services.

Assaults and domestic violence in Hip-hop started in the 1990’s with Dr.Dre’s assaults on Dee Barnes. The allegation has put Dr.Dre in the spotlight, damaging his rising career. From the Rolling Stones interview in 1991, he was notoriously unapologetic to Barnes, saying “I just did it, you know. Ain’t nothing you can do now by talking about it. Besides, it ain’t no big thing, I just threw her through a door.” From the recent Netflix documentary, “The Defiant Ones” and other movies based on Dr. Dre, they have censored his assault of Dee Barnes which the allegations resurfaced again. Later on, Barnes accepted Dr. Dre’s apology which was directed after “The Defiant Ones”. There were only a few rappers who were accused of domestic assaults such as Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, and more in the past.

 

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Rapper Kodak Black (Source: Youtube)

Throughout the recent years, trending rappers always have faced charges for their violent behavior, yet, their controversy never stopped their rise. For instance, Rapper Kodak Black was convicted of a first-degree sexual assault charge on a teenage girl. While it brought harsh criticisms from the community, his songs from Spotify and other streaming services still gained popularity during that time. Similarly, rapper Famous Dex was caught on camera assaulting his girlfriend. Although XXL Magazine snubbed him from the Freshman list, he already gained 1 million streams from Spotify in a week from his debut album “Dex Meets Dexter.” As Hip-hop continues to grow and influence other trending genres, this violent pattern of behavior has entered into designers too- more specifically streetwear. Designer A$AP Bari faced domestic abuse controversy when he posted himself hitting his girlfriend on social media. Bari faced many criticisms from other colleagues, including his own teammates, A$AP Rocky. Even though his career was damaged, his fashion brand, Vlone, is still one of the most popular brands in streetwear. It seems as if the rap community views the artist and his or her songs differently, disregarding the artist’s action when evaluating their music.

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XXXTENTACION Donating to Charity (Source: The Blast)

There is still positivity that flows in Hip-hop as the genre gives room for redemption. One of the most popular rappers was the South Florida rapper, XXXTentacion (Rest In Peace Jahseh Onfroy). He was faced with seven felony charges including kicking his pregnant girlfriend while he was gaining massive popularity from the free music streaming base, Soundcloud. In early 2017, XXXTentacion was held for 8 more charges for witness tampering. All throughout 2017 and 2018, XXXTentacion has stirred controversy of constant assaults of his fans, yet, his music always charted in several streaming services. However, in late 2017, XXXTentacion started to redeem himself by starting donations challenges for orphanages and spreading positivity through his new music. His album “17” and “?” deals with depression from his actions, bringing critical acclaims of his messages and how it has saved many lives. Onfroy continued to redeem themselves, helping people in need, until his tragic end. Still, more than a handful of people protest against his music due to his past events. Therefore, it brings to the question: Should people be given second chances?

Hip-hop was always under the spotlight for its perpetual relationship with domestic violence and physical assault. The new generation of rappers is constantly troubled with allegations for sexual assault and physical harm as they create music that focuses on themselves rather than the struggles of black communities. Such controversial cases should taint their career, yet it only seems to boost their profits and confidence.

As much as I love Hip-hop, I do really see a problematic pattern within the community. Even though I know their controversial past behaviors, I still listen to these rappers such as Famous Dex, Kodak Black, or XXXTentacion. Honestly, Hip-hop is a controversial genre despite its great significance in today’s society. But if we were to only listen to those who uphold the behaviors we support (not only Hip-hop), half of our playlists should be deleted.  I’m not saying we should support these controversial behaviors, but I wanted to convey that it’s a difficult choice to make on how we judge the artists. We just have to hope for the best that these artists on our playlists do the right thing.

Featured Image: The Daily Beast

-Mark Park (’20)

The Rebirth of Neo-Soul

Neo-soul has been on the rise again after its decline in the last decade. With the reappearance of this genre in many mainstream songs, it is important to know the current trend of neo-soul and its emerging artists.

The Sound is a column on all things music written by Charles Park (’20) and Mark Park (’20). -Ed.

Neo-soul originated in the late 1980’s as few artists started to deviate away from contemporary R&B by incorporating other genres of music. Neo-soul (neo meaning new) is an alternative version of soul, blending in more genres such as R&B, Hip-hop, and Jazz. It has always been difficult to differentiate Neo-soul and alternative R&B as they consist of similar elements of music. Neo-Soul is derived from 1970’s style of Hip-hop with Soul R&B while contemporary R&B originates from more pop funk genres. However, in current music industry, both genres are treated the same as there is no clear line of definition that separates the two genres.

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Lauryn Hill (Source:Twitter)

As neo-soul started to gain popularity in the underground music, prominent artists such as Prince, Joi, and Maxwell started the ‘neo-soul’ movement. In the 1990s, popular artists, such as D’Angelo, Erykah Badu, and Lauryn Hill integrated neo-soul into other genres. Throughout the 2000s, neo-soul reached its apex as these artists brought neo-soul into the light of mainstream music; soon, the genre established its identity in the music industry. However, the genre quickly died out due to its rise of Southern Hip-hop. Throughout the last decade, only a few neo-soul artists entered the mainstream industry such as John Legend, Frank Ocean, and Bilal. Its popularity declined in the mainstream music until 2017 when a few artists started to categorize their music as ‘neo-soul’ again.

 

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Source:Chicago Reader

 

It all started with Frank Ocean, releasing his sophomore album, Blond. Although he released his first album, Channel Orange, in 2012, gaining high appraisals, Channel Orange was considered contemporary R&B. On the other hand, Blond was a neo-soul album, influenced from the works of Erykah Badu and D’angelo. Ocean was able to create a more unique style of neo-soul, emphasizing the story and lyrics-which is what soul is about. Songs such as ‘Nike’ and ‘Nights’ have been able to explore the more diverse genre of music with auto-tunes and eclectic beats, expanding the types of Neo-soul.

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Source:Genius

Unlike Ocean’s style, Daniel Caesar’s music consists of simple guitar and gospel beats. The Toronto-based Soul singer is on the rise as he delivers the traditional vibe of neo-soul. With the recent release of his album, Freudian, he instantly became one of the most popular R&B/Soul artists. The full-length album was able to deliver the contemporary version of Gospel songs as their similar tempos and lyrical themes gave the audience a new feeling. Although the album is more shifted towards contemporary R&B, the integration of vocal elements and gospel music can be identified as a new type of soul music.

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Many R&B artists started to consider their work as neo-soul because the genre was able to integrate other types of music. One significant genre that has been a catalyst to neo-soul’s popularity is Hip-hop. Throughout the evolution of neo-soul, it is apparent that the relationship between neo-soul and hip-hop has been firmly established with artists such as D’Angelo and Lauryn Hill. In the recent release of Tyler the Creator’s fourth studio album, Flower Boy, it introduced the mainstream audience into a more alternative version of R&B and neo-soul. Featuring new soul and R&B artists, Tyler the Creator utilized a diverse genre of beats such as funk, jazz fusion, and electric blues. From its remarkable composition of the music, it is important to recognize some of featuring artists as they were the ones who led the trends of neo-soul.

Known as an indie pop and neo-soul artist, Rex Orange County has been gaining popularity from his vibrant and intricate beats. Having released only two albums, Rex Orange County has explored the genres of fusion jazz, *lo-fi, *indie-pop, and funk, showing the flexibility of his style into different genres. Over the past two years, he has shown how diverse neo-soul can be in the styles of music that he has created.

Another artist that has brought neo-soul to the mainstream genre is Kali Uchis. Her soothing voice from Tyler’s song, ‘See You Again’ has gained her popularity. Currently, she has only released one song, featuring Tyler the Creator, which has been highly appraised of its mixture in jazz and electric funk while it was able to blend well with Tyler’s hard rap.

A final artist that has brought neo-soul to the mainstream genre is Steve Lacy. From his demo EP, made mostly from his iPhone, Lacy has created higher expectations for his upcoming album with his rap group, The Internet. His first project shows the audience the classic Southern California funk and soul. As a rising artist, Lacy brought attention to a more funk-styled soul with electric lo-fi* pop, expanding the fan base for neo-soul and indie* pop.

Neo-soul has been a vaguely defined genre throughout the music industry due to its ephemeral popularity in the mainstream industry.  But as more artists have been popularizing this genre, neo-soul can be integrated into any types of music. There are more artists that have continued the legacy of neo-soul other than from this list (such as Solange, Aloe Blac, Emlei Sande), but they have already been famed for their unique styles. As these emerging artists expand the diversity of this genre, make sure to listen to their songs before they hit the charts.

*Lo-fi: A sub-genre of music that is recorded with the lower quality compared to urban mainstream standards. Lo-Fi, meaning “low-fidelity”, highlights the imperfection of the artist’s quality, having a more artistic effect (such as Do-It-Yourself trends).

Ex: Beck, Pavement, XXXTentacion

*Indie-pop: A music genre that combines guitar pop with the style of mainstream pop music.  

Ex: Lana Del-Ray, The xx, Lorde

Featured Image Source: Kubashi

-Mark Park (’20)

The Alternatives of Energy Drink

Energy drinks have always been our first choice when we’ve been stuck in an afternoon slump. Despite its effective impact, let’s consider some other choices that energizes us without killing ourselves with caffeine.

To many of us, energy drinks are our lifeblood. Whether it’d be to stay up all night in preparation for a test, or, in my case, to compensate for fatigue after a sporting event, I’ve always been an avid consumer of the Red Bull brand. I know the harmful effects of drinking energy drinks, but I just cannot go through the week without a can of Red Bull. Just for health reasons, I tried quitting for two weeks. But I couldn’t even last a week without a Redbull. From then, I realized the severity of my addiction for energy drinks.

Looking for ways to reduce my intake for Red bull, I tried out other drinks in order to forget my addiction to energy drinks. So, here are some of the drinks/food that I have tried in order to reduce my dosage of caffeine.

Coffee:

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Source:Healthline

A cup of pure black coffee can be the starting step of quitting Red Bull. Coffee is considered as the Red Bull in the morning due to its high dosage of caffeine When comparing to a can of Red Bull, 250ml of coffee consists of 80 milligrams of caffeine; however, coffee does not have sugar or other dangerous chemicals such as Inositol (a chemical that boosts the mood of the brain). Therefore, coffee can easily become a healthy choice for avid Red Bull drinkers. Personally, I don’t prefer coffee because of its sharp taste (mainly Americano). Furthermore, softer coffee drinks such as Caramel Macchiato or Hazelnut latte doesn’t give me enough boost as it was only sugary. (Instant coffee has the least amount of caffeine while Brewed Coffee and Espresso has the most).

Protein Shakes:

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Source:BrainMD

Inside Red bull, there are  100 milligrams of Taurine which is an amino acid that acts as an antioxidant, stimulating the muscles to offer better performances (to simply put it, Taurine gives you protein). There are no current research on the effects of Taurine, but the Food and Drug Administration concluded that there were no negative effects of Taurine from the death of caffeine overdose. In order to find a similar function as Taurine in Red Bull, Protein shakes seem to do the job. Many athletes drink protein shakes or water with amino acid powder in order to supplement their protein levels and rehabilitate their muscles. Therefore, if you drink energy drinks after a fatiguing sports practice, protein shakes can be an excellent replacement. I usually drink protein shakes after a sport rather than a need for caffeine during studying.

Green & Black Tea:

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Source:Herbs

About 250 mL of green tea consists of 40 milligrams of caffeine which is half the amount of Red Bull. Although tea may a hard alternative to replace Red Bull, theoretically, if you drink 500 mL of green tea, you will have the similar boosting effects. Green teas are natural antioxidants that reduce the formation of cells aging and increases dopamine which has anti-anxiety effects. Rather than the jittery feeling of Red Bull, Green tea calms your mind down while improving brain function and cognitive ability. Despite its proven benefits, I personally do not prefer tea because of its weak taste. Many people around have recommended tea, but I just couldn’t replace red bull with green tea.

Pepsi/Coca cola:

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Source:Times

Despite its massive sugar intake, Coca Cola and Pepsi consists of 30-40 milligrams of caffeine which can be a better alternative than Red Bull for energy.  I have seen people addicted to Coca Cola but truthfully, its effect is less harmful than of Red Bulls. However, for healthy purposes, carbonated drinks with less sugar will be preferred as the dosage of caffeine is similar to the original drinks.

Caffeine Gums (Run Gums, GU Energy Chews):

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Source:Trend Hunter

Sometimes drinking Red Bull can be too much with its large sugar intake; therefore, with similar caffeine levels, caffeinated gums seem to be the perfect replacement of energy drinks although it is hard to reduce its intake of caffeine. Although it is not common to see in Korean convenience stores, you can easily order it from the Internet. Due to its small dose of sugar, the caffeine gum tends to have a bitter taste as soon as the sweetness is dissolved. Often times, caffeine gums can be the perfect replacement for Red Bull. I have only tried this once, and my expectations lived up as it had the similar effects of Red Bull. Personally, I strongly suggest this in order to avoid the massive sugar intake. However, after few minutes of intensive chewing, I easily lost the sugary taste.

Ultimately, will these alternatives stop me from chugging a Red Bull almost every day? Probably not. But at the same time, I think that addressing the health risks, and knowing what I’m putting into my body is an important lesson. These alternatives can at least be a help to reduce my Red Bull addiction. For now, I’ll have to perpetuate the trope of Korean high school students with mild caffeine addictions.

Featured Image: Liquor.com

-Mark Park (’20)