Categories
Asia

Why is South Korea more advanced and successful than China?

The premise is debatable. Let’s take an unbiased look at the achievements of each country in the last 20 years:

China since 1999:

-Has lifted millions out of poverty

-Sustained enormous YoY GDP growth under Hu Jintao and Xi Jinping

-Hosted their first Olympics

-Rose up to surpass Japan as the world’s second largest economy

-Has technologically caught up to both Japan and SK with high speed bullet trains, 5G wireless technology and smartphone technology

-Now has the world’s second largest military budget after the USA

-Dominated the economically developing world with initiatives in SE asia, middle east + africa with the 1B1R initiative

-Owns a significant portion of the Hollywood industry: Legendary Pictures for example is wholly owned by a Chinese company

-Boasts the world’s second largest tech startup scene after Silicon Valley in the USA

-Has the world’s second most billionaires after the USA

-Chinese brands like Lenovo, Huawei, Oppo, Xiaomi, ZTE, DJI, Hisense, etc have risen up and overtaken Korean/Japanese brands

-Approval rate of Xi Jinping at over 85%

-China global approval rating has surpassed the USA China’s global approval rating has surpassed the U.S.

South Korea since 1999:

-GDP/capita remains the fourth highest in Asia, after Singapore, Japan and ROC (Taiwan)

-Economy was hugely impacted by the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis; since then the economy has been growing but at a far slower rate than China has

-Technology wise, Samsung and LG have overtaken Japanese brands Sharp, Sony, Panasonic, JVC, Pioneer, Toshiba, Fujitsu, NEC etc and essentially pushed them out of the market. Hyundai and Kia have caught up to Toyota, Honda and Nissan with regards to quality perception.

-Continues to develop great public infrastructure, the fastest internet speeds in the world and free public wifi anywhere Every public place in Seoul will have free WiFi by 2017

-Minimum wage increased but unemployment rate, especially for the youth, continues to lag behind other developed countries

-Startup scene in South Korea is still quite anemic due to the remnants of the conservative Chaebol culture which continues to dominate the South Korea work industry; this makes it wary for investors to offer venture capital, and more difficult for small companies to compete which leads to the unemployment rate situation above

-Moon Jae In (President of SK) approval rating at a mere 45% Moon’s approval ratings at 45% after 2 years in office – Koreans have rarely sustained high approval ratings for their Presidents due to corruption, scandals, and the generally more conservative society

-Korean entertainment scene has exploded and KPop and KDramas and ‘Hallyu’ has made Korea into one of the most popular entertainment juggernauts in the world

So back to the OP’s question, is South Korea really more advanced and successful than China? Perhaps in only a few areas.

-GDP/Capita -> China is catching up on this front, but the reason SK had a huge head start is because they had a market economy for 2 decades longer than China did, and because SK was one of the four East Asian Tigers (all small East Asian countries), it developed very fast in the 70s-90s, China had to struggle under the Mao era for 2 decades.

-Entertainment industry -> China’s heavy handed approach to censorship kind of handicaps them in this area, but China’s entertainment industry is mostly domestic focused. They have such a big domestic market that they don’t need to export that industry yet. South Korea on the other hand, has to export in order to survive, and they’ve perfected the art of marketing to foreigners at this point, which is why they have succeeded so well with their Hallyu industry. It’s worth to mention that China owns many Hollywood studios as well, which also means they don’t need to necessarily export their own movies; they can just leverage Hollywood movies to make money.

In the economic, business and technology sense, China has caught up and/or exceeded Korea.

Categories
General

Goal finally achieved – and 2015: Year in Review

First of all, some updates:

-Fallout 4, Starcraft II Legacy of the Void, and Just Cause 3 are amazing games (and Hearthstone league of explorers to a smaller extent). I beat the campaign in all of them.
-PS Vita games Persona 4 Dancing All night and Steins Gate were two of my favorite stories yet! Yeah I know right, how can a rhythm game have a good story? Well Atlus never fails to deliver. Steins Gate is probably my favorite visual novel yet, involving time travel, an old IBM computer, conspiracy theories, and John Titor. Kept me hooked throughout my Eastern Europe trip. I really enjoyed the anime too, it was fantastic!
Yakuza 5 man, its finally out!! I played Yakuza 4 back in 2012 and it was one of my all time favorite games, so really was anticipating the Western release of Yakuza 5, unfortunately PSN only.
Undertale, pretty cool retro RPG style game that has a lot of twists in it as well. Its one of the highest rated RPGs of all time.
-Star Wars the Force Awakens was kind of disappointing. I mean, yes it IS better than the first and second prequels, arguably better than the third one (Revenge of the sith) and/or Return of the Jedi. But for me, its not as good as them. Why? Because the plot was wayyy to similar to Episode 4 A New Hope. I mean, you have the secret plans for something being stored in another droid (BB8 instead of R2D2), Han solo playing Ben Kenobi’s role this time, Luke playing Yoda’s role, Kylo Ren playing Darth Vader’s role, Poe/Rey/Finn playing varying aspects of Luke’s role, and a third death star… yes they re-used it yet again. How the First Order managed to build it in 30 years without the New Republic knowing it, and somehow get destroyed in like a minute is really a letdown. I know they were paying homage to the old trilogy and all but – wayyyy to similar for me.
-I recently discovered the fantastic “bad movie” The Room and read The Disaster Artist which was hilarious. Glad to see they are making a movie about this weird human being known as Tommy Wiseau.
Wilt: Larger than Life. A great biography of the great NBA player Wilt Chamberlain. It leads you to believe just how dominant Wilt was as an athlete, an absolute incredible physical specimen right up to his 50s. After watching Kareem: Minority of One as well, I am still debating over who really was the better player, but one thing is for sure, Wilt had the more outgoing personality. He was definitely the nicer more considerate guy overall, whereas Kareem tends to be more introverted and apathetic towards people. They are both arguably the GOAT, MJ notwithstanding.
-I moved to a new place. Smaller, cheaper, but simpler and cleaner. Its an “officestel” which is an old office converted into a condo type of place near Seoul university. Plus, utilities are all included, and there’s a gym as well! sweet. Heres a pic…

new officestel
new officestel

And finally the big one…
I finally found a Korean girlfriend!! Yes, after one year of searching, and literally 2 days before I went back to Canada I found her, and finally my goal for this year has been accomplished (albeit 2 weeks before the year ends). Sweet, gentle, kind, nice, beautiful, loving, caring, I can’t say enough.. I found the perfect woman. Its a shame I had to leave her so soon, as I already booked the ticket back to see my family though :(. But wow… what a relief. I was afraid that I would have to tell my parents I failed. Now I just hope I can maintain this relationship for a while. I’m so tired of meeting people…

Now onto the review…

Highlights
-I found a gf!! yay!! finally…
-My Korean has improved to the point where I can talk to people (like my gf) entirely in Korean only
-I was able to find a new place to move to by myself
-Two of my American friends (both from California) moved to Korea around the same time as me, so I’m grateful to have them to hang out with for most of the year, although one of them moved back now.
-Eastern Europe trip was fantastic!

Lowlights
-Didn’t learn that much at work so far, wish I could’ve learned more ReactJS
-Didn’t establish alot of connection with co-workers due to remote work
-Working at nighttime still kind of sucks even though its Korea because work hours for most businesses is still 9-6ish
-I spent too much money this year on collecting useless gadgets
-going back and forth between the US, Canada and Korea all the time (4 times this year) takes a huge toll on my body and this year my body’s sleeping schedule has definitely not been normal, which affects my health.
-My stocks took a huge beating this year. My losses this year are about $3000~ in the market.
-I met ALOT of new people and Koreans at meetups due to focusing on finding a gf for much of this year, and sadly, didn’t connect with most of them. I scrolled through most of my conversations and realized most of them are pretty useless just a few texts and alot of girls who ignored me.
-I got rejected by 10+ girls this year… which sucks. I thought I would never find a girl who likes me until just a few days ago.

Summary
Didn’t feel like I made alot of progress in my life this year. The majority of it, I spent working, but didn’t learn that much at work. Met alot of new friends and alot of girls, but didn’t talk much to most of them, and most girls rejected me. Only had a lasting connection with a few friends I met this year. Until just a few days ago, I was very depressed and frustrated because I felt like I wasted alot of time this year doing nothing and getting no results.
And the more time moves away from 2012 and 2013, the more I want to go back to those times. Where I met good friends all the time, and traveled a lot, and was with my best friends in SF. Alas, I can’t go back. I realized that at the time 2013 I didn’t appreciate that year as much as I should.
In retrospect, 2013 was a great year. I went to alot of parties, met alot of friends, went to Korea for the first time which was amazing and changed my life, and of course 2012 was the year I will always hold in my heart as my favorite year of my life so far; the people I met that year I still continue to keep in contact with to this day.

I felt like I was cursed for the majority of this year not to find a girlfriend.. I did everything go to meetups, search on online websites, blind dating, use apps like Tinder and OKC, be really considerate, buy gifts, pay for them, etc nothing worked. Even when I felt like I had a really good conversation with them, I never got a second date which really depressed me.
So, now that I met my gf recently, I feel that this curse has finally been lifted, and next year, will be the year which this year should have been. This year was essentially just leading up to this moment. A year of preparation basically. But I can’t say that this year has been as good as 2012, 2013 or 2014 for me. Its more like 2011 in the sense that I moved someplace new and had to adjust. An adjustment year if you will.

Videos
Holiday cheer…

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YMwtn0j4xNk

I have DJI Phantom 3 drone now. Check out this nice video I took in Seoul at night:
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hnpvk4eRGCw

Rehashed alot of my old videos for this homage to my old California life (2011-2014). I miss my old house parties.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJIYicakwKM

I still have a bunch of videos waiting to be uploaded but I can’t due to Youtube’s ban on me from my copyright violation back in July. I have to wait until end of Jan to upload videos longer than 15min which sucks.

Categories
General Tech

2013: Year in review

Happy New Year everyone. Once again I’m doing a yearly review of the highlights and low points of each year for me, and so this will be for 2013.

2013 ended up being one of the worst years for me. Why? Here are my highlights and low points:

Highlights:
-Moved into my new apartment
-Paid off $10k in mortgage payments
-Got a new job at a well known company with a higher salary
-Went to Korea for 2 weeks
-Met a lot of cool people
-Saw my family again after 2 years
-Taking Korean class was a good call

Low points:
-Paid out $5k in parking/impound fees for my scooter
-Didn’t get my driver license in time for the end of the year, so couldn’t renew scooter license
-Broke my wrist and in a cast for 2.5 months
-Lost over $10k in stock options
-Lost $1k in Apple stock due to Scottrade’s errors in reporting gain/losses
-Missed an opportunity to make $50-60k With Bitcoin
-Lost some good friends this year due to misunderstandings
-Despite trying as best as I could, didn’t meet any girls who liked me this year
-Most of my close friends went back to Korea this year
-Korean only improved marginally

Summary:

That’s a hefty list of low points, and stands in stark contrast to last year‘s mostly happy experience. Although the major goal of this year was achieved (finding a higher paying job at a well known prestigious software company), I had mostly bad luck this year, mostly financial-wise and relationship-wise. Despite meeting a lot of people, I made very few close friends compared to last year. The friends that I made this year tended to be more transient and the facebook-acquaintance-type rather than the hang-out-every-week type. In addition, my new co-workers at BitTorrent are not as open to having casual conversations over lunch or hanging out as my last workplace. In addition to living by myself, this turned out to be quite a lonely year for me. The brief vacation to Korea was great, and was my only escape in a year otherwise full of stress and financial mistakes. My Korean barely improved, and its frustrating only being able to understand 20% of the average Korean conversation despite having studied it for over 2 years. What an embarrasement. I learn from my mistakes though, and hopefully next year will be much better for me. My tentative resolutions are:

1) Study Korean much harder, watch more dramas to improve comprehension
2) Stop spending money on gadgets and start saving for the next Korea trip
3) Find a room-mate, and/or find more hobbies and interests in order to meet more people

Overall, I felt like I wasted my time this year and it could’ve gone much much better. I should look for more ways to improve myself, be more aggressive in socializing, be more conscious money-wise, and be active in finding more excitement in my life. As 2014 arrives, I will need to remember: to fight for the things that are meant for me, and to let go of the things that aren’t.

Family visit
I went on a road trip with my family to Vegas, Grand Canyon, LA and San Diego. It was a really fun trip and I especially enjoyed seeing my brother again who I hadn’t seen since Jan 2012.

With my brother and parents at Death Valley
With my brother and parents at Death Valley

With my cousins and grandparents at Red Rock Canyon
With my cousins and grandparents at Red Rock Canyon

In other news…
I love old school DOS games and their hilarious sound effects. Check out this game, it’s called Depth Dwellers:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vSeLXmi9ZoM

The sound effects had me rolling, especially the ‘HEY’ greeting and the ‘YEAH’ ending. oh my god…

and also the first ever FPS, which came out on March 1992. Check out these reviews:

Ultima Underworld
Ultima Underworld

ACE called Ultima Underworld “the next true evolutionary step in the RPG genre”, and noted that its simulation-style dungeon was “frighteningly realistic”.

Computer Shopper enjoyed its storyline and characters, and believed that the game “makes you feel as if you’ve entered a virtual reality”

Finland’s Pelit stated, “Ultima Underworld is something totally new in the CRPG field. The Virtual Fantasy of the Abyss left reviewers speechless.”

“Nothing can completely prepare you for the freedom the game gives you … It’s about as close to Virtual Reality as you are ever likely to get from your mouse driver.”

He praised the game’s “atmosphere”-creating sound, and called its graphics “stunning”; he stated that, with a high-end computer, “dungeons can move like a film”.

Scorpia was similarly positive, stating that despite flaws “Ultima Underworld is an impressive first product. The meticulous construction of a real-world dungeon environment is outstanding. [It] may be a dungeon trek, but it is certainly the dungeon trek of the future”

Power Play praised its “technical perfection” and “excellent” story, while Play Time lauded its graphical and aural presentation, and awarded it Game of the Month.

Hmm… high praise for a game that we would now consider to be pixellated and outdated compared to the likes of Call of Duty, Battlefield, Crysis, Far Cry, Bioshock, and co, right? Amazing how much FPS’s have changed.