Posts Tagged ‘Hyundai’

Moon-Qi Business

August 16, 2018

On August 11, with the arrival of the new moon, the Double Yang Metal Monkey succeeded the yin earth sheep, beginning the seventh month of the soli-lunar/luni-solar year.  You probably didn’t even notice, but people in East Asia have been paying attention and calibrating their actions accordingly.  In case you’ve forgotten, Yang Metal is strong metal –generally associated with materials like iron and steel (or their alloys). Yin metal (which we’ll begin to encounter in mid-September) evokes thoughts of malleable, ductile substances such as gold, silver, copper, zinc, lead etc.  This year, August is a Double Yang Metal month because both the Celestial Stem [gēng 庚] and Earthly Branch [shēn 申] are associated with the Yang Metal element.  August’s Earthly Branch is always 申 Yang Metal, but the Celestial Stem varies from year to year because each successive month advances one more step through the endless cycle of the ten stems as they alternate between yin/Yang aspects of the five elements.  So: what should we expect from August’s double dose of Yang Metal?  And what should we expect from the lively, likeable, clever and inventive problem-solving Monkey during the coming weeks?

First, the glaringly obvious: although the transition from double yin earth (as we saw in July) to August’s Double Yang Metal appears at first glance to be doubly in accordance with cosmic ‘rules’ of yin/Yang alternation and the succession of earth by metal in the five elements creative cycle, it’s sometimes possible to have a little too much of an ostensibly good thing.  Earth (mineral ore) creates metal, but how much metal do you actually need?  Too much of any one element creates imbalance in the Dao, and the inexorable process of rebalancing can be abrupt or jarring.  We may find ourselves looking beyond the arrival of double yin metal in 3+ weeks, toward mid-October’s mix of Yang Water and Yang Earth.

But some people can’t wait that long.  In Korea, August 15th is Liberation Day, a national holiday marking the day when thirty-five years of Japanese colonial oppression was finally ended (more or less) in 1945.  It’s usually the occasion for political speeches and bold pronouncements about the nation’s destiny:

President Moon Jae-in on Wednesday used his Liberation Day address at the National Museum of Korea in Yongsan to [promote] his Korea peace initiative, calling for railway, energy and economic cooperation with the North as a cornerstone for Northeast Asian peace and prosperity. He renewed his commitment to end the division of the Koreas, saying, “We must overcome [this] division for our survival and development. Even though a political unification may be a long way from here, establishing peace between the South and the North, freely visiting each other, and forming a joint economic community is true liberation to us.”

“[As the next step in this process] I propose an East Asian Railway Community in which the six countries of Northeast Asia — South Korea, North Korea, China, Japan, Russia and Mongolia– in addition to the United States, would participate,” Moon said.

“This community will extend our economic horizon into the lands to the north and will become the principal artery of coexistence and co-prosperity in Northeast Asia. This will lead to an energy community and economic community in East Asia and will be the starting point for a multilateral peace and security system in Northeast Asia,” Moon said.

And so on and so forth …


Over at Chaebol Central, the eager foot-soldiers of economic progress have already sharpened their pencils and ribbon-cuttin’ scissors:


Hyundai Glovis is introducing regular nonstop express freight train service over the Trans-Siberian Railway (TSR) between the Russian cities of Vladivostok and Saint Petersburg. On August 14, Hyundai Glovis held a commemorative ceremony for the departure of 64 freight containers from Vladivostok, marking the beginning of regular weekly express “block train” freight service [to western Russia] via Siberia. [The first shipment consisted of] 64 FEU (forty-foot equivalent units) of knock-down automobile parts ordered by a Hyundai Motor factory in Russia. The shipment will take 22 days to arrive at its destination: two days from Busan to Vladivostok; eight days for unloading, customs clearance, and reloading in Vladivostok; and twelve days via rail from Vladivostok to Shushary Station near Saint Petersburg. Marine transportation from Busan to western Russia via the Indian Ocean, Suez Canal, and Mediterranean Sea currently takes forty-three days.


Yo: where the feng shui at?

To those of you who don’t yet see the connection between Double Yang Metal and this flurry of railroad-related commentary, I would merely ask: what part of ‘Iron Horse’ do you fail to understand?  Double Yang Metal = twin ribbons of transcontinental steel.  The Horse = the friend of this year’s Dog.  The Horse is a Yang Fire element, and thus is able to control Yang Metal (Fire melts Metal).  As if that weren’t enough, the horse is also the corporate symbol of Yandex, Russia’s version of Google.  Thus, even though these initiatives have been planned for months, it’s no coincidence that they’re being publicized at the beginning of the Double Yang Metal Monkey month.

But seriously, folks: even without the feng shui ‘elements’ of these developments, people in the United States should be paying much more attention to what’s happening in Korea.  In the broader geo-political scheme of things, this initiative is just the latest sign that South Korea’s government fully recognizes that it has been abandoned by the United States, and must now make its own way in a world dominated by China and Russia.  Another win for Comrade Bear.  For the moment.


Frisson d’Avril

April 1, 2017

The yin water Rabbit month ended earlier this week (on Monday or Tuesday, depending on your location under the rising new moon), but feng shui misfortunes persist for those whose star-crossed destinies are in clash with the Year of the Fowl.  Case in point: Park Geun-hye, dowager queen of Hell-Joseon.

Four years and three months after being elected, the same Park Geun-hye who vowed to become a “public welfare president” and “a president for unity” was incarcerated on March 31 as a suspect in 13 criminal charges, including bribery. The arrest warrant, which was issued by Seoul Central District Court 21 days after the Constitutional Court removed Park from presidential office, is based on a number of charges against her, including the acceptance of a 43.3 billion won (US$38.6 million) bribe from Samsung.  “Since the main charges have been established and there are concerns about the destruction of evidence, we grant the grounds for detention, its necessity and its significance,” Judge Kang Bu-yeong said.

Prosecutors managed to back up their charge that Park received 43.3 billion won from Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong (in jail under investigative detention) in return for government rulings that helped him inherit management rights over the Samsung Group.  Their evidence included the notebook of Park’s former aide, Senior Secretary for Economic Affairs Ahn Jong-beom (in jail awaiting trial) and several text messages exchanged by Samsung staff who were discussing financial support for Choi Sun-sil’s daughter Jung Yu-ra.

Prosecutors are very likely to file charges against Park before April 17, which marks the beginning of the official election period [stipulated under Korea’s Constitution].  Prosecutors are also likely to speed up their investigation of Samsung and other chaebols, including Lotte and SK, who have come up in the investigation of Choi Sun-sil.

Mene, Mene, Tekel Upharsin

Two years ago, the handwriting on the wall which foretold Park’s downfall was literally there to be seen  –hiding in plain sight in her presidential palace.  But the message was written in the language of images rather than in Hangul or Roman characters.  I blogged about this cryptic portent in January 2015, parsing the symbolic meaning of imagery depicted in a scenic backdrop that formed part of the stage set for Park’s New Year’s message to the Korean people.  In retrospect, given what we now know about Choi Sun-sil’s control over the presentation of Park’s public persona, it’s clear that the iconic symbols crammed into the landscape were almost certainly chosen by Choi herself as a coded message to the business executives she was shaking down:  the president’s treasure bowl is to be filled through the three Blue House aides portrayed as grazing deer.

So, because Korean history inevitably repeats itself, I’m not at all surprised that the ROK is once again submerged in a tsunami of scandalous corruption.  Lee Myung-bak‘s Republic of Hyundai was briefly succeeded by Lee Jae-yong‘s Republic of Samsung, and now something else will be hastily cobbled together to masquerade as governance in the southern provinces.  In a waning Yin Fire year, Earth and Metal are signs of Korea’s future.



February 2, 2016

Last week UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon created a modest ripple in the world of international diplomacy by using his pint-sized “bully pulpit” to chastise Israeli occupation and colonization policies as an egregious obstacle to that elusive concept fantasy known as peace in the Middle East.  Initially, in remarks to the Security Council, Secretary Ban limited himself to stating the obvious:

Progress towards peace requires a freeze of Israel’s settlement enterprise.  I am deeply troubled by reports that the Israeli Government has approved plans for over 150 new homes in illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank … [and has declared] 370 acres in the West Bank, south of Jericho, as so-called “state land.”  … The Bedouin community, in particular, is paying a heavy price.  I call for an immediate end to Israeli plans to forcibly transfer Bedouin communities currently living within the occupied Palestinian territory in the Jerusalem area.

Predictably, Bibi Yahu and his minions rose to the bait, unleashing a torrent of furious invective that (among other things) accused Ban of inciting Palestinian attacks on Israeli citizens.  Undeterred, SG Ban remained on the high road, and chose to respond through an op-ed essay in the New Jork Times –thus directly addressing Israel’s supporters in the United States through their propaganda vehicle of choice.  The medium itself was part of the message :

Polarization showed itself in the halls of the United Nations last week when I pointed out a simple truth: History proves that people will always resist occupation.  Some sought to shoot the messenger — twisting my words into a misguided justification for violence.  But when heartfelt concerns about shortsighted or morally damaging policies emanate from so many sources, including Israel’s closest friends, it cannot be sustainable to keep lashing out at every well-intentioned critic. … The time has come for Israelis, Palestinians and the international community to read the writing on the wall: The status quo is untenable.  Keeping another people under indefinite occupation undermines the security and the future of both Israelis and Palestinians.

Et cetera, so forth, and so on.  On the surface, these statements from SG Ban might well be cynically read as yet another instance of empty words from someone with no real power to actually effect meaningful change in an increasingly dire situation. As long as the United States is obliged to back up Israel during a presidential election year, zionist zealots cannot be restrained and Palestinians are doomed to suffer ever-intensifying oppression.  But there are two aspects of Ban’s remarks that I find interesting and worthy of further reflection.

First, the NYT op-ed piece reads as though it was written by (United States Ambassador to the United Nations) Samantha Power rather than by Ban himself.  It has the flavor, tone, rhythm and style of an American writer of English addressing an American readership –more so than would an essay composed by a Korean yangban fluent in the English language as well as his own.  Sure, there are plenty of Americans working in the UN Secretariat as Ban’s subordinates who could have done the job, but I like the idea that Ambassador Power wrote it herself –to send a message– and that the Israelis know it.  Speaking truth to power, so to speak.


Second, let’s reflect on why SG Ban might have been willing to pick a fight with Israel at this particular juncture.  Let’s recall that Ban’s second term as UN Secretary General expires at the end of this year … and that the Republic of Korea will be electing its next president in 2017.  The Saenuri (New Frontier) Party currently holds the presidency and legislative majority in Korea, and last year floated Ban’s name as a potential presidential candidate for 2017.

In order to win a presidential election in Korea (or anywhere else), enormous amounts of money must be spent to “rent” the local and regional powerbrokers who get out the vote on election day.  In Korea (as in the United States) that money comes from the wealthy –the giant family-owned industrial conglomerates (chaebol) that dominate the Korean economy (Hyundai, Samsung, LG, etc.).  The chaebol essentially own Saenuri, much as the Koch brothers own the GOP in the United States.  And where do the chaebol get a significant proportion of their revenue?  I’m glad you asked.


Although China, the United States and Europe are important markets for Korean automobiles and electronics, chaebol subsidiaries in the shipbuilding and heavy construction industries are deeply dependent on customers in the Middle East: specifically, the Gulf states and Arabian peninsula.  Kuwait. Iraq. Qatar. Saudi Arabia. Bahrain. United Arab Emirates.  And now, Iran too.  In Korea, as elsewhere, the customer is always right.  So maybe, just maybe, Candidate Ban is lining up future campaign contributors for a run at the Cheong Wa Dae next year.  After all, if the Saudis are willing to give a $681 million “gift” to the Prime Minister of Malaysia, surely a future President of Korea deserves a little something for his retirement years.


However …

None of this imaginative and fanciful speculation should detract from the fundamental truth of Secretary Ban’s stern admonishment:  Israel’s apartheid colonization policies must cease.  Of course, without regime change this is impossible: these are policies which function primarily to enrich Netanyahu’s cronies while securing his political base.  Thus Israelis have inexorably condemned themselves to close confinement in a ghetto of their own making.  Next year, in Jerusalem (and elsewhere).


the i’s have it

March 4, 2011

Lunghu wants to know:   howza guy supposed to evaluate the finer points of Hyundai’s latest Euro-styled automotive technology when gorgeous Swiss spokesmodels are standing around in shiny little black dresses, perched on 5″ stiletto heels?   No need to actually answer that question –it was strictly rhetorical.

source: Hyundai Motors

Meanwhile, somewhere south of Geneva…

If you can’t wait until September to watch traditional-style rowing in the lagoon and canals of Venice, plan to spend your Pentecost Sunday (June 12th) in La Serenissima viewing the spectacle that is the Vogalonga.


Vogalonga was born in 1974 as a regatta between friends in “mascareta” (light and narrow boats for 1 to 4 oarsmen, measuring between 6 and 8 meters long) on St. Martin’s Day.  At the time, passionate Venetian oarsmen were far from numerous, in a world increasingly oriented towards the internal combustion engine.  Thus was born the idea of a regatta without competition, in the purest Venetian tradition, in order to link all people who wanted to fight against the degradation of the city caused by motorboat wakes.  And so the adventure of Vogalonga was begun spontaneously, a course of 30 km through the canals and the most picturesque sections of the lagoon city.

It’s no more likely that I’ll be in Venice on June 12 than it is that I’ll be there in September, but ya nevah know.

You got to have a dream/
if you don’t have a dream/
how you gonna have a dream-come-true?
Dizzee Rascal

The People’s Choice

February 20, 2011

Lunghu was not aware that executives at Hyundai were familiar with the literary corpus of Oscar Wilde.   It was therefore something of a surprise to see official showroom photos of the company’s forthcoming “i40” model, tangible evidence that imitation is indeed the sincerest form of flattery.

Will this model be offered in North America with a diesel engine option?   Lunghu believes that it should be.  Cognoscenti know what he’s talking about.

source: Yonhap News Agency

In entirely unrelated news….

1]   North Korea has allegedly been observed building two new tunnels at its nuclear test facility in Punggye-ri.   ROK watchers suggest that this may herald another round of A-bomb tests by DPRK.   Of course, this may be exactly what the Kim clan wants everyone to believe:  if Comrade Meng did not bring good news during his recent visit,  Kim Jong-il may conclude that his best option is to resort once again to blustering brinksmanship.

2]   Radiation levels at (South) Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute’s (KAERI) research reactor surpassed the permitted emission limit, and a radioactive leak alert was issued.  The 30 megawatt HANARO unit is located in Daejeon, South Chungcheong Province.   The good news:  no actual leak is said to have occurred.

In entirely unrelated news…. 

1]  North Korea has allegedly been observed building two new tunnels at its nuclear test facility in Punggye-ri.  ROK watchers suggest that this may herald another round of A-bomb tests by DPRK.  Of course, this may be exactly what the Kim clan wants everyone to believe:  if Comrade Jang did not bring gpod news during his recent visit, Kim Jong-il may conclude that his best option is to resort once again to blustering brinksmanship.