Korea in the 50s: the full set

For a map aficionado having complete sets of cartographical data is fantastic, especially when you can have them for free! So, in the spirit of sharing here is what Korea (north and south) looked according to the knowledge of the US Army map service in the 1950s.

The full set can be found at the website of the University of Texas (Austin) in the Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection, which can be found here online. However, these maps are full sized JPEG which are not always easy to navigate when you are looking for something specific, in my case looking for (former) railways.

Continue reading Korea in the 50s: the full set

Jeju in 1961: not exactly overcrowded

With my specific interest in cartography the first thing I always do whenever I am somewhere is asking for a proper map. A proper map is a map which is, in my opinion, not the same as a streetmap or a thematical map with all sorts of funny symbols on them. A proper map is a topographical map. Preferably one with a scale like 1:50.000 or so.

Unfortunately, in large parts of the world you will not be able to get one, or will only be able to get a very old topographical map, quite often one from the US Army or the former Soviet Army.  Because of the fall of the Soviet Union it is now relatively easy to get proper maps of Africa, if you don’t mind the fact that these maps are 30 years old. Previously they were guarded by the Soviets like they were nuclear secrets, but now they are freely available, for instance as scans for sale on DVD’s through Ebay.

The last time I was on Jeju I tried to locate a proper set of maps, topographical maps that is, but I couldn’t find one. Of course there is a tourist map, which is freely available, but I want a map on which I can navigate if necessary. In the English language bookstore in Sin-Jeju I found a somewhat more topographical like map, but still not really what I wanted. Continue reading Jeju in 1961: not exactly overcrowded

Stations of the cross, life size

If you are a catholic of a certain age or older you will remember doing “stations of the cross”, a thing you can still find in every catholic church, but which is not so often practiced any longer. It should to be so that all these catholic acts were very popular, like (endless, if I have to believe it) rosaries, almost daily mass attendance and at least one member of the family a member of the clergy or living in a monastery.

Those days are long gone, but in some parts of the world the Roman Catholic church is still growing, or at least it hasn’t lost most of its appeal. Mass attendance is still relatively high, much higher than in (Western) Europe, and children born into catholic families still become Catholics themselves, even joining monasteries. Even on a small island like Jeju, which has a checkered history when it comes to Catholicism (see here: http://jejulife.net/2009/04/08/the-hwang-sa-byeong-catholic-cemetery-1901-lee-jae-soo-uprising/ why), is quite catholic. When I visited in 2008 I saw (young!) sisters and quite an interesting catholic life.

One of the most interesting things I saw was this station of the cross. I was there, in the southern corner of the island, near I think Suryong, where there is this life size stations of the cross. Even during the middle of the week, in April while it had been raining hard earlier in the day, there were several families actively walking the stations of the cross, singing very catholic songs. I could recognize them, even though the families were singing in Korean, because they were very standard catholic songs, like anyone who is over a certain age can readily sing along.

Anyway, these are the pictures of the largest size stations of the cross I have ever seen:

Jesus falls under the weight of the cross
Stations of the cross
Everybody standing by the cross
Oh my God why (etc etc)
Oh my God why (etc etc)
Jesus is taken of the cross
Jesus is taken of the cross
The Dead Sea? Or Lake Tiber?
Lourdes cave
Lourdes cave
I wash my hands...
I wash my hands…

Tamna, the Island (MBC 2008)

Amongst the (male) expat population in Korea a new Korean tv series is making inroads: Tamna, the Island apparently finally portrays a relationship between a Western man and a Korean woman in some normal way, without either over- or understating the intercultural part of the relationship. It looks as if for some of these Western men the relieve of such a portrayal is immense, but without cynicism it can be said that the series is interesting to watch, even for Dutch people. Or perhaps especially for Dutch people.

When Hendrik HamelW, a Dutch seafarer and employee of the Dutch East India CompanyW (VOC), washed up on the shores of Jeju-doW, at that time named Tamna in Korean (while Korea wasn’t named Korea either in those days, but Chosun), in the year 1653, he could not have imagined that his plight, in highly (!) romanticed form, would one day be the inspiration of a tv series in which even a line of Dutch was being spoken.

Tamna, the Island screenshot from tv series
Tamna, the Island screenshot from tv series

The series have been given excellent coverage on English language blogs, with all sorts of perspectives on them. The most interesting perspective can be found here, wich is by the way simply an excellent blog overall, with a breathtaking number of highly interesting articles. Don’t miss the series where the Manchukuo army is linked to the militarization of the ROK in the 60’s (about which I had wondered myself, looking at the career of a lot of higher military officers in the ROKA in the era).

Luckily for me (I haven’t started my Korean language studies yet) someone has gone through the trouble of subtitling episodes 1 and 2, and at the look of it will soon subtitle episode three as well! These episodes can be found here.

Tamna, the Island screenshot from tv series
Tamna, the Island screenshot from tv series

One thing about this translation is the name of Jeju or Tamna in western circles: it is translated at “Calpert” but it is actually Quelpart, a name perhaps referring to a Dutch term for a specific type of ship. See the “Historical names” of the Jeju-do lemma on Wikipedia.

Alternatively you can also find the episodes with subtitles here, but I can’t install Veoh since I am running Windows 2003 Server, and Veoh will only install on XP or Vista. I don’t think this tv series is enough incentive to upgrade to Windows 2008 however…

Also, you can read about the episodes in full starting here, from which site I also “stole” some of these pictures. I do not have access to highres pictures of the tv series, nor do I have digital Korean tv, so taking screenshots is difficult for me here in the Netherlands. Hope they don’t mind, but in order to perhaps get them into a better mood: Dramabeans is also (like The Grand Narrative) simply a great site! (And that is actually true!)

The main Western actor in the series is French borne but raised mainly in Korea, which you can hear rather well when he tries to speak English. Admittedly, I would also have an accent while speaking English (but given the fact that Hamel was Dutch at least my accent would be more “historically accurate”…). The Dutch spoken is actually pronounced so badly I couldn’t really understand it except for some words. It starts with “wat een onzin” (literally: “what a nonsense”, as in “it doesn’t matter, no problem, don’t worry”), and then goes on: “In ieder geval, wil je (mijn?) (then couldn’t understand a term) zien, voordat ik word gek”. Which is incorrect Dutch, but it means “Anyway, do you want to see (my?)  (…?), before I go crazy”.  If you want to try to decipher the rest of the text, feel free at 7:50 in this YouTube excerpt from the first episode:

Here is episode 1 starting with part 1 (click on the link to get the rest of the relevant parts):

And here is episode 2:

Episodes 1, 2 and 3 can also be found via Viikii and Veoh, with or without subtitles.

Nothing really special but nice enough to waste your time on, I think!

This by the way, is what the replica of Hamel’s ship on present day Jeju island looks like (phew, at least a few pictures I didn’t steal from anyone, I took them myself in 2008):

Hamels ship on Jeju (2008)
Hamel's ship on Jeju (2008)
Hamels ship on Jeju (2008). I have no idea who the person in the picture is.
Hamel's ship on Jeju (2008). I have no idea who the person in the picture is.
Hamels ship on Jeju (2008)
Hamel's ship on Jeju (2008)