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AUGUST 6, 2008
What do you mean I need a visa for China?
By Matthew Graveline
Expat living is a page dedicated
to the issues that affect expats' daily lives. It is your page, where you can share stories about your life in Korea. Send story ideas to Matthew Lamers at firstname.lastname@example.org
In focus: Beach photo tips
By David Smeaton
PHOTO CHALLENGE — Open to all entries — Fireworks festival at the Anapji pond in Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang Province, in June.
Simon Bond (369photography.co.uk)
Summer is a great time for photographers. The days are long, the weather is hot, and people are outside enjoying themselves. One place photographers often find themselves is the beach. Use the horizon to your advantage. Frame the horizon in the top third of the shot, to include plenty of beach and water in your photo. Look for good points of focus. Many photographers get the usual cliche photos when they head to the beach. Kids with beach balls might be colorful, but they can also be quite boring subjects. A good way to do this is try and tell a story with your photo. For example, find some open beach with a lone couple walking along it. Or a child standing in the shallow surf as the waves wash over his feet. Work on your timing. Watch the action and see when the right moment hits. It’s great to capture the expressions on people’s faces while they’re in the water. So time your shots for that moment when the wave hits the swimmer and their face lights up with joy. Another point about timing is when to shoot during the day. Avoid midday by shooting only in the morning or afternoon. This has two benefits: there will be less people on the beach and the light will be much better. Moving to techniques, it’s good to use exposure bracketing while at the beach. When you work in strong light, bracketing is a useful tool for helping to expose your shot perfectly. It’s very easy to overexpose a photo with so much bright sand and water around. Use bracketing and quick fire bursts to get your shot. Review the images and select the one with the best exposure. Spot metering will also help. Since it can be difficult to meter the scene well, spot meter off your subject. The background may be overexposed, but your subject will be perfectly exposed. Also, fill flash can be very effective. That may sound crazy, but on a bright day harsh shadows or shady areas are a photographer’s enemy. Fill flash can remove ghastly shadows. It’s also useful for photographing in the shade, such as under an umbrella, when the area outside is too bright. Filters are also great at beaches. A UV filter will help cut down the glare from the water. A polarizing filter will control the light as well as give much more vibrant colors. Neutral Density filters, especially ND4 or ND8 can be useful too. Your photo will have better color tones and the shutter speed will be much easier to control. Why not surprise yourself by converting some of your photos to black and white? Stripping a beach photo of its color can change the feel and mood of the shot. It’s also a great way to overcome dull or cloudy weather. Finally, be careful when photographing on the beach. It’s easy to get sunburned and sand plays havoc with equipment, especially when changing lenses. Happy shooting. Send David a message at davidsmeaton@ gmail.com or visit his website at davidsmeaton.com. If you want to be a part of the weekly Photo Challenge, join the “Seoul Photo Club” group at flickr (flickr.com/groups/seoulphotoclub). — Ed.
Phishing scam adds to mother’s troubles
By Paul Kerry
The mother of Michael White, an American teenager who drowned in a public bath near Daegu in May, has fallen victim to an e-mail scam. The Korea Herald received an email Monday night — ostensibly from Stephannie White — asking for $950 for hotel bills and $1,050 for living expenses. Other people received similar e-mails the same day asking for different amounts. The scam e-mails say that she is in a “terrible and tight situation” in Nigeria, where she is working for a charity. “I’m not in Nigeria,” White assured The Korea Herald. “I’m still in South Korea. Everything’s fine. I have no plans to leave.” Ms. White’s email account has been closed, but contacts have been taken from it and are being sent emails from a new account, email@example.com. Ms. White is not connected to that account, and cannot have it closed.
“The biggest problem is that there is 4 years worth of students (addresses) on that account, and I can’t get hold of about 3 years of them because they were at other schools,” White said. “Those students would be the most likely to fall victim to the scam.” The email also had a trace of plausibility, since it contains a reference in the first paragraph that could be seen as referring to the loss of her son and the ensuing legal battle. “It as been a very sad and bad moment for me,” the e-mail reads. “The present condition that i (sic) found myself is very hard for me to explain.” Stephannie White says that the email account on the campaign website for her son has also been targeted, although it is unclear if the hack was successful. She can be contacted through Facebook, by using the search function. The case regarding Michael White has been put on hold. His mother continues to demand a more complete investigation and is currently
taking legal action against the police. White said that the deletion of the account had not significantly affected her struggle. “I made a lot of paper copies,” she said. “Folks who’ve done translations have resent the emails with attachments, so it’s not been devastating to the case.” The charity named in the email, called “Empowering Youth to Fight Racism, HIV/AIDS, Poverty and Lack of Education,” does not appear to exist. It has been used in other similar scams across Asia, including one involving a Singaporean pop singer, Jeassea Thyidor. The same scam was reported on by the Indo Asian News Service in September last year, when a gallery owner in Goa was targeted. Experts say that accessing webmail via https:// instead of http:// can reduce the chances of your e-mail account being hacked. They also recommend copying the links in e-mails to the address bar, rather than clicking on them. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Step forward, report sexual abuse
Danielle Grijalva, director
Committee for Safety of Foreign Exchange Students
Letter to the editor
the victim from Korea. The exchange student testified that Young started sexually abusing him within two days of his arrival in Kansas. Young’s website is a concern to the Committee for Safety of Foreign Exchange Students. Young’s “interesting information” on the website reads, “Host to foreign exchange students each year — ‘Trying for world peace — one student at a time.’” Anyone who has additional information about other alleged incidents is asked to contact Captain Steve Lutz of the Reno County Sheriff Department via e-mail (steve.lutz @renolec.com) or the Committee for Safety of Foreign Exchange Stu-
OCEANSIDE, California — A very serious matter is occurring in a Kansas courtroom regarding the alleged abuse of male exchange students from Korea. During court proceedings, prosecutors report Richard B. Young, 68, is accused of three counts of indecent liberties with a child and one count of indecent solicitation of a child for allegedly fondling a 15-year-old male foreign exchange student from Korea in August 2007. Three men provided testimony describing being sexually abused by Young several years ago when they were approximately the same age as
dents (email@example.com). Those who wish to remain anonymous may do so. I am stressing the importance that people must step forward and report abuse of children. CSFES commends the man from Korea for his courage in reporting this criminal behavior. CSFES is asking the people of Korea; if you know of anything that can help him, please tell the police or contact our organization; the Committee for Safety of Foreign Exchange Students. If anyone for any reason doesn’t feel comfortable calling the police, they may contact a volunteer with the Committee for Safety of Foreign Exchange Students upon visiting our website (www.csfes.org).
To be in China without the proper paperwork, and claiming you are a journalist, things can get downright scary. But there I was seated in a quarantined section of Beijing Immigration as six officials and police officers stared at me in disbelief. This wasn’t supposed to happen, especially not this close to the Olympics. Everyone entering the country must have the proper paperwork to get in; after all, all embassies were informed of the new standards. So, how did this young Canadian get onto a China Southern Airlines flight without the proper visa? I had the proper paperwork to get back into South Korea, my current home, but there was no way Korean immigration should have let me through to my awaiting flight. But I was there just the same, so what to do with me? I knew there was something wrong with my perfect holiday to Beijing when a Chinese immigration official, after looking through my passport thoroughly, politely asked me for my Chinese visa. I dumbly pointed to my Korean reentry visa, as if that was the answer to my major screw-up. “Line One,” the official said abruptly. Dread settled into my stomach; I didn’t like the sound of “line one.” As I walked over to line one, I imagined different ways I could get through this situation. Do I say I am a freelance journalist who’s here to cover the Olympics? Partly true, after all. Do I call the Canadian embassy? As I found out, there was nothing the Canadian embassy could do. I handed my passport to a higher-ranking official. I looked innocent enough with my camera slung over my shoulder. I probably looked like a polite Canadian tourist who had come to see Beijing. She looked through my passport and asked the obvious question: “Where is your Chinese visa?” I thought for a second of making a joke. “I left it on the plane.” But, realizing I was in the last place to make a joke about my papers, I replied with what was becoming the worse joke of all. “I didn’t know I needed one.” To be fair, I did check with the Canadian embassy before boarding my flight and they informed me that I needed a visa to enter the country. But when I called Korean immigration to get what I thought was the most up-to-date information, the official on the phone told me I didn’t need to get a Chinese visa; all I needed was a reentry visa into Korea. The official’s voice brought me back to my present reality. “You can’t get into China without a Chinese visa,” she said. Still holding my passport, she motioned for me to follow her. She sat me down in a small corner of the immigration line. Then she got on the phone and the questioning began. For the next two hours, different people asked me the same questions over and over. “Do you have anyone you are going to meet in Beijing?” “Why don’t you have a Chinese visa?” “Where is your transfer ticket?” Every time, I gave the same answers. “I am a freelance journalist
on vacation. I will be doing an article on the Beijing games. I am not going anywhere else; I was planning on visiting Beijing.” After about two hours, higher-ranking officials told me, “She says there are three options for you.” The first was a temporary visa, which would allow me into the country, but I would have to qualify as a journalist. The second option was that I could fly to Hong Kong where no visa was necessary. There, I would apply for a visa with the Chinese embassy. But getting the visa was not guaranteed and I would have to pay for all flight arrangements. The third option was simple and the least appealing — go back to Korea. Ten minutes later, the temporary visa was off the table and she needed me to decide between Hong Kong and Korea, and she needed to know right then. After calculating the likelihood of making it to Hong Kong, getting the visa and getting back to Beijing before the end of my vacation — on Sunday — I reluctantly asked for them to get me a ticket back to Incheon. But the problems did not end there. After I received my ticket at a much cheaper price, I was whisked away by a young official and a police officer, who went by Bo and Carl. Now that I had my ticket, it was just a matter of putting me in a place where I could legally be. This is where my story parallels the Tom Hanks film, “The Terminal.” To get me to my plane, I had to be escorted to the passenger terminal — where there was a possible escape to Beijing. Not only was Carl, the police officer, holding my passport, but he and his colleague flanked me as we strode past wide-eyed tourists. We got to the first security check. The officials had to take me to a different terminal so I could wait for my flight. But the security people did not want to let me through. This was my first of seven security checks. An older, higher-ranking immigration official started arguing with my escorts, and soon we were on our way back to the immigration line where I had started my adventure. We backtracked until we reached an unmarked door. Carl explained that we had just gone around that security check. So, off we went again, never really knowing where I was going. We arrived at another security check, where I was told to wait. From there, we marched into a very luxurious room with food, newspapers and drinks. The whole time we had been walking through the terminal, Carl kept telling me we were going to “rest.” This first-class lounge was going to be my resting place for over six hours. I could eat and drink whatever I wanted. Carl was a nice guy. For several hours, we talked about everything from movies to women to how we thought our countries were going to do in the Olympics. He helped me understand the Chinese people better. Then his relief officer came in. A much stricter by-the-book man who spoke no English. When I went to the washroom, he followed me. When it was time to depart, the new guard walked me to the door of the aircraft, gave me my passport, and walked off. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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