Reporters on the Job

SOUNDS OF TURKEY: The Kurds may be upset at the prospect of the Turkish military entering their region in northern Iraq (this page), but the place is already awash in things Turkish. Kurds watch Turkish movies, put up posters of Turkish pop stars, and favor Turkish candy bars over cheaper Iraqi junk food.

The Monitor's Cameron Barr had his hair cut in an Arbil barbershop over the weekend while listening to Turkish music. If he'd opted for a shave, the lather would have been whipped up from Turkish shaving cream. As barbers everywhere do, Saman Salih summed up the situation nicely: "The Turks are against Kurds, but that doesn't mean we don't like the music."

THE TALK OF SEOUL: During the weekend, the Monitor's Robert Marquand was in Seoul, South Korea, preparing for the arrival of US Secretary of State Colin Powell(page 7) and getting his first real lesson in speaking Korean. His vocabulary now includes: "Let's go to Starbucks" and "Could you repeat that, please?" How difficult is Korean? After a year of learning Mandarin in Beijing, Bob summed it up this way: "Thank God, no tones."

Through an interpreter, Bob found that in the coffee shops and restaurants of Seoul, there was very little talk about the ongoing saber rattling of North Korea's Kim Jong Il. "The Daegu subway arson was still on everyone's lips, as were careers and jobs. They seem to tune out North Korea," Bob says. He also bumped into an American ex-pat teaching English on a Korean island. "Everyone there is worried about China's growing manufacturing capabilities. The two main employers on the island are shipbuilders, and people are worried about their jobs."

David Clark Scott
World editor

Cultural snapshot

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