Friday, April 8, 2005

Oriental Dentistry

Another post saved from oblivion from my old Pooper site. Some choice comments from the original post are included as well.

Here's an interesting article from the Korea Times on "oriental dentist clincs." The author, alternative medicine guru Dr.* Park Chan-joo, poses the question:

"How do suppose [sic] people in ancient times dealt with toothaches and other dental problems? "

The answer? Will, the true answer of course is that the supposed Oriental doctors of that time just dished out some bullshit advice and ridiculous "treatments" until the tooth completely decayed and they just had to pull the damn thing.

However, for an "alternative" answer to that glaring truth, Dr. Park describes the glorious product of thousands of years of oriental learning and wisdom.

Teeth were considered by the ancients to be extensions or protrusions of your bones. Just as bones are related to the kidneys, teeth are also controlled and nourished by that organ. So, it is said that when your energy or ``chong,’’ the essential bodily material stored in the kidneys, is weak, you can have dental problems.

Buckle up and hold and tight as we try to ride this rickety roller-coaster of unreason. Teeth are bones, which is obvious because teeth are white and so are bones. Bones are related to the kidney which is obvious because...well, anyway, it's obvious and therefore if you get a cavity it's because you have kidney problems.

Got it? No questions? Good, because she's just getting started!

Of the five elements, the upper gums belong to the earth element, which by the way is unique to oriental medicine.

Yeah, unique to oriental medicine. Isn't it amazing that no one else in the world came to the same conclusion? This great insight allowed oriental doctors to know where to use acupuncture in order to cure tooth decay. She doesn't mention why acupuncturists still do not follow this practice.

Tooth ailments have specific symptoms and require special treatment. Toothaches, for example, are caused by accumulated heat in the intestines, which cause your gums to be swollen and your breath to smell bad.

You know, I don't even think the oriental doctors of yesteryear were even trying to make sense. Toothaches come from heat in the intestines? How much opium do you have to smoke before that makes sense? Honestly, believing that toothaches are caused by tiny invisible gnomes pounding on your teeth with their wee little gnome hammers makes more sense than this.

Now, you might say, hey, Pooper, she isn't saying that this old belief is true. She is just explaining how things used to be in the past.

But if you read her columns faithfully as I do (and believe me, she never fails to entertain and amuse), you know that she eats all this shit up. She's an oriental doctor, so to question any of the ancient wisdom would undermine their entire religion practice.

Just as with other health related issues, prevention is preferred to treating problems after they occur.

True, but the prevention she talks about is not avoiding sweets, brushing and flossing, and seeing a dentist regularly. It's 'clicking your teeth gently' in the morning and 'gargling' with any liquid. If that makes any sense to you, then be my guest and click away, but I'll stick with my trusty toothbrush, thanks.

Although there are few people who go to see an oriental dentist about their tooth problems, the lessons from this old medical book can be helpful.

As usual, no studies to back up any of this. Just dish out the bullshit to the idiots who keep people like Dr. Park in business. Thank the gods for stupid people, huh?

We look forward to your next column, Dr. Park. Your entire profession might be built on superstition and quackery, but if laughter is really the best medicine, your column is doing a world of good.

*the title of "Doctor" here is not to be confused with the kind of doctor who actually knows the human body and can cure things

Select comments on the original post:

I try to avoid reading the KT as a rule, but that was hee-larious. "Dr. Henry" isn't nearly as funny, but he has his moments, like "Dirt can be removed by simply taking a shower" in his classic "How to Take a Shower in Summer." But the all-time winner is "How to Block or Open the Bunghole"--I shit you not:

Michael, that article was wild. That guy is a total nut (in a lovable way, that is). Good stuff.

I'll be needing a wisdom tooth pulled in the next couple weeks, and this sounds like the guy to do it. Thanks.


hiiiiiiii!!!! i liked reading some of your articles. they are funny! i'm interested in korea, and i dont know much about it. i was adopted from there, and was wondering how i looked compared to the other girls there? heheh

Hi Miki. I'm glad you liked the posts. It's admirable that you are trying to find out about your country of birth, but a little scary that you might be learning about it from my site. ;)

As for how you look in comparison with Korean girls; that's hard to say since I've never seen a picture of you. But odds are that if you just double the amount of makeup you currently put on in the morning then you would probably look very similar to the average girls here.

I disagree with your assessment. Have you ever visited an oriental clinic before? At first, I thought acupuncture was a total sack of shit but now I'm a fan. Next time you sprain your ankle, don't whine to your doc that icing doesn't help - check out your local taboo yellow witch doctor :)

I nominate Dr. Park for a never-ending, Arirang TV "loop."

Sunday, April 3, 2005

Chung Dong Young

Here is the man who I believe will win the next presidential election in South Korea.

Currently Chung Dong Young is the Unification Minister of South Korea (or "anti-unification Minister," as he is lovingly referred to by most ex-pat K-bloggers; see the Yangban for a detailed argument, and this piece as well).

For those not in the know, Chung is one of the Sunshine Boys in Korea who openly believes that the North Korean government should be supported to prevent its collapse. Their view of diplomacy with North Korea can be summed up by saying that if North Korea cannot be influenced by the carrot, the answer is to apologize and offer an even bigger carrot.

Over on the Ministry of Unification's Homepage, I found this in the FAQ section which will give you a good idea of Chung's philosophy. Some comments of my own included.

Q.6 Isn’t South Korea's assistance to the North
actually contributing to the strengthening of the

o The South’s economic assistance to the North is not
intended to help maintain the regime. We provide economic assistance not only as
a humanitarian gesture to relieve the North Korean people from human suffering
but also a means to induce the North’s change...

[Yes, just like how police get the mafia to change by offering them economic assistance and counseling]

- Economic assistance serves as a leverage for
inducing the North to participate in inter-Korean dialogue and economic

[Yes, economic assistance does have a tendency to encourage people to come to further "dialogues" in which even more economic assistance will be given.

Also, "ecomonic cooperation" means the South agrees to foot the bill for everything and North Korea agrees to accept it.]

Furthermore, it has an educational effect of bringing about changes
in thinking and attitude of the North Korean leaders by helping them see how
much the outside world has developed.

[Oh, I finally get it! Kim Jeong-il just doesn't know that he made his country into a repressive shit-hole! If he only knew how well other countries are doing everything would change in a snap of his chubby little fingers.]

o Although there are views that
the South's economic assistance could be diverted for military purposes and that
the process of distribution is not transparent, we believe that transparency is
on the rise.

[Here it comes, proof of transparency...]
- There are about 90 people from various international
organizations, including the WFP, residing in North Korea for monitoring
purposes. Out of 206 cities and gun(counties), monitoring of 162 cities and
counties is possible.

[90 people with heavily restricted travel monitoring an entire country. Ok, that's good enough for me.]

- When we delivered 400,000 tons of rice to North
Korea in 2003, not only did North Korea notify us of the details of the
distribution, but workers from the South were allowed to visit the actual
distribution sites as well.

Yeah, right. "Visit" does not mean "monitor." So some South Korean workers went to a distribution point
and saw the rice there at that moment. Maybe they even saw some North
Koreans get some rice. Now perhaps all was as it appeared, but how easy
would it be for NK to stage something like that? Were any of the "distribution details" independently verified? Of course not. NK puts on a show and the Sunshine Boys pee their pants in delight.

And are we to assume that was the only time NK allowed any sort of
verification of where aid went? Nothing in 2004? And to this day does
South Korea have any idea where the 500 million
dollars (US) that was given to Kim Jeong il for the 2000 Summit has

Yeah, didn't think so.

Read through the "Do you think the Sunshine Policy has resulted in any change in North Korea?" question for even more laughs.

Beginning in 2007, expect 5 more years of this kind of bullshit. Chung also ensures that there will be no more mass defections from North Korea, saying, "We disapprove of the mass defections. There will be no more large-scale arrivals
of defectors in Seoul.''

They wouldn't want to put the brakes on all of this great "progress" they are making changing the North Korean government, you see.

Chung Dong Young's special message to the little girl who is watching her parents getting dragged back to North Korea where imprisonment, starvation and possible public execution await: Fuck you and the empty rice bowl you came with.

For Kim Jeong-il and co., these indeed are the best of times.

Here is Chung as a fresh-faced, well-fed 18-year-old boy right out of high school.

Way back then did he ever dream that one day he might have the chance to damn 10's of thousands of North Koreans to starvation, torture and death?

Chung got into the eye of the public at large through the ill-fated impeachment proceedings last year (I believe that's him in the back of this tearful group-hug). Chung managed to get more coverage on the news than any other Woori party member.

Great show, folks. You can always fall back on an acting career in tear-jerking Korean dramas if this politics thing doesn't work out for you.

A friend of mine met Chung at an international conference held a few weeks ago. She worked at the event as an assistant who helped the dignitaries (including Adrian Foster Carter). She was very excited to meet Chung (she's a Woori party member) but was disappointed when he was rude to her and everyone else who wasn't a dignitary or from the press.

What? Chung Dong Young? Champion of the masses?  Truly shocking. 

By contrast, she was very impressed with Adrian Foster-Carter and Prime Minister Koh-gun who were genuinely friendly and treated everyone, even the "commoners," very well.

Chung also got himself in the news during the political campaigning
that followed the impeachment debacle. He stated that old people in
Korea didn't know much about politics and should just stay home. That
got him in a lot of trouble, leading him to making some "heartfelt" public apologies to some randomly selected old people.

Don't worry, Chung, by the time elections roll around in 2007 a lot of those "ignorant old people" will have died off, leaving only the "knowledgable" youth of Corea to sweep you into office and undo everything the old generation worked so hard to build.

So here he is, Korea: Your future leader.

Yay Me!!!