The Dropbox: South Korea Baby Box Rescue

8A-2014-02-10-TheDropboxI have no words. It took me a while to watch the promo because anything with babies makes me feel crazy raw and wrecks me for a few days. But this is strangely heartening.

From Faithit:

In Seoul, South Korea, hundreds of unwanted babies are abandoned on the streets every year. That’s when this brave pastor and his wife decided to do something about it. Watch their extraordinary story of love here.

From Independent Journal Review:

Lee Jong-rak is the creator of the Baby Box. His Baby Box is the first and only box in Korea that is for collecting abandoned babies who are physically or mentally handicapped or are just unwanted by their mothers.

To support the documentary and organization: Go to www.kindredimage.org.

 

Learning to Love Asian Men by Leaving the US

Rawr!“So, before moving to Korea, why did I not realize the potential in Asian men?  Because for the first 21 years of my life, the United States had deceived me.”

With so much focus on how men fetishize Asian women, an article that my niece liked caught my eye because it focused on the attractiveness of Asian men.  When Asian American men complain about how media stereotyping makes them perceived as unattractive, they are often dismissed as whining.  What I like about this piece from Sarah Shaw is that she as a white woman complains about the same stereotypes.  How did this revelation come about?  She had to leave the the US.

Continue reading “Learning to Love Asian Men by Leaving the US”

First Public Gay Wedding in South Korea

ÇÏÆ® ±×¸®´Â ±èÁ¶±¤¼ö-±è½ÂȯFrom the Korea Herald:

Even though South Korea does not legally recognize hay marriages, “Film director and producer Kimjo Gwang-soo, 48, and 29-year-old Kim Seung-hwan, the head of gay film distributor Rainbow Factory, got married on a temporary stage built near Cheonggye Stream with about 1,000 guests and citizens in attendance.”

Happy for this couple and hopeful this is a sign of more changes coming for LGBTQ all over the world.

Photo credit: Yonhap News

Video Showing Asian Women As Victims Of Sexual Violence By White Men Goes Viral

Courtesy: flickr/epSos .de
Courtesy: flickr/epSos .de

A video went viral in South Korea showing two western men harassing, insulting, and threatening a local woman. The video is only 78 seconds long, and it’s definitely one of the most disgusting, gruesome and horrified vidoes that I have seen. Due to its disgusting content, YouTube has taken it down [Editors Note: We tried to provide a link, but they keep getting taken down].

To compound the issue, comments and reactions to this video tend to focus on the victim, blaming her for getting herself into the situation for being in a club and getting involved with western men, indicating that she deserved to be treated like that because she is actively seeking white men.

According to the Washington Post, a Jagei.com commenter said “She went crazy over white guys, lived at a club, and ran into trouble.” Another wrote, “After that, I think she’s going to go clubbing to meet white guys again.”

As a woman grew up in Asia, sadly I am not surprised by how many Korean men, or Asian men, perceived issues like this. Women are often to blame for falling victims of sexual violence. It’s always her fault, either the way she dressed, the way she talked, the place she choosed to be in, the group of people she chooosed to be with. It’s all her fault. But is it really?

Continue reading “Video Showing Asian Women As Victims Of Sexual Violence By White Men Goes Viral”

Bullying and Teen Suicide in South Korea

8A-2013-03-21-Time-SouthKoreaRattledBySuicideFrom Time: “A 15-year-old high schooler, only identified by his surname Choi, jumped out of his apartment home in the southeastern city of Gyeongsan last Monday after being bullied for roughly two years. His death — the second youth suicide in South Korea this month — has shocked the nation and called into question the government’s efforts to stop school violence.” South Korea is known for its high suicide rates especially among young people. It is about time the government intentionally pursues obvious causes like bullying, and hopefully initiates some real change not only in the educational sphere but in wider society concerning family relationships and dealing with judgment and pressure.

Korean Gymnast Arises from Poverty to Win Olympic Gold

From Korea Times: “Yang stood atop the podium after nailing an excellent pair of vaults including one judged to be the most difficult of the competition, which is even called ‘Yang Hak-seon’ after him. The three-twist front somersault was invented by the Korean and he is the only gymnast to currently execute it in the world. “As I was the last man to compete in the final, I planned to use the Yang Hak-seon when competitors posted more than 16.266 points,” he said. Yang took two big steps forward when he landed his first vault but the 7.4 difficulty rating _ two 10ths of a point higher than the second best competitor ― was enough to earn him 16.466. Then, he performed a 7.0 difficulty vault in his second effort to score 16.600 to bring the nation an elusive Olympic title.Who doesn’t love a heart warming story about an underdog achieving the ultimate victory?

South Korean Activism, Protests On Jejudo, And Christianity

Growing up in the US, and specifically in a Christian community, I recall doing very little in the way of volunteerism, service, or even mission projects (loosely defined as going out and working with another community). It’s ironic since the example set by Jesus largely has to do with compassionate works and self-sacrifice. It wasn’t until late college I discovered that for me to truly engage in my faith it would mean engaging in social and political issues. I couldn’t in good conscience simply sit idly by and not voice an opinion about poverty, the war in Iraq, or even the recent immigration controversies.

Continue reading “South Korean Activism, Protests On Jejudo, And Christianity”

Squid No Go: Korean Woman’s Mouth Gets Inseminated by a Squid

According to a paper published in the Journal of Parasitology, a 63 year old Korean woman’s tongue, cheek, and gums got inseminated by the cooked squid she had just eaten.

This abstract explains further:

We present a case of stinging in the oral cavity caused by ingestion of the sperm bags of a squid. The patient experienced severe pain in her oral cavity immediately after eating raw squid. When she was examined at our hospital, we found that several small whitish spindle-shaped stings were stuck to the mucous membrane of the hard palate. A biopsy was performed, and the whitish stings were removed as well. We also performed a histological examination of the remaining part of the raw squid brought by the patient. The biopsy showed that the sperm bags of the squid had thrust into the squamous epithelium of the patient. The remaining part of the raw squid consisted of the testis and the sperm bags.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go cancel my lunch reservation at Red Lobster.

“Stinging in the oral cavity caused by ingestion of the sperm bags of a squid: a case report.” via io9

[Photo used under Creative Commons License via Colin-47]

K-Pop Star Rain Joins South Korean Army

K-Popstar Rain takes a temporary hiatus from his stardom to join the military as required by South Korea: “The 29-year-old singer and actor gave a military salute to tearful fans Tuesday before walking into a boot camp in the city of Uijeongbu north of Seoul. Many of the hundreds of fans gathered in front of the base were from Japan and China.” Like many countries in Asia, all abled body males are required to join the armed forces for a period of time regardless of their social status.

Cloned Super Sniffing Dogs Detect Drugs in South Korea

While South Koreans scientists have been known for cloning beloved pets that have died, they have also found much more practical applications of this technology.  Cloned super sniffing dogs nicknamed “Toppies” (for “Tomorrow Puppies”) now patrol Korean airports, checking for drugs.  These Labrador Retrievers have proven extremely successful in their job.  You might ask, why is this a big deal?  It turns out that the economics of training sniffing dogs make cloning, despite its expense, worthwhile.

Continue reading “Cloned Super Sniffing Dogs Detect Drugs in South Korea”

Captured Pirates Rave about Korean Prison Food

New America Media has a story (translated from the Korean language Dong-a Daily) about captured Somali pirates being held by South Korea.  The pirates are said to be raving about how good the South Korean prison food is and say that their South Korean prison is better than any hotel in Somalia.  I found it hard to believe that any prisoner would love his prison so much, but as Joz pointed to me,  “Korean food is delish!”  Indeed it is.  Also, as it is said that toxic waste dumping and overfishing by non-Somalis have made life difficult enough to push Somalis into becoming pirates, these claims become more believable.  One pirate likes South Korea so much as he wants to request residency.  Unlikely – dude, you’re a pirate!

South Korea World Cup Coach Quits Over CyberBullying

I’ll be one of the first to generalize about my people: Koreans love drama whether it’s on tv or in real life. Of course, the drama of the 2010 FIFA World Cup was compelling: all the Asian countries made a great start especially South Korea coming out strong in the first round against Greece, and then the agony of their subsequent losses to Argentina (oh, it was brutal) and Uruguay, though they did tie Nigeria. After the loss to Uruguay, I immediately thought “What’s going to happen to the coach?”, while only being able to imagine the immense expectation he carried on his shoulders and the difficulty of returning home with the team as losers.

I guess it’s not surprising, and definitely almost a relief, then to hear that the South Korea coach, Huh Jung-Moo is calling it quits or, “letting his contract expire so he can spend more time with the family.” AFP reports:

In the group stages South Korea beat Greece 2-0 but suffered a crushing 4-1 defeat to Argentina, which sparked a barrage of cyber attacks on the coach notably over his decision to shuffle his defenders by bringing on Oh Beom-Seok for Cha Du-Ri. Huh’s wife, Choi Mi-Na, told the Chosun Daily that she and their children had been deeply wounded by hurtful Internet postings. “I told him he should quit … The coach and all my family members have been hurt enough,” she said.

It makes sense for him to take a step back and take care of himself and his family. The pressure and weight are enough to crush someone, and sometimes to death. Whoever says that “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” is delusional. Words matter and can have a terrible impact. Cyberbullying is a phenomenon that occurs everywhere and tragic when it results in an innocent, young person taking her life. And of course, since cyberbullying has become rampant, it is all the more reason to focus on one’s health, or it may result in something like the suicide of Choi Jin-Sil, a South Korean actress a couple of years ago. If I were Huh’s wife, I’d be concerned for him. Certainly, preserving one’s life and well-being, even if it means quitting, is way more important than dealing with the daily drama of being the coach of a football team. Besides, there’s always 2014.