This section of Busan gets a bit of slag. I remember looking at a comment thread on Koreabridge one time before I came back where one poster noted that if you breathe the air in Saha-gu (this town within a city where Jangnim is located), you instantly get AIDS. I have on more than one occasion referred to it negatively when someone asked where I lived, replied with, “huh?” and I had to tell them, “it’s next to Dadaepo,” to which the person would almost always say, “oh, wow, that’s so far.”
It is. And it’s gritty. It’s far from international. You won’t find 4-star hotels in Jangnim. You won’t even find Starbucks or McDonald’s (though, they’re not very far). There is a lot of industry going on here. But, there’s also a lot of humanity, too. It’s something I hope I assumed must exist but had not bothered to really see for myself.
So, under a slate gray sky with the rain having stopped this morning and my new bike (affectionately now known as “Zyden the Korean Warlord”) itching to be taken out for a spin, I decided to go beyond my walking/bus route to school and actually explore my dong. That will be the last time I use that tired joke.
I began with the intention of riding into Dadaepo to perhaps check out the ongoing work on a walkway planned for the beach and leading to the Sunset Fountain of Dream. But, one of the pedals of my new bike is already bent (you get what you pay for, which wasn’t much), so I figured I should keep it local, especially if the rain returned (it didn’t).
But, where to? I got on the main road, the one I always take heading to work, the one with all the construction for the subway extension, and made my first right down one of those other roads I have never taken, because I didn’t have to.
What I saw was what probably a lot of people living in this area go to during the week: industrial sites, small and not so small. Some apartment tower blocks. A lot of quiet. It’s not exactly a bustling part of the neighborhood.
But, as I turned around and headed toward Jangnim Market, I began to see more and more people. Make no mistake, this isn’t Seomyeon, KSU, Nampo, or Haeundae. But, it’s not a ghost town. There were kids playing, people walking from here or there, stories that I’ll probably never know their beginnings or endings. I say probably, though it’s more likely “never,” but, hey, you never know.
Jangnim Market proper is a bustling meeting place for young and old, with many restaurants, shops and street vendors. Unlike those aforementioned major city centers, you won’t find all the chains under the Asian sun in Jangnim, except an Ediya Coffee and Lotteria (and 7-Eleven, but it’s the totally Asian version of 7-Eleven so it doesn’t really count). Should McDonald’s ever make it to Jangnim, you’ll know the subway extension has had an effect (for the better?).
I continued winding my way through side streets that, back home, you would never see a car pass through unless it was trying to find a short cut. And, even still, in that case they wouldn’t stay too long for fear of getting a ticket. In Korea, they’re just smaller roads, with businesses, homes, even police stations.
I was dumped back onto another main artery where my ride continued. Here were fewer pedestrians, more closed shops (perhaps for always) and more cars, as this road appeared to lead to somewhere out of town. For another time when I have a spare tube in case I get a flat, and a spare man-won (10,000) in case I want to stop to get a bite to eat.
I continued to ride, slowly, trying to take it all in and not just gloss over the gray. Here and there were people in places you would least expect them to be. Well, unless you’ve lived for any length of time in an Asian country.
Whether it was a small alley, a large market square, a mini-industrial park or a small river running through it all, Zyden and I saw things many foreigners living here might never see. Maybe even plenty of lifelong residents, too.
And, no, this isn’t my attempt at serving shit with sugar and saying it’s a Sundae. Jangnim is gritty, no doubt about that. It’s inconvenient, no doubt about that, either. But, it’s also a place where people live. These are not just pairs of eyes staring the waygookin down as he heads to school. It’s not just the drunk screaming to no one in particular at 11 a.m. It’s not the alleycats either fighting or fucking somewhere outside my window. It’s all of that, and more–a lot of stories, of long and short lives lived here, in a place that, for many of them, is the only life they have ever known. It’s not always perfect, it’s often far from that. But, there’s a lot of humanity here, if only this broad-shouldered, pale-skinned, wide-eyed foreigner is willing to open himself up to it and have the experience, as free from bias as possible. It’s often not easy, but it’s possible.
Life really does look different when viewed from a bike.
So many stories, just try to imagine what some of them must be like.
JPDdoesROK is a former news editor/writer in New Jersey, USA, now serving a one-year hagwon tour-of-duty in Jangnim and Dadaepo, Busan, South Korea.Log in
Newsweek Japan asked me to contribute an essay on Korean foreign policy for a special issue on current Northeast Asian tension. I also wrote the introductory essay for this special issue. There is one essay each on Japan, China, and Korea; mine is the Korean one. So this is a nice laymen’s review without too much fatiguing jargon. This was originally published in January, so this translation is late, but the points still hold.
In brief I argue that Korea’s foreign policy is driven by its geography. Korea is a middle power surrounded by three great powers, plus the most orwellian state in history. That position really, really sucks. The US alliance helps buttress Korea sovereignty in that tight neighborhood, but China’s rise is unbalancing everything, especially calculations for unification. Once again, there are no hyperlinks, because it was intended for print. Here we go:
“On December 19, Korea elected a new president, Park Geun-Hye. Park comes from the conservative New Frontier Party. The current president, Lee Myung-Bak, is also a conservative. Park will be inaugurated in late February. Her campaign presented her as more ‘dovish’ on foreign policy than Lee, but she represents greater continuity than her opponent, particularly regarding North Korea.
Korea’s foreign policy is heavily-driven by its geography. It is an encircled middle power that has frequently struggled to defend its autonomy against its much larger neighbors. And since World War II, it has faced the most orwellian country in history in a harsh stand-off that dominates Korean foreign policy. An opening of North Korea, leading to eventual reunification, is the central policy issue of every Korean administration. Beyond that, Korea’s central relations are with the United States, China, and Japan. All three structure Korea’s neighborhood and will significantly influence unification.
North Korea: Foreign policy played a small role in the Korean presidential election, and what there was focused mostly on North Korea. North Korea even test-fired a missile to intimidate Southern voters into selecting Park’s opponent. North Korea prefers Southern presidents from the left, for they have pursued the ‘Sunshine Policy’ (1998-2008). ‘Sunshine’ meant generous aid to North Korea and less condemnation of its human record. The current president halted this abruptly, and Pyongyang reacted furiously. It sank a South Korean destroyer and shelled an island town in 2010.
A sizeable majority of Koreans think the current hardline policy is too harsh, and Park ran a moderate campaign. Although from the conservative New Frontier Party, she has promised to restore some aid, increase ‘trust’ with the North, and pursue a summit meeting with the new North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un. Critically, what, if any, conditions she will place on aid is unknown. Her voters, and the Americans and Japanese, almost certainly want conditionality related to denuclearization. But most analysts believe North Korea will never voluntarily denuclearize at this point. If Park insists on linking aid to denuclearization, she may be inadvertently pushed into Lee Myung-Bak’s hardline position, even though she ran against it.
United States: The US-South Korea alliance goes back to 1953. It is an important bulwark in the defense of the South against the North. The US stations close to 30,000 soldiers in-country – not enough to stop the North Korean People’s Army, but enough to activate American assistance should North Korea invade. Today South Korea’s economy is much larger than the North’s, but the continuing American deterrent allows the South to spend less on defense than it otherwise would. This, in turn, is meant to signal to the North that South Korea would like a reduction in force totals and tensions.
Under the liberal administrations previous to Lee, South Korea drifted somewhat from the American alliance. Younger Koreans especially are more skeptical of the Americans, frequently because of poor behavior by Americans in-country. They strongly rejected George W. Bush’s placement of North on the ‘axis of evil’ and supported the Sunshine Policy. Lee went the other way. He travelled to the US and spoke to its Congress to reaffirm the alliance. As a fellow conservative, Park will almost certainly continue tight relations with the United States. But the value of that US relationship is waning as the US declines in the world relative to China.
China: China will shortly overtake the US in GDP, and South Korea must engage Beijing. This is perhaps the trickiest of South Korea’s regional relations. On the one hand, China is still a one-party state, and it provides great assistance to North Korea. Indeed, without Chinese aid, many experts think North Korea would collapse. China has consistently shielded North Korea from UN reprimands, and this has slowly alienated South Korean public opinion. China’s ability to forestall unification, by propping up North Korea indefinitely, is increasingly clear to Southern voters in the wake of the Six Party Talks’ collapse. In my own experience, I have seen Chinese scholars at conferences indicate that South Korea must come to terms with China for unification to occur, leading to sharp rebukes from South Korean participants.
On the other hand, China now absorbs the plurality of South Korea’s exports. So alienating China economically is risky (a lesson many Asia states are learning). Nor Koreans do bear the political hostility toward China they do toward North Korea or Japan. Koreans’ sense of nationalism is constructed around mistreatment by pre-1945 Japan, not by the earlier Chinese dynasties. In fact, premodern, Joseon Korea was very culturally close to China. Korea was comfortable in the Sinocentric tribute system; it was not a colony or conquered region like China’s western territories. Because of its intense Confucianism, Korea enjoyed Chinese respect, and after the Manchu conquest (1644), Korea became ‘more Chinese than China.’
Hence, Korea is unlikely to support a tough line by Tokyo or Washington against China. Instead, Park’s likely greatest concern is halting North Korea’s slide into full-blown client-dependency on China. In the 1990s and 2000s, negotiations over North Korea’s nuclear program allowed Pyongyang to play off the US, Japan, China, and South Korea for aid, just as it had played off China and the Soviet Union for assistance during the Cold War. But with the collapse of the Six Party Talks several years ago, aid from all but China stopped. So North Korea is now quite dependent on Beijing. Therefore, prying North Korea loose from China is central. China can bail-out North Korea indefinitely, so Park must convince Beijing to accept reunification on Southern terms. South Korea’s relationship with China is now arguably as important as with the US.
Japan: Korea’s relationship with Japan is deeply strained. Memories of Japan’s colonial mistreatment run deep. Koreans are very aware that Imperial Japan attempted to culturally assimilate Korea, even to the point of replacing Korean names. The issue of the war-time sexual impressment of Korean women unites nearly all Koreans in intense anger. The Korean media watches intently for any sign of Japanese ‘remilitarization.’ Visits to the Yasukuni shrine are tracked, as are Japan’s many up-and-downs on apologizing for war-time behavior. Koreans learn that Japan has invaded many times, although most of these attacks were actually pirate (wako) raids. The Korean admiral who defeated the Japanese in the Imjin War is taught as a great national hero. Yi Sun-Shin, although his exploits were over 400 years ago, is memorialized throughout the country in statues and imagery. A soap opera was written around him, and his Wikipedia page is relentlessly nationalistic.
Competing against, and beating, Japan on its own terms is therefore a central point of national pride, a manner to overcome past feelings of inferiority and victimhood. Koreans thrill to the idea of Yuna Kim outskating Asada Mao, or Samsumg outselling Sony in electronics. Competing directly against Japanese export strengths – cars, electronics – is no accident. The Liancourt Rocks controversy captures all this quite well. The islands will never be ceded to Japanese control. ‘Dokdo’ imagery is ubiquitous. Subway cars are painted with the images of the islands. Websites declaim them as ‘sacred.’ Pop songs are written about them. A Korean Olympic athlete this year was initially denied his medal for holding up a sign declaiming ‘Dokdo is our land.’ The Korean Ministry of National Defense says it is ready to go to war if necessary to defend the claim.
Ironically, the president-elect comes from possibly the most pro-Japanese family in the country. Park’s father, Park Chung-Hee, was dictator from 1961 to 1979. He admired Japan and had even served in the Japanese imperial army (points rarely mentioned in the Korean media). When he promoted Korean industrialization, he brought over the Japanese economic model almost entirely. Korea’s chaebol were basically copies of the keiretsu, as was the banking structure and industrial policy. Given this family history, Park is unlikely to gratuitously criticize Japan.
Today, Korean conservatives tend to less anti-Japanese than the left (no one is pro-Japanese). When Lee Myung-Bak became president, he initially tried to reach a working relationship with Japan and kicked around the idea of a free trade agreement. Similarly, Park will probably try to soothe relations. She knows the Americans want Japan and South Korea to get along better, and she knows that South Korean-Japanese discord only serves North Korea and China. But she is boxed in by domestic nationalist opinion on Japan regarding the war, comfort women, and the Liancourt Rocks.
So she, and new Japanese Prime Minister Abe, will likely do the same thing – nothing. Simply ignoring South Korean-Japan relations for awhile allows current tensions to fade. Insofar as South Korea and Japan are both liberal democracies, US allies, and worried about China and North Korea, a time-out is undoubtedly a good idea. Abe probably cares a lot more about China, not to mention re-starting Japan’s economy. And Park probably cares more about China’s growing dominance over North Korea. Letting sleeping dogs lie between Japan and South Korea is a wise idea in order to focus on issues of greater geopolitical importance.
Maneuvering these northeast Asia relationships will be complex. South Korea is still small. North Korea is terrifying; the United States and Japan are in economic trouble; and China is rising fast. This is not a good correlation of forces to achieve the main goal of Seoul’s foreign policy – the unification of the peninsula on Southern terms. Park will need Chinese acquiescence to unification, however discomforting that may be. It increasingly seems likely that China will demand a concession regarding US military forces in unified Korea. The exchange of a US withdrawal for unification is a deal Seoul elites have sought to avoid for decades, but it may be the only way given rising China’s hold on the North.”
Filed under: China, Foreign Policy, International Relations Theory, Japan, Korea (North), Korea (South), United States Robert E Kelly
Department of Political Science & Diplomacy
Pusan National University
Cheorwan (철원), a lesser-known destination on the "security tourism" route, is one of these cities.
Last autumn, I traveled there to film an episode of "Top Ten Korea" with Arirang TV. Because the script was in Korean, I did not know what to expect. In fact, when I learned that I would be going to the DMZ, I assumed we would be visiting the joint security area where soldiers from both Koreas spend their days staring each other down intently, with little to no real action taking place. I soon realized upon our arrival to Cheorwan that there was much more to the DMZ that I had ever imagined.
We covered a lot of ground in the one day trip from Seoul. Below are the highlights of our excursion.
Old Woljeong-ni Station: Once a stop on the Seoul-Gangwon line, the station, or what is left of it, is now an empty building located on the southern boundary of the DMZ. Although the building itself is nondescript, the draw of the station is the skeleton of a North Korean transport train that lays just outside its walls.
The train- which was bombed by American forces- is enclosed by a fence adorned with messages of hope. As we took a walk around the site, we became teary-eyed by some of them obviously written by children. "Let's play together when we are united," one of them read. "I hope to meet you soon," noted another.
The station is about as geographically close as you can get to the demilitarized zone and is a landmark that makes Korea's tragic past very, very real. In order to access this area, visitors must have a permit or enter with someone who has a permit (i.e. shuttle bus driver, taxi driver, etc.).
The remains of a former North Korean transport train lie just outside old Woljeong-ni Station.
Messages of hope for reunification can be found throughout Cheorwan city.
The Second Tunnel: Discovered by South Korean guards in 1975, the second tunnel was built by North Korean forces as a means of infiltrating the South. It is big enough to accommodate up to 30,000 people and is wide enough for tanks to pass through it. Fortunately for me, who has some serious claustrophobia issues, we didn't go far into the tunnel. It was an interesting site, however, and offers an insightful glimpse into one of the world's most mysterious countries.
Descending into Cheorwan's tunnel.
Cheorwon Peace Observatory: For a literal glimpse into North Korea, we took a monorail that offered some amazing views to the Cheorwon Peace Observatory. The observation platform offers panoramic vistas of the DMZ and with the help of on-site binoculars, North Korean checkpoints and guards can be spotted. Because the DMZ is the only place in the world where no human is allowed to enter, wildlife flourishes within its boundaries and beautiful birds and plants can also be seen.
Though desolate, the vistas of the DMZ and North Korea are worth the trip to the Cheorwan Peace Observatory.
Migratory Birds: Speaking of birds, Cheorwan is located on the migration route of a number of species of birds that fly south during winter, including red-crowned cranes, golden eagles, mallards, and white-fronted geese. Our camera guys failed in getting any money shots of the birds flying en masse (possibly because it was the beginning of the season) but we still enjoyed watching the cranes wander the fields and take off in flight as the sun set over Cheorwan. There are a number of suggested viewpoints to watch the birds from November to February.
Goseokjung: Of all the places we visited, this one was definitely my favorite. In addition to its beauty, this area that sits on the Hantan River has an amusing history.
It was in the caves of Goseokjung that Lee Kung-jung, or Korea's Robin Hood, as he is sometimes referred to, hid from the guards of the Joseon Dynasty with his organized team of do-gooders. Lee was often wanted for stealing government property and handing it over to the poor, but didn't seem to let that keep him from doing what he thought was right.
It's easy to understand why Lee chose Goseokjung as his sanctuary: the area is not only shrouded in lush vegetation but the views are breathtaking. The sight of the vibrant colors of the autumn foliage outlining the emerald river was enough to make me want to stick around and find my own little retreat in the crevices of the rocks and boulders. As gorgeous as the scenery was in fall, I imagine it's just as beautiful in the spring and summer, when visitors can rent boats and participate in water sports.
Once a hide out for Korea's own Robin Hood, Goseokjung is a stunning area where visitors can enjoy pleasant picnics and water sports.
Despite Cheorwan's tragic past and current military affiliations, there's a tangible hope present there. It can be found in the written messages of peace scattered throughout the city, in the wildlife that has blossomed in the demilitarized zone despite human conflict, and in the undeviating beauty of nature, which continues to endure through each passing season.
To Get There: To get to Cheorwan, take an intercity bus from Dong Seoul Bus Terminal (Seoul subway line 2, Gangbyeon station) to Dongsong-eup or Sincheorwon. (Estimated travel time: 2hrs 20min). The city is best explored by car, so it is recommended that you hire a taxi upon your arrival. However, attractions can be accessed via public transportation; detailed directions to specific destinations in Cheorwan can be found at the Korea Tourism Organization website.
More Info: For more information about the destinations and attractions listed above, visit Cheorwan's official website here.
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Last year, when I returned to work after taking a short leave, my youngest class surprised me with a note on the board and gave me a group hug. The little ones could not prepare any flowers or presents, but they gave me the best gift that day.
This morning, the first one to greet me “Happy teacher’s day” was my husband. (Well, he used to be my student. ^^)
Tomorrow. it’s my turn to make a teacher smile. I’m sure that my Korean language teacher will receive carnations from other students, so instead of flowers, I’m thinking of buying her Starbucks coffee or maybe getting her aStarbucks gift card. You can purchase a Teacher’s Day gift card in Starbucks or order one on-line or via smart phone. The video below will give you instructions on how to do it. (It’s in Korean though.)
I’ve worked with many Korean teachers. They are very patient and hardworking.
My first Korean language teacher is a nurse, but she volunteered to teach foreign wives and migrant workers in Namyangju (South Korea). Now she heads a multi-cultural center inDonong. She has been very helpful to me, especially when I was still adjusting to the Korean way of life. At times, she took me and my classmates on field trips. When my husband was busy with work that he barely had time to assist me with some documents I needed in thehagwon, it was my Korean teacher who helped me. She doesn’t teach me anymore, but I visit her in the center sometimes.
I’m planning to see her this week to tell her personally, 고맙습니다, 선생님! (Thank you, Teacher!)
If you have a Korean teacher you would like to greet on Teacher’s day, you can say, “스승의 날 축하해요!” which means…
- Teacher’s Day in SK (chrissantosra.wordpress.com)
- First Things I’ve Learned from Teaching (Korean) Students (chrissantosra.wordpress.com)
- Why I’m Learning Korean Again (chrissantosra.wordpress.com)
- Don’t Mess with Ajumma (chrissantosra.wordpress.com)
- International student’s life in Korea (letshareexperiencetogether.wordpress.com)
- Embassy teaches Korean culture, language (fijitimes.com)
- The Phonology of “Baby Teacher” (greenwalledtower.wordpress.com)
- education 102: dealing with exhausting children (studentoftravel.wordpress.com)
- Korean Education – Mysteries Revealed (waygookboon.blogspot.kr)
- On the Spread of English in Korea (Blog angry my friends)(eltrantsreviewsreflections.wordpress.com)
From Korea with Love
During the weekend, my wife and I decided to take a trip to one of the more popular temples in Busan. Typically if you see an elaborately decorated temple from Busan, is will be Samgwangsa. This temple is huge as temples go for the area and is decorated with over 10,000 lanterns.
This Friday is Buddha’s Birthday a public holiday and one of my favorite times to photograph in Korea. Almost every temple in Korea is decorated for the event along with many parts of the city. Photographers head out by the thousands to get “that shot” of the famous temples and their lantern displays.
For me, I always head out during the evenings before the big day to catch the lanterns and miss the people. This is also when you can meet many other like-minded photographers. It is a quiet time, think “calm before the storm” and a great way to focus on your work.
However, Samgwangsa was not at all quiet. I did meet other photographers like Robert Koehler who I was pleasantly surprised to see. As well as Ryan Griffiths and his girlfriend Erin, who are up and coming photographers from Ulsan.
As the light started to dim, every imaginable window had lenses poking out of it. With the lanterns on, out came the saxophone music and other random bits of entertainment. It showed just how busy Friday will get. All in all, it was a great evening and I was happy to get some shots of this landmark of a temple.
News Story: http://asitimes.blogspot.kr/2013/05/photos-uss-nimitz-arrives-in-busan-to.html
USS Nimitiz Info: http://www.nimitz.navy.mil/ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Nimitz_(CVN-68)
More Views from My Window
to vote0 USS Nimitz Carrier Group heads out of Busan, Korea
1) Park meets with Obama in Washington
Korean President Park Geun-hye met with Obama at White House on May 7. They agreed to “work jointly to induce North Korea to make the right choice” and reaffirmed strong economic and military ties. She also gave a speech at the U.S. Congress in her good English, describing the accomplishments of the Korea-U.S. alliance over the past six decades by telling the stories of Col. David Morgan family, whose grandfather and father also served in the U.S. military in Korea.
>Mr. ChungRae Chung, a lawmaker from the opposition party, was criticized by the public when he made a sarcastic Twitter comment like “Psy sings Gangnam style in Korean in the U.S. while our president speaks English in the U.S. Congress. Who can we be more proud of?” Well, buy Google stocks right now. More Americans will have to purchase Google Translator software as ‘proud Koreans’ will send e-mails to their American colleagues in Korean only.
2) Park’s spokes man in sex scandal
Park’s success with the U.S. visit was severely marred by sexual harassment scandal over her own spokesman, Mr. ChangJung Yoon. According to the reports, Yoon grabbed the buttocks of a 22 year old Korean American intern who was assigned to guide the spokesman during Park’s visit in the U.S. The intern reported the case to the U.S. police, and Yoon made a hasty run away flight from Washington to Seoul on his own before being sacked by Park one day later. When Park returned to Korea over the weekend, Yoon held a press conference to deny the charges, but it was reported Yoon confessed to the Blue House officials that he did grab the intern’s buttocks, and showed his naked body to the intern at his hotel room in Washington. Over two thirds of news time is spent for Mr. Yoon’s scandal at this time.
Mr.Yoon might be grumbling why he has to be sacked for grabbing a female’s butt protected under cloths while Obama is all O.K even if he firmly grabbed the naked hands of Park Geun-hye. With two hands, to boot, so more heinous crime......
1) Choco Pies popularity in North Korea
The U.K. newspaper Guardian reported that marshmallow-filled Choco Pies from South Korea “have achieved legendary status among North Koreans.” The paper said the small, round sugary snack given as a reward to North Korean workers in Kaesong Industrial Complex will accomplish what world leaders have tried in vain with aid, lectures, sanctions and engagement. The Guardian cited Andrei Lankove, the expert on North Korea, as saying "Choco Pies are an important mind-changing instrument. It has become a symbol of South Korean prosperity -- and North Koreans read it. They are suffering and starving, but thanks to Choco Pies, people don't buy the old story that the South is even poorer." Choco Pies were originally developed by Orion Confectionary in 1974.
Choco Pies are sold at 500won a piece in North Korean black market, while an average worker’s monthly salary is only 5,000 won. With no more Choco Pie supply to North Koreans as Kaesong is now closed, it might be even selling at higher price. Don’t worry about Kaesong as it will re-open soon when Kim Jong-un runs out of Choco Pies.
2) Namyang apologizes for bullying store owners
Namyang, Korea’s largest dairy products maker, got into a trouble when a store owner posted on YouTube an audio file of a conversation between himself and a Namyang sales manager. On the tape, the sales manager pressured the store owner to buy more products, saying “I don’t give a damn about your stupid business and don’t care if you are completely ruined. How dare you disobey my demands? I’m going to kill you if I see you. ” There were a lot more colorful Korean four letter words that I chose not to put here. The stock price and the sales of Namyang took a nosedive after the consumers began boycotting Namyang products. Facing the worst crisis since its foundation in 1964, its management made a public apology and promised to provide 50 billion won to support its store owners.
My wife’s younger brother works at Namyang as a quality manager. I talked to him after my return from Chicago last Friday. He thanked Yoon family. First for me, HyungSik Yoon, for rescuing his sister who had a hard time finding a good husband 24 years ago, and for the other Mr. Yoon whose sexual harassment scandal last week managed to divert the public’s attention from his company.
3. Auto Industry
1) Hyundai to build its 4th plant in China
Faced with ever increasing Chinese market and the untouchable labor union in Korea, a Hyundai vice chairman told reporters that Hyundai is planning to build its 4th plant in the mid-west China The vice chairman said Hyundai is currently in negotiation with the Chinese government and its capacity would be 300K a year. Hyundai has recently added some capacity in its Beijing plant to make 1.05 million units per year, and its sister Kia is pushing to shorten the SOP for its third plant by two months to start in April 2014, to have 740K units in Yancheong. Once Hyundai’s 4th plant is completed in 2015 as the vice chairman envisioned last Friday, Hyundai & Kia will have 2.1 million units a year capacity in China. The combined sale for Hyundai and Kia in China is forecasted to reach 1.5 million vehicles this year.
As of April this year, Hyundai sold 37.4% more and Kia a 24.6% more than the same period last year in China. All this jaw dropping figures thanks to Chinese consumer reaction to recent controversial comments by Japanese PM Shinzo Abe on the Japanese role in Asia during WWII. The sales people in Hyundai America are praying Mr. Abe begin talking about Pearl Harbor.
By Linda Arnaez-Lee
(Translation from Kinaray-a by Jose Edison C. Tondares)
“Getting a husband is like gambling. You never know if it is good luck or bad luck that will hit you. That is why it is better for you a get a husband from somewhere near. If your husband hurts you, you can easily run home. What are you going to do in Korea? It’s too far. Here, even if it is just a harvester that you marry, at least you are close to us.” These were the last words my father spoke to me when I asked his permission to marry a Korean.
“What? You are marrying a Korean? Why a Korean? Just where did you meet that guy? You have so many suitors and you pick a Korean? Are you sure about that?” All these questions from my friends and co-teachers in a public school where I teach were like rattling gunfire.
I indeed had many suitors. There was a policeman, a politician, a teacher, an overseas worker, a Muslim businessman, a sacristan, a widower, a married man, a bum, a student, and one crazy guy. Beat that! I had all! But none made me tick! If this was at all, however, the reason for marrying I would have gotten married when I was still a student. The truth was my suitors did not really come up to what I called my standards. That was not how I chose whom to marry. I wanted someone who shared my views in life, and that would be building a family that was good and happy, that even if along the way plates and pots would fly out of the window, and love would be gone, we would still have the same views; that we would have handsome and pretty kids (we need to improve the race), long life, and stable jobs. The fulfillment of these dreams I saw in Bruce, a Korean referred to me by my elder sibling in Korea. That was why I did not listen to my father or my friends or those I knew. Against what they had to say, I flew to Korea.
On 24 January 2001, I was one of the passengers of Korean Airlines flying to Seoul. I had with me a suitcase and three paper bags filled with canned foods and noodles. I wanted to be prepared just in case I would not take an instant liking to their food.
The instant the plane’s wheels hit the ground, I instantly felt I was now in the land of slinky-eyed people fond of eating kimchi. I was motionless for a while. What fate was it that awaited me?
The paper bags I carried with my left hands were a topsy-turvy while I dragged my suitcase with my right. I saw him right away among the crowd waiting outside the arrival area. I was amazed that I saw him immediately. I did not find it hard to look for him even if everyone looked alike with their eyes in perpetual squint. It might have been because I had already seen and been with him twice in Manila, and I have closely studied the pictures he sent me together with a set of lotion which I would later found out were for the face. All the while I thought they were for my arms. No wonder it was harder to shake than a dead snail!
What’s funny was he hurried much to the airport but forgot to bring a winter coat for me. I didn’t really feel the cold perhaps because I was feeling too many things, or maybe I just had brought along enough tropical warmth. If I was an anchovy, I would say I had been sundried to the bones before I left the Philippines. I did not feel the cold until we reached their house in Busan from Gimhae Airport. He offered to take off his jacket for me to wear but I was like the courageous Gabriela Silang when I refused his offer and said, “I’m ok!”
When we arrived at his place, his mother was already waiting outside with the coat he forgot to bring. Mother-in-law had a curly hair. From afar, her head looked like cup noodles waiting for steaming hot water. Father-in-law was sitting on the floor and leaning on the wall by the door. He was crippled and he had to drag himself. Before him was a low round table laden with food. Mother-in-law wasted no time wrapping me with the coat she was holding while rattling off words not one of which I understood. That was when I started feeling the cold.
I did not like the food laid before me but I had to eat. I did not want to offend. I was not able to sleep to the first night I stayed at my husband’s. It was my first time to sleep on a warmed floor they called undol.
Very early in the morning I heard the pots and basins clanking. She was already up, Omoni. That was how they called mother in Korean. I glanced at the watch hanging on the wall. It was just four in the morning. Alarm clocks can glitch and batteries lose charge but not Omoni.
The first thing I learned at the training center for wives of Koreans was displaying respect. It was regarded to be of utmost importance in the household and in society. From waking up “Annyeonghi Jumosyeossoyo?”, to before meals “Jal mokesumnida,” to after meals “Jal mokossumnida,” to leaving the house “Tanyo ogesumnida,” to meeting someone by the street even if a stranger “Annyeong haseyo,” to arriving at home “Tanyo wassumnida,” to offering food “Jinji tuseyo” until before sleeping “Annyeonghi jumuseyo.” Endless courtesy. It was strange, however, this people on the second floor. They almost bump into you but hear nothing not even a cat’s meow of a voice. I would have wanted to have actually run into them.
Our marriage was arranged even if we were actually already married in Manila. This was to introduce me to the family, relatives, and friends as a new member of my husband’s family. There were no sponsors and godparents. The ceremony done by the pastor was austere. What was not simple was my three-inch thick make up and false eyelashes. My wedding gown looked like Cinderalla’s gown in some fairy tale book I read a long time ago. I had high heels and I smiled like the corners of my lips would reach past my jaws to my ears. Even Bruce had to wink three times with his mouth open at what he saw. I thought he couldn’t believe it was me, his bride. Huhum!
I could feel Bruce was nervous when he lighted the candle and it didn’t burn right away; and when his voice trembled as he responded “Ye!” or “Yes!” to the pastor; when our heads hit together when we bowed; when the corsage fell off from his suit. Everyone was laughing when Bruce picked it up and slipped it in the breast pocket of his suit. I on the other hand was calm, smiling as if amused and simply observing. Went with the flow.
The ceremony was soon over and was followed by a picture-taking beginning with the parents of the newly-wed. Mine was a pair proxy, a Korean couple known to the church. I remembered father. I would make it up to him when I come home to Antique. I plan to have another marriage ceremony according to the Aglipayan tradition. My father was an Aglipayan. Next in line for the photographs were the relatives, friends, and acquaintances.
“Popo!” “Kiss!” shouted everyone. Bruce’s trembling lips pressed on my checks. The camera flashed. The crowd applauded. Everyone was happy!
The wedding started at eleven in the morning and ended past two in the afternoon. We went home for the ritual bow to my parents-in-law. Then they gave me an envelope containing 300,000 won. Bruce had his too. We were to spend the money for our honeymoon in Kyeongju City. Bruce was simply unlucky. Red flag!
So Bruce wouldn’t feel so bad, we went around the whole of Kyeongju. We were out of our hotel for almost the entire time. We visited the Kyeongju Museum where one can learn about the Silla Dynasty. We rode a boat that from afar looked like a wading swan. We walked on a bridge arching over a pond and fed fishes as big as bamboo node. I was amazed. In my whole life I never saw fishes that big and they were of different colors. There was a red one, an orange, green, and a dapple of black and grey. Their splashes where like that of children playing in the irrigation canal during rain season. We had our picture taken. We took turns holding the camera, until an ajoshi, a man about 45 pitiful of us volunteered to take our picture together. “Hana, dol, set!” Klick! We also had our picture taken among the flowers. How beautiful they were. They were like pieces of puzzles places exactly where they should be. They formed a design. It was doubtless that a busalian was behind all of these. An obra maestra. Who would believe that on the rocky grounds of Korea will grow these flowers?
We had dinner at a traditional Korean restaurant where food seemed to be like all grass. There were many patrons eating, mostly couples like us. Perhaps they were newly-weds too. The women were all slim. I could not understand why “healthy” for them was being thin. In short, all bones! After dinner, we left the restaurant for some fresh air. I could not explain how I felt. Empty. Maybe I was just hungry.
Bruce pulled me further up. He brought me in front of a gaudily lighted door. Norebang. Videoke in our language. Bruce sang a few songs. He was a good singer. His timing was good and it was pointless to argue that he was used to norebang. He sang “kayo” or all-time pop songs but only a few. It was me wailing almost all of the one hour and a half that we stayed inside the norebang. “Manam,” or “The Rendezvous” was the first number I sang. This was the first Korean pop song that I knew. And then I sang English songs. One of them was “What’s up?” I haven’t taken a swig of soju but I was like drunk belting out those songs. Bruce was quiet. I thought I would rapture a vein in my neck trying to hit the high notes. I shouted out the lyrics. Was it really the lyrics I wanted to shout? But the lyrics of Bruce’s silence were even louder. The door opened. The manager of the norebang came in with a tray of Sewoo Kang, shrimp crackers in English, and saida and mekju in can. Cider and beer in can. The manager extended our one hour stay to another thirty minutes. “Serbisu,” was their term for “Service,” a Konglish for free. That was for my good singing. Bruce choked on the mekju when he heard the compliment.
It was already two in the morning when we returned to the hotel. Our room had two single beds. Bruce immediately sprawled on his bed. I went to the bathroom. Ay! Panulay! I was surprised by the automatic lighting. Everything was high-tech from the sliding door that opens just before you step in, up to the water closet that in a press of a button will wash your arse. Not good. Tsk! Not really good. There were simply too many things to press I didn’t know which one to press first. To avoid accidents, I decided to do things manually. When I stood up from the toilet, the water just flushed. I haven’t seen that coming!
I was smiling when I went out of the bathroom. Until I slept I had that smile of wonder, fear, joy and anxiety.
In the morning I woke up to a freshly-made breakfast by the bedside table and saw Bruce already dressed up. He was ready to go home to Busan.
The first few months at Bruce’s, Omoni wouldn’t allow me to do a thing. I couldn’t touch a thing without her taking it away from me. Dishes, laundry, vacuum cleaner, rags – she had to do them all. She told me to rest in the room, or fix myself, or go where I want to go. I thought Omoni was an angel descended from heaven but I found out all this kindness was the opposite of what she felt. The truth was she wanted me to force her to let me do the chores. That was their culture, even when giving money and gifts. You had to persistently refuse or give, whichever the case was, even if you had to chase each other and the 100 won coin, baegon is dented with mishandling. That was how they were.
One time, I disobeyed Omoni’s words. I went to her in the kitchen while she was frying fish. Just so I could start a conversation, I asked her, “Omoni what are you frying, mogi?” “Uung,” she replied. I thought Omoni did not understand my question. I looked up in the dictionary the Hanggul word for fish… mulkogi, and mogi meant mosquito! Santissima! Omoni fried mosquitos! Sigh… this Hanguk Mal was so hard. Every word sounded alike, mogi, kogi, yogi, tsugi, palli, palle. Hay… molla! Ewan! Ambot! Elam! Ambay!
A year and a half passed. What everybody waited for came – the grandson by the youngest son. My husband was the youngest son. Omoni was like grabbing kadyos from my legs while she was saying “Aigo…charanda! Uri aga charanda!” How good, my son knew how to do it! Omoni was ecstatic especially when she knew that I was having a son. This was where my calvary began.
If in the Philippines there were so many superstitions, the same is true in Korea. When I started conceiving, I was prohibited from eating ori kogi, a duck meat because if I did my son’s toes will join together like a duck’s. What if I ate balut? It was also not allowed because it was still a duckling cooked inside the boiled egg. I could not hammer nails for hanging my picture frames because my son might be born a harelip. I could not sit by the door or on the stairs because the baby may not deliver well. There are so many more superstitions. I can, however, scrub the floor every morning even if my back already aches from mopping the floor with my bare hands. (Here, mopping the floor with your feet was a sign of laziness. It should always be done with the hands.) I could also eat kimchi even if my hemorrhoids were so swollen. I could take milk even if I wanted to throw it up. They tell me I should be eating Miyok Kuk or seaweed soup because it would cleanse my blood. Omoni uses a huge pot to cook Miyok. I had more than enough to eat for a month. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, Miyok! Every day of my life, Miyok! There was simply too much of what can and cannot be done, what should and should not be done. The problem was there was nothing I could eat that I would not throw up later. My weight slid down from forty-eight to forty kilograms. I could not do anything for the whole day but to lie down and vomit. I had a wash basin beside me for my puke. When I asked for permission to go home to the Philippines, Omoni agreed. She could not, after all bear to see me suffering. Before I went home, I took some intravenous therapy from the hospital to regain some strength. When I arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, I immediately felt well. Tampuhaw! I could not feel any bad thing from the tip of my hair to the tip of my toenails. Amazing! Nagapanamkun ako sa Pilipinas!
After my one month vacation is over, I returned to Busan longing for my new family and hoping that the worst of my conception is over. It was not long when I smelled kimchi when Omoni opened the refrigerator and I vomited again, so hard I thought I was throwing up my innards.
It was not possible for them not to eat kimchi because it was staple. What I did was not to eat with them.
Hyeongnim, for that was how a kun myeoneri would call her sister-in-law in Hangul, complained why I was not eating with them and not helping with the household chores. All I did was roll on the mat. I should be doing this and doing that. There were too many things for me to do. What irritated me was that she was everywhere.
They told me that if you married a Korean, you married a whole family. It was not possible for only the husband and wife to decide. Everyone had to be included in decisions ranging from what to name the child, to the child’s insurance, to his schooling, to his diet, to giving him a bath, to his clothes, diapers and toys, even how many children to have. Everyone had to have a say on everything. There was no mine or just us. It should be all of us. But I wanted to spite them and did everything to the contrary. I could be worse than a big-pitted plum if someone challenged me. I was used to being independent and to trusting myself in the Philippines. I did not need advices especially if I did not ask for them. This was how our misunderstanding started.
I felt I was not important in the household and there was nothing I could say, or in more exact language, I could not say anything during decisions in the household. Bruce was ever obedient because he was the youngest among his siblings. If there was anything wrong, I felt I was at fault and everybody was ganging up on me. This went on as I could not fight back, express myself and explain my reasons and rights because I could not speak their language well. It was hard… my nose was running. Sob!
I realized that if we only had one child, they would continue to disregard me because they can readily take care of the child. Only one. They might even send me back to the Philippines if I no longer had any use for them. If we had two children, they definitely could not cope baby-sitting the kids. They would need me and they could not send me home. If we had two children, I could do two things if they wanted Bruce and I to separate: to bring the two children back to the Philippines, or leave them both with them. I wanted to see if this would be appealing to them. Both would be impossible. I knew what I had to do. By hook or by crook, our six-month old son should have a baby sibling. Mr. Bruce Lee, get ready!
Thus our only child became two and then three. A certain peace came about especially when we transferred to a duplex where Omoni had a different living quarter. It was just a wall between us. Hyeongnim must also have gotten tired of getting herself in our affairs. Gave up on my bullheadedness. She must have seen she’d get nothing from me. Aboji, my father in law went on to the next life. Omoni was living alone. She would only go to our house to check if the floor was dusty and to asked if I have cleaned the house or not. In the end, she must have also gotten tired of running her hands on our floor and had limited her visitations to seldom. She must have realized that I was not irresponsible inside the house. I was beginning to think more peacefully, but I had too much of household work for my self. Everything was mine!
I was like a propeller in the morning. I would wake up at six in the morning and nurse my only daughter with a feeding bottle. After feeding her and putting her to sleep, I would prepare the breakfast. While waiting for rice to cook and reheating the soup, I would put in my son’s lunch boxes their spoons and chopsticks, and also their water. They would have their lunch at school. While they are still sleeping, I would lay down their breakfast on the table and place their lunch boxes in their bags. Then I would rouse them up to eat. While they are eating, I would boil water for the thermos and for sterilizing the feeding bottles. Meanwhile I would wash the feeding bottles, warm their bathing water, and prepare their clothes. After they are done eating, have taken a bath and are dressed up, if Nene wakes up, I would carry her on my back so that I can go on working. When the kids are gone, I would air the pillows and blankets, fold them and put them inside the closet. Then I would go on vacuuming the floor, and damping them with a towel. I would boil the rags to keep them white. I would soak the laundry. I would feed Nene. When these were all done, it was time for me to eat my breakfast. This was my daily routine. I had not included yet my routine for lunch and dinner, helping the kids with their homework.
My eldest was already on Grade 3 and my second on Grade 2. Before, I did not have plans of having more children. My hope was only to have even just one child. They, however, bullied me and when I was at the hospital to deliver my child, Hyeongnim told me “Teng!” Korean for that’s enough. “Have only one child.” My ears rang like bells. I did not like being dictated. After the six-month period that the doctor prescribed for not getting pregnant, I was preggy with Jake’s younger sibling. That would now be my Minho Ho Lee (star of City Hunter and Boys over Flowers Korean drama series) dead ringer, Jewon. After seven years, Nene was formed in my womb. It was complete. Bek Chum! 100%!
Bruce would leave the house and seven in the morning to work and return at around nine in the evening. He would already be too tired to teach the kids about their homework, or read news or notices from the school. I could not do anything but try so hard to read and understand Hangul. If I could not understand it, I would look it up in the dictionary and just try to see how it all means in the homework. It was difficult because it was not my language. I was disabled from expressing what I wanted to say as what would happen during meetings or classroom observation at school. I was like dumb seating at the back understanding nothing about what they were talking about in front. I pitied myself but above all, I pitied my children.
One time, there was a letter from Jewon’s Kindergarten teacher. I asked Bruce to read it because I was having a headache understanding it. Bruce told me that on Saturday afternoon at around 1 pm, the kids will have a sports fest thus the children must wear the red t-shirt which was the school’s gift to them last Children’s day. I trusted that it was really what the letter said. On Saturday, Bruce went on leave from work to attend the sports fest. We rode Bruce’s Matiz and looked for the sports fest venue. We even got lost. We went to the wrong venue. We were late when we arrived. What was bad was that all of Jewon’s classmates were waiting for him, and all of them were wearing white. They asked Jewon why he was wearing a different color. Those wearing red were their opponents. I pitied Jewon and was upset with Bruce. I cried. Even if it was late I asked Bruce to get Jewon’s white t-shirt from home. How do you think a child would feel being different from everyone just because of a foreign mother who could not understand Hangul? Add to that a father who is just as clueless. Perfect dou!
By four in the after, I was wondering why everyone was taking out their victuals. There was a picnic and it was written in the letter! We haven’t brought even just a drop of water! So we swallowed nothing staring into space. Did Bruce really read the letter? Or was it because he was too tired and sleepy from work that he only skimmed over it and white became red and the picnic was gone? Magic?
If I was good in Hanguk Mal, I would never leave these things to Bruce. If was good in Hanguk Mal, I would be free to express my thoughts and feelings. I can do things on my own without dragging Bruce. There was only one solution. I had to go to school again and study the Korean language.
It was good that there was a free language course at the Kyeongsung University which was connected to Namgu Social Welfare Center for foreign spouses of Koreans. The enrollees were of many races. There were Russians, Chinese, Mongolians, Indonesians, Malaysians, Japanese, Vietnamese, Filipinos and others. If we talked all together in our own languages, market day at Sibalom every Tuesday would certainly pale. That was why the use of other languages aside from Hangul Mal was prohibited. Our classes were every Monday, Wednesday and Friday or MWF and starts from one to three in the afternoon.
Their program was not only Korean language. There were culture and food showcases which intention was to let the community appreciate the food and culture of other races. It was also to educate the native Koreans, especially those with multi-cultural families, about cultures other than theirs, so that they will understand and accept their foreign in-laws. I became active in the cultural group and became the coordinator-trainer for the Filipina group. It was here that I met the challenges to my skill in teaching in the field of acting and dancing. The show became successful. For the first time my family witnessed my skills with things outside of the house. I felt a change in how they looked at and treated me. Even the children, I felt that they were not ashamed of me and they were actually proud of me as their mom. Things got better when invitations for performances started pouring in and I got a job as a parttime English teacher in a hagwon or academy near our house.
The children grew up and so did our expenses. I had to help Bruce financially. I worked the odd jobs. I worked as a barista and waitress in a multi-culture café also managed by the Namgu Social Welfare Center; I also was a librarian in a public high school; I was a private tutor and was doing part time job at the hagwon as an English teacher. In every corner of Korea I felt racial discrimination, especially at the hagwon. There was one who wanted to introduce me as a Canadian to the students. They did not want me to introduce myself as a Filipino. I should dye my hair and doll up and apply blue eyeshadow over my eyes so everybody would think I was a Canadian or of white race. But what can I do, there was not denying I was a Filipino. There was no lying with my nose looking like pressed ginger and my height barely even with a walking cane. Maybe I can pull it off if I had a silicone implant in my nose and I wear five-inch heels but those were things I would never do in my life. I would argue and fight with those who look unkindly at my being a Filipino. I would look for a hagwon that would accept me based on my skills and not on my race, color and looks.
The government realized the effect and influence of Ta munhwa Kajong or multi-culture families on the future of Korea. More and more foreigners want to marry Koreans and their children also increase in numbers. In the next ten years, these children would become the leaders and citizens of the nation. What would Korea’s future be if the government did not pay attention to the education and livelihood of the Ta munhwa Kajong? The budget for Ta munhwa was increased. There were more projects, programs and propaganda for education, child rearing, livelihood and many others for what they call multi-culturalism and globalization. Racial discrimination was abated. The perspectives of the natives slowly widened and they began to accept the nature of their in-laws. This would include my own in-laws. They understood me better. We reached a compromise between our nature and differences.
In the eleven years that I had lived in Korea as a wife of a Korean, daughter-in-law, mother of three beautiful children, nothing was easy for me. I faced challenges as huge as the Beaktosan, the highest mountain in Korea; challenges in language differences, food, culture, and domestic and community traditions; challenges that strengthened my person and developed my mind and feelings. Even if plates and pots fled out of Bruce’s house, our family would remain strong. We would live long with hope, love, and joy in our hearts. This would be the fulfillment of my dreams.
Like what father said, I gambled when I married Bruce. My cards were Bruce, Omoni, Hyeongnim, friends and acquaintance, the society and my children. How I handled them was my suffering and endeavors to ultimately win. For those who are afraid to gamble, Filipino or Korean or whatever race, be a spinster and roll the barrels in the sky.
Linda Arnaez-Lee has a BSED Math degree from Saint Anthony’s College in San Jose, Antique and significant teaching experience in secondary schools prior to migrating to Busan, South Korea to build a family with his Korean husband. She is an active member and coordinator of a church-based cultural group and of the International English Association (IEAK)in Korea.
She wrote this personal essay as an entry to the 2012 Padya Kinaray-a sponsored by Balay Sugidanun. This was chosen as a Finalist and the Most Read Entry.
The twin falls of Sangsaeng Waterfall at Bogyeongsa Temple in Pohang, Gyeongsangbuk-do.
Hello Again Everyone!!!
Continuing with my exploration of Gyeongsangbuk-do, and working my way north, I decided to visit Bogyeongsa Temple in northern Pohang this past weekend. And with every step that I took at Bogyeongsa Temple, it impressed me that much more.
The temple was first built in 603 A.D., during the 25th year of King Jinpyeong reign. Daedeok Jimyeong, a Buddhist high priest who returned to the Silla Kingdom after studying in China, said to King Jinpyeong, “If you discover a auspicious site from a famous mountain on the east coast, bury Palmyeonbogyeong [which is a scripture], and build a Buddhist temple, you will be able to prevent Japanese pirates from invading the Silla Kingdom, and you will unify the Three Kingdoms.” The king was glad and went north along the coast passing Pohang. He saw a mountain covered with clouds in five colors. That mountain was Mt. Naeyeonsan. And this is where the king buried the scriptures and founded Bogyeongsa Temple. The word “bogueong” means scripture in English. And this is where the temple gets its name. Purportedly, this scripture is buried under the Daejeokgwang-jeon. In total, there are four hermitages that surround this larger temple like Munsuam Hermitage and Bohyunam Hermitage, but none are really worth a visit.
When you first arrive at Bogyeongsa Temple, and before you make your way past the ticket booth, you’ll be greeted by a very colourful Iljumun Gate. Once you’ve passed by this gate, and the ticket booth, you’ll be greeted by a second Iljumun Gate, as well as a canopy of beautiful trees that stand closely in a row.
At the bend in the path, you’ll see a bridge and the rest of Bogyeongsa Temple behind it. The first structure to greet you on the temple grounds is the Cheonwangmun Gate that houses four artfully rendered wooden sculptures of the Four Heavenly Kings. And they are trampling under their feet four equally artistic demon sculptures. Past this gate, and before you come to the Daejeokgwang-jeon Hall, you’ll notice a simple pagoda. This three tier pagoda dates back to 1023 A.D., and it uniquely has two sculpted handles placed on both the north and south face of the pagoda. Inside the Daejeokgwang-jeon Hall sits a triad of statues. Seated in the centre sits Birojana-bul (The Buddha of Cosmic Energy). And he’s flanked on either side by the Indian-inspired, and feminine-looking, statues of Munsu-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Wisdom) and Bohyun-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Power). The entire interior of the hall is adorned with crystal statues of Birojana-bul, as well as a guardian mural that hangs on the right wall. As for the exterior, there are beautiful pastoral paintings, as well as a set of wooden Haetae statues that sit at the base of the hall entrance.
Past this hall, and climbing the stairs to the upper courtyard, you’ll see the Daeung-jeon main hall. This rather large main hall has a triad of statues that sit on the main hall. They are Seokgamoni-bul in the centre, and he’s joined to the right by Mireuk-bosal (The Future Buddha)and Jaehwagalra-bosal (The Past Buddha) to the left. On the right wall hangs a guardian mural. And surrounding the exterior walls to the main hall are some more beautiful pastoral paintings.
Behind the main hall sits a row of five halls. The hall to the far right is the Myeongbu-jeon Hall that houses Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife). He’s joined by the Ten Kings of the Underworld and ten stunning depictions of these kings in the underworld that they rule over.
Next to this hall is the Sanryeong-gak which houses rows of the Nahan (The Disciples of the Historical Buddha), as well as a triad of statues on the main altar. Sitting in the centre is a statue of Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha). He’s joined to the right by the blue tiger riding Munsu-bosal and to the left by the white elephant riding Bohyun-bosal.
And next to this hall is the Josa-jeon Hall, which houses paintings of prominent monks at the temple like Samyeong-daesa and Wonjin-guksa. Additionally, there’s a rather peculiar plaster appearing statue of Wonjin-guksa on the main altar inside this hall.
The final two halls at the temple are the Sanshin-gak and the Palsang-jeon. Inside the Sanshin-gak is a beautiful golden painting dedicated to Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit). And next to it, and the last in the line of five halls, is the Palsang-jeon that houses the eight scenes from the historical Buddha’s life. Sitting on the main altar is an all white Seokgamoni-bul. He’s joined to the right by the purple crowned Mireuk-bosal and to the left by Jaehwagalra-bosal.
Perhaps the most spectacular part about this temple are the thirteen waterfalls that are located behind Bogyeongsa Temple, and up a valley. The further you go, the more impressive the waterfalls become until you finally arrive at the sixth and seventh waterfall. Yeonsang Waterfall is situated behind the pitted face of Gwaneeum Waterfall, and it stands 30 metres in height. In total, the journey there and back to these falls is 7 kilometres, so pack your hiking boots.
Admission to the temple is 2,500 won, and it’s open from sunrise to sunset.
HOW TO GET THERE: First, you’ll have to get to the Pohang Intercity Bus Terminal. Across from the bus terminal is a bus stop where the #510 Bogyeongsa (보경사) bus goes to the temple. However, this shouldn’t be confused with the other #510 bus. Only take the one that reads “Bogyeongsa” on it. The bus ride will take you about an hour and it leaves every hour.
OVERALL RATING: 9/10. The more I explored both Bogyeongsa Temple and the valley of waterfalls that lay behind it, the more impressed I was by this temple. On its own, the numerous halls that populate Bogyeongsa Temple make a trip north of Pohang worth it. But when you add into the mix the best that Korea has to offer in the way of nature, and you’ll understand why this temple is a must in the province of Gyeongsangbuk-do. However, be warned, this destination is also highly popular with Koreans, as well.
The first colourful Iljumun Gate at Bogyeongsa Temple.
And the second under a canopy of trees and along a swept pathway.
The Cheonwangmun Gate at Bogyeongsa Temple.
One of the fierce Cheonwang (Heavenly Kings) inside the Cheonwangmun Gate.
And the demented demon that he’s trampling under foot.
The three tier pagoda that dates back to 1023 A.D.
A good look at the Daejeokgwang-jeon with paper lanterns all around in preparation for Buddha’s birthday.
The older looking wooden Haetae outside the Daejeokgwang-jeon entrance.
A look inside the Daejeokgwang-jeon at the main altar. In the centre sits Birojana-bul (The Buddha of Cosmic Energy). He’s flanked on either side by Munsu-bosal and Bohyun-bosal.
A look over at the Daeung-jeon from the upper courtyard.
A look inside the main hall reveals Seokgamoni-bul in the centre. He’s flanked on either side by Mireuk-bosal and Jaehwagalra-bosal.
The upper courtyard with a row of five halls.
Inside the first hall, the Palsang-jeon, you’ll see this altar as well as eight surrounding murals that depict the Historical Buddha’s life.
And inside the Sanshin-gak is this beautiful golden Sanshin mural.
Next to the Sanshin-gak is the Josa-jeon. And inside you’ll see this sight adorning the main altar.
Next to the Josa-jeon is the Sanryeong-gak. Inside, you’ll see a couple rows of Nahan, as well as this colourful main altar with Seokgamoni-bul in the centre being joined by two white glad Bodhisattvas: Munsu-bosal and Bohyun-bosal.
The beautiful main altar inside the Myeongbu-jeon with Jijang-bosal to the left and some of the Ten Kings of the Underworld to the right: both statues and paintings.
A closer look at just one, of the ten, murals that depicts one of the Ten Kings of the Underworld.
The view of the temple courtyard as I make my way towards the Waterfall Kingdom behind Bogyeongsa Temple.
The beautiful and lush forest you’ll walk through to get to some of the most beautiful sights in all of Korea.
The twin falls at Sangsaeng Waterfall.
The caved dotted landscape that surrounds Yeonsang Waterfall. Overhead, you can see the suspension bridge that leads to…
The view of the 30 metre tall Gwaneeum Waterfall.Log in
We always hear about a powerful West taking advantage of the rest of the world and the atrocities of past colonialism and present capitalism. But what if people in other countries are now using our own cultural thinking against us and playing on the past for their own advantage? This process can be consciously done or may even be an unconscious way of getting ahead.A blog post by Sam Harris perked my interest the other day where he published a question and answer session with his twitter followers. One answer to a particular question got me thinking about life in the Far East and the double-standard many people live by when it comes to dialogue and understanding between different cultures. Adam Dorr @adam_dorr You seem to avoid political morality. Care to engage? Is conservativism inherently less moral than liberalism? "I touch on this briefly in The Moral Landscape and Free Will. These views have different strengths and weaknesses. Depending on the context, one can be less in touch with reality than the other and conducive to greater harm. One of the virtues of liberalism is self-doubt and a willingness to consider the other person’s point of view. In the presence of antagonists who don’t have a point of view worth considering (e.g. psychopaths, religious maniacs), liberalism can be a recipe for masochism and moral cowardice. Conservatives tend not have this problem. But when conservatives are wrong, they often lack the corrective mechanisms of liberals. It’s hard to generalize, but it is worth noting that there is a structural asymmetry here: liberalism can be exploited in a way that conservatism cannot." Although the Western world has its conservatives and the Eastern world has its liberals, I don't think it would be controversial to say that - generally speaking - the West has a much more liberal mindset than the East. This is perhaps starting to create situations where exploitation of Westerners and Western countries is commonplace. Much has been said about the problems faced by Muslim culture entering our societies and the way many of their principles are not challenged enough within Western countries. This is an area that I will leave to others, however, as I have much more experience in the Far East and in Korea especially. When in Rome do as the Romans do Conservative Korea has its cultural practices and its principles and most of the people stick to them. This is fine sometimes and I admire some aspects of conservatism for standing up for their opinions and fighting for them, however a considerable weakness of the Korean way of thinking is the inability to accept another argument. Age and tradition trumps reason and this causes significant problems in accepting or understanding the ways of other cultures. Another problem is that, just as Sam Harris says in his above reply to the questioner, liberal Westerners come to Korea and show a fairly unhealthy degree of masochism and moral cowardice and it isn't only psychopaths and religious maniacs we can give way to. I have discovered on many occasions that Koreans know the above saying, 'When in Rome do as the Romans do', extremely well (although they tend to say 'when in Rome follow the Roman way'), and if I have ever expressed a hint of dissent about any aspect of my duties in Korea - at work or with my Korean family - this proverb comes out pretty regularly as a conversation ender. The insinuation is that you are in Korea and you must follow the Korean way, and that there is nothing you can say. The fact that they use the proverbial wisdom from Western culture seems to make this argument even more difficult to go up against. Perhaps the most annoying thing is that many don't really believe in it; my wife often complains about Koreans when they travel to other countries that they stay only within their own groups, eat only Korean food, and can be blissfully unaware of the customs of the culture that they are in (bear in mind that these are my Korean wife's complaints about some other Koreans, especially the older ones). These are precisely the kind of people that might use this saying against people who come to their own country.
I am always one for famous quotes that impart the wisdom of the ages, but this is not one of my favourites. For a start, there is a definite feel of a threat embedded in it. 'Do as the Romans do....or else!' This has always the context I have felt when I have had this saying thrown at me and was surely an important factor in the developing of it in the first place, because if you didn't do as the Romans do, you'd be discovered, tortured, and thrown into the river Tiber. To 'do as the Romans do' is either to be sensible in the face of a very real threat, to genuinely enjoy a new cultural experience, or to simply be a coward. So what is the threat that Koreans have to back-up what they say about following their culture? In my case, my parents in-law can threaten the relationship between my wife and I, but in most cases of foreigners living in Korea the threat is to lose your job and therefore your visa or to have a life that is made very difficult indeed. And I have known some quite unreasonable and unscrupulous ways in which some Korean employers have achieved this with foreign employees they have disliked. I think foreigners living in Korea (including myself) do show moral cowardice; our natural inclination is to give way and this isn't only due to being humble in a part of the world that we know little about but is also sometimes down to arrogance and a feeling of magnanimous superiority. Plenty of foreigners come to Korea and do what their told whilst at the same time thinking that the the Korean people they are placating are simply not worth respecting on the inside and that they really know next to nothing compared to them (sometimes this is justified and sometimes not). Maybe there are even issues of guilt to do with wealth and past history also. One thing should be abundantly clear and that is conforming does not necessarily entail respecting. Perhaps giving way, relinquishing our principles, and conforming are really the only way we can all get along but I think this is troubling. What side is trying to do the understanding, what side is ready to adapt, accept, and conform? Too often it is only one and I think this should not go unnoticed. I am regularly astounded about how incredibly ignorant most Korean people are of Western core principles; they think they know them but it is amazing how they don't really understand it (the frequent observation that Westerners are selfish is an example of this) and if they can comprehend them they certainly don't make concessions for them. Their knowledge of almost every other aspect of Western culture is surprisingly good (especially the bad parts, which they often embrace). Westerners on the other hand tend to be far more able to understand arguments and principles from the perspective of another culture but are woefully ignorant of many other aspects. This could well be the liberal/conservative mindset at work and the fact that Western popular culture is envied by the rest of the world at this time. I think it is time we started to disrespect the old saying 'When in Rome do as the Romans do' and suggest something else. How about; when in another culture try your best to understand, be polite, be humble, open to new ways of thinking and doing things, and be willing to learn. However, do not relinquish all of your dignity, your principles, or your self-respect. If refusing to give way on these issues brings you into direct conflict with others, then so be it. If refusing to give way puts you in harms way - whether this be physical, mental, or whatever - you can pretend to be respectful, but not genuinely, and you should be suspicious of their motives and of this aspect of their culture. Not quite as pithy and eloquent as the 'Romans' proverb but it is a vast improvement.
You come to Korea from where I’m from and you can’t stop looking up. Always up. At the sky without so many rain clouds, at the trees forever in a constant pattern of change, and at the buildings which stretch above everything I’ve ever known. It takes a lot of concrete and steel to make a megalith as complete as the Korean urban space, and event then it never seems complete. There is always some mason tapping away at some finer piece chiselling another groove in the pursuit of perfection.
And inside every groove lives another person, perhaps with their family, perhaps not. There are over 48 million people in this country, and it is one of the most densely populated countries on the planet. You would think that you can never escape elements of the human here, but it is possible. You just need to close your eyes and try.
Suwon where I live is small compared to other cities in Korea. I think I get confused when I hear the population and think of whether or not a city is big because I am prone to making comparisons. Like suggesting that a city of one million people is not big because there are plenty of cities around the world with populations over great than ten million souls. Comparatively we will never be happy with the populations of cities as we will always find one which is greater by some degree in some means of classification.
Even then a city as an urban space cannot be properly understood at any one moment as it is forever changing. Its people die, businesses close and open, some policy creates some new complaint or cause for celebration. You know how it is. A guess can be made at the next best option but the streets that make up the urban space always aim to surprise, and I can only blame the people who make up the inhabitants of cities for this very welcome phenomenon.
Cities with their intensive concentration of people, constantly viewed by some as anti-human, are as human as everything else humans decide to make a part of their lives. Since I’ve come to Korea I’ve thought of both cities as both the anti-thesis of humanity and as the epitome of what humans live for. It is now that I understand or accept cities for what they are. They are an animalistic reaction. Cities are the home of the herd, and it is the herd which comes together as a means of supplying itself with more food, increasing protection, and to make finding mates a simpler process so as to increase the chances of the survival of the species. The highrise in Korea is nothing more than stacking more people in to provide higher odds of survival.
It is no surprise that few homes come in the shape of a cylinder or sphere. Soul after soul compressed into blocks of concrete and steel without the honeycomb simplicity and complexity of a bees hive, but still everything continues to spread. I look up. It can’t be helped. Stack after stack of rooms on top of rooms, lives lived and thrived inside, happiness and tears, arguments and heartbreak, and more memories than atoms in between each neatly organised and tidily ordered set of walls. Each stack of rooms neatly slotting in between its neighbour, some growing from others, some torn down and new seeds laid for new rooms to grow eventually. There are a few dead with carcases shrouded in plywood and graffiti.
But you will never know this if you live in a place like this, and I mean really live. Don’t stare at this grand blue print of a metropolis and dissect each block with demographics. Know each window hides a face and a past and a story and a future. And know that without any one of these this place would not be the same.
Spring is all about flowers in Korea. The weather is warm with a pleasant cold tinge, birds are back and the flowers are in full bloom in myriad colors! Perfect time to walk with friends in a field of tulips or hand in hand with the loved one under the cherry blossoms or to click away at the gorgeous blooms with yourself in between. Goyang Horticultural Festival is one beautiful place to do just all of that!
Located close to the Ilsan lake, about an hour's ride on the subway from Itaewon, Seoul, is the Goyang festival. The subway station to look out for is Jeongbalsan on the orange line bound for Daehwa. The horticultural festival, with all the white tents can be easily spotted from the exit 1 and is around 5-10minutes walk from the station.
Official Website at: http://www.flower.or.kr/eng/overview/overview07.php
April 27~May 12, 2013
More info at the bottom of this post.
The Africa Exhibit of the festival. There were exhibits depicting all the other continents too! There were pretty pathways all decorated with flowers
And many decorations made with flowers
Adding more interest to the displays by depicting scenes from a Korean day
Pretty places for photo ops! I just discovered the Korean Kraze for pretty backdrops for the pictures they take!
This looked right out off a sci-fi movie. Airplants hanging in glass bubbles. Very pretty and very interesting
I never knew cactus comes in such colors! Wow. More budding cactii pics here.
Airplants dont need soil or water to grow. They can be pretty display pieces and easy to maintain. and hard to kill.Clean Ilsan lake with cherry blossom petals.
Tulips come in so many different colors!
Cactus come in strikingly different colors and shapes too!
My favorite section- The farmer's market.
This was my favorite! Yellow cactus.Framed plant. Which can be watered :)
Cute carry case for the flowery purchase!
This wel"C"ome display reminded me of Aiyannar statues in my hometown
I spotted this very close to the entrance of the Goyang fair. Crashed Eagle-Aircraft Restaurant?
From the Festival WebsiteCategoryAdmissionSingle6,000wonGroup5,000won
- http://www.flower.or.kr/eng/sub/bul02.gif); width: 702.65625px; background-position: 1px 6px; background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;">Group : More than 10 people
- http://www.flower.or.kr/eng/sub/bul02.gif); width: 702.65625px; background-position: 1px 6px; background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;">Only can be purchased at ticket booth. (Contact 031-908-7642~3)
National Pavilions, World Flower Pavilion I, II, Flower Art Pavilion、
Flower Export Pavilion, Eco Pavilion, Rare Plants Pavilion, New varieties Flower Pavilion, Goyang Special Pavilion
Goyang 600th Anniversary Garden, World Flower Garden, Hanging Flower Garden, Bulb Garden, Healing Garden,
Panorama Garden, Urban Agricultural Garden, Rural House Garden, Green City Garden, Eco-Recycling Zone
- http://www.flower.or.kr/eng/sub/bul02.gif); width: 702.65625px; background-position: 1px 6px; background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;">The 15th IHK Flower Design Contest : (preliminary contest) - April 28 (Final contest) - May 3
- http://www.flower.or.kr/eng/sub/bul02.gif); width: 702.65625px; background-position: 1px 6px; background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;">The 14th Traditional Flower Arrangement Contest : May 2
- http://www.flower.or.kr/eng/sub/bul02.gif); width: 702.65625px; background-position: 1px 6px; background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;">Preserved Flower Cup Contest : May 1
- http://www.flower.or.kr/eng/sub/bul02.gif); width: 702.65625px; background-position: 1px 6px; background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;">Flower Demonstration : Every weekends during IHK2013 periods
- http://www.flower.or.kr/eng/sub/bul02.gif); width: 702.65625px; background-position: 1px 6px; background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;">Korea Traditional Dress Parade : April 27, April 28, May 5
※ Schedule can be changed by the organizer
- http://www.flower.or.kr/eng/sub/bul02.gif); width: 702.65625px; background-position: 1px 6px; background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;">Flower Market, Horticulture Experience Event
- http://www.flower.or.kr/eng/sub/bul02.gif); width: 702.65625px; background-position: 1px 6px; background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;">Stage Events : Various cultural art show & event
- http://www.flower.or.kr/eng/sub/bul02.gif); width: 702.65625px; background-position: 1px 6px; background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;">Street Event : Flower Photo Girl, Flower Boat Parade, Korean Traditional Game
Tim Burton arrives for his first visit in Korea ever to promote his show ~ pic via Korea Herald
This year Seoul’s Museum of Art (SeMA) became the FINAL host to the amazing Tim Burton show put together by the MoMA! The show originally launched in New York during 2009 and was met with amazing success~ currently it holds record for the third most visited show in MoMA ever. Since then it has been all over the world before making it’s final stop here in Korea!
The show had 862 pieces of his original work on display~ early high school projects, college work, doodles ripped from sketchbooks, concept drawings, you name it! It was like exploring his young mind and watching who he was take form~ you could often see doodles of things that would return in some way years later within his movies! They had several rooms, including a large one to display dozens of movie props from this films, it seems almost everything he worked on was represented!
♥ ♥ ♥
Something extra cool about this show here in Korea~ For the Seoul show, SeMA curators worked with MoMA curators to add approximately 100 new works including a new section devoted to the director’s latest movie “Frankenweenie.”
I personally was very interested to see this exhibit as an artist and fan, so I am really glad I had an opportunity to view it here in Korea at SeMA. I am an 80′s child and grew up with a lot of his work~ the original Frankenweenie, Beetlejuice, Peewee’s big adventure, and I remember seeing Nightmare before Christmas as a little kid in the theaters and from that moment on it was a favorite of mine. I am not a die-hard, but I enjoy a lot of his current work and signature style….the artist part of me likes other artists that have a kind of style consistency to the work they do~ even if I do not enjoy a particular movie he has worked on I can always see his stamp someplace in the production or designs and I respect him a lot for that.
♥ ♥ ♥
I was also eager to view his early work as a student and see if his set style now was apparent even way back when!
The show ran from December 12, 2012 – April 14, 2013 but due to work we kept putting it off till it was down to the final week of the exhibit *_* Nara was too busy to attend, but thankfully my friend Yuri also wanted to go and we had a free weekday to slip in and attempt to miss the crowds since we were sure it would be PACKED on the weekend.
As soon as we hit the entrance I had a good feeling about this show~
Spring came late this year so while the show was going on all the trees still had no leaves from winter, it kinda worked out perfectly and gave the entrance a neat creepy vibe! Did you plan that Tim Burton? lol
Even though we came on a weekday it was still really crowded!
Time to grab our tickets!
Tickets ran 12,000 won for this event~ not too bad considering how huge it was
The inside of SeMA was amazing! It did not disappoint!
Really nice creepy entrance to the main show!
Time to enter! After this hallway photography was not allowed…but I did ninja just a small amount for you guys to see a tiny bit of what it was like because I am naughty lol
The exhibition was divided into three parts~
Part 1: Surviving Burbank which covered his early years from 1958 to 1976.
Part 2: Beautifying Burbank which covered the years 1977 to 1984 including his time with Cal Arts and Walt Disney.
Part 3: Beyond Burbank which covered his most productive years from 1985 to the present.
One of his very early projects from High School!
Very early concept doodles for Edward Scissorhands
This random glow room was amazing *_* just like some sort of creepy spinning carousel~ is this a movie prop or from anything? Yuri and I could not recall, but it was really cool!
In one of the exhibit rooms they had a corner roped off to screen a very early Tim Burton feature (I think from the late 80s or very early 90′s) as well as a short live action film he did that only aired once in 1982 on Disney , “Hansel and Gretel”. It was extremely bizarre, painfully slow, and for some reason the cast was all Japanese and the evil mother was cross dressed and had on like a weird old school Japanese wig that almost looked like sumo hair lmao.
♥ ♥ ♥
It was so odd and weird, but still resembled his work complete with appearances of his trademark stripe curling trees~ Super WTF, someone link me if it is online because I could not find it. Read info about it HERE
The clock was an amazing prop from the movie, I wish I could have snagged a better pic of it~
In the following room they had the original storyboards from the 1982 film on display~ they were very colorful and interesting! I could see what he mentally had in mind for the short film a little better that the budget (or effects at the time maybe) did not execute as well lol when Hansel and Gretel ate the witch’s house in the movie it was really gross (all this rainbow goo ran out) but in the boards it looked really awesome haha.
Final room in the show was filled with movie props. SO sad I could not at least take photos in this room~ because it had amazing pieces from almost every movie he worked on. Not large collections, but at least 1-5 cool pieces. Edward’s outfit, Sweeney Todd’s razor set, figures fro Mars Attacks, Batman’s mask, and many more~
Vincent price is pretty awesome!
outside the exhibition rooms they had plenty of things up to take photos with~
as well as a giant wall of human-sized doodles! Everyone enjoyed taking photos with these characters the most!
Yuri found a new boyfriend!
Outta mah face creepy batman! Sadly it was rainy and freezing outside so I was sloppy and did not dress up themed for this event… major regrets now! Anyway~
On the top floor they also had a decent gift shop filled with Tim Burton items~ art prints, postcards, vinyl figures from his book series, and DVDs mainly. The DVDs seemed to be quite popular, I think many Koreans were unaware of a lot of his other older films so it was a good chance to buy them.
They had an art book for sale special for the event, but it was extremely disappointing… just a few sketches used on the postcards as well, and they were not particularly interesting so sadly I decided not to buy~ although honestly I was ready to throw down a large sum for a nice book of concepts from this event :/ especially since photos were not allowed and all that. blah.
Stick Boy and Match Girl figures complete with a little matchbox
After we finished we went to go grab some dinner and it got dark. On our walk back we passed the building and the huge Jack art illuminated through the trees~ it was an amazing surprise!
For those of you who could not make it to the show, I am happy to tell you that MoMA has uploaded a LOT of the original show pieces online so you can view them on the official site HERE
Did you have a chance to see this show in Seoul or in some other part of the world? What was your favorite part? What is your favorite movie Tim Burton worked on over the years? Comment below!
Welcome to my blog about Korea!
My name is Elle and I am an Illustrator & Gallery painter from California, but currently I am living in Seoul with my Korean Fiancé!
read more about me HERE
Interested in my artwork?
Check out Misskika.com!
Copyright © 2012 cuteinkorea.com. All licensed content, characters, photos, art etc unless created by Elle specifically are © to their respective owners. Images watermarked on this site not created by the owner have been edited, scanned, etc special for this blog and the marks are intended to show the source of the content if they are shared further online, not claim rights to the images.Log in
Thirty-two year old Park Jin puts on a hooded suit in preparation for a "hive check-up".
Families farming on Seoul's Nodeul-seom.. It wasn't my first time seeing Nodeul-seom. I had frequently crossed the Hangang Bridge while living in Sangdo-dong and often wondered what this small island surrounded by high-rises was used for. As it turns out, Nodeul-seom is a government-funded, green-friendly initiative that is part free farm, part sledding grounds, depending on the season. Unfortunately, it seems that most people are unaware of its existence, as it is not being used as much as the government assumed it would be. Others might not blame its lack of success on unawareness but rather on disinterest, suggesting residents of the city would rather spend their time in the comfort of their modern living rooms or shopping in the capital's many department stores.
Still, on this spring day, the faint sound of a collective buzzing adds a sense of hope to the Nami-seom initiative.
The urban beekeeping trend that has taken the world by storm is now taking hold in Korea, and Jin Park and his fellow members of Urban Bees Seoul, a recently established ecological cooperative, are doing their part to ensure that it is properly developed. Following the lead of the Seoul Metropolitan City Government's implementation of a hive site last year on the roof of Seoul City Hall, UBS is working hard to maintain three additional sites, including the one on Nodeul-seom.
I joined Park during the co-op's most recent weekly "hive check-up."
Urban beekeeping is a budding subculture in Korea's cities
. Facing my fear of bees (most likely induced by watching My Girl too many times), I ease closer and closer to the site to get a better view of the hive. Park works calmly, using fluid and slow movements to examine the hives for wax, pollen, and honey and to remove drone (male) eggs to increase the productivity of the worker (female) honeybees. Although an increased productivity yields more honey, this is not the objective of Urban Bees Seoul. In fact, Park tells me that because there are currently only a few sites, honey production is still low and they are not yet selling it commercially.
"We eat the honey and share it with our friends and families. We also have plans to use it to make honey beer and honey ice cream," Park informs me.
In addition to culinary enterprises, Urban Bees Seoul offers candle-making classes using wax produced by their urban bees. They are also generating a great interest in urban beekeeping through their educational classes in which they inform the general public about the lives of bees, the outstanding importance of honeybees to our world, and the how-to's of starting an urban hive.
Urban Bees Seoul uses the wax produced by their honeybees in candle-making classes, which are generating interest in urban agriculture amongst younger generations.
Even more interesting than the projects themselves are the people getting involved. The majority of participants, like Park, are young twenty- and thirty-somethings eager to bring a bit of the Korean countryside to the city.
Park, born in a small town in Jeollabuk Province, grew up playing on the farms of his friends and neighbors. Shortly after moving to Seoul to commence his studies at Chung-Ang University, homesickness for the comforts of the countryside set in. He began to seek new ways of incorporating rural culture into his new city life. Now, he works as a horticultural specialist, active in the movement of urban farming and beekeeping.
"Many people in [Seoul] want a rural life, but they have to work in the city. So, this life is another way," Park states as he carefully closes a hive after a successful checkup, ignoring the sting of a stray bee. "Urban farming and urban beekeeping refresh our lives... and it's fun."
Park works comfortably and happily in the company of honeybees.
There has been recent concern, however, about the future of Korea's agricultural industry as young Koreans continue to leave behind their small towns for corporate jobs and better economical opportunities in bigger cities.
Still, these worries seem to be unwarranted as younger generations are becoming interested in these necessary urban movements. Korea can rest assured knowing that it's future is in good hands, as Park and the rest of Urban Bees Seoul continue to create a "buzz" about urban agriculture and work diligently to ensure than urban beekeeping flourishes on the Korean peninsula.
To get involved or learn more about Urban Bees Seoul, check out their Facebook page or follow them on Twitter.
Many thanks to Jin Park and Urban Bees Seoul for inviting me to their meeting and giving me a glimpse into this fascinating cultural movement.
Words and pictures by Mimsie Ladner of Seoul Searching.
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It took long enough, but it appears that spring is finally here! I still can’t believe it was snowing in parts of the country not even a few weeks ago. The weather is such a strange thing.
For those of you that may not be familiar with it, yellow dust is a seasonal meteorological phenomenon which affects much of East Asia sporadically during the springtime months. The dust originates in the deserts of Mongolia, northern China and Kazakhstan where high-speed surface winds and intense dust storms kick up dense clouds of fine, dry soil particles. Thanks Wikipedia!
It hasn’t been too bad this year, but my first few springs in the country were pretty gross. I had always assumed that all the yellow stuff that covered cars and whatnot was pollen, and figured I wouldn’t have any sort of reaction to it (since I had never suffered from allergies before). My head still hurts when I think about how wrong I was. If you’re worried, it’s actually not THAT bad. The worst I’ve had to deal with is the usual symptoms that come with any other spring allergies. Honestly, it may just be that I’m allergic to something else in the air here. Whatever it is, it makes spring a little less enjoyable than I’d like for it to be.
This is Jen Lee. She likes to draw.
She also likes green tea.
- Jen Lee and Dear Korea @ Gwangju Blog
- Expat comic artists aim to draw fans at Comic World @ The Korea Herald
- 'Dear Korea' now in Busan Haps
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Those of you who read one of my first articles on this site, ‘My Korean Family’, will know that I definitely do not fit the description of the perfect son in-law in a Korean family. I don’t give gifts (except at birthdays, Chuseok, and Seollal), I will refuse an invitation to go and see them if I have made other plans, and generally I don’t automatically respect what they have to say, and do what they wish of me. I think they must know all of this by now, but to their credit I think they are basically content in the fact that I treat their daughter well. There are, however, still a few problems I have with the culture at large, which manifests itself in their expectations of me.I’ll be honest, I tend to try and avoid the Korean in-laws if at all possible. I will visit them as often as I need to and no more than that because it simply is not a comfortable atmosphere. The problem is that I soon as I step foot in their house or meet them in a restaurant or any other place, I am to follow their instructions without argument. This means they dictate what I do, how I should behave, where I go, for how long I stay, and even to some degree how I should feel about it all. They are not nasty about it, they are the nicest people you could possibly meet, but their cultural expectations create something of a benign dictatorship in relations between us. It is simply unthinkable for me to excuse myself and go home after a long day in their company, for example, or in fact to have any polite disagreement with them at all. So a bit like a North Korean defector, I slink away under the fence to get away and avoid an argument or any conflict whatsoever.
My wife and I do this by lying, inventing little stories so that it is easier for me to get away. It sounds terrible doesn't it, but it is the only way, and I have commented before that in my experience many older Koreans would rather be transparently lied to than have their children or younger family members tell the truth in direct confrontation with them. I think many underestimate just how much of a factor this kind of cultural thinking plays in the creation of an Orwellian state such as North Korea. It sounds almost offensive for me to compare my in-laws to Kim Jong Un, but the cultural mindset is the same and along with it the attitude that your parents are owed your 100% compliance and are not to be ever disagreed with, which I am sure is not really the case, but the feeling is there nonetheless.I see the lack of conflict within Korean families, the workplace, and in Korean society in general to be an aspect of the culture that is flawed and could do with some changing. Honest discussion - and the intellectual and verbal conflict that arises from it - is how we all move forward because, after all, there is no light without heat. No light (quite literally if you look at the satellite image of the country at night) has been created in North Korea because there is no healthy disagreement with how things are being done. Everyone just does what they are told, nothing moves forward, and North Korea is famously stuck in the past because of it.The fact of the importance of conflict is something that is also lost on an ever-increasingly overly-liberalised Western culture, where many think we just have to accept and respect everyone else’s point of view as equally valid, especially those of a different society, or shout ‘racist’ or ‘bigot’ as a conversation finisher at anyone with a controversial opinion about the behaviour of any group of people other than the particular one that we belong to. There is also a rather odd attitude present within our own societies (and especially in mine) of bending over backwards to accommodate and understand other cultures, but at the same time – when we travel to other countries – we should always ‘do as the Romans do’ and do our best to conform to others. With particular attention to Korea and native English teachers, I think part of their role is to give students and their co-workers a true experience of working with people of Western culture. We would all help Koreans much more if we stuck to our principles and conformed less, because they could learn so much more from it. But we don’t, we just tend to do what we are told most of the time or try and weasel out of difficult situations like I do with my in-laws. We all do this in order not to offend, and perhaps also keep our jobs and not get into trouble, although I really believe we shouldn’t, and I readily admit that I find it extremely difficult myself.Back to my in-laws, and I am often confounded by the reaction I receive when I talk ill of my in-laws by saying I dislike spending too much time with them. I usually get a range of responses depending on who I’m talking to and how much someone knows about me. If I am talking to a Western person (who is married or in a long-term relationship) who does not know I am married to a Korean, I am usually met with a reaction along the lines of this, ‘yeah, I know, the in-laws are a pain in the neck sometimes aren’t they.’ If I am talking to a Korean friend or acquaintance and complaining about my in-laws, I also – pretty much 100% of the time – get the same kind of sympathetic response and also complaints about their own in-laws in return. This is no surprise really as many Koreans – especially women – really do bear a significant burden from their in-laws. But also, when you think about it, is it really that much of a controversial thing to say that you don’t like spending time with your in-laws? Is this a rare feeling in people generally around the world? I think not. However, you wouldn’t know this if you could hear the criticism I receive sometimes from Western liberal-minded people, who know I am married to a Korean woman. If I complain about my in-laws then, it is common to receive a barrage of comments saying that I should have known what the culture was like and I need to adapt to it and accept it and that I am simply not trying hard enough. That is not how it should work, I should compromise on some things because of politeness and custom, but I will not bow down to everything they say because I need to accept their culture. When it comes to respecting someone to the degree that you cannot engage in honest debate and disagreement with them, no respect shall be given and I say this from a logical, reasonable, and moral stand-point, the difference in culture is irrelevant.To not be able to speak openly and honestly with someone without fear of reprisal and dire consequences is something that I cannot respect, accept, adapt to, or feel comfortable with. This is the position I find I am forced into in relations with my in-laws. The best I can do is tolerate it, I’m afraid. I love my wife and I put myself through it all because of her, fortunately I do not have to meet her parents all that often and my attitude of trying not to feel guilty about having these feelings means that I can avoid meeting them more than is absolutely necessary. The horrible thing about it all is that I actually like my in-laws, they are nice, caring, and kind people, it is simply this one aspect of their culture that makes dealings with them much more difficult than it should be.In Korea, I am uncomfortable that the right to disagree, argue, and debate honestly seems to be taken away from many people. It is not enshrined in law or indeed in principle, but it is in practice. The frustrating thing is that to notice this and complain about it in writing or even to friends is often seen as something worthy of shame, stubbornness, laziness, and sometimes even bigotry and racism. It appears that the West is engaging in restricting debate and freedom of speech as well. We talk a good game, and freedom to express ourselves may even be written in our constitutions, but again in practice we still try to silence and smear others to end arguments and stop the controversy to avoid a conflict. Disagreements in opinions and ideas leads to a better understanding of each other, a greater knowledge of your own subject and position, an ability to change and move forward, the acknowledgement of problems and their possible solutions, and – perhaps the most importantly of all – the avoidance of violent conflict or other disastrous consequences in the future.With me personally, my relationship with my Korean in-laws will always be a difficult and somewhat of an awkward one, which teeters on a knife edge, perhaps prone to a fatal collapse one day. It is all because we really don’t know each other, in over three years we have never talked openly and honestly about anything, every situation being mired in courtesy, custom, and fear of saying the wrong thing. At best we tolerate each other, we don’t genuinely respect each other and this situation can be translated to many thorny situations around the world and especially within multi-cultural nations.To hell with ‘tolerance’ and to hell with causing ‘offence’, I want to truly understand and respect people, not just pretend to. This is an up-swelling of frustration that has afflicted me since living in South Korea, the feeling that every day I am too much of a coward to really get to know people and that I am valued as a person for holding back on my principles in this regard and cowering away from confrontation. The fact is though, I should stop beating myself up because at this time the straitjacket would be applied everywhere, not just in Korea. Most of us are cowards, we need to be and I will settle back into the routine after writing this article of being nice to and conforming to the wishes of others who I really have no respect for whatsoever because, out of a fear of offending them (and vice versa), I have never really known them and they have never really known me. No wonder we cannot truly respect and understand one another.Note: This post was first written by me for asiapundits.com but I thought I would re-post it on my own blog as well.Log in
If you have lived in South Korea for some time and you see two men holding hands while walking down the street, you won’t think that is strange at all, but if you are new to Korean culture and you don’t know a thing about friendship between or among males in South Korea, you will most probably think that those two men “holding hands” are gay lovers. This is exactly what happened to my brother-in-law and his best buddy when they spent a week in Boracay. A couple of times, they were spotted holding hands or with their arms around each other. Some people were eyeing them; some were whispering to each other. My brother-in-law had lived in the Philippines for five years and he can understand some words and phrases in Filipino. He remembers hearing the “whisperers” say Bakla yan! (They’re gay) Being gay is NOT a crime in the Philippines. In fact, it has become socially acceptable, but we rarely see “gays” holding hands or doing PDA (public display of affection).
My brother-in-law and his best friend aren’t gay lovers. They are just very close friends, and in South Korea, it is normal for male friends to hold hands or have their arms around each other while walking. Oh, you should see my husband when he’s with his buddies! When he and his friends are drunk or they are just being silly, they even grab one another’s balls! Not in a sexual way, or course.
Sometimes my husband and his best friend go to the 목욕탕 (mogyogtang: public bath) together to bathe or relax in the sauna, and to scrub each other’s backs. This is a give-and-take act of friendship or closeness, not only between men, but also between women. When I came to Korea for the first time, my female friend and her Mom took me to the 목욕탕. It was embarrassing being totally naked in front of other women, but what embarrassed me the most was having my back scrubbed by my friend’s Mom. I told her she didn’t have to do that, but she said friends or family members of the same sex in Korea do that a lot in the 목욕탕.
My husband is very close to sister’s hubby and he had been trying to convince him to go to the 목욕탕 with him. Yes, we have 목욕탕 in the Philippines, but only Koreans go there. It’s in Korean Town. At first, my brother-in-law wanted to go, but when he found out what 목욕탕 is, he changed his mind. My husband is very persistent. He brings it up every time we go to the Philippines. He knows that Filipinosaren’t familiar with the culture of public bathing, but he wants to build a closer relationship with my brother-in-law by scrubbing his back and having him do the same to him.
The first time my husband tried to hug my Filipino brother-in-law, poor BIL was taken aback. I had to explain Korean culture to BIL, and now that he understands, he’s okay with it and the occasional holding hands.
- PDA in SK (chrissantosra.wordpress.com)
- Oh My, He’s Got Two Wives! (chrissantosra.wordpress.com)
- Korea’s Drinking Culture (chrissantosra.wordpress.com)
- Different Levels of PDA (papidre.wordpress.com)
- Will a gay athlete ever ‘come out’ in the Philippines? (rappler.com)
- Things gay people are still told (rappler.com)
- Muso’s, Metrosexuals and Military Men. (twodirtydiaries.wordpress.com)
- Don’t bare legs in India, Homosexuality is illegal in India says Asian Development Bank Advisory #WTFnews (kractivist.wordpress.com)
- Magic Johnson’s Son Photographed Holding Hands With Boyfriend (seattlepi.com)
From Korea with Love
Back in December of 2012 I did a blog post about a fellow English teacher who trains in MMA here in Busan. She has since started competing and is currently 2-0. Jade Marie Anderson is from the USA and came to Busan to teach English through EPIK about a year ago. In addition to teaching full-time, she is also a full-time mixed martial artist.
In the world of martial arts, a lot of people start and finish very quickly. In a sport like MMA (mixed martial arts) it's no different. In fact, the turnover is even greater because of the nature of it. It's pure sport, meant to prepare someone for performance only. There are no formalities or curriculum. No special katas or anything like that. MMA is getting on the mat and learning what is required to beat your opponent, whether it be through striking or take-downs and submissions. Usually it's some combination of both. To learn the techniques proficiently enough to make them effective in a match is a very burdensome task. If you want to excel you have to learn and apply the techniques, and then build stamina adequate enough to get you through a match to apply them.
Training in MMA can be a whole-life commitment and the effort alone crumbles most people before a punch is even thrown.
Enter Jade Anderson. She's a former wrestling champion turned MMA oficianado. She trains at the famed Busan Team MAD with the likes of Kim Dong Hyun, one of the UFC's premier fighters at the moment. I've had the pleasure of training with her and watching her grow as a fighter. Her work rate and regimen are nothing short of ULTIMATE. She's full of positive energy and embodies the term "commitment".
With the blog post about Jade being the second most popular since starting my blog, I thought it only fitting to do a video montage about her, showcasing her desire to win in MMA and become a belt holder.
To that end, here's Jade.
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Today I just realized that I get most of my internet WORK done while I'm at school (working).
I do it on breaks, or at lunch. Today during lunch, I updated my Linked In and Instagram pages.
Why don't I think to do these things AT HOME?
After racking my brain, I came to 2 conclusions:
ONE: I HATE my desk chair in my home office. Terrible excuse, right? Well- it's tiny and NOT COMFORTABLE and I can't sit "Indian Style" in it. I seem to always be sitting "Indian Style" in chairs lately- it makes me feel more comfortable.
What was I thinking buying that puny chair on the left!? The new one is on the right is PERFECT for me!
TWO: My desk ALWAYS has a "to do" pile on it, and although it appears "neat", I have random stuff thrown in boxes under my desk. Since I know the stuff is there- it haunts me and makes me unable to concentrate on my tasks at hand.
For these 2 reasons, I avoid my office. Avoiding my office= avoiding work. Work= studying, blogging, writing, painting, etc.
So what happens? I end up writing or attempting to do "work" on the couch or in my bed. I usually end up falling asleep before my work is done or getting distracted by something else.
It's Spring and I'm tired of making these lame excuses! So when I left school today, I bought a new chair and a 3 drawer organizer. Things like this are expensive in Korea (we don't have WalMart or Target), but the investment is worth it! YES, I said investment! Anything that makes you feel better, healthier, more productive or more successful is an investment in yourself and IS worth it!
I spent about an hour cleaning the "Winter" out of my office and it feels great! I feel totally prepared to take on all the amazing things I have coming up!
My clutter free desk!
I got so carried away with cleaning- I even mopped the office. Of all the chores in the house, mopping is my least favorite... by far. But I am always so happy when it's finished and the house has that smell.
I haven't used chemicals to clean my house for years, and people usually comment on how great it smells. Here is my recipe for a mopping solution.
Tea Tree Essential Oil and Lavender Dr Bronner's Soap. Both are super concentrated, so you only need a little bit and your house will smell amazing! Believe it or not, Tea Tree and Lavender make a stellar combination! You can buy the tea tree oil and Dr Bronner's soap at my favorite shop, HERE. It will arrive straight to your door in less than a week no matter where you are in the world!
Why is my Office So Special?
This is my living room. It seems to represent ME on the outside. It's pretty simple- and that's the way I like it.
16th floor apt. Busan, South Korea.
But my office is a total reflection of myself on the inside. I need this space in my home. It's where I draw my inspiration from. I need to make sure I maintain this office. I find that if it's messy, I am feeling a bit frazzled on the inside as well. If it's clean and organized, so am I! I think it's important to keep your home clean and de-cluttered. To me, it just makes all the difference in the world.
Here are a few snippets of my rarely seen (even to my friends) office.
An amazing mobile that my wonderful friends made for me on my birthday. It's complete with paper cranes holding birthday wishes, paper flowers made from the pages of a Paulo Coelho book, and some wooden angels from Ubud, Bali.A Balinese sea angel
A Balinese air angel.An owl pillow made for me by my lovely sister-in-law, a blanket bought for me by my great friend Meghan at Mayan ruins in Mexico, a medicinal herb pillow, a leaf pillow, a purple and red sarong that I bought in Koh Samui, Thailand. The ingredients for a perfect Saturday afternoon nap!Some postcards that sing to my heart, a self-portrait I made in "Art Class" at school,
and a lovely note from my husband.My collection of rocks and seashells that I picked up from all over the world and the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy. I'm so happy I have a tiny space in the world where I can be ME. If you don't have an extra room, you could always carve out a small corner somewhere. If you need it, you can make it happen.
Sometimes we let small things interfere with our joy or with our path in life. When we STOP giving excuses, we START living. Living can be scary and that is why so many people will give you excuse after excuse as to why they cannot do something. Most of these excuses seem "lame" for lack of a better word. But they are very real to the person giving them.
When will you stop letting small excuses keep you from the life you want?
INVEST in YOU. You will reap multiple returns on investment- whatever that may mean to you.
Waiting for you on the other side- and it's grand.
Wanna connect via Social Media?
Linked In: Megan Faber- Rushbrook
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So it increasingly looks like the inter-Korean Kaesong industrial zone is closed for good. (The Wikipedia write-up is a pretty good quick history of it.)
The zone was set-up during the Sunshine Policy period (1998-2007). It was to do 3 things: 1) Lead to some liberal-capitalist spill-over in the North, 2) Expose regular North Koreans (the workers in the area) to regular South Koreans (the managers and staff), and 3) Generally provide some inter-Korean cooperation that might hopefully reduce larger tensions. A resort area in North Korea (Mt. Kumgang) was also opened along these lines in the Sunshine period. Broadly the idea was along the lines of liberal explanations for the Soviet Union’s changes in the 1980s: the Helsinki Accords and CSCE opened the USSR to the outside world, and the inflowing liberalism slowly changed attitudes that eventually helped wind-down the Cold War. Unfortunately, none of this seems to working in the NK case.
Kumgang got closed after a SK tourist was shot in 2008 by NK guards. Kaesong has been a geopolitical football for years. Neither seemed to lead to much spill-over. Instead, NK basically sealed off both facilities entirely, managing them as enclave economies with tight controls. No capitalist-liberalizing influences seemed to be allowed to spread. No semi-private NK industries have sprung up around the Kaesong zone, e.g. The people who work in these areas are checked and proofed by the NK government. Nor did the zone seem to cool tensions; instead Kaesong would get instrumentalized in those tensions – as in this current crisis.
It is true that there are lots of private grey markets in NK, especially in the north. But that comes from the semi-legal-but-tolerated interactions with China and border merchants, not from Kaesong/Kumgang. Causality of NK partial marketization is obviously really hard to track here – I suppose it could be from Kaesong – but I think the analyst community would disagree and say NK black/grey markets sprung up as a desperation measure to cope with the famine of the 1990s, and the state has been unwilling or unable, or both, to crack down.
Finally, it is unknowable how much psychological liberalization there has been; that is, whether the everyday exposure and interaction of North and South Koreans has created a ‘gestalt shift’ in those North Koreans regarding South Korea. Ideally, these changed North Koreans would then tell their family and friends, and one might see some moderation in NK bubbling up from below over the years to come. Andrei Lankov particularly is well-known for making this sort of argument for long-term change in NK.
My own sense from talking to South Koreans is disappointment over the near-closure. Kaesong seemed to suggest that the Koreas could get along, that NK could be nice and open at least a little, that NK didn’t have to be fearsome and terrifying all the time, and so on. One hears this touching anecdote a lot: North Korean workers in Kaesong would save their snack cookies (choco pies) from the SK managers and trade them on the black market at home. There is fear in the South that closing Kaesong means the loss of the last shreds of Sunshine Policy cooperation/inter-action.
On the other hand, it needs to be noted that the SK companies that operated in Kaesong and Kumgang paid the North Korean government, not the NK staff, and paid them in US dollars. The staff were paid later in all-but-worthless NK won and coupons. So effectively, Kaesong and Kumgang became a big, easy cash-cow subsidy for the hard currency-starved North. As it became increasingly obvious that neither zone was leading to spill-over liberalization or tension-reduction, SK conservatives increasingly turned against these zones as little more than subsidies for the Pyongyang ‘court economy.’ These dollars allowed the Kims and cronies to get foreign liquor, HDTVs, cigarettes, appliances, etc., despite the sanctions.
I’m not sure which interpretation is correct; I tilt toward the right probably. Given how little the hoped-for benefits from Kaesong actually showed-up, it’s hard at this point not to see it as just a subsidy to the degenerate clique that’s impoverished the whole country while living well on sanction-busting. Like the Sunshine Policy, I think Kaesong was a worth a try. Just about anything that might encourage change in NK is worth a try at this point; we should not be precious or ideological with a regime that is so dangerous. At the the time, we just didn’t know how the North would respond, so it was worth a real effort.
That said, I think it also needs to be admitted after awhile, that these policies in fact failed. My left-progressive students tell me that 10 years was not enough for the Sunshine Policy and Kaesong; that NK needs more time to come around; that hawks like me and all those American-influenced SK think-tanks in Seoul make NK permanently paranoid, so 10 years is too short. Maybe; I guess that’s possible. But 10 years is a long time for SK to be the sucker in the PD-game with NK. It’s hard to miss that SK was also effectively subsidizing NK in those years and getting very little in return. I dunno. It’s a tough dilemma.
Filed under: Economics, International Relations Theory, Korea (North), Korea (South) Robert E Kelly
Department of Political Science & Diplomacy
Pusan National University