by STEVE HAN
In America, we’ve grown accustomed to seeing adult children of political candidates stump for their parents. Chelsea
Clinton and Meghan McCain come to mind, as two daughters of former presidential hopefuls who had hoped to help capture the youth vote for their mother and father, respectively. So, when news broke this past summer that the New York-based daughter of a South Korean politician had taken to Facebook not to aid her father’s election overseas, but rather to derail him, it was a bit shocking.
It was also quite effective. Despite leading in all the polls going into the June 4 election to be the next Seoul education superintendent, Koh Seung-duk, a prominent attorney and popular TV personality, would end up losing to the Liberal Party candidate. Many observers blamed his daughter’s Facebook appeal, which urged the citizens of Seoul not to vote for the elder Koh. She argued that someone who neglected his own responsibilities as a father could not be entrusted with overseeing the education of their children.
The bold actions of Candy Koh, 27, drew a myriad of reactions from South Koreans—everything from empathetic support to harsh criticism for her utter lack of respect for her father. “He is still your father. You should never do that!” someone wrote her. Some even suggested that her father’s neglect of his family is “just the way it is in Korea.”
But Candy begs to differ, and she attempted to explain her controversial Facebook letter to the Korean media who swarmed her around the time of the election. However, soon, she realized these outlets had no interest in learning her motivations, but instead were focused on the circumstances of her parents’ 2002 divorce and petty family drama. It didn’t help that her own father accused her of teaming up with his conservative party opponent, Moon Yong-rin, to defame him, and suggested that this was a scheme cooked up by relatives of Koh’s former father-in-law, the well-known Park Tae-joon. (Park, Candy’s late grandfather whom she was close to, founded Korean steel giant POSCO, which led South Korea’s transition from a war-torn nation in the 1950s to one of the strongest economies in the world today.)
That’s when Candy, who attends law school in New York, grew frustrated and stopped all interviews. She told the Korean media to go away. However, when this magazine reached out to her, she said something felt right about addressing a Korean American audience with her story. “This is something Korean Americans can relate to,” she says. “I thought maybe this kind of critique [of a figure like my father] was possible from the outside—almost like my virtue of being in between Korean and American, understanding both. … I wanted to have that resonate in some way.”
Read KoreAm’s interview with Candy Koh here.
by TONY KIM
When Psy’s mega-hit “Gangnam Style” was starting to blow up on the web, journalist Euny Hong did not want to have anything to do with it. After deleting several emails from friends with a link to the video, she finally gave in one day and watched the darned thing.
“Well, this is interesting,” thought Hong, not realizing that the video would reach more than a billion views and become the most viewed footage in the world.
A few months later, Hong casually mentioned to her “non-Korean” editor at The Atlantic that she actually grew up in Gangnam, an area of Seoul known for its wealthy residents and a high standard of living. The editor then proceeded to scream. Loudly. “Why did you wait all this time to tell me that?” she asked. “Please write me an article about growing up in Gangnam.”
Despite nagging doubts about readership interest in her personal story, Hong, a freelance writer whose work includes the novel Kept: A Comedy of Sex and Manners and who has been published in the New York Times, theWall Street Journal and the Washington Post, wrote it, anyways. The article went “semi-viral” with 631 Facebook shares and 130 retweets, and would become the basis for The Birth of Korean Cool: How One Nation is Conquering the World Through Pop Culture.
Read the full story here.
The Cutest Cover of Crayon Pop’s “Bar Bar Bar” Ever
by MICHELLE WOO
Here’s the cutest thing you’ll see today: little twin girls wearing pink bicycle helmets and dancing to Crayon Pop on Ellen
All together now: “Awwwwww.”
A Korean American adoptee, transgender woman and LGBT activist, Andy Marra has found that sharing her story carries the power to move and inspire.
by EUGENE YI
The Arcus Foundation in New York has two goals that don’t seem to have a lot to do with each other: social justice for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people; and the protection of the great apes. The two goals reflect the passions of the founder, John Stryker, an architect and one of the heirs to his grandfather’s medical technology fortune. It makes a certain sort of sense, I guess. Stryker is gay, and he owned a pet monkey when he was growing up that he eventually gave to the local zoo.
A recent Arcus hiree could perhaps be forgiven for lacking a fluency in both missions. But as its new communications director, Andy Marra has to possess just that.
Find out more here!
At last! An Asian American Family Sitcom is Coming to Television
by Michelle Woo
It’s what’s been missing on TV for, oh, 20 years. Asian Americans. No, not just sprinkled around as the best friend or doctor or quirky love interest. We’re talking about a show centered on an Asian American family, one that we can relate to, invest ourselves in and laugh with- not at.
Finally, that show is here.
Learn To Read Korean In 15 Minutes (Really!)
Check out these handy graphics that will teach you how to ready Korean in a matter of minutes!
Grace Choi Makes It Possible To 3D Print Any Color Makeup From Your Computer
by RUTH KIM
Ladies, ever scroll through Tumblr or Pinterest and see a lip color that you’re just dying to have? Or maybe you accidentally drop your eye shadow case and the palette bursts into a thousand, tiny particles (isn’t that the worst?), and you need a replacement ASAP.
Well, with the Mink printer, these dreams may soon come true.
Find more updates on stories and events here!
Civilian Diver Dies During SKorean Ferry Disaster Search
by STEVE HAN
A 53-year-old civilian rescue diver involved in the South Korean ferry search died Tuesday, according toauthorities.
Lee Kwang-wook went into the waters around 6 a.m. to recover the bodies inside the ferry that capsized nearly three weeks ago. Fellow divers lost communication with Lee only five minutes into his dive, according to South Korea’s Government Rescue Headquarters. He had already been unconscious and couldn’t breathe by himself by the time he was pulled to the surface.
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MORE Adorable Photos From Grace Chon’s ‘Zoey And Jasper’ Series—And A Remarkable Update!
by MICHELLE WOO
Hearts around the world melted into a giant, sticky puddle of goo last month when Grace Chon’sawwwww-inducing dog-and-boy photo series, “Zoey and Jasper” went viral. But one fan was particularly captivated: Zoey’s long-lost foster mother!
Chon tells the story in a post titled, A Miracle Has Happened. “In the midst of all this viral craziness, I got a mysterious email from a woman in Colorado,” the Los Angeles-based photographer writes. “She told me that her friend knew Zoey from Taiwan when she was a baby (Zoey came to the states when she was 4.5 months old), and wanted to connect with me. Say what?! My mind was reeling — who was this woman? How did she know Zoey? Did she *REALLY* know Zoey? Was this all some crazy scam?”
More photos and links to Zoey and Jaspers personal sites and instagram can be found here!
May Issue: Five-Year-Old Ava Lee Fights A Rare Form Of Leukemia
by JAMIE MORGAN
On the spring morning I visited the quiet Chicago suburb home of Mike and Esther Lee, their two daughters, 5-year-old Ava and 3-year-old Gwen, were getting ready for an outing with grandma. Gwen puts up a slight fuss the way toddlers like to do when it’s time to leave the house. Little Ava, though, is ready to go. She busies herself while mom and grandma deal with Gwen.
“Ah, gymnastics?” I ask, as Ava attempts to perform a handstand.
“No. But she probably wants to,” her mother wistfully explains.
This article was featured in our May 2014 issue. Be sure to read the rest of the article here!
Watch This Korean Opera Teacher Kill It On The Voice Australia
by MICHELLE WOO
Elly Oh was losing hope in her chances of making it as a singer when her boyfriend secretly sent in her tape to The Voice Australia.
Watch Elly Oh’s audition on The Voice Australia here!
ABC Picks Up John Cho’s Show, ‘Selfie,’ for the Fall TV Lineup
It looks like we’ll be seeing much more of John Cho later this year—his new sitcomSelfie was just picked up by ABC, the network announced yesterday.
Inspired byMy Fair Lady, Selfieis described as a modern comedyabout a self-obsessed, social media-crazed woman, Eliza Dooley (played by Karen Gillian) who suffers from a highly publicized breakup and gains much unwanted attention after becoming the focus of a video gone viral. To repair her damaged reputation, she recruits her co-worker, Henry, played by Cho, to “remarket” her soiled image.
More updates on the latest news surrounding the Korean American community here!
Samsung Names New Head Of Mobile Design
by JAMES S. KIM
Samsung’s latest iteration of their flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S5, isn’t garnering the positive responses the company hoped for. In a move that will shake things up, Samsung is replacing the head of its mobile design team. Chang Dong-hoon, who previously held the position, resigned last week, but will continue to lead the division that oversees the company’s overall design strategy.
“The realignment will enable Chang to focus more on his role as head of the Design Strategy Team, the company’s corporate design center which is responsible for long-term design strategy across all of Samsung’s businesses, including Mobile Communications,” Samsung said in a statement.
Who isn’t obsessed with technology and their smartphones? Check out the rest of this article online at iamkoream.com!
Korean American Celebrity Designer Comes Out As Gay On TV
by STEVE HAN
South Korea’s famous fashion designer Kim Jae-woong came out as gay on TV, joining a group of the conservative country’s very few openly gay celebrities.
Kim, 23, gained prominence in 2012 through popular TV show “Project Runway Korea” (Season 4). He is now a part of the main cast on “Share House,” a reality TV show that features celebrities living together in a house and discussing personal issues.
More stories and updates on the latest news and event surrounding the Korean American community can be found on iamkoream.com!
Yuna Kim Gives Her Final Farewell Performance, Ending 15-Year Career
by JULIE HA
It’s official. Yuna Kim, one of the greatest figure skaters ever to have graced the world stage, said goodbye to her fans this week, after performing a farewell ice show May 4-6 in Seoul.
“I’m officially ending my career as an athlete here,” Kim said at a press conference after the show. “I have had real fun throughout the whole three days. … It all seems like a dream. At the same time, I feel sorry to have to say goodbye.”
Get the rest of this article here!