Vice Principal Rescued From SKorean Ferry Found Hanged
by STEVE HAN
The South Korean ferry tragedy, from which over 260 people are still missing, has added another casualty, after the vice principal from the high school that had over 300 of its students on board was found dead in what is believed to be a suicide.
Kang Min-kyu, one of the 179 passengers rescued, was found hanging from a tree at a small mountain on Jindo island, near a temporary shelter where families of those still missing have gathered to learn the fate of their loved ones. The vice principal at Danwon High School in Ansan, Kang had organized the school’s annual field trip to Jejudo, the destination to which students and faculty never reached.
Stay connected. Get continuous coverage of what has been happening on iamkoream.com
As the anniversary of the tragedy that was the L.A. Riots draw near, let’s take a look back at this poet’s perspective of the riots.
Throwback Thursday: Speak Now: A Poet’s Take on the L.A. Riots
by Ishle Park
“we are our first and last line of defense. me. you.”
~ k.w. lee
koreans mark disaster
with numbers – 4-29 – Sa-I-Gu.
no police. no help.
fire. if I touch
the screen my fingers
will singe or sing.
raw hands rip nikes
out of boxes, break glass
into white cobwebs.
my mother presses her hand
to her ruined lips.
we see grainy reels of a black
fish flopping on concrete
arched, kicked, nightsticked,
flopping not fish but black man –
here I rub my own tender
wrists, ask unanswerable questions –
why are the cops doing this?
my mother will answer simply,
wisely, because they are bad.
of the looters, because they are mad.
and why hurt us – she chokes
because we are close enough.
I moan, slip under the fold
of her. she strokes my hair
and keeps me protected
as I must one day protect her.
l.a.p.d. ring beverly hills like a moat,
won’t answer rings from south central
furious and consistent as rain.
where did they hide, our mothers –
under what oil-stained
chevy did they breathe,
light, light, covering
the biting mouths
of wet-eyed children?
their hair into riot
for a crime
they did not commit
who watched and did nothing?
mile high cameras hover,
zoom in, dub it:
war of blacks & koreans
watch us ripped
to red tendon
for scraps in the lot
show latasha shot on 50 channels,
not 200 shot korean grocers
whose names & deaths are kept local
silence white as white silence
we have no jesse
no martin no malcolm
no al, no eloquent, rapid tongue
just fathers, thick-tongued
and children, too young to carry more
than straw broomstick and hefty bag.
all the women cry
and hurl what is not already shattered.
with ashes, always grief
carried in clay jars or scattered
in wings over charred territories –
south central – metal husks
of burnt cadillacs. exxon, michelin
factories bare as cotton pockets.
this grocer with knotted tongue
stacks rows of bottles –
shining liquid copper he
beats his son. no innocents here.
this customer slops in, slurs over
an Old E, no innocents here.
her hand hurls bottle and brick
for what is lost,
for what it cannot attain,
her open, laboring palm,
and the emptiness that
leans out to meet it.
his hand grips rifle on roof,
yes, for what is lost,
for what it, too, cannot attain,
the open, laboring palm,
his broken sign, burnt oranges.
god, it is a matter of survival,
of food to mouth, of notions of home and house.
who returns with
cooks rice that steams
untouched on the kitchen table,
slips off a mother’s
devastated keds, slips her into bed?
two mornings after,
they march over ashes
dust licking proud ankles
sing in a language
most will never master:
we shall overcome. someday.
SKorea Imposes New Regulations on Mixed Marriages
by STEVE HAN
South Korea unveiled this month a new set of policies regulating marriages with foreigners, including requirements for the latter to pass a Korean language proficiency test and for Korean partners to have a minimum annual income of 14.8 million won ($14,000), AFP reports.
Officials backing the latest regulations, effective April 1, say such policies address the two main issues causing marital conflict among such mixed-marriage couples: communication and low income.
More stories on events and weekly updates can be on iamkoream.com!
April Issue: Advocate Says Tragic Adoption Case ‘Does Not Represent All’
by STEVE MORRISON
Many adoptees and Koreans are justifiably upset at the death of Hyunsu O’Callaghan, who was allegedly murdered by his adoptive father Brian O’Callaghan. Mr. O’Callaghan has served in the Iraq War and is an employee of the NSA overseeing the Korea Project. The tragedy for 3-year-old Hyunsu occurred only four months after his arrival to his new home. The adoptive father has been charged with first-degree murder, and the investigation continues to determine how and why this innocent little life was snuffed out. The father maintains the boy fell down and hit his head while taking a shower, but the investigation showed multiple injuries, including skull fractures at the front and back part of his head, thus raising suspicion that the death was not a mere accident as the father had claimed.
The news of this tragedy has shocked the entire Korean adoption community, and resulted in numerous protests and calls for justice in Korea. In particular, a group of adoptees and Koreans who have long been opposed to the intercountry adoption program in Korea set up memorials with banners that read, “Sorry Hyunsu, for not being able to protect you …” or “Hyunsu was adopted to the U.S. and beaten to death by his father.”
This article can be found in our April 2014 issue, but you can read it online at iamkoream.com!
SKorea’s Health Insurance Body Sues Cigarette Makers
by STEVE HAN
South Korea’s national health insurance body has filed a lawsuit against cigarette makers for over $50 million for causing smoking-related diseases that ran up the health care costs, Bloomberg reported today.
National Health Insurance Service, an affiliate of South Korea’s health ministry, is suing the country’s three major tobacco companies, KT&G Corp., Philip Morris International Inc. and British American Tobacco plc, for at least 53.7 billion won ($52 million). This is the first lawsuit filed against the tobacco industry by a South Korean government agency.
The rest of this story can be found here! For weekly updates and more, find us online at iamkoream.com!
Female Officer’s Suicide Raises Issue of Sexual Harassment in SKorean Military
by STEVE HAN
A South Korean military investigation has determined that a female officer who committed suicide last October allegedly because of repeated sexual harassment died while on active duty. She will be buried at the Daejeon National Cemetery, where military personnel are laid to rest, according to the Korea JoongAng Daily.
The 28-year-old female officer, only identified by her last name Oh, was found dead Oct. 16, 2013, inside a car in a parking lot in Hwacheon. She reportedly killed herself by burning charcoal in the vehicle.
Oh’s diary, notes and suicide letter indicated that verbal and sexual harassment from a commanding officer took its toll on her after 10 months, during which she said she was groped and verbally abused, authorities said. She wrote in her suicide note that her superior, whose last name was Noh, demanded that she spends “one night with him.”
More updates on this week’s latest news and events can be found online at KoreAm Journal,
Park Shin-Hye Pays Tribute to Audrey Hepburn
by ETHEL NAVALES
The March issue of Marie Claire Korea is certainly one to look forward to. What are we most excited to see? Park Shin-hye’s gorgeous looks as she pays homage to Audrey Hepburn– the film and fashion icon during Hollywood’s Golden Age.
Clearly, Hepburn’s legacy is one that has endured long after her death in 1993. In fact, the American Film Institute named Hepburn third among the Greatest Female Stars of All Time.
Although it is impossible to recreate a legend, we are awfully impressed with Park’s stunning tribute spread titled “My Fair Lady.” For the spread, the South Korean actresses reenacts iconic Audrey Hepburn styles from Roman Holiday, Funny Face, and Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
Park not only shows her versatility as a model, she shows she is a force to be reckoned with. The 24-year-old artist has been quickly rising to fame and is most known for korean dramas You’re Beautiful, Flower Boys Next Door and The Heirs. In fact, her role in You’re Beautiful shot the actress to global stardom.
More pictures of the beautiful actress, Park Shin-Hye on KoreAm Journal!
Korean Pro Basketball Coach Tapes Player’s Mouth Shut
by JAMES S. KIM
Anyone who’s played a team sport knows what it’s like to have an irate coach get on their case. But most of the time it doesn’t involve public humiliation, which is what a Korean pro basketball coach put one of his players through during a live television broadcast.
During a game between Ulsan Mobis Phoebus and Anyang KGC Ginseng Corporation on Feb. 17, one of the Mobis players, Ham Ji-Hoon, apparently missed a defensive assignment, which led to head coach Yoo Jae-Hak to call a time out. He immediately begins berating Ham, then abruptly calls for one of the team trainers to bring a roll of tape.
Stay updated with the latest stories and events on KoreAm Journal and don’t forget to pick up a copy of the February issue featuring Arden Cho! Now available on paypal and digital edition!
Korean Men’s Magazine Headline Angers Japanese
by JAMES KIM
Popular men’s magazine Maxim Korea is accustomed to racy, eye-catching covers, but that’s usually due to the scantily-clad women. In this case, however, the editor-in-chief of the South Korean publication is under fire from netizens for a front page headline in the February issue that reads, “How to date Japanese women who haven’t been exposed to radiation,” as well as for his faux apology that blames the Japanese for the mistake.
The controversy began when readers in South Korea initially pointed out the inappropriate nature of the headline. Once the Japanese media picked up the topic, the issue blew up even further, prompting a public apology from the editor on Feb. 5, but his statement only added fuel to the flames.
He began appropriately enough, apologizing for “causing discomfort and inflicting harm” to any Japanese. He explained the article was a guide about how to get a Japanese girlfriend, and the headline on the front page was meant to be eye-catching and not intended to be offensive in any way.
It goes all downhill from there, as the editor subsequently shifts the blame to Japan: “The recent brash remarks coming from Japan concerning Dokdo and the island dispute, Prime Minister Abe’s visit to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine and the issue of comfort women, have unintentionally caused us to make a mistake,” he said.
More on this story at KoreAm Journal! Keep up to date with the latest stories at iamkoream.com!
Jindo Dog Fights For Respect in the West
by JAMES KIM
In South Korea, Jindo dogs are an actual national treasure — they are ranked no. 53 on the list of “natural monuments” — and they marched in the opening ceremony for the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul.
Many Korean Americans still share that same affinity with native breed since they were brought over in the 1980s, but Jindos are still relatively unrecognized in the American dog community, as well as the American Kennel Club, the official registry for purebred pedigrees.
Are Jindos ready to take the national stage in America? The answer is a definite yes, according to Jen Choi of The Atlantic. Official recognition would allow Jindos to also participate in the recently concluded Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, which Choi compared to “the dog world’s equivalent of the Super Bowl and Academy Awards combined.”
More on these adorable dogs and their “national” statues here! Also be sure to check out this week’s latest updates and stories on iamkoream.com!
Korean Pitcher Signs Three-Year Deal With Baltimore Orioles
by STEVE HAN
South Korean pitcher Suk-min Yoon is joining the Baltimore Orioles on a three-year deal worth up to $13 million, pending a physical, according to news reports.
Yoon’s three-year deal guarantees him $5.75 million, but he could make up to an additional $8 million from performance-based bonuses. He and the Orioles also agreed to include a clause that allows him to reject a demotion to the minor leagues.
If the right-hander passes the physical, he will be the second South Korean in history to move to the major leagues straight from the Korea Baseball Organization; Dodgers’ pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu was the first.
The 27-year-old is expected to compete with the likes of Bud Norris and Kevin Gausman for a place in the back end of the Orioles starting rotation. Norris and Gausman have a career earned run average of 4.36 and 5.66, respectively.
Chris Tillman, Miguel Gonzalez and Wei-Yin Chen are likely to fill in the slots as No. 1 through 3 starters for the Orioles.
The Orioles are signing Yoon in the hopes of addressing their long-standing issues with starting pitching. Last year, their team ERA among starting pitchers was 12th best (4.57) in the 15-team American League and only slightly better at 4.42 in 2012 when they made it to the postseason for the first time in 15 years.
Winner of the KBO’s Most Valuable Player Award in 2011, Yoon has been the ace of the KIA Tigers pitching staff throughout his career. His best pitch is a hard slider, which varies in trajectory as he can throw either straight across or with depth. His fastball once topped out at 96 miles per hour, but dropped down to high-80s last season with injuries to his right shoulder.
Health remains a concern for Yoon, but he has proven himself at international level in the past. He helped Korea win a gold medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics with two wins and a save on a 2.35 ERA and at the 2009 World Baseball classic, he pitched a gem in the semifinal game against Venezuela, a team that consisted of major league all-stars, in Korea’s 10-2 win.
Get more on this story and other news here! Also, follow us on instagram @koreamjournal for picture updates!
February Issue: Korean American Foster Parents Wanted
by STEVE HAN
When Yohan (a pseudonym), a Korean American child, was 4 years old, his immigrant mother abandoned him. He then bounced around from one foster home to another—none of them Korean-speaking or familiar with his culture or even the type of food he was used to eating. Already feeling insecure from the trauma of abandonment, he struggled to communicate with those entrusted to care for him and make him feel safe again.
Children’s advocates in Los Angeles cited this real-life example at a press conference last month announcing the launch of a new campaign to find Korean-speaking families to become foster parents. Even one family would make a difference, as currently there is not a single Korean-speaking foster home in Los Angeles County for children like Yohan.
Get more on this story and weekly updates at iamkoream.com!
Also, don’t forget to check out our new February issue with our cover guest Arden Cho!
The Lunar New Year holidays, or Seollal in Korean, kick off today. And while Seollal means a time for family and tradition, it also brings a wealth of activities where you can learn about and participate in Korean culture.
Those who are brave enough to fight the cold weather can venture outdoors to museums, concerts, restaurants, and even ski resorts to experience some traditional games and other rituals they don’t get to do everyday.
For Koreans who want to experience how their ancestors spent the Lunar New Year, many museums have prepared all-inclusive experiences. Some of the events even provide free traditional food and beverages.
Read more, stay connected, and get daily updates of the top stories today at iamkoream.com!
NJ Doctor Sued by Korean Women Claiming to Be Abandoned Daughter
by PETER KANG
A Korean American radiologist based in New York City is being sued by a South Korean woman who claims he abandoned her as a 7-year-old child and again as a cancer-stricken adult in 2011.
The Bergen County Record reported that Juhee Myung filed a lawsuit in New Jersey Superior Court against Edgewater, N.J. resident Dr. Kwang Ha Myung.
Juhee Myung said her father abandoned her and her mother in 1973, marrying another woman and immigrating to the United States. The action led to Juhee Myung’s mother to attempt suicide, the lawsuit says.
Juhee Myung tracked down her father three years ago and told him she had been diagnosed with cancer. He advised her to seek treatment at a better hospital and assured her he would pay for the expenses. Two months later, he cut off all contact with her and changed his phone number, the lawsuit contends. She is seeking a paternity test and child support arrears and other damages.
Keep updated and stay connected with the newest stories at iamkoream.com!
Police: High-end drug and prostitution ring busted on Super Bowl week
The 18 operators of a high-end escort service allegedly banking on Super Bowl week to deliver “party packs” of cocaine and prostitutes have been charged with drug and sex trafficking, New York authorities said Thursday.
The nearly year-long undercover investigation discovered that in addition to selling the “party packs,” the ring allegedly laundered the illegal proceeds through front businesses that included a clothing wholesaler, a wig wholesaler, a limousine service and a beauty supply wholesaler, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement.
The ring targeted wealthy customers in New York for large events, authorities said. Last week, a text message was blasted to frequent customers noting that “new sexy & beautiful girls R in town waiting for u.” The enterprise also ran numerous advertisements on the Internet and on public access television.
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