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.
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!
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!
May Issue: K-town Night Market Debuts in L.A.
by RUTH KIM
Korean American comedian Walter Hong quipped, “We’re in Koreatown right now, but I feel like I’m a minority!”
Playing event emcee, Hong was addressing the vastly diverse crowd who made their way, by the thousands, to the inaugural K-town Night Market, which took place April 18-19 at the Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools campus in the heart of L.A. Koreatown.
Did you get the chance to check out the night market? Find the rest of this article here!
KoreAm MLB News Roundup For May 6
by STEVE HAN
Starting this week, iAmKoreAm.com will present you with a weekly report on the native Korean and Korean American baseball players in the major leagues. It will also feature notable ballplayers of Korean descent in the minor leagues.
Be sure to check out our weekly sports reports now available on iamkoream.com!
Actress Sandra Oh of Grey’s Anatomy graces the cover of KoreAm’s May 2014 issue. Be sure to get your hard copy available soon!
KoreAm Archive: Angela Oh’s Views on L.A. Riots, Five Years Out
by ANGELA E. OH
Just five years later, the thunder of Korean American voices after the L.A. Riots has subsided to a whisper.
The desire to bury a painful part of Southern California history is especially strong among Korean Americans. The spring of 1992 will remain one of the most devastating seasons in memory to Korean Americans across the country. We were unable to prevent the loss of thousands of small family-owned enterprises to racial bigotry, economic desperation, media panic and political ignorance. With the passage of time, things have changed, but without consolation or relief.
Korean Americans have paid the price all racial and ethnic minorities in the United States eventually must pay. “Sa-i-gu” (4-29) commemorates those who sacrificed their lives so the message of our permanence in this society could be delivered. What impact did the 1992 implosion in Los Angeles have on Korean Americans? Where are we headed as we approach the Third Millennium?
Read more from our KoreAm archives here!
April Issue: LA Riots, In Our Own Words
by EUGENE YI
"For the first time in my life, I heard middle-aged Korean men call Radio Korea and just cry." —Julie Carl, a 9-year-old Koreatown resident at the time of the L.A. Riots
Today marks the anniversary of the Los Angeles Riots, better known to many Koreans as 4.29. Read our oral history of the traumatic days and nights of fires, chaos, violence—events that some believe sparked the birth of Korean America.
The events of April 29, 1992, have been referred to as a riot, a rebellion, an uprising, a civil unrest. For many Koreans, it’s always been 4.29, following the standard cultural shorthand for the dates of historic tragedies. Yet over the past 20 years, the primary narrative of 4.29 has rarely included Korean American perspectives beyond stereotyped notions of victims or vigilantes. This oral history seeks to rectify that in some small measure, and to give those who didn’t witness the traumatic days and nights of fires, chaos and violence a sense of what Korean Americans went through. The events, after all, have been referred to by some as the birth of Korean America, a characterization that isn’t far off.
Read more on the LA riots in our archives here!
Artist David Choe Says He Fabricated Podcast Story About ‘Rapey Behavior’
by JAMES S. KIM
Korean American artist David Choe is known to be provocative in his work, but he may have gone too far when he told a story on his podcast about a questionable sexual encounter with a massage therapist that some are flagging as rape. After the initially obscure DVDASA podcast garnered greater attention and caused some to accuse him of rape, the artist issued a statement recently saying that he’s not a rapist and that he fabricated the encounter.
“We create stories and tell tales. It’s not a news show. It’s not a representation of my reality,” Choe said in his statement, which was posted on the podcast’s blog. “I’m sorry if anyone believed that the stories were fact. They were not!”
The episode of DVDASA, which Choe co-hosts with adult film actress Asa Akira, aired on March 10, but it was until weeks later on April 17 when a XoJane, an online women’s lifestyle magazine, highlighted Choe’s encounter with a female masseuse at a massage parlor in Los Angeles. Since then, others including Gawker and the Daily Mail picked up the story.
In the podcast, Choe said that, halfway through the massage, he got an erection, and after thinking on how to best act on it, decided to start masturbating in front of the masseuse, whom he calls “Rose.”
Stay connected. Follow KoreAm Journal online for the weekly updates on the latest news and events surrounding the Korean American community!
Stuntman Ilram Choi Reprises Role in The Amazing Spiderman 2
by CASSANDRA KWOK
Korean American stuntman Ilram Choi will once again be sporting the iconic blue and red spidey suit as he reprises his role as one of actor Andrew Garfield’s stunt doubles in the highly anticipated The Amazing Spiderman 2.
Spending years mastering his skills in taekwondo, for which he has formal training, and also experimenting with judo, jujitsu and capoeira, Choi is no stranger to the difficult sequences of action-packed films.
More stories on the latest news regarding the Korean American community can be found online at KoreAm Journal!
Third Annual KFEST: Korean Heritage Festival at UC Irvine
by JAMES S. KIM
KONNECT UCI and Korean Health Association will present the third annual KFEST this Thursday, April 24, at the University of California, Irvine, with performances by David Choi, NOMNOMNOMNOMTOM (Tom Kim), Joe Lee, KKAP (KONNECT K-pop Aspiring Performers), Urban Motus and Hansori.
KFEST is a Korean heritage festival that represents a collaboration between two Korean American organizations (KONNECT and Korean Health Association) at the UC Irvine campus. Their purpose for organizing the event is to provide an opportunity for the student community and the community at large to celebrate and learn more about Korean culture.
For more information on KFEST, click here!
Photo courtesy of Chi’Lantro
April Issue: Chi’Lantro Food Truck Serves as Kimchi Ambassador in Texas
by JONATHAN CHA
Jae Kim happily considers himself an ambassador for kimchi in Texas.
When the owner of Chi’Lantro, a popular Korean and Mexican fusion food truck in Austin, first offered kimchi to his customers in 2011, he found very few takers. One fateful night, instead of filling the trash with the fermented side dish, he caramelized the kimchi to make it sweeter and threw it atop a pile of French fries. He added bulgogi and Monterey Jack cheese to the creation to form what would become Chi’Lantro’s signature dish, kimchi fries.
Kim, a Seoul native who grew up in Southern California and was inspired by the popularity of L.A.’s pioneering fusion trucks, also offers tacos, burritos, quesadillas and burgers with either meat or tofu on Chi’Lantro’s menu. It is the kimchi fries, however, that inspire his fans to follow every move of his now four trucks, two in Austin and two in Houston, via their website or social media.
This article is featured in our April 2014 issue, but read the rest of this article online at iamkoream.com!
KA Among Top Finishers in ‘Let It Go’ Cover Contest
by CASSANDRA KWOK
Disney’s animated blockbuster hit, Frozen, continues to be the talk of the town as RyanSeacrest.com recently held a contest asking fans which YouTube artist they thought performed the best cover of the film’s Oscar-winning song “Let It Go,” originally sung by Idna Menzel.
More on the contest can be found here!
Korean Senior Alleging Race-based Attack Files Lawsuit Against McDonald’s
by JULIE HA
A Korean American senior citizen in New York has filed a $10 million dollar lawsuit against McDonald’s accusing one of its workers of racially attacking him verbally and physically, Yonhap reported today.
The 62-year-old, only identified by his last name Kim, alleges that on the afternoon of Feb. 16, a female manager at a Flushing, Queens McDonald’s hit Kim with a broom after he complained to anotherrestaurant worker that he had waited 10 minutes to purchase a cup of coffee.
Subscribe to KoreAm Journal online for weekly updates on news and events here!
Korean American Poet Wins Walt Whitman Award
by STEVE HAN
A Korean American poet has won the Walt Whitman Award, the prestigious prize awarded by the Academy of American Poets to debut writers, the academy announced on Wednesday.
Hannah Sanghee Park will receive $5,000 in prize money as part of the award, established for writers who have never had their books of poetry published. Her debut book, The Same-Different, will be released next year by the Louisiana State University Press, and the academy will purchase thousands of copies for distribution to its members.
More on this Korean American poet can be found online at KoreAm Journal! Be sure to subscribe for the latest news updates!