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.
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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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!
More Than 200 Injured in Seoul Subway Crash
by STEVE HAN
About two weeks after the tragic sinking of a ferry that left hundreds dead or still missing, South Korea suffered another serious transport accident Friday when a subway train in Seoul crashed and injured 240.
There were no immediate deaths, but one person is reportedly being treated for a brain hemorrhage. Most of the injured passengers in the accident, which occurred at about 3:30 p.m. local time at the Sangwangsimni station in the eastern part of Seoul, sustained minor abrasions, according to emergency officials.
Get more stories and updates on the latest new of the week here!
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!
April Issue: After Terrible Tragedy, This Adoptee Asks: ‘What Is a Korean Child Worth?’ (Commentary 1 of 2)
by LAURA KLUNDER
Let us take a moment of silence for Hyunsu O’Callaghan.
On Feb. 21, at the Hongdae Children’s Park in Seoul, members of KoRoot, Truth and Reconciliation for the Adoption Community of Korea, Adoptee Solidarity Korea, Dandelions and The Korean Unwed Mothers and Families Association gathered together to remember this Korean child who was adopted to the United States last October and entrusted to the care of Brian Patrick O’Callaghan, chief of the U.S. National Security Agency Korea division. Yet, at 3 years old, Hyunsu is dead.
This article can be found in our April 2014 issue, but get the inside scoop online here! More on current events and updates can be found on iamkoream.com!
Joss Whedon Apologizes for Filming ‘Avengers’ in Seoul
by JAMES S. KIM
Seoul will be getting a big taste of Hollywood blockbuster action this weekend, as Avengers: Age of Ultron begins filming in the capital on Sunday. But the various road closures aren’t sitting well with many concerned South Koreans, and director Joss Whedon recorded an apology to the residents and commuters who will be dealing with the changes until April 12.
“I’m really grateful and excited to be filming in your city,” the director said. “We’re going to mess it up a bit and inconvenience some people for a few days and I apologize for that. I know what that’s like, I live in Los Angeles, it happens to me all the time and it’s not fun.”
More updates on this weeks latest news and events can be found on iamkoream.com!
‘America’s Next Top Model’ Filming in Korea
by CASSANDRA KWOK
Supermodel Tyra Banks and the newest contestants of reality TV show America’s Next Top Model were spotted roaming the streets of Seoul, causing a “frenzy” among local media, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Local residents have been reporting on the group’s whereabouts on social media, after host Banks and her crew arrived in Seoul on March 21. The group reportedly visited various city landmarks and popular tourist attractions, including City Hall and Gwanghwamun at Gyeongbok Palace, while filming the 21st iteration of the modeling competition, which will be coed this season.
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Seoul to Shut Down Some Streets For Filming of ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’
by CASSANDRA KWOK
The upcoming sequel of Hollywood blockbuster The Avengers will soon be taking over the streets of Seoul from March 30 to April 14, thanks to an agreement made between the Korean government, the Korean Film Commission and Marvel Studios.
Authorities have confirmed production of Avengers: Age of Ultron will shut down many major streets and locations that may cause quite an inconvenience for Seoulites.
Get more updates and stories on iamkoream.com!
Disastrous Vendor Evictions in Gangnam
by TAYLOR WEIK
The plight of the lowly street vendor is not something typically associated with the upscale Seoul district of Gangnam.
In February, over the course of two days, the Gangnam District Office and police hired a group of 50 “city workers” to forcefully evict street vendors. This resulted in physical altercations between workers and vendors, and the complete destruction of several street stands.
Check out the rest of the story originally posted on our sister magazine, Audrey!
After John Kerry Visit, Tteokbokki Stand in Seoul Sees Business Boom
by PETER KANG
Customers have been flocking to a small outdoor food stand in Seoul after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry made an impromptu visit and ate some tteokbokki, or spicy stir-fried rice cakes.
“I came here for a taste after I heard that Kerry stopped by,” a customer told the Chosun Ilbo.
All 12 seats inside the small makeshift restaurant were full, along with six outdoor seats, which is double the number of the owner’s usual customer base.
For more on this story, click here! More stories and updates of this week’s top news on iamkoream.com!
South Koreans Flex Smartphone Muscles
Wall Street Journal
First time on Seoul’s subway system? Don’t expect a lot of eye contact.
Here, almost everyone is busy playing games like Cookie Run, or sending messages on their oversized smartphones.
Those eyeballs add up. In 2013, South Korea jumped ahead of the U.S. in revenue generated from app sales on Google Inc.’sGOOG +4.13% Play mobile store, according to research and analysis firm App Annie, which tracks app purchases.
That makes South Korea, a country of 50 million people, the second-most lucrative country in the world by that metric, just behind Japan.
By app downloads, which doesn’t take into account the amount of money spent, South Korea also ranks second on Google Play, behind the U.S., whose population is six times that of Korea’s.
Read more and stay connected on this week’s updates through KoreAm!
North Korea’s top envoy to Britain dangled the possibility of progress in staging reunions for families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War as he renewed Pyongyang’s demands that Seoul cancel its annual military drill with the United States.
Hyun Hak-bong said in a video interview posted Thursday that the two Koreas can discuss a date for staging the family reunions, breaking the silence the North has kept since South Korea proposed earlier this week to hold the reunions for the aging Koreans.
“As for the practical and exact date, it could be exchanged and discussed between the two sides … Now, we are working on that,” Hyun said in the interview with Sky News, a 24-hour news channel in Britain. Still, he did not elaborate.
How will the reunification negotiations play out? Keep updated on the latest weekly news and updates on iamkoream.com!
2NE1’s “I Am the Best” Rises to the Top of the Charts After Their Appearance on “The Bachelor”
On January 27, 2NE1 appeared on ABC’s hit reality show “The Bachelor,” fostering a new interest in the girl group in the United States and Canada.
The cast of “The Bachelor” visited YG Entertainment headquarters in South Korea. The show introduced YG to the cast as the place where “K-Pop in South Korea happens,” and compared 2NE1 to the Spice Girls, saying that 2NE1 are megastars in Korea. 2NE1 then welcomed the cast, who came into their dance studio, and taught them the dance to “I Am the Best.”
One of the girls on the show said, awestruck, “2NE1 is huge here in Korea. Their YouTube video has 77 million views. Million. That’s a lot of views.” 2NE1 also invited the “Bachelor” cast to perform with them for “I Am the Best” during their mini concert at Times Square in Seoul.
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K-Pop Star G-Dragon on His Growing Global Influence: ‘I Didn’t Realize How Famous I Was” (Q&A)
Imagine Justin Timberlake’s boy bander-turned-credible musician pedigree and Kanye West’s genre-bending artistic daredevilry, and you’ll get an idea of G-Dragon’s standing in K-pop — though his reach is expanding rapidly beyond Asia.
Juggling equally successful careers as a solo artist and as frontman of the group Big Bang, whose 2012 world tour drew 800,000 fans to sold-out shows on four continents, the rapper, songwriter and producer says, “Before I was physically there in different countries to meet my fans in person, I didn’t really realize how famous I was.”
The 25-year-old, né Kwon Ji Yong, also has attracted recognition from Western peers. A few years ago, Ludacris paid a visit to the Seoul-based YG Entertainment, the record label and agency where G-Dragon, Big Bang and Psy are all signed. “We were showing him some music videos that YG came out with,” recalls Danny Im, a former labelmate who now hosts the talk show Danny from LA on cable network Mnet America. “When they saw GD, they didn’t know who he was, but they went, ‘Yo, that kid’s a star.’” The video was “Knockout,” a track from the Big Bang subnunit GD&TOP, and produced by Diplo. The in-demand DJ returned for G-Dragon’s 2013 solo album Coup d’Etat, a bold mashup of hip-hop, EDM, punk rock and Korean folk that charted on the Billboard 200 and also featured contributions from Baauer, Boys Noize, Sky Ferreira and Missy Elliott.
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