Monthly Archives: May 2008

Another day of fine Korean cuisine

Raw beer, soju, dried snack, boiled cocoons, and a truckful of garlic. Pretty much sums it up.

Truth and Reconciliation Commission needs your help!

Dear friends,

As you probably know, South Korea inaugurated a conservative new president in February. President Lee Myung-bak’s administration touts itself as “future-oriented” and engaging in “pragmatic diplomacy.” That means closer ties with Washington, a departure from the Sunshine Policy on North Korea, and ignoring Japanese colonial issues. In addition, President Lee comes from a big business background, and he is downsizing the government.

Part of what is being downsized is the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Korea (TRCK), which organization investigates past abuse of public power. Before and during the 1950-53 Korean War, more than 200,000 innocent South Korean civilians were massacred by their own police, military, anti-communist groups and even U.S. soldiers.

Now the TRCK needs your help! Since it is in danger of being downsized into extinction, we adoptees and our friends around the world have been asked to get the word out to the Western press. We need international pressure to keep the commission open and running. Please help us get the word out in the foreign media by publishing a short article or an opinion piece. You can even just blog about the commission’s work. Few people overseas know about the important work that is happening here.

Our friend at the commission is Kim Sung-soo. He is the head of the International Cooperation Team of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Republic of Korea.
http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/opinon/2008/04/137_23295.html

Mr. Kim can be reached at wadans@empal.com.

******  Mr. Kim is also helping the adoptees make a truth and reconciliation commission of their own in Korea to investigate international adoption from Korea. If TRCK disappears, it will not be good for our adoption truth and reconciliation project!!!  *************

If you get something published, please let us know so we can show the Korean government that the world cares about truth and justice!


THANK YOU FOR YOUR HELP!


Best wishes to you for a wonderful summer.*^^*

To see a brief movie on the commission, please click here:

http://www.jinsil.go.kr/English/inc/media/media.html

You can click on these other articles to read more on mass executions of leftist South Korean political prisoners, which was witnessed by the U.S. Army.

Shooter grew ‘speechless’ at 1950 Korea killings

AP IMPACT: Thousands killed by US’s Korean ally

The commission’s website is here:

http://www.jinsil.go.kr/English/

disadoption

New video by amazing artist and activist powerhouse Mihee-Nathalie Lemoine. Mihee lived in Korea for 14 years and contributed so much to the awareness of transnational adoption and returning adoptees here in Korea. She also volunteered her time, energy, and expertise to hundreds of adoptees in their birth family search. Thank you Mihee for your incalculable contributions.

Beautifying one corner of the planet

When I moved into my new house in Seoul last month, the area behind was covered in brush and garbage. I asked the owner to clear the space, which she did last weekend, and now I’ve started gardening.

The lettuces you see in the rear belong to the grandpa with the brown miniature poodle who lives a couple of houses down the street. The area behind our house was NOT a community garden at ALL, but I guess the grandpa has decided that indeed, it is now.

I planted flowers around the perimeter earlier in the week as a visual signal to people that this is supposed to be a beautiful area, not the neighborhood dumping ground. But last night I heard digging at 2 a.m. When I went out to look this morning, the grandpa was there. He told me that he had arranged my flowers in this better way. He had dug them all up and put them where you see them now. He has also planted his pepper plants here and some other vegetables. I got tons and tons of advice on watering, planting seeds, and placement. I was pretty mad at first, since I take great pleasure in designing my garden (NO FARM ROWS!), but I guess it is not worth fighting over. Personal space, in Korea, is inside one’s own house only!

I have noticed that my garden attracts the attention of gaggles and gaggles of middle-aged women and grandpas, all of whom have advice or comments. I’m trying to think of it as a chance to interact with people in the little neighborhood where I live. (It’s also a free language lesson: I learned that the verb “to plant” is 심다 and you “raise” plants the same way you “raise” children: 키우다.)

I have dill, thyme, cilantro, zucchini, cucumber, lettuce, various flowers, green pepper, spearmint, and rosemary. Kind of a weird garden but it seemed that just getting it in was a challenge this year. Next year I’ll be more prepared. I will also try some perennials next year because I don’t think we’ll stay in this house forever, so it will be nice to leave something for the next resident. The exposure is southwest and I have to carry all the water by hand, so we’ll see what lives.

There is a ton of garbage in the soil, still, so this weekend I am going out with a trash bag to pick the galbi bones, pieces of broken glass, and cigarette butts out of my garden. While I’m at it, maybe I should get into the community spirit and walk down the street and pick up trash, since nobody else seems to care.

Here is some fine inspiration on community beautification.

(And thanks, Adam, for helping me buy the plants!)

Five Guys and a Baby Angel

This is a new series in South Korea that (I read in English) is designed to promote domestic adoption. It seems typically South Korean in style. Click here for the series’ homepage on MNET.

NDW: Vital Records: The Debate on Adoptee Rights Pt 3

GREAT video. I hope one day South Korea will let international adoptees access their full records through a depository that is not connected with their adoption agency.

Got Records?

A great video that sheds some light on the domestic adoption situation the U.S.

http://adopteerights.net

Reading Interrelationality: The Racial Politics of Academic Research

Thanks Indigo Williams Willing for the tip on this great paper by Damien Rigss published in Dark Matter: Contested Multiculture, in which Indigo’s paper from Outsiders Within is quoted, as well as Kristen Hoo-Mi Sloth’s paper.

Abstract: My concern is centrally with the ways in which academic research has at times been of benefit to white queers, and certain white queers in particular, and how these benefits arise precisely from the aspects of white knowledge claims that overwrite Indigenous sovereignties, or which fail to acknowledge their location within global economies of privilege and oppression. In this sense, and without undermining the discrimination faced by white queers, I highlight the racial politics of (predominantly) white queer rights claims, and locate them within a relationship to the rights claims of other marginalized groups. The article also explores the questions that have been asked by transnational adoptees, who have questioned how research conducted by non-adoptees focusing on the life outcomes of people who are adopted can adequately capture the experiences of adoptees, particularly when such research is reliant upon the logic of assimilation to assess ‘successful life outcomes’.

Found in a photo studio display window

Sweet!

Jeong or Jung Kyong-Ah #1, #2, #3, and #4

What a day ….

Wow, I am sitting so loooow in my chair at work thanks to the world’s best massage by Mira! Thank you Mira for untwisting my back and pulling my shoulder out of my ear!

Anyway, lots to tell but I think I can’t now since I’m about to fall over and it is just too much to process any day anyway …

OK. If you have (or used to have) the name Jeong or Jung Kyong-Ah and you were sent to either the U.S., the Netherlands, or Denmark around 1972 to be adopted, would you please stand up?

I was at the Anti-corruption and Civil Rights Commission (ACRC) today (the office formerly known as the Ombudsman) and they told me that the reason why my Korean hojuk says I was adopted and got citizenship in the Netherlands (What am I talking about? Please refer to My Adoption File ) is because there were 4 kids named Jeong Kyong-Ah at that time, and they sent 2 to the U.S., 1 to the Netherlands, and 1 to Denmark.

Kyong-Ah is not THAT rare of a name, but I don’t think it’s that popular, either… Why all these other kids got my name??

(Drug-sniffing dogs cloned in S. Korea, named Toppy, Toppy, Toppy and Toppy.)

OK whatever, if you’re Kyong-Ah, Kyong-Ah, or Kyong-Ah, or if you think you are, I’m interested in knowing what else your papers say. Are your adoption papers, by any chance … MINE? Because the story on my English adoption papers (which they say is a “mistranslation” — that is a hella lot of fantasy mistranslation) AIN’T MINE!

Also, just for your peace of mind, if you read this, I asked the worker at the ACRC to try to rectify the situation for the Kyong-Ah who actually went to the Netherlands, but whose records most likely say something else. If her mom comes looking for her, she’s gonna look in the wrong country.

On this issue and so many others, I heard so many standard adoption agency excuses today. I just want somebody to say that they take responsibility — not all this “It was a mistake by the city government!” or “It’s not like that anymore!” (as if we have any way to know until all the kids who got adopted today find their parents anyway) and “At that time in our society we didn’t keep careful records,” etc. I mean, by the time I was adopted, intl adoption from S. Korea had already existed for almost 20 years and they still hadn’t got it right, and I’m sure that one of the reasons why the adoption program got so big in the first place as it was touted as being the “Cadillac” of intl adoptions due to its supposed legality and ethicality, etc.

Anyway, having to hold in all my rage instead of screaming my head off sure made me tired. A three day weekend is coming up. Thank god. Aeranwon craft bazaar from 11-4 tmw, all welcome, buy some stuff to benefit single moms who keep their kids. ASK is having a thing down by the Han River on Children’s Day.