Monthly Archives: December 2012

Police web site for missing people


Missing girl, 4 years old at the time. Now 42 years old.

Date of birth: July 25, 1970

Date of disappearance: May 9, 1975 

She said she was going to her grandmother’s house, and then she disappeared.

Somebody asked me if there is a web site in Korea for missing people. I still haven’t found an efficient way to post all of the listings of children who I think may have been adopted overseas, but you can use these links to look through the web site yourself.

Here are the listings for people that disappeared. Families are searching for them.

Here are the listings for individuals who have been found somewhere in Korea, and the authorities are trying to find their families.

 Here is the homepage, including an English menu. You can find applications for overseas adoptees and DNA there. I am not sure how well they respond to English requests on this site; I have no experience with this web site.

May all your wishes come true in the New Year.

Translations by Chae-Pyong Song

Chae-Pyong Song, who brought The Language of Blood to Korea as both the translator and the connection to the publishing house, is now translating Korean poetry into English along with Anne Rashid and Melanie Steyn. They have done a whole series on the Gwangju Uprising, which you can read on the Korean Poetry in Translation blog.

Here is one poem in particular that grabbed me:

Park Geun-hye burns incense for victims of the Gwangju Massacre (for which Chun Doo-hwan was responsible) in July.

I Reject Your Eulogies and Condolences

by Im Dong-hwak

I reject your eulogies and condolences.
Though I did urinate, hiding in an attic closed on every side,
though I did hide myself, escaping from the city and martial law,
though I still feared random questionings and the sound of whistles late at night.

It was a time of animals or only those who roamed then understood.
Till the outrageous conditions of freedom are invalidated,
I reject the prayers of anyone secure with objective distance,
I reject an age that justifies your cunning and metamorphosis,
and the bunch of flowers you offer with white, blood-stained hands.
I reject eulogies written in a skillful, glib language.

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Korea/Japan/China – three leaders through their fathers’ names

Is it a woman thing or an East Asian thing?

This article is pointing out that the leaders of Korea, Japan, and China all have a famous father who was a leader of his country. In addition to Park Geun-hye, we have Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who will take office December 26 this year, and Xi Jinping, who took office as the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China on November 15 this year.

 왼쪽부터 고 박정희 전 대통령, 중국 시중쉰 전 부총리, 일본 아베 신타로 전 외무장관./사진=조선일보DB
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Worse than George W Bush 2.0


After the election, younger Korean friends have been asking if this is what the Americans felt like when George W. Bush was elected the second time. Personally, I am way madder/sadder about Park than I was about Bush. Also, the first Bush was not in office for 17 years, so there’s that difference.

The situation being as it is, I hope that we get a Korean Obama the next time! What will be a key factor in whether or not that happens is how much the thought police continue their conservative crackdown. It goes without saying that freedom of speech and freedom of the press is a cornerstone of democracy. But major media in Korea have already been taken control of by the Lee Myung-bak government over the past five years.

(One amazing and dedicated young journalist who unfortunately works for a conservative paper wrote a great article about fraudulent adoption paperwork this fall, and it was cut by the editor before it went to press — it does make the government look bad because the government allowed it and was complicit in creating that paperwork. The story was submitted and cut a few days after the same journalist wrote a wonderful article about adoption with a more personal focus, which garnered literally hundreds of comments online. You would think that would be good for the newspaper.)

Under Park Geun-hye, I think the situation for free speech will become much worse. For instance, people who make the popular podcast Na Ggom Su were hauled in to the prosecutors for “defamation” the day after the election.

Smart and funny enough to be dangerous: youth and counter-culture oriented Na Ggom Su podcasters.

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The “suspicious death” of independence and democracy activist Chang Chun-ha

Chang Chun-ha

There are many Korean heroes that are little known about in the English language. The independence and democracy activist, journalist, and politician Chang Chun-ha is one such person.

I became interested in Chang Chun-ha’s life after hearing my friend Dr. Steven Kim talk about him. Dr. Kim then introduced me to his friend, the human rights activist Ko Sang-man, who has written a book about Chang Chun-ha and also investigated his death. (Ko Sang-man is yet another person who is doing his part to help adoptees.)

Chang Chun-ha as a prisoner in 1974, under Park Chung-hee, for collecting signatures for Constitutional reform. The Yushin Constitution implemented by Park Chung-hee  in 1972 gave him dictatorial power.

Photo of Chang Chun-ha’s body from the Presidential Truth Commission on Suspicious Deaths, revealed in 2005

The recently excavated skull of Chang Chun-ha showing that he died from being hit by an object (as opposed to having accidentally fallen off a mountain). Go to this link for an article showing Park Geun-hye busting a sweat over it:

If you want to read more about Chang Chun-ha, you can google him or click on this link from the Korea Democracy Foundation. And below is an interesting interview with his son, who said:

We’re not enemies, me and Park Geun-hye … It was her fate to be born Park Chung-hee’s daughter. But she shouldn’t concern herself with political power … If she does want to be in politics, then she needs to be her own woman…
(Park Geun-hye rode in on the votes of her father’s supporters, while she simultaneously tried to distance herself from her father’s wrongdoings. In other words, she had her cake and ate it too.) Continue reading

Read banned books

  My friend Dr. Kim Sung-soo (“Steven”) is one of my heroes. He was in charge of international coordination for Korea’s national Truth and Reconciliation commission. Much of the thought that has gone into TRACK has been influenced by him. In addition, Ross Oke,  a dear adopted friend and TRACK founder whom I’ve known since about 2005, worked as an English proofreader on this commission.

The English version of this book detailing massacres and abuses of public power was banned when Lee Myung-bak became president. The new head of the TRC who was put in place by the president said it was because the translation was bad. There is nothing wrong with Dr. Kim’s English! He has been certified by Ewha University as having the highest translation ability possible. The real reason they banned it is because of politics, and because the people who are in power now are the same people who committed these abuses years ago. They are trying to hide the real history.

Dr. Kim is still embroiled in a lawsuit against the last head of the TRC. The translators won the first round, and now it is in the appeals process. Dr. Kim told me that the last head even produced forged documents to the court!! Luckily Dr. Kim had saved the documents so he could produce real ones. But the outcome  does not look optimistic now that Park Geun-hye will be the next president, and many of these abuses of public power occurred during her father’s reign.

Dr. Kim has worked exceedingly hard for adoptees over the years. Here you can see him interviewing a guest a KoRoot. He does this regularly to help with birthfamily search.

You can read the banned book and also more about the lawsuit by clicking on the links.


So what if Park Geun-hye has a vagina!?

This blog has been in retirement for more than a year, but in response to the disastrous, insulting, unbelievable election results in South Korea and the realization that not everyone that I know is on Facebook, I am going to … Continue reading