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

À la recherche de mon neveu adopté, Chan Joon PARK (Holt # K88-1008), envoyé en France en 1988.


Chan Joon Park  est entré en France le 6 Juillet 1988. Auparavant il est arrivé à Holt, un organisme d’adoptions internationales en Corée, le 23 Mars 1988. Sa date de naissance officielle est le 23 Octobre 1983. Cependant la date réelle de son anniversaire est le 5 mai 1983 . Holt a dit que son père était un ingénieur et sa mère une femme au foyer, tous deux de nationalité française. Ils ont dit qu’il a été envoyé dans les Yvelines, en France.
 La photo du haut a été envoyé depuis la France. Les photos du bas ont été prises en Corée. Holt ne donne pas plus d’ informations et n’a pas voulu essayer d’entrer en contact avec la famille française ou l’organisme qui a participé pour son adoption en France. Les organismes gouvernementaux français responsables de l’adoption n’ont pas répondu à nos demandes pour fournir des informations à la personne adoptée au cas où elle souhaitait en bénéficier.
Je poste ce message avec la permission de ma soeur , une mère coréenne qui est à la recherche de son fils adopté à l’étranger. Chan Joon a une soeur qui a été également adoptée à l’étranger, aux États-Unis, où elle vit à présent toujours. Elle aimerait aussi prendre contact avec lui, pour ne pas mentionner le reste des tantes et des membres de ma famille. Il y a cinq adoptés à l’étranger dans notre famille. Toute personne qui possède des renseignements, s’il vous plaît,  envoyez-moi un message personnel (adresse ci-dessous). Merci d’avance.

Jane Jeong Trenka


Searching for my nephew sent to France, PARK Chan Joon.
Holt #K88-1008. 
PARK Chan Joon left for France on July 6, 1988. He came to Holt in Korea on March 23, 1988. The birthdate that he believes is his is October 23, 1983. However, his real birthday is May 5, 1983.
Holt said that his French father is an engineer and his French mother is a housewife. They said he was sent to Les Yvelines in France. The top photo is a photo that was sent from France. The bottom photos was taken in Korea.
Holt would not give any more information and did not offer to try to make contact with the French family or agency. The responsible French government agencies did not respond to our requests to offer information if the adoptee wishes to receive it.I am posting this with the permission of the adoptee’s Korean mother, who is my sister who is searching for him. Chan Joon has a sister, also adopted, living in the United States. She would like to make contact with him, not to mention the rest of the aunts and family. There are five international adoptees in our family. Anyone who has information, please send me a personal message.

Thank you.

Jane Jeong Trenka