Uncertainty can be happiness

"Security is a false god," or running around the world as an FSO

Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

So You Think You Can Douche | The Daily Show | Comedy Central

Posted by quirksalight on August 3, 2009

I ❤ the Daily Show

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Posted in amusing, Daily Show, Humor, parody, Politics, TV, US | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Saber rattling from the north

Posted by quirksalight on January 30, 2009

North Korea tears up agreements

Great…. Slow deterioration of N-S Korean relations….no bilateral agreements, closing of South Korean industrial investment zones in the North… I’m not sure if it’s good that I’m leaving or if I should stick around to see it play out.

Posted in Korean, news, Politics | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

What I wore to the Inauguration…

Posted by quirksalight on January 20, 2009

…was PJs, a shawl, and an ace bandage.
Sitting in front of my computer, with a cup of tea and my knitting, I watched the live coverage in the early hours of January 21st in Korea.

Listening to the new POTUS, I am still filled with hope. Which is what we, as a nation, is gambling on, isn’t it? We voted to choose a relatively inexperienced man as the leader of our country because we needed someone who would help us believe in us again. To really live and be “Proud to be an American”… which was hard, in a world that had slowly come to shun our policies and in turn, Americans. Now, it has come full circle, and we, the Americans abroad, can stop having to defend who we are and instead, promote that makes the United States that place that we all call home.

Pride in the nation that I call mine is something I took for granted until I left it. It bothered me, when I applied for my visa status, to sign away my Koreaness. Even stranger to realize that I didn’t exist anymore on my family’s geneological rolls…after so many generations, it ends. I felt that I was giving up a part of myself. But, as I lived here longer and longer, I realized that in my mind, I am and have always been, an American. Who I am, the way I think, the path I have always followed, has always fit more at home than in Korea.

And living out of the US for the first time in a quarter century, I had to defend my country. Anti-American sentiment wasn’t virulent, but existed. As a bilingual, I had explain why our export policies were solid, why we weren’t brash and annoying people, why our government was doing the things they did, to both Koreans and other expats. I received a physical attack for being a foreigner, and had to wonder, what friends meant when they said, “Oh, you’re an American? Really? I didn’t think you were.” Why? What is an American that isn’t I?

Instead of being pulled more and more between the two cultures I live in, I feel that my identity has been more solidified with my time here. I am a Korean-American. I treasure my heritage, the richness of the culture I was born in, and the diversity of the culture I have sworn an oath to. But when push comes to shove, the nation that I will promote and defend is the United States of America.

Posted in 2008 Election, Asian-Americans, commentary, election, election 2008, family, Korea, Korean, Mental Stream, Politics, Social commentary | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

50 years later…

Posted by quirksalight on December 6, 2008

Children ‘executed’ in 1950 South Korean killings

And more comes to light.

Posted in history, Korea, Korean, military, People, Politics, US history | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

20-20 can be painfully clear

Posted by quirksalight on December 6, 2008

A couple months ago, I wrote about South Korea’s Truth and Reconciliation commission on the investigation into the wartime (and post Korean-war) atrocities by the US backed S. Korean government. (“Sometimes you just have to force yourself to read it“)

More news is continuously coming to light about the sheer scope of what happened, and the role that the US and S Korean governments played in it. Keeping in mind, that this was also the height of the “Red Scare” and McCarthyism in the US,

On my vacation to Jeju Island, I went to the Jeju 4.3 Peace Memorial. I had thought that I had a decent grasp of Korean history, especially for a “gyo-po” (Korean foreigner), but I had never heard of an event on 4.3 that would be significant enough to warrant a memorial.

It turns out, Jeju Island had a brutal military crackdown against members of the communist party of Korea in the 1950s. However, like a lot of the political crackdowns and killings on the Korea mainland, many of those who died were tainted by associated; the families and friends of those accused. Tens of thousands were killed or died due to exposure and starvation when they fled to the countryside.

The memorial was full of declassified documents from that era, and everyone knew, but ignored it.

I left the museum, a little sad, and just sat for a while, contemplating.

Posted in adventure, ancedotes, death, history, Korea, Korean, Nerdity, Politics, Social commentary, travel, US history, vacation, world news | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Apparently kids DO read the newspaper

Posted by quirksalight on November 10, 2008

“Teacher, teacher! In school last…umm…”
(whispers to classmate in Korean “What’s the word for Wednesday?”)
“..ah! Last Wednesday! You, in school last Wednesday?”

I replied, “Nope. I was in Seoul all day.”

Upon hearing this, the two girls get excited and I overhear them saying to one another in Korean,
“See? I told you that was her!”

Then they turn to me and tell me, “Teacher! We see you in the paper. Itaewon, right? Obama party?”

I replied, smiling, “Yes, I was at the Obama party.”

They run off, giggling, and the last thing I hear in Korean is, “Hee, hee… teacher was toasting with alcohol!”

Posted in 2008 Election, amusing, ancedotes, Buheung MS, Bupyeong, Humor, Incheon, Korea, Politics, teaching, teaching english | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

It looks like we made it in the news…

Posted by quirksalight on November 6, 2008

…in Korea that is. The Joong Ang Daily has a picture and article of the Democrats Abroad election party at the Orange Tree in Itaewon. “Champagne flows in Seoul for Obama

I’m in front, in the striped shirt. Partially blocking my face… apparently I’m subconsciously not wanting to be recognized. 🙂

Posted in 2008 Election, amusing, Humor, Itaewon, Korea, Politics | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Hope…

Posted by quirksalight on November 5, 2008

…is a powerful emotion. One of my friends called it “too religious and wishy-washy”, but to me, it’s what keeps you going when times are tough. When you are hurt, stressed, fearful, and/or depressed, it is hope that keeps you taking that step after step until things improve, until you find your solution. It is the hope the drives your determination. You hope that your actions will improve your future, so you go on.

Today, was an amazing day. It was the election of the first African-American to the United States presidency. Do I think that there will a magical new day? No. I do believe that Obama will be the JFK for our generation; reinvigorating our generation into greater involvement in government, for public service.

In a nice bit of coincidence, I also took the Foreign Service Officer Test (FSOT), November 5th, 9am-12pm Korea time (GMT +9:00). Feeling drained, and pessimistic, I joined the Democrats in Korea at the Orange Tree in Itaewon for the live election coverage party. And felt hope. Listening to McCain’s and Obama’s speeches, I felt so much respect and hope for the future of our bruised and battered nation. We may be down, but we sure are not out for the count. And it made me want ever more to be in public service, to do something. Yes, indeed we can.
That, is my hope.

Posted in 2008 Election, ancedotes, commentary, election, election 2008, Itaewon, Korea, musings, Nerdity, Politics, Social commentary, thoughtstream, US history | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Viewing the elections in Korea

Posted by quirksalight on November 5, 2008

Here are some pictures of the elections viewing party at the Orange Tree, in Itaewon.

Yes, the media was there. There was one dude from Reuters, and cameras were flashing all the time.

Posted in 2008 Election, amusing, ancedotes, Itaewon, Korea, Politics | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

It’s not just on our minds…

Posted by quirksalight on November 4, 2008

It’s Nov 4th, 2008, and election day in the United States. Three of my 2nd year (8th grade) students came up to me, asking, if I was voting. When I replied that I was, they got very excited, and said, “Obama, yes? Obama!” One student, Hae Mi, who has a better grasp of English than the other two, asked me if I was going to vote for him. I explained that because I wasn’t in the United States, I had voted several weeks ago by mail, so it would get to the US in time.

I asked the three girls why they were excited about Obama and the US elections. One thought he was handsome, another wanted him as the US president because she thought he was “very very smart”. But the most interesting answer came from Hae Mi, who told me (after struggling a little with her words) that she thought Obama would be better for Korea than McCain.

Interesting conversation and more proof how much our election is on the minds of people, young and old, around the world.

If you haven’t, GO VOTE!

Posted in 2008 Election, amusing, ancedotes, Incheon, Korea, Politics, Social commentary | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »