Tuesday, April 16, 2013

So it’s April 17 here in Korea.

So it’s April 17 here in Korea.  That means it’s been five years since my mom died.  For the past few April 17s I’d post something on facebook like, “fuck cancer.” I’d get a lot of people liking that post.  Some would be friends and family that knew the reason I was posting such a comment on April 17, others maybe lost someone to cancer and I’m sure others think cancer is a shitty thing that ought to be “fucked.”  

Well, this year I feel different.  I am engaged, and will be starting a family soon.  And, well, it’s pretty painful to know that my mom will never know my future wife nor will she know any children we might have.  When she was sick I’d never cry, at least in front of anyone.  But rest assured on the ride home I’d cry my eyes out.  The main thing that hurt was this fact: she’d never know my family.  Sure that was a bit selfish, but everyone dies including our parents and us. To me, so much of who we are, if not all of who we are, is made up by our interactions with others.  Furthermore, knowing the people who were close to your loved ones help you to learn more about said loved one.  

Fast forward to now. My fiancée will never know my mom.  Sure, she’ll learn about her from stories, but it’s not the same. She won’t know what it’s like when mom watches America’s Funniest Home Videos.  She also won’t have to go through all the bullshit my mom put my brother’s wives through during the beginning of their marriages.  But, good and bad, it’s all a part of it. And now, five years later who am I to blame?

Hint- it’s not cancer. 

If you are reading this now, and you smoke- stop.  I told my mom to stop smoking for at least 23 years.  She didn’t.  After we had a meeting with the doctors and they told her that only chance to live was if she stopped smoking, she didn’t.  (Sure, in hindsight it wouldn’t have mattered, but we didn’t know that at the time.)  Now I know that quitting isn’t easy.  I watched my mom try, on and off, basically all of my life.  I think if you keep trying to quit you might be able to.

If you don’t quit, you might die from something else before you get cancer.  Sure, YOLO and all that.  But remember, my mom was never going to die from smoking.  She was sure of that.  That is something that happens to other people, not us. Of course when the cancer spread to her brain she could hardly function, when she was just using her “reptilian” brain…can you guess what she was doing?  She kept moving her hand to her mouth as if she was smoking.  After she could no longer function, that impulse to smoke was still there. And if you are smoking, don’t worry that will never happen to you.  Just like it would never happen to mom.  

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Some Food For Thought

"Free medical care for illegal aliens and now free airfare support for returning home, are you out of your mind? We are paying our tax to send you for free? Get those crazies out back to where they come from."

"I am against multiculturalism. Look what happened to Spain once they accepted Muslim migrants. Look at Mexico after NAFTA….Against multiculturalism… No to voluntary naturalization… "

"Why are we supporting foreign workers with our tax?? That foreign migrant bitch better shut her hole."

It is problematic for Saenuri (roughly the Korean GOP) to have nominated a foreigner. What next, a gay Assembly member…?

I know in the USA a lot is being made of immigration. Sure, it's a touchy topic which generates a lot of strong feelings. I'm also sure that most of you have never been an immigrant. Well I am one, and I've gotten a completely different view on immigration since coming here. I'm not sure if it will make a difference to how many of you feel, but read this website and see how people are treating immigrants where I live.

For the sake of background there have been two major news events in Korea related to immigration. First, an immigrant killed and chopped up the body of a Korean girl. This also caused the chief of police to resign because the woman did in fact call the police but they thought it was just a domestic problem (so not a problem). Also a naturalized citizen (a Filipino lady) became the first to be selected into office.

With that in mind, read these translated comments that have been posted all around the web. Twitter, facebook, newspaper articles. And remember; a good amount of them are directed at someone you know- me. I hope seeing this issue as a people issue, not some vague political concept will open your mind a little to how you view immigrants.

Xenophobia Against Newly-elected Filipina-Korean Spreads Online

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A Must Read

My dad's told me this story a number of times, and it's one of my all time favorites.


Saturday, December 18, 2010

I Went to the Museum and Took Some Photos

A crown from the Goguryeo kingdom (37 BC- 668). The Goguryeo kingdom at it's height stretched from the middle part of what is now South Korea to the edge of Inner Mongoila.

One of my favorite pieces of Korean art. The Gilt-bronze Incense Burner of Baekje. It's just awesome.

A crown from the Gaya confederacy (42-532 AD). An interesting note about Gaya. According to most people, Gaya was a major exporter of goods and culture to Japan. However, during the time of Japanese occupation (1910-1945) the Japanese claimed that the Gaya area (a quite small area actually) was in fact a Japanese military outpost and they used this "fact" to justify their colonization of Korea.

This is a gold cap that goes under the king's crown. Shilla period 5th century.

National treasure number 91. Man riding a horse, a ceramic figurine from the unified Shilla period, 6th century.

Ceramic figurines from the unified Shilla period, 6th century.

A stone coffin adorned with the four guardian deities: Blue Dragon, White Tiger, Red Phoneix, and Black Tortoise and Serpent. Guess which side this is... from the Goryeo period, 918-1392.


A copy of "Jikji" the first book ever printed by movable metal type in 1377. The original is in France, but Korea wants it back. The book is about "Seon" which is a Korean school of Buddhism which predates the more well known Japanese "Zen."

The world's first metal moving type. It's the size of my thumb nail.

Thursday, September 23, 2010