Year: 2018

2018 Oslo Freedom Forum

I was hired to work as an interpreter to the North Korean delegation at the Oslo Freedom Forum for the second time (the first time being 2016). This year also marked the 10th anniversary of the Oslo Freedom Forum. In a nutshell, OFF is a a forum and a community of people dedicated to protecting and improving fundamental human rights around the world. It’s fun: There’s always an art performance, and since a few years an ethical fashion show (whose models are human rights activists and speakers from past years), booths by tech companies who offer services which can be used to protect civil rights activists in repressive regimes, and lots of opportunities for people to connect. Human rights activists have a platform to voice their hopes, obstacles, and plans. Philanthropists come to learn more about projects activists are currently running, to ask in-depth questions about what they need, what they plan to do, and what their current challenges are. Entrepreneurs can pitch their technologies to activists and the general public. This year, I was …

[Video] Anti-Spycam Rally Shakes Up Seoul (by dotface)

On June 9th, 30,000 women gathered in the university district of Hyehwa to protest against the biased investigation practices of the South Korean police. The rally’s roots go back to May 2018, when a male nude model’s picture was illegally circulated on a single website. Within a few days, the woman who uploaded the picture was arrested. This incident is in stark contrast to the thousands of spycam videos and upskirt pictures (“molka”) of women which are taken by men and circulated through hundreds of social media and web channels, and which are chronically dismissed by the police as “beyond our scope of investigation”. The protesters are seen chanting slogans and carrying pickets such as “No Dick, a Criminal” and “A Dick, Not a Criminal”, “The South Korean Government Is a Co-Conspirator In Raising Sex Criminals” and “My Everyday Life Is Not Your Porn”.

[News] South Korean women rise up: An interview with Nayoung Kim

Nayoung Kim is a feminist academic and attorney whom I’ve had the privilege to meet and discuss feminist issues with. An unapologetic feminist, Nayoung has worked towards ending sexual and physical violence against women for nearly a decade. In this interview, you can find all the key issues South Korean feminists face today, from restricted reproductive rights (abortion being illegal), digital sex crimes (including revenge porn), the backlash against feminism in South Korea, and much more. “In every sector of South Korean society, women are assigned second-class citizenship and deprived of equal opportunity. South Korea has the highest gender pay gap among OECD countries, with women earning 63 per cent of what men earn in 2017. Only 56.2 per cent of women are employed. Women are grossly underrepresented in positions of power, holding only 17 per cent of seats in the National Assembly and 10.5 per cent of management positions in the private sector.” “In 2016, a study of 1,050 men revealed that 50.7 per cent had paid a woman for sex. This is a conservative estimate. K-Pop is …

Interview with Mr. Kang Chol-hwan for Urix, Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK)

Special episode on the Kim-Trump summit from Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK). Norwegian only. Mr. Kang Chol-hwan, author of Aquariums of Pyongyang and Director of the North Korea Strategy Center (Seoul/New York), discusses what he thinks about the upcoming meeting. You can also see me tag along, and for some reason, there’s a close-up of my boots. https://tv.nrk.no/serie/urix (9:20-11:34)

Meer Korea in het Nederlands bij NPO Radio 1 / Learn more about Korea in Dutch at NPO Radio 1

Meer over Korea in het Nederlands? Bij NPO Radio 1 kan je meer weten over Seoel, Nord-Koreaanse vluchtelingen, de ouderen (die in geen wozoco’s wonen), en het klassieke stereotype over Koreanen als “gek op studeren” (Vertaald door een vriend van mij: Haegun Chung) Want to know more about Korea in Dutch? At NPO Radio 1 you can learn more about Seoul, North Korean refugees, the elderly (who don’t live in care homes), and the classic stereotype about Koreans being “crazy into studying” (Translated by a friend of mine, Haegun Chung) Deel 1: Met geluid en beeld – Met een Nord-Koreaanse vluchteling https://www.nporadio1.nl/de-ochtend/onderwerpen/419165-serie-over-leven-in-de-stad-seoul-deel-1  Seoel ligt slecht een kilometer of 40 van de grens met Noord-Korea. Drie dagen geleden schoot dat land nog een raket af, wat weer door Zuid-Korea en Amerika werd beantwoord met militair machtsvertoon. De verhoudingen staan, kortom, op scherp. Hoe zouden bewoners van Seoel daarop reageren? En voor Noord-Koreanen is het een reden om te vluchten naar Zuid-Korea, maar dat wordt ze steeds moeilijker gemaakt.De 26-jarige Joeng-Ho is het gelukt en verslaggever Maarten …

[Documentary] Feminism Reboot (2018)

For this documentary on the feminist momentum, Korea Exposé has gathered several key actors in South Korean feminism, including: Famerz Femidangdang Femimonsters Feminism book cafe “Doing” Flaming Feminist Action Korea Sexual Violence Relief Center Shootingfemi Lee Min-Kyeong, author of Reclaim the Language and Reclaim the Heritage Im So-Eun Lee Eun-Saem Park Seihoi Director: Do Youjin Story and narration: Kang Haeryun Cinematography: Choi Jieun & Do Youjin Motion Graphics: Lee Subin  

The Racism in Government-Funded Korean Language Course Material

Looking to Learn Korean for Free? Well, Be Prepared for Some Racism I was going through Sejong Institute’s YouTube playlist to find useful material for my Korean tutoring classes. Then I found this. Let me take you down Racist Hill. Commentary at the bottom. The trope of Jeongnam, the Korean master of condescension, ends with him looking at the two black men’s shirts and pointing out “So, you’re the older brother? You look like it”. Here, the narrative is that the black men chose to play the Black Big Brother Trope. Although Jeongnam treats the three group of foreigners in the same condescending way, it is striking how explicitly racist the script is. Let’s look at the three groups of foreigners he interacts with. First, he meets the white American soldiers. With whom he has a brief exchange. This is done in informal/non-honorific language (반말). Second, he meets the Turkish man, “Abdul”. Although Abdul has a considerably more complex script compared to the other three groups, Jeongnam condescends him by (a) Telling him to fix his …

Free Health Check-Ups for Refugees in South Korea

Refugee Health: Check Migration to Asia Peace and Samsung Medical Centre are going to provide free health check-ups for asylum seekers, those with asylum status, and those with “humanitarian stay” status. Interpreting services and a shuttle bus to and from the testing centre will be provided. The check-up’s results and referrals will be issued. Snacks and drinks will be provided following the check-up. The event is organised by Samsung Medical Centre & Migration to Asia Peace (MAP), and sponsored by Shinhan Bank.   But Who Is a Refugee? “Humanitarian stay” visas (G-1) were created to grant stay to those who do not fall under the refugee status as defined by the United Nations (being able to prove that you personally are persecuted by the state, regardless of the the state of your country). In 2015, South Korea had twice as many G-1 visa holders than F-2 visas (residency) granted to refugees. Humanitarian stay visas differ from residency visa in the following ways: Issued for 1 year; can be renewed Cannot apply for employment unless they …

Seoul City Provides “Baby Box” and Vaccination Subsidies to Single Parents

Single Mothers Benefit From New Scheme – But Not All Through an initiative of the Women & Family Policy Bureau, Seoul City will become South Korea’s first municipality to offer single mothers in financial difficulties with 1 million KRW (approx. 800 EUR / 900 USD) worth of baby materials. The “Baby Box” will contain the following items donated by manufacturers and individual funders: A stroller Feeding bottles A baby sling Clothes Formula for infants Sleeping vests However, the supply is limited, and only 100 single mothers living in the Seoul Metropolitan Area with 80% of the median income will be able to benefit from the scheme. A Wider Vaccination Coverage Expands Number of Free Vaccinations for Children from 17 to 23 However, the City Government will provide a subsidy worth 240,000 KRW (180 EUR / 220 USD) for infant vaccinations, to children living with single mothers and single fathers. The subsidy covers vaccinations outside the 17 mandatory vaccinations. The 17 mandatory vaccinations for children (via Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)  are as follows. They’re …