Author: Emily Singh

Seoulsearching, Day 1: Homophobia

 On April 13th, the commander-in-chief of the Korean army was found guilty of ordering the army’s intelligence unit to “find the gays”: The army’s intelligence unit used fake IDs on Grinder and Jack’D to blacklist and interrogate gay soldiers, sexually harassing them in the process. (In response to the report which exposed the Korean army’s blacklisting, interrogating and sexually harrassing of gay soldiers) “Take me [into custody] too, I’m a gay woman” […] “Don’t say, ‘There aren’t any fucking faggots around me’, because I fucking am one, you fuckers!” “Dear Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Korea, I am ÜberButch, the cute queer fairy who protects love and justice in the world. In the name of justice, I won’t forgive you!” – From the sodomizing lesbian warriors <Enactment on the Management of Troops> Article 254 (2). A commander may not carry out active investigations on homosexual soldiers, i.e. though questionnaires in one’s sexuality, etc Article 254 (4). A commander may not ask for the collection of data proving [a soldier’s] homosexuality. Article 256 (1). …

A Night in Shanghai

  A Samsonite full of stroopwafels and chocolate Amsterdam – Frisian Islands -Denmark – Southern Sweden – Baltics – Russia – Mongolia – Beijing – Xian – Shanghai. In other words: Avoiding Ukraine. Good morning Shanghai! People ask me what the difference is between Korean, Chinese and Japanese food. You gotta try them to know. Spices, I say. The Chinese use the biggest variety of spices of the three. My poor Chinese skills telling me this is “Cold tea”, containing “water, white sugar, and black tea” A bento from FamilyMart. Smart that there’s two layers of packaging: one box for the rice, one for the sides. Korean bento makers should do this too. Sweet sausage: Chinese cooking sure is adventurous. “Tomato water”. Revolutionary. And confusing. Seriously. Who does this? Goodbye Shanghai. See you soon!

South Korea and Racism. Again.

Sam Okyere talks about racism in South Korea Just because you don’t know it’s called “being racist” doesn’t mean you’re not being one A couple of years back, I wrote about racism in Korea. Recently, Ghanaian-born South Korean TV star Sam Okyere’s JTBC interview has got South Koreans thinking about the issue of racism once again. Okyere’s experiences of racism, optimistic outlook, and integration in South Korean society echo those voiced earlier by Stanley Hawi in 2015. Racism exists in South Korea. There’s no denying this (There is racism in every society, no matter how”educated” or less “educated” their general population may be on the issue). It manifests itself in different ways: Here in South Korea, white women are labelled whores, because they are sexually liberated, so I, also a man, deserve to have a go at them. Korean women who date white men are seen as sluts, because they remind me of the government-sponsored whores we leased to the GIs. South Asian women are seen as subhuman, because we bought you, and thus you are a living doll, to …

My first racist ‘attack’ in Europe and what I learned from it

Image source: Daum Blog Caption: Choose the wrong option. (the artist is mocking the idea of racism by using a multiple-choice question format popular in Korean education) Last Friday, I was leaving a supermarket when a group of young, white, mostly male, Dutch people ran up to me, took a photo of me, then ran away laughing. I froze, ran into MediaMarkt, the electronics store next door, which I was headed to originally, and stayed there for a good fifteen minutes before I went outside, looked around and made sure they were gone, got on my bike and pedaled back home. I asked myself if what had happened had really just happened. Yes. I saw the flash. I heard them laugh. I was sure. Back home, I sat down and wrote an angry and descriptive post along the lines of: “To the white, male, Dutch youth who just took a picture of me in front of the supermarket on this street, go fuck yourselves, go get cancer, go crash into a train. Same to the people who have …

Inside Korea’s Billion-Dollar Beauty Industry (i-D, 2016)

Episode 1 Grace faces Korea’s traditional beauty standards, and is wildly stared at by passers-by. She talks to a young Korean woman who embodies Korea’s obsession with beauty. “How would you feel if you could never wear makeup again?” “I will die” Episode 2 Grace talks to Korean tattoo artist Apro and gets passport photos of her made, heavily photoshopped so she looks ‘normal’ Episode 3 Grade sees Soljee, a young Korean woman, reveal her tattoos to her parents for the first time. Episode 4 Grace meets a gang member and asks about the relationship between gangs and tattoos in Korea. She also meets a young woman who’s getting her first-ever tattoo. After seeing the young woman’s tattoo, her father decides to get one.