Author: Emily Singh

[YouTube] Korean Babies Make It Better (& Why Biblical Names Have a Korean Twist)

Image description: Two young children are seen on a still image. One is a boy holding his hand up, counting to four. One is a girl smiling into the camera. The video caption reads ” What is 3-year olds introduce themselves?” As a researcher in gender, I read and write about a lot of depressing topics. This is why I make sure to spend everyday watching one of Studio V (AKA Village Video)’s “Eye Level” videos. It’s a bunch of adorable babies being adorable, but even when watching this I can’t help myself but notice gender differences in how they act sometimes. “Baul” (바울) is the old biblical translation of Paul. In previous translations of the bible (and maybe even the current one – it’s been some time since I’ve read one), the original names were first transcribed into Chinese, then read according to the Korean pronunciation of classical Chinese characters (hanja, 한자). Another example of this is “Dain” (다인), which is a translation of David.

Goodbye, Pyongyang Time Zone

[Image description: Two clocks on the wall, side by side. One reads 11:46 (Seoul), and the other reads 11:16 (Pyongyang). Source: Yonhap Agency] Today, Pyongyang’s 30-minute difference with Seoul (and Tokyo) time zone will cease to be, as Kim Jong-Un orders North Koreans to set the time forward to match that of South Korea. “To reconcile our history” seems to be a prominent reason. However, if the Korean peninsula wants to reconcile with its history, it should actually be be Seoul changing its time 30 minutes back, considering the current Seoul time zone was implemented by the Japanese colonial government. As I’m writing this, a Dutch friend tells me: “Well, the South can’t very well do that; makes it look like Seoul is ceding to a Communist Revolution”. Basically, I’d be a jongbuk for saying this.

1989. Universal freedom of travel

[Image description: A Korean female clerk at The Korean National Airlines (1946-1962; later dissolved and incorporated into Korean Air) is seen checking in passengers in 1957.] 1989: South Koreans are granted universal freedom of travel, without having to provide any reason to the government. Prior to this, every person leaving the country had to be assessed individually. Until 1980, no civilian passports were issued. When the first passports were issued in 1989, up until 1992, all applicants had to pay for an  “Anti-Communist Training” including learning about cases of South Koreans defecting to the North, as well “security information” for a full day, and be issued a certificate for completing the programme, before they could receive their passport. A video clip by the government states the following: 관계부처와 관광공사 그리고 여행사 자체에서의 교육은 물론 여행자 자신이 여행상식과 정보, 각국의 문화, 관습 등을 보다 철저히 배우는 노력이 있어야 하겠습니다. 관광은 서로 다른 문화 간의 대화이며 흥분과 환상의 세계를 제공하는 것입니다. 그러나 국제관광은 자칫 나라의 위신과 국민 전체의 명예를 손상 시킬 수도 있기 때문에 우리는 해외여행에 앞서 …

ARTE – Tous les internets – En Corée du Sud, les femmes à l’avant garde de #MeToo

Alternative title: Sind die Südkoreanerinnen der #MeToo-Bewegung einen Schritt voraus? / Les sud-coréennes sont-elles à l’avant-garde de #MeToo?   I had the honour to speak and share my research with Ann-Marie Kornek, a journalist specialising in technology and social issues at ARTE. Covering topics such as molka (spycams used for illegal porn), Soranet (the porn hub which hosted a number of illegal activities including illegal porn), and power harassment/rape (involving 2017 presidential candidate Ahn Hee-Jung and internationally acclaimed filmmaker Kim Ki-Duk), the episode explains what has been happening in Korea in the past three years, and what has changed (and is still changing). Kudos to the team at ARTE for their research, and for going through the graphic images of molka videos. I particularly appreciate how Korean names and words are written and spoken accurately (I’ve heard my share of Kim Young-Ooon and Zamzoong). Link to video ARTE:  Youtube: Facebook: Twitter:

S. Koreans. Germans. Reunification.

Picture: Kim Jong-Un is seen walking with an aid against the backdrop of a row of North Korean flags. The words “Kim kommt” is displayed across the screen. A screenshot from “Kim kommt: Kurswechsel in Korea? (Kim is coming: A Change of course in Korea?), a documentary by ARD TV’s Weltspiegel Extra. “It is a border we Germans still have memories of. With barbed wires, minefields, and orders to fire. Between brother cities which shoot each other. From firing drills by Kim Jong-Un in the North, and those by the South Koreans and Americans in the South. A border which has separated families for decades. Except for a few days of government-organised day meetings. Now the change is in the hope that this border may fall, like it did in Germany. As the two heads of heads of state will meet in no man’s land for a new start” (rough translation by self) Because of our shared history, South Koreans and Germans tend to know a fair bit about each other’s people, process of …

#MeToo in Korea: Professor Resigns Following Student Protest (SBS News)

Featured image and video clip by SBS News About 2,800 students at Ewha Woman’s University occupied their campus this Thursday (29 March) chanting pop singer Younha’s hit song “Comet” (혜성), casting light with their cellphones, and waving purple balloons. The following day (30 March), one of the a professor had resigned. A week ago, the #MeToo movement took to universities across South Korea. Accusations quickly surfaced against two professors at the College of Music and at the College of Art (one specialising in orchestral music and the other in sculpture), for having harassed not one but several students. Ewha students organised a taskforce which led to the mass protest on Thursday. Students also carried on the tradition initiated at the Gangnam Murder – using Post-Its to voice their anger. Post-Its in the video are seen to state phrases such as “You’re not a professor, you’re a sex criminal” “Don’t cast dirt on our music. Stop making music” “Out with sex criminals” “I don’t want to learn anything from you” “Go! To jail!” “Let this crime …

How healthy is South Korea’s LGBT community (literally)?

Dr. Seung-sup Kim of Korea University’s Department of Public Health Sciences and his team have been investigating the mental and physical health of LGBT individuals. The two-part project, entitled “Rainbow Connection” is a groundbreaking, comprehensive research into the LGBT community. For now, a journal article entitled “Health disparities between lesbian, gay, and bisexual adults and the general population in South Korea:  Rainbow Connection Project I” is available (on the LGB of LGBT), with a sample of over 2,000 individuals. A monograph on Part II, focusing on transgender health, is planned for publication in March 2018 (Korean). Key findings (numbers rounded to nearest digit): Lesbian and bisexual women reported poor health 1.80 and 2.24 times more frequently than women overall, while gay men and bisexual men do not show statistically significant differences; As compared to the general population, bisexual women showed the biggest difference in both mental and physical health issues, followed by lesbian women, bisexual men and gay men LGB adults, both women and men, reported significantly higher prevalence of musculo-skeletal pain (back pain, upper and lower …


Originally posted on Matt Lemon Photography:
Snapshot(s)* from the biggest-ever Queer Parade at Seoul Plaza. Seoul, South Korea. © Matt Lemon Photography. All Rights Reserved. Despite a military crackdown on gay servicemen, politicians refusing to enact anti-discrimination legislation, and fundamentalist faith groups engaging in “Homosexuality Countermeasures”, South Korea has just witnessed its biggest-ever queer parade. A recap of the last six months in LGBT news. Not later, now! On July 15, 2017, members of Korea’s LGBT+ community and their allies came together for the biggest-ever Queer Parade, highlight of the annual Korea Queer Culture Festival (퀴어문화축제, KQCF). Now in its 18th year, the festival has seen its attendance skyrocket from some 50 people at the inaugural event in 2000 to this year’s turnout of a whopping 85,000 people. Not minding the, at times, torrential rain, the crowd first gathered at Seoul Plaza in front of City Hall, before marching and dancing through Jongno-gu and Jung-gu. This year’s slogan – “There’s no LATER. We demand a CHANGE NOW!” 나중은 없다. 지금 우리가 바꾼다! – is a reference to an incident…