Tag Archives: korea

tumblr: Happy New Year All! Too bad I never want to crawl out of this…

Happy New Year All! Too bad I never want to crawl out of this lovely cocoon, bundled up inside one of my favorite blankets I brought back from NY. My grandmother originally brought it with her when she immigrated from Korea— you can maybe make one, but definitely can’t buy a blanket like this in America.

Posted via tumblr: http://sindyjlee.tumblr.com/post/71891023510 published on January 01, 2014 at 02:48PM

tumblr: One of the best parts of being home: by the time I get up and…

One of the best parts of being home: by the time I get up and come downstairs, my mom has already been up for hours and is ready with a list of breakfast options. This morning- 빈대떡! (Bindaetteok- type of Korean pancake; just Google it…)

Posted via tumblr: http://sindyjlee.tumblr.com/post/71422779750 published on December 28, 2013 at 08:46AM

tumblr: My uncle is quite a talented artist with no formal…

Cigarette Carton Floral

Magic Marker Diptychs

My uncle is quite a talented artist with no formal training— as is often the case, life got in the way of him possibly becoming a professional artist, but still, he often creates amazing drawings like these with the simplest and most inexpensive materials.

For example, the first piece above is around 20+ years old and you can’t really tell from the photo or even when it’s framed and hanging up on the wall unless you get up close, but there are a few horizontal creases because his “canvas” was the blank side of an opened/flattened cigarette carton. I even remember him creating a big, gorgeous watercolor on a cheap paper tablecloth.

The bottom two pieces were from a sketchbook full of drawings my uncle did with just whatever pens/markers were available while he was visiting my parents for a few days (I think to help them fix up the back porch/deck a bit— he’s also got some great carpentry skills).

Rather than try to align them perfectly for a single frame, I’ll probably hang the bottom two as diptychs, but either way, I can’t wait to get home and hang up all three!

Posted via tumblr: http://sindyjlee.tumblr.com/post/71335658801 published on December 27, 2013 at 12:17PM

Perspective

Here’s a little story to illustrate how curious my parents’ perspective on even the simplest things in life can be given everything they’ve lived through:

My father has been having increased trouble walking for various reasons over the past year to the point that he even has a handicap placard now because he has trouble walking even short distances, although he isn’t quite at the walker or even cane stage yet. I was talking to my mom yesterday about how he was doing and in describing the way he used to walk, instead of just describing a limp, she said (paraphrased from the Korean):

Remember the Korean president who had trouble walking? He was limping like that.

She was talking about Kim Dae-jung (김대중), president of South Korea from 1998 to 2003. I was actually lucky enough to hear him speak at Stanford (and see him limp in real life) shortly after he won the Nobel prize in 2000 for his policy of engagement with North Korea, known as the Sunshine Policy.

Now, the reason Kim had a limp was from being injured during the years of political persecution and exile along the road to his presidency and his longtime involvement in the struggle for democracy in South Korea. (Yeah, news flash: the Korean War didn’t magically make South Korea a democracy. It’s not even technically over.) According to Wikileaks data, when Kim passed away in August 2009, the U.S. Embassy in Seoul described him as “South Korea’s first left-wing president”. Specifically, Kim was a vocal dissident of the Yushin (유신) program of then president Park Chung-hee (박정희) which granted him near dictatorial powers, and after narrowly losing the presidential election to Park in 1971, Kim permanently injured his hip joint during a car accident. The accident was actually a failed assassination attempt by Park himself; later, in August 1973, Kim was eventually kidnapped by intelligence agents of the then military government of South Korea that was, of course, led by Park.

This was all around the time my parents immigrated to the U.S. and this is how my mom describes a limp. This is literally her automatic / natural frame of reference to describe something as relatively simple and seemingly innocuous as a limp.

And FYI, who was the father of the current and first female president of South Korea, Park Geun-hye (박근혜)? Former president Park Chung-hee.