riggy: (en route)
My mother has always been invested in keeping a certain distance between me and other people who are Korean because I am half Korean. Growing up in 1950s ROK, her experience was that half Korean, half American children were generally treated with contempt and I don't think those memories (and the extrapolations thereof) have left her. My mother also is an angry driver and swears in Korean while navigating highways, intersections, etc. -- it's always the same phrase. I've asked her what it means and she's always responded that it's the worst possible thing you could say in Korean and I've never known its meaning.

And there it is, after years of not knowing, in the opening pages of my research material for the Korean diaspora. (Cho, Grace M. 2008. Haunting the Korean diaspora: secrecy, shame, and the forgotten war. Minneapolis: University of Minneapolis Press.) To wit, "Yangsaekshi. GI's plaything. UN lady. Bar girl. Entertainment hostess." And the rest I can figure out from context; it's interesting and a little depressing that the premium is placed on legitimacy and not-mixing and that those are the pejoratives that have stuck in my mom's head for so long.
riggy: (Default)
"You're being so innocent. Innocence stops paying off once you're out of preschool. Do you know why people clamor for power? For one reason. To abuse it. To bury annoying people when they act up."
- Councilwoman Min

Read more... )
riggy: (Default)
The Chaebol in the 1980s: placing extreme importance on "harmony" and "cooperation" becomes problematic when it's used to stifle any sort of explicit conflict. When, as Moon suggests, the best strategy for personal advancement is homogeneity and being pleasant, what are the penalties for acting otherwise? Short of being fired or stuck in placement-limbo, one might be moved closer to central authorities, i.e., the company as state of surveillance. False equality exists when there's a claim to solidarity and equality among all workers and yet the women are not invited to afterwork activities during which workers make further bonds, and are not expected to last long in the office (expectation of leaving for married life). Is there a greater solidarity between non-competitors, i.e., those restricted from the opportunity to advance at all (women as temporary workers)?

Similarly, I have to wonder about the presentation of household cooperation as presented by Kim. This passage in particular: "Married women in the Choson Dynasty were not in a position from which they could strongly voice their opinions and make important decisions, but they were not ignored or ill-treated. They were valued and, in good Confucian manner, treated as one of the family." I wonder how well this might sync up with theories about tolerance as a bad practice: one isn't ignored or ill-treated as such, but shuffled gently to the side, not held to as rigorous expectations because one's not really a full member of the group?

Moon, Seungsook. "The Production and Subversion of Hegemonic Masculinity: Reconfiguring Gender Hierarchy in Contemporary South Korea" In Under Construction: The Gendering of Modernity, Class, and Consumption in the Republic of Korea. University of Hawai’i Press, 2002.
Kim, Sohee. "Confucianism and Women in the Choson Dynasty." OtherWise: A Journal of Student Philosophy 2 (2008).
riggy: (new thought!)
Without too much disrespect to the comparative method, the Wondergirls and Gothic Lolitas are not parallel representatives of feminine sexuality as performed in South Korea and Japan, respectively.

The one thing I had not really experienced until this year is the deleterious effect a professor-with-an-agenda can have when pushing said agenda on a student. A professor is obviously more familiar with an academic field and can assist his or her students; a professor should not push his or her students to fill in blanks in the field when the blanks are only perceptible to the professor and the student is the actual author of a work. I think this is not the case in the sciences, and may in fact be different in graduate level studies, but it was always my impression that it's important for someone doing academic work to be moderately enthusiastic.


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December 2009

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