July 23, 2014

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“Show some respect, use both hands!” – A lesson on how two hands are better than one (By Moses Yoon)

(By Moses Yoon) When I was a young boy, I noticed a familiar pattern of a simple gesture that I noticed between Korean adults – when a younger adult gave something to an older adult, the younger would give the object to the elder with two hands instead of one.

I always thought this simple gesture to be quite un-necessary when I was younger. Why give an object to another person with two hands instead of one?

First of all, it’s just way easier to lift one’s hand and give an object to somebody else, right? The act of holding an object with two hands and giving the object to somebody else seemed a little too inconvenient, a waste of energy – not to mention how awkward it is to offer something to somebody with two hands.

Do you know what I’m talking about here or am I the only one who noticed this?

I also determined that giving something to somebody with two hands who is older than you was a sign of respect to the recipient of the object. But for me, I was too Americanized to even want to follow this seemingly Koreanesque gesture. I didn’t really care for it to be honest. When I gave something to somebody, whether younger or older, I’d simply hand it over with one hand. No big deal. [Read more...]

Konnect Magazine Guest Contributor: How Korea Has Taught Me To Accept Myself (By Gigi Shim)

(By Gigi Shim)

As a Korean-American girl growing up in the Deep South, I was always self conscious about the way I looked, mainly because I stuck out like a sore thumb in a sea of blondes, brunettes and the occasional redhead. Being a girl is challenging as it is, but add being a minority and things get a bit more complex.

Oddly enough, until a few years ago, being different from everyone else had been a comfort zone for me. Naturally then, I felt extremely out of place in a room full of people who looked like me. I wasn’t used to being around people with my hair color, skin tone and facial features.

However, just because I became used to feeling this way didn’t mean that I liked it. I very much wanted to feel comfortable around people like me. I didn’t want to deny this part of myself; I wanted to feel a connection with Koreans. This desire, coupled with a mild quarterlife crisis, influenced my decision to move to Seoul after graduating college.

So after a year and half of living here, have I made this “connection” with Koreans? Do I feel more comfortable around people who bear a resemblance to me? Well, yes and no. [Read more...]

Thoughts of my Tiger Dad – by Paul Lee

(By Paul Lee) Growing up as a Korean boy, I had a full set of immediate family members: a mother, a father and a younger brother. Someone to feed me, discipline me and force to play Monopoly with. Someone to be angry at, with and for. Someone to be happy at, with and for. Someone to grow up with and eventually for.

During my Long Island high school days, I played sports and was involved in the activities that typical overachieving Asian Americans tend to be a part of in hopes of top tier admissions letters. As the eldest son of a Tiger Mom, [Read more...]

Hines Ward: Erase the Race – by David Kim

(By David Kim) After winning the Super Bowl MVP in 2006, NFL superstar Hines Ward jumped to international fame. His performance in one of the world’s biggest stage was heard all around the world, and even reached to a country where nobody even knows much about American football. A country that also served as his upbringing and roots, South Korea.

Just by looking at Hines Ward, one may never know that he is half Korean. Ward was born to a Korean mother and a black father. His father wasn’t around much during his childhood, so his Korean mother raised him mostly by herself. Before the Super Bowl, Ward never associated himself much with being half Korean or anything about the Korean culture. He just seemed like the typical black athlete. [Read more...]

Why I Spent 5 Years of my Life in a Nursing Home

"I went to the nursing home almost every day for the next 5 years until she passed away. My grandma’s only joy in life was us, her grandchildren. The only part of the day she looked forward to was when I came to visit her, so I felt like I had to visit her every day. After all, she was there for me and my brothers every single day of our lives, so how could I not do the same for her? So I promised myself that I would take care of her and serve her for the rest of her life just like she did for us."

(By Grace Shin, photo by joshdouglassmith.com) My grandmother came to the states 32 years ago when my oldest brother was born. A year later, my other brother was born, and a year after that, I came into the world. My grandmother lived with us and took care of all three of us while my parents worked all day. She raised the three of us, all a year apart in age, which was not easy. She did it, however, with pleasure and with love.

When I graduated college, I moved back home with my parents and my grandmother. My grandmother was 80 at the time, and physically, she was becoming weaker. I worked second shift for a few years at my job so that I could be with her during the day and my parents could be with her during the evening [Read more...]

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