September 30, 2014

8 Observations on how Americans are getting my Korean Name Wrong!

While I like my name (Kee Won Huh), it has caused me problems living in the U.S. Not my name’s fault, of course. It’s just that U.S. naming customs and documentation have taken years to catch up to accommodate the naming customs of immigrants (many of which are now American citizens). In fact, they still haven’t caught up. Here’s a short list of problems I’ve encountered:

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Event: Tae Kim, Author of “War with Pigeons”, Speaking at Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena, California on April 1, 2012 at 2PM

tae kim war with pigeons Korean Asian author

Tae Kim, author of “War With Pigeons,” will be speaking at the “Authors on Asia” series hosted by the Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena, California.

Tae will be speaking on Sunday, April 1, 2012 at 2pm. Here’s some additional information and reservations.

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Korean American Author: For Koreans, the Issue is Assimilation, Not Immigration (By: Tae Kim)

(By Tae Kim) Tae Kim is an American, through and through.

A successful executive and attorney with a good education, he lives the American Dream every day, but he also knows that there is another side to being Korean-American, in which it is very difficult to claim complete assimilation into American life.

“For Koreans in America, there is a strong sense of wanting to be Americans and make the most of the freedom and opportunity for success that America has to offer,” said Kim, author of War With Pigeons, a novel that chronicles how Korean families from different classes live together as Americans, as it peels back the veil of the hidden Korean society that exists outside the view of non-Koreans.

“But there is another side to being a Korean in America – an enduring adherence to the long-standing traditions of a Korean class system characterized by an aristocratic sector that rules over a working class population – and if you’re not Korean, you’d never know it’s there.” [Read more...]

“The Grace that Saved my Father is the Grace that Saved Me” (By Pastor Jong Park of The Redemption Church in Naperville, IL)

(By Pastor Jong Park of The Redemption Church in Naperville, IL)

Korea to America

A couple of weeks ago, I stared at my near-octogenarian father on the doctor’s bench and thought to myself, ‘When did he get so old?’ Long wispy white hair, paper-thin skin with faint blue veins showing through, his timid walk a step slower than the crowd – all signs of a man whose wonder years are a distant speck in his rear view mirror. His story is typical of an immigrant who made his way over to the States to provide a “better life” for his children. Over three decades ago, my father showed his Korean passport for the last time at Kimpo airport. Did he know how hard a new life in his mid-life would be?

When we landed at O’hare airport, we drove straight to our apartment on the north side of Chicago. The refrigerator had one thing in it – orange juice. It was tasty. Throwing back some OJ, mingling with my new Russian, Indian, African-American, Irish-Catholic friends on the block… I liked it instantly. This was America: the land of fruity drinks and friendly people! However, my world and my father’s world couldn’t be more different. His world was one of manual labor, dirty factory, stress, and fatigue. His initial immigrant hope would be swallowed whole into the jaws of reality. [Read more...]

Satisfaction Deferred – Our Korean Parents and the Pettiness of our Modern Complaining (By Paul Lee)

(By Paul Lee) It is the summer time.  The weather is the warmer, sleeves and skirts the shorter, and offices increasingly the unbearable.  For me, office days are limited as I will be relinquishing the cubicle for the library to begin my candidacy for a juris doctorate at Brooklyn Law School this August.  The reality hasn’t quite hit me yet, but I’m trying my best to have fun, relax, reflect on how I got here, and conceptualize where I’d like to be in a few years.

For starters, I really thought I was going to be in law school a bit earlier. I thought I’d enroll at a higher ranked school.  I didn’t think I’d have a string of various entry level jobs littering my resume at 26.  I didn’t think the only real marketable skills I would have four years out of college would be masterful fluency in elementary, conversational Korean and being marginally proficient in Microsoft Office.  For undergrad, I thought I’d be at Columbia, not NYU.  I thought I’d have a 3.8, not a 3.2.  I thought a lot of things and projected the future version of myself to be much more elevated than where I am today.  Sad.

If any solace is to be found in my continuing level of mediocrity through my mid-20s, it is that many of my 20-something peers have been following somewhat of a similar path.  Robin Henig of the NYTimes wrote an article in August 2010 whose title depicted our generation pretty well, “What Is It About 20-Somethings?” Henig characterizes the reason for such an article to be written in multitudinous fashion including this idea from Jeff Arnett, a psychology professor, who believes that:
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