April 23, 2014

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The Capacity to Rise Above my Own Expectations of Mediocrity (By Garam Yun)

The Capacity to Rise Above my Own Expectations of Mediocrity

For the past few weeks, I have advised my little cousin on his college applications. I can’t help but reflect on my own experience applying to schools as he and I go through the process of meeting deadlines, editing essays, and hoping for the best outcomes.

Is it just me or do most, if not all, Korean Americans, including myself, feel at one point or another inadequate in comparison to peers of other ethnic and racial backgrounds? At times, it’s the Korean American girl who feels unpretty next to her classmate who seems to resemble the idealized standard for American beauty–one that she doesn’t feel she meets. It can be the guy who feels desexualized because he is shorter than many middle school kids. Or it’s the Korean American student, like my cousin, who clearly has accomplished academic feats within the demanding schedule of sports practices, extra-curricular clubs, and socializing to maintain relevance in his community. Yet the same student chooses to see the negative over the positive and still doubts his ability to compete for a place at the top schools.

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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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Speak Better Korean (By David Kim)


(By David Kim) So if you’re someone like me, a 2nd generation Korean-American born and raised in the states, learning to speak better Korean may be somewhat of a challenge. Most of us probably know the basics of the Korean language and have spoken it enough to communicate to our parents. But how many of us can really speak the language fluently enough with little or no flaws?

I know for myself I was fortunate enough to attend Korean language school at church – and also my parents consistently spoke Korean to me. I was able to pick up the language quite fast and was able to speak pretty fluently at a young age. However, I still encounter times when my speaking hits a brick wall and I have no idea what I am saying. I cannot say that I am a perfect, fluent Korean speaker at this moment, but I am still trying to improve it in little ways. I am hoping to improve enough so that I can one day engage in a long conversation without having to hit those brick walls. In my process of learning to speak better Korean, I’d like to suggest some pointers to assist in those attempting to enhance their Korean speaking skills.

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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...]

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