Archive for the ‘Why I hate-love Korea’ Category

Seoul then and now:korea-evolution

Koreans doing laundry then and now:

Television then and now:

South Korea’s economy then and now 

korea economic


Baby boxes then and now:

korean baby boxes

Baby boxes then: Babies in cardboard boxes on a flight operated by Harry Holt Proxy Adoption Program, some of the airplane’s seats were removed to make room for the boxes. (1) and (2)  Baby Box now: baby abandoned anonymously in a metallic and heated box built and operated by pastor Lee at his church.(3) and (4)

International adoption began in the aftermath of the war, to save biracial babies from racism. It continued in the 1960s, 70s and 80s because of poverty and rapid industrialization that led to mass abandonment of children. In the 1980s and 90s, the country is rich but adoption is needed because of Confucian values that make families reluctant to raise someone else’s male child, because of stigma against unwed mothers.
International adoptions, say adoption supporters, should  continue until Koreans change their mentality, until Korea evolves…  But that will never happen as long as there is an adoption agency that prevent Korea to evolve.

Korea now…


child support

Park Eun-jeong (not her real name), a single mother of two, suffered a car accident just seven months after her divorce back in 2014. Her husband had agreed to wire 800,000 won ($688) monthly for child support when signing his divorce papers. But he abruptly changed his phone number and stopped paying the funds after learning about Park’s accident. (5)


(1) “Impressions on Meeting the Harry Holt Plane” by Arnold Lyslo, 1958.
(2) To Save the Children of Korea: The Cold War Origins of International Adoption, by Arissa H. Oh.
(3) Opinion divided on the merits of South Korean pastor’s ‘baby box’
(4) Should This Man Get a Nobel Peace Prize?
(5) South Koreans still struggle with idea of child support, Korea Herald.





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I’m Quebecoise. She’s Korean.
I’m a Scorpio. She’s an Aries.
I was conceived when she was made a paper orphan.
I was bought, she was sold.
I was being born while she was dying.
I grew stronger while she became weaker.
I began to talk when she began to lose her talk.
I was given a name, she lost her name.
I was born when she was buried.

I’m not me. I’m her.
I live in her body with her memories and her ghost.
I lost my true self when I lost her.

I’m Quebecoise.
You snatched away everything but my memories.
You penetrated me forcefully with your mother tongue, your thought and your culture
while emptying me of my mother tongue, my thought and my culture.
I speak like you.
I do things like you.
I think like you.
I have a French Canadian name.
But you reject me because I’m Korean.

She’s Quebecoise. I’m Korean.
She’s a Scorpio. I’m an Aries.
She was created when I became a paper orphan.
She was exported from her country, I was imported to this country
She was being born while I was agonizing.
She grew stronger while I became weaker.
She began to talk when I began to lose my talk.
She was given a name, I lost my name.
She was born when I was buried.

She lost her true self when I lost my self.
She is because I am.
She’s not her. She’s me.

I’m Korean
I lost our talk.
I lost our culture.
I lost my self.
I lost my identity.
I lost everything but my memories of our life together,
because you rejected me, sold me, kicked me out from our land, exported me to a foreign land when I was a little girl.

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You sent me away with an escort and an identification bracelet on each of my wrists.

K-6714 was written on the bracelets.

My name  was also written on  one, the names of strangers were written on the other, but I didn’t know it was my name until the escort read it aloud, for it was written in a foreign language which since then has became my second language.

I loved my name which was chosen for me with love by my mom.

Now I loathe that Asian name  for it doesn’t fit me and sounds foreign to my Quebec ears. I still love my real name when I loathe  my adopted self that took the place of my real self.

I wanted to keep the bracelets  so that I could show them to my friends when I would return home, but I lost my bracelets at the aiport.

I treasured everything I came with from my country — the bag, the New Testament, the Children’s Songs book and the dictionary you gave me,  the clothes and the shoes I wore which I also received from you, and all my gifts I received from others.

I wanted to keep them all for the day I would return home. I wanted to keep them for my friends as a souvenir of my trip to “Miguk”, the country we had spoken of so much as if it was a country of fairy tales.

But the country of fairy tales tourned out to a country of nightmares.

And I never returned home, not until many years later as if I was a tourist.

“What therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder” is written in the New Testament you gave me before sending me away.

Yet you put asunder my family and me whom God had joined together, you separated me from my country to which God had joined me.

You sent me away with a visa with the line for the date of bearer’s return completly crossed out.

You kicked me out of my own country as a product of adoption #K-6714.


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Park Chung-hee was the president of Korea when I was child. He came to power through a coup d’état.

I was then too young to know his name, too young to know politics.

If Korea had sold me off to a foreign country a year or two later, I could have learned his name.

The early collaboration between the adoption industry and the dictatorship was responsible for sending over 50 000 children overseas.

I began understanding the concepts of politics about a year after my adoption, first by learning my uncle was the mayor of the city where I lived and then by learning the names of the mayor of Montreal and of the Prime Ministers of Quebec and Canada.

If I hadn’t been sent off from Korea, I would have learned the name Park Chung-hee and the history of Korea instead of the names Pierre Elliott Trudeau and René Lévesque and the history of Quebec and Canada.

I know very little of the history of my birth country. I’ve learned the name of Park Chung-hee thanks to Jane Jeong Trenka by reading her posts on her Facebook wall.

During my childhood in Korea, I knew police was corrupt. The police ignored all of my father’s complaints against a woman who stole his money because the police station was next to the tavern she owned and policemen were friends with her. When he put a wrong address on his last letter of complaint, they arrested immediately the man residing at that address. No wonder why policemen wouldn’t even try to find the homes of lost children.
Policemen had lot of power. They would stop public buses anywhere for their spouses and children. It sucked to see their family members taking bus for free when ordinary people had difficulty to buy food.
Korea was already preparing to become rich and modern. At school and Sunday school, we were taught to cross street by footbridge or at traffic lights. Once my father and I were arrested and jailed for a few hours for having crossed a boulevard anywhere. There was then no need to be so strict as there was not much traffic, unless Korea knew it would become rich and modern as it is today.

But like all children, I was raised to be patriotic. I learned at young age to sing the song “taegukgi” (Korean flag) and I’ve never forgotten the words. I also learned to say proudly “uri daehanminguk” (our Republic of Korea); I don’t think I knew what it meant when I first said it. I learned to sing proudly the national anthem of Korea with my right arm on my chest; I still remember a few words of the anthem. During a certain period of summer, a taegukgi was put at almost every courtyard door or house; the national anthem was played across the city (of Seoul) at a specific time of the day; kids and adults would stop to sing with their arms on their chests looking at the nearest flag. At school there was a taegukgi in front of every class rooms. Kids were raised to be patriotic and to love and respect our country and our flag. Once the teacher said to keep our country clean; the same day and the following days, I swept the earth ground outside of our courtyard. I was sad when the teacher talked about an athlete of our country who won a competition wearing our enemy country’s flag. At the awful orphanage where kids were beaten everyday for no reason, we had to get up early to get in rows like soldiers and sing the national anthem before doing physical exercises.

I was 8 years old when I heard of the assassination attempt of the president Park Chung-hee. I still didn’t know his name. I was in a bus going from Seoul to Suwon when soldiers stationed at every street corner stopped the bus to search everywhere. Back home I asked my sister what the soldiers were looking for. She told me someone had tried to assassinate the president but his wife had saved his life by throwing herself in front of him and she praised her calling her the hero of our country. After hearing the story, I told myself that one day I would become a hero of “uri nara” (our country).

Instead of becoming a hero, I have become a product of Korea sold to Canadians through the USA. Instead of being raised as a Korean, I was recycled to a white French Canadian, badly recycled as my body and blood have remained Korean.

It makes me sad to think of “uri nara”. It hurts me to death to have been sold by my own country and my own people that I loved so much.

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I’m not delusional or egotistical.

I’m only a hurt child begging her mother/Korea to love me and recognize me.

When I try to grow up, I become like a repudiated spouse still in love with her unfaithful ex-spouse/Korea begging him to love me and take me back.

When I try to extirpate my love for my beloved motherland from my heart, there is an explosion of the hatred for my ex-country/ex-lover.

Hatred is close to love.
Hating and loving both hurt me to death.

I try to become indifferent to the country that sold me and erased me, but it doesn’t work.

I’m not delusional or egotistical.

I’m only the child who wanted to return to her planet and failed.

I’m a grown-up who still wants to return to her planet and an alien to the planet where I was sent to.

On my planet, there is no place for me, as the baobab trees grew while I was gone.

Please don’t judge me as delusional or egotistical.

You managed to bring your roots to the planet where you have been sent to and your life continues and will continue through the new trees you created on your new planet.

I’ve failed to bring my roots to the planet where I was sent to.

The baobab trees grow all over my planet and on their people’s hearts.
And my roots are stifled by the roots of the baobab trees.

Either I say in a pure and innocent way as Little Prince with all my love for Korea to remove the baobab trees or either I say it in an angry way with all my hate for Korea, nobody has the right to judge me.

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