Monday, March 13, 2006

Gay Korea Column (2)同志韓國(二) ゲイ韓国(二)

Been awhile since i last posted so i will post a few more posts as is my habit to post alot after a loooong lull. I hope more people leave comments, as u can tell my blog has a variety of posts relating to all kinds of topics of interest to me and so it can't really be classified into any of the conventional categories for blogs such as 'korea blogs' or 'chinese blogs' or 'history blogs' or 'women's blogs' cos i post on a range of issues....u can find all different kinds of posts dealing with issues ranging from women's rights, the chinese dress, japanese war compensation and apology, to korea and south korea's current trends and film reviews and gay issues...so u can find everything here whereas in other blogs they will prob only deal with one specific issue only...such as gay stuff for 'gay blogs' and korea stuff for 'korea blogs'...yes i know i am shameless and conceited but i am proud of my little blog here so pls feel free to comment liberally, all constructive comments are welcome....The few posts below are part of my continuing series on 'Homosexuality in Asia' and part of the 'Gay Korea' series which is to inform the greater public on the gay side of South Korea given that i have interest in both South Korea and gay issues, i thought of matching the two up and given the dire lack of info on gay korea (as opposed to gay china and gay japan) out there in english...hope u find it interesting!.

Group Denounces Abuse of Gay Conscript Chosun Ilbo Article (February 16 2006)
A coalition of civic groups has denounced the treatment of gays in the Korean military. The leader of Solidarity for Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Human Rights of Korea, one of the groups, on Wednesday told reporters of the case of one private who asked to speak to his superiors about his homosexuality and was asked to bring photographic evidence showing him having sex with another man (ridiculous lar!) He was in effect the victim of sexual harassment, the leader said.
The Human Rights Network called on the government to resolve the issue, saying the incident was a clear example that the military is in a blind spot in terms of human rights abuses, and demonstrates just how serious human rights abuses of homosexual soldiers have become. A spokesman for the military said the forces await for the outcome of an inquiry by the National Human Rights Commission. He said the private petitioned the NHRC on Feb. 9, and the watchdog has been investigating the facts at the unit where the incident took place since Tuesday. Depending on the results, the military will decide whether to launch its own investigation.

HIV-Positive Man Held for Endangering Sex Partners Chosun Ilbo Article (13th March 2006)
An HIV-positive man has been arrested for having sex with other men without warning them that he was infected with the virus, police said Friday. Incheon Metropolitan Police said the 24-year old, who contracted the virus through homosexual contact in 2002, is charged with having high-risk sex with seven men he met through an Internet forum in 2004.
Police said the man had sex with another, whom he had met online, at a hotel in Incheon as recently as a week ago. Police quoted him as saying he was unable to suppress his sexual urges and had sex “even though I knew I shouldn’t.”
The arrest came as part of a crackdown on obscene websites( in S.Korea laws banning dangerous sites for children and minors have been used to shut down certain korean gay sites and restrict access to others by requiring keying in ID no and 21 yrs above requirement as 'gay material' is considered 'harmful' to children and minors) Police have asked health authorities to test the man’s sexual partners for the virus and are determining whether there were others.

A Good Time for Gay Movies in East and West Chosun Ilbo Article (March 13 2006)
Planning on “coming out?” Now might be a good time, as a slew of recent hot-topic movies produced and released in Korea, the U.S. and Japan are drawing attention to the topic of same-sex love affairs and perhaps making the idea more accessible to the conservative masses.
Above all, the recent hit Korean movie "The King and the Clown" just became the biggest blockbuster of all time here by attracting more than 11.8 million viewers nationwide as of last week( this has been the talk of town in South Korea for the past few months and is ground-breaking given that it is a gay themed film and a gay themed film has become South Korea's No1 Box Office in its entire 60 yr history smashing even the well known 'Taegukki' by JDG and Won Bin, i will post more on this film when i have a chance to see it when it comes to the korean DVD rental here which i am sure it will most definitely). It focuses on King Yeonsan (Chung Jin-young) and his love for the clown Gong-gil (Lee Joon-ki). The milestone puts the movie ahead of patriotic blockbusters like "Silmido" or "Taegukgi." Homosexual themes, however, are fairly discreetly woven into the tapestry of the film, even if the original Korean title itself -- which translates as “The King’s Man” -- is fairly unequivocal in its connotations.
In Hollywood, "Brokeback Mountain" directed by Ang Lee has been no stranger to public controversy either. Set on a ranch in Wyoming, the movie deals with the love shared between two cowboys -- not an icon one would usually associate with homosexuality. Its commercial success, too, has gone beyond all expectations, with the film picking up four Golden Globes and Lee’s winning the Oscar for Best Director. Back in the East, "La Maison de Himiko," which deals with a gay man in love with a straight woman, an unusual topic even for an art film, drew some 30,000 viewers in three months since its release in Japan in October.
So far, homosexuality has been dealt with mostly in independent movies. In Korean society, which traditionally doesn’t look to kindly on gay relationships, the success of "The King and the Clown" therefore seems an even more exceptional feat. The major force of the movie lies in its solid storyline, but the kiss scene between Chung Jin-young and Lee Joon-ki( LJK has become immensely popular in SK from being a nobody to many a high school girl's dream boy, he is part of the new wave 'pretty boy' look popular with some korean girls, indeed he looks ALOT like a woman, many a western expat from the korea blogs have commented 'why the heck would any guy wanna look like him?' i admit he isn't my cup of tea too but i always think the greater the diversity the better! the West should pick up this trend of 'pretty boys' which is popular in South Korea and also Japan for the sake of giving women more options.)seems so natural that viewers almost forget to squirm. That such stories have moved into the mainstream can be attributed to the watchwords of cultural diversity and political tolerance of the early 2000s. The film critic Shim Young-seop says the result has been mighty step forward for Korea, which now seems able to approach homosexuals as human beings.
(this just goes to show how much times have changed, i mean would anyone in their right minds have ever thought a mere 10 yrs back that a gay themed movie could become deeply Christian and Confucianist South Korea's No1 Box Office hit of all time ...i think NOT!)

Below is my translation on a Japanese piece dealing with Gays in Korea's Military (note its just a summary translation of the gist of the article, not a word for word one, and i am proud i have come to be able to read Japanese articles, newspapers, novels,etc esp after my exchange in Tokyo last year, sad to say the same can't be said about my speaking skills which are like still at primary level,hehe)

ニュース from Gay Japan Web (a very useful Japanese language resource by the way)
韓国:2005年に8人のゲイ兵士が除隊させられる2006/03/01 18:57
(韓国)2005年に8人の兵士を同性愛を理由に除隊したと、韓国軍当局が明らかにした。“8人”という除隊させられた兵士の数は地元のメディアによって報道されたものだが、軍当局もこれを認めている。軍当局によると、同性愛を理由に除隊させられた兵士の数の統計をとるのも、それを公表するのも過去に例がなく、これが初めてだという。
韓国軍法ではゲイ男性の入隊は認められていないが、韓国には徴兵制があるため、全ての男性が2年間の兵役を務めなければならない。士官は兵士から話を聞いたり医者に診断を求めるなどして、兵士が同性愛を理由に兵役逃れを企んでいないかどうかを調査しているという。
韓国LGBT人権連合(Solidarity for LGBT Human Rights of Korea)のファン・ジャンクォン氏は、今月の初めに一人のゲイ兵士から助けを求められていたことを明らかにした。その兵士は、ゲイであることを証明するために性交渉の際の写真を強制的に提出させられただけでなく、同意無しにエイズ検査も受けさせられ、軍当局は彼のプライバシーを保護しなかったという。彼は除隊を望んでおり、同連合も彼を早期に除隊させる方向で動いているという。
韓国性暴力救済センター(Korea Sexual Violence Relief Center)もまた、軍隊内でのゲイ兵士に対する差別を激しく非難しており、ゲイ兵士を任務から除外する規定を変更するよう要求している。厳格な儒教とカトリックの影響の強い韓国において同性愛がある程度受け入れられてきたのはここ数年のことである。韓国では現在、独裁的な王と2人の道化師を巻き込んだゲイの三角関係を描いた映画『王の男』が大ヒットを記録し話題を呼んでいる。
English Translation: In 2005, the Korean military has admitted that 8 gay soldiers were expelled from the korean military on the grounds of their homosexuality which was first reported in a local media. This is the 1st time that the Korean military has publicly revealed that it does keep a record of the number of soldiers expelled from the military on the grounds of homosexuality. Although the Korean Military Law does not allow for gay men's entry into the military, due to the compulsory national service in SK, all men must do 2 yrs compulsory service. The military officials have to talk with men who proclaim that they are gay as well as seek the advice of medical professionals to ascertain whether or not those who say they are gay are genuine cases or merely attempting to escape from military service. A Korean NGO has said this month, there was a case of a private who was asked to produce photographic evidence of him havinf sex with another man to prove his homosexuality as well as forced to take an AIDS test, thus the military having failed to protect his privacy. The KSVRC has severely criticised discrimination against gays in the korean military and have requested that the rules whereby gay soldiers must be expelled be amended. In strongly Confucianistic and Catholic South Korea, the acceptance of gays to a certain level has only occured in these few yrs. In South Korea currently, the film about a ruthless dictatorial King and his gay relationship with 2 clowns has become a huge hit.
Ok one thought i have is how does the military decide who is gay and who isn't? Do they just pick out the effeminate looking ones? I mean how do they found out or do gay soldiers just volunteer the information? I remember reading somewhere that the famous Korean transgendered singer HaRiSoo managed to skip NS by getting a doctor to write that she had 'severe mental problems' which is one of the only ways to get exempted given the korean military doesn't like exempting ppl. This definition in itself is a problem given that by categorizing gays as those with 'severe mental problems' they are put in a similar category as to schizos and deranged people...
Well, hope the above gave my readers some more insight into Gay Korea and gay related issue currently in South Korea.......
AND LASTLY....PrinzJ i still have no reply from u, dun u wanna know ur senior in law school?i realised like what u said there aren't alot of malaysians in law school as compared to sg,etc...at least even if u refuse to give an email, have the courtesy to reply and give me some dumbass excuse, but not replying at all is NOT going to give me a good impression, still like a contact but dun wanna lose a loyal reader....so either give me a contact or give me a dumbass excuse, either way a reply means u will continue to be very welcome to leave comments here, not replying however will be just the opposite.....this shall be my last attempt....

18 comments:

PrinzJ said...

Errmmm ..

Didn't realised that you requested for an e-mail address ?!?!

Anyway, you of all people should know how the rat race is like when semester begins ... Moreover with me taking cons, property & tax, I feel like I have hardly any room to breathe. Dumbass excuse enough for you ? Maybe you should provide me with some tips on how to get through ALL the readings for cons & property ... then maybe I will have more time to read all my favourite blogs. Anyhow, I still read your blog, so dun worry that you'll lose me as a reader, it's just that I don't leave much comment when I don't feel like I have much to say about a certain topic.

So, the bottomline is, would you mind a reader who still reads your blog but doesn't really leave a comment behind or do you want a reader to always leave a comment? If it's the former, I take it that you still welcome me as a reader of your blog, but if it's the latter that you press on, I would presume otherwise ...

hcpen 彭皓全 said...

PrinzJ: It is not about leaving comments, its about replying my Q,i welcome ppl to read and NOT leave comments, u should only leave when u want to...i am completely ok with that, but what i was annoyed at was lack of reply when i asked for a contact eg, email, i wanted u to either give me ur email or tell me u dun feel like it cos of some reason, i will respect that, but i dun like it if u just not give ur email and not reply...since u have replied my Q and i am assuming u r not comfortable giving me any contact, my Q has been answered and you are most welcome to visit often, no obligation AT ALL to leave comments...but if u change ur mind, i am always here waiting...and yes, i am SO BEHIND in my own readings too...hehe...if u need notes, i can pass u my old ones but they are prob too outdated! no hard feelings?

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
PrinzJ said...

Obviously no hard feelings ...

I am sure you would understand my level of discomfort in disclosing my e-mail address in your blog which is accessable by others. Not that I think random people will start writing to me, but it's just me ... in not giving my e-mail openly.

Thanks on your offer for the notes, I'm trying my best to REMAIN ALIVE in constitutional law & property law class. With so much readings & assignments from these 2 subjects + taxation (OMG, I feel like fainting just talking about it), I will have no life man! All the best with your readings too.

hcpen 彭皓全 said...

prinzJ: Proven once again u r my most loyal reader, replying SO FAST!! anyways, i just thought i wanted to get to know u abit better given we had so much in common and also i won't be at the law school for long...i actually am supposed to graduate much earlier cos i did summer to cut the time..anyways anytime u can ask for my email as i don't mind leaving my email here so u won't have to give urs, so anytime when u change ur mind, ask me and i will give u my email...and....actually i kinda know ur name cos u used ur real name on another blog's comment a while back and that name matches ur initials....dun know y i am telling u that but...don't worry for now, despite it being easy to find u given all the information i have, eg class u take,nationality,race,gender, but i don't want to be this scary stalker...unless u turn out to be a real hunk..hehe..i am just jokin with ya!!!visit often!!!

PrinzJ said...

Hmm ... I think law school is BAD !

Trains us to debate/question too much? That is one of the reasons why my replies to your comments are relatively fast. Do not discount the fact that our Uni's system is so centralised on the email system ...

I think I know which blog you are referring to on leaving my name?!?! Hmm ... and what's with Bedtime Stories being the authoritative blog for all other 'tong zhi' blogs? I have to admit that it's good though. Gosh, sounds so constitutional law. I think Jay's 'But Enough About You' is rather authoritative too .. hahaha. But I completely agree with yourself on 'Alexander/Multi-Colours/What Does the World Look Like' being that I really feel what the authors are trying to relate are rather genuine.

About getting to find me .... I don't think so. Although I know your name as well .... hahaha

All the best with life after law school , ya ? I can't wait to graduate !

hcpen 彭皓全 said...

prinz J: yes...but i won't be graduating until i finish my subjects left, also how do know my name? u've GOTTA tell me...i told u how i found out about urs (thru the comments on another blog) so its only fair u tell me also ok? cos the ONLY way is if one of the bloggers i emailed to passed u my email (which means u already have my email)...tell me!
ps; it is easy to find ppl here cos as long as u know the name, class,race, gender, very easy to cut down...but of cos only for ppl with tons of time on their hands just hopping thru each class...not me...

PrinzJ said...

It was easy to find your name ... I am sure you'll also know how it's done; I won't need to explain to you since you have spent nearly 5 years in Melb Uni.

Having a rather rare surname + the fact that I am able to also match your name with your chinese name stated in your blog (albeit, the very little chinese I know, I happen to know how to read your chinese name's character) happens to help a lot. Doesn't really matter now rite ?

And don't worry, I'm not in contact with other bloggers & that is one matter which I would not know about your contacts with other bloggers.

I still don't think that it's easy to find out someone by just the class, gender, etc ... if you are not personally enrolled in that subject. I just think that you can roughly narrow down who the person is likely to be. However, I don't know much people in law & I keep a very low profile, thus making it more difficult for anyone to notice me :)

Arrghh ... you're one step closer to graduation than me & I just can't help feeling like getting thru & done with everything when I'm faced with constitutional law & property ! Anyway gd luck for the semester !

hcpen 彭皓全 said...

prinzJ: i dun know how u found out....given that most ppl dun know my surname...anyways, which part of Malaysia r u from? penang by any chance? or KL?

Anonymous said...

Hcpen,

I want to make sure that you get something straight. There are hardly any gays/queers in Korea. That is a disgrace for any culture and luckily, Korea does its best to stamp this kind of garbage out. Only weird screwed up cultures like white people and japs are filled with homosexual fags. I am proud to say that in Korea, you will be pretty much beated up if you are a flaming pervert or fag. Thank god our culture is not dirtified like those disugting animals in Japan or Europe.

우리 나라에는 그렇게 더러운 문화가 없기 때문에 훌륭한 나라입니다!

hcpen 彭皓全 said...

Anon: I think U SHOULD GET SOMETHING STRAIGHT, please count in chinese society including china,taiwan,hk, singapore in your list of 'screwed up cultures' cos there are plenty of gays in those places and in china and taiwan and hk, they are pretty accepting of homosexuality now so they must be sick and perverted also...and also i wish u all the best as u continue to live ur life of denial thinking that korea has little gays...sigh, i wonder how long korea would need to catch up to the progressive standards of japan, west, and chinese society in accepting gays but i guess with korean people like u, VERY LONG....

Anonymous said...

"우리 나라에는 그렇게 더러운 문화가 없기 때문에 훌륭한 나라입니다!"

Oh give me a break. This whole sentence is so awkward. Learn how real Koreans speak, asshole. As a real Korean, I'm going to give you some advice for you. Your mistake is using polite hirarchial structural sentence when you mean to be insulting. Stay away from the on line dictionaries and learn some slangs and insults from real Koreans.

hcpen 彭皓全 said...

anon: i think many people have already mentioned that the guy above is a fake just seeking to make ppl hate koreans...

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Kushibo said...

hcpen, I think it may be time for you to require registered log-ins. Too bad some people have to use anonymity to be a-holes.

But the idea that Korea is trying to "stamp out" homosexuality is absurd, given how many gay-themed shows are repeatedly shown on Korean television right now (from Will & Grace to Queer Eye to The L-Word to Angels in America, etc.). Plus that movie "The King's Men."

For a long time, Korean culture had kept a lid on homosexuality, a kind of don't-ask-don't-tell way of dealing with it, but over the last few years the floodgates have been opened. I have some friends and relatives in Korea who are gay, and I had to research these trends for my work, and I tell you attitudes and openness are very different from what "anonymous" described.

hcpen 彭皓全 said...

kushibo: yes, i don't think korea is trying to 'stamp out' gays and lesbians and i actually indicated that the success of the film 'The King's Man' goes to show how much has improved...i think its the anon ppl who r going on and on about korea having no gays, and no i don't believe their nonsense and neither does most of my readers...