In Wake of Tragedy, How Do We Talk to Our Children?
KoreAm
Author: KoreAm
Posted: April 18th, 2014
Filed Under: Back Issues , BLOG , February 2013
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Pictured is one of the young survivors of the South Korean ferry sinking. (Photo via Getty)

As many of us—parents especially—empathize deeply with the pain of the families of the South Korean ferry victims, we also find ourselves wondering how to talk about this tragic incident involving so many children with our own kids. KoreAm looked back to our February 2013 issue, when mental health columnist Dr. Esther Oh gave some valuable advice on how to help our youth deal with trauma, in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. We revisit that advice here.

How Do We Talk to the Children?

In light of the December shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, mental health columnist Dr. Esther Oh dispenses advice on how to help our youth deal with trauma.

by DR. ESTHER OH

My eyes are glued to CNN, and it’s hard to digest the headline I’m seeing: “Gunman kills 20 elementary school students.” I am left speechless, as more news surfaces about the gunman, who took the lives of 20 young children and six adults. Weeks later, the details are still chilling.

It’s hard to imagine how the victims’ families and friends—as well as the survivors—can return to their lives after this horrific incident. Such tragedies often make us think about how we would handle such a situation if we were ever faced with it. The truth is, many of us will also face some form of trauma in our lives, such as the death of a loved one or a natural disaster. After the initial shock wears off, most adults are able to process what happened, with support from others, and eventually move on in life.

Children and teenagers, however, differ. They’ll undergo a range of reactions, based on their age, previous experiences and understanding of the world. They’ll often turn to adults for answers and comfort. Knowing ahead of time how to deal with such events will help you take care of yourself and also prepare you to talk to your own children in an effective and healthy way. Continue Reading »

New Film Stars K-pop Star BoA and Dancing With the Stars’ Derek Hough
KoreAm
Author: KoreAm
Posted: April 18th, 2014
Filed Under: BLOG
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BoA and Derek Hough star in Make Your Move. Image via High Top Releasing

by LORNA SOONHEE UMPHREY

K-pop fans get a chance to see their “Queen of Pop,” BoA, in a whole new light, as she makes her American feature film debut in Make Your Move, co-starring Dancing With the Stars’ Derek Hough.

Set in the underground dance clubs of New York, the film tells the story of star-crossed dancers Aya (played by BoA) and Donny (played by Hough), whose respective families are competing to see who has the most successful dance club in the Brooklyn scene. Their brothers (Aya’s brother is played by Korean American actor Will Yun Lee) also are former partners who had a testy falling-out, making the pairing of Aya and Donny a somewhat forbidden one.

The film’s writer and director Duane Adler (Step Up, Save The Last Dance) said that he wrote the role of Aya specifically for BoA. “I got introduced to her personally years ago through a Korean filmmaker friend of mine who said, ‘You make dance films, you need to know who this girl is.’ So when I started writing this movie, I wrote it with her in mind,” he said, during red carpet interviews at a March 31 screening at The Grove in Los Angeles. Continue Reading »

President Park Visits Grief-Stricken Families of Ferry Victims
KoreAm
Author: KoreAm
Posted: April 17th, 2014
Filed Under: BLOG
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Students and residents in Ansan, South Korea, hold up signs at a rally on April 17. Signs read: Signs read, “Please come back safely,” “Miss you, kids, and love you all,” and “Aren’t you hungry? Let’s go eat with mom.” Image via Yonhap

As search and rescue operations for the capsized South Korean ferry continue into the third day, the mood across the country is said to be grim, with people still reeling from shock, grief and dissipating hope over the fate of hundreds of passengers—mostly high school students—still unaccounted for.

Lawmakers suspended parliamentary activities and all events related to the upcoming local elections, and even Korean professional baseball games deliberately excluded the usual energetic cheerleading, as the news dominating the media and in cafes, offices and schools is that of the tragic sinking, which so far has 20 confirmed dead as of Thursday. The deceased include at least five students, two teachers and one crew member.

Coast guard officials said, as of Thursday, there are 179 survivors, with more than 270 passengers—many second-year students at Danwon High School in Ansan—still missing. It is feared that many are trapped in the ship, which first sent out a distress call at around 9 a.m. Wednesday (South Korean time) just three hours away from the ferry’s destination of Jeju-do. Although rescue operations involving more than 500 divers, dozens of Navy ships, helicopters and assistance from the U.S. Navy have been ongoing, strong currents have hampered efforts to enter the ship, which is mostly submerged.

Yesterday, South Korean President Park Geun-hye paid a visit to the gymnasium in Jindo, in South Jeolla, where the family members of the missing have gathered.

Continue Reading »

April Issue: Jonathan Yim Sets Out to Blaze Trails in the NBA
KoreAm
Author: KoreAm
Posted: April 17th, 2014
Filed Under: April 2014 , Back Issues , BLOG
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Jonathan Yim, head video coordinator for the Portland Trail Blazers, sits at his desk breaking down an upcoming opponent.

Taking His Shot

In two years, Jonathan Yim went from coaching high school basketball to heading the video department of the Portland Trail Blazers.

by STEVE HAN

As the head video coordinator for the Portland Trail Blazers, Jonathan Yim occupies a position that has gained great attention in recent years. If you watch a Blazers game these days, you’re likely to see players on the bench studying their iPad screens, reviewing clips from earlier in the game. Yim’s duties include filming, reviewing and editing videos of the players’ performances, and working closely with the coaching staff and players to help the team make in-game adjustments at decisive moments.

It’s a job the detail-oriented, 29-year-old basketball lover thoroughly enjoys, yet it’s a world that may have never opened up to him, had he not peered into a garbage can one fateful day in 2011.

A then-26-year-old Yim was coaching the boys’ junior varsity basketball team at Santa Margarita Catholic High School in Orange County, Calif., school trash can. It was advertising shooting lessons by Bob Thate, a former shooting coach for the New Jersey Nets’ guard Jason Kidd. Thate had passed them out at the school earlier in the day. Yim picked up the paper from the garbage, called the coach and asked him to give shooting lessons to his players. Continue Reading »

April Issue: Advocate Says Tragic Adoption Case ‘Does Not Represent All’
KoreAm
Author: KoreAm
Posted: April 15th, 2014
Filed Under: April 2014 , Back Issues , BLOG
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One Adoption Does Not Represent All

The debate over intercountry adoption from Korea was reignited recently by news of the death of Hyunsu O’Callaghan, a 3-year-old special needs child adopted from Korea to an American family, Brian and Jennifer O’Callaghan of Maryland. Authorities allege that the adoptive father, employed by the U.S. National Security Agency, beat Hyunsu to death, though Brian O’Callaghan has maintained his innocence. Last month, O’Callaghan was indicted on charges of first-degree murder and first-degree child abuse, after a grand jury determined there was enough evidence to move forward with charges against him. Following is the second of two commentaries written by Korean American adoptees advocating for very different responses to this tragedy. 

by STEVE MORRISON

Many adoptees and Koreans are justifiably upset at the death of Hyunsu O’Callaghan, who was allegedly murdered by his adoptive father Brian O’Callaghan. Mr. O’Callaghan has served in the Iraq War and is an employee of the NSA overseeing the Korea Project. The tragedy for 3-year-old Hyunsu occurred only four months after his arrival to his new home. The adoptive father has been charged with first-degree murder, and the investigation continues to determine how and why this innocent little life was snuffed out. The father maintains the boy fell down and hit his head while taking a shower, but the investigation showed multiple injuries, including skull fractures at the front and back part of his head, thus raising suspicion that the death was not a mere accident as the father had claimed.

The news of this tragedy has shocked the entire Korean adoption community, and resulted in numerous protests and calls for justice in Korea.  In particular, a group of adoptees and Koreans who have long been opposed to the intercountry adoption program in Korea set up memorials with banners that read, “Sorry Hyunsu, for not being able to protect you …” or “Hyunsu was adopted to the U.S. and beaten to death by his father.”

While such passionate demonstrations are understandable, as the days went by, these activists started to use this tragedy as a political platform to paint an ugly picture of intercountry adoption, and to put an end to the program in Korea. While the public has the right to demand answers in this tragic case, and every effort must be made to correct the flaws in the system so it won’t ever be repeated, I strongly disagree with some of the messages being advocated by these activists. Continue Reading »

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