Recent posts about body image and the dark/light skin debate
have inspired me to write about the topic of size. Specifically, my size. For
those of you who haven’t met me in person, I am the product of a teeny-tiny
Korean mother (100 lbs, 5 feet tall) and a large, American Anglo-Saxon father (190
I measure 5’7” tall and ain’t nobody ever called me lithe or
svelte. Let's just say I’m zaftig. I’ve always been okay with my size and shape
(though more now than when I was an insecure teenager) – except for the one time I went to Korea.
I was fifteen at the time, and stood at the height I am now;
however, my figure was much more, uh, nubile. Anyway, being at least a head
taller than every other Korean woman around, I stuck out like a sore thumb.
People gawked and stared at me in the streets, and my family members – whom I
was meeting for the first time – would not stop commenting to my mom (in
Korean, which I didn’t understand) about my appearance. (Mind you, they had
positive things to say!) Still, I felt very self-conscious during that visit. In fact, I can hardly believe I was brave
enough to visit a public bath house with my mom, aunts, and cousins – stripping
down totally nekkid – without thinking twice! I remember feeling quite
comfortable, once denuded, and wishing that there were bathhouses like that
back home in California.
(I titled this post "This Kimchi Mama's WTF of the Week" because what I have to say may not stand true for the other KMs.)
Yesterday news sources stated the LPGA (Ladies Professional Golf Association) announced they are going to require ALL LPGA members to speak English by 2009.
My first reaction upon reading the story was "WTF?" ?
According to the article, there was a mandatory meeting last week of South Korean players that outlined the new requirements. Basically starting IN LESS THAN 5 MONTHS, members who have been on the tour for 2 or more years must be able to proficiently speak and therefore PASS an oral exam . . . if not, their membership could be suspended. This new policy becomes effective immediately. South Korean players make up the majority of the International contingency - there are 45 South Koreans out of 121 total International players from 26 countries.
The LPGA's tour's deputy comissioner, Libba Galloway said "an impression must be made that communicating effectively in English is fundamental to the tour’s business".
So nobody panic - this is a BUSINESS decision.
One of the things I found most disturbing from the article was this:
"Kate Peters, executive director of the LPGA State Farm Classic,
supported the news. “This is an [American tour]. It is important for
sponsors to be able to interact with players and have a positive
Because it's AN AMERICAN TOUR? WTF?
And I take offense at the idea that sponsors wouldn't be able to have "a positive experience" because their player doesn't speak English. (At many Pro-Am events a player is paired with a small group of sponsors - who pay big bucks - who get to play alongside, take photos with and talk to their pals about playing with the likes of Angela Park, Christie Kerr and Hee Won Han.)
To be fair, the article also cited several Korean players who said they support the policy . . . but I can't shake the feeling there's still something amiss.
This is still a fresh news story, so I think I'm going to need a day or two to really get into this . . . But I just wanted to share with ya'll my INITIAL gut reaction.
-Angie in Texas threw her clubs into a water hazard once after missing a 5 foot putt - three times, but still loves the game of golf.
Although I have lived in the States since 1989, I am not able to vote. I pay my taxes, I am gainfully employed at a state-run institution, however loosely I use the term "gainfully", I obey the laws, and I sign local petitions asking to change this or that legislation. However, as a mere Permanent Resident, I cannot cast my vote in an official election.
I could, if I really wanted to, give up my Korean citizenship. After all, it's not like I live there or have participated in any of the Korean elections since I became eligible to vote. To be honest, and I am blushing, I couldn't readily name the last two presidents of Korea. I don't even know which party stands for what.
And to be quite blunt and perhaps a little self-decrecating, I haven't the faintest when it comes to actual politics here - not the rhetoric and TV ads, but the real politics beyond the talk, the back-stabbing, the mud-slinging... you know, politics as usual. All I know is what I believe and I believe in a better future for my daughter, Little Nabi, who is, for better or for worse, an American citizen.
I know the Olympics is not supposed to be about the bling. It's about sportsmanship, uniting people through sports and really seeing how though we are all different, we're really much the same . . .
All that aside, South Korea should be very proud. For a country of just a tad over 49 million people, South Korea was #8 in the over all Olympic Medal count. Finishing among the top 12 were China, South Korea and Japan. And many other Asian, Southeast Asian countries medaled, too. (Thailand kicked butt in boxing.)
Yay for Yellow Power!
-Angie in Texas doesn't work out like an Olympiad but would medal if watching were an Olmypic sport.
The other day on the Tyra Show (don’t judge, it was on and I was vacuuming) the topic of discussion was light-complected African American women versus dark-complected. Though I am not deeply knowledgeable about the discussion, I am somewhat familiar with it. (I went to a small liberal arts women’s college that was made up of about 30% African American and many of my friends have introduced me to the topic.) The gist of the debate is that some African-Americans believe lighter-complected African-American women are treated sometimes better in a majority Caucasian US culture because of their shade of color Tyra did a really good job of showing not only the hurt that comes with being “darker” but also the other side: the side of being rejected by your own because you’re lighter.
I bring this up on Kimchi Mamas because though within the Asian community there is no active, lively debate about light versus dark, I know from personal experience that there are some underlying pressures and thoughts about light versus dark.
I caught part of it earlier this evening on VH1, and I really enjoyed it - sooooo funny. And oh-so-edgy in the way only Margaret Cho can deliver.
It's really nice to see her with her parents, they seem to have a wonderful relationship (although I'm sure like so many of us, it took a while to get there ... some of us are still getting there). There is a part where they are talking about Margaret having children. You'll have to watch, but the expression in her mom's eyes is so touching. There is a lot of love there.
There is also a segment where Margaret is awarded Korean of the Year by KoreAm, which reminds me to go get my subscription! I'm subscribing, right now.
Here's a clip where you meet Margaret's super cute parents ... I apologize in advance if it makes you sit through an ad. Enjoy!
So. I'm still here. Still pregnant. Still waiting. This third pregnancy has been subsequently harder than the first two - physically, I"m a wreck and I'm a ball of hormonal rage (you should feel badly for all those around me. Very badly. heh) but there's one big thing that will be different this time around - My Mother-in-law won't be here to help me afterwards.