I feel ya


So I just got back from the hardware store, where I picked up a wooden shovel handle and a rake.  (for the cigar box guitar project)  I was finally able to find a place that sold slabs of every hardwood under the sun, but it’s in Incheon, which is about 3 hours away.  Supposedly the head teacher has located a place in Masan, which is about a half hour away, but he’s yet to give me the details.  That will be for the electric guitar, which will need the thin hard wood neck, and that’s far off in the future.  The Havana Honey 3-string I might end up using a broomstick for.  And the hanji octagonal box – haven’t decided how I’m going to make its neck, but it will probably be from those handles I bought today.  I also bought some added cardboard to make the resonator box with.

The hanji box is going to look really beautiful when it’s finished…let’s just hope it plays!

At some point I need to buy a drill and a vice and a plane.  So sad.  I had all those things in Seattle before I left.  I even had a pattern-makers vice and a band saw and a workbench.  (sniff, sniff)

In my little farming town hardware stores come as frequently as Starbucks in Seattle.  I’ve been to at least five of them.  And they all have the same things, and one of them has a lumber yard.  Unfortunately, farm implements and softwood timber are not great for instrument making.  And the tools are NOT about precision anything.  I wonder how many farmers here farm by hand like the old man in Old Partner.  I’m guessing quite a few, from the amount of scythes and pruning saws laying out for sale.

The hardware guy at this one store must have been really amused by my agonizing over which rake or shovel to buy, eyeing it for straightness, running my hands up and down for rough spots, inspecting the finish, etc.  One customer thought I worked there and kept asking me the price for things.  After, the shop owner asked me if I was Japanese because I couldn’t speak Korean, and I told him I was American.  And then he said, but you look Korean, and I explained that I was ibyeong-a.  And he accepted it with neither pity or sorrow or recrimination.  How refreshing!  What a nice guy.

This got me to thinking of the article I posted on Holtsurvivor this morning, about a high school for unwed moms, started by the government and connected with Ae Ran Won unwed moms home.  The comments by English-writing Koreans are absolutely astounding, calling the girls sluts.  And the translator who posted the article defends them by explaining that they are being satyric;  that their comments are a commentary on Korean society.

And that got me to thinking about how the adoptees want to be called ibyeong-in because they don’t like being infantalized and thus further disempowered by being called adopted child.

But for me, the disempowerment is not in the semantics of child vs. person. The disempowerment is in ibyeong. Even if we are referred to generically as people instead of children, the stigma remains.  We are throw-aways.  We weren’t raised with proper family values (as if that’s our fault).

So in a weird way, I kind of agree with the guy’s appraisal of the shocking comments about the unwed moms.  That’s just the way it is here.  I think we should just be called trash:  that would be a better reflection of how we are really viewed, and it would also be in-your-face honesty.  See why adoptees + unwed moms are allies?  We KNOW marginalization.  We feel each other.

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8 thoughts on “I feel ya

  1. Yes, of course. I titled the post, “Yes we can!”

    Where did my Other Projects links go? hmmmmm

    I wanted to add in the post above that not only are we thought of as trash, or sad, or embarrassing, but also as child of a slut or bastard. Granted, this is rare but it’s so shocking when you’re regarded negatively. And that it happens at all is just gross.

  2. Yes, but 6 decades and the climate in America is much better, even if it persists and is masked at times.

    This is precisely why I flip the bird to the adoption agencies and conservatives who think it’s not possible for change to happen here in Korea.

    Now, are people who start projects and never finish them still cool?

  3. This question has nothing to do with this post but I am curious as to why is that Minnesota has the highest concentration of Korean adoptees? I have a theory but I would like to hear it from the expert. I did ask Jane but she did not answer the question.

  4. I’m glad you don’t email me – ’cause changing topic headings drives me insane!

    Here’s Tobias Hubinette’s theory: https://gyopo.wordpress.com/?s=tracing+trades

    Seems plausible, liberal protestantism combined with an unacknowledged yet very real Scandinavian colonist mind-set. Having grown up liberal protestant, in the midwest, I can understand these forces. Having studied Scandinavian countries and the indigenous people there, I can see how their liberal ways do not preclude being colonists.

  5. I have some experience with Minnesotans and it doesn’t surprise me at all. Not that I care to stereotype nor would they appreciate me saying that. The first time a very old friend from there met my sons, I threw her out of my house for what came out of her mouth. To this day she does not understand why.

    And yeah, starting projects shows that you have the desire. Still very cool.

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