Filed under: Korea
I wasn’t going to write about this for privacy reasons, but in light of the insanity and completely unfounded, fabricated gossip, rumors, and bullshit going around on various Korean blogs and places like Dave’s ESL, I feel that I have to make a statement of some sort.
The person being accused of rape and held in Busan is someone that I’ve been good friends with for four years. We knew each other back home from musical ventures and attending Buddhist meditation retreats together. People seem to think they have clear image of who or what this person is, and from the brief, nauseating time I spent reading some of the posts, I can tell you: you don’t.
First of all, he’s not a typical American in any way shape or form. He is someone who spent most of his life being shuffled to different countries under refugee status, and just recently became an American citizen. He’s a little over five feet tall, ninety pounds, and makes a point of finding something genuine to compliment about every new person he meets. The week before he headed to Busan, he spent at my house, and although he was an annoying houseguest at times, I by no means ever felt threatened by him.
He may be guilty, he may deserve to spend time in jail. I don’t know, I wasn’t there, and neither were any of you. That is for an investigation to figure out. I’m not going to recount what he told me on the phone, but I was the one he called when he was arrested, just because I’m the only person he knows in Korea who might have had a lead to a lawyer. I have no idea how accurate his version is, although from a personal character standpoint, I don’t find this person to be even remotely violent, but to me it sounded like a severe breakdown in communication between two people who were really drunk resulting in a “he said/she said” scenario that is every coed’s worst nightmare.
Regardless of whether he is guilty or not, I do believe he deserves to have fair representation and trial, which as a foreigner, it doesn’t look like he is going to get. They scheduled a court date within hours of arresting him for the next morning, with no intention of providing representation or a translator. Luckily, one of the people I contacted had the foresight to contact the embassy who sent a translator to the courthouse. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have had anything. As far as I’ve heard from him and another close mutual friend, for the initial court hearing, he didn’t have any professional representation, and wasn’t given time to find any. Since then, I think he’s found someone, at a cost of several thousand dollars. I haven’t been in contact with him for the last week, and don’t know what his status is.
I’m not opening my blog up for public debate. I’m not going to visit, read, or comment on any of the sites discussing this. I will disable comments to my blog if I have to. I wanted to make a statement on behalf of my friend, but I am not interested in having a firestorm on here. I will delete posts that I don’t care for.
Seoul has some great mountains in the distance, and some you can even find to climb. But it doesn’t seem most of my current companions are of the nature adventuring sort.
There is a subway stop that has been curious to me lately. It is in on a peninsula on the edge of a mountain, then the subway goes through the mountain and drops you off on the other side. Because of my crazy work schedule, I didn’t get going early enough to really climb a mountain, but I did wander around what was labeled as an “eco-city.” I’m guessing in the summertime it is a busy, green, place for gardening demonstrations.
I didn’t spend that much time exploring this little village as the sun was going down, but the subway ride to this area was an interesting look at how the edges of Seoul just keep expanding. At the edge of the city there are all these major apartment complexes being built that aren’t quite finished. Entire neighborhoods being built with nothing in them yet. There essentially is no break heading west to Incheon, and I wonder how far East all this development will get. It was nice to be out in an area that was largely agricultural. I had a refreshing, if brief walk around.
On my way back to Seoul I needed to find some food, which is not something I’m particularly good at. I decided to forgo the trusty foreign foods in Itaewon (even though I was craving empanadas), and went to Myeong-dong instead. I wasn’t very successful, but there is a nice ice sculpture outside of Shinsege. On a whim, I texted my one and only true Korean friend regarding a suggestion for where to eat. Joey, who gave himself his English name because he loves the show Friends, and his girlfriend picked me up and treated me for sushi at a new place they like. It was the perfect ending to a rambling day.
Oh yea, and over dinner, I learned that the expression “I can cook a man” means you know how to handle your men. Which came about when they asked me if I cooked any Korean food at home, to which I replied, “I can’t cook.” They thought that was pretty hilarious.
December was a highly discontent month. Holidays celebrated in drunken Korean fashion, and a stunted, disappointing selection of reading.
Dork Whore: My Travels Through Asia as a Twenty-Year-Old Pseudo-Virgin Seoul Women’s Bookclub selection of the month. We met at a great coffee shop, but didn’t spend much time talking about the book. How much do you really want to talk about another woman’s sex life, or lack there of, in Asia?
My year in reading:
I was going back over the months because I’m trying to pick the best book I read in the past year for a game I play on bookobsessed. The year definitely started out fantastic when I was unemployed, reading constantly, and waiting to ship out to Korea, since being here my reading time has dwindled, as has my selection. But overall, not so bad.