UPDATE: We, me and a friend from Belgium, are doing a whole website dedicated to this, go check it out HERE
Today, let me tell you (a little bit) about politics and about what’s going on right now in South Korea to raise some awareness about the cause, and who knows, maybe count on your participation.
I’ll do a little summary of what I understand about what’s going on, but you can check out those links to read about it too:
College students (and more) come together to protest against privatization and censorship,
SHINee’s Jonghyun stands up for LGBT rights + student protests against government
and, more recently,
“How are you?” student movement becomes nationwide phenomenon.
There’s this one also about how it started :
Rough translations of DaeJaBos of 안녕들하십니까?
So here’s my understanding of it + some info I’ve got from a Korean friend :
[if you see any grammar mistake or typo, please leave me a message or a comment about it, I’m not a native English speaker so I’m doing the best I can]
Lately, there has been a scandal in which a dozen stars were in a prostitution circle. Obviously, it was quite a shock and different reactions emerged, both from other stars and from netizens. But at the same time, internet communities have realized that an article concerning the privatization of railways (and thus train system as a whole) had been deleted from the website of one of the big newspapers companies. Thereafter, no other media mentioned it. Korean netizens quickly use the scandal (which seemed to be a way to divert people’s attention) to draw attention to privatization by suggesting that one of the stars that was part of the prostitution circle was called “Min Young Hwa”. The thing is “min young hwa” is not the name of a star, it’s a korean word meaning “privatization”… Well, you might think that netizens were a bit too much into conspiracy theories at that moment. But that’s not all.
Recently, throughout South Korea, people organized events (protests) and glue handwritten posters against the privatization of railways and health care (it seems health care is also endangered). Those posters (either the one glued in the street or the one used in protests) always use a phrase meaning “Are you okay?” or “I’m not well/I’m not okay”. Employees of railways, trying to bring awareness to the problem, have been censored. Students that showed their support, protests or put posters on were told by their university administration not to take part in political life, to remain blind to political issues. The movement has then transformed and now also condemns censorship.
Then there’s a snowball effect. Since the slogan is “I’m not okay” in response to “Are you okay?”, people have started using it for other social and political issues that are problematic according to them. It was then that Jonghyun (SHINee) decided to take a stand. He changed his profile picture on Twitter to an image of one of these posters. This poster is written by a politics science students who’s also transgender and bisexual. She wrote that she’s not well because the society in which she lives is homophobic and discriminatory*. Jonghyun is one of the few idols who really take a clear stand on a subject as taboo in South Korea, in addition to going against public opinion, which is, frankly, very homophobic indeed. He even apologized to the girl if his act causes her any harm. She said on Twitter that she had no words, that she could not believe her eyes and that she is now a fan of SHINee forever.
*Basically, for some time now, various events have been bringing forward gay issues in South Korea, with the marriage of Kim Jo Kwang Soo (wich was not recognized by the authorities and was troubled by homophobes, who even threw feces on the stage at the wedding), with a government measure attempting to change the school books to include arguments against homosexuality, and finally, with the recurrent failure to make discrimination illegal.
Finally, many protestors or sympathizers wonder why no korean media speaks about this protests and movement that is growing every day. The Korean media are strictly controlled, even today, by the political milieu through chaebol companies (Samsung, LG, etc.). Thus, it is impossible to find an article (I did the test) on the movement and the protest anywhere except on OhmyNews, which is an independent web newspaper. In fact, the protesters feel that they are not only censored, but even when they try to speak, nobody listens, nobody wants to hear.
THEREFORE, here’s what I did, because I was deeply touched by the cause, that I have a Korean friend who is still a student there and that I love the Korean people:
I took a selca of myself , with a handwritten sheet of paper that says: “I’m from Montreal, QC, Canada. I support the “annyeong” protest. 안녕들 하십니까? 한국, 파이팅!”
The first Korean part says “Are you okay?”, then “Korea, fighting!”.
I then put this picture on all the social networks, with the hashtag #안녕들하십니까 (which is already in use for obvious reasons). I thought the questioning identify me more accurately rather than the answer “I ‘m not okay” because I do not live in Korea and my support is empathetic rather than sympathetic since I do not live the same situation as them (thought there’s a lot of thing I’m not okay with in my “own” society)
I’ve also put this comment with the picture:
“To know more about this, check out: http://netizenbuzz.blogspot.ca/2013/12/college-students-and-more-come-together.html and http://www.asianjunkie.com/2013/12/shinees-jonghyun-stands-up-for-lgbt-rights-student-protests-against-government/
Join the selca protest and spread the word!”
That way, people can click on the links to understand why I’m doing this.
I would really like this to go “viral”, to help Koreans to make their demands heard, which might work if we attract, with this project, the attention of international medias.
So, if you wanna join this international selca protest, here’s how you can do it:
- Take a selca with a handwritten poster.
- On the poster, say where you come from (ideally in English so that more people can understand, but this is not mandatory in any ways).
- Then say something like: “I support the “annyeong” protest.”
- Finally, write what you want in Korean. You can say either 안녕들 하십니까 (Are you okay?) or 안녕 하지 못하다 (I’m not okay), then perhaps at least 파이팅! (fighting!). Write what you want.
- If you have difficulty with hangul, I suggest you copy and paste the words chosen, put them on Word and in very large characters, then print them. At that point, you can cut the words and paste them on your poster, above or below your other 2 sentences.
- Then, share MASSIVELY! Facebook, but mainly Twitter, Tumblr, Google+ (since they are more free for anyone to share what you put on there), but anywhere is fine! With the #안녕들 하십니까 if possible.
I think Koreans need us and it is time to act and to show that we love them and that we are with them, that us, we hear them.
Thank you for your help and fighting!
P.S: Wanna share my picture and help spread the word? Here are the links : Tweet, Tumblr, Facebook, Google+.