TNKR on Arirang TV’s Heart to Heart

I make a few very brief appearances via a few photographs in this Arirang TV piece which focuses on Teach North Korean Refugees (TNKR), an NGO I’ve been volunteering with for several years now. Cofounders and friends Casey Lartigue Jnr. and Lee Eunkoo discuss founding the NGO and how it operates to serve the needs of the growing defector community. In the photo below the video, I’m working with Sharon who told part of her story to The Daily Mail a couple of years ago.

Teach North Korean Refugees (TNKR)Prince Party Fundraiser!

I’m really excited and proud to be performing at and hosting a fundraising event for TNKR, an NGO I’ve been volunteering at for well over two years now. My band is playing; plus, the event provides me opportunity to perform with some of my many musical friends beyond my band mates. I’m also really appreciative of the fact Cherie Yang, winner of TNKR’s fifth speech contest, will be speaking at the event.

Continue reading “Teach North Korean Refugees (TNKR)Prince Party Fundraiser!”

KBS TV Korea: Bring My Father Home

Mr. Hwang’s ongoing crusade to have his father, pictured above with a very young Mr. Hwang, released from North Korea some 50 years after his plane was hijacked by a North Korean sleeper agent was the focus of a KBS1 report that aired on Saturday May 13.

I spoke about my involvement with the NGO Teach North Korean Refugees and its efforts to help Mr. Hwang raise awareness of what is almost a forgotten crime. My contribution primarily involves the accompanying Bring My Father Home website and its English language blog which functions as an archive of related articles dating back to December 11, 1969, the day of the hijacking.

The 8-minute show can be viewed here, but as it’s a Korean site, Internet Explorer is the best browser to use. The video doesn’t play when viewed through Chrome.

Son Crusades to Meet Father Abducted by North Korea

I am honored to be part of the team of volunteers working to help raise awareness of Mr Hwang’s crusade to meet his abducted father. More about that here.

Me

When Hwang In-cheol was 2 years old, his father disappeared. … It wasn’t until Hwang was in the third grade that his father’s brother decided he should know the truth.

Hwang Won was a 32-year-old producer for Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) based in Gangwon. On Dec. 11, 1969, he boarded a Korean Air flight from Gangneung, Gangwon, for Gimpo International Airport in Seoul to attend an MBC internal meeting. A senior colleague who was supposed to attend was busy. He ordered Hwang to fill in for him.

Ten minutes after takeoff, a North Korean spy hijacked the YS-11 aircraft and the 50 other people on it, all South Koreans, to Wonsan, some 207 kilometers (128.6 miles) east of Pyongyang, the North’s capital. Continue reading at The Korea JoongAng Daily.

Songs for Hye-song & Escape to Despair

Escape To Despair: Stories of North Koreans Living in South Korea

A very big thank you to Lee Tae-hoon, founder of The Korea Observer, for inviting myself and my fellow band members to perform a few songs for brave Kim Hye-song. Never could I have imagined my two passions in life (music and totalitarian regimes/cults) could ever combine in the form of such an unforgettable experience. Below is Hye-song sharing her story. If you can watch it and not cry, there is something seriously wrong with you:

The event came together very quickly and quite frantically with a phone call from Mr. Lee late one recent Friday afternoon asking if we (my band) were available to perform at some point over the weekend. Continue reading “Songs for Hye-song & Escape to Despair”

2015 Reading Diary Part 2!

North Korea

I’m embarking on something of a North Korea readathon. This year in particular sees the release of several books by defectors, two of whom are associated with Teach North Korean Refugees (TNKR), the NGO I volunteer with. I’m particularly looking forward to reading those two which are A Thousand Miles to Freedom: My Escape from North Korea by Kim Eun-sun and In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom by Park Yeon-mi. Continue reading “2015 Reading Diary Part 2!”

TNKR on KBS 남북의창 This Saturday (Aug. 29) at 8 am

After a hectic day moving to my new apartment with all the packing, unpacking, and heavy lifting that moving always entails,  I was treated to a lovely meal and interesting conversations with TNKR’s founders Casey and Eun-goo and my student Ken Eom while being filmed with KBS anchor Lee Hyun-jung for her show 남북의창. Continue reading “TNKR on KBS 남북의창 This Saturday (Aug. 29) at 8 am”

Volunteering With North Korean Defectors

 

Sharon and me on Arirang TV
The first time I recall being fascinated with North Korea was while I was living and teaching English in Japan (2000-2002) where I heard for the first time about the abduction of 13-year-old Megami Yokota by North Korean agents. The idea that a nation state could order the kidnapping of a school girl and then have that order carried out totally stunned me for all the obvious reasons. Continue reading “Volunteering With North Korean Defectors”