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.


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”

The Half Marathon from Hell for a Good Cause

On Saturday April 25, I attended a screening of Ann Shin’s documentary “The Defector” which traces the harrowing journey of a group of North Korean defectors as they endeavour to escape China, where they face the risk of deportation back to North Korea, and make their way to South Korea via the Golden Triangle and Thailand. Here is the trailer. Below that, an interview with Ann Shin:

Continue reading “The Half Marathon from Hell for a Good Cause”