THIS THING OF OURS-ADOPTION

THE KOREAN WAR BABY

My name is Don Gordon BELL and I am one of the earliest of the first generation of KAD's (Korean ADoptees). The Korean War had been settled by Armistice three years before I left war-torn Seoul, Korea, on May 21, 1956. It was the first plane of twelve 'war babies' processed thru the Harry Holt Adoption Program. Read more of MY STORY on My Pages.
I grew up in a typical middle-class family of English-Scottish roots in greater Los Angeles, Ca, USA. Memories faded, Korean language was 'lost' and I did not know anything about the country of my birth until I met Korean Marines in Vietnam while serving with the US Marines. It was my first exposure to real Korean people. I was not completely aware of how prejudiced most Koreans thought towards a Half-Breed like me. I learned what "Tuigi" meant, a Korean word for a "Child of a Foreign devil". Oh, wonderful.


All my life I always had to answer the question: "What ARE you?" and I simply would tell 'my story'. It was not a big deal for me, for my Adoptive Parents had taught me that being an American meant that WE were from many countries. I never 'wished to be White' and just learned to stand up for my own identity. MY Identity was as an American, with mixed heritage. I did not know what being "Korean" meant but often wondered about my roots, and what my birth father's ethnicity. Mexican, Native Americans, and Spanish people would tell me that I had their 'genes' for sure. Little did I know they were right!

After college, I traveled to Manila and for ten years I lived in the Philippines. I was excepted as a 'mestizo' and fit into the former Spanish colony. I was a B-movie Character Actor,
working on international and local films, enjoying a 'crazy and wild' abandonment. Then a life changing experience gave me faith in a personal Higher Being. After walking away from the film business, I lived back in the USA, not sure of my direction in life finding work in construction, finish carpentry, door hanging, and many other jobs I'd like to forget.

In 1991, at 38, I attended a Holt Heritage Camp that was a great experience and really began my own journey of Adoption Identity search. I had never thought much of my Korean culture, though I always felt proud of being "HALF-Korean" and "half-Something".

In 1994 I came back to Seoul, Korea, with my church Vineyard Christian Fellowship, and was invited to stay with a church in East Seoul, for one year. I have lived here since late 1995- re-discovering my "Korean-ness", teaching English and telling my Adoption Story to thousands of Korean students of all ages, helping their understanding of Korean Adoptees. It is one of the issues that Korea is now facing, even for its own secretly adopted children, those who were adopted IN-Country by Koreans who desired a family but due to problems with Infertility secretly adopt.

I was a charter member in 1997 (first dozen members) of GOA'L (Global Overseas Adoptees' Link, founded by Ami Nafzger) and continue to be involved with the complex issues of This Thing of Ours-Adoption. Thousands of KADs have visited Korea over the years, searching for their culture and Some search for birth family. Seventy-five thousand have come, yet only 2,400 plus have found Reunion with Birth family, often with varying results. There are many complexities, many don't want to search concerned about offending their Adoptive Families. Each KAD must decide what they want to do, when to do it, etc.


At 61, I am still 'working thru' my Adoption Identity. Each of YOU need to 'work through' your own understanding and hopefully find forgiveness and healing. Read many different accounts and compare before coming to conclusions. I hope that you will learn what IS happening NOW, in the land of your birth, the Rep. of Korea (South Korea). (See Report Links).

Times are changing, the reasons for 'relinquishment for adoption' have shifted, but there continues to be a need for a multi-tiered approach and understanding of Adoption issues. Slowly, attitudes of Korean society ARE changing for the better. But, the majority continue to feel embarrassment and shame. Thus, Adoption is still shrouded in secrecy even for those who are adopted In-country. There ARE positive signs and movements of NGO's and KAD groups are advocating for the Unwed Mothers. However, two-thirds of pregnant women each year, continue to give up their babies for adoption. One out of four are sent overseas, YET three are secretly adopted in-country. The Myth that "Koreans don't adopt" is false, but they need to open up and hopefully change their shame to pride.


This blog is for EVERYONE, whether you are an Adoptee, Adoptive Family, Birth Family or involved in Adoption in ANY way as a professional, social worker, official, etc, from Korea or the world. We examine the complex issues and personal journeys that we, domestic and overseas adoptees, have to face and sort out in This Thing of Ours-Adoption. (Use the Ligit Search function (Left Column) to check for Posts on various topics, TransRacial, TranCultural, MultiCultural families, Domestic, Civil Code Law Adoptions, InterCountry Adoption, etc.)
I personally have come to a compromised, nuanced position on this thing of ours-adoption. I advocate a Multi-tiered Plan that tries to be balanced, realistic, fair to all.

UPDATE: Living in the Philippines since 2010, at first teaching students from several countries as an Online Tutor, based in Makati, Metro Manila. I was working on a Digital Library for Online Tutoring or ELearning; developing an agritourism farm; and Overseas Retirement Care for foreigners needing 24/7 health care.

Then some 18 months ago, in July of 2012 I met with Andrew Leavold, a crazy film obsessed Aussie who helped "pull me back into film making".

WHEW! Lot on my plate. I have also been learning much about the Filipino society's very different viewpoints on unwed motherhood and adoption.

Latest: As of Sept. 2012, I worked on an Indie Film, "Baybayin, the Palawan Script", directed by Auraeus Solito, and international award winning Filipino director. I had a role in the film and explored my hobby as a STILLS Photographer. Currently I have quit all teaching, co-writing on an international film that will be done in 3D and CGI effects. I am back in the film-making business and I love it.

Adoption Discourse needs to hear YOUR VOICE. Every opinion, even opposing viewpoints will be posted and interaction invited by email and Comments have been activated again with spam filters!)
. Welcome, come learn, and share your thoughts.


September 29, 2009

Allie-Unwanted, Unlucky but a Survivor!

The Korean War Baby introduces another FaceBook Friend, one who despite many hardships; a late discovery that she had been adopted by her grandparents; has become a Court Child Advocate helping to insure that every case is settled in the best interests of the child. This is just part of her story:
Allie Williams




“I was treated with mild neglect as if I were a stray dog or an unwelcomed guest, one that has overstayed their welcome”.




Nana (grandmother Allie) and Jack

Allie's Story
 

“My adoption story is not a happy one. Adoption has been a very hard thing for me. Mine was not handled correctly and has caused me a lot of pain that I try to ignore but is always there. I am a Child Advocate, a trustee of the court. I have found that every case must be considered as a unique case. In every case, every detail must be found out by investigation and care taken to do what is truly in the interest of the child. I learned a lot from my family though. I learned that when you treat someone bad it hurts them and as a small child I learned that was not the way to treat others. I share my story, hoping that others will find meaning in their own lives, not make the mistakes that caused me so much pain in my life.

Eldest ‘sister’ was really her ‘Bio-Mom’
My biological Mom B****** was nineteen yrs old when I was born and she didn't want a child in her life at that time. You see she was my eldest sister, or rather I thought she was my sister. My biological Mother's side of the family that adopted me had made a decision to give me up for adoption but was made to feel guilty by my great-grandmother if they didn't keep me and raise me. So I was adopted reluctantly by my grandparents.


Allie & daughter Katie 


I was adopted at 6 wks of age, after I had spent the first 6 wks of my life with a potential adoptive family, the doctor that delivered me. My bio Mom's grandmother (my great grandmother) insisted that my grandparents adopt me. I often wonder what my life would have been like had I been adopted by the doctor. However, it was made quite clear to me that it was not an adoption that was wanted. It was forced upon them and I came along at a point in their life when they were 43 and not wanting anymore children.



Allie with daughter Heather, baby Ella and Jack


Late Discovery Adoptee

I didn't find out till I was 16 that I was adopted (my boyfriend told me). Everyone in the ‘huge’ town of Baxter Springs, Kansas (population 4,000) knew that I was adopted except me and were sworn to secrecy to never tell me. Everybody knows everything in a town that size and I was the "Big Secret". Everyone that lived in Baxter Springs, Kansas must have had to take an oath to never tell me.


 Heather & Allie

Even my best friend since I was 3 knew, but never told me. Of course this made everybody act odd around me and uncomfortable. I was always looked at by everyone as the result of something bad. I have friends from my childhood say that they always wondered what was wrong with me that could have been so bad. This caused me to lack trust in others and problems bonding with people. This caused me to feel different from everyone else. Small children pick up on the little innuendos, whispers, and hurtful things people say. I always wondered what was  wrong with me.
Bio-Father?
I am not 100% positive who my bio-father is or his ethnicity. I get asked all the time if I am part Asian. I have no clue! I am part Cherokee, but my great, great, great Grandmother refused to be put on the rolls of the tribe. She was full Cherokee and I am not sure what I am on my bio-fathers side. Maybe that is why I get asked if I am from an Island country!
I did meet who I think might be my bio-father. He is a very nice man and actually wanted to do the right thing by marrying my bio-mother. I first met him when I was 26 and we talk a few times a year since then. We have never done a DNA test but I am going to ask him if we can.
I called him out of the blue one day and told him that I was B****** daughter and that he might be my bio-father. We met at a little cafe in my hometown of Baxter. He immediately pulled out a newspaper clipping from his billfold and said he had always wanted to meet me and that he had cut this article out of the newspaper.
It was from when I was 16 yrs old and was in the Miss Kansas Teen Pageant. He said his wife had found it years ago and thought he was having an affair with a teenager until he told her that I was his daughter. He said he had never taken it out of his billfold all those years and had always wanted to meet me. He was very excited and we sat there and cried, we both cried together.
He said he would have married my bio-Mom but my Dad (bio grandfather), and his brother (my uncle) shot at him as he was coming out of a business in Baxter one night. It got his pant leg and just grazed his ankle. He had been trying to contact my bio Mom by calling and coming by the house trying to tell her he would marry her. After being shot at he decided he would never try to contact them again. He said at that point he gave up. Can't blame him!!

Unwanted-a sign of Shame

My adoptive Mother (actually my bio-grandmother) often made the comment that she wished they would have never adopted me. That was the most truthful thing that I have ever heard her say. I never felt wanted and was abused emotionally and physically by my sister J****** (bio-aunt) and my ‘sister’/bio-mom B*****. J****** the middle sister was 11 yrs old when I was born. She said she always felt competition because of me and that my birth caused so many problems for the family that I was just bad all the way around. My abusive sister-aunt got pregnant at 16 and my parents forced her to have an abortion.

My sisters, aunts and bio mom have always acted jealous and would make hurtful comments about me to my face and to others behind my back. I have actually had people who are in their 50's now, tell me that my ‘sister’/aunt J*****, that is 11 yrs older than me, made comments to her friends that she hated me. My parents would never defend me or tell them to stop, so it just became a way of life for them.

Everyone’s punching bag

I was everyone’s punching bag. I was treated with mild neglect as if I were a stray dog or an unwelcomed guest, one that has overstayed their welcome. I was a quiet child and tried my best to stay out of everybody's way at home. I never gave my parents any problems growing up. I was out-going in school and achieved high academic scores; excelled in sports, music, elected president of many clubs, and never experimented with drugs or alcohol. I was not a problem child. I never had to be told to do my homework, practice the piano, clarinet or flute.

I became a better person despite my difficulties growing up. At home I just tried to stay out of everyone's way. I would hide under our baby grand piano, or in my closet. If the weather was good I was always outside. Never wanted to be around sister/aunt J****** especially!!! My Bio-mother B*****’s two biological sons didn't find out I was their sister until they were teenagers. It upset them greatly and one of them has not associated with the family for 22 yrs. They were both mad at me for not "acting" like their sister!

Family is Embarrassed Again


I got pregnant the summer before my Senior year in High School. When my adoptive Dad found out he pulled me out of the bathroom from where I was hiding as my mom told him, and he pulled me out by my hair, threw me on the floor and stepped on my chest and held a loaded shotgun to my head. He said he wanted to kill me because I had embarrassed the family just like B******* had done. He said he was going to go over to my soon-to-be husband and kill him. Luckily I got out from under his foot, ran out the front door, grabbing my keys and purse by the door, drove like hell to my boyfriend’s house and told him to get out of town.

I overheard my parents planning to drug me and force me to have an abortion, like my sister J******. So I snuck out of the house and drove to my fiance's house and told him and his dad what my A-dad was doing, trying to force an abortion on me. His dad was mad and went with me back to my parent’s house.


When my boyfriend’s Dad told them how wrong that was and if I wanted to keep my baby then I should be able to do just that. My dad was so mad! After I had my daughter, my A-Dad really seemed to grow more loving and was very good to her, or so I thought. Behind my back, I found out he was undermining my authority telling my kids I was a slut, whore, crazy and every bad name you can think of. One day when she was about 5 she asked me what a slut was. I asked her where she had heard that from and she said that grandpa calls you that all the time.

(Korean War Baby comments: Allie could go on, but I thought she should hold it back for her own book. Later, hope to hear from Allie again on Adoption Issues and some of the cases she works on as a Child Advocate in the courts.)


Different yet Unique

I think every adoption is different yet unique in its own way and specific to that family. Really it is no different than a family whose children are their own natural born. I do think that every adoption needs to be handled appropriately, gingerly, loving and most certainly in the "Best Interest of the Child". No child should find out they are adopted as a teenager or as an adult. It should not be something that is secretive or perceived as "bad". It should be something that is shared with them at age appropriate levels on a degree in which they can understand. It is who they are, and should not make them feel it's who they will become. Adoption is something that should be talked about with joy just as a natural birth.

The stress placed on me by my family was horrible and unbearable. I have stopped almost all contact with them as they are “toxic” to me. I was never allowed to ask questions about my adoption as I was told it was disrespectful for me to ask questions because it was such a source of pain for them. I am thinking what about the pain I feel!! It still to this day makes me feel depressed and it is painful. It is pain that I feel daily.

“It is, what it is” and I just do my best to deal with it. Adoption is a good thing. I just wish I was one of the lucky one’s that would have been adopted by a good loving family. My family never gave me the chance to be the sister that would have loved to been asked to go shopping or do something fun as a family. I was an embarrassment to the family. I was never given a chance to love or be loved.



Life is still hard, filled with tough decisions and pain, but it has made me a stronger person. I always try to do the right thing in each case that I am involved with in court. Relationships in my family are still strained but I do my best to keep sane, do the right things, keep moving on the best I can. That’s all we can do, get back up each time and keep moving on.
Allie Williams

September 27, 2009

Woman in embryo mix-up gives birth to boy - CNN.com

Science Screws up Big Time
CNN & BBC reports over 100 embryos were ‘mislabeded’ by human error at a Fertility Clinic and used in IVF. Just more heartache for families and what questions does it raise for all ‘test-tube babies’?
Woman in embryo mix-up gives birth to boy - CNN.com
  • Story Highlights
  • NEW: Woman gives birth to healthy baby boy, statement from couple says
  • NEW: Couple congratulates biological parents of the baby in statement
  • Fertility clinic implanted another couple's embryo into woman
  • Couple decided to carry baby through delivery and give him to genetic parents
(CNN) -- A woman who had the wrong embryo implanted in her gave birth to a baby boy Friday, according to a statement from the couple.
Sean and Carolyn Savage with daughter Mary Kate (now 18 months) and sons Ryan, left, and Andrew.
Sean and Carolyn Savage with daughter Mary Kate (now 18 months) and sons Ryan, left, and Andrew.
"Our family is deeply grateful for the support and prayers of so many people from around the world," the statement said. "We also would like to thank the medical professionals who provided superior care and treatment throughout the pregnancy and delivery."
"Our family is going through a very difficult time and requests privacy in the days ahead."
The couple said a fertility clinic implanted another couple's embryo into Carolyn Savage's uterus -- in essence, she became an unwitting surrogate for another family.
Ten days after the procedure in February, they received a call from the clinic's doctor: "Carolyn is pregnant, but we transferred the wrong embryos."
Don't Miss related stories:
"I don't think I've ever cried so much in my life," Savage said. "It was such a nightmare and, in a way, I felt violated."
Within minutes of learning the news, the Sylvania, Ohio, couple decided to carry the baby and relinquish him to his DNA parents after birth.
Video Here:
Watch the couple discuss their decision. »

Health Library
They met with the baby's genetic parents and the DNA-related mother of the child came along for one doctor's appointment.
In their statement after the birth, the Savage family congratulated the biological parents of the baby.
"We would like to offer our heartfelt congratulations to the Morell family on the birth of their son," the statement said. "We wish Paul, Shannon, their twin girls and their new baby boy the best, as they move forward with their lives together."
The Savages did not release the name of the clinic where they underwent in vitro fertilization. They provided proof of their reproductive predicament, including results of amniocentesis, a genetic test, indicating the baby Savage was carrying was not theirs.
Korean War Baby comments:
An example of the difficult choice this and other couples are faced with, yet ‘in the best interest of the child’ they chose life. These are the strange things that science has wrought. This couple have sacreficed their own desires for a child, doing the right thing they felt to not only let it be born but to give it up to the biological parents.
One thing even the esteemed CNN and BBC FAIL to note- the effects on the child taken from its ‘mother’. Has the baby BONDED to the ‘birth’ mother? Will the baby now BOND with the biological mother or be utterly confused? Will it also have some of the same problems that many, not all, adoptees have with Attachment Disorders? How many IVF ‘mistakes’ have been made in the past?
The Korean War Baby knows some of these difficult choices. What does happen to “EXTRA” fertilized eggs, frozen after a week of development? Some of them have been sold to use in research. In Korea the mad scientist H****** made a mockery of the nation and tried to fool the scientific community. He was ‘testing’ with hundreds of human eggs to develop Somatic Embryonic Stem Cells, ‘Harvested’ from women who thought they were helping to develop cures for many diseases.
ADULT Stem Cells are being used and good results have already been proven. Embryonic Stem Cells are injected into willing patients in Korea right now, though nothing has been proven useful. The KWB will look into this more, stay tuned. Give your comments or send email to koreanwarbaby@gmail.com
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September 25, 2009

Danielle's Beacon: For Katherine Heigl Adoption is All in the Family

Korean War Baby:

“Many opinions on Katherine Heigl and her husband’s decision to adopt a child. Again, let us listen to every viewpoint, examine each case’s facts, reserve conclusions until fact checking and hearing from both “sides”. BALANCE…”

Thursday, September 24, 2009

For Katherine Heigl Adoption is All in the Family

Jeanie here.
While appearing on The Ellen DeGeneres Show the beautiful and apparently serious Grey’s Anatomy star Katherine Heigl announced that she and her husband Josh Kelley are in the process of adopting a Korean child.
Celebrity adoptions are not new. Here at the DB blog we’ve covered the adoption woes and victories of Madonna, Elton John and others.
What makes Heigl’s news unique is that her sister Meg Heigl is Korean. So the idea of adopting a child from Korea was something she “always knew” she would one day do.

Obviously, the adoption option was a positive experience in Heigl’s childhood. All the mysteries and concerns were resolved in her upbringing. In fact, early in her relationship the question she posed for her future husband was not “Do you want to have children?” Rather, she wanted to know if Kelley was open to adoption.

Some men aren’t. At first, Pat wasn’t. But he came around and is now an adoption advocate. Women often lead the way in the adoption world. It’s nice to see lots of men embracing the idea, too.

Posted by Patrick and Jeanie Scott at 10:06 AM

Danielle's Beacon: For Katherine Heigl Adoption is All in the Family

Korean War Baby reminds us that the Child from Korea is a 10 month old ‘Special Needs’ child. First Post here (KWB has learned to ‘hyperlink’, cool) gives more details and facts. Very few ‘Real 100% Koreans’ can or are willing to adopt and after six months she was available for Inter-Country Adoption.

Perhaps in say, ten years we could ask her, “Do you wish you had just been ABORTED? What do you think about losing all your Korean culture, language, family?

Steven Morrison of Mission to Promote Adoption ‘by’ Korean (English here: MPAK) replied to the KWB on this story:

“To name the baby from her mother's and her adopted sister must mean that their sibling relationship and the whole family must have been very close.

People speak about 'exporting' babies and stopping intercountry adoption because it brings so much shame to Korea should look at the unfortunate reality. The fact of the matter is that most Koreans don't want special needs children but Americans do. It is a much more shameful thing to admit that only 12 of them are adopted domestically while 713 of them are adopted by foreigners - all because Koreans don't want them. Now what is more shameful than this?

And it doesn't stop with the special needs children, even healthy children are not all wanted in Korea, thus they have to find homes abroad. I have stated many times before in many adoption related events and gatherings and I state again. Stop the intercountry adoption ONLY when there is no more children available to be sent abroad.”

Steven Morrison is also a “Special Needs” adoptee. Founder of MPAK gives his personal story here.

The Korean War Baby sadly concurs with this inconvenient truth. The most ‘unwanted- mixed-racial, special needs, babies truly NOT wanted by their natural/birth mothers after careful counseling,’ those born when they could have been aborted.

Should they not be able to have a good home? For those who are unwanted and rejected by family, society, government, etc. the Korean War Baby feels ICA must continue…send your views on these matters. Every opinion has validity.

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September 21, 2009

Facebook Friends-Robert Johnson, UK


Robert Johnson

Networking on FaceBook is amazing as it has led me to people all over the panorama of “This Thing of Ours-Adoption”. In keeping with my goal of listening to ALL voices I present my first GUEST POST, Pastor Robert Johnson who is from the UK and presents some of the ‘darker side of Adoption’. A man of God who experienced ‘an adoption gone 'disastrously wrong’ he shares this tragic story on FaceBook.

Robert Johnson September 14, 2009

Hi,
My name is Robert Johnson and I live in Selby in the UK.
I run a group on Facebook called the Anti Adoption Alliance, which is a social group for all people, young or old, who have been affected in a negative fashion by the terror that is known as adoption.

The aim of this cause/group is to raise awareness of the issues, share stories, assist where families are torn apart by Social Services [otherwise known as the SS] and to bring people together under one umbrella and to formulate change in Government policy regarding adoption at all costs.

Robert Johnson

Robert Johnson as a cute toddler.

It is something that came about because of our story of an adoption that went disastrously wrong. (In the UK) 33% of them end in disaster and as a result, we were left childless, accused of being bad parents by people who did not take the time to get to know us and left to rot in jobs that are below our station in life.

I was a teacher of English, still am really, but can I find work because of what happened to us? No. Any prospective employer takes one look at the government paperwork on me and thinks otherwise; even though there is absolutely no proof anything ever happened.

Visit our little, growing group. And when I have finished with the website, please join there too. You will find our story on the Facebook group, but here are two links to let you know why adoption is wrong at all costs.”

http://www.fassit.co.uk/social_workers.htm
http://www.fassit.co.uk/separation_loss_utter_betrayal.htm

”I am now going on record as saying I adopted two children, but completely disagree with the idea and notion of adoption in every single way nowadays. I used to think ‘free the child/baby but now, I would sooner someone have an abortion if they are not ready to be a parent, for that is the single most difficult ‘job’ in the entire world and those that are successful at it, you have my blessing and admiration.”

God bless you all.
Robert Johnson
13.09.2009

The Korean War Baby comments:

In reading Pastor Johnson’s story I realized that yes, indeed there are many stories in “This Thing of Ours-Adoption”. The two adopted children a boy and a girl, were taken from them by the Social Services of UK, based on some accusations that you will have to look into on Robert’s FB to understand.

Painful stories and wonderful stories, all are valid and represent the wide array of the human drama of adoption. One must hear from every part of the spectrum, every story is intense, complex, of merit, the good, the bad, beautiful and ugly. What is truly amazing is how Robert Johnson has helped so many find peace through their own difficult experiences. Ask to become his friend on FaceBook to find out more.

The challenge for us all is to find the Best solutions, using wisdom gained from hearing ALL the stories. “Adoption is wrong at all costs” is a cry to be understood…yet to be also compared to others, those who see their adoption as ‘good’ for them. Does one outweigh the other? NO, but lessons must be learned to try to eliminate the wrongs, do the right things for all involved.

Next: The next GUEST POST will be from ALLIE, a Late Discovery Adoptee, who despite incredible pressures in life, works as a child advocate in court.

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Koreans abroad are still Korean - INSIDE JoongAng Daily

Read this to begin understanding, how ‘some’ Korean people think about the ‘other Koreans’. Recently chatted with a Korean on FB, and thought that she was a German adoptee since there were somethings on her FB page in German. After she cleared that up she made the claim that “I am 100% Korean”. Some would say “really Korean”, or “Pure Korean”. I asked her about “Ethnically pure Korean Adoptees, and millions of emigrants that have left Korea. “Oh, they are not Real Korean any more”. Sigh! From JoongAng Daily:
Koreans abroad are still Korean - INSIDE JoongAng Daily
Sept. 21, 2009
“One of the characters in “Take Off,” a film that has attracted nearly 8 million moviegoers so far, is a Korean American called Bob. He happened to be a member of Korea’s national ski jump team when he came to Korea to look for his biological mother.
(This is baffling, how could he become a member of the team? Was he adopted, if he was looking for his biological mother, then he would be a citizen of the USA. Hmmm?)
But Heon-tae, which is his Korean name, cannot recite even the first part of the national anthem. Naturally, he fought with his teammates, who called him “a Yankee.”

It is not a story limited to the big screens. SK Wyverns Manager Kim Sung-geun, who is Korean-Japanese, faced similar challenges when he first visited Korea as a member of a student baseball team made up of Korean residents in Japan on Aug. 7, 1959.

In a collection of recently published autobiographical essays “Bringing up the last to the first,” he recalls that he used a Japanese name, Kanebayashi Seikong, in his childhood and did not know that he had a Korean name until he came to Korea. At first he could not understand Korean but appreciated the warm smiles of female Korean students. He was fascinated by the taste of bulgogi and was captivated by the beauty of actress Kim Ji-mi, who starred in “Tragedy is Over.” He was moved to see the emotional scene of tearful meetings between his colleagues and their long-separated relatives in Korea when the latter visited the former at their quarters.

Of course, not all things went smoothly. When a ball thrown by the pitcher of the Korean residents’ team hit the head of Park Young-gil, the cleanup man of Kyongnam High School, the spectators jeered at them yelling, “Jap! Go home.” He said to himself, “How can they call us Japs? Don’t they know that we lead painful lives and are discriminated against in Japan because we are Korean? Don’t they know how difficult it is to organize a team of Korean residents in Japan?” Even after he was picked up as a member of the Korean national baseball team, the backbiting and calling him a “Jap” didn’t stop.
Even now the majority of “Real 100% Koreans” would agree with this point and “unreal Koreans” had better remember this fact.

The creed of keeping the purity of the “homogeneous race” has not yet waned. The leader of the boy band 2PM, Park Jae Beom, had to fly back to his hometown of Seattle because of a complaint about Korea he had posted on a Web site four years ago.
I put Park’s name ‘in Red’ for as some of you know names ‘written in red’ means someone is dead. Park Jae Beom is considered ‘dead’ to the majority of the thousands of fans who turned on him after a post on MySpace was discovered and put onto the internet. Another famous case was another Korean-American, Steve Yoo Seung-Joon, who made it as a singer then lied about joining the military, rushed back to swear in as a USA citizen. Koreans (those who consider themselves 100% Korean) still call him a traitor. Just google his name. There are many sports stars who choose to change their citizenship to avoid the draft and serve in the military.
The fact that he is a Korean-American who is exempt from military service in Korea is probably an additional reason that fanned antipathy toward him (Park Jae Beom). People poured a barrage of criticism against him, claiming that he should go home immediately.

I wonder whether the criticism that he was not familiar with the Korean way of life four years ago was why he wrote “I hate Koreans” on a Web site. What memory will he have of his homeland now that it has sent him away for committing a small mistake? Won’t the Republic of Korea be remembered a heartless country to other young people of Korean heritage overseas? As of today, the number of Koreans overseas amounts to 6.82 million.


The writer is the content director at JES Entertainment.
By Song Weon-seop

Korean War Baby comments:
One cannot blame the Korean students and fans for their feelings. They try to accept the Diaspora of 6.82 million Other Koreans who are living outside, but they will always be “Almost Korean” ONLY. Oh, they accept them as singers, actors, entertainers, but expect them to adapt to THEM. Cross them and you’ll find yourself kicked out on the next flight.
How about you fellow “100% genetically pure Korean Adoptees”,  have you felt that you were accepted as Korean? Are you like us Half-Breed, HonHyolAh, Tuigi, ‘wanna be Korean’ adoptees who find out you will NEVER be call “100% Korean”? Send the Korean War Baby your reunion experience, tell him if you want names *redated**** or what.
What is a Korean? Many different shades, Hmmmm.

September 19, 2009

"Collecting Yourself"















One of my students is an Art Major, who is working for some students from Germany on a project for a Master's Programme called "Museum and Exhibition" at the Carl-von-Osseitzky University in Oldenburg, Germany.









I think it has something to do with Normativity of life often leads to student's daily routines being "invisible in public". The project aims at focusing specifically on these aspects from the vantage points of cultural studies, exhibition practice and artistic analysis.

(I did not write the above, stole it from the booklet! LOL)










Students collected typical aspects of their everyday life and exhibit these in public spaces, wearing or in specially designed mobile "white cubes" made of aluminum and clothe. The portable cubes are eye-catching and manage to concentrate the attention of the Korean passers-by. Most people just ignored them but in the coming video we will see more reactions of trying to figure out, "뭐하는거지?" or "What are you doing?"








Notice how she is carefully and casually ignoring the 'crazy foreign guy.




Seoul Women's University is involved with the project which is kind of "Performance Art".














September 17, 2009

War Bus-Best Part

The IMDb logo.Image via Wikipedia
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“War Bus”  released on DVD
_0001 (3)BBMy role in “War Bus” was perhaps my best chance to show my acting skills in a dramatic role rather than action. I had nothing to do with writing the screenplay or military advice. I disavow responsibility for this, only for my bad acting. I did not play a Leading Role, but was in the Main Cast. Italian Director Ferdinando Baldi and a small Italian crew came to do a co-production with Regal International Films.




From IMDb-2009-07-05 16-22-42This is a surprisingly solid, low budget Vietnam flick that boasts some excellent battle scenes and a plethora of big and beautiful pyrotechnic displays throughout.
The plot concerns a small group of people who are forced to flee
from their base (which happens to be a Christian Mission) in an old school bus when the VC launch a vicious assault upon it. Along the way they are joined by a group of three battle hardened American US Recon Marines,  and together they desperately fight to make it to safety.
Whilst admittedly not particularly ambitious plot wise, it's the action that counts here and as previously stated, the film really delivers the goods in this department. It's especially great also to see the actors doing their own stunts including some stylish tumbling moves.”
Review on IMDb (Internet Movie Database)
Another review:
  “On the surface Warbus appears to be a standard boring Italian Vietnam war flick, but in actual fact, and to my surprise, it turned out to be hilarious.

Ever watched an action WarBus_CU1movie where the heroine ignores the hero and cops off with a middle aged man? Or a movie where the hero has to use reading glasses to operate a radio? How about a main character who suffers from epilepsy, drinks too much, is a voyeur, pervert, gun toting, AND married to a cheating Missionary wife?
Warbus has it all, full of action, explosions,  It's relatively well directed too, and the dubbing is competent for a late-era Italian genre movie. The action scenes seem to have more extras than your average Nam flicks, although no effort has been made to conceal the obviously Phillipino actors.

Well, you get the gist, these were B-movies that someone once said were “so awful they’re good” by Andrew Leavold, an Aussie who has a great blog on the genre of Filipino films here: BambooGodandBionicBoys

“Pulp Fiction”, “Kill Bill”, are just bigger budget versions that made it at the box office. The video craze created a market for films like Warbus, many never were even released in theaters until after they were released in Video. What a way to make a living though! Of course, hindsight is 20/20, things looked better looking back. There were also ‘starving actor days’ in between large foreign productions. It was this reason that caused me to start collecting drunk foreigners on the Streets of Passion, Mabini and Del Pilar, where 800 bars served the needs of the depraved. In the north, Angeles City catered to the needs of the huge US Air Force base. On the west coast the Subic Bay Naval base had its own ‘Red Light’ districts.

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*Note: most of these bars were moved to Angeles City where the depravity continues with sex tours bringing in huge amounts of cash.

I began to be asked to get foreigners to be extras on local film productions soon after Apocalypse Now and Boys of Company C had finished. I was known as Ken Metcalfe’s assistant during these projects and thus began my days as an “Talent Agent for Film Extras”. I would only charge ten percent for each man/woman because I got the company to pay me an extra ten percent.  An extra got only 150 pesos per day, 250 if he had “lines as a bit player” on local film productions.

image In those days San Miguel Beer was less than 2 pesos at a Sari-Sari neighborhood store, (at 7.5 pesos/1$ it was about 20 cents US). Today even with inflation it is about, well, let’s see, 50 pesos/1$ and cost of a San Miguel Beer is according to Nick Nicholson 19 pesos or  40 cents US.

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Caught by the South Vietnamese Major, after pouring extra fuel from a hidden cache which I did not reveal.

Coming soon: War Bus-What happened to Don?
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RESILIENCE exceeded $10K goal! THANK YOU!

Great news from the Resilience Team:

“Dear friends,
We are very proud to announce that within just four weeks we have exceeded the funding goal for Resilience, with a grand total raised of $11,037.25!! We could not have accomplished this without all of your incredible support and generosity. We have been putting these contributions towards our post-production expenses such as editing, music composing, and sound mixing.
We are excited to announce that Resilience will premiere at the Pusan International Film Festival (PIFF) on Sunday, October 11 at 1:00pm

 

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in Pusan, Korea. For those of you who are in Korea, we hope you can join us! For those of you outside of Korea, we hope to see you at a future screening near you.

What first began as a film about the experiences of Korean birth mothers has evolved into a story about a birth mother and her son. We hope that this single story will be just as powerful, if not more so, and will help to deepen understanding towards the experiences of birth mothers and adoptees everywhere.
We plan to make an additional DVD supplement to accompany Resilience using other birth mothers’ stories and interviews that were filmed. We will begin working on this after the PIFF premiere.

This final funding drive helped bring us to the finish line. The outpouring of support has been truly amazing from our friends and supporters. Thank you again for your generosity, support, and for spreading word about the film. We couldn’t have come this far without you.

Special thanks to those who graciously gave $1,000 and to the Korean Unwed Mothers Support Network who further helped us reach our goal with a donation of $3,000.

We are officially closing our $10K funding drive but donations are still welcome. Future contributions will go towards distribution and help to complete our supplemental DVD.
Please visit our website for more information about the film, ways to contribute, and screenings at www.resiliencefilm.com

and for the latest updates follow us on FACEBOOK

and TWITTER

.
THANK YOU from the entire Resilience team!!

Korean War Baby comments:

Don’t forget that you can still be part of supporting this project through the coming ‘distribution’ expenses and ‘promotional costs’ ahead. The budget of making a film is just part, post-production, then distribution/advertising (promotional), all these must be paid out BEFORE one dollar comes in!

Go to the website www.resiliencefilm.com to view a trailer (preview) or on the resilience Facebook site.

All who have been touched by adoption in anyway, whether as an Adoptees, Adopters and family, Natural/Birth family, NGO, yes, even Adoption Agencies- All  can help tell some of the many stories that make up “This Thing of Ours-Adoption”

Katherine Heigl Adopts Korean Baby with Special Needs (PHOTO, VIDEO) | Bitten and Bound

Actress Katherine Heigl at the premiere of &qu...Image via Wikipedia

Posted on: September 11th, 2009

 

Actress Katherine Heigl and her husband Josh Kelley have adopted a 10-month old Korean girl who will be named Naleigh, after Heigl’s mother Nancy and her sister Leigh. The fact that the child has special needs allowed the process to be shortened according the the Grey’s Anatomy star.













katherine-heigl-josh-kelley-adopt
Heigl will sit down with Ellen DeGeneres, the newest American Idol judge, on Friday September 11 to provide more details about the big event that happened just this week. One of the reasons that Katherine decided to adopt an Asian child is because she has a sister Meg who was adopted from Korea as an infant. She said she decided to do Ellen’s talk show so that people wouldn’t “think I stole a Korean baby.”
View video of Katherine Heigl on Ellen below.

Katherine Heigl Adopts Korean Baby with Special Needs (PHOTO, VIDEO) Bitten and Bound
The Korean War Baby comments:
So here is a ‘dreaded case of Celebrity Adoption’, oh dear me, the Horror, how awful! “She must be doing it just to become…uh, famous, well, more famous then. How dare she take the child away from it’s cultural background, and from the natural mother”.
I know not everyone feels that way, but ‘some’ do think that way. Good points BUT let’s look at all the facts.
Fact #1: Katherine has an Adopted sister from Korea!! So auntie will be a Korean face, and help her to adjust to living with “Rich White Folks”.
Fact #2: Baby has “Special Needs” (this is the PC term for Disabilities) What? How did this baby get born, must have slipped by the sonograms or they would have aborted the thing. Oh, the natural mother did not want to keep it. Understandable, in THIS Korean society, most Disabled people got that way from being hit by cars.
Fact #3: Baby is ten months old. (until 6 months old, ONLY Koreans living in Korea CAN adopt the baby). SO….no one in the Motherland Wanted it…Special Needs children do cost and the horror of having everyone ‘look’ at you, oh the shame. Government help is a lot of help.
Between 2000 and 2006, only 2% of the children adopted who were classified as having special needs, including being born prematurely, were placed domestically. In 2006, for example, 12 special needs or premature children were adopted domestically in Korea as against 713 such children who were placed abroad (Ministry of Health and Welfare
, 2007a).

From “Openness in Korean (Domestic) Adoptions”
http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~db=all~content=a903709611
by (peter.hayes@sunderland.ac.uk) and (hekim@kosin.ac.kr)
Let me look at those figures again folks, someone help me with the math, 12 over 713 that would be what percent? Lord help me, failing math caused me to enlist because I received my draft notice…Oh, here it is:
12/713 = 0.01683 percent? Is that right?
In this case, hands down, it is the right thing for the baby girl to have a loving family, even though they are not racially matched. Who can say differently? Send me your views, The Korean War Baby wants to hear from all my ‘dozen’ readers.
*Special Thanks to Bert Spoor for the link: For the Dutchman's point of view go to . . .FIREBERT
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September 14, 2009

Seoul wants you walking right!





Watch your step, Seoul wants you walking right - INSIDE JoongAng Daily

“Signs encouraging people to walk on the right on escalators and moving walkways in the capital’s subway system will displayed as part of a City Hall campaign starting on Oct. 1.”


“The move follows a plan put forward by the central government in April to revise laws related to pedestrian traffic.
The 88-year-old law requires pedestrians in Korea to walk on the left, but the government wants to change the custom in line with international practice.
According to data provided by Ministry of Land, 88.3 percent of Koreans are right-handed and 73 percent prefer to walk on the right, saying keeping to the left goes against natural human instinct.”




This is quite interesting. You see if you lived in Seoul you would have seen that many people follow NO rules for walking. Some automatically pass to the LEFT, rather than the RIGHT. Because some Koreans pass right you often see two people walk right or I should say left and they run smack dab into each other with no other people near them. They just don’t have a “cross to the right side” rule of thumb, er, foot.

This goes back to changing times, see you must remember that 88 years ago was, oh, the math…okay, 1921 which was during the Japanese occupation of Korea as a colony of the Japanese Empire from 1910-1945. Koreans walking on streets mainly follow the flow principal. If a large flow are going one way they will spread out until the few coming from the other direction are forced to single file. As the numbers increase a sort of equilibrium is reached. Usually there are only two opposing flows but I have seen four groups splitting or merging.



Confucius put it like this, “water flows around, under, over a rock in the stream”. Korean people are REALLY going to get confused with THIS new policy.


“To help pedestrians to get accustomed to the new system, the city government said it will not initiate wholesale changes at first. Less crowded subway stations will be dealt with first, from the middle of September. Under the plan, the city government will also change signs leading to ticket gates in subway stations to accommodate walkers on the right.
And direction lines that lead commuters to catch subway transfers will also be changed. To reduce confusion, helpers will be on hand near escalators and moving walkways, according to city officials.
There will also be broadcasts and banners hammering home the message for anyone who fails to comply.”


This reminds me of several times when some work was being done on the subway “moving walkways”. They reversed the direction for some reason and the number of people who tried to get on their usual LEFT side walkway was just too funny. I had to yell in Korean “Ani!! Orinjok (No, right side)” or they would have hurt themselves. There is no ‘rule’ in the subways now. Half of the subways have escalators both running UP, then the crowd flows up the center stairs making it almost impossible for anyone to come DOWN.


They changed the ‘rule’ for escalators just this year. Until then you were supposed to stand on the Right side going up or down in order for FAST MOVERS to walk quickly up or down. However, there were several cases where someone stumbled and crashed because they tripped SO, NOW they ‘rule’ is that people should NOT WALK but just STAND on BOTH SIDES. Problem is that there are some who WANT to hurry and they are cursing or AiiGooing people who are blocking their way on the left. Everyday I see problems as RULES CHANGE but not the HABITS of people.


The Korean War Baby has a new cell phone with a better video and photo functions. Stay tuned for the coming ‘subway follies’.

UPDATE: It has BEGUN, CHAOS!!!

September 11, 2009

Smell of Victory


Napalm, the Smell of Victory


March 1976, Laguna de Bay, Philippines


On the set of Apocalypse Now, starring Marlon Brando, Martin Sheen, and Robert Duvall, I had just received the ‘casting call’ for the next week’s shoot. We had only a simple idea of the plot at this time. We had just finished the ‘village one sequence’ where Capt. Willard and the PBR crew meet with the eccentric CO of the 1st Air Cav, Airmobile Division, Lt. Col. Kilgore played by Robert Duval. We shot ‘village one’ on the shore of the largest fresh water body, Laguna de Bay, southeast of Manila in March-April of 1976.



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The night party scene was being filmed that night, real beer, vintage coke bottles, and steaks, hotdogs, hamburgers, etc. were being consumed with pleasure by cast, crew, and background artists. Rumor had it that marijuana smoke was mingling with the scents of a great all American cook out.




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Apocalypse Now (1979) - Robert Duvall as Lt.Col Kilgore; with Francis Ford Coppola.



After three months of shooting I was the Set PA (Main Production Assistant) for all extras at this time, working directly with 2nd A.D. Larry Franco, under 1st A.D. Jerry Ziesmer. I knew Mr. Duvall and other main cast members as one of my daily tasks was to inform them when they were needed on set. I called him “Colonel” which he enjoyed as he ‘got into character’. The Colonel was joking with his ‘troops’ which he often did between breaks, asking where they came from, and so on, when one extra asked what happened next in the movie. (At this time few of us understood the plot, knowing only that it was loosely based on “Heart of Darkness” by Joseph Conrad).



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‘Col. Duvall’ gave us a brief outline of the next sequence of attacking the second village (filmed later at Quezon Province on the east coast) at the mouth of the river (i.e. Mekong). This would lead up the PBR and Capt. Willard to the Cambodian border and beyond. The PBR would be dropped by helicopter into the lagoon after the village is ‘suppressed’. Col. Kilgore is interested in the surfing champion ‘Lance’ and wants his two surfers to join Lance in surfing the point. It is during the high point of the attack that heavy mortar fire from the tree line causes even Capt. Willard to question the safety of surfing while under fire. Col. Kilgore then stands up and says that he’ll make the beach safe to surf and calls for a napalm strike to clear the tree line.


I remembered an incident during the Vietnam war, making a very memorable quote, just after we had done a bomb damage assessment on a hill. It had been targeted because a Viet Cong rocket company had been located in a hill complex honeycombed with tunnels. We circled high above in the command CH46 helicopter, waiting until two Daisy-Cutters, 15,000 lbs. each, were dropped within 15 minutes of each other from C-130 Hercules, with delayed charges that penetrated the hill before exploding. Finally napalm was dropped from F-4 Phantoms, ‘fast movers’, as a sort of “coup de grace”.



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Our teams landed after the napalm had burned out and actually found a few enemy survivors stumbling out of tunnels on the hill and from escape tunnels nearby. The hill had collapsed in places and most of the dead we did find were only burned slightly. They died of suffocation because napalm sucks up all the oxygen. The lingering smell of gasoline, hung in the air, thus leading one Staff Sergeant to nod his head and say “Ah, napalm, the smell of victory”.


I thought of his noteworthy quote and interjected “Ah, napalm, the smell of victory”. Duvall looked at me, with intrigue and asked why I said that. I told him about this anecdote and he told me that he loved it and would talk to the director, Coppola about using it. Of course he did slight artistic changes but in essence keep the quote intact.


Here is the dialog after the napalm strike hits the treeline and the mortars are silenced.



Col. Kilgore


“Smell that? You smell that!? Napalm, son.

Nothing else in the world smells like that…

I love the smell of napalm in the morning.

You know one time we had a hill bombed, for 2 hours.

When it was all over I walked up.

We didn’t find one of them, not one stinking ‘dink’ body.

The smell, you know that gasoline smell.

The whole hill, smelled like…

Victory…Someday this war’s gonna end…”



Yes, and one day I knew the film would ‘wrap up’ for me. I was already cast for a supporting role in Sid Furie’s “Boys of Company C” and I would be working under Ken Metcalfe and his wife Marie. Life would go on, but the best years of my life was working on this film epic, THE classic war movie of the Vietnam conflict. The next nine years were to be full of highs and lows, but “what a way to make a living”!!






September 10, 2009

Martial Arts History




From Naranland interview:
4. In addition to a short appearance of Jim Gaines, this film "co-stars" other expat Romano Kristoff as the main bad guy who, according to Bruce Baron, was "a serious martial artist". Did you have any martial arts training yourself?


Martial Arts were a way for me to express my Asian heritage, from the age of 10 years old I read books, studied from anyone I could to learn from. When I was 11 years old I met a Japanese kid who taught me the basics of Judo and Jujitsu for a year. One day while we were training in the park, a former American soldier, Chuck Greene, came up to me and asked if I was part Korean. I was surprised that he could see that in me, most people don’t know the difference between various Asian people. It turns out that he had studied Tae Kwon Do six years in Korea, while he was with the US Army. He studied under Jhoon Rhee, who was the leader in introducing Tae Kwon Do to America and the world. My Japanese friend and I began learning my country’s martial art. I was one of the first of many in the early '60s to meet the Korean master Jhoon Rhee.

In Vietnam, serving with the US Marines, I met Korean Marines of the 2nd Brigade ‘The Blue Dragons’, who invited me to 'play' or spare with them. The Korean Marines did not like it that a half-breed Korean ‘Tuigi’ like me was kicking their asses most of the time! At the time I did not understand that "Tuigi" was really an insult and that being Half-Korean was the same as a Native American "Breed". My American instructor had also been a boxer who combined boxing into our training. One tough Korean Master Sergeant finally asked me who I had trained with, after hearing who it was, turned to the ROK Marines and explained that one of my teacher was the student of a Tae Kwon Do legend, Jhoon Rhee.

After that I was accepted by the ROK Marines as a fellow Marine and ‘sort of Korean’. They stopped calling me a Tuigi after that as well. We drank their homemade soju and ate dog meat, kimchi, etc. ROK Army soldiers from the Tiger and White Horse Divisions and Marines of 2nd Brigade known as the Blue Dragons, all served in Vietnam with great distinction. They were tough, effective fighters, with great leadership, and above all feared and respected by the enemy.




Grand Master Doug Bunda (Center in White) and me on his right (front row). Kajukenbo style.



After my Vietnam tour, I was stationed in Camp Pendleton, near Los Angeles. I met a Hawaiian from Maui, Douglas Bunda, who introduced me to the Kajukenbo style. It was a Hawaiian mixture of Karate/Judo/Kempo Chinese boxing that had similar roots with American Kenpo Karate under Ed Parker in the early 1960’s.
During the early ‘70’s, I entered many Karate and the early Full-Contact tournaments. Most weekends I entered open tournaments, such as the “Four-Seasons” started by Mike Stone. Open tournaments gave the chance to fight with different stylists from Chinese, Japanese, Okinawan schools. There was no Muay Thai-kickboxing in those ‘60s and ‘70s yet, but I eagerly learned everything I could. My weight put me in Light or Middle divisions beginning at 155 lbs. (70 kg).


My instructors were all Filipino or Hawaiians of Maui, Hawaii. Ed Parker was of the royal Hawaiian line and the first to bring Karate to the Mainland from Hawaii. All the Hawaiians called me “hapa-Howley” or “Half-White”. It is a term of friendship but can be used in a derogatory sense, depending how one says it. Sifu James Ibrao was the first Black Belt of Ed Parker.The Bunda brothers knew Sifu James Ibrao and occasionally we went to their school in Pasadena, California.

Years later, I met David Carradine, when he came to the Philippines to do a film but unfortunately my commitment was to a Kinevesa films project and I couldn't work on his film. David and I had a few beers after he asked me pointblank "You look half-Asian...what styles have you studied", so I told him about my teachers. Some of my friends got to work on several projects with him. I related to him how I especially liked that the role of the “Half-Breed” Chinese/American Kwai Chang Caine was like me.

Another story that I loved was "Billy Jack", a series of movies that were also based on a Half-Breed Native American/White Vietnam vet. The actor uses Hapkido, another Korean Martial art. How crazy is life to find out years later that my birth father has Apache/Spanish/Mexican ancestry.


Second from Left: Don Bell, note Hawaiian State patch on my left shoulder; Sifu Doug Bunda. Now a leading Grand Master of KaJuKenBo style.

The Bunda brothers, Carlos and Doug, were my immediate instructors. They were friends of Sifu James Ibrao, in Pasadena, California, where I frequently went to meet at the main school of Sifu James Ibrao and spared with his students. Grand Master Carlos Bunda had studied under several of Kajukenbo's earliest well known teachers. (See his profile below).



Grand Masters Sifus Doug (left) and Carlos BUNDA of KaJuKenBo style.

Carlos Bunda (Kajukenbo-Who's Who) was the Light-Weight Champion who beat Chuck Norris (Middle Weight Champion) for Grand Champion title, in the 1964 Ed Parker’s International Karate Championships. Carlos kicked Norris in the groin and actually broke his protective cup. (Fortunately with no long lasting injury). Bruce Lee was introduced to the International scene and demonstrated of his “one Inch punch”.

Under Grand Master Sifu Doug Bunda (Bundas Kajukenbo-Glendora, CA) I trained in his garage until we moved to the Bassett Park Civic Center. The KajuKenbo style was directly from the Hawaiian roots. It was founded in Hawaii in 1947 by Sijo Adriano Emperado and the first true American martial art. "Kajukenbo" was developed by five martial arts men in Hawaii in the late 1940’s, ka for karate, ju for judo and jujitsu, ken for kenpo, and bo for Chinese boxing (kung fu). The Bundas studied under John Leoning in the early 1960’s.

Under the Bunda brothers I trained for four years. I was able to win some trophies in Kumite and Kata, during the 1972-75 Tournaments in California, Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico. I was infamously known as the first to be ‘knocked out’ when Full-Contact events started in the mid-70’s. Damn opponent kicked me with a spinning back kick, after the Referee stopped us and I was moving back to the center. He lost one point and got a warning, but I lost consciousness when my head hit the wooden floor. I came to with a very big woman Black Belt judge standing over me and pulling up on my belt to help me breath. I got up and avenged myself by continuing and scoring again, with a final score of 5-3, and reached the semi-finals.

Recently I made contact with Doug, who is still teaching with his brother at Glendora Kajukenbo, California. Kajukenbo has expanded into many states and countries. I hope to visit them when I see my father later this year.

Later, I met Mike Stone, another Hawaiian who married Priscilla Presley, widow of Elvis Presley. Mike studied under Ed Parker, then taught Elvis Presley, while he was working as his bodyguard. Elvis was able to reach Black Belt I believe.
Mike Stone had an undefeated and unmatched record of 98 tournament wins/no draws, no losses! He came to the Philippines with director Ed Murphy, and when I introduced myself I mentioned my instructor’s names. Mike welcomed me as a Hapa-Howley (Half-White) then asked me to work together as his assistant fight co-odinator on two films.
Update: I have not confirmed but it is rumored that Mike Stone is living in the Philippines...anyone confirm that>?





UeChi-Ryu is based on the Tiger, Crane, and Dragon system of Okinawan Karate. Kanbun Uechi studied Pangai-noon (half-hard, half-soft) Kung Fu under Shushiwa in the Fujian (a.k.a. Fukien) province of mainland China in the late 1800s and early 1900s. After studying 10 years under Shushiwa, Kanbun Uechi opened his own school in the province of Nanjing. Sensei George Mattson brought UechiRyu to Boston, Mass. where Sensei Robert Campbell trained under him. Photo below is from Manila Polo Club Uechi-Ryu club.


From Left: Don, Romano Kristoff, Sensei Mattson, Sensei Robert Campbell (tallest). Manila Polo Club UeChi Ryu Okinawan Karate School.

Then Romano Kristoff and I met Sensei Robert Campbell, a tall Red-haired Bostonian who had an incredible martial arts history. Bob had studied Uechi Ryu, an Okinawan Karate style in Boston, Mass. Under Sensei George Mattson for many years then travelled to Taipei, Taiwon, studied Chinese martial arts under the Taiwanese Army’s WuShu as a guest of the top Chief of Staff a four-star general. Then Sensei Campbell went to Okinawa to train at the headquarters under the top leaders of UeChi-Ryu. Sensei Campbell was the first non-Okinawan to win the championships and is currently ranked a 9th Dan Black Belt.


Group photo is from Makati shopping center where we trained before moving to the Polo Club.



Romano and I both trained for five years under him at the Manila Polo Club. We trained in one of the four main Okinawan Karate systems that are famous for being closer to Chinese origins than the Japanese martial arts. We enjoyed learning Chinese and Japanese weapons (my favorite was the Chinese long spear); Japanese iaido (fast draw with real and very sharp Katana Samurai swords) Kendo, Bo-jitsu, nunchucks (Romano was great with double ‘chucks’). We had the best students from poor to rich, sweating and training together at the Manila Polo Club school, which has unfortunately been closed. All the students have moved on in life, busy in Filipino business.

Sensei Campbell has lived in Hong Kong for the last 30 years, runs a school that also teaches the Hong Kong Police Department. His ‘daytime job’ is co-managing a large Law Firm.






Still keep in shape with Bokken….No, I do NOT hit my Korean students- with a wooden Bokken, I prefer the bamboo Shinai, just stings and leaves no brusing. LOL I AM JUST KIDDING!



"The spirit of Musashi"
A great sword master, Miyamoto Musashi developed a two-sword style of fighting and was made famous by two great works about his life. "The Way of the Sword" and "Art of War" written by Japanese author Eiji Yoshidawa. His works are sometimes compared to the "Gone with the Wind" of Japan.
The real Musashi authored "Gorin no sho" "The Book of Five Rings", his famous work on swordsmanship. I have always admired his style and self-taught disciplined training in his constant quest to improve himself and his technique. He had certainly a "Take no shit" attitude, and honed his skills from challenging adepts and famous swordsmen from the time he was 13 years old.

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