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.


June 30, 2010

BAMBOO GODS AND BIONIC BOYS: Antony Maharaj interview 2007

BAMBOO GODS AND BIONIC BOYS: Antony Maharaj interview 2007

Great man, Tony Maharaj, Indian film maker who I met in the early 80’s on Director Cirio Santiago’s films. Andrew Leavold just published an interview from 2007. Andrew has a great site for B-movie films and Trash movies some of which ‘are so bad their good’. Director Santiago and Tony Maharaj made many low budget but big bang for the buck world market films.

IMDb_Don Gordon Bell 

KingsRansom_KasGarrit_Producer_RichardHill_DonGordonBell Kaz Garas (2nd from left), Tony Maharaj (3rd) Richard Hill, Don (right) On set of “King’s Ransom”

“Final Mission”

“…The film sold everywhere in the world. Cirio Santiago was very happy, he and his investors told me that they were very happy and they thanked me. I then said to him, “You know, I like your work, why don't we make a film together?” And he said, “I'd like to.” I said, “I'll produce it, but you'll direct it.” He said, “Do you have a film in mind?” I said, “Yes, a treatment I have called Final Mission. Vestron Pictures made no hesitation, they bought Naked Vengeance sight unseen.

FinalMission_BillKipp_NickNicholson_DGBell_DavidLight_SteveRogers_PigsInSpace

Director Cirio Santiago’s “Regulars” – (l to r) Bill Kipp, Nick Nicholson, Don Gordon Bell, David Light, Steve Rogers, and of course Henry Strzalkowki (who took this shot).

4Desparados_SteveRogers_NickNicholson_DonGordonBell_HenryStrwalkowski  (L to R-Steve, Nick, Don, Henry) ‘We were thin once’.


“Naked Vengeance”

NakedVengeance_Arnie“What is your next film?” I said “Naked Vengeance”. I came back here, got together with Cirio one more time; Naked Vengeance was by this time very successful. Successful for me in a very strange way.

 

 

Don as “Ernie” one of the five rapists, all killed by their ‘comatose’ victim.

There was a rape scene in Naked Vengeance... I had seen “Straw Dogs” (1970) which was a very powerful film, and I always felt that if I ever had to do a film with a rape scene, it must be more vicious than that, but more tasteful. The first newspaper article that came out in the Arizona Herald said the rape scene in Naked Vengeance makes Straw Dogs look like Child's Play. KWB_Naked Vengeance reflections

NOTE: Though it was done professionally all the women on the crew hated us and would not speak to us ‘rapists’ for days later. It was very challenging for me, not ‘fun’ but very emotionally charged. Each of us had our own ‘demons’ in doing this scene. I have seen the director’s cut of this scene and it was powerful, vivid, and caused the “chick Revenge” genre to be reborn.

Naked Vengeance was most difficult for me to do, acting like such a monster, wondering if that evil ‘could be inside yourself’ if under too much drugs. Even in my worst days in my drug and booze period of my life, I could not see myself committing such abuses. The scene is chillingly realist, violent, full of terror, that only someone who has experience such can understand. I think women liked the revenge idea as the heroine one by one kills us. I was reduced to a human slushie. We all tried to keep it serious and professional on the set, but there were moments of lightness, I mean my only garment was a ‘jock strap’ in between scenes.

*****************************************************************

Thank you Andrew for your interview with Anthony Maharaj

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for the post, Don, really appreciate the link and sharing your memories of Naked Vengeance. You are a true Bamboo God.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Just a Bionic Boy, Andrew. Thank you for your hard work in documenting the films of the Philipines, and all wild crazy yet entertaining TRASH films.

    Be sure to check out the catalog of TRASH films. I will add the link.

    KWB

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