Tag Archives: sexuality

What the world has become of?


Some thoughts on student suicide at Rutgers

I think many people already know about a student’s suicide in Rutgers University.  This is sad, but I bet we all knew this coming at some point.  This reminds me of a similar incident in Korea about 4-5 years ago.  A 15 years old boy distributed pictures of his girlfriend naked and having sex with him over internet.  I can’t recall whether he was charged or not.  Fortunately, on this case, many people who actually downloaded the pics condemned him, found all of his personal information and spread it.  And the girl didn’t really know how serious it was.  No one knows what they are up to now – typical in Korea, you just hush-hush on things like this.

There was bullying back in my school days, too.  Call me pessimist, but I don’t think we, the human race, can ever get over the bullying completely.  It’s in our blood – our social animal blood.   Social animals isolate and attack someone who are not like us.  Furry Persian cats avoid, and sometimes even attack their fellow cat who is shaved off.  Macaques and Chimpanzees are known to pick on a weak member of their group, and sometimes lynch the member to death – and when lynching, they make sure everyone take at least one hit on the victim.

So am I saying that Clementi deserved it and bullying is just fine? No, hardly. I am scared.  I am scared to see how the increasing number of people do not stop and think about the consequences of their action, and unable to picture the very same thing can happen to them.  Ability to do that, I believe, is what distinguishes human from others.  You can’t help disliking someone (which is natural, I believe).  There are some people who just don’t click with you, no matter what you do.  You don’t have to try too hard to love everyone.  And sometimes you just have to bash-talk about people you don’t like for your mental health.  You are free to not like someone, but that doesn’t mean you get to humiliate and tear that person apart.

But that really doesn’t mean a person you dislike, or don’t really agree with, has to be humiliated by having their most private moment exposed without their consent.  NO.  How would you feel if someone you are unaware of dislike you, thus live-broadcast you masturbating?  I really don’t know where the world is heading, or what it has become.

I’m not a romantic idealist (maybe you already figured that out by reading my posts on blog).  I don’t really believe in so-called clean-cut good, bad, moral and civility.  Moral/civility to me, like Murakami Ryu once said, is “something that we agreed to not do to each other that none of us wants to be done on ourselves…why do we all agree that Nazi’s persecution on Jews was evil?  Because, none of us don’t want to be forced to scrape floor or dragged into gas chamber or have our head shaved just because of our skin color or biological background by some others.”

Maybe Ravi and Wei were homophobes.  Maybe they did it just for a “good fun, like everyone else in college.”  But had they stopped for a moment, and asked themselves whether they would be fine to have their sexual intercourse live-broadcasted over the campus by others, they might have made a different choice; and Clementi might not have taken his life at age 18.

PS: This reminds me a lot of my life in dormitory.  This partly explains why I always distanced myself from fellow dorm residents, yet not far enough to make enemy.  Someone might not like me and there are people who will take advantage of me if given a chance, whether they like me or not.  I had some people I did not like, but figured out I can’t really do anything about it, let alone have to face them at least once a day.  Best solution: leave them be, just say hi with some fake smiles.  If you have to bad-mouth him/her, go ahead for the sake of your mental health, but make sure you do that with someone who is on your side yet has no connection with your community.   When needed, take your revenge but subtle enough that you are not into trouble, but showing you are not that nice.  That way, I was able to keep myself away from troubles and survive.

My best friend’s coming out


“I wanted to tell you this earlier, actually on off-line face-to-face meeting.  I actually tried to say this in person during the summer when we were hanging out.  I’ve been dating a girl.”

For about 4-5 seconds, I was dumbfounded.

“What about your boyfriend whom you talked about?”

“Well, that ‘boyfriend’ was in fact a girl.  I’m really sorry.”

Here she was, my best friend whom I’ve known since high school, now saying that she is a sexual minority.  Yes I was surprised, but it did not come to me as a massive shock.  We have known each other for a long time.  We talked a lot.  We hung out a lot.  We spent so much time together. I know what she likes and doesn’t like.  She knows the same about me.  We hold similar values in life, and we have similar way of thinking and problem solving.  So only thing that’s changed about her is, her “boyfriend” is in fact a “girlfriend.”  Other than that, she’s still the person I used to know.

“O rly?”

“You are not surprised?”

“I was a bit, but not that much.  It’s not that something I can persuade you to change.  On the top of that, I’ve known you for a long time and you are still my good friend.  Why didn’t you tell me before?”

“Not a lot of people are cool about it like you.”

The o-holy Beatles said, "All you need is love."

Not sure about all the details, but back in the highschool she did not know she was a sexual minority.  She claims that she started to vaguely realize about her sexuality in college.  Though she is sure that she is sexual minority, she’s unsure whether she’s bisexual or homosexual.  This I cannot advise, because I am a straight and have not experienced anything that is uniquely related to the homosexual people.  I suggested her to join her college’s GLBT student club and get a counseling.   She agreed to get a counseling some time, but she is afraid of joining the GLBT club – like myself, she’s Korean and she is more included to the Korean student society in her campus than I did.  Joining her school’s GLBT club might cause her a massive trouble in the Korean student society.  Moreover, doing so might cause further trouble with her parents.  Her parents are not fully aware of their daughter’s sexuality yet.  But for sure, her parents – especially her mom – has VERY negative idea of sexual minority.

Living as a GLBT is a tough thing even in US.  South Korea is even more closed society to GLBT people when compared to US.  Many people still think sexual minority is some kind of mental disease and is disgusting.  Some people who came out as GLBT is not considered as a serious full member of this society.  What really worries me is that my friend plans to come back to Korea so she can go to medical school here.  Being a straight woman, I cannot imagine what kind of hardship she will go through from now on – all I know is that whether she comes out or not, both paths will be incredibly difficult and challenging for her.

To be honest, it is a whole new experience to me, too.  I know several GLBT people among my acquaintances and classmates.  Since we were not that close, the whole GLBT issue was out of my radar.  But now my best friend being a member of GLBT, the whole issue comes to me as a new level.  I will be very upset if she is picked on or not granted any of the rights that are enjoyed by other citizens just because she is in love with a woman.  Now I have another goal on my career (if I can continue it as a HR professional): I want to change the Korean firms, or any other firms to be more open and accepting to foreigners, TCKs and sexual minorities. If a person is a great engineer or manager yet denied from the position or unable to work due to his/her coworkers treat them awfully, just because of his sexual preference and/or cultural background, that is not fair; that is a great loss for the employer too.  They don’t get to bloom their talents and benefit others.  My friend is extremely talented when it comes to biology, math, and chemistry.  If she doesn’t get to use her talent because she is homosexual/bisexual, that is a great loss for everyone.  That’s an unfair game.

Back to my friend – since she was really not comfortable about joining the GLBT club on campus, I highly recommended her to visit counselor.  It will be a long, tought journey for her to be herself: and as a straight friend, all I can do is to stand by her side no matter what.  I just wish what is the best for her and her future.