Category Archives: Health, Food & Sports

What Do Interracial Couples, Obama, and Oprah Have in Common?

by

PhD, LMFT

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What Do Interracial Couples, Obama, and Oprah Have in Common?

How often have you heard people say that racism doesn’t exist, or that race no longer matters—“Just look at Oprah.”  Interracial couples, a group experiencing a major growth spurt in the past decade, are frequently pointed to as evidence that racial borders or barriers no longer exist, or don’t matter.

The discourse that U.S. society is colorblind, or evolving in that direction, has become increasingly popular in recent years. Colorblind discourse is rooted in the belief that a persistent refusal to see differences in race, ethnicity, or color is: (1) humanistic (i.e., “we humans are all alike”; “there’s only one race—the human race”), and (2) socially and politically correct (i.e., one reduces the risk of being called racist if one does not see or acknowledge the importance of skin color in how people experience the world).

A colorblind stance dispatches the problem of race in one fell swoop, effectively taking those with race–based power and privilege “off the hook.”  Elaine Pinderhughes (1989) writes that this stance “protects those holding it from awareness of their ignorance of others and the necessity of exerting the energy and effort to understand and bridge the differences” (44). Perhaps it is not surprising that many white people believe that the U.S. has already become a truly color-blind nation, with national polling demonstrating that a majority of whites now believe discrimination against racial minorities no longer exists (Twine & Gallagher 2008). But can race be erased so easily?

Parallels exist between the meanings and interpretations made of the increasing rates of interracial couples in the U.S. and a major milestone in the American political scene. On November 5th, 2008, The New York Times stated, “Barack Hussein Obama was elected the 44th president of the United States, sweeping away the last racial barrier in American politics with ease as the country chose him as its first black chief executive.” Post (2009) summed up the discourse around Barack Obama’s election in the following way: “This narrative is all about race even as it makes various claims about the diminished significance of race: the prospect of racial healing, the ability of a new generation of Americans to transcend their own identity, and the emergence of a post-racial society”.

Much like the hullabaloo made over the increasing frequency and visibility of interracial couples and multiracial peoples, Obama’s election was accompanied by passionate, and premature, proclamations that racism was at an end in the U.S. After the November 2008 election, almost half of white voters (48%) and three-quarters of black voters (74%) said they expected to see race relations improve during Obama’s presidency. Voters were less effusive a year later, with a plurality of whites (45%) reporting that Obama’s election had made no difference to race relations, and 15% reporting it has made race relations worse (Pew Research Center 2010).

Taking the election of a black—black and white, in fact—chief executive as evidence that racial tension and inequality had been successfully dispatched was a quantum leap, with such an interpretation implying that no further work needed to be done in the quest for equality. The embracing of the notion of a “post-racial” U.S. in popular culture and mass media does not allow space for either acknowledgement of, or critical reflection on, racism as an ongoing phenomenon.

My question: In the age of Obama, are interracial couples and their children now blessed to live in a post-racial era where racial boundaries will simply vanish?  According to the narratives shared by my research participants, the answer is a definite “no”; perhaps, one day, it might become a “yes”.

The more pundits declare the arrival of a post-racial society, the clearer it becomes that we’re not there yet. After President Obama’s State of the Union address in January 2010, commentator Chris Matthews quipped that he “forgot he was black.” Asked to explain his comment, Matthews stated that he had meant it as a compliment to President Obama for rendering race a “non-issue”. Matthews went on to assert that Obama is “post-racial”, rendering racial debate no longer relevant.

Obama’s election, just like the rise in interracial couples, continues to be used as a trope by some to support colorblind discourse. And while Matthews insisted he meant well (i.e., a case of overt, unintentional racism), and had not intended to be offensive (i.e., “it’s not my fault if you’re offended”), others wasted no time fanning the flames of racist political discourse and disinformation following Obama’s election.

The perception of Obama’s “otherness” has actually intensified since his election (New York Times, August 19, 2010), partially due to a macro-aggressive campaign. The Pew Research Center (2010) conducted a poll that found that 18% of Americans believed two years into Obama’s presidency that he was Muslim, up from 11% after his inauguration, and 27% Americans doubted he was born in the US, and, therefore, saw his election as suspect. Protest signs seen in recent years include “Obama’s Plan: White Slavery” and posters portraying the President as Hitler, an African “witch doctor”, and the arch-villain The Joker from the Batman comics and films.

In fact, the number of racially offensive images of President Obama and his wife proliferated so rapidly that Google began running an apology associated with the image search results (Blow 2009).  The fact of President Obama does not allow us to rewrite history and remove race as a powerful organizing principle in U.S. society or even as a factor in the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections. Voting results in battleground states broke down clearly along racial lines. In the South Carolina primary, Obama won 78% of the black vote, but only 24% of the white vote (National Public Radio, January 28, 2008). Innuendos that Obama had been born in Kenya and was secretly a Muslim would never have gained currency if white persons had not experienced him as “Other”.

Vast material disparities remain between blacks and whites. The median black worker earns about $600/week, approximately 80% of the median income of white workers. The Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that black men are imprisoned at 6.6 times the rate of white men, with nearly 1 in 20 black men incarcerated. The unemployment rate for blacks is nearly twice that of whites across demographic categories (New York Times, November 9, 2009). The catastrophe that was, and is, Hurricane Katrina is yet another reminder that skin color and poverty remain markers of not only who can thrive, but who can survive (Agathangelou 2010).

Racial issues are very much still with us. And Keith Bardwell, a Louisiana justice of the peace, refused to issue a marriage license to an interracial couple out of concern for any children that the couple might have. Bardwell commented, “I’m not a racist. I just don’t believe in mixing the races that way.” So, post-racial is a ways off, and resistance and prejudice continue to be daily experiences for interracial couples and persons of color. How couples strategically respond to these acts of racism says a lot about their negotiation style, identities both as individual partners and as a couple system, and what can and cannot be talked about in this intimate context. More on this later.

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Kyle D. Killian, Ph.D., LMFT is a licensed couple and family therapist and clinical supervisor. He is the author of Interracial Couples, Intimacy & Therapy: Crossing Racial Borders from Columbia University Press. Connect with him at academia.edu (click), or via Linkedin at Kyle Killian.

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References

Agathangelou, A. M. 2010. Bodies of desire, terror and the war in Eurasia: Impolite disruptions of (neo) liberal internationalism, neoconservatism and the ‘new’  imperium.  Millennium: Journal of International Studies 38: 693-722.

Blow, C.M.  2009. Black in the age of Obama. New York Times, December 5. Retrieved January 19 2010 at http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/05/opinion/05blow.html

Pew Research Center. (2010). Blacks upbeat about Black progress, prospects: A Year After Obama’s Election. Retrieved April 24, 2010 at http://pewresearch.org/pubs/1459/year-after-obama-election-black-public-opinion

Pew Research Center. 2010b. Growing number of Americans say Obama is a Muslim. Retrieved August 19, 2010 at http://pewresearch.org/pubs/1701/poll-obama-muslim

Pinderhughes, E.  (1989). Understanding Race, Ethnicity, and Power. New York: Free Press.

Twine, F. W. & Charles Gallagher. (2008). The future of whiteness: A map of the third wave. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 31, 4-24.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2010).  Economic News Release, Table 2.  Accessed April 27, 2010 at http://www.bls.gov/news.release/wkyeng.t02.htm

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A walk far from home, a Norwegian on the Baekdudaegan

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A walk far from home, a Norwegian on the Baekdudaegan

I am a long way from home, standing at the summit of Cheonwangbong (1915m), the highest mountain on the mainland of South Korea. Home is Oslo, the capital of Norway, and I have travelled far to get to the starting point of the Baekdudaegan. The mythical ridge that forms the watershed and the spiritual backbone of Korea and home to the long-distance trail of the same name. With no skills in the Korean language, I have a daunting task ahead of me.

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For the next seven weeks, I will walk about 735 kilometres across South Korea to the pass of Jinburyeong. From there I can go no further, but the mountain ridge however, does not care for human borders. The White Head Great Ridge runs unbroken through the Korean Peninsula, all the way up to the sacred mountain of Baekdusan (2744m), situated at the border between North Korea and China. The Baekdudaegan is a spiritual heritage for the Koreans; so spiritual that according to legend, the Japanese drove spikes into the ridge to destroy its spirit under their invasions of Korea.

tarjei-photo-10Clouds surrounds the Heavenly King Peak. Guided by the ropes and fences of Jirisan National Park, I take the first steps on a journey that will lead me to the heart of the Korean people. I spend the first night on the trail at the Seseok shelter. I pay 8.000 won and in return, I receive a small space on a hard wooden platform. The night is hot and the dormitory is vibrant with snoring, sleepless in Jirisan. The clouds however, does not sleep through the night, they move on, leaving behind a ridge of emerald beauty the morning after. My adventure is off to a beautiful start.

The first days on the trail, is a hard lesson in Korean topography. The mountains here are not extremely high, but they are always undulating and are at times exceedingly steep. It is as the lifeforce, called gi, from Baekdusan flows like waves through Korea, and the trail negotiates them head on. One week of walking and I am already wondering if I am going to make it to the finish line, stumbling tired up to the summit of Baegunsan. The morning after, I crawl out of my tent to a beautiful sunrise. With thin layer of clouds floating like ethereal rivers through the valleys below, and in the horizon the mighty peak of Cheonwangbong. That is the spirit of Baekdudaegan and the price of beauty, for the Baekdudaegan will reward you for your hardship.

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Nights on the trail is mostly spent in my tent or at what the Koreans call minbak, which most closely translates as homestay, but my most haunting nights are spent in a jeongja. These are pavilions, often very ornamented, which you are allowed to sleep in once other visitors has left. After walking for two days through the beauty of Deogyusan National Park, I arrive at Bbaejae, where I sleep in the breath of clean air under the protective roof of the jeongja there. Only to be awakened up at two o’clock in the middle of the night by a bus loading off a huge group of hikers, the Bone Pass is soon teeming with headlights and voices in the dark.

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Such is often the way Koreans hike in the mountains, I meet them in both small and large groups, hiking or sitting down eating large quantities of food. Each time trying to get the formal greeting of ‘annyŏng haseyo’ pronounced correct. The meeting with the Koreans on the trail also gives me huge reasons to practice saying thanks correctly, ‘kamsahamnida’. For the hospitability I meet on the trail is a source of constant wonder. Often I am invited to sit down with them, where they eagerly share their food and drink with me, even though we do not speak each other’s languages. Other times I receive small gifts like apples and grapes, to the occasional chocolate bar pushed shyly into my hand.

At Keunjae, I arrive to the sound of children laughing; there is a kindergarden from Gimcheon there visiting the educational centre about nature and Korean culture for children at the pass. I meet Mr. Cho Byeongsam, one of the teachers at the kindergarden. We talk about me doing the Baekdudaegan and the temple of Jikjisa. Just two days earlier, I stood atop Mt. Hwangaksan looking down upon the temple grounds, with an urge to climb down to it. Then the amazing thing happens, Mr. Cho is inviting me to Gimcheon with the kindergarden, from where he and his wife, Baek Seung Hee, are driving me to the beautiful temple. What a fantastic twist of fate. Afterwards we eat dinner at a local restaurant nearby the temple, before they drive me back to a motel near Keunjae. Such a tale brought me joy on the walk, and it did not take long before I was looking forward to the next encounter with the Korean people. Just as much as I was looking forward to the next magic moment on the Baekdudaegan.

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I walk through the mesmerizing Songnisan National Park, going through fields of boulders where I have either to push or drag my backpack behind me. The descent from Daeyasan may be the most notorious single section of the Baekdudaegan, where you climb down from the summit on what is called the ‘100-meter rope’. It is a fun ride, but caution should be taken.

Outside the confines of the national parks, I follow the fluttering ribbons for guidance of where the trail goes. It is an interesting aspect of hiking here in Korea that it is the hikers themselves that are marking where the trail goes. Each ribbon carries a personal mark of the hiker, and you find them in almost all the colours of the rainbow. As I progress on the trail, I start to recognize the different ribbons, and wonders who the hiker beyond each ribbon is. Though I have to be careful following the correct ribbons, I look closely for the 백두대간 Hangeul characters denoting the Baekdudaegan. At some ancient fortress walls below Huiyangsan, I follow the wrong ribbons downwards for a long time before I become aware of my mistake, resulting in a strenuous return to the ridge.

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It takes three weeks before I get a taste of bad weather, but when it comes, it comes with a vengeance. I walk the exposed and funky ridge of Mungyeong Saejae between Ihwaryeong and Joryeong in a typhoon. Rain lashes down on me ceaselessly, as I negotiates the trail using ropes up and down huge boulders. I get soaking wet, including my boots, as the water runs down the ropes and onto my arms, and so forth made its way under my raingear. The day after was designated my first rest day.

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The Baekdudaegan is a hard walk and I feel constantly tired, but for all its tribulations, it is a rewarding rollercoaster ride. Walking through the azalea gardens of Sobaeksan National Park, which will bloom pink in the spring. Visiting the mighty temple of Buseoksa. Sitting on top of Seokbyeongsan, watching a verdant wonderland in the setting sun. Waking up early to catch the rise of the morning sun from the summit of Noinbong.

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A thunderclap salutes my entry into Seoraksan National Park with its jagged peaks and towering cliffs on the 43rd day of walking. It is raining and low clouds, with no visibility. It is a haunting walk of mysterious beauty in the beginning; through the clouds, I can see the torn landscape. Another hiker rescues the raincoat of my backpack and we keep company to the shelter of Jungcheong and the summit of Dacheonbong. Arriving at the peak, the weather has lifted and the immense beauty of Seoraksan is unveiled. I stand looking at the famous rock of Ulsanbawi, the dinosaur spine of Gongryong Neungseon, Sokcho and the East Sea. Magic. In the evening, I sit between the spines of the dinosaur and watch the lights from the squid boats out on the sea.

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Then I stumble tired down past the ghost resort below Masanbong. My sore and weary feet aches as the last few steps are taken; I can see the stele at Jinburyeong, the finishing line. I stumble out of the forest, past the last of the fluttering ribbons.

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Turning around, I can look back at 45 beautiful, but hard days on the Baekdudaegan in South Korea. Looking back at great moments in the mountains and nature, but most of all, looking back at the meeting with the Korean people. In the end, I feel that the spiritual backbone is not the ridge itself, but the people that inhabits the land on and around it.

You can read the whole story at:  http://tarjeinskrede.blogspot.no/p/baekdudaegan.html.

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Tarjei Næss Skrede, born in 1976, works as an IT Consultant at Bouvet in Oslo, Norway. He has for a long time been interested in outdoors activities and in recent years, he has grown a big interest in long distance trails. In 2013, he crossed the Pyrenees from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean on the GR10, after which he set sight on a far more exotic trail, the Baekdudaegan of South Korea.

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All the Rage: Interracial Couples in the News

by

PhD, LMFT

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All the Rage: Interracial Couples in the News

In the most recent census results, it was clear that interracial couples are a burgeoning phenomenon in the U.S., continuing to contribute to the diversity of society. Among opposite-sex married couples, one in 10 (5.4 million couples) are interracial, representing an increase of 28% since 2000.  In addition, the most recent census reported that 18% of heterosexual and 21% of gay and lesbian unmarried couples were of different races. Considering the salience of skin color in society, it is surprising that so little research and training has been devoted to race, and, more specifically, to interracial couples. Recognizing this gap, my research explores how interracial couples view themselves and the social forces that implicitly and explicitly influence partners’ perceptions and experiences. What is curious is how interracial couples are, and are not, a “big deal.”

150206-kyle-book1aFor example, a regular reader of my blog at Psychology Today posted a comment entitled “What? My Wife is White?”  George wrote, “My spouse is white and I am black. I never really think about it until I read articles like this or see characters on screen portrayed in an interracial relationship.”  George echoes an important theme of my book Interracial Couples, Intimacy & Therapy, that many interracial couples do not think about race and their differences in color and power and privilege until larger social systems, their extended families, communities, and larger society, do something or say something that raises this difference as an issue.

The partners themselves espouse a stance of colorblindness, like George, who then goes on to say, “As for the in-laws and others, they had to overcome their fears, ignorance, and exposure to something that truly did not expect or see in the world in which they were raised.”  This highlights that while many interracial couples state that race is not an issue for them, it is for other people: in-laws, persons in service professions (valets, hosts at restaurants, etc.), and strangers in public situations. At the same time, occasionally a blog reader will post a comment entitled “Zzzzz”, indicating their apparent lack of interest in the blog’s theme (which begs the question of why they were visiting the blog in the first place; but in web parlance, let’s not feed the trolls).  Interracial couples? No big deal, right?  Racism? Does that still exist?

In an attempt to reality test, I googled “interracial couples in the news” to see what I’d find from the simplest, most cursory search of the internet. I wasn’t fishing for incidents or attacks; I just inserted those five key words in the search engine. Some highlights from the first page of 1,710,000 results are as follows: “Interracial couple attacked outside Queens bar”; “Interracial couple receives racist note on Atlanta valet ticket”; “Kentucky church bans interracial couples”; “Iowa cops investigate hate crime after couple’s house burns”; “Interracial couple discriminated against in Tennessee”; and “High school teacher suspended after comment to interracial couple”.

From these news stories, not limited to southern states, it’s safe to say that interracial couples across the country do not always feel safe.  I believe that there is more work to be done in the area of race, race relations, and racism in the US.  I believe that interracial couples, in embodying racial border crossings in their movement through public spaces together, are a lightning rod for negative attention in our society; they are targets of reactivity from people who consciously and unconsciously “fragment” or break apart interracial couples so that white bodies do not move through space with black bodies due to implicit and explicit racial attitudes, and prejudice.  I think we have room to improve, and I’d like to discuss which interracial couples seem to be targets for rage, and theorize why.

Interracial couples are still a lightning rod for negative attention in U.S. society, I believe, because partners in these relationships embody racial border crossings in their movement through public spaces together. By associating with one another, traveling together, and by touching and kissing one another, they defy notions of racial purity and the principle of homogamy (the idea that happy couples must come from similar backgrounds, culturally or racially). Interracial couples are targets of reactivity from people who consciously and unconsciously fragment interracial couples, and multiracial families, so that bodies with different pigmentation do not move through space together. But which interracial couples seem to be targets for rage?
150206-kyle-book2aBack in 2013, the breakfast cereal Cheerios had an advertisement that featured a black man, a white woman, and a biracial daughter. The black man and white woman were not seen together in the same room in the commercial, and yet, the outrage over being forced to see the mere suggestion of a multiracial family was so intense that Cheerios had to disable comments on YouTube due to flurry of racist comments.

In contrast, quite a few brands over the past several years have produced commercials that feature black women with white men, but these have not caused near the stir of the Cheerios ad. Did you see the Philadelphia Cream Cheese commercial where a white man and black woman make out on the elevator going up to their apartment, and touch and kiss as they prepare (and consume, with quite a bit of gusto) dinner together?  What a good-looking, and happily cavorting, couple they made. And it didn’t seem to upset anybody. We see a rising number of commercials, and television shows, with black women-white men couples. So, why does seeing a black man with a white woman raise such rancor, but not the other combination?

From the time of the silent film Birth of a Nation (1915), small and big screens have depicted black male sexuality as dangerous threat to the chastity of white women everywhere. White males may engage in romantic relationships with women of color in television and film, but rarely if ever do we see men of color in intimate relationships with white women.  Scandal features the interracial pairing of Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) and President “Fitz” Grant (Tony Goldwyn) and audiences aren’t complaining so much about their hooking up; the only issue some viewers had is with the President’s infidelity.

So, what’s this really about? Perhaps (white) audiences see white men as interracial adventurers or colonists, going where no white man has gone before, and who can blame them?  Perhaps audiences construct them as “white knights” saving black damsels from the distress of finding, or being with, a black partner. The irony is that the white male-black female couples are far less common than the black male-white female couples, according to the U.S. Census.  Black men get together with white women far more frequently in our society, but this is not represented on our TV sets at home. Maybe folks just aren’t ready to face the facts: That black men do date and marry white women, and while the walls and foundation haven’t collapsed and crumbled as a result, the interracial revolution still will not be televised.

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Kyle D. Killian, Ph.D., LMFT is a licensed couple and family therapist and clinical supervisor. He is the author of Interracial Couples, Intimacy & Therapy: Crossing Racial Borders from Columbia University Press. Connect with him at academia.edu (click), or via Linkedin at Kyle Killian.

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10 Ways to a Healthier Life

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10 Ways to a Healthier Life

A few phrases – 10 of them – on how to maintain a good and healthy life-style, were created by a famous 16th century Korean Scholar. Without having had any first-hand knowledge related to modern medicine (roughly 500 years ago), his past statements (teachings and recommendations), looking back now, seem to be remarkably spot-on.

Translated into English, by the Kievalo Research Institute, here’s this famous scholar’s — and we will get to his name in just a minute — Top 10 List (secrets, lessons, ways, and/or teachings) for how to maintain a healthier life. Check them out. They are first shown in English; and then presented in Korean with dual use of Chinese characters for our bi-lingual readers.

Ten-Ways to A Healthier Life  (Words of Wisdom from the 16th Century)

  1. Eat less red meat; and enjoy more vegetables.
  2. Reduce the frequency of feeling anger; and enjoy laughter more often.
  3. Ride cars (horse-drawn carriages) less often; and frequently walk.
  4. Make a habit of eating smaller portions of food; and chew more before swallowing.
  5. Try to minimize deep worrying (anxiety); and increase the joy of better sleep.
  6. Decrease salt in-take; and eat more vinegar(s).
  7. Wear thinner (less) clothes (for movement); and bathe more often (for hygiene).
  8. Don’t be excessively greedy (less greedy); and perform good deeds more often.
  9. Eat less sugar; and consume more natural fruits.
  10. Be less talkative (use less words); and act (take action) more often.

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Now, the name of this scholar, who wrote these words (i.e., 10 four-lettered phrases shown above in the white box), is Yi I  (1536-1584). The way to pronounce his name is by saying the English letter “E” twice (as in saying A,B, C, D, E). Hence, his name when read (said/sounded) out loud is E-E (이이/李珥/Yi-I).

At this point, you might want to ask, how really famous was/is he? Well, this gentleman was/is so famous that his face (portrait) appears on today’s 5,000 Korean Won banknote after having passed away approximately 500 years ago – that’s how famous.

150101 health-EE-portraitWhat do you think? Not exactly Dr. (Mehmet) Oz, right? Do you see anything worthy of practice today? If you were to walk away and remember just one of them, what would that one be?

Does Number 2 —not to get angry (upset) too often, and to laugh more frequently — stick out the most? After all, there’s a saying which says that, “laughter is the best medicine,” right?  According to an article which appeared in the New York Times (September 11, 2011), Laughter produces Endorphines – which is a good thing. Next time, when you see (or pick-up) a 5,000 Korean Won banknote, would you try to think of Yi I  (E-E) and some of his sayings?

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Chinese Dinner Etiquette – 4 Key Insights for Foreign Guests

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Chinese Dinner Etiquette – 4 Key Insights for Foreign Guests

Chinese Dinner Etiquette – 4 Key Insights for Foreign Guests

Where should I sit? Who starts eating first?
Which part of the fish is considered the best?
How can I show respect when toasting with others?
Let us help you make sense of it all.

Dinners in China can be huge fun, but they’re also fraught with danger. One false move and you’ve offended people without even knowing it. Handled well, however, your local hosts will note your appreciation for Chinese customs, which gives them big face and shows you aren’t just another ignorant foreigner traipsing through China.

How important is the dining ritual to a Chinese? Even a newborn is fully booked with dinner gatherings, i.e. one-month anniversary dinner, double-month anniversary dinner, 100-day anniversary dinner, one-year birthday dinner, etc. Everything happens at the dinner table: strangers become friends, friends become enemies and enemies become friends; boyfriends are scrutinized and receive final approval to become a son-in-law; contracts for massive investments are confirmed; and agreements nearly there fall apart. All this happens against the backdrop of delicious foods, savory wines and elegant china-wares with plenty of subtlety and face guessing games.

Here are some great ways to show respect for others, plus guidelines to get you going in the right direction:

Chinese Dinners - Seating

The dance starts upon arrival, people nudging each other towards certain seats, trying to be modest and showing respect for one another. The highest seat faces the door, second best on its right, third best on its left. Don’t go there unless you are guided to do so. Play along, resist a little.

A plate of sizzling hot ribs arrives, landing directly in front of you. You’re famished. Go ahead and grab one? Not yet!

Turn the rotating table clockwise and let others (especially the top seated person) have a bite. Don’t panic, it’ll come back to you. Nobody wants to be the person taking the last piece on any plate.

Chinese Dinner Etiquette

By now, your hosts may recognize your modesty and force you to start the whole fish when it arrives on the table. Where on the fish do you dig in? General consensus holds the best is the upper belly, second best is upper back, and so on. Avoid those prime locations at first.

Chinese Dinner Etiquette - Toasting

What’s this secret game going on? The modesty dance continues! When two glasses clink, how high people hold their glasses shows hierarchy. Sometimes they go lower and lower until they crash into the table (albeit a worst case scenario). When the host toasts you, keep his glass higher.

These insights hold true at most dinners with hierarchy, such as corporate dinners with bosses, meals with clients and multi-generation family gatherings. Learn to recognize the regional variations as you progress. And among friends, all protocol often gets thrown out the window. Yeah!

Have any interesting dinner experiences to share?
We invite you to add them below for others to enjoy.
Happy eating!

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Stewart Lee Beck (李渡) is an author and the creator of China Simplified. Connect with him at cn.linkedin.com/in/stewartbeck, or visit his website at www.chinasimplified.com.

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Note: The views, services and/or experiences expressed in this Featured Post are solely those of the contributor. This featured post was first released via www.chinasimplified.com on May 10, 2014.

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Run 10k (21k) – We Run Seoul

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Run 10k (21k) – We Run Seoul

Runners, young and old, ran to finish the “Nike We Run Seoul” event on the streets of Seoul yesterday (Sunday, October 26, 2014) with an estimated 30,000 participants. The Nike “Global We Run Series” will be held in 18 cities this year worldwide – an event which has inspired athletes to shoot for, and achieve, their personal best.

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In Seoul, the 21k (black jersey) run was added to the already popular 10k (yellow jersey) run beginning this year. If you’re a runner, or someone who’s trying to get back into shape, this could be the event that you’ve been waiting for. Below is a list of the 18 cities and dates for this year.

Seoul’s first Nike “We Run” race was held in 2010. In other words, this year (2014) was the fifth straight year for Seoul to be apart of this international race event. Can’t wait until next year’s event comes around again.

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♦ Nike Global We Run Series (2014) – 18 cities and date schedule ♦

  • Aug 30: We Run Prague
  • Sept 14: We Run Moscow
  • Sept 28: We Run Istanbul
  • Oct 5: We Run Paris
  • Oct 12: We Run Milan
  • October 26: “We Run Seoul”
  • Nov 2: Soweto Marathon
  • Nov 15: We Run Monterrey
  • Nov 16: We Run Guadalajara
  • Nov 16: We Run Guatemala
  • Nov 22: We Run Montevideo
  • Nov 29: We Run Bangkok
  • Nov 30: We Run Mexico City
  • Dec 6: We Run Santiago
  • Dec 13: We Run Jakarta
  • Dec 31: We Run Rome
  • Dec 31: We Run Madrid
  • Feb 1 (2015): We Run Kuala Lumpur

♦ Related Outside Stories and External Links via the World Wide Web (Click) ♦

♦ More information on YouTube (Courtesy of GoGarr) ♦

 

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The best of “Korean Cuisines and Cooking” with Maangchi

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The best of “Korean Cuisines and Cooking” with Maangchi

One of the absolutely best and most comprehensive YouTube channels out there – dealing with home-made Korean food, eating and cooking today – is from a person who goes by the nickname of “Maangchi”. Who is Maangchi (you ask)? Well, if you haven’t heard of “Maangchi” (and/or her YouTube channel) yet – now you have.

Maangchi (meaning “hammer” in Korean) had first posted a short clip of herself cooking Korean food on YouTube on April 9, 2007 – just for fun. Now a few years later, voila, she’s racked up over 421,000 subscribers; and a total of slightly under 47 million hits (views) and 218 uploaded videos so far – impressive numbers.

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The best part, about her videos, is that they’re all produced in English – so you can understand and catch her recipes. Her channel is all about cooking, eating, and enjoying Korean cuisine with family and friends.

If you’re someone who had once lived in South Korea and now have returned back to your home country — or if you’re a Korean person, for example, studying or living abroad without somebody to help you cook — Maangchi, and her cooking videos, could be of value to you and your tummy.

As you listen to (and watch some of) her videos, you’ll feel a level of excitement and Maangchi’s enthusiasm peppered with a special passion for further flavor. Her love for sharing and cooking Korean food is so far unparalleled on YouTube.

♦ Sampler: How to Make Bibimbap (on YouTube by Maangchi) ♦

Here’s a sample of one of many Maangchi’s online cooking lessons. This particular video deals with making “Bibimbap” or better yet “Bi-Bim-Bap”.

♦ Say it: How to say “Bibimbap” in Korean (on YouTube by Maangchi) ♦

Not only does Maangchi share with you her recipes, she also helps us pronounce Korean food names properly so that you’ll be able to “order” the food at a Korean restaurant without getting the orders mixed-up. Here’s her lesson on how to say (and write) Bibimbap in Korean:

♦ Learn more about “Maangchi” ♦

You can learn more about Maangchi, and cooking Korean food, by visiting her website  –  click HERE.

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The G2G Ultra – running 170 miles (273 km) from the Grand Canyon to the Grand Staircase

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The G2G Ultra – running 170 miles (273 km) from the Grand Canyon to the Grand Staircase

In this year’s 2014 “Grand to Grand Ultra” event, 107 runners representing 23 countries gathered in the United States to run the 273 km (170 miles) ultra-marathon race in seven-days (six-stages). In addition to its sheer distance, the race covers a mix of 5,596 meters (18,359 feet) of vertical (upward) climb and, in all, a total of 4,580 meters (15,026 feet) in terms of descent.

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Runners must carry all of their provisions (except water) while running across (and over) grass, sand dunes and rocky canyon terrain. The Grand to Grand gets its name because it begins from the Grand Canyon while it ends at the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, which is on the southern edge of Bryce Canyon.

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One of the 79 finishers this year (2014) was Hyun-Suk Kim of South Korea (male, age 49). He was one of 4 participants from East Asia. During the 2013 race, there were 2 participants from Japan, and for the inaugural 2012 ultra race, 7 South Koreans had completed this event. Remarkably, one of the South Koreans, during 2012, was a person who was blind. He had covered the full 273 kilometer race with a good friend who led him the entire way.

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The length of each stage and an elevation chart is provided below to give you a better feel and appreciation for this ultra-marathon.

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♦ Registration for Grand to Grand Ultra 2015 ♦

To learn more or to register for next year’s “Grand to Grand Ultra 2015” – please click HERE.

♦ Related Outside Stories and External Links via the World Wide Web ♦

♦ More Information via YouTube ♦

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Asian Games: Incheon 2014 (Final Results)

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Asian Games: Incheon 2014 (Final Results)

The 17th Asian Games were held in Incheon, South Korea with 45 nations and 9,501 athletes participating in 439 events. The games were declared open on 19 September 2014 and closed on 4 October 2014.

Historically, the 1st Asian Games was held in New Delhi in 1951 with a total of 11 nations and 489 athletes participating in the inaugural event. Since then, only a handful of cities have hosted the Asian Games. These cities are: (1) New Delhi, (2) Manila, (3) Tokyo, (4) Jakarta, (5) Bangkok, (6) Tehran, (7) Seoul, (8) Beijing, (9) Hiroshima, (10) Busan, (11) Doha, (12) Guangzhou and (13) Incheon.

The next 18th Asian Games will be held in Jakarta (Indonesia) come 2018. The last time Jakarta had hosted the Asian Games was in 1962 – more than 50 years ago. Thus, there will be great excitement to see the games being held in the great city of Jakarta once again. The Asian Games, by the way, have been previously held in Bangkok (Thailand) four times which is the most for any Asian city.

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In terms of medal count, China came in 1st; South Korea was 2nd; and Japan rounded-up the Top 3 in 3rd position.

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The MVP (Most Valuable Player) of the 2014 Incheon Asian Games award was given to Kosuke Hagino (Age 20) of Japan for his tremendous 7-for-7 medal performance in swimming. Overall, Hagino had won 4 Gold medals while beating out such internationally acclaimed competitors as Tae-Hwan Park (S. Korea) and Sun Yang (China).

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♦ Related Outside Stories and External Links via the World Wide Web ♦

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4 Things You Should Give Up To Be Happy

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4 Things You Should Give Up To Be Happy

140808tnagtz03Here are four things that you can let go of that will make you a happier, more peaceful person by the time you hit the sack tonight:

1) LET GO OF THE NEED TO IMPRESS OTHERS

If you’re a human being, chances are you care about what other people think of you. After all – we are naturally social creatures! But if you find yourself spending too much of your time, money or energy trying to impress other people and get their approval, you’re not being true to YOU.

There’s no need to try and be something you’re not, because who you are right now is FABULOUS! Focus instead on living the most authentic version of yourself. When you fully embrace who you are and share it with others, you’ll find that people will appreciate how REAL you are and will flock to you effortlessly.

2) LET GO OF THE NEED TO BE RIGHT

Sometimes when we feel we’ve been mistreated or misunderstood by someone, we can get caught up into wanting that person to admit they’ve wronged us. And we want an apology! Or at least acknowledgement that we are right and they’re wrong.

The problem is that not all human beings see things from the same perspective. In your world, you’re right… but in their world, so are they. There are definitely times where an apology is necessary. But most other times, rather than allowing feelings of negativity to take root inside you and start spilling over into other areas of your life, it may be best to ask yourself this:

“Do I want to be right? Or do I want to be happy?”

Often it’s just our ego that keeps us holding on to past resentments and upsets. Instead, consider letting go of the desire to be right and you’ll find you’ll instantly restore happiness and contentment in your life.

3) LET GO OF THE DESIRE TO GOSSIP

I’ve heard it said that gossip is just a cheap way to make yourself feel good, and I have to agree. We all know that gossiping about other people is… well, not so good. But when the people around you are doing it, it can be easy to slip into doing it, too! Consider though that the quality of your life depends on the quality of the conversations you have.

If you want to live a more fulfilling life, start by embracing the power of your word. Your voice is powerful! And what you have to say makes a difference. Be committed to having more positive conversations about things that matter… not people… and you’ll be surprised how quickly you’ll brighten your outlook on life.

4) LET GO OF THE PAST

It’s easy to dwell on the past, especially when the future is so unknown! Looking to the past can feel safe… we know what has happened and we know what we could do to change things… if only we had the chance. The truth is, though, that you never will have the chance to change the past. Not unless scientists finally invent a time machine.

Your past has served its purpose – it’s brought you to the place you are today and made you the person you are now. And who you are right now is absolutely perfect. Be grateful for your experiences, but know that NOW is all you have. So do your best to enjoy each moment. Give yourself the gift of being present!

To your everlasting happiness . . .

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Tana is an internationally-recognized reality star, American business woman, professional speaker, author, radio talk show host, and business coach.  She attracted national attention for her appearance on NBC’s “The Apprentice” with Donald Trump. Tana was also known as a finalist in another hit reality show “Fear Factor”, as well as the spokesperson for numerous products.

Today Tana is seizing opportunities and sharing her tips on how to succeed in business and in life as an accomplished professional speaker who educates, motivates, and inspires people to take immediate action through her highly energetic presentations. She gets employees fired up to go back to work and dig deeper for greater results professional and personal results. To learn more, visit her website at Hey Tana (www.heytana.com). Connect with her at us.linkedin.com/in/tanagoertz/

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 Note: The views, services and experiences expressed in this Featured Post are solely those of the contributor.

 

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