The Baby Box: Hope for Abandoned Babies of South Korea

Things on the internet go viral for a reason.

Videos of puppies and babies go viral because the cuteness appeases us. Controversial news goes viral because, as much as we hate to admit it, we’re pulled in by the drama.  Ridiculous music videos go viral because we all like a good laugh once in a while.

But every now and then, amidst my corgi-filled newsfeed, I come across something amazing. Because sometimes things don’t go viral simply because its cute or dramatic or funny. Sometimes, things go viral because we understand that people should know about it.

This is one of them.

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South Korean pastor, Lee Jong-rak, decided that he would create a solution for the hundreds of babies—many with mental and physical disabilities—who are abandoned in the streets of South Korea.  The pastor created a “Baby Box” where mothers can leave their unwanted children. Pastor Jong-rak  points out that mothers who have no where to turn sometimes end up with the idea to poison their baby rather than have their child endure a life of struggle. The “Baby Box”, he argues, would be a much better alternative for desperate mothers.

The inside of the box contains a thick towel covering the bottom, and lights and heating to keep the baby comfortable.  A bell rings when someone puts a baby in the box, alerting Jong-rak, his wife, or staff associates to come immediately and move the baby inside.  Although the paster originally believed many mothers would not turn to the “Baby Box”, he was mistaken. His house now doubles as an orphanage.

Often times, the pastor doesn’t even get a glimpse of the mothers who leave their babies in the box. Other times, the mother gives him a tearful apology. One single mother left this note with her baby. The english translation follows.

“My baby! Mom is so sorry.
I am so sorry to make this decision. 
My son! I hope you to meet great parents, and I am very, very sorry . 
I don’t deserve to say a word. 
Sorry, sorry, and I love you my son. 
Mom loves you more than anything else. 
I leave you here because I don’t know who your father is. 
I used to think about something bad, but I guess this box is safer for you. 
That’s why I decided to leave you here. My son, Please forgive me.”

Filmmaker Brian Ivie heard the inspirational story and travelled over to South Korea to make his documentary Drop Box. During an award acceptance speech for the documentary, Ivie explains that seeing the babies dropped off changed his life.

Although it has already been a few years since pastor Lee Jong-rak began the “Baby Box”, this story is now finally receiving the recognition it deserves.

Things on the internet go viral for a reason. Every now and then, I’m thankful for this.

 

This Will Shock You: Salary Difference Between Male and Female Doctors

As women, we’d like to think we can bridge every gender gap there is. There have been more women striving for executive positions and more women in careers which were, back in the day, deemed too physically rigorous for the female body.  More and more, women are demanding leading positions to prove that we are just as capable as anyone else.

Which is why its alarming to discover that on average, female doctors make about $50,000 less than male doctors. Research from the Journal of the American Medical Association show that instead of moving forward, the gender pay gap in health-care fields have grown within the past decade.

The Washington Post notes, “In the late 1980s, male physicians earned $33,840, or 20 percent, more in annual salary than their female counterparts. By the late 2000s, that grew to a 25.3 percent gap, a difference of $56,019 per year. The same trends showed up among dentists and physician assistants, but not pharmacists or health insurance executives.”

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Although nearly 50% of US medical students are female, the difference in salary is far from equal. The study noted that one of the larger factors of salary was dependent on what type of doctor one became. For instance, specialists, such as surgeons, typically earn significantly more than primary care providers. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, more than half of the country’s pediatricians are women, but fewer than 10%of orthopedic surgeons are women. And even without taking specialities into account, women still earn significantly less than their male peers.

So what is it? Do women unknowingly choose lower-paying specialties? Are women groomed into choosing particular careers over others? (Similar to the lack of women engineers due to the fact that we never grew up with engineering as a career option.) Women certainly work just as hard as men and are just as deserving.

Tell us what you think below.

 

Solve Your Love, Trust and Relationship Issues with … a Spray Bottle?

Love complications, sticky situations, and trust issues. Yes, here at Audrey, we’ve come across a fair share of these unfortunate relationship stories from both personal experience and everyday chit-chat with others.

So we started thinking. Wouldn’t it be great if there was some sort of magical solution to it all? If there were a product we could purchase and no longer fear our trust issue’s worst nightmare? Wouldn’t it be great to just be able to have some sort of control over love and trust?

Then we found exactly what we imagined. No, not magic. Apparently, the product we’ve been looking for is available thanks to science.

Vero Labs brings us Liquid Trust.  The website claims,

“Liquid Trust Enhanced has been specially designed to give a boost to the dating and relationship area of your life. This upgraded formula still contains the same great Oxytocin formula, but now includes the powerful pheromones Androstenone and Androsterone.

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Apparently the formula is laced with oxytocin- a hormone our body naturally creates. The idea is that the hormone promotes social interaction. Oxytocin is produced in the brain’s hypothalamus, which regulates emotion and is believed to be key in pair-bonding.

The website claims “Without realizing why, the people around you have a strong feeling of trust. They can’t explain it, but you know that Liquid Trust is doing its magic!”

Skeptical? Suspicious? We certainly are. But like us, Thought Catalog‘s Mélanie Berliet was filled with curiosity. After ordering a bottle herself, her results were what we expected: inconclusive.

Did Liquid Trust really help her get a deal on new shoes and have a great night in with her boyfriend? Or was the spray simply implementing a placebo effect and giving her the confidence to do these things? We may never know- the bottle ended up in the trash after all.

A product like this can create a whole world of progress. Berliet points out that it can “help those afflicted with social phobias, autism or Williams syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that leads children to approach strangers indiscriminately.” But on the other hand, it has commercial exploitation written all over it.

With the experiment behind her and the bottle in the trash, Berliet realized that even if the spray did work, do we really want to alter someones internal chemistry and redirect their emotions so inorganically?

We’re gonna go ahead and stick to the old-fashioned way.

 

Illustrator Kazu Kibuishi Creates New HARRY POTTER Covers

One of the biggest fears that Harry Potter fans face is the end of the fandom. With the final book and the final movie behind us, what more is there to look forward to?

Yes, we will no longer have to worry about finding our way to Orlando since the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, also known as the “Harry Potter theme park”, is being built in Universal Studios in Hollywood. And yes, there are now stores dedicated to the fandom sprouting up everywhere such as Whimsic Alley. And yes, sites such as Pottermore continue to give us new information provided from J.K. Rowling herself.

But is it enough to keep our Potter-fan hearts satisfied? Apparently not.

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Thankfully, creators seem to be well aware of our yearning and continue to appease us. For instance, in honor of the 15th anniversary of J.K. Rowling’s series release in the U.S., Scholastic released newly-designed paperbacks available individually and in a box set.

Eisner Award-nominated comic book artist and author Kazu Kibuishi designed the new covers. Kibuishi spoke with Bookish to discuss the pressure and honor of being chosen to do such a task:

Bookish: What are you most excited about regarding the Harry Potter covers?

Kazu Kibuishi: That I’m done? [Laughs.] I’m excited to go back to work on my own book, but at the same time, as far as the reveals go, I’m of course excited to see how people react. I’m actually most excited to see what people think of the entire set, because that’s really how I was looking at the whole thing. I’m really excited to see what people think of the back covers because that’s something I think that’s going to be unexpected. That was a last-minute thing I threw in there. I wasn’t sure if Arthur [Levine, vice president and editorial director of Arthur A. Levine Books] was going to go for it, but I said, “This is the way to go!” There’s a surprise.

A lot of people have asked me to talk about Mary Grand Pré’s work, and I keep telling them, “Look, we wouldn’t know Harry Potter without the scenes she envisioned.” She had the most difficult task of defining the look of Harry Potter. She has a tremendous amount of influence over what I do and what everyone else does [with the series] from here on out. I tell everyone, my job is easy compared to what she had to do. My job is to be a historian and take a look at how we perceive Harry Potter–how Mary actually designed it, and also to find some way to re-introduce it to the readers that I already have on my books. How would my readers want to move into reading this kind of fiction? I would take something from Harry Potter that I think my kids would want to see.

 

Bookish: Describe the moment when you first knew that this would be your next project.

 

Kibuishi: [Graphix editorial director] David [Saylor] came to me and asked me. I was kind of surprised, like anyone else would’ve been–“I’m the cartoon guy. Why would you want me to do it?” He had a poster of one of my “Flight” covers on the wall, and he said that when he looked up at that, he thought, “That’s what we should do.” It was actually really good to know that, because the Chamber of Secrets cover was actually influenced quite a bit by the Flight Volume 3 cover on his wall.

 

I’m also a writer. I actually have people do this kind of [illustration] work for my books. [Laughs.] I tell them, “Can you make those backgrounds look better?” I’m the guy who draws less and less on my own books.

 

Bookish: Which project are you returning to now that these covers are finished?

Kibuishi: “Amulet”–that’s my full-time job. I believe a lot in focusing on just a few things. When David came to me to do [Harry Potter], I initially thought, “I don’t know about that.” For one, that’s a lot of responsibility, and I have my own series to focus on. It took a while for me to realize it would make sense for me to try it. Once I decided that, I gave it my all while bidding for it. I showed them my sample images and said, “I’m going to take a very different approach because I’m an author, and I think I can empathize with J.K. Rowling a little more than the designers can. I know what she deals with when she’s sitting in her room, and I know what she deals with when she goes to the schools–I do all those same things.” I’m in a unique position to be able to empathize with how I want to see my series reinterpreted.

Bookish: What are you most excited about while working on the new “Amulet” volume?

Kibuishi: One of the things I’ve done is set up a mythology that allows me to be very flexible. Every time I do a book, I feel like I’m on a new adventure. I kind of like not knowing some things. I trust my process enough that I just fall into the story. I let the characters take me somewhere.

Bookish: Do you outline?

Kibuishi: I do outline, but I only use those as signposts that tell me, “You have to go in that direction, you have to be done here,” and then I let the characters do the rest of the work. I’m excited to see what the characters do, because I’m putting them in a really crazy situation.

Bookish: Over the course of your life, what’s the book you’ve most often recommended to people, and why?

Kibuishi: I have recommended Harry Potter a lot. People will ask what my favorite books are; my quick answer is that three books are my favorite: Cannery RowThe Old Man and the Sea and The Time Machine by H.G. Wells. That’s my triumvirate; every time I make a book, I’m chasing those three books. I’m trying to replicate the feeling I get from those three books and combine it with all the fun, cartoony stuff.

Bookish: Is there something about those three novels that complement one another?

Kibuishi: They’re very much like graphic novels because of the length; they’re very short. I like writers who write for the memory of the reading experience and not so much for the time that it takes to read it. I think the best writers can create a memory that stays with you for a long time. It doesn’t matter if it’s only one page long or 500 pages long. As long as that memory can hold, you’ve created literature in somebody’s mind.

 

When I draw my books and I know I only have 200 pages to work with and it’s going to be a very short time–I have only a half hour to an hour and a half with somebody–then it has to be about the memory that I create and not the story that I’m writing. The story’s only a tool to create the memory.

 

Bookish: Would you say that with graphic novels, it’s specific pages or images that stick in a reader’s mind?

 

Kibuishi: I encapsulate a moment. I look at the moment and say, “I want you to remember that moment really, really well,” so I will write to make that happen. I think that’s why [kids] like the “Amulet” books, because it holds. For me, as a young reader, it wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy reading when I started; it was that I didn’t understand a lot of it, so it didn’t hold. Then, when I read books that were clear enough for me–they didn’t necessarily have to be short, just clear enough–the memory held.

 

The Phantom Tollbooth is a fantastic example: The combination of Jules Feiffer’s images and Norton Juster’s writing created really clear images in my brain about the space, and I wanted to revisit it. Chris van Allsburg’s drawings create memories that don’t leave your head. Harry Potter has that, as well: You remember the moments and the spaces and the places.

 

Bookish: When you recommend Harry Potter often, is it in response to a specific request from people, or is it just your go-to?

 

Kibuishi: When I recommend Harry Potter, often it’s to somebody who doesn’t always read. It’s something that will introduce them to a great story. They’re going to read it and say, “Hey, I really enjoy reading!”

There’s more difficult fiction that I would recommend to some [more experienced] readers who want that special book. My wife is like that; she loves Philip Pullman [and "His Dark Materials"]. It’s like Harry Potter, but there’s a different flavor. For some of my friends, Ursula K. Le Guin is the way to go. I try to find the book that would mean so much to that person if they’re that kind of reader. But… I think books like Harry Potter and “Amulet” were made for the kids who didn’t find an interest in [reading]. They will move on to all sorts of wonderful things that we can point them to.

 

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This article originally appeared on Bookish.com

 

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THIS IS TOO CUTE: Top Ten Asian Babies With Puppies

There are a few things in life that can lift up my spirits no matter how bad my day may be. On this list, easily, are puppies and Adorable Asian Babies. A quick scroll through any of my social media sites and I guarantee you that I will come across both of a these a number of times within a single day.

As it turns out, you all like cute things just as much as I do. So if you’re having a bad day, we have just the thing for you.

What could possibly be better than puppies or cute babies? How about puppies AND adorable Asian babies. (Yes, we’re being cheesy and we took it there, but lets be honest- you’re gonna look through these pictures anyway.)

Here are some of our favorite puppy/Asian Baby combos!

1) The Cuteness Competition
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2) The Moment When Puppies Save a Baby From Falling
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3) OmNomNom Baby
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4) Man’s, I Mean Baby’s Best Friend
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5) So Cute We’ll Make An Exception About The Puppy
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6) Proud Royal Steed
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7) The Wrinkly and The Not-so-wrinkly
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8) The Pillow Pet
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9)We Would Be Excited Over Panda-Puppy Too
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10) The Fuzzy-Wuzzy Dog
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(Photo Source 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8)

Amy Yakima & Alex Wong Perform BOLLYWOOD on ‘So You Think You Can Dance’

Its always quite a delight to see Bollywood as a dance style featured on such a mainstream dance show as So You Think You Can Dance. Not only is it a representation of beautiful Asian dance, its also just incredibly fun to watch.

Last night, the final 6 dancers of So You Think You Can Dance Season 10  gave it their all in hopes of claiming a spot in the finale. The judges have raved that this group of finalists is quite possibly the best they’ve seen yet. Admittedly, I had high expectations.

Luckily, they didn’t disappoint.

19-year-old Ukrainian jazz dancer, Amy Yakima was given Alex Wong as a partner to perform a Bollywood-style dance.

This is a big deal. 23-year-old Wong was a previous contestant on SYTYCD, but injured his Achilles tendon during rehearsals of his Bollywood number with Adechike Torbert, and was unable to perform. As it turned out, the injury required surgery and at least 3 months recovery time. Wong was forced to to withdraw from the competition.

Needless to say, everyone was holding their breath during this performance. We can only imagine the fear that Wong must have felt having to perform the very same style that took him out of the competition a few years ago.

Luckily, the performance was a success. Following a standing ovation from the judges, the two dancers were showered with compliments for their physically intense number. The performance was so well done that Amy secured her spot for the finals.

Check out the fun performance below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NWQeUqWfWhc#t=16

Asians in Fashion | EXO-K for Ivy Club Autumn 2013

With the rise of EXO’s popularity, we can confidently say that  Ivy Club made quite a good decision to have the boys model and endorse their Autumn 2013 look.

Already strong in their “school-boy” concept, EXO looks even more adorable in this fashion line. September is near and “back to school” is here. In case you’re not excited for the new school year, check out EXO-K sporting Ivy League’s Autumn 2013 Schoolboy look. Trust us, its sure to brighten up your day.

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Check out more of their looks here.

KCON 2013 | Proof That Kpop is Not Just For Koreans

I first became interested in Kpop with the release of DBSK’s Hug in 2004. Like any young fangirl, I blew up my social media sites with pictures and videos of my newfound love. At the time, however, I received an overwhelming amount of criticism from friends:

“But you’re not Korean?”
“Why are you into this? You don’t even speak Korean.”
“Korean music is really weird.”
“But you don’t understand what they’re saying.”

Fast forward 9 years and the rise of Kpop has become a world-wide phenomenon. The very same people who questioned my interest towards Kpop were jamming to Big Bang and now criticizing me instead for not hearing the latest song a week after its release.

The point is, times have changed and this weekend was quite the eye opener. I realized that a lot of my non-Korean friends were fans of Kpop, but when a Korean co-worker said, “Most of the hardcore fans are not actually Korean Americans,” I assumed she was joking.

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I was obviously proved wrong.

This past weekend was the 2nd annual KCON- a Kpop music festival held in the United States which presents an opportunity for American fans to come together and share their love for Korean Music. I expected the crazy fangirls, the intense cosplay, the neon-colored fan signs, and the korean food galore. What I didn’t expect, and was pleasantly surprised to discover, was the cultural diversity of the event.

Upon entering the festival, I was met with a sea of color. No, not the bright pink Mnet bags and the neon green Bibigo balloons. The palette of ethnicities was beyond impressive. Because of my initial experience with Kpop, I had expected this festival to largely consist of Koreans along with a handful of Pan-Asians. I assumed that I would meet the same criticism that my friends initially gave me about not being able to understand the language, but a visit to the dance workshop area proved otherwise.

The stage was covered with Caucasians, Latinos, African Americans, and various other non-Asian folk. Not only did East Asians show their presence, but Southeast Asians and South Asians did as well. Fans who clearly stated they were not Korean were singing every single word of their favorite songs and impressively showcasing the intricate dance moves to these songs. Yes, these fans took time out of their lives to memorize lyrics to Korean songs without actually knowing Korean. Now that’s dedication.

The more time I spent at the festival, the more I came across cultural diversity. I came across a Caucasian man (well into his 30s) who excitedly purchased a heart-shaped fan with the pictures of 2am printed on it. I came across a group of Latina girls sporting G-Dragon hats, shirts, and even sneakers. I came across a non-Asian boy (who couldn’t have been older than 12) perform the choreography of Growl so well that even EXO would have been impressed.

I came out of this KCON experience realizing that the beauty of this festival was not in the performers and the pretty concert. The beauty was in the fans who attended. Never once was anyone criticized for their racial background or their inability to speak Korean. This was a place for fans, whatever color that may be, to get together and celebrate their fandom. This was a place where it didn’t matter where you came from and how you looked — you were accepted because you loved the same thing.

As Korean American rapper, Dumbfounded, mentioned during his panel “Asian Americans in Hip-Hop”, Kpop is special because of the different kinds of people it can bring together. Clearly, Kpop should be applauded for the array of fans it has been able to captivate.

Good job, Kpop, you’re doing it right.

How NOT To Deal With Racism: Bobby Jindal Talks ‘Hyphenated Americans’

Bobby Jindal, the current Governor of Louisiana and the Chairman of the Republican Governors Association, recently wrote a story on race for Politico, an American political journalism organization.

“Scan the news on any given day in America, and you will invariably find multiple stories about race, racism, ethnicity, and race relations,” Jindal writes,  “We can’t seem to get enough of this topic, and correspondingly, the media appetite for all things race-related is unquenchable.” I nodded my head to this. After all, when you write for  an Asian-American Women’s Magazine Publication, how can you not pay attention to race?

He then continued to point out that we ought to be judged by our character instead of the color of our skin. He notes that humans are shallow to think of others in terms of their skin color. Again, I found myself nodding in agreement. I can’t even count the number of times we’ve found ourselves angry at being associated with stereotypes simply because we’re Asian.

But then his opinion piece starts taking an abrupt turn. “Yet we still place far too much emphasis on our “separateness,” our heritage, ethnic background, skin color, etc.” Jindal writes, “We live in the age of hyphenated Americans: Asian-Americans, Italian-Americans, African-Americans, Mexican-Americans, Cuban-Americans, Indian-Americans, and Native Americans, to name just a few. Here’s an idea: How about just “Americans?” That has a nice ring to it, if you ask me. Placing undue emphasis on our “separateness” is a step backward.”

Wait, what?

He ends his piece by stating, “We are all created in the image of God — skinny, fat, tall, short, dark, light, whatever. Who cares? What does it matter? It’s time to get over it. It’s time for the end of race in America. Now that would be progress.”

This is the point where we shake our heads in a very frustrated no. Our culture is a very very big part of our identity and its most definitely something we can’t ignore. Yes, I consider myself an Asian-American, or according to Jindal a “hyphenated American”, because I choose not to lose any more of my already blurry cultural identity. I choose to be a “hyphenated American” because even if we wanted to go along with the unrealistic belief that all Americans are treated equally, how can we possibly ignore all the racial slurs and all the racial stereotyping? How is ignoring a problem the solution to solving it?

While I agree that in an ideal world, judgement would be based on character as oppose to the color of one’s skin, the idea of being completely “color-blind” is not the solution. Is it not better to keep our eyes open, and accept all the colors none-the-less? We can’t pretend to be colorblind because ultimately many people are indeed treated a certain way because of the color of their skin. It is only by looking at the issue full-on and realizing that inequality is present that we can hope to address the problem.

 

Creepy Craigslist Listing For “Young, Gay, Asian Waiter”

Most of the racist things that I come across online (and trust me, I’ve seen my fair share of them), typically create emotions of anger. While I can’t say this craigslist listing is completely void of anger, I would use other words to describe this: weird, creepy, and uncomfortable are just a few examples.

Hailing from Portland, John is currently seeking “2 young, gay, Asian waiters” to help with “an over-the-top gay, costume party” which is themed “The Secrets of the Orient-The Year of the Snake”.

Although he claims that this party will be “awesome”, we don’t quite see how having Asians as his party props will do so. The mere fact that he specifies that these individuals must be young gives us the jitters. And a costume party? We can already smell the troubling racial stereotypes that are headed in our direction.

There are many ways to celebrate cultures that are not your own. There are many ways to celebrates the gay community. But having young, gay, Asians act as waiters and serve you for your “over-the-top gay, costume party” is not one of them.

Check out the listing here.