Tag Archives: Family

Bittersweet North and South Korean reunions

The last time Lee Hye-gyong saw her mom was when she was 16, almost six decades ago.  Now 75, she was given the chance to reunite with her family after the 1950-53 Korean war.  Her mom is 100.

Last month, 200 families from North and South Korea, 100 from each side, were randomly selected for a rare opportunity to reunite with long-lost loved ones.  But the briefness of it all made the meetings exceptionally emotional.


“We had five reunion sessions in total, spending two hours with my sister each time, in addition to a one-hour farewell meeting,” younger sister, 62-year-old Lee Kyong-hee, said in her reunification story.  “The moment Hye-gyong entered the reunion hall, I recognized her immediately even though she looks very different from what I remember about her appearance.”

While some critics say these reunification programs are cruel because the meetings are so short and communication after the reunion is still banned, others insist that it’s a step towards reconciliation between the two countries.

Click here to watch a video of the reunions. Be warned, you need tissues for this.



Malaysian McCurry wins battle with McDonald’s

mccurry McDonald’s, home of the American Big Mac, just lost its 8-year legal dispute with family-run curry shop McCurry on Tuesday.  According to McDonald’s, the Indian restaurant based in Kuala Lumpur had infringed on its trademark by using the “Mc” prefix.  “But the Federal Court in Kuala Lumpur ruled that there was no evidence to show McCurry was trying to pass itself off as part of the McDonald’s empire,” the Wall Street Journal writes.  This verdict means that McDonald’s officially no longer has an monopoly on the “Mc” prefix, so it looks like other “Mc” shops may start popping up.  In fact, the owner of McCurry is now planning to launch a chain of restaurants now that the legal fiasco is over.

Go McCurry!  Also, I personally think it would be awesome if McDonald’s served McCurry’s Malaysian favorite, fish-head curry!



Two’s okay: China tweaks one-child policy

Starting in Shanghai, the Chinese government is now encouraging couples who have no siblings to have two kids.  After 30 years of enforcing the one-child policy, the government is now coming to terms with increasing social pressures–the rapidly growing elderly population, shrinking workforce and forced abortions.

The one-child rule has always been lenient on minorities and qualified rural residents. But, until recently, urban residents have been subjected to strict family planning laws.  Shanghai’s city officials will start visiting homes, slipping leaflets under doors and “offering emotional counseling and financial incentives,” the New York Times said.


When I lived in Shanghai for a year, I did an in-depth sociology project on the local views of the country’s family planning policies.  My interviews with both rural and urban residents revealed a general consensus that while population control was important, the financial strain of supporting both one’s grandparents and parents was often overwhelming.  Looks like the government is finally responding to the concerns voiced to me during my study.


(Thanks Emily for referring me to this link)

Indian weddings reveal sari-loving fob within

7.19.09 002I love dressing up, particularly when it involves 9-yards of gorgeous sari fabric, bindis and lots of bangles.  Last weekend I attended my friend’s cousin’s wedding, and I’m now convinced that nothing delights (or perhaps amuses) Indian people more than seeing a random Chinese girl dressed in a sari.  My love for all things Indian stems from my growing up in Singapore, where Indians make up the island’s third largest ethnic group and where the president is Indian. Either that or I was Indian in my past life…


P.S. Check out my article on cross-cultural weddings, here!