Birthdays this week

I thought some of you readers might be interested in knowing that two of our long-time resident foreigners in Korea – Brother Anthony and Frederic Dustin celebrated/are celebrating their birthdays this week.  Both of these men have done a great deal for Korea -not only Korea Studies but also for their everyday acts of kindness.

Brother Anthony just had a piece come out in Korea Times a couple of days ago that I enjoyed reading.  I think it is a shame that so much of Korea’s past is being lost in the present.  Brother Anthony is also the president of the Royal Asiatic Society – Korea Branch (RAS-KB).

Fred Dustin has been – for the most part – in Korea since 1952 and lives on Korea’s self-proclaimed Hawaii of the Far East.  (I still remember the first time I went to the island with the military so many decades ago during the winter.  I was there for training and had been told it was a tropic paradise – I arrived to snow).  Mr. Dustin runs the Kimnyoung Maze Park (English tab at the top but the Korean site gives the best images of the park), cares for a large number of cats and does a lot of good work for the community that (his) modesty prevents me from going on about.

If you get a chance – come and see one of the RAS-KB’s lectures or go on one of their tours.  And speaking of tours – why don’t you visit the Kimnyoung Maze Park – the oldest maze park in Korea.  When you go to one of these events why don’t you say hi to the gentlemen and wish them a happy birthday.  Also tell them you read about them on The Hole.

  • Kuiwon

    It is indeed a shame that so much Korean culture is being lost in the present. I’m surprised he didn’t mention the loss of Hanja and Classical Chinese, although I suppose Confucian schools in Korea, such as Seodang and Hyanggyo, aren’t completely dead. I myself am trying to keep alive the memory of Classical Chinese works written by Koreans, some of which were composed less than a century ago (e.g., Rhee Syngman wrote Classical Chinese poetry during the Korean War), on my blog. 

    Also to note, at a Jesa I attended few years back, which was at one of our ancestral graves in the mountains, after cleaning up the offerings, my eldest cousin did pray, or at least held a moment of silence, at a marker to a mountain deity (山神, 산신) nearby, entreating to look over and protect the graves. Although I viewed it as superstition, I also viewed it as a tradition to remember: I didn’t know that such markers existed. 

  • Sanshinseon

    Yes they do… and that custom is still strong, as one minor part of the Sanshin cultural matrix.  There is a photo of one of those Sanshin markers at a fancy tomb in my 1999 book.

    Very good notes, Robert, thanks — we should respect our elders!  :-)

  • RElgin

    . . . we should respect our elders

    So true and not piss on them in the name of Jesus.

  • Kuiwon

    Ah. Good to know that that custom is still strong. It was at an ancestral grave that I don’t get go to often, due to the fact that I’m in America and that grave is far up a mountain. Do you know what those markers are called? 

  • KWillets

    We went to the other maze park on Jeju last summer — kind of hot, but fun.  They claim it’s the second largest maze in the world, or the second largest stone maze, or something.