Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Personal Reflection on 2008 Summer Regional School

The Summer Regional School is a course of Master of Arts in Inter-Asia NGO (MAINS), which is a collaboration program between Inter-Asia Graduate School of NGO Studies (IGSONS), SungKongHoe University, and Aisan Regional Exchange for New Alternatives (ARENA). In 2007, the theme of the first Summer Regional School was “Democracy and Democratization in Aisa”. In this year summer regional school had raised themes on “Rural Regeneration in Asia” held from August 23-28, 2008 at Kapyeong-gun, Kyonggi-do (Future in Us) and Green-Eco Touring Village, Mul-An Gol in Bukyiri, Chuncheon City, Kangwon-do.


SungKongHoe University is located in Seoul, South Korea, was founded in 1914, for the purpose of providing education. During the Korean War, Japanese was occupation in South Korea; University was closed and moved several times.
Nowadays the university is supporting second generation of MAINS program and on going 7 departments and 4 facilities.

(Asian Regional Exchange for New Alternative)ARENA is a regional network of concerned Aisan scholars-academics, intellectuals, activists, researchers, writers, and artists founded in 1980s. ARENA is was based at SungKongHoe University.

The May 18 Memorial Foundation is a non-profit organization working on Human Rights, Peace and Democracy, was found in August 30, 1994 by the surviving victims of the 1980 Gwangju Democratic Uprising, the victims families and the citizens of Gwangju. The foundation is not only working in South Korea but with solidarity in several countries like USA, Germany and Asian countries at aims to keep the memory May 18 Democratic Uprising and contribute the struggle and solidarity of Gwangju citizens to other international issues, especially in Asia. Since its establishment, the foundation had conducted programs such as Gwangju Price for Human Rights, Gwangju International Peace Forum, Gwangju Asian Human Rights Folk School, International Exchange Programs, Grant Project and Provide five scholarship for human rights activit have a chance to study in MAINS at SungkongHoe University.


Mr. Cho Sei-Hoon: he has been a member of Wonju Producers and Consumers Cooperative since 1997. He was elected as executive director of Council for Consumers Cooperative Movement in Wongju in 2007. Currently, he is also working as executive director of the Center for Promotion of Eco-friendly Meal Service.

Mrs. Espallardo, L.Lea: director of the Women’s Theatre Programme of the Philippines Education Theatre Association (PETA) before she moved to Bangkok as an Artist-teacher and program director of the PETA Mekong Partnership Project.

Ms. Hikita Mitsuko, she used to work in the Pacific Asia Resource Centre (PARC) in Japan as full time staff during the 1980s. two year ago she founded “Shirataka-Nora-no-kai” a farmers’ group that produces vegetables, rice, beans and processing to make various products such as pickles, soups and cakes. She is also Co-chairperson of Alternative People’s Linkage in Asia (APLA).

Mr. Mazhar, Farhad: he is managing director of the Dhaka-based research organization, UBING (Policy Research for Development Alternatives) and an organizer of Nayakrishi Andolon.
Ms. Sit Tsui Margaret: she is lecturer of the Department of Sociology of East China Normal University, Shanghai, China.
Takahashi Kiyotaka: Associate Professor, Faculty of Human and Social Studies, Department of International Social Studies, Keisen University, Teaching peace studies, civil society movements, and NGO/NPO studies.
Supa Yaimuang: Work with small farmers and the rural communities on the concept of sustainable development. Strengthens farmers’ organization to solve their own problems and develop their own communities.
Won Hyeok-Jong: He is a farmer. Three years ago, He visited Cuba to learn organic farming. Currently, he is director of Wonju Producers and Consumers Cooperative.
Yoon Geum-Soon: She is one of the founders of the Korea Women Farmers Association(KWKA). She has been working as an International Coordinating Committee for Via Campesina of Southeast-East Asia, a permanent representative of Women Corea Solidarity, and a managing committee member of Corea Institute for New Society.
Yoshizawa Mamiko: in 2000, she had been taking charge of quality supervision of Balangon Bananas products from the Philippines. Later, she moved to Japan Committee for Negros Campaign (JCNC) in 2007, a parent NGO of ATJ.JCNC closed its history within the past two decades, and Alternative People’s Linkage in Asia (APLA) was launched in May of 2008. At present, she is working as Executive Director of APLA.


In this program, was joining by 15 students from SungKongHoe University, Master of Arts in Inter-Asia NGO Studies (MAINS). Prof. Lee Young-Chae, Graduate School of Human and Social Studies Division of International Social Studies, and Ms. Kawaii from Keisen University, Japan. And 10 participants from the May 18 Memorial Foundation.

Focus and Objectives

“2008 Summer Regional School: Rural Regeneration in Asia” focused on four specific themes relevant to the subject:
- Land: access to land and food security/sovereignty
- Sciences: organic farming and resources planning
- Gender: women’s contribution and leadership
- Culture: cooperatives and popular participation

At the end of this course students will be able to:
- Reflect on human relations to the land/nature
- Bring “Rural Regeneration” back into the global social movement
- Develop greater insights on people’s participation
- Examine the role of NGOs, the rural communities, and the civil society in mobilizing the people to act for social change.

2- Interested point on guest sparkers and program activity.

After Picnic and Solidarity night of 2008 Gwangju Asian Human Right Folk School (GAHRFS), which was finished on August 22, 2008, I, Ria, Pete, Lynn, Mr. Chanho Kim and Senior Level participants in GAHRFS went to the venue of 2008 Summer Regional School at “Future In Us” situates in Kapyeong-gun, Kyonggi-do, on August 23, 2008.

In the morning on August 24, 2008, we had two sessions, but before the sessions we had 30mins of short cultural activity for the day start of the by Lea and Margaret, we had play and several games to cheer up the feeling of participants.
First Session that was presented: “Peasants Movement and the Role of Women in Korea and Asia” by Mrs Yoon Guem-Soon, former president, Korea Women Peasants Association (KWPA), and a member of ICC of LA VIA CAMPESINA), she had mention about suffering of women peasants from neo-liberal globalization. This brought about, the soaring prize of products, food crisis and climate change that affected to their life. She explained on women peasants in Korea average, agricultural household and population in 2007 compare with 2008. Especially, responsibility of women, they are not only working in the field and at home but they also participate and initiated women peasants’ movement to address women discrimination issues. Women peasants were the most victims of society.
Second Session is group discussions on how we can learn from the first session, after that group discussions presented their work. But for Group E my team, we decided not to show our reflection but raised question back to other group and facilitators such as;
1. What is the role of rural generation in Asia make different in women in team participation making decision and policy maker?
2. What kind of urban women movement support to women movement in Rural?
3. How can we sustain this kind of movement?
4. Why Women tend to leave the village looking for better life in urban?
5. Do the rural community changes the perspective?
In the afternoon of the same day, Mr Wong Hyoek Jeong, Director of Wonju Producers and Consumers Cooperative on “Wonju Producers and Consumers Cooperative: Introduce his History and present Activities. He had share his experience after visited Cuba three ago on organic farming chemical fertilizer. Anyway I can understand the way of his organization work, even though this task with farmer but the structure of Wonju Producers and Consumers Cooperative is fantastic. The most golden word I take it, He told us the main point of improving rural agriculture not only to cultivate the field but we have to think about “Marketing”, find a proper way to make direction meet between farmers and consumers.
In that day also, we had a program which made me really interested to a session call Group presentation on impression on women peasant, the participants had divide into five groups from A-E. They were so creative to change the simple presentation upgrade it more vivid action, like role play.

The last point I am really happy, that I can share a game in Group Dynamics, when I was in charge of my Group.

On August 25, 2008, I had learned from the MAINS students’ group presentation. They are so smart and active. The good point, I saw is the way they work together and live together, even though they have some conflict or different ideas. They could solve it with patience and acceptanee. Team work is so important and will be success if we give value, voice and hear all ideas from all members in team. A MAINS student said.

On August 26, 2008, lecture is still on going but I feel a bit far away from presentation because it complicated to understand, especially most question from participants, it seem like in the presentation had mention, and they raised imprecise question. Other point it made me to understand, how MAIN students learn from the session, to me I think SungKongHoe University is very seriously on to develop new perspectives than strategies.

My own reflection on summer school in theme of “Rural Regeneration”

My perspective on Rural Regeneration;
Rural generation is the issue to talk about in relation between cities and rural areas, how people change their attitude. Especially on the immigration from country side to city and from city to country side, it is going to impact to future development and facing problems of many people in the city. And also the way people behave with to each other, like valuing farmer role. To me emphasis should be on lecture to prevent immigration to city and promote people come back to enjoin their home town.

Many issues rural farmers on confronted with were discussed in the summer school, especially about Korean farmer most of them not being valued by society. Reality, most of Korean male farmers are having hard time to find partner in their life, so that they need help from company to find or arrange a lady from poor countries like Vietnam, Cambodia, Philippines, Indonesia or China. Our visit to Korean country side showed only old people and very rare seeing young men or women.

In this Summer School it makes me taught that government, urban and farmer should work on a solution and address their particular responsibilities:

- Make policy that give value to farmer.
- Send and promote expertise to rural areas.
- Build infrastructure and social service that farmer easy to access.
- Market, price guarantee and positive economic to farmer product.
- Land policy.
- Development farmer human resource and provide technical.
- Capital, make sure that farmer can get enough money.
- Media and Morality educations to improve people understand and don’t look down to farmer and make urban people enjoin life as farmer. It means change old opinion on farmer.


- Make community and exchange.
- Promote farm product.
- Find market by them self.
- Education and Exchange.
- Enjoin their life what they have.
- Make them self not far away from society.


- Keep morality
- Give value to farmer
- Sharing their life to love nature
- Exchange and motivation

3-My Observation on Summer School

I think ARENA, SungKongHoe University and The May 18 Memorial Foundation made a amazing decision to conduct it in a different venue. It is really stupendous area to make participant want to live as farmer and feel relax, that is so relevant to theme of “Rural Regeneration in Asia”.

Most of the students in MAINS are smart and friendly. They are from different countries but they can live together in happiness. It not the easy way to deal with it but ARENA and SungKongHoe had success in their facilitation. I used to work in Jonkoping International University for 3 months in Sweden, but I felt the relationship between European to other European in my university not strong like student in MAINS program, not thinking only in nationalism.

One interesting thing, which I appreciated about this program is the skillful facilitation and program arrangement of organizer. We got session from 10 AM to 10 PM but it seem like everyone not feel so tired. Because they prepared break time per each session in the right way, especially they had a good expertise in group dynamics and game, Ms. Lea to cheers up the feeling of the participants.

It difficult to say it as weakness point this Summer Regional School because every thing is so fabulous experience for me. Anyway I still see small one as to improve that issues in the question and answer time. Sometime I felts raised were already made in the presentation but questioner still raise it up and give so long explanation that makes it so complicated for me to understand. Other point if the organizer can give chance or motivation to quiet participant to say something, I think it will be helpful to understand and know from their opinion.

4-Suggestion and Recommendation

This year we had good speakers. So I hope next year ARENA and SungKongHoe University will invite better guest speakers, who have long experience and success in their work relevant to next year theme.


ARENA and SungKongHoe had done really good work and give value to over Asia by support MAINS students to have chance to learn from each other, and also from South Korea, which was a good job to build more understanding and relationship between one country to other country in Asia, It also a work to build peace network. I hope I will have other chance to join with SungKongHoe University or ARENA.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

My Personal Reflction on 2008 Folk School


Gwangju Asian Human Rights Folk School is a training course aim to share Korea democracy history and movement particular the May 18 Democratic uprising to activists’ worker who has been working for human rights, democracy and peace in Asia. Every year the May 18 Memorial Foundation invite 25 participants over Asia and divided into three levels, 10 participants in Junior level, 10 in Middle Manager level and 5 in Senior level.
In this year, 2008 Gwangju Asian Human Rights Folk School was processed at venue in Chosun University and several relational places with the May 18 Memorial Foundation and May 18 democratic uprising, from August 11-28, 2008. Organized by The May 18 Memorial Foundation and supported by SungKongHoe University, Korea Democracy Foundation (KDF) and Pusan Democratic Movement Memorial Association. Twenty-five participants were invited, unfortunately one participant couldn’t inside Korea and other one didn’t come. The participants had learned in seminars from important guest speakers and professor from Seoul, Pusan and Gwangju who had working long years experience on Democracy and expert in Asia movement. Group workshops, discussions, organization and country presentation had been raised to exchange ideas among participants toward for new experience and build network. Field trip to particular place which relevant to the May 18 democratic uprising.

2-Experance and implementation

I had worked on 2008 Directory Book when I learned from Folk School, so I didn’t have much information and documents before upcoming event. On August 09, 2008, we had gone to Chosun University before we leaved office for setup material at venues. to run our program was need a lot of man made resource because it supported to our demand and participants, such as we prepared processing rooms, Tables and chairs, witness Stands, office products, a photocopy machine and printer, LCD projectors and speakers, table telephone, two accessing internet computers, setup coffee break table and two sofas, and other necessary materials. The works still not finish yet. After day we still made sure at Chousun University while participants were arriving. I also went to pick up five participants from bus terminal.
On 11, 2008, at 9:00AM was the time for Opening Ceremony and Orientation by the Chairman of The May 18 Memorial Foundation, Mr. Kwang Jang Yoon gave his welcome remark. At the same day and day after I got sessions from eight professors such as, Prof. Gueseok Yang din of SunKongHoe University, Prof. Lee Gwangsoo from Busan University of Foreign Studie, Prof. George Kasiaficasa visiting professor from US, Prof. Haksoon Paik from Sejong Institute, Prof. Young-jong Jin from SungKongHoe University, Prof. Wondam Baek from SungkongHoe University, Prof. II Jun Chung Korea Univesity, and Prof. Francis Lee from ARENA.

I am so appreciated what they said, they compared the democracy in Korea with Asia and US. Especially, they had deep explanation about May 18 democratic uprising which their own personal survey experience. Anyway prof. Guenseok Yang had mention comparing dictatorship and atrocity during the May 18 democratic uprising with candle light virgin. He also presented important of media that government had trying to control all programs of TV and broadcasting that had changed staffs and structure management, which showed that Korean government nowadays want to increase dictatorship power. It remanded me that how important of the media in society and it also the reason that why Cambodians’ government success to ban the voice of peoples.

I got many sessions from difference source guest speaker and participants that make me understand many issues around Asia as well as South Korea. For my reflection of sessions orientated in issues it always makes me thinking to strategic and experience how to deal with the issue how to do advocacy with dictatorship governance.
Below are some strategies I had notice to get attention from government;
- Awareness raising campaign in perspective countries and in regional such as Media, forum, website press, petition, join statement, manifesto, clarification of National Security)
- Build networks with other human rights mechanism
- Create South East Asia, East Asia, South Asia secretariat
- Lobby for the creation of human rights body in Asian Charter
- Develop directory of victims
- Conduct fact finding (research, survey…)
- Seek for fund to support projects
- build regional and international network
- Education programs
- Make and improve solidarity in society programs to all levels.
- build community which strong network with other community

Other point of my survey, if we want to do big responsibility, we must to understand from the ground level. Anyway the ground step is more complicated work then top level, because most of time they can’t make their own decision. So the top level must share the right information and divide specific responsibility is better, this experience is relevant to organizing and management which I learn from my work.

on April

1- Achievement and output

I had assisted for program design and listing of guests for 2008 Gwangju Prize for Human Rights Award, 5 nominee’s details were made by me, Mr. Mano Ganesan, Stephen Sheng Shyong Lee, Ms. Le Thi Chong Nhan, Dr. Qazi Furuque, Sanghas (Buddhist Monks). Nominee’s details were the background of work experience and achievement on human rights of nominees, so I had learn so much from this task because I had read all the full documents of these nominees, I learned how the Foundation judge the winner.

I learned how to make blogs for sharing my experiences about my internship here in South Korea. The blogs contents are about my own feelings of culture shock, working, food and weather, the diffidence of the culture between Cambodia and South Korea, especially how to work with Koreans. Anyway I will continue to improve my English writing and more understanding about online work and follow trail of blog.

I attend the team and general meetings. I had a session with Mr. Sangseon about locations here in Gwangju City. I had noted the leadership of the leader and staff of Foundation during meetings that were a bit different as to my experience.

I made a PowerPoint presentation and lesson plan on Cambodian Culture for the Gwangju National Science Hight School. Unfortunately the presentation was postponed for another time since the teacher who will translate had leg operation.
I had joined the campaign in down town to encourage people to vote for 09 April 2008 parliamentary election.

I had accomplished the directory into Excel file and will continue to update it.

I enrolled for Rights and Justice in International Relations online course at Learn Space operated by Open Institute in UK.

Provided a tour guide service on 11 April for Ms. Subhatra of Thailand, she was a member of the pre-selection committee for the GPHR. Showed her same historical places in down town and had lunch with her.

I had made a book report and submitted to Mr.Pete, the report is about my understanding of the book. I had a book report discussion with Mr. Chanho, he gave some good advice on the meaning and issues of May 18 Gwangju Democratic Uprising. I attended a meeting and to welcome the new chairman of the Foundation.

2- Problems Encountered

The presentation at Gwangju Natural Science High School was delayed until 07 May 2008. This month of May the Foundation will be busy with The May 18 Events, so I hope to have a time to do my presentation and do my survey on The May 18 Events.

It is nearly a month since I made the brochure translation, but until now to have not received feedback from my organization.

3- Recommendation

I appreciate The May 18 events so much, especially the work of the Culture and Solidarity Team. It is an amazing work of the Foundation, GIPF, GPHR, to commemorate, have ceremony and solidarity work between The May 18 Memorial Foundation with other local NGOs and international organizations in Asia, as well other NGOs in the world. I hope I will get a good understanding, that will become part of good experience during my 10 months internship with the Foundation and I wish to get some task for these events, although I was assigned to be part of the Education team for Red Festa activities.

4- Plan

Next month plan for May 2008, I was assigned responsibilities and I hope to learn such as, First week, learn from the staff about process of The May 18 Events and provide assistance for 2008 Gwangju International Peace Forum and learn about facilitating visa process and ticket of participants. Second week, Learn and implement the May18 Events activities like, GIPF, GPHR, EAHRF and the May 18 Commemorative Ceremony of the May 18 Democratic Uprising. Third week, give assistance for the post events and follow-up work for May 18 Events and prepare information of the May 18 Events for human rights organizations in Asia. Fourth week, develop research and campaign plan for human rights. Get information about organizations in Asia and keep in touch on human rights, democracy and peace news.

Anyway, I was assigned to Education and Research Team for Red Festa Festival, I am yet sure about my responsibilities and the way to sharing my participation until now.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Personal Reflection on the Red Festa Fastival

Thet Din's Refection on Red Festa 2008


- Red Festa Festival

Red Festa is a May 18 Festival for the Youth, and it is an event in which the young reenact scenes of the May 18 Democratic Uprising by using red and exercising their creativity, hosted by Youth Committee for the May 18 Festival.

Red Festa is a big event in Gwangju City, South Korea for this year. It is within the auspices of the Youth Committee for the May 18 Festival and Education and Research Team and the May 18 Memorial Foundation. The colors and objective of the event would like to show about the modern democracy in South Korea, especially for the May 18 Democratic Uprising that had occurred on 18-25 May 2008 in Gwangju.

Red Festa started in 2005, this program educates youth and students in South Korea on Human Rights, Peace and Democracy, particularly youth in Gwangju City. The event for this year was celebrated on 24 May 2008 at Geumnam-ro, Gwangju (downtown road of Gwangju City) and it was a public event. Everyone could join in the event. The ideas were together by the youth and staff to decorate the place and easily understood by people. All participants can join and walk around from 2pm to 10pm on the Geumanam-ro Street, the street is closed for all vehicular activities. The title for this year’s celebration is “Emotion of the May 18 Democratic Uprising (Koum Soung)”

-Red Festa Conception

The Event was established whose main group targets are the youth and new generation for commemorating The May 18 Democratic Uprising, which is very important in the modern history of South Korea. A tragedy that is deep in the heart of Gwangju citizens. It was a dictatorship regime against with human rights and democracy, which had killed so many people. They had killed and did violence to the victims without thinking of gender or age, especially to the students. It is therefore important that the young generation should know and keep the memory of this history.

May 18, is usually the time to commemorate the anniversary of the 1984 Gwangju Democratic Uprising, for all the heroes who died and became victims who suffered the loss of their family member. Frequently, it is a general ceremony with formal occasion to respect and thank the dead for every thing they had done to sacrifice their life for Korea. Particularly to keep the memory of democratic uprising, so most of the people have to show their feelings of grief. It is also a way to getting the attention of the youth and young generation. The May 18 Memorial Foundation and The Youth Committee for the May 18 Festival view the importance of engaging all age and gender in the society. The Foundation had prepare a plan for youth understanding of may 18 historical value. And also more activists were engaged to improve The May 18 Democratic Uprising celebration. The youth will replace the old generation, so they should understand with consciousness the May 18, they will play the key role for society and protect human rights with peace and democracy in the future. This project was created by the Foundation for the youth and public and has wonder result.

- General Information on Red Festa 2008

The program is important program of the May 18 Memorial Foundation that focues on youth. This program was held on May 24, 2008 at Kumman Street, Gwangju City, South Korea (in front of the provincial hall) from 2.00pm to 10pm. It was a free public events for all participants have chance to learn with fun about The May 18 Democratic Uprising. The targets are the young generations and youth. Particularly, participants devised their own impression on the uprising “How they feel about Gwangju citizens endeavored to bring genuine democracy and human rights under Junta military leadership” through arts, music, and other creation mean, all of there are effective and useful ways to educate the young generation understanding the violations done to citizens during the military dictatorship.

-“Owol Ma Dang” Project on Red Festa 2008

Red Festa is rich of youth involvement both physical and mental participation. The Youth Committee for the May 18 Festival and Education and Research Team of the May 18 Memorial Foundation thought a lot of the deeply for impact and result of the program to the youth. Especially they use some strategic to get youth interest to The May 18 Democratic Uprising, Through listening to talks and other and giving them chance to reading, implement and be more responsible.

On the Red Festa day, most of youth had come up with their own various activities supported by different organizations. On that day not only the Education and Research Team (the May 18 Memorial Foundation) was involved but also other organizations.

The Education and Research team was responsible for the program called “Owol Ma Dang” it means “the May traditional Square” the conduct of small programs variety for the Red Festa.

First, a program call “Pi Chu Da” mean “Reflection” it had some mirrors with letter and flowers, white boxes and two monitors play a movie on the May 18, all participants could see and appreciate Gwangju citizens in 1980. Out side of the booth we had put some big papers for participants to draw.

Second, the program call “Man Na Da” it means “Meet” this program was made for participants could ask some questions or talk about May 18 and get answers from the specialist in the person of, Mr. Chanho Kim.

Third, “Chad da” it means “Find” this program is a chance for participants to become a new caster, it was a big program for Owol Ma Dang project. The modern technology and facility were prepared life a small studio, cameras, speakers, monitors and other materials were provided.

Fourth, “Buruda” it means “Sing” this program had two volunteers to teach participants of the Songs of May and other songs relevant.

Fifth, “Gri Da” mean “Draw” it was apart of “Pi Chu Da” but out side, participants drew picture in columns that has reference to May 18.

Sixth, it was a fantastic view to make red papers into airplane. Furthermore, participants could write a message to the heroes of the May 18, it was a program called “Na Li Da” or “Fly”.

Seventh, “Gada” program it means “Go” Participants walk to the provincial hall with a volunteer as guide, they were showed around and told about the history of the May 18 Democratic Uprising, especially what happened on 25 May. Every hour, tour is provided participants have a red umbrella to be recognized.

Eighth, “Jik Da means Take” the program had gives a chance for the participants to have their picture taken with the May 18 background. After 30 minutes they can get their picture printed.
And the last program call “Iid Da” it means “Read” we prepared some books, chairs, table and soft drink. They also get extra hot news issues in South Korea especially Mad Cow.

All of the 9 elements of the programs refer to the Emotion of the May 18. It shows both our physical and mental, facilities are relevant to show sympathy for Gwanju citizens, it is an important event to remind Gwangju citizens about patriotism and the struggles that brought democracy back in South Korea.

-Main Target

It was an amazing event for all people to enjoy and participate. The targets of the event are the youth and young generation in Gwangju, also, in Korea. Youths were the main are actors of the May 18 Uprising, so youth are getting the attention of political leaders, because they are the main pillar of the nation.

2-My Involvement

I had given assistance for all programs of Education and Research Team for the Red Festa. Although I was assigned in Pi Chu Da program, I participated to all of the work. I assisted in other programs and helped made some materials. For the Pi Chu Da Team I gave my ideas and discussed to the decorations to make it attractive to make it to participants’. During those times I had a chance to observe to Korean youth Team work.

We spend long time discussing on how we should make participant understand what we are doing. (Otherwise I had made a sign in English for foreign visitors in Pi Chu Da program aware with a part of May 18). After our discussion plan for decoration and meaning, I helped implement the plan to become a reality with Korea youth volunteers. We decided to get 2 big boxes to represent as monument of victims and the other 30 boxes stick poem and narrated story relevant to the May 18 Democratic Uprising for participants to understand to struggles and how to claim back their rights. Beside the monument boxes we had 4 meter length and 2 meter width for flower sticker. Last year Pi Chu Da had prepared some real flowers for monument, but a flower shops owner’s feet had that it is close to their place, they had thought that was a bad luck of their business. So this year we made use of flower sticker on the mirrors which is representative to fresh flower for all victims.

Anyway we had used two monitors to play documentary film about May 18, all participants could see and had feeling to appreciate Gwangju citizens in 1980.

Here is a message I had made for Pi Chu Da program, the title call Reflection of the May Flower,

“During the May 18 Democratic Uprising many Gwangju citizens were killed and assaulted by soldiers. People were arrested and suspected without due process. The victims of this martial law force’s brutality numbered 4,369 all told: 154 killed, 74 missing, 4,141 wounded (including those who died because of their injuries) and placed under arrest, but some people believe the number of victims would be more than this.

The mirror’s function is to reflect, it can show us how we look. But the mirror here is not only to see our appearance but it also shows us more than what we know. How deep is your imagination? What keeps you here in Gwangju, the place of freedom and democracy where blood of Gwangju citizens flowed? The May 18 Gwangju Democratic uprising was the catalyst for South Korea’s democratization for all of us and the young generation

I see some flowers on the mirrors, which looks very beautiful. So it should be given to victims and missing Gwangju citizens, who died for our nation, so we should give honor and respect and keep talking about it and keep it tradition alive for the generation to come. Please give the flower and bow to our heroes”,

At the end of the events I helped clear all items with the Education and Research Team. I joined and helped from the beginning until the end of the Pi Chu Da program, and also other programs of “Owol Ma Dang” project of Education Team of the May 18 Memorial Foundation.

3-My Observations on Red Festa

Budget, it just for 10 hours to enjoy and so much money was spent, South Korea is a developed country and has good economy, so they have capacity to support festivals and ceremonies like Red Festa.

Teamwork and cooperation among the May 18 Memorial Foundation and other organizations, it was not easy like we saw. Red Festa was an opportunity for all organizations to work together. It is also a chance for youth and volunteers, to have an opportunity to learn how to work with other people in society.
Youth empowerment, the Education and Research Team had done this through Red Festa. Students that volunteers of the May 18 Memorial Foundation have freedom to make their own decisions on what they want to do and with the Education team’s assistance.

Participants, by the time that I had joined the full day of Red Fasta, I believe that most of the participants were enjoying in the project so much. Our program added one and half hour more because of a lot of participants should up than our expectation.

Participation of participants, they were very active in singing, drawing, asking, playing, reading……..all of these were relevant to the strategy of Seeing, Listening and Working.

Good memory, it not just fun for participants but also they understand and learn how to do, exhibition work. This will make them understand and remember 18 Democratic Uprising.

Government cooperation, Youth Committee of the May 18 Festival had made good relationship with government for the good location of the event, it was a great job for NGOs and government to work together to improve citizens understanding about the May 18 and other issues.

Red Festa was a successful idea of improving youth in society and provides chance of learning between people with people, organization with organization and also between people with organization. It is a good strategy to get attention from the youth to commemorate the May event. It teaches the hearts and mind of young generation.

The Festival excites the minds of both the youth and Gwangju citizens, so I hope every year the Youth Committee of the May Festival, the May 18 Memorial Foundation, the Government and other organizations will always contribute and involve in this significant event.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Red Festa Festival

Red Festa Festival is a big one event in this year all the events at Gwangju City, South Korea. It is worked and lead by The Education and Research Team, The May 18 Memorial Foundation. The colors and objective of the event would like to show about the modern democracy in South Korea, especially for the May 18 Democratic Uprising that had occurred on from 18-25 May 2008.

This program educate youths in South Korea on Human Rights for Peace and Democratic, particularly youth in Gwangju City. The event in this year going to celibate on 24 May 2008 at Keumam Street (downtown of Gwangju City) and it is a public event; everyone can join and take look in that event day. Red Festa Festival had stared in 2006, it was put ideas together between youth and staff to decorate out look and easy understand of meaning. All participants can join and walk around from 02pm to 10pm at the place, the street going to ban for all vehicular drives. The titled in this year is “Emotion of The May 18 Democratic Uprising (Koum Soung)” that have 10 element programs. Emotion are would like to show the part of our physical and mental. It is a bit difficult to explain for the Emotion, but all of theses are relevant to citizens or youth to show sympathy for Gwanju citizens during The Uprising. It an important event to remind Gwangju citizens about patriotism of their hero struggled and give up theirs in the cause to bring democratic in South Korea.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Tumenbayar Chuluunbaatar is a 2007 International Intern in The May 18 Memorial Foundation

Mr. Tumenbayar Chuluunbaatar is from Mogolia

Tumenbayar Chuluunbaatar's background

I started my work experience as lawyer consultant for medical company which had a special focus on providing medical service for disadvantaged group of people such as retired, unemployed and disabled who can not afford quality service in private hospitals. As lawyer I was often involved in getting their health and social insurance. This experience gives me deep understanding what does mean the right to health, how this right needs to be accessible, affordable for all, how this need to be regulated by state policies and programmmes. My concern of the human rights situation made me to work in the Centre for Human Rights and Devlopment, NGO working actively in Mongolia on protection and promotion of human rights. In CHRD I work as assistant on the “Program for combating against human trafficking in Mongolia”. Our program has been working in following areas- Prevention, protection and prosecution of human trafficking crime, - Victimization, protecting victims - Ensuring effective prosecution and enforcement of laws. Also, I am involved as an assistant of coordination on law reform working group which aims to amend criminal code article 113 under the provision “Human buying and human selling”. I was involved in case analysis, comparative studies of legal provisions in different countries on trafficking. I am also responsible for coordination and preparation of logistics in organizing trainings for police officers at grassroots level from districts police offices of urban area and Ulaanbaatar, which was held from August to December, 2006I also coordinated and prepared logistical issues for working meeting on amending and changing the Advertisement Law which is held on 18th January, 2007. Working as a assistant on coordinating advocates working group where protecting victims of human trafficking crime. I am friendly, easy for communication, like singing and playing on guitar. Last seven months I have been working on human rights field. Everyday, in my work place I listen and get knowledge on problems and issues related to violation of human rights in my country and other countries, too. Therefore, I think that issues about human rights, democracy and peace are not only our country issues, it is also relevant and connecting to all countries and earth, as well . Hence, every countries and people need to join or work together to protect, combat for and promote human rights, democracy and peace. From these reasons I am applying for human rights internship to the May 18 Foundation in Gwangui, South Korea. Because I have goals where I want to learn and improve my skills and knowledge by referred below. These are:- Learn and exchange information about experiences, skills and present condition of human rights on South Korea and other countries from friends who will join to this internship.- Build good communications among human rights defenders through sharing news or information - Introduce to participants about present human rights condition of Mongolia.Finally, by involving in this program I will improve my knowledge on human rights, democracy and peace and improve my working skills at regional level. Also, I want to make a network among civil societies and develop partnership work with NGOs and people who are protecting human rights.

Tumenbayar Chulunnbaatar made his final report presentation

Ms. Thency Gunasekaran is 2007 International Intern in The May 18 Memorial Foundation

Ms. Thency Gunasekaran from Malaysia

The journey towards becoming a modern and democratic society has not been an easy one for Korea. The Kwangju Uprising that took place in May 1980 is a major event that has played a key role in shaping Korean politics as we see it today. What began as a student protest in the city of Kwangju escalated and became an armed civilian struggle. The government troops then enacted brutal acts of violence on the citizens of this southwestern city. Although the 10-day struggle ended in military suppression, this particular event, also known as the May 18 Uprising is undeniably one of the most important and significant events that has helped shape South Korean democracy and politics, especially in the 1980 and 1990s.

A lot of research has been done on the Uprising. Various articles written, song sung, documentation done. However, little documentation has been done on the women's experiences during this Uprising. Very little documentation has been done on the roles that the women played during this Uprising.

This research paper aims to document the voice of the women who experienced, contributed, participated and actively shaped the May 18 Uprising in 1980. This paper will document the roles that women have played during this uprising. it cannot be denied that women are an integral and important of any society. As such, there is a need to accord these women the recognition due to them.

She was doing final presentation

Read some stories are available here,

The Story of JeonOK-JU http://joonsfamily.com/index.php?s=150610d74c1de08ee29b1f8fdb59f034&showtopic=17379&st=40.com

The Story of Anh Sung-Ryea http://joonsfamily.com/index.php?s=150610d74c1de08ee29b1f8fdb59f034&showtopic=17379&st=40.com

The Story of Hong Geumsug http://gshin.chonnam.ac.kr/cnu518.com

Thency Gunasekaran talking about her self

I’m Thency and by nature I am a very friendly, energetic, passionate, adaptable and practical person. Professionally I enjoy exploring new ideas and concepts, looking for innovative ways to solve any problems or situations that might arise during the course of my work. I like to try different ways of doing things instead of always following what has been tried and tested. I am able to work independently with minimum supervision but at the same time I am also able to work in a team.

My passion lies in human rights issues with a special focus on trafficking of women and children for the purpose of sexual exploitation and forced labor. I consider human trafficking a form of slavery and believe it should be eradicated with utmost vigor. In recent times I have been working with marginalized communities using a rights based approach as well as active participation from the community itself. This has served to remind me of the importance of knowing one’s rights to be able to actually claim them when they are violated. I strongly believe that education and awareness are very vital elements when we talk about rights and democracy. By education I’m not referring to an institutionalized education. I’m actually referring to the process of raising awareness as a whole. One does not need to be highly literate to know one’s rights or to be entitled to one’s rights. A person is entitled to their rights regardless of their status. This is something that I will work on in future. Many people aren’t aware of this and sadly this contributes to their rights being continuously violated.

Where skills are concerned my strength lies in organizing events be it workshops, trainings or others. I am also a competent public speaker who enjoys sharing information with people. I enjoy conducting trainings as well. I take great delight in working with and interacting with people. The human mind is something that continues to fascinate me till today. I have had the opportunity to attend various trainings on topics that range from Gender-based violence, good governance, leadership, professional etiquette, conflict mediation, presentations and public speaking, child sexual abuse, personal safety for children, writers for women’s rights and marketing. All these workshops have helped me to open my thinking and look at things from various perspectives. As for my hobbies, I enjoy reading, listening to and playing music, dancing and meeting people from various backgrounds. These activities serve as a method for me to relax and unwind after working. Everything that I have involved myself in and participated in has served to mould me to be what I am today. My passion and interest to bring about change is a strong drive factor that pushes me to try and do what I can to bring about a better understanding and respect for human rights in my country.

My expectations, objectives, and interests on the human rights internship program.

I first heard about the May 18 Human Rights Internship Program last year. At that time the program and learning experience it had to offer intrigued me. Unfortunately I couldn’t apply for it then. A year down the road, my interest in the program has increased as during this past one year, I have had the opportunity to read, listen and learn a little bit about the foundation, its purpose and aims as well as the role it plays in promoting human rights and democracy.

I have been involved in voluntary work since 2003 only. Although my interest and passion has always revolved around issues affecting humans, justice and equality, I only got the opportunity to actively do something constructive when I entered university. Since my university days I’ve been actively involved with local Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) – mainly with groups working on women’s rights, child’s rights and youth development.

I’ve been an active member of AIESEC, a global youth run organization that aims to foster peace and understanding via developing the potential of young people, sensitizing them towards social issues and providing them with the opportunity to experience and understand various cultures. I believe that peace can only be achieved when humans learn to accept each other without prejudice. My time in AIESEC exposed me to the reality that many young people are actually not aware of what’s happening around them, in the world. Thus I made it one of my goals to incorporate a stronger presence of political and social issues within my organizations’ activities and projects. I took up the role of the person in charge of member development. This enabled me to plan my members learning. I utilized this platform to reach out to the youth in my university to raise awareness about important issues like human rights, gender issues, child’s rights, women’s rights, HIV/AIDS, globalization, the state of the indigenous people and the importance of cultural awareness and sensitivity.At the same time, my volunteer work with the local NGO’s exposed me to the harsh realities of the human rights and political scenario in Malaysia. I realized all was not well. This exposure has helped shape and challenge my thoughts and viewpoint. I became convinced that working for human rights is something that I wanted to do. Hence my decision to work with Empower right after my graduation in 2006. Working with Empower has given me the opportunity to experience working at the grassroots level with marginalized communities as well as doing work like administrative tasks, organizational tasks, report writing, training and so on. Empower uses the rights based approach in our training and project. This has enabled me to familiarize myself with instruments like the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Convention on the Elimination on All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, The UniversalHuman Rights Declaration and this has in turn reinforced my believe that education and awareness about the importance and the value of freedom and rights is a vital element in ensuring that a person’s right is upheld. I strongly believe that it is extremely important for society to be aware that a lot of things that they take for granted or struggle for is in actual fact a basic right.

One of the main reasons for my interest in the internship program is that having read about the May 18 Uprising incident, having met and spoken to some Koreans, I realized that there is a sense of patriotism and pride that they exude when they speak about their country’s struggle for democracy. It struck me that these are people who seem to truly appreciate democracy and their freedom. This is something, sadly not very apparent amongst the Malaysian youth I’ve met. Not many youth seem to realize that the price for democracy and freedom has been great…..it doesn’t come easy.

I believe that I can learn a lot from this internship. I would like to know what is it that makes the Koreans so aware of the importance of democracy, freedom and the up-keeping of human rights in a nations survival and growth. I’d like to bring that knowledge to share with the youth of my country as I believe that the youth play a crucial role in the quest for freedom.

My objectives for applying for this internship would be to gain more exposure and knowledge about the Korean struggle for democracy. I’d like to know about the history of the struggle and what is it that continues to drive the people to strive to maintain democracy and respect human rights. I would also like to learn and observe how Korean NGOs work, the approach that they use when handling human rights issues. I would also like to bring back what I would learn in Korea to share with my fellow activists in Malaysia. I believe that the theoretical knowledge as well as the practical experience I would gain from this internship will prove to be invaluable in my quest to promote and uphold human rights.

My expectations towards this internship would be to firstly, be able to learn in depth about the Korean struggle for democracy and to appreciate the sacrifices that have been made to achieve democracy and uphold human right. I would like to learn and listen to the people themselves about their experiences, and how even after such a devastating incident like the Uprising, the people have managed to rise again and move on with life.

Secondly, I hope to experience a challenging internship where I will be able to learn new skills and knowledge, stimulate and challenge my mind and way of thinking. At the same time, I would also like to contribute to the May 18 Foundation in any way that I might be able to. Networking with the people from the foundation and the other interns would also be something I hope to do as well.

Last but not the least, I would like to experience the Korean culture. The best way to learn about people is to actually live amongst them, speak to them, learn their language, experience their culture and to be open to learning experiences. My exposure through my reading as well as interacting with Korean friends has deepened my interest in Korea and her culture as a whole.

With this, I sincerely hope that I will be given the opportunity to participate in this internship program as I believe it will be a fulfilling and beneficial experience for both sides. I hope to be able to interact and engage with activists from Korea and others as well in order to learn from them as well as to share my experiences.

Read more here http://thencysfootprints.blogspot.com/

The May 18 Memorial Foundation

Intro to Korean Democracy
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The May 18 Memorial Foundation

Watch an Australian current affairs story on Phnom Penh evictions