Where are you From? is going on hiatus – because producer Ellie Freeman is going to where she’s from.
WAYF producer Ellie hanging out in the Trick Eye Museum in Seoul
After asking people all over Australia where they’re from, it was time for Natal and May to turn the tables on Where are You From? producer Ellie Freeman. Ellie is an international adoptee – born in South Korea and adopted to Australia.
Natal and May wanted to know where Ellie was from, how she came up with the idea for Where are you From?, and her upcoming adventure back to where she was born.
As you may or may not know, WAYF producer Ellie is a Korean adoptee – born in Korea, adopted by Australian parents and raised here.
There are many socio-economic reasons why Korean adoptees were given up for adoption. Ellie’s birth parents, for example, faced extreme economic hardship when I was born in the 80s.
But one of the most common reasons Korean babies are put up for the adoption is because their birth mother is unmarried. Single mothers do not receive financial support in Korea and also face social discrimination within their families, workplace and education systems.
However, Koreans and adoptees today are trying to change this attitude. One nonforprofit organisation, the Korean Unwed Mothers and Families Association (KUMFA) operates from Seoul to support the rights of Korean single mothers. They offer a range of services like advocating for single mother rights, fundraising, education, and care and mentoring for the children.
Korean-Australian adoptee Pia Meehan from Perth manages an online Korean Australian adoptee community and runs her own business Utopia Handmade, where she sews clothes and accessories for children.
We chatted to Pia just before she flew to Seoul last Sunday about fundraising, her insight into Korean adoption advocacy, and her personal connection to Korea.
You can donate to KUMFA by emailing Pia at utopiaHandmade@gmail.comor sending a PayPal donation to KUMFA at email@example.com.
Have you visited the JiHa Underground? Every year, an arts space in Brisbane transforms into a cosy Korean bar filled with mismatched chairs, odds and ends, drinks, and stories. You can sit at the bar and watch stories about love and gender, sung and spoken in both English and Korean.
I met Park Younghee, one of the performers in the JiHa Underground. She talks to us about this unique production combining Korean and Western storytelling and songs set in a Korean bar.
The JiHa Underground starts next week at the Brisbane Powerhouse from Wednesday the 12th of February until Sunday the 23rd. After the show, you’re invited to stay up late for a few drinks and watch a different musician every night.
Khalid and Ara mentioned that some Australian expressions and words like “how’s it going?” seem strange to them.
We put the call out to you on social media to ask: what are some Australian expressions that are nonsensical to people learning English?
Josh L on Facebook says his Japanese friend was confused by using the word “pretty” when you mean “very”. Like saying “yes, that’s pretty good!” When you say pretty in that way, it doesn’t mean someone’s looks.
Danny W’s international student housemate thought it was funny when Danny said he was “living large” when he received his pay check.
Lara S says her Croatian dad was invited to a party when he first came to Australia and was told to bring a plate. This usually means bring food to share, but Lara’s Dad brought an actual plate.
Mekita V says her Dad’s first boss in Australia said he’d “fix him up on Friday”. Mekita’s dad asked, why he needed fixing up and the boss explained it means to pay him.
Doivid C is Aussie himself but noticed the strange expression “We’ll be laughing”. Like saying, “I’ll quickly go to the toilet, then we’ll be laughing”. I’m not sure what that one is supposed to mean myself.
The two token Aussies on GOAL’s First Trip Home for Korean adoptees: Ellie and Carly from Brisbane
Two Korean adoptees from Brisbane, Carly and Where are you From? producer Ellie, recently embarked on a two-week trip to South Korea with the Global Overseas Adoptees Link as part of the First Trip Home program.
As well as eating and sightseeing, part of the trip was to help adoptees search for birth family.
Carly and Ellie successfully searched and found their families. Craving Korean food after returning home, the two adoptees met up at a Korean restaurant in West End to talk about going to Korea for the first time since birth and meeting family.
The 4th annual Korean Film Festival launched on Wednesday, now in its 2nd year screening in Brisbane. The festival, which will later travel to Sydney and Melbourne, showcases Korean films along with forums, cultural activities and performances.
Staff and volunteers from the Korean Cultural Office. We talked to David Park, back right.
The Korean Film Festival is run by the Korean Cultural Office based in Sydney. After watching the funny and heartbreaking opening night movie A Werewolf Boy, I caught up with David Park from the Korean Cultural Office to talk about the increasingly popularity of Korean Culture in Australia.