Why I Am Still Single and Why The Lego Movie Made Me Feel a Bit Ill

I’ve been single off and on for the past 4 years. Sometimes, single men ask me (in a chat up sort of way), “So … why are you still single?”

To me, that question is absurd. It comes from a worldview that sees people as needing a reason for being single. And that makes no sense to me. I am my own person, and perfectly capable of managing my own needs, you know, like a GROWN UP. I don’t need to be part of a couple, and I only want to be in a relationship if we love each other. I know that sounds pretty obvious, but if we unpick what that means, it’s a bit tougher than it sounds. Because love is something that is freely given. And if I’m in a relationship because I need that person to somehow fulfil my needs, then I’m no longer in a position to freely give love. Because I’m dependent on them. That’s not love. That’s dependency.

So it’s really important to me that my default “okay” position is on my own, as a single person. Because it’s only out of that strength that I’ll be able to freely offer love to someone, with no strings attached.

So anyway, this assumption that somehow I have to be in a relationship otherwise there must be some extenuating circumstance or reason for my not being so, seems pretty weird to me. Actually, that question, “Why are you still single?” is pretty useful as a filter. Because if someone asks me that, I know straight away that I’m not interested in him. Not romantically, anyway.

I find that on the dating scene, whether that’s with people I’ve met in person, or online, I get a lot of questions like this: questions that usually indicate that the person asking them is not really a great match for me. Not that I’m super judgemental, passing out judgements (BAM!) on people who ask the wrong questions. It’s just that I’ve learned from experience that it really helps in a relationship to have some degree of ability to communicate with each other. And we all make so many assumptions that affect our point of view and the way we communicate. It really helps to be able to recognise those assumptions and own them as opposed to saying that’s just the way it is. And over the years, I’ve found that not a lot of people are able to do that … myself included at times, of course!

One thing I encounter a lot, in the UK, is a certain type of awkward searching for common ground, by men who when they see me, are obviously disconcerted by my ethnicity.

For example, last week, I was at my favourite spa (the Harrogate Turkish Baths), all on my own and there was a man there who after a couple of hours of passing by my vicinity, mustered up the guts to say “hello”. And he had seemed perfectly interesting until he started talking to me. And all he could talk about was a production of Miss Saigon that he’d seen, which featured a Thai lady in the lead role. He kept giving me meaningful looks as he mentioned that she was Thai (several times), and spoke of how much he’d admired her. Hmm. So he somehow thought talking about this Thai lady was a good way to connect with me. It was like he was speaking some alien language. I didn’t give him any encouragement, and I politely moved a good distance away from him after that.

So this kind of thing happens to me a lot. And I know what you’re thinking. You’re probably wondering how on earth I can resist the charms of these clearly worldly men who are highly attuned to the fact that I’m not white.

The thing is, this isn’t just about men who are awkward about human beings having a different skin colour to them. It’s men who are utterly unaware of the culture they’ve completely bought into, the culture that objectifies people, especially women. And this culture is pervasive and insidious.

A couple of days ago, I took a small hyper ninja turtle to the cinema to see The Lego Movie. I had heard nothing but good things about it. “It’s really good!” That’s what everybody who’d seen it said to me.

ninja turtle at the cinema

There were some things I really loved about the movie. The artistry was undeniable. The acting was great. The script was funny. I loved the overall message, that everyone is SPECIAL, no matter what others think. And that it’s important for each person to believe they’re special and to believe others are special too. Love that! And the whole “anything is possible” sort of awesome big dreaming thing that kids’ movies do so well.

But it chilled me right down to the depths of my being, that the Lego world which supposedly championed how special everyone is, had 90% male characters. (That’s not a precise figure. It just seemed like everyone was male. The only real main female was Wyldstyle, or Lucy, as we come to know her later on.) So Lucy, the only main female character was pretty badass, and she ends up being part of the “prize” of the main super dorky male character, Emmett. Not that I have anything against dorky guys. But I do have a problem with the function that Lucy’s character serves in the movie.

The way women are portrayed in The Lego Movie is just so fucked up. And over 93K people have given this movie an average rating of 8.1 (out of 10) on IMDB. I skimmed through the first hundred reviews and didn’t see a single comment even acknowledging that it’s not normal, it’s not a normal representation of the world around us to have all the heroes being men, or anyone commenting on the fact that the female lead is super hot, and is “won” or “earned” by the seemingly unspecial Emmett at the end of the film. Lucy is essentially, a trophy.

So judging from the reactions to the Lego Movie that I’ve heard in person from people, or seen online, it seems to me that the world that I live in is one where for many, it’s absolutely fine to portray women as either insignificant or as trophies. That is normality. No-one even notices.

And I’m not happy to accept that as normal or healthy. And I don’t want to be with a man who doesn’t even notice that the world around him has this totally fucked up attitude towards women.

So is it really that surprising that I’m single at the moment? To be fair, I’m often not single. So I’m not saying that my being single is an inevitable result of how fucked up the world is. But I AM saying that the state of the world makes it really easy to spot men who have got really fucked up attitudes towards other people and towards women. Because there’s a culture of that, and it takes an exceptional level of self-awareness and open mindedness to recognise, and step outside of, that.

In my experience, those men are rare. And of those men, if you narrow down the numbers to those who are single, and then narrow down the numbers again to those who are somehow likely to encounter me in my limited sphere of existence and get to know me, we’re talking about some pretty tiny numbers. And that’s before we even start considering if there’s any romantic chemistry there.

Really, the amazing thing isn’t that I’m single at the moment, but that I’ve known and been in relationships with anyone at all up to now!

So if you want to know why I am still single … well there’s the tip of the iceberg 🙂

So blessings to you, whatever you may be doing, wherever you’re at in your journey, whether you’re single, or whether you’re not single.   May you find what you’re looking for!


Why Nobody Can Tell You What’s Right (For You)

Blue Glass Heart PendantLast night, I went to OpenMind at The Grove. Afterwards, I was chatting with a couple of song writers about song writing, and one of them (Dariush Kanani) said something about how the best songs happen when you don’t try to make the song be a certain way, but just allow it to unfold and take shape naturally. Actually, he probably didn’t say that at all, but it doesn’t matter what he said. What matters is what I took from what he said, and that’s what I took from it: the idea that when you try to impose your will and expectations on the world around you or even your own creative process, you can end up closing a lot of doors to some very wonderful places.

At the time, I said, “That’s true! Not just of song writing, but life!”

And that has got me thinking about these little truths we realise about the creative process, or other specific processes (like business practice, entrepreneurship, relationships, teaching, learning, time management, or ANYTHING – you name it!) … It seems to me that any solid truth about any process can be traced back to a principle that can be usefully applied to pretty much any other area in life. And that’s what makes truth so powerful.

For example, take JFK’s famous line, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” This exhortation has resonated with people through the decades, since JFK made it famous. And the principle behind it can be shaped into any number of other similar phrases such as, “Don’t think of what you can get. Think of what you can give.” Or, “Don’t try to sell. Try to serve.” Or, “Seek not to be understood, but to understand.” And so on and so on.

So I’ve been thinking about what all these principles have in common. And to me, at the root of all good principles is love. But that’s not a very helpful idea because the concept of love has been bastardised, warped, manipulated, and loaded with all sorts of crap by the media and ads that aim to hijack the idea for profit. So forget about love and let’s get more practical, more specific.

And to get more specific, I’m going to get more vague.

For me, at the root of all principles that resonate most profoundly, is growth. Stretching.  Getting bigger not smaller. Being open and vulnerable instead of shielding and protecting myself. And for me, this is about checking my heart, to see if I’m grasping things closer to me, or whether I’m opening my hands, stretching them out in offering to others.

Like when I play live, what’s that about? Is that about, “Here I am, this is what I’ve written” in a “me vs others” sort of way? Or is it, “There you are! I’m so pleased you’re here. And I’m happy to freely share what I’ve got” in a “here we all are together” sort of way? If my heart is in the first place, I feel smaller, defiant and defensive. If my heart is in the second place, I feel bigger. I feel free. I’ve been performing music since I was a child. And I could (and probably will some day) write an awful lot about what I’ve learned. But all the lessons I’ve learned about performing are lessons I’ve learned about life in general.

People try to boil down right and wrong into lists of rules, laws and guidelines, but at the end of the day, no list of rules can cover every possible response your heart might have to any given circumstance. And your heart, with ego and fear stripped away, is the best guide for what’s right for you. Only you can find that. With courage. And often with the help of others!

So anyway, there are my thoughts on life, love, and truth right now …

Please leave a comment below … would love to hear what you think or what your experience has been … 🙂



How To Succeed As An Artist


I’ve felt like an outsider all my life since I first began interacting socially with people outside of my family. My earliest memory of a social interaction is from when I was 4. My sister and brother and I were playing on the sidewalk with two sisters who lived down the street. The elder sister and my sister were dominating the convo which consisted mainly of the other girl (who was about 7, like my sister) sneering at various things about me and my brother (kids can be so mean sometimes), and my sister hotly countering the jibes with pithy comebacks such as, “So…?!!!” and “No he/she’s not!” During that conversation, I suddenly became aware of the fact that I was freakishly small for my age, and that I looked much younger than I was (which is insulting when you’re 4).

And then my years at school began. It was the late 1970s, Canada. My grasp of English was limited. To be fair, that was true of the other 4 year olds too, though they were native English speakers. So I quickly caught up. But not before I started realising that everything about my experience (my culture, my family) was different from the common experience of my peers. My family was different. My parents were different. All the class activities which took for granted Canadian culture, tradition, and customs were foreign to me.

And then the moving began. My parents moved frequently, at least once a year, sometimes more. It was terrifying, but I soon got used to it: being the newest kid in the class, having no friends, feeling unsafe.

Things changed rather dramatically when I got to University as a 17 year old. I was a math student. We were ALL outsiders. It was like discovering my home planet. The only problem was that I didn’t particularly want to be a mathematician.  So after a couple of years of desperately trying to make myself be like everyone else, I gave up and changed paths to classical piano. Classical music students were just as geeky as math students, but again, I was a square peg trying to fit myself into a round hole. I was an appallingly bad classical piano student.

In fact, I was a terrible student, full stop. Academia did not suit me at all. I didn’t like doing my own work (though I was happy to help others with theirs). I didn’t like sitting in lectures. I was disorganised. My life was chaotic. But I had a glorious time doing whatever I wanted while always feeling like I was avoiding what I should be doing. And it was while I was procrastinating that I starting song writing. That was a long time ago. Autumn 1995. Nearly 20 years on, and I’ve realised what Jessica Hische has put so neatly: “The work you do while you procrastinate is probably the work you should be doing for the rest of your life.”

When I was procrastinating I helped others, encouraged others (especially those who were disheartened). I wrote songs. I sang them. I shared them with anyone who would listen. And this has been the work I’ve been passionate about (and longing to do professionally) ever since I started doing it in my “spare time” as a student.

As an artist, a question that I get asked time and again is, “What makes you different? What’s different about what you do?” And this is an important question.

It’s hardly surprising that I find it so satisfying to perform my music and be an artist, since it’s a field where being different is not only allowed, but celebrated. We are all unique, we each have a unique set of experiences, unique DNA, evident in the uniqueness of our fingerprints. So at the heart of the question about what it is that makes my music different, is the question, what makes ME different? WHO AM I?

That’s a good question.

And a fucking impossible question.

Who am I? I’m discovering who I am all the time, with every passing moment, with every new bit of life experience. I express that in my music. I long to have more time and resources for it. But I celebrate the time and resources I DO have for it now. And in the midst of all this discovering, I encounter rejection again and again and again.

In April, I applied for Samsung’s “Launching People” competition, hoping to be chosen from hundreds of artists, to be mentored by Paloma Faith. I didn’t win the competition. At the end of April, I applied for a PRS For Music Foundation recording grant to record my second album (which is written and ready to go!!) and I didn’t make it to round 2 of the application process. Every time I attempt a “jump” for my music and I fall, after the initial disappointment, I celebrate. Because this is my story.

I am GLAD that my story isn’t: 

So I just wrote these songs and they were so awesome and someone in a position of great influence and power heard my songs and was like, “You are so awesome, let’s put you on a shortcut to stardom and everything you ever wanted.”  And then I became super successful! I’m so lucky! This never happens to anyone … just me!

I’m glad that’s not my story because that story SUCKS. That story is NOT REAL. That story is NOT THE WAY IT HAPPENS, despite the weird fantasy-illusion-belief that most people seem to have about the music industry, or any creative industry. This idea that you have to be lucky to make it, otherwise your career as an artist is pretty much doomed from the outset is a huge load of BS. This story is entirely disempowering to artists, placing the power of making their career possible in the hands of a small group of wealthy people and corporations. This is the fiction that is endorsed by those in power and then bought and propagated by those who are afraid of the work they’d have to do if they took responsibility for their own success. So it’s easy to see why so many artists buy into this fiction … because most artists would prefer not to do any work aside from their own creative work.

It’s tempting to want someone to step in and make things happen, especially when it feels like my own efforts have been ineffective for a long time. But giving in to that temptation, adopting that position means to give up all my power. And I am not willing to do that. I am not willing to place the power of making things happen in my life and career in the hands of others. Even if I were to get a recording grant, that wouldn’t be the funders making my record happen. It would be ME doing what I do, being who I am, inspiring funders to want to be a part of what I do.  Let’s set the record straight. Let’s get the REAL picture of who’s got the power here.

It’s the funders, the distributors, the labels, the publishers that need US the creatives, not the other way around. WE ARE THE REASON why they do the things they do. But THEY are are NOT the reason why WE CREATE.

So every time I feel knocked back, every time I put in a load of work, take a risk, and find that the result/response is not the outcome/boost I’d hoped for but simply the news that I’ve got to work harder, work longer, I CELEBRATE. My story is REAL.  And I want to share my story and for people to be inspired, encouraged, heartened, to know that the effort, the disappointments, all the passion and heart that they invest freely and generously into their art and work without any guarantee of being paid or being heard, this is all part of the journey.

YES, I want my music to be heard by as many people as possible. I want to have great impact. I want my songs to be so touching, so resonant, so relevant, so insightful, that one day, everywhere I go, I’ll hear other people singing my songs (and hopefully not because I’ve gone crazy). And I will explore every opportunity that comes my way that might help make that happen. But I am not looking for “luck” to get me where I want to go. That’s not to say that luck won’t happen. I’m saying that I’m not depending on luck.

I am going where I want to go, right now, every day. I’m going to keep writing my songs in as awesome and true a way as possible, and step by step, I will get to where I want to go. I feel confident of this.

So when I am rejected by Samsung or Paloma Faith, or the PRS for Music Foundation, I celebrate my journey and my story. I laugh thinking about how one day, when my songs are being sung by different people, and they’re a ubiquitous part of the music landscape, I’ll be able to say, “When I was looking to record this album in the way that I envisioned, and I looked for partners in that, I was turned down again and again. But I kept going and I found a way to do what I want to do.”

Now THAT is a story worth celebrating. One that will give people hope, and also be an accurate portrayal of reality, instead of the fantasies/lies that are perpetuated about creative professions and about success in general!

Rant over.

So you want to know how to succeed as an artist? Take heart. Your dreams are your destiny, if you just continue taking the steps each day towards them. One step at a time. There is a shortcut to success.  And it’s what my little boy might call a “longcut”. That shortcut is simply going where you want to go, step by step, like the proverbial tortoise. Begin by dreaming.

If you want to help make my second album happen, I’m raising the funds to record it right now. So if you want to help, you can do so at:


via the “Buy Now” buttons …… and you’ll receive my album (either as a digital download or a CD depending on which you select) as well as my deepest gratitude 🙂

Or you can buy something from my eBay shop at:


If you do, please drop me a line at LEESUN [at] LEESUNMUSIC [dot] COM and I’ll send you an exclusive preview of my newest song, “Know, No Matter What (We All Matter)”!


The 7 Habits of Highly Successful Facebook Pages

2014-04-20 LeeSun Music Facebook Page

Over the past 2 years (ish) I’ve seen engagement on my Facebook go down, down, down (as Candace of Phineas & Ferb fame might say). For quite awhile now, my Facebook page has been fairly useless as a means of communicating to the people who have joined it.

The Grim Statistics

See the handy screenshot of my FB page on the right (taken a minute ago)?  I currently have almost 8000 likes. Which would be great news if it weren’t for that fact that hardly any of those people ever see anything I post. Why? Because Facebook rarely shows my posts to people. You can see how many people saw my last 6 posts by the ‘Total Reach’ numbers circled on the right.

Looking at my most recent 6 posts on my page, Facebook has shown my post to 30-150 people signed up to my page. That’s 0.35 – 1.9%** of people signed up. So it kind of makes sense now that only ‘8 people are talking about this’. That represents 5-26% of people who saw my posts (because most of the 30 people who saw my 6th-most recent post also saw all of the others).

Looking at it that way, I’m actually doing AWESOME. 5-26% engagement is STELLAR. That’s GREAT engagement from people who saw my posts. If only it were more than 30-150 people out of 8000 seeing my posts.

Perhaps you’ve spent time and effort building your business’s Facebook page, only to find that nobody is seeing your posts either. What’s the answer? Give up?

Well, I like to think that no matter WHAT is going on, the answer is not to sit and gripe about it, but rather to DO something about it. The question I ask myself is, “What can I do with what I’ve got? My FB page behaviour has changed. How can I make use of that? How can I work with that?”

The 7 Habits of Highly Successful Facebook Pages

I’ve noticed that even in the current harsh climate in Facebook-Page-Land, there are pages that are flourishing in terms of engagement. What do they have in common? And looking at what they have in common, what are my 7 top tips for making your Facebook Page useful for you?

1) REGULARLY post updates. The thriving Facebook Pages all post SUPER REGULARLY (often multiple times per day).  Post an update on your page EVERY DAY, a MINIMUM of once a day, but aim for 2-3 posts on most days.

2) Always post a photo. ALWAYS. They always post a photo NO MATTER WHAT the update is. So suppose I wanted to post on my page, “Hey everyone, I’m playing a gig tomorrow at O2 Arena in Leeds … looking forward to seeing you there … get your tickets!!!!” … If I want to emulate a page with more engagement, I would need to post a photo with that update. What should the photo be of? Now THAT’S a good question.

There are more content tips below, but let’s look at this example. I could post a photo of a handwritten note instead of typing the message. Or I could do one of those super cheesy ‘text on top of a photo’ thingies in Photoshop … like a photo of an inspiring place of outstanding natural beauty with something written over it like, “It’s amazing, I’m playing at the O2 Arena tomorrow!! Come see me! Tickets from: …” Or I could combine that with an offer like, “First 5 people to book tickets through the link below get VIP backstage passes!”

There is no limit to how imaginative you can be with what you write, and what photo you post. For example, your photo could be part of a series that you’re posting. You could decide to take a photo each day of a grumpy person. Or a doorway. Or something messy. Or people working at your company. Let your imagine go! It will bring you back ideas. Imagination is a muscle and it gets stronger as you exercise it.

3) Be funny, inspiring, or informative. Unless you are a superstar with FB fans who are infatuated with you, it’s probably not going to cut it to just post normal stuff about you or your business. Hey, it TAKES TIME for people to engage with your posts. And they’re only going to engage if they CARE enough. If (like in my case) many of your fans are total strangers who heard a 30 second snippet of your music and thought, “hey that’s pretty nice, I like that”, or worse, if they’re not even real individuals, THEY DON’T CARE if you had pizza for lunch, or if you’ve got new stuff arriving in your shop, or WHATEVER.

Like I said, this doesn’t apply to you if you’ve achieved superstar status and have stalkers regardless of what you do. If that’s the case, more power to you. But if, like me, you are NOT a celebrity (yet), then you’ve got to add value to your posts. Ask yourself, “How can I contribute to people’s lives with this post? How can I make this super funny, or entertaining, or inspiring, or incredibly useful?” If you can get one (or more) of those elements into your PHOTO (see point #2) then you’re onto a winner.

4) Recycle! This is a basic strategy of anyone who is seeking more engagement on t’internet, and Facebook pages are no exception. If you see something going viral, or something that you think OUGHT to go viral (because it fits the criteria in #3 above), share it on your page with a little comment (preferably a funny, inspiring or informative comment). You don’t have to generate all your content yourself. Phew.

5) Never, EVER pay FB for ANY of its services. Some people have experienced an actual DECLINE in their FB engagement since paying for promoted posts etc. I’m too lazy to look up references now. But you can look them up yourself, or take my word for it. To pay Facebook in order to get them to show your posts to people, when really you built your page in good faith thinking that people who ‘liked’ your page would receive updates (at least SOME of the time) seems wrong to me. Like rewarding naughty behaviour with sweets and treats. Just say ‘no’.

6) Be innovative. Believe in yourself and what you’re promoting on your page. And enthusiastically share it whenever you can. This point is about more than just increasing engagement on your page for the sake of increased engagement.  This is about creatively communicating who you are and what you offer in a way that is enjoyable to people. This is about having fun. This is about refining what your business is about and letting others knows. I’m not going to get specific here. Just ask yourself, “What am I passionate about, or what CAN I be passionate about, in my business?” and go from there … not to more answers … but hopefully that will lead to more questions. The more questions you can uncover, the more exciting this journey will be.

7) The final goal: Build your business. Add value to your business. And this is where it’s truly at. Whether you are an artist, a painter, a writer, a shop owner, a baker, a plumber, or WHATEVER, it’s about adding value to your business. What do you have to offer? How can you offer MORE? How can you add value to what you’re offering? Once you’ve got loads of people engaging with your page, it needs to go beyond them clicking ‘like’ and commenting on loads of posts about kittens and babies or chuckling at your wit and charm. You want more engagement NOT FOR ENGAGEMENT’S SAKE, but as a part of building your business. This may sound selfish to you if you interpret it the wrong way. I’m not talking about persuading people to buy your products. I’m talking about OFFERING VALUE to the people who engage with your page. What special bonuses or deals can you offer to your customers that will make them glad that they’ve engaged with your business? How can you REALLY serve your customers, going above and beyond anything they expect? These questions will serve you if you ask them REGULARLY. Don’t look for an answer or a few answers, then take that as a cue to grow complacent. Answers are NOT the answer. Whatever answers you come up with now, KEEP ASKING YOURSELF THE QUESTIONS. Keep innovating. Keep creating. Keep growing. Keep building.


Challenge: The 30 Day Experiment

So here’s a challenge that I’m going to try myself. Now that I’ve had a look at my Facebook Page and realised that it’s currently USELESS, and now that I’ve put my finger on what would make it a USEFUL Facebook Page, I’m going to commit to the 30 Day Experiment: applying the above 7 principles for 30 days to see what effect it has on my page. So starting today, I’m going to aim to post 2-3 times per day, with a photo EVERY TIME, and I’m going to keep asking myself the following questions:

What funny thing can I share today?
What inspiring thing can I share today?
What incredibly useful information can I share today?
What can I do DIFFERENTLY?
How can I be creative with photos and images that I post?
How can I serve my ‘fans’?
What MORE can I offer my ‘fans’?
How can I add value to my business?

I’m going to write those questions down on a slip of paper and read them just before bed and after I wake up each day. For 30 days.

I can handle Facebook bullying, sabotage, extortion. They cannot control me or sabotage my business. My business is bigger than that. *I* am bigger than that!


And if you have a floundering Facebook Page, then I challenge you to also try the 30 Day Experiment. Track your ‘Talking About This’ and ‘Total Reach’ numbers daily. And let me know how it goes! 🙂

By the way, to post comments, you need to register on this site. It only takes a few seconds. Just click on the ‘Keep In Touch’ tab at the top left of the page, enter your email address and create a password. You’ll receive a confirmation email (which may go to your Spam/Junk folder). Click in the email to confirm, and presto! You’re all set! IF YOU LIKE THIS POST please do keep in touch! You can enter your email (bottom right ‘Follow’ tab) to receive any future posts by email) or register to pick and choose which ‘Hot Topics’ you’d like to receive updates for. Generally, I post about once a week 🙂

Best of luck to you! I will post an update in the comments section of this post in 30 days!! Ooh, how exciting!


It seems that even with a photo, Facebook will not show your post to people if you have certain external links in it. For example, they’ve given 26 impressions of this post so far. And posts that have been placed via Twitter are even worse.  This post has been given a grand total of 10 impressions. I clearly need to be more creative. Tomorrow, I’ll try again.

Trusting Your Gut Could Save Your Life

korea ferry disaster 2014-04-16I generally avoid keeping up with news, but from time to time, a story crosses my radar. I reckon friends will tell me about anything really important.

Today, I heard some news and was drawn in despite my general news avoidance.  I read the media reports and watched video footage and wept.

And I’m not writing about it here to depress you. I’m writing about it as a parent whose heart cries for the hundreds of people who lost their children yesterday, as their children did what they were taught to do.

So here’s the scenario:

What do you get when you combine a major disaster (ferry sinking) with hundreds of high school students (passengers) brought up in a culture of obedience to authority figures?


The reports are damning. The consistent report from survivors is that they heard a thud, felt the ferry lurch, then were instructed to stay inside. They put on life vests and obeyed. This photo, showing students in life vests awaiting permission to go outside, was taken by one of the survivors. They waited for a half hour or more. And then it was too late for most of them. 

Almost 300 people  out of the original 459 passengers are still missing, likely dead. And every one of them followed the instructions given by the ferry’s crew and over the PA telling them to stay inside. The ones who didn’t listen and jumped into the sea survived, picked up by rescue helicopters and boats. Just think about that one.

It makes me so angry. My parents emigrated to Canada when I was 5 months old and Canadian culture is now a part of me. But I have plenty of experience of the values prevalent in Korean culture. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it’s all bad. But when you’re told that it’s far more important to obey your elders than to trust your gut, there is something seriously wrong. Though I’m all for respecting others (whether older or younger) and for working co-operatively with local and larger communities, I can’t feel good about not nurturing the best and most powerful part of being human: that bit inside that makes you able to think for yourself, feel for yourself, trust yourself.

It breaks my heart that those people (children) waited, compliantly, co-operatively on that ferry, and they are now dead.

I’m going to stop writing now because I’m crying again.

If you want to see the BBC article that I got the photo from, it’s here: