The Koreanist who is also a Southeast Asianist: On being a paper presenter at the Bridges to Southeast Asia Workshop in Ateneo de Manila University

Posted on March 29, 2015


Bridges to Southeast Asia

Being called a Southeast Asianist at the workshop called “Bridges to Southeast Asia: Perspectives from the Ateneo” sent music to my ears. Although I studied Korean Studies and identify as a Koreanist, being a Southeast Asian person who is concerned about Southeast Asian issues makes me interested in Southeast Asia, as well. Moreover, since my Korean Studies program focused on bridging Korea and Southeast Asia, my education at Chulalongkorn University in Thailand and Seoul National University in Korea has imbued me with a sense of importance of both places.

Last February 27, 2015, I presented my Korean Studies thesis titled “Representations of Southeast Asian Wives Under the Korean Gaze”. This time, my presentation focused more on the representations of Southeast Asians more than the Korean multicultural family and phenomenon. And this time, too, I presented it not as an international student  but as a lecturer at the Ateneo de Manila University.

My takeaways from participating in this workshop:

1) Focusing on the Southeast Asian aspect of my research during the presentation raised questions on the Korean component, which I didn’t elaborate on during the presentation, but details of which were present in my thesis. Thank God for question-and-answer portions where I was able to clarify and elaborate on the points raised by fellow academics.

2) I realized that there are many interesting research works being done about Southeast Asia in my university, not just in media studies but in sociology and the sciences, as well. I’m glad my education was flexible enough to let me navigate between Korea and Southeast Asia.

3) It’s great to be part of a vibrant academic community.

4) I need to start doing other research works because I feel that I’ve presented this thesis many times already. I have a lot of ideas and topics. I just need to get down to it. So help me God!

5) I need a PhD if I am to carve out a productive and meaningful career in academia.

6) But before I do #5, I need to get tenure first.

7) What to do now?