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National News

Beginning Oct. 1977 and until the end of 1979, I performed as the "Bouquet Ambassador" for the South Korean government. My main duties were to provide bouquets to foreign VIPs who were prime ministers and presidents of their respective countries. Because of the importance of their Korean visits, most of my performance was broadcast via live & taped TV news, televised live, and also a theatrical version of the National News (a.k.a. Daehan News) customized for movie-goers in a theater. Here are the details:

1. Jordan's Prince El Hassan bin Talal - Oct. 24, 1977 visit to South Korea  Video

2. Fiji's Prime Minister Kamisese Mara - June 6, 1978 visit to South Korea  Video 1  Video 2 

3. Belgium's Prince Albert - early June 1978 visit to South Korea  Video 

4. Djibouti's Prime Minister Abdallah Mohamed Kamil - Aug. 19, 1978 visit toSouth Korea  Video

5. Eswatini (formerly King of Swaziland)'s Prime Minister Maphevu Dlamini - Sept. 20, 1978 visit to South Korea  Video

6. Gabon's Foreign Minister - mid-Oct. 1978 visit to South Korea  Video

7. South Korean President Park Jung-hee's Ninth Inauguration Ceremony - Dec. 27, 1978 in Seoul, South Korea  Video

8. Senegal President Léopold Sédar Senghor - mid-April, 1979 visit to South Korea  Video 1  Video 2 

9. Austria's UN Secretariat Kurt Waldheim - May 1979 visit to South Korea  Video

10. US President Jimmy Carter - June 29, 1979's visit to South Korea  Video 

11. Saudi Arabia's Price/Minister of Interior Nayef bin Abdulaziz - mid-July 1979 visit to South Korea  Video

12. Malaysian Prime Minister Hussein Onn - late-July 1979 visit to South Korea  Video 

13. Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew - Oct. 17, 1979 visit to South Korea  Video

14. Luxembourg's Prince Henri - late-October 1979 visit to South Korea  Video

TV Broadcaster

My debut as a TV broadcaster occurred in April 1983 through a TV program named "Middle School English" produced by EBS (formerly known as KBS 3 channel). Since I am in the process of obtaining video records from it, I will share what's called a 'Behind-the-Scene' story as to how I made my TV appearance debut through said program.

It was early March 1983 while I was watching the program and decided to apply for the participant of the program. My predecessors were all middle school students like I was, and I thought I would give it a try. Then one day, one of the staff from said program called and asked whether I could come to their TV studio and become a participant. I said I would, and went to the TV studio located by the hillside of Mt. Umyeon (a.k.a. Umyeonsan).

After receiving verbal instructions and signing some papers (now I believe it was my Release Form to use my tape appearance for TV broadcast purposes), I sat at the semi-circle table next to a Korean female MC in her early 30s. To her right, a Caucasian male & female in their late 20s/early 30s were also sitting there, both wearing brown-colored eyeglasses, just like I was at the time. Then one of the stage ADs approached me and asked whether I could take off my off-white sweatshirt and only wear a navy-colored shirt underneath it because the sweatshirt may produce too much glare under the bright studio lighting system. I said I would, but she later told me I could continue to wear a sweatshirt because the main control room said it was OK.

While waiting for my segment to be taped, the MC asked me whether I could introduce myself by mentioning my name and the middle school I go to, and I acknowledged it, which became part of the opening shot of the segment. I also noticed there were three studio cameras and a big TV monitor located adjacent to them. During my segment taping, I found out one camera was fixed at two Caucasian pair capturing their bust shot, one was fixed at myself and the MC capturing the same image as theirs, and another one was to capture the entire participants from a full shot. I also learned that when TV stations tape a program such as the one I was in, they record several days' segments together, and while I was waiting for my segment to begin, the main control room played the segment that's scheduled to air the day before my taped segment will, and I noticed one Caucasian female in her mid-20s wearing a white cocktail dress with off-shoulder design was lip-singing to the song "When Will I See You Again" by The Third Degrees (which were part of the program segments for middle school students to learn English songs and their lyrics), and I remember a female AD, MC, and two Caucasian participants discussed with some amusement as to whether such "revealing" clothing is allowed by EBS. It was, and I watched that segment aired without any correction.

The taping went smoothly without any technical or NG from any one of the participants. After the taping, the female AD apprached me with ten notebooks with the KEDI (Korean Educational Development Institute) logo on them as compensation for appearing on their show, and I still retain some of them today with unforgettable memories, even after 41  years have passed from the event.

Theatrical Actor

My debut as a theatrical actor was with WALLS, a play produced by New World Theater (part of the Umass Amherst Theater department)  with performance dates of Oct. 24-27, 1991. In it, I played the character of Stu, a Chinese-American ex-Vietnam vet in his late 30s, who was suffering from PTSD during his tour of duty. To prepare for the performance, 15 cast members met every evening (and sometimes on weekends) after their daily schedule and practiced our parts for two hours or more.

At the end of the final performance, the director of WALLS congratulated me for my debut performance and asked whether I was interested in pursuing this as my career. Since I was too busy overseeing several activities sponsored by the Umass Amherst's Korean Students Association at that time (more details can be found in chapter 3 of my book Restart 51), I politely refused his offer. 32 years have passed since then, and I wonder what would have happened if I had made that change at that time. Regardless of how my future unfolds, I treasure the moments I shared with my cast members as well as support staff to make this play possible.

Courtesy of Umass Amherst SCUA
Courtesy of Umass Amherst SCUA
Courtesy of Umass Amherst SCUA
Courtesy of Umass Amherst SCUA
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