Miley Cyrus: That Achy Breaky Bigot February 8, 2009Posted by koreanpower999 in Asian American, Hannah Montana, Miley Cyrus, race, racism, racism against Asian Americans, slanted eye pose.
1 comment so far
This is a funny video that I found on “Angry Asian Man”
Miley Cyrus makes a racist slanted eye pose February 4, 2009Posted by koreanpower999 in Asian American, race, racism, racism against Asian Americans.
Tags: Hannah Montana, Miley Cyrus, slanted eye pose
1 comment so far
Miley Cyrus aka “Hannah Montana” making a racist slanted eye pose. Why is it continually ok to be openly racist against Asians and Asian Americans?
“Just Because” (White guys and Asian girls) January 29, 2009Posted by koreanpower999 in Asian American, race, racism.
Tags: humor, stereotypes, yellow fever
1 comment so far
2008 Spanish Federation Cup Tennis Team Picture August 14, 2008Posted by koreanpower999 in Asian American, Asian Americans, Beijing Olympics 2008, China, race, racism, Spanish basketball team, Spanish Federation Cup Tennis Team Picture.
Looks like it’s not only the Spanish Olympic basketball team doing the racist “chinaman” pose. The 2008 Spanish Federation Cup Tennis team did the same thing. Hmmm… maybe we’re seeing a pattern here?
Spain photo exposing NBA double standard? August 13, 2008Posted by koreanpower999 in Asian American, Asian Americans, China, Olympics, race, racism, Spanish basketball team.
I’m tired of all the excuses the Spanish are making about the racist photo they posed for in an advertisement. If they don’t get why people are angry about it, then what can I say. This is the same crap that has always been tolerated in Europe. This is the same continent that allows people to openly utter racist chants and proudly display swastikas at soccer games. Many of my friends on the left love to talk about how we should be more like Europe. Excuse me, if I vomit the next time they tell me that.
Spain photo exposing NBA double standard?
Yahoo! Sports; by Adrian Wajnarowski; August 13, 2008
BEIJING – When Jason Kidd logged into a laptop to see the Spaniards with his own eyes on Wednesday morning, the photo appeared just as described to him: Here were National Basketball Association players giggling like schoolgirls as they posed with fingers pressed against their temples in a squinty-eyed pre-Olympic salute to China.
Before long, Kidd considered the consequences had those giddy European faces been substituted with those of Team USA.
“We would’ve been already thrown out of the Olympics,” he told Yahoo! Sports. “At least, we wouldn’t have been able to come back to the U.S. …There would be suspensions.”
And for his European peers, well, Kidd suggested, “They won’t do anything to them. It’s a double standard.”
For Spain, there are several NBA players, including the Lakers’ Pau Gasol and Toronto’s Jose Calderon, in this unnerving team photo. They wore Spanish uniforms and had the federation’s seal on the floor. It ran as a full-page advertisement in a Madrid newspaper, an advertisement for a national team sponsor. This wasn’t an impromptu shot, but a carefully calculated choice.
Gasol is too smart, too sophisticated, to have let this happen. After practice Wednesday, he suggested that he wasn’t troubled with the photo on the merits of longstanding racial implications as much as he thought it wasn’t funny. The sponsor pushed and pushed them to pose, he said. They broke him down.
“It was supposed to be a picture that inspired the Olympic spirit,” Gasol said.
And how’d that work out, Pau? Just imagine what would’ve happened had that explanation come out of the mouth of Carmelo Anthony? Here’s what: Stern would’ve been on the next plane to China to work the damage control.
The Spaniards made a deplorable circumstance worse with dense justifications and a sense that they had done nothing wrong and nothing offensive. When they were hemming and hawing, digging a deeper ditch, Kidd talked at Team USA’s practice. He was curious how the Spanish players were spinning this.
“They have some explaining to do,” he said. “They’ll come up with something good.”
Gasol and Calderon aren’t just accountable to Spain on this Olympic stage but the global corporate entity that pays them more than $130 million in pro contracts. The NBA could’ve delivered a ready rebuke on Wednesday and there was none.
They’ll dock you $50,000 for ripping an incompetent official, but you can get a pass on an orchestrated racial slur? Gasol is kidding himself to say that he was pushed into it. Do you think Kobe Bryant would’ve been pressured to pose this way? LeBron James? Gasol is a serious, sensitive player with the prestige and clout for Spain to step up and say: Forget it, fellas. This isn’t happening. Only he didn’t.
As much as anything, this episode feeds a prevailing feeling among African-American NBA players that they’re the constant scapegoats for whatever issues – real or perceived – plague the sport. Without the public demanding a pound of accountability for European players, do they get a pass?
“The simple question is, ‘Would Stern and the league hold the American players accountable?’ And I think the answer to that is yes,” one NBA general manager said. “So why wouldn’t he hold the ‘other’ NBA players accountable – unless the rules only apply to the American players.”
So far, there’s nothing out of the league office. Rest assured, unless there’s an outcry over that photo, the NBA will wish this story away. Maybe the league will even issue a mild rebuke. It won’t be enough. Maybe this doesn’t rise to a suspension, but there should be significant fines and a bold condemnation. There needs to be a message delivered to NBA players everywhere: When you earn your money with us, you are always on the clock. Kidd, Kobe and LeBron understand it. It’s time the rest of the league does, too.
As some suggest he’ll do, Stern can’t dismiss this as the business of a federation team. These are NBA players returning to NBA cities this year. Never mind the host country and millions of fans here, but consider the Asian-American season ticket holders in cosmopolitan cities such as Toronto and Los Angeles. One of the reasons the New Jersey Nets traded for Yi Jianlian was to market him to a large Asian-American base in Metropolitan New York.
The NBA is a global league, so understand: Whatever the summer uniform, it’s the players who are forever representing the logo. The idea that Stern shouldn’t act on this behavior because it falls under FIBA and Spanish rule is ridiculous.
“We could say that too, but at the end of day, we are still representing the NBA,” Kidd said. “No matter if we’re saying (the actions) have nothing to do with it. At the end of day, we have to go back home, and our jobs are there.”
Stern is walking a slippery slope here, balancing relationships and partnerships in China and Europe. Already, there are jealousies developing in Europe over the way Stern is fawning over the Chinese market. Some European teams have told American marketers and agents that they’ve felt neglected in Stern’s wanderlust for Asia. FIBA is the governing body for European basketball and they’ve already dismissed this as a non-issue. That’s FIBA’s right, but the NBA has a different responsibility here. It has to take the higher ground.
“It would start an international riot if we did it, but they aren’t us,” an Eastern Conference executive said. “It’s low-rent stuff, but FIBA won’t do squat, so (the) NBA would show them up with any punitive action. I would be shocked if the NBA does any more than condemn (the) action.”
These Games have been a fascinating illustration in the complexities of the NBA’s globalization. The Americans have been treated like rock stars in China. Team USA has handled everything with grace and good humor. After too many trips overseas when this wasn’t the case for America’s national team, it sure is now.
Yes, there are different attitudes in the world, different sensibilities in Europe and North America. But for the NBA, there can be just one set of right and wrong. There should be only a strong voice and strong action now. No one should have to call for accountability from the Spaniards – the way that they would for Americans. Once and for all, David Stern has to be clear that there aren’t rules and responsibilities for different athletes, and different backgrounds – just those for an NBA player.
Crouching Voter, Hidden Direction August 8, 2008Posted by koreanpower999 in 2008 Elections, 80-20, Asian American, Asian American vote, Asian Americans, Asian Americans for Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Democratic Party, Hillary Clinton, John McCain.
Newsweek; by Megan Shank; August 7, 2008
Youth Action Team volunteer John Yoon
On a clear-skied Sunday in New York City’s Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, a dozen Asian American teenagers scarf down hot dogs, fly kites and do their bit for the U.S. presidential race. Over the din of a crowd cheering rowers at the annual Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival, the students, part of city council member John Liu’s Youth Action Team, call out to passersby in Mandarin, Cantonese and English, “Have you registered to vote?”
For Asian Americans across the nation, it’s an important question. Their numbers might be small compared to other ethnic groups—only 5 percent of the total population—but they’ve been growing nine to 10 times faster than the general population, according to the U.S. Bureau of the Census. That could swing the ballot in key states, according to “Awakening the Sleeping Giants?,” a recent report by researchers at UCLA.
The broader significance of Asian American voters was evident in 2006, when U.S. Senate candidate Jim Webb garnered 76 percent of Virginia’s Asian American and Pacific Islander votes, a factor in helping him to secure a narrow victory (less than 0.5 percent) over Republican incumbent George Allen and tipping control of the Senate to Democrats.
Asian Americans also played a significant role in helping Hillary Clinton win the California Democratic primary earlier this year. Comprising an estimated 12 percent of the state’s electorate, an overwhelming majority of Asian Americans—some 71 percent, according to a CNN exit poll—voted for Clinton. Other politically powerful states with large Asian American populations include New York and Texas, and, in a tight race, Asian American voters could swing Florida, says the UCLA report.
Although both Webb and Clinton are Democrats, Asian Americans don’t possess deep party loyalties, because as immigrants they don’t inherit familial ties to one political persuasion, says Paul Ong, a co-author of the UCLA report and a professor at the university. Beyond being “Asian,” voting preferences also depend upon a citizen’s age and country of origin. Vietnamese Americans who escaped from the Communists, for example, have served as a reliable Republican bloc, but their children tend to vote along more fluid lines.
Nationwide, aside from Obama’s childhood turf of Hawaii, Asian Americans nearly unequivocally supported Clinton’s bid; her loss of the nomination left Asian American voters divided over which candidate to support in November.
Clinton likely resonated with Asian American voters in part because she worked within cultural norms, giving “face,” or respect, to their communities and working through what Chinese refer to as “guanxi,” or connections. “We felt loyal to Hillary and guilty when she lost,” says John Liu, New York’s first Asian American city councilman.
Chris Wang, director of the Queens Nan-shan Senior Center, which operates under the auspices of the Chinese-American Planning Council, says the center’s 4,000 naturalized citizen members don’t vote based on a candidate’s platform as much as on whether “that candidate has spoken directly to them and recognized their validity as citizens.”
And as with many Americans, citizenship does not automatically ensure active political engagement. Both naturalized and U.S.-born Asian Americans have lower rates of voter registration than do non-Asians. Language barriers and a lack of understanding about the parties prevent competent participation. “’Democrat’ sounds like ‘democracy,’ which is great—it’s what people signed up for when they came here—but the word for ‘Republican’ in Chinese sounds a little too close to the word for ‘Communist party,’” says Peter Koo, a naturalized American citizen running as a Republican candidate for New York State Senate in 2009.
There are efforts to eliminate these problems: Under the Voting Rights Act, non-English ballots may be provided to voters. In addition, Asian-language media have given extensive political coverage and Asian immigrant support centers throughout the country offer classes on voter registration. But there are more insidious psychological obstacles. Coming from nations where democratic engagement has been actively discouraged or eliminated, where politics has wrecked fortunes and ruined families, many Asian American voters remain reluctant to get involved.
Zhou Ling, a naturalized American citizen from Taiwan who wears an Obama pin with the Chinese characters for “hope,” says Asian American citizens must abandon fear and cultivate courage and civic duty. For her, both were inspired by the Obama campaign, for which she now volunteers. The challenge in rallying Asian Americans for Obama has been that, among certain voter blocs, “there’s uneasiness in the image of a black president, particularly among naturalized citizens who have grown up in monocultures,” says Zhou.
The Obama campaign clearly recognizes the need to reach out to the Asian American community. Last month, California Rep. Mike Honda addressed an Obama fundraiser sponsored by a coalition of Asian American political groups. Obama’s part Indonesian half-sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, has also contributed as a spokeswoman. Their efforts may bear fruit. According to “New Voters, Old Fears,” by News 21, a journalism initiative of the Carnegie and Knight Foundations, Asian Americans increasingly lean toward Democratic candidates.
McCain, for his part, has long courted Vietnamese Americans, despite once using a racial slur to describe his Northern Vietnamese captors. During the 2000 run for president, he promised Asian American journalists that if he won, he would name an Asian American to his cabinet. Van Thai Tran, Republican member of the California State Assembly and the first American of Vietnamese descent to serve there, has endorsed him; on a more personal note, McCain has an adopted daughter from Bangladesh. McCain’s Web site, however, lists no Asian American coalition.
Ong, the UCLA researcher, says another report due out in October will show that “young Asian Americans have become dramatically more involved in the 2008 presidential campaign. Obama can take a lot of credit for that.” But even the candidate who has made change a central part of his campaign cannot uproot long-standing social values, such as deference to elders and respect for experience. One example: Wen (he declined to provide his first name), an “80-something-year-old” naturalized citizen and resident of New York says he will vote for McCain. “I like a tough guy who can get the job done,” says Wen in Mandarin. As a veteran who fought in the Korean War with Chinese troops in 1952, Wen relates to McCain’s political experience in Vietnam and says, “America has scarier enemies now.”
Perhaps so, but from the looks of the group gathered in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, America also has a muscular new political vigor.
Recently, it has come out that in his rant against Barack Obama while he thought his mic was off, Jesse Jackson used the “N” word. This was talked about on all the media outlets. It showed Jackson’s hypocricy because he had been one of the most vocal proponents of eliminating the “N” word from the American vernacular in light of the racist tirade by Michael Richards during a comedy routine. Yesterday, on “the View”, there was a heated argument about whether the “N” word should be eliminated or if it’s fine for black people to still use that word.
Most media coverage of this conversation on “the View’ was sympathetic to Elizabeth Hasselbeck’s view that the “N” word shouldn’t be used by anyone including black people. She also got sympathy because she was crying.
So I just wanted to address a few issues. I am on the side of Whoopi Goldberg and Sheri Sheppard on this issue. I think oppressed people can take an oppressive word and find empowerment and agency in turning that word into something positive, which takes away the power from the oppressor. I think I get annoyed when white people think this word should be eliminated because they can’t say it. If white people can’t say it, then nobody else can say it. That’s the rule many times. If white people can’t say it or do it, then no one should be able to do it. When I say a joke or a comment about my own culture, white people will commonly say, “if I said what you’re saying about Asian Americans, I would get beat up.” So thus, the white person will tell me, since he or she cannot say it, then I shouldn’t be able to say it. But context is key. It does matter who is saying it and what is the purpose. This is not to say that I can say whatever I want and it’s ok. There is much discernment that needs to be taken. I shouldn’t just say things loosely and not be respectful of other people. But I don’t think it’s the place of white people to tell people of color what they can or can’t say. When I give into their demands, there is definitely a sense of disempowerment. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t listen to their side and respect their opinions. But I think sometimes we get stuck in this rut where the validity of words and actions are determined primarily by white people. By the way, I am not necessarily taking a side in whether the N-word should be allowed to be used by African Americans or not. I am not an African American and that’s a conversation that needs to happen in the African American community. I’m more dealing with the larger issue of whether white people have the right to tell people of color what they can say or do.
The other issue I want to focus is on is that somehow in a dialogue on race, the conversation stops when the white person cries or when the white person gets hurt. Then the focus and the attention goes to them and the conversation disappears. In the media coverage of the conversation “the View” had, Elizabeth Hasselbeck was made to be a courageous woman speaking truth, while Whoopi Goldberg and Sheri Sheppard were characterized as the angry black women. It just reminded me of the numerous conversations I’ve had in the past, where once the white person would express being hurt, then the conversation would stop and people would try to console that person. Then the focus would be about the pain of the white person and that would be end of the dialogue. Then the default reaction for the people of color is to validate the white person’s feelings. I know as an Asian American, there’s this automatic reaction to apologize and to accommodate to whatever the white person is feeling. Usually, it is followed by the use of unversal language, like, “we’re all the same,” and “we’re all God’s children,” followed by cliches about colorblindness. I am always assuming that we are all God’s children and that yes we are equal in God’s eyes. Duh! So that is true. But that cannot end the conversation. I appreciated that Whoopi Goldberg kept her ground even when Elizabeth Hasselbeck was crying. It’s apparent that Whoopi Goldberg cares about Elizabeth Hasselbeck, but was still courageous enough to stand her ground and not just capitulate her point when the white person expressed how hurt he or she was. I think individual feelings do matter. But sometimes, a dialogue that is constructive and real will go beyond just individual feelings and yes it will hurt people, including white people.
I know the issue is much more complex than what I state. It’s hard to fully articulate everything in one blog post and I know I still have so much to learn. But that’s the question I have – Why does the conversation have to stop when the white person cries.
add a comment
The New York Times; by Tamar Lewin; June 10, 2008
The image of Asian-Americans as a homogeneous group of high achievers taking over the campuses of the nation’s most selective colleges came under assault in a report issued Monday.
The report, by New York University, the College Board and a commission of mostly Asian-American educators and community leaders, largely avoids the debates over both affirmative action and the heavy representation of Asian-Americans at the most selective colleges.
But it pokes holes in stereotypes about Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders, including the perception that they cluster in science, technology, engineering and math. And it points out that the term “Asian-American” is extraordinarily broad, embracing members of many ethnic groups.
“Certainly there’s a lot of Asians doing well, at the top of the curve, and that’s a point of pride, but there are just as many struggling at the bottom of the curve, and we wanted to draw attention to that,” said Robert T. Teranishi, the N.Y.U. education professor who wrote the report, “Facts, Not Fiction: Setting the Record Straight.”
“Our goal,” Professor Teranishi added, “is to have people understand that the population is very diverse.”
The report, based on federal education, immigration and census data, as well as statistics from the College Board, noted that the federally defined categories of Asian-American and Pacific Islander included dozens of groups, each with its own language and culture, as varied as the Hmong, Samoans, Bengalis and Sri Lankans.
Their educational backgrounds, the report said, vary widely: while most of the nation’s Hmong and Cambodian adults have never finished high school, most Pakistanis and Indians have at least a bachelor’s degree.
The SAT scores of Asian-Americans, it said, like those of other Americans, tend to correlate with the income and educational level of their parents.
“The notion of lumping all people into a single category and assuming they have no needs is wrong,” said Alma R. Clayton-Pederson, vice president of the Association of American Colleges and Universities, who was a member of the commission the College Board financed to produce the report.
“Our backgrounds are very different,” added Dr. Clayton-Pederson, who is black, “but it’s almost like the reverse of what happened to African-Americans.”
The report found that contrary to stereotype, most of the bachelor’s degrees that Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders received in 2003 were in business, management, social sciences or humanities, not in the STEM fields: science, technology, engineering or math. And while Asians earned 32 percent of the nation’s STEM doctorates that year, within that 32 percent more than four of five degree recipients were international students from Asia, not Asian-Americans.
The report also said that more Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders were enrolled in community colleges than in either public or private four-year colleges. But the idea that Asian-American “model minority” students are edging out all others is so ubiquitous that quips like “U.C.L.A. really stands for United Caucasians Lost Among Asians” or “M.I.T. means Made in Taiwan” have become common, the report said.
Asian-Americans make up about 5 percent of the nation’s population but 10 percent or more — considerably more in California — of the undergraduates at many of the most selective colleges, according to data reported by colleges. But the new report suggested that some such statistics combined campus populations of Asian-Americans with those of international students from Asian countries.
The report quotes the opening to W. E. B. Du Bois’s 1903 classic “The Souls of Black Folk” — “How does it feel to be a problem?” — and says that for Asian-Americans, seen as the “good minority that seeks advancement through quiet diligence in study and work and by not making waves,” the question is, “How does it feel to be a solution?”
That question, too, is problematic, the report said, because it diverts attention from systemic failings of K-to-12 schools, shifting responsibility for educational success to individual students. In addition, it said, lumping together all Asian groups masks the poverty and academic difficulties of some subgroups.
The report said the model-minority perception pitted Asian-Americans against African-Americans. With the drop in black and Latino enrollment at selective public universities that are not allowed to consider race in admissions, Asian-Americans have been turned into buffers, the report said, “middlemen in the cost-benefit analysis of wins and losses.”
Some have suggested that Asian-Americans are held to higher admissions standards at the most selective colleges. In 2006, Jian Li, the New Jersey-born son of Chinese immigrants, filed a complaint with the Office for Civil Rights at the Education Department, saying he had been rejected by Princeton because he is Asian. Princeton’s admission policies are under review, the department says.
The report also notes the underrepresentation of Asian-Americans in administrative jobs at colleges. Only 33 of the nation’s college presidents, fewer than 1 percent, are Asian-Americans or Pacific Islanders.
add a comment
This is the link to the video of the ceremony on May 18, 2008 at the University of Washington, in which the university awarded honorary degrees to those Japanese Americans enrolled at the University of Washington who were unable to finish their degrees because they were wrongfully and tragically interned by our racist United States government during World War II following the bombing of Pearl Harbor. It is 66 years too late, but I’m glad that my alma mater decided to grant some measure of justice and dignity to these patriotic and courageous Nikkei students.
Starship Kimchi: A Bold Taste Goes Where It Has Never Gone Before February 25, 2008Posted by koreanpower999 in Asian American, kimchi, Korean American.
add a comment
The NY Times - by Choe Sang-Hun – February 24, 2008
SEOUL, South Korea — After South Korea began sending soldiers to fight beside American forces in Vietnam, President Park Chung-hee made an unusual plea. He wrote to President Lyndon Johnson to say that his troops were miserable, desperate for kimchi, the fermented cabbage dish that Koreans savor with almost every meal.
Chung Il-kwon, then the prime minister, delivered the letter to Washington. When he traveled overseas, he told Johnson, he longed for kimchi more than for his wife. The president acquiesced, financing the delivery of canned kimchi to the battlefield.
Now kimchi is set to conquer the final frontier: space.
When South Korea’s first astronaut, Ko San, blasts off April 8 aboard a Russian spaceship bound for the International Space Station, the beloved national dish will be on board.
Three top government research institutes spent millions of dollars and several years perfecting a version of kimchi that would not turn dangerous when exposed to cosmic rays or other forms of radiation and would not put off non-Korean astronauts with its pungency.
Their so-called space kimchi won approval this month from Russian authorities.
“This will greatly help my mission,” Mr. Ko, who is training in Russia, said in a statement transmitted through the Korea Aerospace Research Institute. “When you’re working in spacelike conditions and aren’t feeling too well, you miss Korean food.”
Kimchi has been a staple of Koreans’ diets for centuries. These days, South Koreans consume 1.6 million tons a year. Until recently, homemakers would prepare the dish by early winter, then bury the ingredients underground in huge clay pots. Now, many buy their kimchi at the store and keep it in special kimchi refrigerators, which help regulate the fermentation process.
It is hard to overstate kimchi’s importance to South Koreans, not just as a mainstay of their diet, but as a cultural touchstone. As with other peoples attached to their own national foods — Italians with their pasta, for example — South Koreans define themselves somewhat by the dish, which is most commonly made with cabbage and other vegetables and a variety of seasonings, including red chili peppers.
Many South Koreans say their fast-paced lives, which helped build their country’s economy into one of the biggest in the world in a matter of decades, owe much to the invigorating qualities of kimchi. Some take a kind of macho pleasure watching novices’ eyes water when the red chili makes contact with their throats the first time. And when Korean photographers try to organize the people they wish to take pictures of, they yell, “Kimchiiii.”
Mr. Ko’s trip will be an occasion for national celebration. Since 1961, 34 countries, including Vietnam, Mongolia and Afghanistan, have sent more than 470 astronauts into space. Koreans found their absence among the countries that fielded space missions humiliating, given their country’s economic stature. The government finally decided in 2004 to finance sending one scientific researcher into space.
Mr. Ko, a 30-year-old computer science engineer, beat 36,000 contestants in a government competition to earn his spot on board the Russian-made Soyuz rocket. He will travel with two cosmonauts and will stay in the International Space Station for 10 days conducting experiments.
Space cuisine has come a long way since the early days of exploration, when most of the food was squeezed out of tubes before it was discovered that regular food could be consumed in conditions of weightlessness. Now, astronauts can order from a fairly wide variety of foods, from chicken teriyaki to shrimp cocktail, with some modifications. For instance, hamburger rolls produce crumbs that can float off and clog equipment, so other breads are used. But the food at least looks, smells and tastes familiar.
Still, guest astronauts may carry special cuisine. One, Charles Simonyi, who spent part of the fortune he made at Microsoft to travel as a “space tourist” last year, took along a six-course meal prepared by the French chef Alain Ducasse.
The South Koreans created versions of several other foods for Mr. Ko’s mission, including instant noodles, hot pepper paste, fermented soybean soup and sticky rice. But kimchi was the toughest to turn into space food.
“The key was how to make a bacteria-free kimchi while retaining its unique taste, color and texture,” said Lee Ju-woon at the Korean Atomic Energy Research Institute, who began working on the project in 2003 with samples of kimchi provided by his mother.
Ordinary kimchi is teeming with microbes, like lactic acid bacteria, which help fermentation. On Earth they are harmless, but scientists feared they could turn dangerous in space if cosmic rays and other radiation cause them to mutate.
Another problem was that kimchi has a short shelf life, especially when temperatures fluctuate rapidly, as they sometimes do in space.
“Imagine if a bag of kimchi starts fermenting and bubbling out of control and bursts all over the sensitive equipment of the spaceship,” Mr. Lee said.
He said his team found a way to kill the bacteria with radiation while retaining most of the original taste.
Kim Sung-soo, a Korea Food Research Institute scientist who also worked on “space kimchi,” said another challenge was reducing the strong smell, which can cause non-Koreans to blanch. He said researchers were able to reduce the smell by “one-third or by half,” according to tests conducted by local food companies.
Mr. Ko, the Korean astronaut, said he would use the kimchi to foster cultural exchange. He plans to prepare a Korean dinner in the space station on April 12 to celebrate the 47th anniversary of the day the Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human in space.
The developers of the “space kimchi,” meanwhile, say their research will continue to benefit South Korea in a practical way even after the country’s national pride is burnished by Mr. Ko’s historic mission.
They say kimchi’s short shelf life has made exporting it expensive because the need for refrigeration and rapid transport. That has added to the cost in importing countries, limiting sales.
“During our research, we found a way to slow down the fermentation of kimchi for a month so that it can be shipped around the world at less cost,” Mr. Lee said. “This will help globalize kimchi.”