Salad TV & Theater Troupe Park Kyong Ju, CEO
<Lan’s Diary> tells the story of the death of a migrant woman who married internationally through human trafficking
Lee Insun (Reporter for the Weekly Korea Magazine, 2011)
“Which woman do you like? Choose according to your taste. If you have any questions, just ask.”
Several women dance seduction, and a man watches them from the middle. It is a scene reminiscent of the secret auction of prostitute women that I saw in a movie sometime. Seeing that a man and a woman can ask each other questions, it can be seen that this scene is referring to the arranged marriage market, not prostitution. However, the man speaks Korean and the woman speaks English. It is an international marriage.
The matchmaker becomes a moderator who raises the mood like a show and even takes on the role of an interpreter for two people who do not speak the language. But she doesn’t convey their words literally. It is a part of <Lan’s Diary>, a new play by Salad Theater Company.
“Are you rich? What is your job?” To the foreign woman’s question, the man replies, “I’m a day laborer, and I’m not rich.” However, the matchmaker consummates her marriage, saying, “He is rich and he is the boss.” A man and a woman who know little about each other become a couple and live in the same house, but they do not even understand the language. Trust and consideration are hard to find, and only violence and coercive sex, as well as tension and fear, surround them.
CEO Park Kyong Ju, who is in charge of writing and directing the theater company Salad, brought out <Lan’s Diary> as the third work in the ‘Unrespected Death Series’. The first piece of the series, which started last year, was <Do You Remember Me?>, a report on the death of a Korean miner dispatched to Germany, who was an industrial figure in the 1960s and 1970s.
Park, who has been working on ‘migration’ while majoring in photography and film in Germany, knows better than anyone else the unfair death and treatment of miners sent to Germany.
At the time, the highly educated miners and nurses who were “exported” to Germany to earn foreign currency became cheap money for Korea’s economic development, which was one of the poorest countries. However, at the cost of their deaths and hard labor, they were forgotten. Park conceived the first work of the ‘Unrespected Death Series’ while performing a play that summoned the dead miner dispatched to Germany to the present.
This was followed by <Yeosu Beginning, Middle End>, a report on the death of a foreign migrant worker, and <Lan’s Diary>, which describes the death of a migrant woman who married an international woman for human trafficking. This series will be completed with 4 episodes.
In 2005, she established Salad TV (www.saladtv.kr, formerly Migrant Workers’ Broadcasting Station), an Internet independent media multicultural broadcasting station, and has been working as a reporter specializing in migration issues. Four years later, she founded Salad, a multicultural performance troupe, and solved the problem of migration through performing arts because there were so many unfinished stories on Salad TV.
“The works I wrote are all cases that I dealt with interest as a reporter. Many stories could not be written as an article while closely covering for 2-3 weeks. I collected a lot of data while covering the death of a migrant worker, eating and sleeping at a funeral home. However, after the police investigation was over, the bereaved family left Korea, and even if they knew the truth, they couldn’t tell it. It was conveyed through the device of play.”
<Lan’s Diary> is modeled after a migrant woman named Tran Ti Lan who died in a fall in Gyeongsan City within a month after getting married. Although it was not covered well in Korea, it became known when CEO Park reported it to a civic group in Gyeongsan, knowing that it had become a sensational incident in Vietnam while going through Vietnamese Internet newspapers.
The story of <Lan’s Diary> unravels when Lan’s friend Chow, who has doubts about the police’s regard of Lan’s death as a suicide, accidentally finds Lan’s diary. Chow, who appears here, is Park’s alter ego.
She obtained Tran Ti Lan’s diary and translated it into Korean through Salad TV’s migrant network. Although various incidents and fiction are added to the performance, Lan’s diary read at the end of the performance is almost the same as the original. The actors of the troupe made up of immigrants from the Philippines, Mongolia, and Kyrgyzstan, shed tears as soon as they received the script.
CEO Park, who has been running Salad and Salad TV, “because someone has to tell a different story, a story to avoid.” She says that the reason why she dares to talk about the migration issue through ‘death’ is because she wanted to rebel against the image of mainstream broadcasting and movies that dress up as ‘happy’ multiculturalism.
Although there are many bubbles like a large-scale events, there is a lack of understanding about multiculturalism these days. Park wanted to show reality, not a dreamlike fantasy.
Park, who was shocked by neo-Nazis while studying abroad, often witnesses nazism in Korean society. “It’s not as good as Germany, but it’s a society where Nazism is hiding. Being discriminated against and ignored even if you are a little different. It is a society where others are not respected. If you don’t belong to a large group, you are marginalized. It’s a very scary place. The death series I am doing is, in the end, an attempt to accuse Nazism in Korea.”
CEO Park, who said that she hopes that activities will accumulate over time and serve as a foundation rather than receiving any evaluation right now, said that she wants to continue to carry out an ‘integrated education project’ that children from multicultural families and Korean children can understand and approach.
“From now on, the biggest goal is for the Salad troupe to solidarity with other minorities in Korea. Members must grow as much. We plan to perform at Daehangno for about a month in the second half of this year or early next year.” Ⓒ The Weekly Korea Magazine, 2011
Read the original article
박경주 행복한 다문화 치장에 반기 들고파 (Ⓒ 주간 한국, 2011)