Han, a definition

One book in a stack near my bed stand,

Women From the Margins: Korean Women and God
Experiencing God in a Multi-religious Colonial Context
by Hee An Choi

from page 4 of the Introduction, a definition of han

“Even though han does not belong only to Korean women, it certainly represents their experience. Han is a fundamental feeling of defeat, resignation, the tenacity of life, unresolved resentments, or grudges.

In the understanding of Andrew Sung Park, han is expressed as frustrated hope, the collapsed feeling of pain, resentful bitterness, and the wounded heart. It has become deep “inner wounds” in Korean people’s souls.

According to Chung Hyun Kyun, han comes from the sinful interconnections of classism, racism, sexism, colonialism, neocolonialism, and cultural imperialism, which Korean women experience every day.”

Curious editorial choice to reflect the understandings and views of a women’s experience with men’s words and interpretations….hmm, and we are not even out of the Introduction.

The idea of reading academic scholarship for the summer
strikes me as both odd and self irritating.

In this magical year of Writing Practice,
i wanted to see in other dimensions,
my long harbored obsessions,
haunted places and windows into
imagination/ realized possibilities
in the future
into what the Inka shamans
know, as Infinity.

No more running, no more hiding
no more hating, no more blaming

lighting candles until i can
feel more courage than fear
until the run, just runs out of all the “aways”
it could possibly weave in this little ego mind of mine

i wanted to see me through a whole new heart
and come to terms with the shards embedded in the human eyes
i finally reached a place where self defeat and negation
didn’t offer enough brownie points or good girl strokes

and i wanted to see what all was left in the remains
what was of any value that was recognizable
to my sense of self when the radio is not on during the commute
when the tv is not turned on the minute i walk into the room

and the self irritations start and scratch away at the stuff
hanging in my thoughts, memories and unfinished conversations
that don’t require the other to participate
and really, aren’t those the best kind of conversations?

there was a place in my life where
i didn’t want to talk to my small self,
to other small selves, or gather information
about someone else’s enlightenment

so then opens and comes the writing
from a outer/ other
cultural and spiritual home
to make muck and art with the stuff
collected from being this self in this story.

the interesting thing about han is
its integral to a korean appellation for god,
han nun neam.


About heartbluestockings

All posts are original intellectual property. Copyright 2010 Hae Jung Kwon. All rights reserved.
This entry was posted in Bibliotherapy, Korean Quotient. Bookmark the permalink.

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