Jay’s Dad’s Friend’s Letter


This is another one of those news thing that made my heart really hurt. It’s been a week (?) since Jay left and I’m still not over that fact too. Reading this letter made me even more upset. It’s basically about the hardships that Jay goes through, just like any other foreigner going into a whole new country that they’re not used to. Yeah he’s korean but he wasn’t raised there. I know how my parents would feel if something like this happened to me. They wouldn’t tell me how much it’d hurt but they’d cry alone.  If someone even says like “Oh wow I can’t believe another friend is helping Jay” I swear, i’ll lose all my cool -_____________-

Take a look, thanks to minisarang and JiHye at 2ONEDAY Forums for the translations!

I am a parent of someone that is close to Jaebeom’s age. Watching what has been happening these past few days, I have built up some confidence to say a few words.
I have been business partners with Jaebeom’s dad in Seattle and am a Korean-America who has been living here for 30 years. I have known Jaebeom since he was a little kid and have watched him grow throughout the years. Also my kids have been going to school with him since pre-school and so they are quite close. Thus, I think I know a lot about Jaebeom’s family.

Jaebeom’s house in Seattle is near a beach called Edmonds and is in a prospective middle-class neighborhood. This house has been built for 40 years, but Jaebeom has lived here ever since he was born for over 20 years.

In the parking lot aren’t BMW’s and Lexus’s, but rather there are cars that are about 5-10 years old. Just recently they just leased a car from Hyundai Dealershop for an Elantra, but after Jaebeom’s situation, they had to return it.

In their house is a 37-inch Sony TV that has been there for 10 years. All the computers in their house are very old and about to break, and the best computer they have is a notebook that a fan had bought for Jaebeom.

The reason i am telling you all this is because I wanted to show you how Jaebeom’s family life style is not fake nor ostentatious, but rather humble and normal for a middle-class family.

After Jaebeom came back from Korea, about 2 days later Jaebeom’s dad told Jaebeom that he should study music and went out and sweating from the weight of the item, bought and brought into the house a 15 year old electric Yamaha piano that was $300 just for Jaebeom.
Without any complaint, Jaebeom took and practiced with that piano,a nd thinking of how I bought my son a Roland piano for $5000 made me so embarassed.
On Friday night Jaebeom’s dad and I got together to drink some beer and talk until 3AM, and all of a sudden tears dropped from his eyes and he began to share. He felt so bad for Jaebeom.

For the past 5 years, no one knows how much Jaebeom suffered from frustration and hard work, and so many times when he so much wanted to go back to Seattle, he always fixed his mindset and practiced for long hours, but now right as he gained so much popularity, he escaped to seattle in just 4 days, and that really breaks my heart.
Coming home from Korea, for those long hours on the plane, how much did he have to suffer and think in his mind?

In the beginning of August, I remember when Jaebeom came to Seattle for a quick visit. Because Jaebeom’s immature younger brother was not listening to him, I remember what Jaebeom said to him.

“I want to go out and meet my friends like you and go out and have fun like you but do you know why I am going through all of this and working hard? Its because of you and our parents! Why can’t you be more thoughtful of what you do!”

In the car I asked my daughter who is the same age as Jaebeom “Yuri! What does ‘Korea is gay’ mean?” “It means that Korea is stupid or annoying, we say it when we’re tired or annoyed”.

Even when my daughter and I fought when she went through her teenage years, she used the word ‘hate’ a lot. “Dad i hate you!” Just because she said that would i have to kick her out of the house?

During that time, I believe that Jaebeom did not understand the Korean culture, and had a hard time adjusting, while the people who translated what Jaebeom said on his myspace translated in a very wrong way because they don’t know that that is just how teenagers speak in America.
I don’t understand how what he wrote as a teenager has anything to do with betraying Korea in any way.

How can someone who really hated Korea work so hard for their family so they can live better lives?

Us Korean-American’s do not see America as a place just for money. We think of America as a new start where we have more opportunities, while our hearts are still with Korea and we want Korea to thrive.

During the 2002 World Cup instead of watching it at home my friends and I went to a sports bar and watched it in order to spread interest in Korea and soccer. When Korea put in a goal we alls screamed for joy and the American people who had no interest in Korean soccer seemed interested.

Even during the WBC, instead of watching the Major League we urged the Americans to watch Korea’s games and those poeple who have Nokia phones and not LG or Samsung, we went and talked to them on why they wouldn’t use a good Korean phone.

Don’t these little things show how much pride we have for Korea? Even more than the pride of those overseas, we feel like we have a lot of pride in our country. Because of what a teenager wrote 4 years ago, i don’t think that it was right to accuse and point fingers at Jaebeom when he didn’t mean anything like that, and cause him to be kicked out of Korea. That is not called having pride in our country.
Everyone, I urge you all to take a step back and think of what has happened in the past week, and also i urge you to have a big heart and embrace our young Korean-American who is trying so hard to live out his life and give him another chance.

I am not asking for you to put out a red carpet for him, but all I ask is for you to help Jaebeom not feel embarassed or guilty anymore, and instead helpp him think more comfortably and have a warm heart for him.

During these past few days when the netizens said biting remarks about Jaebeom, I want to say thank you to Boom for standing up for him and being brave. Boom still calls Jaebeom everyday to check up on how he is doing.

Right now, Jaebeoms parents are in panic mode, and do not pick up the phone if it not someone they know.

Jaebeom visited his old breakdancing studio when a black kid recognized him and put a camera up to his face and so he had to hurry up and just go home.

He hasn’t even been able to go to the church he went to all his life because he’s still embarassed and guilty and disappointed in himself, so he hasn’t been going out anywhere and just been staying home.
Seeing all of this, i feel so bad for him and am heart broken.

Last saturday, my family and Jaebeom’s family went to a friend’s chinese restaurant in order to brighten everyones mood. Although he wasn’t jumping for joy, being his first dinner outside since he came to Seattle, we had a good time and Jaebeom’s mood got a little better and more comfortable.

I asked him “Jaebeom, do you wanna go back to Korea?”

“Yes..but I’m not sure.”

Original Article @ Joins, Translations by JiHye at 2ONEDAY Forums.

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