Gyopo Magazine Issue 1

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GYOPO LITERARY & ART MAGAZINE

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EDITED BY NOAH OH DESIGN BY SOPHIA WOO COVER BY ZOE HAN

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CONTENTS

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“Social Harmony” - Brayden Cho

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Painting - Zoe Han

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Illustration - Phie Wei

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“American” - Anonymous

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Select poems - Hwarin Zoh


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Paintings - Sophia Woo

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Poem - Eva Kim

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Memory - Griffin Rho

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“Protected” - Anonymous

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“Teapot study” - Jamie Heo

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Paintings - Audrey Bonnabeau

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“Social Harmony” Brayden Cho It’s no secret that there’s a disconnect between cultures in certain areas. People tend to enjoy sticking with people and groups they are familiar with and for most to exit that comfort zone can be difficult and a bit intimidating. I see it within my own school. Caucasian students tend to hangout with other Caucasian students, Black students tend to spend time with other Black students and Asian students typically gravitate towards other Asian students. This isn’t due to any initial negative perceptions of other ethnicities but more so due to a disconnect of experience in the culture which soon develops into viewing anything foreign to the already perceived normalcy to the individual as different or weird. This can then further develop into negative views towards groups of people and causes further divide. An example of a group being perceived as different or weird is the South Asian community. I’ve seen some of my South Asian friends receive backlash and negative comments due to cultural aspects such as their food or clothing choice. Another example is myself. As a Korean American I have been on the receiving end of criticism due to my ethnicity. I’ve been called names such as “small/slant eyes”, “blind boy”, “yellow”, “cat and dog eater”, and due to the recent events with Covid-19 “Covid starter/spreader”. One story that comes to mind: in middle school I was called a “cat and dog cooker” by students in older grades. Although I do not take these comments too personally, I understand how this can make my fellow Asian American peers feel. It doesn’t feel nice to be singled out by others and be belittled based on factors that you cannot control. As stated earlier I believe a large amount of this hatred stems from a lack of experience between cultures. People tend to not like situations or areas that they’re unfamiliar with. In fact it’s believed that this feeling of uncertainty/unfamiliarity leads people to react with anger or prejudice. This somewhat instinct

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has led to a large divide between cultures that people come into contact with that are far outside the status quo that they may be used to. Although it’s almost impossible to force closed minded and stubborn people to try and develop a new perspective, it is important to try and influence the next generation to prevent the cycle of hatred. A possible way of doing this is by incorporating different cultural lunches into the meals that schools provide. It is commonly believed that a few things separate cultures, food being one of these factors. Introducing aspects of cultures through food can be an efficient, cost effective and harmless way of breaking down pre-existing barriers between cultures. The implementation can be simple such as instead of serving mozzarella sticks for lunch, students can be served dumplings or fried rice. This isn’t limited to South Eastern Asian dishes. South Asian dishes such as Thali can be served and can further integrate different cultures into young children’s minds. Incorporating these dishes can give students at a young age a new perspective on other cultures then generations prior. Another benefit of incorporating these types of lunches into a school’s daily menu can lead fellow students to be more open about other cultures, more willing to further learn and accept these cultures. In conclusion, my proposal in order to help promote cultural and social harmony is to forgo painting over an already used canvas i.e. individuals who are unwilling to change. Rather paint on blank canvases or teach a new generation about different cultures via a more hands on approach, this being the implementation of different cultural foods into school lunches. Once again this is both a cost effective and efficient way to introduce all students to new and unfamiliar cultures. This small simple gesture may bring about a positive impact on cultural and social harmony.

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Zoe Han

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Phie Wei

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“American” Anonymous American. A kaleidoscope of days opened with the scent of waffles, or presents on a snowy day, then closed with an 80s movie, a bite of apple pie illuminated with bright colors and booms. A childhood of fragments of memory, pressing your hand to your chest as you repeat the words and stare at a flag, a flag your great-grandfather fought under. Glimpses of learning about men in bushy white wigs, seeing a beautiful blonde girl smiling and waving as a sash and a crown are placed on her, megawatt smiles that blind you through the screen. Staring at white pillars and marble facades, walking through the city with a sense of pride and wonder. Awkwardly standing as relatives talk in a language you didn’t learn as shame surrounds you, as thick as the unease you feel when you realize nothing connects yourself to them but your last name or your face, orAnother flash of memory, and you’re seven again, and the children are pulling the corner of their eyes back

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laughing as you try your hardest not to cry. They didn’t understand multiplication back then, but yet they knew what divided you. But ignore them and their childish taunts. you were born here, you belong here. You hold this sense of entitlement close to your chest. Sure, you *look* different, but the worst you’ll experience is those physically harmless comments. …right?

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Hwarin Zoh

[To the one I never had] I want them to feel the comfort Of being carried to your bed When you were a child Pretend sleeping in the car As you were lifted And gently laid down on the bed Hearing the sounds of infectious laughter of your parents Muffled but present from the room next over I’m sorry How odd is it to be haunted by someone that was never alive

[Older Brother] I spent years yelling at you Striking you the instance you made me angry I left bruises where there should have been kisses Now My anger has fled. I’m left with emptiness. And I need you, Yet you flinch at my touch

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[Eyes] The first time you caught my eye Your eyes flickered and flashed Sounds of echoing laughter I feel like a child when I would catch your glance A stare that sunk beneath my bones Shining like a glowing sun

My eyes sparkle

Like the moon I can only glimmer When the sun is shining

[Flipflops] A flip flop is half of a shoe A puzzle with a missing piece But when my feet slide in It comes to me

As it laughs Echoing through the chambers of my mind The guilt presses down on me Testing my balance As I teeter back and forth But

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I am able to see again the grey The memories that were withering away “But the hurt” they say “Take it off” “Why make yourself pay”

I am like a rabbit I suppose Unable to live alone Strangely comforting Like a weighted blanket This ecstasy they could not understand This longing I hold for their hand So I will carry on Marching headstrong With my half piece of the puzzle

[Perfection] No “sorry” uttered No remorse to take Left with a hurt heart and a bitter ache What became of the promised land Promised to me as my they closed the door No matter how much I sleep Why do I always wake up on the floor

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[Deeper meaning] When I see my dog & it stares into the wall licking the air It’s like What the fuck man.

[Bystander] Hiding behind as the monster roars it destroys everything in its path wrecking it all You laugh quietly What a stupid monster it is & then it turns And you face it eye to eye

[Show me the place where he inserted the blade] Burning photos I watch the flames flow As my mind replays My memories ablaze The ashes drift away Yet still it remains This metallic rope Show me where to tie the other end of this chain

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Sophia Woo

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Eva Kim

“I’m sorry, what do you want me to do?” “What do you mean? Speak Korean.” “I can’t speak Korean.” “What? But you’re Korean.” “I know.” “Have some kimchi!” “No, thanks.” “Don’t you like it?” “Uh, not really. I don’t like spicy food.” “But you’re Korean.” “I know.” “So, what’s your favorite K-Drama?” “Don’t have one.” “Why not?” “Don’t watch them.” “But you’re Korean.” “I know.” “What’s your favorite K-Pop group?” “I don’t listen to K-Pop.” “But you’re Korean.”

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“I know.” “Oh wow, you speak great English.” “Thanks, I guess.” “How did you learn English?” “I grew up speaking English, it’s my first language.” “Oh! But you’re Asian.” “I know.” “Where were you born?” “New Jersey.” “Wait, really?” “Yeah.” “Would not have known that.” “I know.” “Where are you from?” “Well, I’m Korean-American. But I live in Hong Kong.” “Wait, you’re American?” “Yup.” “But you look Asian.” “I know.”

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Griffin Rho

In July, I went back to Korea for the first time in ten years. The only thing I remembered about the trip was being there and eating sugar cubes in the lobby of the Lotte Hotel. In order to prevent my memories from being lost again I decided to make an effort to photograph as many things that I felt were worth remembering. The majority of the photos I took were during our visit to the temple that my mother’s friends frequently went to. Even though during this trip I got to meet a lot of family that I had never met before, I felt most connected to the people we were with that day. Their memories of us remain in an area in which my brother and I hung up wishes we wrote in spots they picked out for us. Our memories of them reside in bead bracelets resembling our zodiac animals. It didn’t matter to either me or them that we couldn’t communicate with one another, I could feel their love through everything we did together.

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“Protected” Anonymous

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Teapot Study Jamie Heo

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Audrey Bonnabeau

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What does it mean to be Korean-American? On a basic level, it means a shared ethnic background and a shared cultural history. To many, it means shared experiences, shared foods and languages, and shared stories of immigration and starting fresh in a foreign land. However, every Korean-American family does being Korean-American differently from every other Korean-American family, and every individual Korean-American has experiences and stories unique from every other Korean-American. We at Gyopo Magazine want to hear about the stories and experiences that make you Korean-American, both those that unite you with other Korean-Americans, and those that set you apart. Visit us at gyopomagazine.com



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