Monday, October 8, 2012
Hello everyone, my name is Ben Kim and I am starting my second year here at UCLA as a Mathematics major and a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Studies minor.
I hail from the beautiful (subjectively, of course) Orange County, about 35 miles southeast of Los Angeles - I have lived in Anaheim for 16 years of my life, and as such, I very much identify with Southern California and LA culture, including its cuisine, arts, and community.
The picture to the right (the portion containing my face, at least) was taken at the start of this summer in Dolores Park in San Francisco during their Gay Pride weekend. It was an absolute blast and a wonderful start to what would be an even more exciting summer vacation. I previously had never been to a Pride in a big city, and certainly none like SF; spent with great friends, my wonderful partner (he made me the daisy chain) and a beautiful locale, I could not have asked for a better welcome to the 'gay mecca', so to speak.
I identify as a queer, Korean-American male individual, so take from those labels what you will. Often times I find the specific jargon of identity-politics to be excessive and exclusionary, but they certainly maintain their place in simple introductions like this one.
The background I have chosen for this picture is a photograph of a field of Miscanthus sinensis, also known as Chinese silver grass or Japanese pampas. In a deck of hanafuda (playing cards common in Asia), the Japanese pampas is representative of the August suit; it is my favorite suit and seeing as how summer grandly drew to a close in August, I felt it fitting for an introductory profile picture. Additionally, the 'word' I have chosen is a line from my favorite Chinese poem by Li Pai, which roughly translates to: "I lift my head to watch the bright moon". The poem is a narration by the author watching the moon before he goes to sleep and thinking of home - the nature of the moon as a fixed celestial body is that two people on two ends of the planet can look up at the sky and see the same moon, despite the geographical distance between them. The mid-autumn festival was a weekend ago, so I have indeed been lifting my head to watch the bright moon quite a bit recently, as this is the first year I was unable to return home to feast with my family in celebration of the harvest moon.