An exclusive interview with The South Korean poet Choi Yong-mi, 2017's "Monster", became the beginning of the Korean #Metoo movement, however, the real detonation was in January 2018. Which generation is the monster, and who should bear it?

"Don't sit next to Mr. En"
The literary newcomer K warned me so.
If a young girl sits next to him, he will touch her.

I forgot K's advice and sat next to Mr. En
Me too.
The silk coat I borrowed from my sister was crumpled.

A few years later, at the publisher's annual meeting,
I saw En touch the married editor sitting next to me.
I shouted at him:

"You disgusting old man!" - Monsters

In December 2017, the Winter Issue of the Korean literary magazine Yellow Sea Culture, under the title "Gender War", released the poet Choi Yong-mei's poem, monster, and insinuated the long-standing sexual harassment in the Korean literary world, Mr. En, who was repeatedly notul The great old man nominated for the Prize (Metaphor Nobel Prize/Nobel).

Shen's complaint, directed at the heart of the literary world, did not lead to large-scale discussion.

Until January 29, 2018, South Korean prosecutor Xu Zhixian went on television accusing prosecutor Antegen of sexual harassment, and the judiciary tried to cover up the facts, people began to wonder who Mr. En was. Is that monster really Korean-level poet Gao Yin?

The poet Choi Yong-mei, the monster, Mr. En, the key words have been on the South Korean search list, and now sitting in front of me, Choi Yong-mei recalls: "I knew at the time that I had to respond to my poem." 」

On February 6, 2018, she personally went to Korean television station JTBC to respond to public speculation about the monster, "I decided to tell the truth, but not drag it out." It's just about the current state of the Korean literary world, what I've been through, and the cases of sexual harassment that have been covered up at the bottom of the literary world. When the reporter asked me about the monster, I didn't say it all. 」

"Because I'm really scared, and I'm scared now. 」

But at this time in front of me, she is slightly arched back, hand clutching ready to respond to the problem of the paper card.

Perhaps from the moment she chose to stand up, she never intended to give in to something out of fear.

The tumult of layers: Who is the monster?

Incidents of sexual harassment in the Korean literary world have existed long before. In October 2016, the novelist Park Fan-shin was accused of sexual harassment online by a female editor, followed by a culture figure who exposed long-standing power-related sexual assaults without news of Mr. En.

However, a reporter then called Cui Yongmei.

"When sexual harassment broke out in the literary world, I got a call from the reporter. I said a lot on the phone, but it wasn't an informal conversation. Later, the reporter asked me, can I talk face to face? He said he couldn't make the matter public without an interview in front of the television. She was afraid, did not accept the offer, the content of the telephone interview was not made public, but the whole conversation was recorded.

In September 2017, Cui Yongmei accepted an invitation from Huanghai culture to write a poem on the subject of feminism. After october, the poem was sent to the editor, and almost at the same time, the American #Metoo movement (Harvey Weinstein's sexual assault) broke out.

"I knew that after the outbreak of sexual assault in the United States, I decided to add some sentences to the poem, including the word "Me too". After the monster's release in December, she said, she didn't really feel any pressure at the time, and very few people knew about the poem. And she thought, well, that's all.

The real tipping point, is the prosecutor Xu Zhixian on the program, began to have a reporter call to ask, curious who the monster is, but Cui Yongmei has never directly pointed out the name of the monster, even if the television interview did not.

After the truth was revealed: Who raised the monster?

Every time you see En's name, you're listed on the Notul Awards list
I think
If one day En really wins the Notul Award
I'm leaving this country.
I don't want to live in this dirty society -- monsters.

Before writing poetry, En's story became well known in the Korean literary world, including harassing young female writers and editors in the form of power in the literary world. After Choi's poem sparked discussion, the poet Park Chun-sung also wrote on the blog on March 5th that she had seen Mr. En expose her genitals to women and reflect on what he had done at the time.

We asked her, what impact it had on your life when she broke the truth, and is it better now?

"My life was very quiet until the truth was revealed. But after that, many people want to see me, no longer calm. Last summer, Gao Yin filed a lawsuit against me, and since then, the real war has begun. She said.

In 2018, Gao filed a lawsuit against Choi and other accusers for 1 billion won. On the day of our interview, Cui's lawsuit was still going on. But even if things have been up and down, and the peace is disturbed, there are things she has to do and have to say.

Cui Yongmei thought about it, and then apologized:

"When I was writing about monsters, I always felt sorry for the younger generation. It's too late, I should have written the poem earlier. Of course, I'm bound to be under pressure, but I tell myself that I don't have to be afraid, and that it's him, not me, who should be afraid and ashamed. 」

That voice sorry, is the younger generation of sorry, the tone is very light, sounds but ShenDian. I was in a difficult mood to hear her say apologies at the scene. I thought, which generation is the monster, and who should bear it?

The female consciousness that is in full swing

From 2017 to 2019, South Korea's feminist movement has been on the rise, with 15,000 people taking to the streets of Seoul in 2018 to protest against the government's passive handling of sex offenders, allowing sex-stealing films to flourish, followed by the "undressed" sage revolution, and the ongoing publication of women's experience books and films on the market today. I asked her, what do she think of the phenomenon after the #Metoo movement broke the silence? Does discrimination still exist?

"South Korea is a very conservative society. Although we are equal to all, the law can not regulate everything, under the law, there are still many gender gaps between men and women, I think that those hidden discrimination is the most critical issue. 」

'Especially as an unmarried woman, there's a lot of feeling of inequality,' she said. For example, when she usually goes to a barbecue or hot pot shop, the clerk doesn't offer to serve women: "But if you're a man, the waiter will help you prepare the food." The same thing happens again and again, in her daily routine.

"It's natural to see women speakout, even though I know some men who don't like these kinds of initiatives or discussions. But all change is inevitable, history has ups and downs, but eventually will go in the same direction, the right direction. 」

After the #Metoo movement, South Korea has had a slow change: the demand for drinking in the workplace is decreasing, men are paying attention to their words and deeds, #Metoo events on campus are being taken seriously, and people are listening to the stories of victims.

When I asked her, do you think everything will get better? She smiled and nodded, and then said it would take time.

Choi Yong-mei holding a paper card in her hand, the paper is covered with a piece of paper, is the change she sees, like holding the hope for Korea, the hope for the future of women.

I think, Cui Yongmei said that far away, will not be too simple, but is absolutely able to arrive, then, we do not have to apologize to anyone.

Edit postscript

After visiting Cui Yongmei, she was at the World Conference on Women's Asylum and Resettlement, where she signed the book on the anthology of "The Party Was Over", an English poetry collection published for the Resettlement Conference, which assembled the most classic poems she had been a poet for 35 years, including the Monster.

The first poem is her 2009 creation. I read it several times, and I remember her expression of regret, even though she was afraid in her mouth. I think, a wounded person, there is strength, once pain and scars, that will become a force.

Shoes that're wet.
It won't get wet anymore.

A man who is sad.
I won't cry.

People who already have everything.
Won't get hurt.

A body that's already in pain.
Won't be trapped in shame.

Things that've been hot
won't say a word -

Choi Yong-mei Unveils South Korean Literary Sexual Harassment Timeline

  • 10, 2016: A female editor accuses novelist Park Fanxin of sexual harassment on the Internet. A reporter called Cui Yongmei to find out about sexual harassment in the literary world.
  • 2017.09: Cui Yongmei accepts an invitation to the Yellow Sea culture.
  • 2017.10: The U.S. erupts in Harvey Weinstein's sexual assault case, and at the same time, Cui Yongmei completes the poem Monster and sends it to the Huanghai Cultural Editor.
  • 2017.12: Yellow Sea Culture is published in the winter edition.
  • 2018.01.29: South Korean prosecutor Xu Zhixian appears on the television station JTBC to accuse prosecutor Antegan of sexual harassment.
  • 2018. 02.06: Cui Yongmei's pro-TV station JTBC responds to public speculation but does not directly identify Mr.En.
  • Summer 2018: Gao Yin filed a claim against Cui Yongmei and other accusers for 1 billion won until October 6, 2018, when the lawsuit is still ongoing, and Cui has not directly responded to Mr. En's question solely.