Thursday, April 5, 2012

Filipina Candidate in Korea Criticized

By JONATHAN HICAP, Manila Bulletin
MANILA, Philippines – With eight days to go before the National Assembly election in South Korea, a Filipino-Korean candidate for the proportional representative seat is getting flak for allegedly lying about her education in the Philippines.
Jasmine Lee, 35, an actress, TV host, public servant and an advocate of multiculturalism and migrant women in Korea, has been the talk of media and internet communities in South Korea over the past week for allegedly claiming in interviews in the past several years that she was a medical student in Davao when she met her Korean husband, according to an article on the Korea Times.
(Photos: Screen capture by Bulletin Entertainment and Jasmine Lee's Facebook page)

But on her profile on Korea’s National Election Commission, Lee stated that she dropped out of her Biology course at Ateneo de Davao University after attending the school from 1993 to 1996.
This triggered accusations that she forged her education background.
An Internet cafĂ© called “Antimulticulture” on Korean portal Daum.net raised questions on Lee’s academic background.
On her official Facebook profile, Lee wrote on her profile that she took “pre medicine/biology” at Ateneo de Davao University.
The Korea Times quoted the Saenuri Party, to which Lee belongs, as saying that Lee didn’t lie.
“The Saenuri Party, however, downplayed the reports, saying it would have been natural for her to regard it as medical school as biology is a pre-med course there,” it said.
The newspaper, however, quoted an unnamed Saenuri official who claims that Lee was taken off the list of prospective candidates in 2010 for exaggerating information on her resume.
“According to a senior Saenuri Party lawmaker, she was excluded from the list of proportional representative candidates for the governing party in the June 2 local elections in 2010 because she was found to have exaggerated her career on her resume,” the Korea Times said.
In many English articles about her in the Korean media in the past, Lee was introduced as a medical student or she attended medical school in the Philippines.
A March 1, 2012 article by JoongAng Daily said, “Lee married her Korean husband in 1995 while attending medical school, and the couple subsequently moved here.”
A profile on Arirang TV website also said, “Jasmine Lee, a naturalized Korean of Philippine descent is the secretary general of Waterdrop society. She was a medical student at one of the most prestigious universities in the Philippines.”
Lee told the Dong-A Ilbo, “Since all students from the department advance to medical college, I introduced myself by omitting the interim process.”
Lee did not reply to an email sent by this writer requesting her to clarify the issue.
Despite the controversy, Filipinos in South Korea are supporting Lee’s candidacy.
Vice President Jejomar Binay, who met Lee in Seoul during the recent Seoul Nuclear Security Summit, said, “We are all very proud that a full-blooded Filipino is being given the opportunity to be a member of the Korean Parliament,”
Lee starred as the Filipino mother of Korean actor Yoo Ah-in in last year’s hit Korean film “Wandeuki” (international title “Punch”).
She is also the executive secretary of Waterdrop Korea and works at the Seoul government’s Foreign Residents Assistance Division.
After marrying her Korean husband, Lee became a naturalized Korean in 1998. Her husband died in an accident in 2010.
Last January, Lee became the first Filipino to receive the Korea Image Millstone Award from the Corea Image Communication Institute (CICI) for her contribution to promoting multiculturalism in South Korea.

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