12 April 2012

Filipino Jasmine Lee makes history, wins in South Korea election


Call her Representative Jasmine Lee.
Filipino-Korean actress and civil servant Jasmine Bacurnay-Lee, 35, has been elected as a proportional representative in South Korea’s National Assembly election following her party’s majority victory in the polls held on April 11.
With her win, the Davao City native has made history in South Korea as the first Filipina and naturalized Korean to become a lawmaker.
Lee’s win is a result of the stunning victory of the ruling Saenuri Party, to which she belongs.

According to Korean media, the Saenuri Party won 152 seats including 25 proportional representation seats out of the 300 positions that needed to be filled.
The opposition Democratic United Party (DUP) won 127 seats including 21 in proportional representation, while the United Progressive Party won 13 seats (6 in proportional representation), Liberal Forward Party with five seats (2 in proportional representation) and independents won three seats.
In the election, voters chose 246 district representatives and 54 for proportional representation. On the ballot, a voter chose a district representative and a political party.
The proportional representation seats have been allocated to political parties that have garnered at least 3 percent of the total valid votes.
Lee is No. 15 on the Saenuri Party’s proportional representation list and will be one of the party’s 25 proportional representatives in the 19th National Assembly.
She was active in the campaign, supporting her party’s district representative candidates in cities and provinces.
An actress, TV host and public servant, Lee is also an advocate of multiculturalism and migrant women in Korea.
On her official Facebook page, Filipinos began congratulating Lee on her victory.
With her win, Lee overcame a barrage of criticisms pertaining to her education. An Internet cafĂ© forum called “Antimulticulture” on Korean portal Daum.net raised questions on Lee’s academic background. This was immediately picked up by the Korean media.
In an email last week to this writer, Lee said the press “can sometimes exaggerate things, not to mention being 'lost in translation,' specially when Korean reports are translated in English. Also differences in the educational system do exist, as well as culture-related misunderstandings.”
Lee completed three years of the four-year Biology course at the Ateneo de Davao University.
She met Korean Lee Dongho in Davao in 1994 and they got married in 1995. She moved to South Korea in the same year and became a naturalized Korean in 1998. Her husband died in 2010 in an accident. They have two children.
Lee worked as a panelist on TV and is very active in helping foreign migrants in Korea.
Last year, she starred as the Filipino mother of Korean actor Yoo Ah-in in the 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.
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.
By JONATHAN M. HICAP
MB.COM.PH

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