"Bread & Butter - Rice and Kim Chee"
©David Hyun 1997
Address at the Annual Banquet of the Korean American Museum
by David Hyun, Honoree
February 1, 1997
Aloha, my Fellow Americans and Fellow Korean Americans The Korean American Museum gave
me the honor of speaking before you. I accept this honor on behalf of all of you. The people and
the culture of America and Korea shaped my life and character. Thank you.
I am eighty years old. However, I shall share with you not the wisdom of years but a passion that
continues to grow. This passion is about Korean Americans and the Korean American Museum.
They go together like bread and butter, like rice and Kim Chee.
We Americans are the luckiest people on Earth. We inherit a noble culture with the tradition and
the glory of seeking to perfect itself; a Constitution which requires the people to share every power
of government, except one, with any stranger who seeks and obtains American citizenship.
America's culture is the source of American power.
We Korean Americans are also among the luckiest on Earth. We inherit the cultures of Korea and
America. In each of us, the joining, the mixing, and the fusion of Korean and American cultures
creates unusual Korean-American powers, in courage, capability, and persistence to excel.
Let me take you back to the year 1940, when the Korean American community of Los Angeles was
500. From this tiny, almost invisible community arose many individuals who had Korean American
power. I cite three examples.
Sammy Lee won two Olympic gold medals in diving, but only after victories over difficulty after
difficulty. Even as a child, Sammy discovered a difficulty that was considered insurmountable for
adult minorities in those years: racial prejudice stopped him from entering a public swimming pool.
Did Sammy give up? No. With just his father's help, Sammy won his way into the swimpool.
Sammy, the child, had Korean-American Power: persistence to excel.
In the 1950s, Alfred H. Song entered political life, with two Korean American votes, his and his
wife's. Yet, Alfred won election to City Councilman, State Representative and State Senator, the
first Asian American in the California Legislature. How did Alfred do it? He did it with Korean-
American power: capability.
Bread and Butter - page 1
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