Jasmine Lee: Living Under A Microscope

I’ve been attending my Korean classes diligently as I will have to go back to work in January. I don’t have enough time to be online as much as I’d like to 🙁
Anyway, I still find time to find out what’s going on in the country and particularly ~ to the Filipinos in Korea. Just yesterday, one of the hottest topic online is Jasmine Lee, the Philippine-born Korean parliamentarian. What is the fuss about? Apparently, she violated the rule on parliamentary conduct by eating a foreign chocolate bar and playing a game on her cellphone while inside the session hall! Talk about living under a microscope ~ everything she does and does not do gets media attention.

Playing games is a stress-reliever for some people, ya know?
Playing games is a stress-reliever for some people, ya know?

On December 3rd, she was at the session hall of the National Assembly. She did eat a chocolate bar and played a game on her cellphone BEFORE THE SESSION STARTED. A Korean news outlet “focused” on what she was doing and reported it as if she was disrupting the session. They didn’t even think that others were taking power naps ~ not disrupting indeed. This should not be an issue at all, but the name Jasmine Lee is a click bait when it comes to controversies ~ or made up ones at that.
Earlier this year, Jasmine Lee also received criticisms for not favoring the installation of a statue for sexual slavery victims (by the Imperial Japan) inside the National Assembly. It made headlines ~ but many didn’t even listen to why she was not in favor. She thought that it was better to have it built in the park where more people could see it. Jasmine Lee has been an advocate for the so-called “comfort women” from the time she entered congress. About two weeks ago, she was at the United Nations in New York for the launching of the coalition “International Parliamentary Coalition for Victims of Sexual Slavery”, that she co-chairs.
Before that, her son was dragged into the “limelight” when he was accused of stealing cigarettes from the convenience store he was working at. Yup, he worked part-time as a college freshman ~ being a responsible young man that he is. The issue died a natural death ~ it wasn’t true at all.
Of course, who could forget that brouhaha that happened a year ago ~ when even the Filipinos in Korea joined the fray hurling invectives at Jasmine Lee for a bill she wasn’t even a part of? Read Pambabatikos kay Jasmine Lee ~ when she finally filed her bill on December 18, people found out it was not the same as in that issue that went viral on Facebook and on Korean SNS.
Now, would she be kicked out of the Assembly for eating a chocolate bar and playing a phone game BEFORE the session? Tsk, tsk… focus on the real issues people!


  1. You said it right Betchay. Funny how the media twists things just to get a “scoop”. I guess there’s no such thing as ethics anymore for these reporters. They just want their story in the limelight even if it’s not entirely true.

  2. When you’re a public servant, this kind of public scrutiny (malicious or not) is healthy and a sure sign that democracy is very much alive. Public servants are sort of “sui generis” or a class of their own. They’re accountable people. The bar is so high for them that in principle, even the most private act is intimately intertwined with their public lives. And rightfully so because public servants are entrusted with a piece of sovereignty (they’re very powerful people in other words). Kaya nga it’s very difficult for a public figure to sue or prove libel (or malice at that) against a journalist or whoever. Kadalasan natatalo sila d’yan. Kasi, the requisites are just different for public figures as opposed to private citizens. That’s how it is, at least in principle. And knowing the principle behind might help us feel less upset on how media is treating Lee. I’m sure Lee doesn’t give a fuss. Being a sport stateswoman that she is, she knows what her power entails.

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