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August 29, 2019

South Korean Kim’s immense love for Nepal

  • HB Kham
Korean Kim
South Korean Kim Hyong Hyo (Sagarmatha Gurung) in Nepali attire

Kim Hyong Hyo (Sagarmatha Gurung) is a South Korean poet, writer, social entrepreneur, social mobilizer, philanthropist, humanitarian and an avid traveler. He is also a son-in-law of Nepal. He has married Manju Gurung a Nepali daughter from eastern Nepal. He lives in Korea but frequently visits Nepal as he cannot detach himself from his colleagues and well-known family members of Nepal.

When Kim visited Nepal for the first time in 2004, perhaps he never thought that one day his love for Nepal and emotional attachment would be so intensive and deep that he would readily choose to become one of the sons-in-law of Nepal to love and dedicate his life for the wellbeing of Nepalese peers and people.

Kim with Madhav Prasad Ghimire

Kim with Madhav Prasad Ghimire (Nepal’s national poet)

Kim’s immense love for Nepal

Kim’s love for Nepal is so immense that he keeps thinking about how to promote Nepali people and Nepal. It may be his writing about Annapurna circuit trekking or trying to write poetry about Sagarmatha. He has translated Korean poems into Nepali and Nepali poems into Korean literature. Kim says that he has published at least 3000 articles about Nepal in his South Korean print media.

It was after writing poetry on Sagarmatha that the veteran Nepali poet Madhav Prasad Ghimire gave him the name “Sagarmatha” and after marriage with Manju “Gurung” was added to his Nepali name Sagarmatha. Kim has translated Madhav Prasad Ghimire’s Nepali poem “Gauri” into Korean literature and launched it in Nepal in 2018 in Kathmandu-. Also, he has translated Nepali veteran literary person Manjul Nepal’s “Bramand Kabi Ko Ghar” into Korean literature and launched in Kathmandu at Nepal Art Council on 21 August 2019. He is also the concept developer of the Nepal-Korean Culture Center in Nepal.

Kim at Lumbini
Kim at Lumbini

Kim’s love for Nepal cannot be described in words. He now speaks Nepali fluently. He is also trying to write books, Kim, as a humanitarian has supported many homeless Nepali families in the aftermath of the earthquake in 2015. He has even distributed large quantities of pieces of bread to the famished children of marginalized groups by making the pieces of bread himself in Nepal in the areas of Gorkha, Nuwakot, Langtang, Sankhu, and Dhading, etc.

Avid Traveler 

Kim has traveled across most of the eastern and western parts of Nepal including Lumbini, Pokhara, Everest Base Camp, Langtang, Annapurna circuit, Manang, Mustang, Ilam, Chitwan, Dharan, Janakpur, Sindhuligadi and Dhading, Gorkha, Nuwakot, etc.

Kim's launch of Book in Kathmandu
Kim’s launch of Book in Kathmandu

Status of alien daughters-in-law in Korea

Kim along with his wife Manju have strenuously dedicated their lives for the wellbeing and welfare of the Nepalese daughters who are married to Korean husbands.

Kim and Manju have become a good example of a perfectly matched couple in Korea even after transcending the international cultural borders and traditions. Both of them have been working for the welfare of the Nepalese daughters-in-law in Korea for a long time.

Kim and Manju in Korean dress
Kim and Manju Gurung in Korean attire

Since Kim is a poet and writer in Korea, his contacts with editors and publishers has enabled his wife Manju to come in contact with few of the Korean media persons which have made it easy for her to get some of her articles about her experience in Korea published in online media and print media as well.

Regarding the status of the daughters-in-law in Korea coming from abroad Manju claims that at first, she had a different perception about pervasive domestic violence against daughters-in-law in Korea.

However, after Manju went to Korea to settle with Kim (Sagarmatha Gurung), she realized that actually, her previous preoccupied perception of violence against alien daughters-in-law in Korea which she had heard and read about was not so factual because she has observed that things and situations have changed a lot in Korea. Now the families with cross border cultural identities can live together and maintain their lives in consonance with what is appropriate for contemporary society.

Manju says that there are so many daughters-in-law from outside Korea such as Cambodian, Vietnamese, Nepali, and the Philippines, who are enjoying their lives with their families in Korea.

(This article is based on a conversation with Kim Hyong Hyo (Sagarmatha Gurung) and Manju Gurung)

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