Brother One Cell: An American Coming of Age in South Koreas Prisons by Cullen ThomasA gripping first-person account of one young Americans life-changing years in a South Korean prison
At age twenty-three Cullen Thomas was, like most middle-class kids his age, looking for something meaningful and exciting to do before settling into the 9-to-5 routine. Possessed of a youthful, romantic view of the world, he set off for adventure in Asia and a job teaching English in Seoul, South Korea. But he got more than he ever bargained for when an ill-advised stunt led to a drugsmuggling arrest and a three-and-a-half-year prison sentence. Brother One Cell is Cullen�s memoir of that time�the harrowing and unusual story of a good kid forced to grow up in very unusual circumstances.
One of only a handful of foreign inmates, Cullen shared a cell block with human-traffickers, jewel smugglers, murderers, and thieves. Fortunately for him, the strict Confucian social mores that dominated the prison made it almost a safe place, different from the brutal, lawless setting most would imagine. In the relative calm of this environment Cullen would learn invaluable life lessons and come out of the experience a wise and grounded adult. With its gritty descriptions of life behind the concrete walls, colorful depictions of his fellow inmates, and acute insights about Korean society, Brother One Cell is part gritty prison story, part cautionary tale, and part insightful travelogue into the places most people never see.
Kpop Idols celebrate “Coming of Age Day” in South Korea
One hundred young men and women gathered in Namsangol Hanok Village in Seoul on Monday to celebrate their comingofage in a South Korean ceremony in which all young adults turning 19 throughout the calendar year don traditional dress and undergo a series of rituals marking the new period of their lives. The youths, wearing vibrantly colored hanbok or formal customary outfits participated in a number of rituals including sangarye hairchanging in which the men tied their hair in topknots while the young women braided their hair into a traditional chignon and pinned it up with ornamental jade hairpins. Next, the soontobe adults underwent chorye, when they were taught how to drink alcohol and took a symbolic sip in front of their elders and other wellwishers. At the end of the ceremony came suhunrye, when the youths recited an oath to be responsible adults and bowed to their proud parents before being showered with gifts including alcohol, perfume and flowers celebrating their passage into a stage of life when they can legally vote, drink alcohol, smoke and drive. Cities throughout South Korea host the event annually at plazas and other public venues on the third Monday in May.
How did Korean youth enter adulthood years ago and how does it differ from today?
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The age and nature of this transition vary among different societies. This change is usually associated with the age of maturity whether physical, mental or emotional. Everyone turning 20 years old at that year celebrates that day.
Coming of age is a young person's transition from being a child to being an adult. It continues through the teenage years of life. The certain age at which this transition takes place changes in society, as does the nature of the change. In the past, and in some societies today, such a change is associated with the age of sexual maturity early adolescence , especially menarche and spermarche. Particularly in western societies, modern legal conventions which stipulate points in late adolescence or early adulthood most commonly when adolescents are generally no longer considered minors and are granted the full rights and responsibilities of an adult are the focus of the transition. In either case, many cultures retain ceremonies to confirm the coming of age, and coming-of-age stories are a well established sub genre in literature , film industry and even comics. Turning 15, the "age of maturity," as the Baha'i faith terms it, is a time when a child is considered spiritually mature.