Tae Young Bae
What are your academic or professional interests in relation to the Asia Pacific region?
I am most interested in matters regarding the Korean peninsula. I am currently looking into the minjung movement - a South Korean oppositional movement with a heavy dosage of student activism - in the 1980s. I find the movement’s eventual alignment with communism and related ideologies (most prominently North Korea’s juche ideology) while simultaneously calling for democratization in South Korea to be fascinating.
Is there a special place in Asia that you feel most connected to (whether through travels, family, or another experience)?
Seoul, South Korea. I was born there and lived there for the first decade of my life. I still go back to visit family and friends whenever I can.
Why do you believe Canadian students and young professionals should take an interest in Asia?
There are massive business and political opportunities in the region, not to mention a diverse array of fascinating cultures. And Asia continues to grow in relevance and importance. Canada is fortunate that it is incredibly well-positioned to engage with the region. Younger generations of Canadians paying great attention to this area is integral to Canada, making the most of its advantage in the long run.
What do you hope to accomplish this year as part of the Vancouver Asia Pacific Youth Council?
I would love to play a role in growing APYC’s social media presence. It would be great to have even more people know about some of the initiatives we are taking.
Do you have any recommended books about Asia?
I think Henry Kissinger’s On China is a fascinating read. I also highly recommend Namhee Lee’s The Making of Minjung Democracy and the Politics of Representation in South Korea - although the topic is more niche.
What is one interesting/fun experience you had while travelling through Asia?
I watched South Korea’s upset victory against Germany during the 2018 World Cup at a bar in Bangkok, Thailand. I didn’t do a great job of hiding my excitement - I don’t think the German tourists at the bar were too impressed.
Where would you go next in Asia and why?
There are so many places I want to visit! I have heard great things about Hanoi, Vietnam, so it is certainly on my bucket list. I also want to check out Qingdao, China, and visit the Qingdao Beer Museum. Taipei, Taiwan, would be super cool too. I can go on and on.
What is your favourite Asian snack?
I have been a massive fan of Hi-Chew all my life.