Jasmine B. Lee

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Lee Jasmine
이자스민
Jasmine Villanueva Bacurnay Lee
자스민 바쿠어나이 이
Member of the National Assembly
Incumbent
Assumed office
1 June 2012
Constituency Proportional Representation №15
Personal details
Born Jasmine Villanueva Bacurnay
(1977-01-06) 6 January 1977 (age 37)
Manila, Philippines
Political party Saenuri Party
Spouse(s) Lee Dong-ho (Deceased)
Children 2 children
Alma mater Ateneo de Davao University
Profession Actress, TV Host, Civil Servant
Korean name
Hangul 이자스민
Hanja
Revised Romanization I Jaseumin
McCune–Reischauer I Chasŭmin

Jasmine Lee (born Jasmine Bacurnay y Villanueva) is a Filipino-born Korean, television personality, actress and civil servant. Elected as a proportional representative in South Korea’s National Assembly in 2012, she is the first non-ethnic Korean and naturalized Korean to become a lawmaker.[1]

Journey to Korea[edit]

Jasmine met Korean seaman Lee Dong-ho in Davao del Norte when she was still a college student majoring in Biology at Ateneo de Davao University in 1994. They got married and first visited South Korea in 1995 and finally settled in 1996. They have two children. She became a naturalized Korean in 1998. Her husband died of a heart attack in 2010 while saving their daughter from drowning in a whirlpool in a mountain stream in Okcheon-dong, Gangwon province while on a family vacation.[2] Lee has been living with her parents-in-law and seven other family members of her late husband ever since.

Career[edit]

Since 2006, she has been a panelist on the KBS program "Love in Asia" and has also appeared on a Korean language program on educational channel EBS.[3][4]

As an actress, she essayed the role of the mother of lead actor Yoo Ah-in in the highly acclaimed 2011 film Punch which drew 5.3 million viewers. She also appeared in the 2010 film Secret Reunion.

In January 2012, Lee became the first Filipino to receive the Korea Image Millstone Award from the Corea Image Communication Institute (CICI). She was cited for her volunteer and charity works for foreign immigrants in Korea.[5] An advocate of multiculturalism in Korea, she regularly gives lectures about the subject to teachers and student leaders.

She is the secretary general of Waterdrop, a charity formed by foreign spouses of Koreans, and worked at the Seoul government’s Foreign Residents Assistance Division.[6]

On April 11, 2012, she was elected as a proportional representative in South Korea’s National Assembly election following her party’s majority victory in the polls held. With her win, she has made history in South Korea as the first Filipina and naturalized Korean to become a lawmaker. Lee’s win is a result of the victory of the ruling Saenuri Party, to which she belongs.[1][7]

Criticism[edit]

Since the election, Jasmine Lee has been hit by charges of misrepresenting her education, after claiming on national television to have attended medical school in the Philippines when in fact she had simply taken biology classes during college.[8] She has also been the subject of racially charged remarks by xenophobic netizens.[9][10][11][12][13]

References[edit]