[ENTERTAINMENT]Patty Kim a Historical Page in Korean Pop

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[ENTERTAINMENT]Patty Kim a Historical Page in Korean Pop

Some of the most frequently used words to describe the Korean pop singer Patty Kim, whose real name is Kim Hye-ja, are "veteran balladeer" and "a living legend on the local pop music scene." Born in 1940, Kim was among the first generation of pop singers in Korea, with a powerful voice and emotive vocals. She once said that she named herself Patty after the U.S. pop singer Patti Page, simply because she liked the sound of the name.

Kim has performed on stage for more than four decades. She is about to start another nationwide concert tour Sunday in Seoul. "This concert has a special meaning," she said, "because proceeds will go to the Korean Women's Association United." Since last June, Kim has been president of the association.

She does not hesitate to express how proud she feels of this responsibility. "Our association used to re-ceive funding from Germany, but that stopped after Korea joined the OECD. Soon after, the group fell into serious financial trouble. It's embarrassing as well as shocking," Kim said.

Kim may be sensitive to women's issues, especially since she has two daughters from different marriages. Her first daughter, Gil Jeong-ah, is working for the United Nations, providing relief in Africa. Camilla, the second, recently graduated from UCLA, where she majored in performing and directing. She said her half-sister is her "best friend."

Kim does not agree with the Korean traditional preference for sons over daughters. She said, "It simply does not make any sense. Of course, our traditions cannot be ignored, but a woman should not be pressured so much to give birth to boys, especially by her in-laws."

But this does not mean that she did not ever want to have boys. Kim said that once when she was casually chatting with her friends, she said that she had wanted her second child to be a boy. Camilla, then 6, overheard the conversation, and was in tears all day. "It was also shocking to myself when I realized how unacceptable my words were," Kim said. "I paid more attention from then on."

Camilla has grown up and now she dreams of becoming a singer like her mother. "My ultimate goal is to star in a Broadway musical," she said.

Kim and her younger daughter are scheduled to perform together at the Seoul concert, singing "Tell Him," a duet originally performed by Celine Dion and Barbara Streisand.

On having a superstar as a mother, Camilla said, "It would have been better if I could have spent more time with her because she was always busy touring and having concerts. But, whenever I wanted to see her, I could just turn on television, and whenever I wanted to listen to her voice, I could play her records, so it was not a big deal."

The concert tour begins Sunday in Seoul at the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts. It will extend to seven other cities across the peninsula, including Jeonju and Pusan, ending Oct. 31. For concert information, call 1588-7890.

by Choe Jae-hee

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