Mighty Mike White main menu

Mike @ Ripley's Believe it or Not, New York, 2007 Mighty Mike world traveler Mighty Mike, Street/Food Dog Advocate Outdoorsman Comedic Teen is hate crime victim

Mighty Mike, June 28, 1993 - May 11, 2008

Born in Clyde North Carolina, Stephen Michael White lived in the Appalachian Mountains of NC. Having grown up near the Great Smokey Mountain Parkway, this young Mountaineer hiked Linville Gorge as often as he fished in Sunburst.

Linville Gorge 2001Funky Mushroom - Linville Gorge 2001On the Edge! Linville Gorge 2001Mike at Linville Gorge 1998

Grandfather Mtn 2003 Mike & momRough Ridge with friends, Mike & mom, 2003Moravian Falls, Mike with friends 1997Mike & Anatoly, 1996 Mother's Day

When he camped in Shenandoah Valley, deer would come to camp. When he found a starling out of it's nest too soon, he nursed her back to health. She had imprinted with Mike, therefore could not be introduced back into the wild right off.

Mike watching deer S.V. VA 2003Road Trips Rule Dude!Mike & StripeyMike & Tweety the Starling 2004
Mom & Tweety 2004Tweet the Starling Mike goes horseback riding 2003

When he left for South Korea in 2004, he took Tweety, a tamed Starling, to the Nature Preserve. He wanted to be sure she would be well cared for.

He attended Boone Montesorri Pre-School and Boone Elementary, before being homeschooled from 2nd grade to 9th grade. At Hoseo University, he was a member of the English Drama Club, and had a bit part in the play, "Sorry, Wrong Number". He attended Chungju University, where he earned a certificate in Korean Language.

Prior to moving to South Korea, he went to Betsy Jeff Penn State 4H camp each summer for weeks at a time. A regular traveler to Washington DC, he attended the Van Gough exhibit at the National Museum of Art, sparking a life long interest in expressive art and becoming an advid fan of Van Gough. He played the guitar eloquently - other than his mother teaching him to read music, he was self taught. He took swimming, tennis, pottery, art, and sculpting lessons at Appalachian State Universities Summer Enrichment Programs. He loved hiking, fishing, skiing, caving, swimming, and his dogs.

Read the Prequel to the Sparkling Promises Series, Book of Mike

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ISBN 978-1-312-99661-8
Sparkling Promises, Book of Mike: American Teen
Coming of Age In South Korea
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World Traveler

Before starting his adventure to South Korea, Mike poured over every book he could find about his new home. Scouring libraries in 3 counties, From Watagua to Ashe, Mike read everything he could find about Korean Culture. Learning that token gifts were given when a new person arrives in a neighborhood (in red bag) Mike went shopping for "American Gifts" he could give his new friends in Korea, complete with small red bags. Mike's girlfriend - if there is such at thing at his age - was Korean-American. Mike was eager to embrace his sweeties culture.

Mike and MJ Kim, Karey's mother 2004

He was perceptive enough from his readings to realize winning approval of Karey's mother would be his key. In the end, she was an albratross's stone instead.

Mike applied that same enthusasim when he prepared to travel to Japan, China and Thailand. Researching the Do's and Don'ts of our exotic destinations was old hat for Mike, who at ten, was already a globe trotter. He would make index cards with common polite phrases, writen phonically, in English & the local language. He had fun making the cards and reading maps, earnst to explore the world.

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Follow Mike as he travels to South Korea for the first time, as he explores temples, trails and parks with his dogs. Read along as Mike discovers insights into the hermit kingdom. Where hermetic knowledge is fostered above science and social underpinnings are fastened into perilously impossible juxtapositions.

Mighty Mike White

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Mike with Neighborhood Girls - his fan club

Mike with a his Daegu Fan Club, 2004 October

Stephen Michael White at Khao Sarn famous BackPacker street in Bangkok Thailand

For Mike's 13th Birthday, we toured Bangkok & Phuket, 2006

Mike at SeaHawks Dome in Fukuoka Japan

Mike at Yahoo's Sea Hawks Dome in Fukuoka Japan 2006

Stephen Michael White with a friend from English Drama Club Hoseo University 2005

Mike with a friend from the English Drama Club, Hoseo University, 2005

Street/Boshentang Dog Advocate


Spot & Mike

Mike's first street rescue, Spot was found one bright morning as we were walking along exploring the neighborhood. A man on a bike was kicking at a dog as he was trying to leave. It was clear the dog belonged to the man & he was dumping it off. Poor thing, she followed him down into the street, we held our breathes as traffic zoomed and the man continued to cycle. Mike leaped into action - he stepped out into traffic - holding up a hand & walking toward the frightend mutt. She cowered under a car, but at least was safely out of traffic's way. Mike cooed to her until she wimpered crawled over to him. I knew when he looked up at me, he had found his longed for puppy. She was about 7 months old. She was a bit undernourished, but with a few vet visits & some great food, she was in tip top shape in no time.


Smudge was named for the coffee colored stain on her ear. One afternoon, Mike & I were driving aroung Chungju, getting a feel for the city. At a busy intersection, we saw a Korean boy (about 8 yrs old) throwing bits of meat from his kabob - out into the street - and stood laughing as the pup darted in & out of traffic in the opposite lane. As our lane inched forward Mike kept watch as the boy's mother continued to ignore her son, chatting winsomely on her handphone. Finally - traffic starts to move a bit on our side and Mike shouted "Stop" - I hit the brakes and pulled over at his insistance. He hopped out of the van and went across the street - intervening and rescuing another puppy from Korean "Vice City, animal version".
Smudge grew to be really big! We found we needed to find a forever home for her - which turned out to be in Busan. After sorting and coordinating a vise run to Fukuoka & puppy delivery, Smudge had a forever home. Mike wanted to rescue dogs from the streets, train them and find forever homes for them. I supported him in his efforts - and gave him challenges, such as earning the money for vet visits.


Another furry success, Chaco Taco was actually supposed to be eaten. Boshentang or Dog Meat Soup is a dark magic delicacy of South Korea. It is believed that if the dog is beaten severely, as it slowly dies, the meat will be rich in adrenline and will confer upon the eater, the vitality from that dog. Which is why a female dog is never eaten by a male Korean. They perfer husky large dogs to drain of vitality. A dog like Chaco-Taco Just a little brown fur ball, Mike stole him from the back of a delivery truck. Mike had cased out the establishment and stole & released dogs whenever he could. He was nearly busted with Chaco-Taco's rescue and he hung up his Doggie Superhero cape after that caper. Chaco-Taco was adopted and relocated to Canada, then possibly Thailand.

Extreme Sportsman

Mike was lucky enough to have camped, hiked, & caved in NC, VA & TN - and loved it.

Mike descriping how stalagmites are formed - Whorley's Cave TN 2000 Mike crawling through Whorley's Cave, TN 2000Mike & Friend on Smoky Mtn Parkway NC

He became fascinated with bats and took them as a totem when he discovered they were lucky in Chinese culture. He had begung studying Chinese and wanted to be able to explore the back country one day. Mike hasn't finished traveling.

Mike & mom - Devils Fork South Carolina 2001 Mike Snorkling in FloridaMike's Thumbs Up

Aside from caving & snorkling, Mike was an advid skier.

Mike "Sonic" of Appalachian Ski Resort 2003 Mike Ice Skating on a Pond, Asan South Korea Mike in Ski Gear

He was on the slopes at 9 years of age and was nicknamed Sonic of Appalachian Ski Resort in 2003. Known for his iconic red hat zooming down the slopes, Mike's skills and sportsmanship were expanding & developing, making him strong and independant.

Hate Crime Victim

Murdered 'cuz he's American

On the night Mike drowned under suspicious circumstances, he was taunted by a group of boys, students of the Akideo school across the street from the sauna. He was called "Hamburger Boy" as well as being cursed in Korean. The majority of illegal protesters were students. When the police questioned me, the first question they had in the ER, "Which school does he attend?". Teen on teen gang violence and rape was a growing social trend the Daegu Police department was facing daily. The lack of juvenile laws in place made teenagers recruitment targets for local ally gangs, elite brat packs, and underground political activists. (growing membership of AES and professional political activists use of students aged 18 and under for rallying and spreading messages outside of governmental control - Anti-US Beef organizers & MBC Program staff).

When I answered the police with, "He's homeschooled" - they immediately made the assumption that the assailents were not teenagers, and that no assailing had takent place. Every move on the part of investigators were to show that Mike had somehow beat himself unconscious, then by some means, transported himself into a cesspool in the sauna, and drowned himself after fainting from having unproven temporary 'light' heart failure.

The original Korean translation of the autopsy report shows the scientist was trying to frame his findings in the light that Mike might have some as yet undiagnosed problem, such as severe retardation - or Riley's disease. With extensive medical evaluations needed for international travel & residency, any pre-existing conditions of that nature would have been self evident. Yet, in arrogence of knowing English translations would be long in coming, inaccurate and ineffective on Korean social & justice systems, both investigators within the Ministry of Justice and legal agents for the Court system, enjoyed creating a precedence by which it will be virtually impossible for any foreigner to take a Korean to court over homicide again.

Practicing blatent malfeasence of office from my attorney, to the Judiciary committee who passed verdict, the Korean system played kangaroo court with Mike's case from the start. The police refused to even open an investigation until after international pressure and 6 weeks had passed.

Seven years and counting since Mike's murder and the horrid deaths of 4 other foreigners during the Anti-US Beef riots - the producers of the erroneous report on Mad Cow disease have been charged, held liable and processed through the courts. Yet the victims of their crimes remain unacknowledged and ignored. Perhaps the Koreans feel this will 'just be a wee wrinkle' in their next life.

Ignored by Clinton

In the polical background of Mike's case if the FTA agreement between Korea & the US, something the Bush Administration hadn't been able to push through, (due to artifically constructed social unrest - using juveniles) from resistance over the US-Beef issue. Lee Moon Bak had already slighted Mike's case, when he suddenly stopped an economic meeting - had his security detail rush him across noonday Seoul traffic - across a megopolis to arrive at a suburban police station and demand to know why the police were doing nothing on the case of an attempted kidnapping of a pre-teen Korean girl.

The girl had been in the elevator at her apartment complex when a knife welding man attempted to abduct her. Her parents had tried unsuccessfully to get the police to act upon the evidence from the CCTV footage. After Lee Moon Bak's intervention, the police, using facial recognition software, were able to find the man and prosecute him.

In Mike's case, CCTV footage was also available. The sauna assured the police that 'nothing of note' was on the footage. The police, as a matter of record in the official police report, accepted this statement as irrefutable truth without reviewing the footage. Let that sink in. No police agent ever saw the CCTV footage from the night of Mike's murder. The court deemed it inadmissable as evidence at the inital hearing.

When a foreign child is murdered by Koreans, the CCTV footage must be suppressed. When a Korean child is accosted, Lee Moon Bak has an opportunity to play 'father to the nation'.

While Lee Moon Bak is playing his social drama games with child welfare in Korea, Hillary Clinton is being prepared for her Seoul visit, her first on the 2009 DOS tour of Asia. Hillary wanted a feather in her cap. A promise and progress that the Bush administration couldn't get. With the Mad Cow disease being proven as a hoax, the social climate was strong for a firm hand on the situation by Clinton. Her lack of acutity in dealing with Koreans not only made her miss her mark, her winning points turned hollow in the long term. She traded backing for Mike's case in exchange for the promise of an early signature (something inevitable polically & economically speaking) for the word and hollow promise of Korea to improve it's humanitarian treatment of non-Koreans.

Was this decision by Clinton to withdraw her assistance from the case affected by a false SBI report attached to the identity theft of my name in 1997? Or did it have more to do with an easy win and a convenience for Hillary. Her track record speaks for it'self on this score. Hillary is but one face of the DoS. Bottom line, the US government has more power than it needs to affect a postivie outcome for expatriates, they just don't care to be troubled to do so. There's actually a class division among international Americans. Those connected diplomatically, and those who are not. Those in the former enjoy living an a protected bubble, while the latter are at the mercy of social forces at the grassroots level. Clinton stood by while the Korean government mowed the lawn - irrespective of merit or humanitarian concerns of their victims.