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  • confusedsafferinkorea
  • Waygook Lord

    • 5721

    • October 08, 2010, 01:02:32 pm
    • Zhubei, Hsinchu County, Taiwan (not part of China)
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Interesting observation by a Korean
« on: September 26, 2014, 04:21:29 am »
I actually find this article refreshing in that many here now are beginning to see what is often complained about here on this website.

And..... before some people get their panties in a knot, this is not me saying this and I am not a hater of Korea, I just found it great that some people realise things like spitting, pushing and shoving are unacceptable social behaviours and hopefully some change will occur.


http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/opinon/2014/09/162_165211.html

Korea is still 'barbaric in some ways

By Chung Eun-jung

The son of one of my acquaintances once made his high-profile parents apologize publicly for describing the relatives of people who died in disasters as "barbaric" because they screamed at government officials.

According to the connotations of "barbarism," which includes low taste in verbal expressions, temporarily behaving in a "barbaric" way can be cathartic and necessary for a developing country. Yes, Korea is still a developing nation in a transitional phase. Growing economic prosperity has nothing do with the quality or state of awareness in a society.

If a stagnant society cannot acknowledge its own limits and collectively provide proper means and solutions to help people move forward, it is already in a barbaric state. A developed nation is detail-oriented in catering to basic human needs and safety.

When it comes to people's daily lives, encountering barbarism can certainly cause stress. The Korean language uses honorifics to reflect the relationships and social status among speakers. In contemporary Korean culture, honorifics are used to differentiate between formal and informal circumstances.

I have noticed that some Koreans do not even know when and how to use honorifics. That is why I am constantly disappointed by the lack of simple etiquette and pleasant communication among Koreans. People want to be respected, yet they do not respect others. They all want to be treated well, but they think bowing to others is degrading. They think that being rude is actually a way of being friendly. Korea was once known as a country of courteous people in the East. What happened?

A more serious problem arises when people decide to unleash their inner instincts and let their myopic self-centeredness go wild, creating a culture of barbarity. To me, both barbarism and barbarity in Korea's modern history has consisted of physically touching others without permission and not subsequently apologizing. It is not recent news that many educated people, who are among the elite in our society, have been caught groping people.

I even have a list of "SKY" (the top-three Korean universities of Seoul National, Korea and Yonsei) graduates who are dangerously lewd. I am not just talking about statesmen criminally harassing female caddies on a golf course. One can assume a society that boasts a higher education rate and economic success would learn to become flexible and agile in order to maintain a certain level of decorum and comfort in public places, but there seems to be no correlation apparent whatsoever.

I observe on a daily basis people bumping into each other on the street without making any apologies. I see others forcing their way in and out of elevators and never making an effort to avoid touching other people. I sometimes scream at those who push others deliberately in public, never waiting for other people to go first. They do not even realize what they are doing, for they are so used to living without realizing how barbaric they can be.

The number of people who smoke while walking in a crowd and spit everywhere shocks me. My fear of people touching and pushing me in public places has grown over the years. Some buildings reek of foul smells because their bathrooms are wide open and visible from the hallways and lobbies.

Years ago, I met a politician who was fervently pushing a bill to revolutionize the use of public toilets throughout the nation. Now, whenever I stop by an upgraded restroom on an express highway, I remember him and give him kudos. It was one of the most effective, commendable bills passed by the National Assembly. Oftentimes, problems only require simple solutions.

It is frustrating when these solutions are not met as quickly and fully as possible. A civilized society requires universal understanding and respect for one another in order to maintain peaceful order and a stress-free environment.

The writer is the president of Ms. English. Her email address is chung_eun_jung@yahoo.co.kr.
There is no known medical cure for stupidity!


Re: Interesting observation by a Korean
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2014, 06:46:23 am »
Hard to believe that this was written by a Korean. It would be nice if more citizens here were critical of the mores and barbaric quirks of the society.
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Re: Interesting observation by a Korean
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2014, 07:21:19 am »
This "instinct" exists in all us human beings. People on this forum need to stop creating barriers. Koreans, whites, blacks, foreigners, stop being such close minded sheep. People are people and I understand we are all from different cultures, but I abstain from creating any kind of barriers or generalizing people as a whole.
Articles of Confederation, the supreme law of the land.


  • MattD
  • Waygookin

    • 24

    • March 07, 2014, 03:10:37 pm
    • Daegu
Re: Interesting observation by a Korean
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2014, 07:32:51 am »
Yet you just generalized the users on this forum.
Ha.


Re: Interesting observation by a Korean
« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2014, 07:33:38 am »
I'm glad someone is trying to do something about the sodding restrooms. This is why I constantly discourage my dad, who is an architect, from visiting me in Korea. If he had to see the way they 'designed' these restrooms, he'd probably have a heart attack.


  • Mr C
  • The Legend

    • 2608

    • October 17, 2012, 03:00:40 pm
    • Seoul
Re: Interesting observation by a Korean
« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2014, 07:47:38 am »
Hard to believe that this was written by a Korean. It would be nice if more citizens here were critical of the mores and barbaric quirks of the society.
Well, this op-ed of hers: http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/opinon/2014/09/162_162931.html says she went to Barnard, so I'm not sure of her background. Oh, wait:
Quote
Japan has still not admitted, nor even showed genuine remorse of their wartime atrocities during World War II upon the sex slave victims. The simple reason why they haven't repented? Ego.


  • Mashley30
  • Super Waygook

    • 356

    • August 31, 2011, 11:47:35 am
    • Gwangju, South Korea
Re: Interesting observation by a Korean
« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2014, 07:54:15 am »

I wonder how reforming public attitudes to strangers would work.

 It would take a big push on all fronts to correct things like not pushing your way to the front, not spitting, letting people who get somewhere first have the right away. It takes teacher's who didn't grow up that way to tell students to keep their hands to themselves. I don't know if Korea is ready for public shaming for impoliteness. It's really rare to see people call each other out on things, unless you're an old man.


Re: Interesting observation by a Korean
« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2014, 07:59:35 am »

I wonder how reforming public attitudes to strangers would work.

 It would take a big push on all fronts to correct things like not pushing your way to the front, not spitting, letting people who get somewhere first have the right away. It takes teacher's who didn't grow up that way to tell students to keep their hands to themselves. I don't know if Korea is ready for public shaming for impoliteness. It's really rare to see people call each other out on things, unless you're an old man.

I think I remember reading something of a 'public politeness' advertisement campaign prior to the Seoul Olympics. It focused on telling people not to push into the subway cars, queue up in lines properly, etc. I could be mistaken though.

Well, this op-ed of hers: http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/opinon/2014/09/162_162931.html says she went to Barnard, so I'm not sure of her background. Oh, wait:
Quote
Japan has still not admitted, nor even showed genuine remorse of their wartime atrocities during World War II upon the sex slave victims. The simple reason why they haven't repented? Ego.

Heh.
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  • climber
  • Super Waygook

    • 270

    • January 02, 2011, 06:52:36 pm
    • Ilsan
Re: Interesting observation by a Korean
« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2014, 08:09:11 am »
Hard to believe that this was written by a Korean. It would be nice if more citizens here were critical of the mores and barbaric quirks of the society.
Well, this op-ed of hers: http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/opinon/2014/09/162_162931.html says she went to Barnard, so I'm not sure of her background. Oh, wait:
Quote
Japan has still not admitted, nor even showed genuine remorse of their wartime atrocities during World War II upon the sex slave victims. The simple reason why they haven't repented? Ego.

Are you trying to say she is wrong in writing this article about Japan?


Re: Interesting observation by a Korean
« Reply #9 on: September 26, 2014, 08:14:50 am »
IMO a lot of the "uncouth behavior" stuff in Korea is based on the fact that until about the last two generations, Korean culture was extremely rural and poor. That's not that long ago. Even though so many people live in giant cities now and are relatively wealthy, a lot of them grew up poor on farms. Go into the countryside and it is still really old school. Younger people grew up in cities but they're still raised by older people, and it takes quite a while for learned cultural behavior to change anyway.

Take peasants and put them in a giant city and they aren't necessarily going to know how to walk down the street without bumping into people. Probably more of a factor is the fact that Koreans don't acknowledge the existence of people they don't know, so they don't care if they cut in line or push other people around, because "they aren't from my village or my clan."


Re: Interesting observation by a Korean
« Reply #10 on: September 26, 2014, 08:24:23 am »
She seems ashamed to be a noble aristocrat in a realm populated with such filthy, uncivil, ignorant peasants. I commend her charitable, yet futile, efforts aimed at attempting to get the unwashed masses to clean themselves of such shame and barbarity.


  • Pecan
  • The Legend

    • 3769

    • December 27, 2010, 09:14:44 am
    • Seoul
Re: Interesting observation by a Korean
« Reply #11 on: September 26, 2014, 08:34:12 am »
IMO a lot of the "uncouth behavior" stuff in Korea is based on the fact that until about the last two generations, Korean culture was extremely rural and poor. That's not that long ago. Even though so many people live in giant cities now and are relatively wealthy, a lot of them grew up poor on farms. Go into the countryside and it is still really old school. Younger people grew up in cities but they're still raised by older people, and it takes quite a while for learned cultural behavior to change anyway.

Take peasants and put them in a giant city and they aren't necessarily going to know how to walk down the street without bumping into people. Probably more of a factor is the fact that Koreans don't acknowledge the existence of people they don't know, so they don't care if they cut in line or push other people around, because "they aren't from my village or my clan."
Though I live here, this isn't my country.

I recognize and accept that there are other ways to live and relate to others than how I was raised.  If this is the type of society that Koreans want for themselves, it is not my place to condemn.  That said, the Koreans that I have spoken to don't seem to like the way people are here.  Unfortunately, they haven't worked out how to improve things, yet.

Give it time, but don't hold your breath.


Re: Interesting observation by a Korean
« Reply #12 on: September 26, 2014, 09:08:20 am »
If Koreans traveled more they might realize there are other ways to live.


Anyway, I'm not sure how much we can expect of them as long as it's considered normal to go to a supermarket or walk down the street and someone is yelling at top volume in a megaphone about a sale on kimchi or a new city garbage bag rule.


Re: Interesting observation by a Korean
« Reply #13 on: September 26, 2014, 09:41:01 am »
Yet you just generalized the users on this forum.
Ha.

Hence, I said I try to abstain from generalizing, but yeah, I sometimes still do. As much as I love the country, the people, and certain aspects of the culture, I just find some of the posts and threads on Waygook so disrespectful and miserable towards a certain group of people. Imagine if someone posted a thread about how barbaric and dirty it was because I wear shoes inside my house? As much as I try to get the door shut in front of me, ran into exiting an elevator, etc., I meet just as many warm people. Rather than b*tch about it on a forum, I'd rather let that motivate me even more to show my mannerisms that a certain country may not be accustomed too.
Articles of Confederation, the supreme law of the land.


Re: Interesting observation by a Korean
« Reply #14 on: September 26, 2014, 10:10:17 am »
If Koreans traveled more they might realize there are other ways to live.

Koreans are actually realatively well-traveled people. I believe about 1/3 of them travelled abroad in 2013 alone. In comparison, in my home country (America) 60% of people never leave the country in their entire lifetime. Many Koreans I met tell me stories about their experiences abroad. The problem isn't that they don't travel enough; it's that they take their barbaric behaviors overseas with them and refuse to adapt to proper etiquette.

For example, every time I'm on a plane filled with Koreans, once the plane lands (but is still taxiing to the gate) they are out of their seats, opening the overhead bins and the flight attendants have to tell them to stop and sit down until the plane stops, and yet most of them still keep at it (because their time is so valuable that they must be off the plane first). Their pali pali mentality is just ridiculous. I just stay in my seat and let all the Koreans hurry off and feel important because at the end of the day, we end up at the same baggage carousel at the exact same time waiting for our bags. You know how in elementary school, you always wanted to be first? It's like Koreans never matured out of that phase.

Another example, I was on vacation last month and I had the misfortune of running into a group of Koreans who decided to stare at me and yell waygookin. Despite the fact that they didn't realize that they themselves are waygookins, that's just unclassy behavior. How rude.

Koreans need to understand that in the real world, you can't keep your eyes glued to your phone while walking and expect everyone else to move out your way. "Watch where you're going, a**hole," is the response they'd likely receive. Also, the men need to realize that you can't just go around pushing and smacking your wife in public in the real world. Any Korean "man" caught doing that abroad would earn himself a well-deserved beating.

They have to cut it out with this please-understand-my-culture mentality and learn to adapt to the civilized ways of polite society.




Re: Interesting observation by a Korean
« Reply #15 on: September 26, 2014, 11:58:01 am »
Hard to believe that this was written by a Korean. It would be nice if more citizens here were critical of the mores and barbaric quirks of the society.
Well, this op-ed of hers: http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/opinon/2014/09/162_162931.html says she went to Barnard, so I'm not sure of her background. Oh, wait:
Quote
Japan has still not admitted, nor even showed genuine remorse of their wartime atrocities during World War II upon the sex slave victims. The simple reason why they haven't repented? Ego.

Are you trying to say she is wrong in writing this article about Japan?

In that it is comprised of untrue statements I would say it was wrong of her to write it.


  • donuts81
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1364

    • October 20, 2010, 10:23:37 am
    • Korea
Re: Interesting observation by a Korean
« Reply #16 on: September 26, 2014, 12:22:22 pm »
IMO a lot of the "uncouth behavior" stuff in Korea is based on the fact that until about the last two generations, Korean culture was extremely rural and poor. That's not that long ago.

True.

Plus most of country was leveled and built up again....and they had a dictatorship.

I do think that Koreans are making amazing strides when their recent history is taken into consideration. It's deceptive because so far their material progress has outpaced the social progress.

I don't think that it will be too long before attitudes change. When something is accepted here it seems to be universally accepted overnight as if by magic.

Currently, I'm living in Jeonja in the Bundang area and it's nice. People are reasonably friendly and courteous..... and obey traffic laws. It feels like an oasis, but I think that it is more indicative of the direction that Korea is heading.
"You can't hurt me now, Mr Lee. I've lost all feeling"


Re: Interesting observation by a Korean
« Reply #17 on: September 26, 2014, 12:28:46 pm »

In that it is comprised of untrue statements I would say it was wrong of her to write it.
She doesn't feel Japan's apology was genuine and thinks those trying to hide it have ego problems. I don't think she is lying about her feelings and I think those who deny Japan's past war crimes do have ego problems.

I think it's perfectly reasonable to criticize Korea and think Japan still has issues dealing with ghosts from their past.


Re: Interesting observation by a Korean
« Reply #18 on: September 26, 2014, 12:47:12 pm »
When something is accepted here it seems to be universally accepted overnight as if by magic.
That's because it's an illusion like magic. There are things that seem to be universally accepted that aren't.

At orientation in Feb, I was told by a bunch of presenters that pretty much everyone in Korea are fans of kpop and that it's amazing how well-loved it is here. And from what I've seen, reality has that not even being close to accurate. But it's something that seemed true to them.


  • MJHanson
  • Expert Waygook

    • 500

    • May 02, 2011, 09:42:58 am
    • Gyeonggi-do, South Korea
Re: Interesting observation by a Korean
« Reply #19 on: September 26, 2014, 01:03:48 pm »
I actually find this article refreshing in that many here now are beginning to see what is often complained about here on this website.

Many Koreans have always known that their society is rude.  They complain about it just as much as NETs do.  It's not like we have some secret knowledge about Korean society that the locals have been oblivious to this whole time. 

Expats may ask, "If they know they're rude, why do they keep acting this way?" 

Because shit's hard to change!  This is especially true since it's the middle-age folk who are the rudest.  They hold the power in society. 

Most Americans are well-aware of and are disgusted by the amount of gun crime in the US.  Yet it continues because of a small minority of ****** psychotic misguided and paranoid gun enthusiasts. 

It's kind of like how people from Boston know they are asshole drivers, yet nobody is gonna do anything about it.