It's the holiday season, which means I've been extra busy furthering the American Imperialist Agenda here in Korea. But the Nomad turned me on to this letter to the Korean Herald Editor and I couldn’t resist a quick bloggin.
Basically it’s a “I’m tired of all these foreigners who come to Korea and just bitch about everything and there is nothing wrong with Korea so just shut up and go back to where you came from” rant.
Pictures courtesy of psywarrior.com, which has a nice collection of Korean war propaganda leaflets from North Korean and China trying to get US GIs to make love, not war.
I'm sure David would agree that they are appropriate here as well.
Unfortunately, the author, "David," neglects to specifically address the most common foreign complaints. Couldn’t he at least mention one of the top complaints and show us why it is unfounded? Couldn't he at least admit that there are SOME things in Korea that warrant criticism? I guess not.
A few thoughts on some of the things David did choose to talk about.
"...often times foreigners come to Korea and the first thing they do is to look for places where foreigners congregate"
That's quite a generalization. I'm sure there are a lot of foreigners who first look for prostitutes or a Mcdonalds. Let's try to avoid stereotyping, ok?
So foreigners congregate around other foreigners, so what?In what country, big world-traveler David, do foreigners NOT do this? People naturally gravitate towards others with whom they are familiar. Koreans do it in the States; Bangladeshi do in Korea, and the list goes on. What standard are you holding westerners up to here? Don't you tend to hang out with other annoying self-righteous assholes like yourself? I know I do.
And just because foreigners tend to spend time with other foreigners does not mean they never have contact with Koreans. I’ve yet to meet a westerner who does not have some Korean acquaintances, if not friends. Sure, some never do, but that’s a minority.
Oh, and by the way, the next time (might it be the first time?) you are hanging out with some Bangladeshis or other SE Asian workers, ask them how easy it is for them to “mingle” with the Koreans. I’m sure David has never actually met a “3D” worker and found out about their living conditions and treatment by their “gracious” Korean employers, or how they are treated like shit by Koreans in general. I, probably like David, am treated well by the Koreans I work with thanks to my occupation and skin color (and my sparkling personality certainly helps as well). But it’s just ignorant to pretend that all foreigners are treated well here and should keep all gripes to themselves.
Come on you stinking exploitin' ungrateful foreigners! Leave Koreans to the Koreans!
So then David goes on to explain why Korea is such a great place to live and thus is undeserving of any criticism.
“It is a country filled with beautiful traditions, many related to honor and love toward family, and respect for neighbors.”
Beautiful traditions? Yes. Korea is a very special place with beautiful traditions, just like every other country in the world (except all states in the American South; it is still ok to despise and stereotype those inbred, slaving, redneck, Jesus-freak bastards).
Honor and love toward family? Sure, some aspects of Korean households are very admirable. But then there a lot of other customs and practices that are certainly not. I really can’t say Korean family values are any better or worse overall than any other country I’ve lived in.
Respect for neighbors? Sorry, I don’t see it. Perhaps this is true in some small towns, but David's got to back this one up with some examples. Some Koreans are respectful, but quite a few are certainly not. It sounds like David pulled this one completely out of his ass.
Most of the things foreigners complain about are the same things Koreans complain about: Lack of respect for the law, abuse of authority, following contracts only when it suits the boss, lack of respect for others in public areas, and so on. Some things suck, and it’s just PC nonsense to try to ignore it. I'm sure patronizing people like David think they are doing good by praising and defending Korea every chance they get, but in the long run they aren't. Would it help America, Canada, Britain, etc. if Koreans gave us nothing but praise and never pointed out our shortcomings? I'd rather have someone around who can tell me like it is (with the possible exceptions of people from France and Quebec).
I'd like to see how David would respond to Koreans living in America (or whatever country he is from) who complain about society there. Would he tell them to get a one-way ticket back to Korea? Gee, that sounds quite harsh when you put it that way, doesn’t it? Kind of makes the person sound like a hateful asshole, as a matter of fact.
But then, that’s just how I see things.