Sunday, June 1, 2008

What to make of all this Mad Cow?

After listening to the Seoulpodcast go on about the Mad Cow scare issue here in Korea I thought I would provide my own digestion of this topic. I had a little taste of this on my own when I was in Insadong being a tourist and walking around the shops. There were a few tables set up on the sidewalk, along with someone dressed as a cow and others hollering for signatures. As the curious person I am I walked up to the booth. The people there spoke some English and just told me briefly what they are fighting against. I signed their petition due to the sheer excitement out of it and in return got a sticker and some buttons. These little buttons are actually cute for being meant for a cause. Some of these are against the new President's idea to build a canal from one of South Korea to the other. But generally I don't know how effective cuteness is to fight a matter which may or may not be so serious. I guess I have a hard time imagining Hello Kitty taking on the evil of the world and winning. But it may be possible.

Seriously, though this issue is a hot topic here and is becoming conflated out of proportion. But I don't think there is anything wrong with a strong group of people peacefully protesting this import of American beef. I think if you look at from an objective view point you could see that the protesters feel strongly against their President not making it clear to them why this is a good idea.

I think it may be important to ask a Korean how they feel about it and so I asked Bo Kwan. He tells me it is more about being against the President. Also not all Koreans are up in arms over this and even some feel that the protesters are going too far.

Some might ask whether this colors the perception Koreans have of Americans?

Actually I don't think so because it has to do more with the internal policies of the Korean government.

But it certainly is interesting to have the image of this in your mind:

Earlier on Saturday, about a dozen farmers in traditional funeral clothes marched to the protest site, carrying signs with anti-government slogans - along with the severed head of a cow. BBC news
For me it doesn't really make me think twice about the beef I eat over here, because in general I am thinking about several things anyways about the food I eat. I just see this thing as something that will boil over, possibly into a tasty soup.

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