Monday, July 28, 2008

Complaining Expats: A resolution?

Roboseyo and Ask An Korean have done it again with a follow up post this time examining the causes for Koreans defensive attitudes and a way to be criticizing without being so damaging.

It is a doozy to read but well worth it.

I have to say that I can not find any memories of when I complained about Korea to a Korean and got an angry response. Actually I haven't really been complaining about Korea all that much. If I do it would end up in BK's ears. I think sometimes I joke about the amount of stairs from subway stations, or other little nuances. But is never a reflection of how undeveloped Korea is.

A quote from the post that I find illuminating:
First, let us eliminate one popular hypothesis from the running. Some observers posit that Korean culture is simply not a “criticizing culture”, because it emphasizes homogeneity and harmony. Because Koreans are reluctant to criticize one another, the theory goes, any amount of criticism is considered a very bold act, and often deeply insulting.

The Korean can unequivocally say that this theory is 100 percent crap, because Koreans liberally criticize their country and each other. And truly, the severe and ignorant nature of their criticisms aimed toward their fellow Koreans makes criticisms from expats look like sprinkles of flowers and baby powder
This is so true!!!! I experienced a Korean's level of complaining when I met Rainbow (young Korean woman) last year in San Francisco when I worked at the Asian Art Museum. She complained and nit picked about people and places with great accuracy and also a fierce tongue.

The Post goes on to say:

that a Korean when trying to defend a nasty comment about their country will fail to respond in English in an analytical and objective way:
So when the irresistible compulsion to defend Korea against non-Korean-generated criticism of Korea strikes an average Korean, she is often poorly equipped to do so. Her argumentative tools simply are not adequate to properly express her fervor. Therefore, she flails about as she tries to stand her ground, and frequently resorts to poor rhetoric and obstinate denial.
 Now, I think this needs careful reconsideration. Because I have had very intelligent conversations with Rainbow (she made this name for herself) and BK. I was very impressed by Rainbow's  understanding of her country's position in the world and her understanding of its differences. The same goes for BK, he too understands that Korea, although developed, is still using old regimes of thought to function.

Of course though both of these individuals English levels are high. But I think I am making an important point.

As an Expat you kind of naturally believe that because of the language barrier you tend to think that a Korean speaker does not have the capacity to think as advanced as you.

This is FALSE!

Anyone on this planet whether poor or rich has an opinion. They may not be able to express this in every language or within a thesis paper, but the ability to form an opinion is a function every human is born with.

The Point:
  • Leave your assumptions at the door.
And so I hope we all can see that these kind of issues arise out of the fact that the world functions on a global scale. That when an American travels to Asia they bring with them their American way of thinking. And so a mixing of thoughts is born in cities across the globe. 

This is nothing new and has shaped many cultures for centuries. The only realization now is how it will shape our world for the future?

Anyways its VACATION TIME!

1 comment:

  1. A Korean college studentJuly 29, 2008 at 2:40 AM

    >As an Expat you kind of naturally believe that because of the language barrier you tend to think that a Korean speaker does not have the capacity to think as advanced as you.

    This is FALSE!

    Eh...Yes and no. There ARE some young & immature hagwon teachers who seem to fit the description dead-on, becuase the kinds of Koreans they are mostly likely to encounter in their limited social spheres...well, fit the descritipn, too. Demographic stuff, you know. Mostly lower middle class Amercians/Candaians vs. middle to lower middle class Koreans... Many anglo hagwon teachers are quite blind to the class stuff taught at college level social science 101, even though that is what brought them here.


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