Monday, May 25, 2009

Ken's Response

Ken a "Korean who lives in Seoul" responded to my last post "The News Today" via email. I thought it was post worthy so here for you are his 2 cents.

Hi Joy. I'm a Korean who lives in Seoul. Below are my opinions regarding your post. (Your comment functions are closed to me unless I sign up for some blog, so I decided to e-mail.)

I now know how Americans felt when they first heard the news that John F. Kennedy was shot.

Never thought I'd cry for someone I didn't even vote for. Roh was a decent man, a statesman who truly cared for his people regardless of their origin----an absolute anomaly if you know the modern history of Korea. 6 years ago, Many Koreans saw an incredible hope through him. Even though he was far from perfect, it was the IDEA, not the personage, of such a leader that led many Koreans to support him. Many of them subsequently retracted their support over the years due to disappointments in his policies, but the idea lives on.


I see some expatriate bloggers who made unforgivably nasty comments (to my Korean mind) regarding Roh's death. I wonder if most of them are Americans who were offended by Roh's so-called anti-American stance, feeling their easy life in Korea is threatened by his left-wing policies? Or are they merely 'patriotic' in a neocon sort of way? Or are they offended by what they regard as typically "unthinking" characteristics of some Koreans who flock to the city plaza holding candles? I'm not bitter. I'm just curious about the way they feel.

Yet I fail to understand their vehemence, unless they have their loved ones killed or abducted by North Koreans during the last war or something. They seem....Koreanized, you know, for some of their unsavory comments are quite indistinguishable from equally unsavory ones you can find in Korean portals. It could be that some of them are Korean Americans who got their political opinions straight from their parents, whose opinions in turn had a tendency to get "frozen" at the point when they departed Korea in the 70s for greener pastures. A curious, but not wholly unknown, social phenomenon, I hear.

Thanks for reading.

Dear Ken,

Thank you for sharing your honest thoughts. I know that it may be difficult to understand why some expats respond in a way that is not sensitive to the situation. Understand that for the most part a good chunk of us aren't familiar with Korean politics or history. Therefore it is ignorance that guides some of us.

What is fascinating about this event is that it is causing many people to talk to each other and cross borders never thought of before.

I would love to hear further about your opinions so please feel free to email me any time.


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