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Why does it Happen? Some Korean Cultural Conclusions

It has come to my attention that foreigners in Korea (including me) often use cultural explanations for much of the behaviour that can be seen by Korean people and also sometimes draw conclusions from it.  Why is that?

There will be a significant number of people who will chalk it down to prejudice or a lack of understanding, and to be fair in some people, and with some issues, this may very well be the case.  However, the story is not a simple as that.  In my opinion, there are obvious traits about Korean culture that stand-out and that guide us to cultural conclusions, and these are very often the right ones.  Let's go through a few and I will highlight the simplified cultural explanation (SCE) and see if there is any truth to it:


Plastic Surgery


Bitter, Sweet, Seoul

Bitter, Sweet, Seoul

 
This week [Monday, February 11, 2014] was the premier of Bitter, Sweet, Seoul.

On Tolerance

CAM00258

It was one of the most physically taxing things I’ve done in a while – a mountain hike up one of Daegu’s beautiful peaks, Mt. Apsan. It was also something that I only could have done with the help, encouragement and understanding of my fellow hikers, most of whom barely knew any English.


Hiking in Hanboks to Samseonggung Shrine 삼성궁

Roadtrippin!

20131116_095158

We took advantage of the beautiful weather one Saturday to head down to Jeolla-do, the south-west area of Korea. The fog seeped back into the mountains, the air smelled like dirt and trees, we moved through highways and roads that would leave us southbound. We were pleasantly surprised to find a persimmon farm.


Hwaseong Again

A Little Korean Govt Arm-Twisting of my Blog, Re:‘Sea of Japan/East Sea’ Spat

sea of japan

 

Did anyone else get this email below? Who wouldn’t be persuaded by some PR firm hack with no idea about East Asia giving suggestions she doesn’t understand by robo-email? Yuck. Maybe I’m reading it the wrong way – maybe getting yelled at by the Korean government about nomenclature means someone actually reads my blog. Hah!

 

“Dear Robert,


PNU Club Tour

Damn… It’s been a long time – apologies and all the usual garbage excuses about being busy. Let’s get into it.


Is it December Already?

So now that Halloween is over we can all start getting our Christmas decorations down and checking the fairy lights are all working. While we’re at it, order a turkey, and for christ’s sake start knitting that jumper, there’s a 12 Pubs of Christmas on somewhere… Is it a bit early to be joking about […]

My Website is blocked in China – Hah! I’m flattered

greatfirewallofchina

I was just in China for a work thing, when I checked the Duck of Minerva (the IR blog where I also write) for something. Turns out the Duck is screened out by the Great Firewall. Even if you go to Google Search Hong Kong, it’s still blocked.


Say What?! Episode 8: Koreans Don’t Apologize?

This week’s episode of Say What?! Wednesday is related to the last episode about personal space. Last week we talked about personal bubbles, but what happens when that personal bubble is violated? In America, it feels like if people come within two arms length of you they apologize for possibly being in your way. That’s one thing I noticed when I visited America last time, and I was always looking around for someone else they could be apologizing to because it seemed overboard to be apologizing to me!

We’ve been living in Korea for over 3 years, and this is just one of the examples of how much Korea has changed us! Apologies are not given out often or casually here, especially when it comes to violating your personal bubble. Koreans’ personal bubbles are much smaller, simply because of the size of Korea and its population density.


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