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BEST & WORST OF COREA
(Updated Tuesday, Apr 1, 2008, 04:20:21 PM to reflect the 100 most recent valid responses.)

What's the best thing about Corea?
Friendly energetic people | 36%
Big exciting cities | 37%
Picturesque traditional culture | 2%
Safety and social stability | 25%

What's the worst thing about Corea?
Crowding and pollution | 26%
Strict social rules | 29%
Bribery and corruption | 7%
Fixation on status and materialism | 38%

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WHAT YOU SAY

[This page is closed to new input. --Ed.]
NYmildmanneredboy,

I don't know if you've ever been in Korea but if you notice most GI's that are sent over there are the typical trailor park trash, looking to get drunk and some booty. If you ever hang out at ITAEWON GI's are rude as hell and don't seem to realize that Korea is NOT they're country. Furthermore, I've never heard of any GI getting punishment for murdering, raping, or causing trouble in our own home. So you think that protesting against the SOFA is pointless? How about if we twist the tables and station the Korean army in your hometown. We make you pay taxes for our "services", and we get drunk, rape, kill, and disrespect you in the comfort of your own home? Now that wouldn't be nice wouldn't it. Especially if we ran over two little girls on an armored vehicle, then made a trial with a korean jury, and concluded that it was an innocent mistake. What would you think of that? Wouldn't that piss the hell out of you?
It's all about equal rights, if you people don't like it then GET OUT OF OUR LAND!!!!!!
ck    Friday, December 27, 2002 at 19:27:42 (PST)    [196.40.43.218]
To: NYmildboy.

You criticize Korean nationalism?

First: You should remember U.S. soilders stationed in S.Korea are
guest. You should blame those two stupid American GI'S who commited horrible crime killing two Korean girls. Those stupid incidences causes
Anti-American feeling among new and old
generation Koreans.

Second: US soilders stationed in S.Korea has only one job. Protect democracy and protect capitalism market in S.Korea and Japan. The two biggest American allies in Northeast Asia. Tame China.

Third: Koreans have every reasons to be upset toward American GI's just look how they act at ITAEWON. They act like druken monkeys. Loud, Stupid, Obnoxcious, Narrow minded, Young spoiled brats etc. You blame Koreans for having Korean nationalism? changing SOFA??? Please, Koreans a break.

Fourth: Do what romans do. Respect local custom and their nationalism. It was Korean nationalism that gotten them threw 2002 World Cup and 5 thousand historical battle with China, Monghol Genghis Khan, Japan, Russia, and United States. Its Korean nationalism that they were able to preserve their language,custom and their country. You should always remember Koreans never fled. They stayed and fought. Unlike Irish, Chinese, Jewish, Americans ( you remember vietnam war?? Americans fled to Canada?? why??) Respect Koreans. You will learn how to be tough.

From Boston.
Massachusetts bostonseoul@hotmail.com    Thursday, December 26, 2002 at 07:26:01 (PST)    [170.224.224.134]
re: U.S. soldiers

I see them to be stupid, assh*** idiotic protestors.

K nationalism is nice to see if applied well, like during the World Cup. But the protesting against the SOFA, in my opinion is the ugly flip side of the K ethnocentrism.

What am I missing? Are they protesting the verdict or the sentence? Maybe they are using this instance to vent other perceived inequalities, b/c now that K is no longer an orphan; but a successful and near-advanced state, the old rules of engagement needs to be re-written. But, no matter, those extreme nationalists are just too much.
NYmildmanneredboy    Tuesday, December 03, 2002 at 20:56:24 (PST)    [24.90.59.127]
anyone care to comment on the outcome of 2 U.S. soldiers being acquitted for gruesomely running over 2 Corean girls?

C'mon, even in the US, people would get years behind bars for something like that.
Harry    Friday, November 29, 2002 at 19:31:58 (PST)    [64.130.235.33]
> "passive-aggressive" culture in Korea.
Not a bad interpretation. But you take it too deep.

> There's something wrong when unmarried women...

That's your (I am liberated adult at 18 years of age, even though I know nothing) opinion. It has been proven that the more evolved a species, the longer they take care and take time to nuture thier offsprings.

> you're not allowed to point out to your boss a problem...

That's becaure money is not everything...unlike American culture. In K, social relationships, paying back favors - even from way way back (good or bad, K and maybe other Asians have a looooong memory for paying back favors). So your short sighted shallow vision and understanding told you that it's not right to overpay...but not so when you know the background.
NYmulticultureboy    Monday, November 18, 2002 at 20:51:29 (PST)    [24.90.59.127]
Well well, this is rather funny. I am assuming that "I know I won't miss it" did not enjoy the stay in Korea. How very sad. I mean it would perfectly make sense that all the people change their "disgusting habits" to accomodate such an honored guest.

Oh wait, I forgot to make an examination of the western world. Well we have,
1. open mouth eating and gum chewing and slurping of drinks. Hey go to your local Burger King and see if everyone's eating habits meet your standards?

2. People smoking *everywhere*. It seems that people in the Western world smoke quite excessively. Hell some individuals even smoke nasty cigars, there are even bars that are dedicated to that nasty habit.

3.Shoulder charging on the sidewalks
People in the Western world walk down the street as if they own it. I have been bumped countless times and have not even receieved the courtesy of an "excuse me" or even an "oops sorry."
Instead I get a, "hey what the hell is your problem" or "get the hell out of my way."

4. The big lie about "respecting old people". In the Western world there is this kind of ideal that people should take care of our elderly parents, but instead there is the common practice of putting parents into homes so that people can visit them on the holidays. It reminds me of a zoo of sorts, you go and see and then leave for some stranger to take care of them.

5.Drinking habits.
All I can say on this point is "FRAT PARTY" ring a bell?

I have two other points. One is that there seems to be a kind of passive-agressive situation in the Western world. Children tell their parents to go to hell if they do not get the newest Britney Spears record, but the parents are unable to really do anything because it is considered an agressive act. Instead the parents take their frustrations out on society through such cases as road rage and work place shootings.

The last point that I have on the Western world deals with the common practice of not having a curfew on 16 year old girls. These young children are out till late at night with no supervision. What in hell is wrong with this country.

Reading over my list it seems to be quite familiar. This is rather odd. The main point is that perspective is dependent on what you want to see. If you go to a foreign land and view acts that would stray from your perceived norms, then your automatic response is to view such acts with some amount of disdain. This is reenforced by visual images that present themselves on a daily basis. You see, you notice the person eating with their mouth open because it reenforces your perceived breaking away from the norm, but you may not notice the five other individuals sitting right next to you that chews in what would be considered a normal fashion.

In the end, you did not enjoy your stay in Korea because you were unable to get over your limited perspective. We can either choose to see the negative side or the positive side of visting a foreign country, you chose the negative.
Lucky Strike    Monday, November 18, 2002 at 18:40:57 (PST)    [68.14.109.217]
Please, somebody explain this to me before I leave Korea.
I know I won't miss it.

No one need to explain anything. Different customs in different countries, you don't like it leave as you are doing now. I'm sure you are heading back to the US. I can easily list all the annoying or disgusting habits of American or western cultures but I won't waste everyone's time like you with juvenile ignorant outbursts.
Your arrogance alone is sad. I find you still have alot of growing up to do. Take care.
bye bye birdie    Sunday, November 17, 2002 at 16:42:54 (PST)    [152.163.189.171]
I've been here for a year and will be leaving Korea soon.

I know I won't miss it.

I'm not complaining about Korea. Complaining is saying
"This country sucks and a only moron likes living here!"
That's not what I'm saying. What I'm saying is that it
wasn't a great experience for *me*, and that's not my
fault. (It's only my fault if I _stay_ when I don't like
it.)

Most things that were a problem for me aren't the fault of
the country or the people. (I'm allergic to some of the
local food, like tofu, plus I like bland food and not the
Korean "death-by-spices" style of cooking.) The "kimchi
breath of death" is revolting, but comes from eating the
stuff every day, and is the staple of their diet. That's
nobody's fault and I'm not complaining about it.

But what I *DON'T* get are socially acceptable things you
won't see anywhere else. Some are just annoying, some make
me want to scream "What the f*** is wrong with you?!!!?!"

The only Koreans I've met here who have ANY kind of manners
are they youngest kids (under 8) who haven't developed the
bad habits yet, and the oldest people - those who grew up
before the Korean war, who got their manners *before* the
US army got here. (I think those facts are related.)

1. Open mouth eating and gum chewing, and slurping of drinks.

It's disgusting, it's juvenile, and *EVERY* Korean
does it except the youngest and oldest people. In
countries I've visited (a few in southeast Asian,
plus a few in North America) only a few individuals
do it, and isn't rampant across the whole culture.

Do I really need to see what someone is eating or HEAR
them chewing and smacking? If I want to see their food,
I can look at their plate. I don't need to see someone's
mouth open in front of me while they talk and chew at the
same time and have pieces of food fly out onto me or what
*I'm* eating. Where I grew up, if you did that, you got
slapped; to Koreans, if food flies onto their plate, they
brush it off or eat the debris that landed on the food.

If you're going to eat, keep your lips together. If you
want to suck liquid out of a cup, get a straw. Primates
and marsupials chew with their mouths closed, and lower
animals (canine, ovine, porcine) chew with their mouths
open. Which do you want to emulate?

2. People smoking *everywhere*.

I'm not talking about walking down the street (which is
bad enough), I mean people who smoke while filling their
car at the pumps, people who smoke in schools, people who
smoke in front of "NO SMOKING" signs (including drivers
on the buses). I see it everywhere, and the worst part
is when they lower their arms and have the butt sticking
out of their hands. I have seen several kids get burnt
by fuckwit adults who don't have the brains to watch what
they're doing. Kids don't know any better, adults should.

Smoke if that's your habit, but don't burn my clothes or
a kid's face by being an idiot. Koreans don't seem to
care if it happens, and they never apologize.

3. Shoulder charging on the sidewalks.

You can't go _anywhere_ in Korea without people banging
into you as you and they walk down the sidewalk. If it
was just the lack of space, I'd understand, but it's not.
It's a freaking competition amongst people.

I have lost count of how many Koreans deliberately walk
into people, as if they're trying to prove some sort of
dominance or something. Middle aged women run down the
street with their elbows sticking out at shoulder height
(while chewing gum and blowing bubbles, which is quite a
feat), businessmen who look for people then _deliberately_
change direction and pretend not to look. If they collide
with someone, they stick their shoulder or elbow into the
other person, and if the agressor gets knocked over, acts
offended that it happened.

Also annoying are the sidewalk sidewinders, people who
walk back and forth across the sidewalks, blocking paths
of people in front and behind them. What's the problem,
are they drunk or trying to be assholes?

I know there is an equivalent to "Excuse me" in Korean,
"Shilye ham-nida", but I have NEVER heard anyone under
age 60 using it other than myself.

4. The big lie about "respecting old people".

Sure, Koreans respect old people...*if* they are related.
Family are treated like gods, strangers like shit.

I have seen countless elderly people get pushed aside on
the sidewalk by younger Koreans, they have doors slammed
in their face (nobody holds doors open here), and are
forced to stand on the buses and subways. Grown men in
Korea do not have the decency to stand or stay out of the
"handicapped and elderly" seats to allow old people and
pregnant women to sit down. I have stood up to give my
seat on subways and buses before and had young people and
40 year old men push aside older people and pregnant
women to take it from me.

I usually grab these losers by the arm, but sometimes the
hair, and make sure the intended person gets the seat.

5. Drinking habits.

Koreans don't just drink, they drink until they vomit.
You can sit at a table for six hours and suck back soju
and talk, but you're not allowed to get boisterous or do
*anything* that might work off the alcohol. You sit
there, get shitfaced, then go outside and puke in the
gutter. I've seen *groups* of people, friends together,
doubled over outside of kalbi houses and retching up the
meal they just ate because of the soju in their stomachs.
This, to Koreans, is socializing.

(Well, there's also "noraebang" and "video-bang" but not
much else. There are few dance clubs, and pool halls
don't serve booze. Soju is paint thinner, not alcohol.)


Just what the hell is wrong with this country?

The only thing I can think of is that there's a national
"passive-aggressive" culture in Korea. People who Koreans
*need* to say "NO" to - their families, religion, cultural
rules - they can't, so they take it out on people who can't
fight back (because someone is unable) or won't fight back
(social rules say so - nobody argues loudly here except for
drunks). If there's no one to take out their frustrations
on, they take it out on themselves. It certainly explains
every behaviour I've seen.

There's something wrong when unmarried women over age 30
still have nightly curfews imposed by their parents, or
you're not allowed to point out to your boss a problem
that is costing the company money simply because you'd be
criticizing a person older than you. "Social rules" should
not be placed above common courtesy, common decency, and
common sense.

Please, somebody explain this to me before I leave Korea.
I know I won't miss it.    Saturday, November 16, 2002 at 17:35:36 (PST)    [165.21.83.197]

[Don't put carriage returns after every line. --Ed]

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