Why do Koreans work like beavers?

You may have seen construction sites to dig out pedestrian sidewalks and change defect-less bricks in every December. Nobody likes wasting of government budget like that, except the government officers and the construction workers. The officers have to spend their annual budget 100% as they planned, or the budget will cut off next year as much as they don’t use, because central government will judge the officers aren’t diligent. But, some officers would be smart enough to save some budget with flexibility, though the only desirable character for them isn’t smartness but diligence.

Diligence is the first step to be successful at work, but it’s not everything for a success. Your students may have told you this, “I’ll study harder for the next exam.” They believe they’ll earn a higher score at an exam if they spend more time at desk.

The paradigm “working more+harder = success” worked well through 1960 ~ mid 1990, the period of “miracle of the Han river” in Korea. The problem is that the culture, people, system in entire country still clinging to the old paradigm, because it’s the only way they have succeeded in economy.

Those are why Koreans have to work all day long and they actually do. Korean workers sell their labor time to produce goods with already patented technologies of somebody else. People in high technology industries work like making dolls and shoes in 1970’s Korea. Probably they must work all day to survive at competitive markets. One counter example is Germany. German technology is the best in the world and Germany probably is the only industrial western country with current account balance in the black, by selling industrial goods, among other developed countries. They don’t sell workers’ time, but patented technologies. Think about Chinese manpower in industries. Definitely, Koreans are having a hard time, sandwiched between high tech countries and high man power countries.

I know it’s a scanty conclusion. But, it’s undeniable truth that it’s time to change.


Racist remarks of a baseball player and Korean society to neglect discrimination

This article was posted on http://ppss.kr, which is one of my daily visiting websites. This article was interesting enough to interpret into English. link of the original source


A racist remarks of Kim Tae-Gyun, a Korean baseball player in KBO, made him an object of public criticism. the original source of his remarks

Kim Tae-Gyun picked up Shane Youman as the most difficult pitcher in KBO, because his face is too dark, so his white teeth blurs the ball. It often happens not able to hit the ball with the white teeth overlapping to disturb looking at the ball.

One sarcastic anonymous reply of this remarks was “Pitching is giving all of his strength, so pitchers usually clench teeth at pitching. The pitched ball 90 mph passes by the home plate in 0.4 second. In this case, the pitcher opened his lips, and the batter recognized it. What a great pitcher and a batter.”

How would it react by his impropriety, Out of Korea?

It is actually a tongue slip. It is difficult to say “What a bastard racist!” by the context of his remarks.

However, a mistake is a mistake and racism is racism. Let’s take a look at foreign cases. Racist remarks about Africans are rarely said in public, in the United States. The president is an African-American. It has been around 200 years from the history of slavery. Americans know that he would socially buried with his racist tongue slip, though it appears some of them are not careful. In 2000, John Rocker said he will not ever play for the Yankees or the Mets, because of gay, AIDS and foreigners. MLB commissioner and the president Bill Clinton blamed him. Then, he was fined $500 and suspended for 2 weeks. Racist remarks generally head to Latinos and Asians. Steve Lyons, Fox TV sportscaster was fired, because he made fun of his colleague Lou Piniella by his Spanish dialect. A sports correspondent in ESPN was fired, because he used ‘chink’ in the news about Jeremy Lin, a Taiwanese descent player in NBA. The anchor who delivered the news with the word was suspended for a month.

Homophobic remarks are similarly punished. Toronto Blue Jays suspended Yunel Escobar for 3 games by his homophobic remarks. He did not earn a part of his salary, $87,000 for the suspension. Roy Hibbert in NBA was fined $75,000 by his homophobic remarks. He did not ridicule gay people, but was just pissed, nevertheless.

Punishment at discrimination is harsher in EPL. John Terry in Chelsea called Anton Ferdinand in QPR “fu***n black c**t” during the game. And English FA punished John Terry by 220,000 pound fine and 4 game suspension. Fabio Capello the manager of English team had to resign, since he had told John Terry should be considered innocent before the sentence from the court. QPR players refused to shake-hand with John Terry after the happening, like a honor-punishment.

Audiences are punished, too. A fan was prohibited to come into the arena 1 year, after he spoke a racial comment to Dikembe Mutombo in NBA. The audience was convicted by the racist remarks to Park Ji-Sung. The punishments to discrimination is strict and harsh out of Korea.

Victimized Koreans, Are we innocent?

Koreans were angry at a racist ceremony of Federico Macheda in Manchester Utd. He mocked his face like a monkey at a game in Korea. But, he was not punished with the uncertainty of racism. Koreans were angry too when Marco Materazzi told his Korean colleague An Jeong-Whan about his garlic scent. There were similar anger at the racism case of a Hollister model last year and chink marks on the paper cup at Starbucks Atlanta in this year.

We are only sensitive when we are the victims. Ki Seong-Yong showed a monkey ceremony when he scored a goal at the national soccer match with Japan. It is actually making fun of himself by the western perspective. It is a very offensive insulting ceremony. But, most of Korean news media defended him; it was a protest against the Rising Sun flags in the audience (interpreter: Japanese used the flag in their empire age, the flag badly impresses other Asians from former colonies of Japanese empire, as Hakenkreuz does to Europeans.)

We do not see racism in Korean TV, because we can not recognize it. A TV show High Kick calls a big nose for Caucasian, a cunning face for Japanese and soot skin for Africans. It did not even become an issue. And we see Kim Tae-Gyun’s tongue slip. Actually, his remarks is softer than the above cases; 1) It was not a discrimination, but a casual complaint. Shane Youman was ranked 4th in ERA last season and 10th in this. 2) The remark was not delivered directly, but over through a radio broadcasting. Kim did not consider the leverage of the radio. 3) He apologized quickly. (interpreter: I still think he should be punished like 3 games suspension, in order to reinforce that the racial comments will not be tolerated. But, he would not be punished, because he is the leading hitter of THE pityful underdog team in KBO and the Korean kind-feeling policy)

America overcomes the conflict, Korea avoids the conflict

America was not free from racism. African-Americans could not play in MLB, but be only allowed in the Negro League. It was 1947, when Jackie Robinson began to play in MLB. It has been only 70 years. But, MLB universally retired his back number 42 across all MLB teams, and all players and umpires wear back number 42 at Jackie Robinson Day.

Kim Tae-Gyun’s remarks was a mistake, but it does not mean he can have an indulgence. No smoke without fire, no tongue slip without background thoughts. Americans had lots of racial conflicts and now consider racist remarks very sensitively. Koreans have just begun to adapt multiculturalism, yet had the sensitivity of the racist remarks.

Less social conflicts or less social sensitivity never be good. Punishing Kim Tae-Gyun does not help to solve the conflict. Baseball players are now public figures, therefore diverse supports are needed from teams and KBO, in order to make the players true role model for children.

American athletes in major sports think themselves they should be a role model in the society. Specially the sports of WASP, baseball does so. (It sounds a bit racism.) Now, KBO has over 30 years history and become more popular. Armature baseball as hobby also become popular. I think baseball players need to be a role model more than a skillful ball play if they want to make their job from a play to a respectful field.

New start of blogging

I am going to blog on cultural, political view about Korea and some useful expression in Korean and English; Korean politics, culture, new trend, English expression, Korean expression, different nuance in between Korean and English.

All articles will be identically written in Korean and English at the same page, so it would be useful for readers to study or compare Korean and English. Actually, I’d like to blog for me to improve my writing in the two languages. I’m a Korean guy speaking English maybe fluently, living in Korea over 30 years, but  have some experiences in the states.

It is always welcome to reply my post, if you have any questions, arguable agendas, different opinions or thoughts, or if you find wrong expressions or grammar in my writing.

I wouldn’t mind if you Korean kids plagiarize my writings for your essay homework. It would be my honor but, I don’t have the responsibility for the result. And plagiarism is bad.

여기 워드프레스에 한국에 대해 영어로 소개하는 블로그를 엽니다. 주로 한국의 문화, 정치에 대해 쓸 예정이고, 때로는 유용한 영어표현이나 한국어 표현에 대해서도 쓸 예정입니다. 모든 글은 한국어와 영어로 같은 내용으로 씌여질 것이며, 한국어나 영어를 공부하는 사람들에게 유용할 것이라 생각됩니다. 사실 제 자신의 작문 실력을 늘리기 위해서 하는 것이지만.. 저는 영어를 할줄 아는 한국 남자이고, 한국에서 30년 넘게 살았지만 미국에 대한 경험이 어느정도 있습니다.

제 글에 질문이나 다른 의견이 있거나, 제 글에서 (한국어든 영어든) 문법적인 오류를 발견하시면 제 블로그에 답글을 달아주시는 것은 언제든 환영입니다.

끝으로, 이 글을 복사해서 다른데 옮기거나 숙제에 쓰는 것은 그쪽의 자유이지만, 제가 그쪽의 성적을 책임지지는 않습니다. 그리고 사실 표절은 범죄입니다.

I wouldn’t mind if you Korean kids plagiarize my writings for your essay homework. It is free but, I don’t have the responsibility for your grade. And plagiarism actually is crime.