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Korea...Center of the world

 
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jajdude



Joined: 18 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2003 8:15 am    Post subject: Korea...Center of the world Reply with quote

Actually I haven't travelled a lot, and haven't lived more than a year outside of Korea or Canada, but I have a question for the more worldy out there. Do other countries give you this feeling I get in Korea: That this is the center of the world? I know this is really an obscure nation to most of the world, but after a few years here doesn't it just seem to close in on you and assume largeness well beyond its actual? Well if one never travels then wherever one lives is the world, perhaps. I'm from Canada, and to me it and the US seemed like the world. Now in Korea it's all Korea all the time with a little America thrown in for us English speaker foreigners. I didn't feel so enclosed during my year in Taiwan or few months in Thailand. Could be just that I've been here several years. Or maybe it's just a mood I get sometimes. But you long-termers must know how "encapsulated" this place can feel. I'm sure many countries feel the same, just as the US or Canada or wherever might feel to an Asian I guess.
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syclick



Joined: 23 Mar 2003
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2003 8:51 am    Post subject: Re: Korea...Center of the world Reply with quote

jajdude wrote:
Do other countries give you this feeling I get in Korea: That this is the center of the world?

In my experience, yes, I believe a lot of people in many countries like to think that everyone has their eyes on them, or that the world revolves around them.

I guess everyone (from whatever nation) has the need to feel special or important in their own way. Some people tend to justify it by focusing on:

Perceived cultural uniqueness
Perceived cultural or philisophical influence on the world
Perceived political importance
Perceived moral or religious superiority
etc...
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Tiger Beer



Joined: 07 Feb 2003
Location: Hong Kong

PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2003 11:30 am    Post subject: Re: Korea...Center of the world Reply with quote

jajdude wrote:
Do other countries give you this feeling I get in Korea: That this is the center of the world?


Somewhat. It depends on where you are. For example, listening to the BBC it feels like the UK (naturally) as well as Europe, Washington DC and India are the centers of the world.

I'd imagine anything out of Amsterdam would feel like Germany, France, the UK, and the USA are the center of the world.

Living in the USA (where I"m from), you feel like New York City and most especially Los Angeles, California is the center of the world.

Living in Korea however, feels like Korea is the center of the world. Significantly moreso than anywhere else.
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SweetBear



Joined: 18 May 2003

PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2003 4:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's natural for native people to feel that their country of birth is the center of the world, until you start to travel.Even then I have met travellers who spend their entire trip comparing things to "back home". Likewise it is natural for us to believe that we as individuals are the center of the world, consciously(sp?) or unconsciously. Things feel safer that way.
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crazylemongirl



Joined: 23 Mar 2003
Location: almost there...

PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2003 4:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the comparison between 'back home' is just part of experincing something new.
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ThreeDogNight



Joined: 30 May 2003
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2003 4:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Koreans have a 'frog in the well' mentality(right guys?) that gives them a narrow-minded and parochial outlook on the rest of the world. And congratulations, you are now part of that innocence and deception.

All they can see is the patch of blue sky from above. This, in my opinion, is unlike other countries that are more cosmopolitan and internationalized, particularly the USA.

As for feeling Koreans think their country is the center of the world, you are right-in my opinion once again- to assume so. Korean economic protectionism does not allow for much cultural influx from other countries; there's much censorship and paternalism amongst leaders and politicians of this country; and there's the fact that Korea is the most homogeneous country in the world. I don't think other countries top Korea in these respects, which makes your comparison to other countries and experiences elsewhere more extreme here.
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SweetBear



Joined: 18 May 2003

PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2003 4:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

crazylemongirl wrote:
I think the comparison between 'back home' is just part of experincing something new.


Yeah you may be right on that, it's not the first time I have mentioned it and recieved a similar reply. It sure gets annoying though. Evil or Very Mad I just figure that we should sometimes step out of our narrowed " we are the center of the world so all standards should be compared to that thinking" mentality. I hear ya anyway.
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visviva



Joined: 03 Feb 2003
Location: Daegu

PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2003 5:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ThreeDogNight wrote:
This, in my opinion, is unlike other countries that are more cosmopolitan and internationalized, particularly the USA.


Very Happy You're a comic genius, ThreeDog. Laughing
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ThreeDogNight



Joined: 30 May 2003
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2003 5:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

visviva wrote:
ThreeDogNight wrote:
This, in my opinion, is unlike other countries that are more cosmopolitan and internationalized, particularly the USA.


Very Happy You're a comic genius, ThreeDog. Laughing


What are you getting at, babe? That this is just common sense?

Look at your mirror and tell me where you came from. Koreans came from Korea. We?

Everywhere. Unless you're a redneck.
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ThreeDogNight



Joined: 30 May 2003
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2003 6:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

crazylemongirl wrote:
I think the comparison between 'back home' is just part of experincing something new.


Indeed it "is" a part of experiencing something new but doesn't mean the experience is not lacking in its meaning; that it's either good or bad, compared to 'back home' and has a sense of ethnocentricity not like any place on Earth, seeing that 'this something new' is just that; a realization that this nation is profoundly insular in its understanding of other cultures and people in general other than its own. It all stemns from Confucianism.

The problem this guy may be facing is that he may not realize that all that's important to Koreans is their family, their social network of co-workers and friends, and obedience and loyalty to those around them. The outside world, even in Korea, is a proverbial 'no-man's land.' It's not really that they think their culture is all that matters. It's their social existence that matters, because they are so dependent on their family and those acquaintances around them.
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harri2002



Joined: 17 Jul 2003
Location: Earth

PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2003 8:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cool It's depressing every time I hear about Koreans and their frog-in-the-well mentality but it's so true. I went to middle school in Korea in 1987-1990 and every student in my class was like "Korea is the best", "Korea has the world's first blah blah", "Korea has the world's best blah blah" and whenever I suggested otherwise everybody accused me of not being "patriotic". I can't believe they are STILL like that. You expats really need to do your part to open Korean eyes to the world around them.

This is kinda off topic but do any of you watch MBC's Asia Asia program? Each week two Korean comedian's help a foreign laborer working in Korea meet family member back home. The foreign laborers are usually from Nepal, Bangladash, Indonesia, etc. you know, from less developed countries than Korea. You hear all these horror stories like these laborers never got paid for months, got beaten by mobs of Koreans, never got treated for injuries like fingers cut off and on and on.... Koreans really need to do some REPENTING and quit COMPLAINING/WHINING about U.S. soldiers. I was born Korean and part of me will always be, but when I hear about these deplorable Korean attitudes these days and ugly Korean behavior out there, I don't think I would ever want to go back to that sorry country.
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panthermodern



Joined: 08 Feb 2003
Location: Taxronto

PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2003 8:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
That this is the center of the world?


No wonder it is so damn hot.
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Cthulhu



Joined: 02 Feb 2003

PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2003 2:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe the younger kids are too high on nationalism, but my upper year university students regularly tell me that "Korea is not a developed country", "Korea is not a strong country","Korea has a lot of problems", or "'x' is much cleaner than Korea" (especially the ones who have travelled abroad). I'm sure some of them have their "My country right or wrong" attitudes, but a large number seems brutally honest about Korea's shortcomings.
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ThreeDogNight



Joined: 30 May 2003
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2003 10:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

harri2002 wrote:
Cool It's depressing every time I hear about Koreans and their frog-in-the-well mentality but it's so true. I went to middle school in Korea in 1987-1990 and every student in my class was like "Korea is the best", "Korea has the world's first blah blah", "Korea has the world's best blah blah" and whenever I suggested otherwise everybody accused me of not being "patriotic". I can't believe they are STILL like that. You expats really need to do your part to open Korean eyes to the world around them.

This is kinda off topic but do any of you watch MBC's Asia Asia program? Each week two Korean comedian's help a foreign laborer working in Korea meet family member back home. The foreign laborers are usually from Nepal, Bangladash, Indonesia, etc. you know, from less developed countries than Korea. You hear all these horror stories like these laborers never got paid for months, got beaten by mobs of Koreans, never got treated for injuries like fingers cut off and on and on.... Koreans really need to do some REPENTING and quit COMPLAINING/WHINING about U.S. soldiers. I was born Korean and part of me will always be, but when I hear about these deplorable Korean attitudes these days and ugly Korean behavior out there, I don't think I would ever want to go back to that sorry country.


It's quite often a matter of losing face. Glad you've had a change of heart, cause I see the difference in overseas Koreans like you. Korean-Americans are much different than their homespun counterparts.

But of course your country has something to offer as well as any other, so don't forget your roots.
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