Saturday, December 16, 2006

Things to not like about Korea

I'll try to post something that I like about Korea at least as often as I post something that I don't like. For there is much that has kept me here for almost ten years... hmmm... I wonder...

This link is to another site that contains some strong opinions... much of which is appropriate criticism for Koreans to take seriously about their country and some of which is unfortunate cultural misunderstanding, but it is a good reference for those who haven't lived here:

Recently I bought a book called "대한민국을 몀춰라," which means "Stop Korea." The book is mostly about the runaway economy and lack of respect for the environment here. A difficult read for someone who's first language isn't Korean and who doesn't follow every part of Korean culture and politics, but nonetheless an important contribution to the awareness of the populous.

But then, Korea is full of wonderful knowledge, and lots of poor practice. The children's textbooks at school tell them to put their garbage in the barbage pails, to recycle, to not fight with each other, to be safe on the roads; but what they learn from the adults in their lives is that the rules don't matter: go through a red light at a crosswalk and there are no consequences (except for a waving fist from the bearded foreigner on a bike - which really doesn't amount to much for them except a good laugh).

Recently good friends of ours in New York sent us a book entitled "The Road to Reality: Coming Home to Jesus from the Unreal World." We're only through a few chapters yet, but it is good so far. The author is anti-intellectual, so that makes for a different sort of book from Wendell Berry's work, but it is another good reminder to Christians to not be fake - to take the truth claims of the Scriptures seriously and be obedient to the commands of the Lord. Here's an excellent quote from page 23:
(Christians') lifestyles often amount to an enormous self-deception. Who they claim to be is disconnected from what they know, and what they know is even more removed from what they do. It is so unreal. It is a mysterious but deadly spiritual dichotomy.

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