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Learning. That's what we come to college for. We pay an exorbitant fee in exchange for the distribution of ideas, theories, ways of thinking, for knowledge. But there is another sort of learning going on, another sort of knowledge acquired that has nothing to do with the tuition we pay or which college we go to. It is the knowledge of people, and how to interact with them. It is a kind of learning that isn't obtained from books or lectures, a kind of learning that is more subtle, but infinitely more useful than anything any professor could teach to his or her students. This is the kind of learning that we do on our own, through everyday interactions with friends and strangers, with adults or our peers. We learn by watching, by doing, by making mistakes.

I think I've learned a lot more about people, especially Koreans, in the few years I've been attending college than in my entire life. While growing up, I would always have to listen to my father, who would always speak ill of his fellow people, calling them inconsiderate, rude, narrow-minded, conservative, judgmental, never punctual, obnoxious, tactless, stubborn, proud, obsessed with dating and relationships, religiously fanatical, nosy, fair-weathered friends, etc. I was prone to accepting these remarks with a grain of salt, since I had grown up in liberal, free-thinking America, where it was almost a crime to attribute certain characteristics to a single group of people and act accordingly. However, I never thought to really refute him or tell him it wasn't so, since I didn't have that many dealings with actual Koreans from Korea myself. Being too lazy to might also have had something to do with it.

For years, I thought that Koreans that lived in Korea were the same as the ones living in America, only they spoke Korean fluently. I thought all Koreans had the same values, ideas, and preferences. In all honesty though, I never put too much thought into it. I finally realized when I came to college that such is not the case. Dragged by a close friend of mine to a club predominantly dominated by international students from Korea, I found that suddenly the majority of my friends were Koreans or, fobs, as referred to colloquially. Having always had been surrounded by second generation Asian Americans, I found the change new, exciting, and not a little befuddling. But not only was it that my group of friends had changed, I found that my values, my behavior, and my expectations of social norms all changing slightly as well. 

The major differences I noticed between American and Korean culture:

01

The first thing I noticed about the international students is their obsession with appearance. When meeting friends for lunch or dinner, when hanging out in the evening (which equates to drinking), going to class, going to the library to study, going out to buy something, going grocery shopping — anything that involves going out and meeting people calls the need for primping and ensuring that one is presentable enough not to be embarrassed if one so happens to run into someone one knows. Girls constantly check their appearance, especially when they go to the restroom. There seems to be a fear of going out and being seen without makeup, for which there even exists a word, ssaengeol, which is indicative of how big of a difference wearing makeup is compared to not. 

Another indication of the fixation on appearance is the existence and the use of the word imiji, which comes from the English word "image." Whereas in English, the word is defined as "a representation of the external form of a person or thing," "a visible impression obtained by a camera, telescope, microscope, or other device," or a "semblance or likeness," in Korean, it seems to mean more the outward appearance and image that a person projects to the world, whether that be genuine or not. What I dislike about the use of this word is that people say that so-and-so has such-and-such an image, instead of describing his or her personality or characteristics. This neglects the person's personality completely and instead focuses on what that person appears to be like and the very basic, shallow impression that one might get on meeting someone for the first time. A person is no longer a person but is instead characterized as cute, or chic, or cool, or however else they are described. 

What I am accustomed to is dressing comfortably among friends, and honestly, whomever. If I am comfortable with what I am wearing and what I look like, then it does not matter to me or the other person, as well it shouldn't. And when referring to others, I am used to describing his or her personal characteristics more than his or her physical appearance. To me, that is an indication of shallowness and focusing on what is not really important. 

02

Aegyo. A representation of a society's obsession with childlike behavior, which can also be seen as falling under the topic of Koreans' obsession with appearance.

Growing up as a Korean American, I never encountered this in all my encounters with people, whether they be adults or my fellow classmates. It was not necessary and thus, nonexistent, at least, not in the way it is in Korean society. Upon my arrival to Berkeley and my sudden and nearly complete immersion in Korean culture though, I learned about aegyo, what it means, when it is appropriate, and who it is appropriate for to use.

I remember being a bit disgusted by this at first, especially because girls seemed so fake when they acted with aegyo. I did not know why anyone would find such behavior appealing when to me, it was just another tactic for getting what you wanted. I especially disliked when, for example, during drinking games, people would make me act with aegyo. I didn't know what it was or how to show it and I was loathe to do so in front of so many people. Particularly disturbing was when guys did it, because my idea of normal male behavior definitely did not include acting like a baby, though that is probably due to a societal definition of gender roles that I have been brought up to be accustomed to, but that is a topic for another time.

The image of an innocent child is played up, and Koreans, obsessed with innocence and purity and the like go mad over it. From what I have seen, Koreans do not see it as being fake but as just displaying a certain trait that is desirable and attractive. The thought has crossed my mind at least once that this obsession with childlike behavior may be seen as suggestive of pedophilia, which may seem even more so to people unfamiliar with Korean culture. Thankfully, I do not think that such is the case but rather a cultural difference.

(Image: http://cafeblog.search.naver.com%26imgsrc=20110224_294/duddms369_12985468242681WCeT_jpg/%BE%C6%C0%CC%C0%AF1_duddms369.jpg // http://blog.naver.com/asa0809/150101502242)

03

What I was surprised at was how strongly I feel the difference between genders when with Koreans. I feel as if girls are expected to speak a little less, laugh a little quieter, act a little less boisterous, act more innocent, not be able to drink alcohol as well, eat less, be less athletic, among others, than Korean guys. This is less so when it is a group of friends, but it is definitely still there when groups are mixed or when one is with people one is less acquainted with. 

Among my American friends, everyone is just that — friends. It does not matter if you are female or male, you treat everyone the same, talk to them the same way, expect the same behavior and think nothing of it, which is infinitely more comfortable to me. Growing up in America where women and men are both expected to work and where both genders are given, or are supposed to be, equal opportunity in all areas of life, I had even for a time been sort of a feminist. Seeing the inequality between how the genders are treated grates on my nerves and goes against everything I have been brought up to believe. 

04

I always knew that bragging or displaying any sort of confidence in one's abilities is frowned upon in Korean society, but I did not know it was to the point that people had to apologize for doing so. After declaring that one is good at something, always in a joking manner so as to indicate that the speaker isn't serious, I noticed that people would apologize. For what, though? I wondered at first, not understanding. When I finally work out what they were apologizing for, I was more confused. 

Americans do not apologize for self-confidence or declaring they are skilled in something. In fact, having confidence in oneself and having enough assurance in oneself to do so is encouraged. But then, that might be the difference between a collective society and an individualist culture.

05

What Koreans focus on the most is dating and relationship and who is dating whom and who just broke up and is single again and why oh why can't they have a special someone of their own because they are oh-so-lonely. I have never felt the need for a significant other, especially not to the extent that I vocalize my need for one. I admit that having one is nice, but there are benefits to being single as well. This obsession is evident even in the music. A vast majority of Korean songs talk about love and either finding it or losing it. I first attributed this to a lack of creativity on the part of songwriters, but now I realize the obsession spills over into other areas of expression, and artistic expression is just one of many.

In high school, I had always regarded with disdain those who pined for a significant other, seeing their desperation for companionship as an indication of insecurity and the need to depend on the presence of someone else for happiness. I noticed with Koreans that having a significant other is something else to uphold one's image as well. While I still do not understand this fixation on the need to have a boyfriend or girlfriend, I suppose I must owe that to not fully understanding Korean culture. 

06

One last thing. There tends to be a tendency for girls to cover their legs when wearing short shorts or skirts with jackets or coats, or guys to provide their own outerwear for girls to do so when sitting down. Is it to preserve the girl's modesty? To prevent guys' straying eyes? I have never given it a second thought when with American friends, but I was made conscious of it after seeing it a few times when with Koreans. Just don't look, guys. 


I am sure that there are many aspects of American culture that still confuse Koreans and indeed, members of any other culture encountering it for the first time. Indeed, brushing against another culture has made me more aware that American values and customs are not universal and that people are much more diverse than I thought they could be. A people that I thought I knew turned out to be not so familiar after all. I also realized that culture is something that I definitely have to take into account when traveling to another country or dealing with people. 

I also realized that I display some of the very Korean characteristics that I mentioned above. My behavior at home and among my closest friends can very well be said to be aegyo, though I never thought of it as such; I had just thought of it as another part of my behavior. I also have a hard time proclaiming any skill at all in any of my activities, and feel quite uncomfortable when I do so. I still do not, however, find myself incredibly upset over the fact that I do not currently have a significant other because I believe that such a person will come when he or she is supposed to. And though I will cover my legs when with Koreans for their comfort, I still do not see the need to do so. 

But such is living in two different cultures. You learn to deal with the idiosyncrasies of both and appreciate them for the diversity they bring to your life, whether it be good, bad, or just plain strange.

저작자 표시

Posted by æolia

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  1. 수정/삭제 댓글
    Favicon of http://berkeleyopinion.com BlogIcon 스프링데일 2011/03/02 00:32

    Even after living in the states for more than 9 years, I still consider myself as a Korean, not Korean American student.. perhaps,as you indicated in the last paragraph, there would be sort of differences that causes such confusion when comparing Korean and American cultures. Some descriptions noted above however does not feet on my identity, this might because I failed to accept American culture as a part of my cultural identity.

    I really liked the first argument. Not being so serious, I still dress up even when I go to liquor store in the night time for example... This happens to me for the most of time -.,-

  2. 수정/삭제 댓글
    Favicon of http://zeuscrisis.tistory.com BlogIcon ZeusCrisis 2011/03/02 18:20

    You have clearly pointed out certain aspects of Korean culture which I couldn't speak out with clarity. This kind of critical approach can only be made by a 3rd person or an outsider. I want to say that not everyone feels comfortable with the social norms, but the punishment or drawback for not following the norms is pretty harsh.

    I just have a question on part 4. "a society in which individual success is valued versus one that values collective effort" you think which one is which?

  3. 수정/삭제 댓글
    Favicon of http://min2virus.tistory.com BlogIcon cielographer 2011/03/03 00:13

    1.
    First of all, I should admit that I do have a fear of going out without my makeup but I do not consider this obsession with appearance is seen only among Koreans.
    I see a lot of my Korean friends not caring about their appearance. Some, including girls, will wear the same clothes, such as Cal sweatshirts, everyday when they go to classes and call it “교복”.

    On the other hand, by music departments and Wurster, I see a lot of girls from other ethnicities dressed very fashionably, some, exactly like urban outfitter models and coming to 8 o'clock classes with full makeups. For these reasons, I believe it really depends on one’s interests in clothes/appearances.

    2.
    Honestly, I have not known or heard of anyone who talks only about others’ shallow impressions. If we talk negatively about them, it is probably because of their characteristics, not because of their ‘이미지’.

    It is possible that someone's first impression or 이미지 might affect oneself and Koreans might like to talk about it. However, it is just a very first step of getting to know or getting close to someone in Korean culture.

    4.
    Having confidence is also encouraged in Korean society. In my opinion, the only difference between two cultures is just a way of expressing that confidence. Of course, we prefer confident people but Korean culture wants more than that. We teach them to be not boastful but to be polite. It’s just a
    matter of cultural differences, neither one should be considered right or wrong.
    If you really wanted to compare these two cultures, you should have thought about and mentioned why American culture allows you to brag while Korean culture makes you to be polite. That paragraph seems like you are saying "oh what is wrong with Koreans, why can't they just brag like Americans?"

    Overall, I feel like you are unconsciously telling American society is better than Korean’s and Koreans should follow standards that American society has set. As you have mentioned, these are two different cultures, and it is not a matter of right or wrong.

    I assume that Koreans you have encountered are just international students or “fobs” at Berkeley. You are committing a hasty generalization fallacy by generalizing typical characteristics of Koreans from only the Koreans around you and exaggerating little details.

    I am slightly offended because you are implying that Koreans are shallow, and obsessed with appearance, relationships and dating. I also felt like you basically negatively stereotyped us, Koreans, and your article can provide a negative stereotype and wrong 이미지 of Koreans to people who do not really know the Korean culture.

  4. 수정/삭제 댓글
    Favicon of http://berkeleyopinion.com BlogIcon 스프링데일 2011/03/03 00:20

    http://konayuki.kr/220

    individualism와 collectivism에 대해서 예전에 간단히 글을 쓴 적이 있어요 :) 시간 나면 읽어보세요 공개하면 트랙백으로도 달게요 ㅎㅎ

  5. 수정/삭제 댓글
    Favicon of http://min2virus.tistory.com BlogIcon cielographer 2011/03/03 22:31

    ....님 제가 지적한 부분은 글쓴이의 observation이 잘못 됬다는것이 아니라 글쓴이가 어떻게 써내려 갔으며 어떠한 conclusion을 내렸는가 입니다.

    위 댓글에서도 말했듯 confidence에 관한 내용 글쓴이의 observation도 분명히 맞고 또 글쓴이가 갖는 의구심 또 님이 던진 질문들 저도 공감하는 부분이고 생각해봤던 것들입니다. 하지만 글쓴이는 제목을 korean and american cultures라고 거창하게 지어 놓았으면 적어도 왜 한국사회는 그래야만 하는가 혹은 어떻게해서 한국사회는 그렇게 됬는가를 mention 했어야 한다고 봅니다.

    저는 글쓴이가 두 컬쳐를 따로따로 바라보는게 아니라 미국culture 안에서 한국을 바라본 느낌이 듭니다. 미국의 것을 standard로 삼고 한국을 평가하는 느낌이 들었습니다. 또한 마치 미국이 superior 하고 또 한국도 미국 문화가 정해놓은것을 쫓아야 한다고 말하는것 같습니다.
    미국과 한국은 서로 다른 문화를 갖고있는것뿐이지 둘중 어느것도 다른 문화와 비교하며 옳다 그르다
    라고 단순하게 말할수 있는 문제가 아닌것 같습니다.

    다시한번 말씀드리지만 저는 글쓴이의 observation이 잘못되었다는게 아닙니다.
    하지만 글쓴이의 어투라던가 이 글이 풍기는 뉘앙스는 몇몇독자들에게는 굉장히 offensive하게 다가갈수 있습니다.

  6. 수정/삭제 댓글
    ..... 2011/03/03 23:14

    그 점에 관해서는 다소 아쉬움이 남는 것이 사실이군요. 하지만 그렇다면 그것은 단순히 제목을 'Korean Culture as seen by a Korean American' 식으로 바꾸면 해결될 것이라고 생각합니다.
    또한 짧은 기사에 그러한 한국 문화의 배경과 형성과정을 다루기는 어려운 일이므로 이 점에 관해서는 글쓴이가 나중에 추가 기사로 다루어 주었으면 하는 바람이 있습니다.
    아무래도 화자가 한국계 미국인이다 보니 한국계 미국인의 관점이 다소 부각된 측면이 있으므로 그렇다면 반박 형식으로 한국인이 본 미국 문화(혹은 한국계 미국인 문화)에 관한 글이 올라와도 좋을 것 같습니다.

    하지만 개인적인 의견으로는 Cielographer님의 댓글에서는 문화적 상대주의를 지나치게 강조하시다 보니 한국 사회의 억압적인 '눈치보기' 문화까지 옹호하시는 것 같습니다. 각 문화마다 특수한 배경을 인정하고 어느 정도 고려해야 하는 것은 사실이지만 궁극적으로는 남을 해치지 않는 틀 안에서 개인에게 더 많은 자유를 허용하고 개성을 인정하며 개인의 발전을 꾀하는 문화가 우월하다고 생각합니다. 문화가 만일 단순히 다를 뿐이고 옳고 그른 것이 없다면 라틴아메리카 원주민의 식인 습관도 인정해야 하는 것인가요? 중앙아시아나 아라비아 지역에서 행해지고 있는 명예살인도 인정해야 하는 것인가요? 아프리카에서 행해지는 여성할례도 인정해야 하는 것인가요? 한국의 예는 그와 같이 생명을 위협할 정도의 극단적인 예는 아니지만, 남에게 피해를 주지 않는 일을 사회적 풍습으로 지나치게 제약해 놓아서 사회 구성원의 기본적인 행복권을 침해한다는 이유로 억압적이며 개선되어야 할 문화라고 생각합니다. 미국(혹은 서구 다른 국가들)의 문화는 그만큼 개인에게 자유를 부여하며 눈치보지 않고 행동할 권리를 보장하므로 우월하고, 다른 문화와 비교하는 척도로 사용될 가치가 있다고 믿습니다.

  7. 수정/삭제 댓글
    .... 2011/03/03 23:37

    //Cielographer: 근데 제가 생각하기엔, 여기 써져있는게 대부분 사실이라고 봅니다. 솔직히 한국사람들이 좀 더 외모 꾸미는거 즐기고 그러는거 맞잖아요? 물론 외모 꾸미기 좋아하고 그런건 님이 말하신대로 case by case 이지만 그래도 전반적인 경향성이라는 측면에서는 글쓴이가 잘 관찰했다고 봅니다. 특히 남학생들의 경우에는 좀 지나치게 꾸며서 게이같이 하고 다니는 사람들도 많잖아요. 개인적인 경험으로 말씀들이자면 청바지에 티셔츠 입고 미국 친구들 만나면 아무도 상관 안합니다. 근데 한국 친구들 만나면 가끔 옷차림이 성의없어 보인다고 면박받는 경우가 있습니다. 한국이 성형도 굉장히 많이 하고 남자들 하고 다니는것도 게이처럼 화장하고 키 커보이고 싶어서 키높이 신고 그러는거 사실이잖아요. 솔직히 제 생각엔 남자들은 당장이라도 들판에 말 타고 나가서 소들한테 올가미 던지고 낙인 찍고 나서 지나가는 사슴 한 마리 쏴 죽이고 도끼로 장작 패고 불 피우고 사슴 구워먹으면서 주변에 둘러앉아서 위스키 마시면서 놀아야 어울린다고 생각합니다. 뭔가, 한국 사회는 지나치게 남자들에게 '여성성'을 강요하는것 같아요.

    I also think the part about bragging is true. It is true that amongst Koreans, you are forced to self censor what you say about yourself. Why is it that 'boasting' is seen as not polite? Is it the same old tall poppy syndrome? Excessive bragging is frowned upon in the States too. But why is it that even the slightest display of pride is considered a taboo in Korea? Cielographer said that Koreans want people to be confident too, but why are they not allowed to express that confidence? Is it not possible to be boastful and polite at the same time? Why should people be forced to hide their confidence?

    Overall, yes, I do think that this article focuses slightly more on the negative side of Korean culture. It would have been better if the writer found something nice to say about Korean culture too and balanced it with the negatives. But whatever negative things are written here about Korean culture are true. Negative but true. I say as a former Korean, (have been a Korean for 18 years and now a Korean American), that American culture leaves you to be who you are. In Korean culture, I was forced to hide myself and hold back.

    • 수정/삭제 댓글
      수줍은18금 2011/03/04 00:40

      일단 공격하는게 한국인의 특징이 아님을 미리 밝혀두는 바입니다! ㅋㅋ글 재밌게 잘 읽었어요:)

      하지만 제가 이글에 나오는 한국인으로서, ....님께 몇가지 말씀드리고 싶은건 여기 나오는건 "한국인"의 경향이 아닌 유학을 온 특정 여대학생들을 기준으로 만들어낸 특징임을 말하고싶네요. 하지만 그렇다고해도 이글이 10-20대 한국인여성을 대변한다고조차 하기 어려울 것 같습니다. 글쓴이의 observation이 잘못됬다고는 할 수 없지만, 그 sample의 pool자체가 너무 좁았죠. 그렇기에 ...님께서 말씀하신것처럼 쉽게 저것들이 한국인을 대표한다고 인정하긴 싫네요 ㅋㅋㅋ

      제가 다닌 미국 고등학교에서 유일하게 화장을 하지 않은 그룹은 한국인이었고, 게이처럼 외모에 신경쓰는 남자 역시 한국에서보다 외국에서 많이 만났습니다. 특히 한국남자들의 게이 패션(깔창제외 ㅋㅋ)의 근원지가 미국 혹은 일본이라는점을 생각하면, ...님께서 말씀하셨듯 한국 사회가 남자에게 "여성성"을 강조한다는 건 인정하기가 어렵네요. 제가 본 보수적인 한국 사회는 남자가 남자이기를 강조합니다. 오히려 가끔 남자들이 여성적인걸 즐긴다는 느낌을 받은적이 있습니다.

      자신감에 대해서는, 저도 한국인들이 외국인에 비해 자랑을 꺼려한다는 느낌을 받습니다. 하지만 사회가 그걸 "force"한다고는 생각하지않습니다. 특히 요새 티비에서 볼수있는, "건방진" 캐틱터나 허세남들을 보면, 오히려 현대사회가 bragging하는걸 북돋지않나 생각합니다.

      제가 마지막으로 드리고 싶은 말은, 제가 글을 쓰는 이유는 ...말처럼 이 글이 한국의 부정적인 모습에 초점을 두어서가 아니라, 일정한 부분은 왜곡되었기임을 말하는 바입니다:)

    • 수정/삭제 댓글
      지나가는행인 2011/09/03 20:27

      그렇게 따지자면 글쓰신 분은 지나치게 남자들에게 '남성성'을 강요하는 것 같네요. 남자로서 저는 "남자답다" 라는 말이 너무 싫습니다. "남자니까 너가 해." "남자가 그것도 못해?" 이런 말 너무 듣기 싫구요. 도대체 "남자다움" 이라는게 뭔지. 남자들이 화장하면 왜 꼴불견인지도 모르겠고 지나치게 꾸미는게 왜 안좋은 시선으로 바라봐져야 되는지도 모르겠습니다. 그리고 "게이같이" 라고 표현하신 것도 불쾌하네요. 게이 자체를 일반화시키시는데 스트레잇들도 꾸미기 좋아하는 스트레잇이 있고 티셔츠+청바지만 입는 스트레잇도 있는 것 처럼 게이들도 사람들마다 천지차이입니다. 사냥하고 술마시면서 노는 남자들이 있다면 신체적으로 연약하거나 감성적이거나 술 대신 까페에서 수다떨기를 좋아하는 남자들도 있습니다. 누가 더 "남자"같은지는 아무도 판단할 수 없다고 생각합니다.

  8. 수정/삭제 댓글
    momo's 취향 2011/03/04 00:28

    이 글을 읽고 참 많은 생각들이 들었습니다…
    이 글이 어떤 한국사람들에겐 공격적으로 느껴지는 것은 확실한 것 같습니다.
    제가 느끼는 이유는.. 글쓴이께서 이 리스트를 충분한 한국 문화에 대한 설명없이 만드심으로써, 그것들이 단점으로 비춰진다는 사실입니다.
    예를들어, 한국 여자들이 사석에서 다리를 자켓으로 덮는것’, ‘외모에 지나치게 신경쓰는 것’들은 단순하게 “관찰”만 할 것이 아니라 더 큰 context에서 이해된 후에 비교되어야 한다고 생각합니다. 한국 여자들이 다리를 덮는 것은 단순히 남자들이 보고있다는 의식때문이아니라, 그들이 어떻게 자랐냐부터 시작해서,사회적인 gender differences 라던가, 역사적으로 유교사상으로 부터 설명되어질수도 있는 것이죠. 저는 가끔 다리가 추워서 덮습니다.ㅋㅋ 또 어떨 때는, 남자가 없는자리에서도 가립니다.

    이것을 사실이라고 간단하게 받아들이시는 '…..'님같은 분들도 있겠지만, 저는 이것들이 사실이다 아니다라고 결정짓기에는 무리가 있다고 봅니다.

  9. 수정/삭제 댓글
    Favicon of http://min2virus.tistory.com BlogIcon cielographer 2011/03/04 00:36

    저런 나라들의 극단적인 문화 얘기가 나올것이라고 어느정도 예상했었습니다ㅋㅋ

    다 접어두고

    글쓴이 글에 내재된 '미국문화가 우월하다' 보다 더 offensive 하게 다가왔던건 글 곳곳에서 느껴졌던 글쓴이의 한국문화 역사 배경에 대한 이해없는 "우린 안그런데 너네는 왜그래?" 였던것 같습니다.

    한국여자들은 화장실 갈때마다 거울을본다 나는 안그런데
    옷에 너무 신경을 쓴다 나는 안그런데
    애교를 부려 원하는것을 얻으려한다 나는 안그런데

    반대로 나도 한국사람인데 우리는 그렇다 그래서 함께 고쳐나가야할 부분이다 라고 글을 쓰셨으면 공감이 갔겠죠 지금보다는

    같은 필진분인데 너무 공격적으로 나가게 될까봐 돌려돌려 말하다보니 많은 부분 오해를 산것 같습니다. 저는 한국의 눈치보기 문화 옹호 한적 없습니다. 그렇게 보였다면 그건 글쓴이의 부분적인 편견들을 정정 하려다 보니 강하게 나가진것 같습니다.

  10. 수정/삭제 댓글
    대변왕 2011/03/05 00:16

    글 너무나도 잘 읽었습니다.

    단 몇가지 아쉬운점은, 글을 풀어 나가면서 한국 여성, 남성들은 이렇다 라고 바로 결론을 내어 버린듯한 뉘앙스들이 곳곳에 보여서 아쉽네요. 이런 경향이 있다, 혹은 이런 사람들도 있더라 라고 표현해 주셨으면 다른 견해를 가지고 있는 분들에게도 그런 추세에 대한 충고정도로 받아드려질수 있었을텐데, 위의 글은 글의 제목과 달리 주제가 한쪽으로 편중되어 있는듯 하여 아쉽습니다.

    위 제목 "미국과 한국 문화의 차이점" 보다는 "미국 문화 입장 혹은 개인주의 입장에서 본 한국문화와 한국 사람들" 이 더 적합하다고 생각합니다.

  11. 수정/삭제 댓글
    ..... 2011/03/05 14:20

    Cielographer: 돌려돌려 말하다가 오해가 생겼다고 보기에는 곤란할 정도로 계속 말이 바뀌시는군요. 님이 처음에 다신 댓글(2011/03/03 00:13)에는 관찰 자체가 틀렸다는 입장을 표명하셨습니다. 두번째 다신 댓글(2011/03/03 22:31)에는 그 입장을 철회하고 문화는 상대적인 것이며 옳고 그르고의 문제가 아니라는 이야기를 하셨습니다. 그런데 이번에 다신 댓글(2011/03/04 00:36)에서는 그 입장도 바꾸시고 이번에는 표현방식을 문제삼으시는군요. 표현 방식에 대해서도 이 글의 필자를 옹호하자면 마지막 몇 단락을 보신다면 님이 말씀하신대로 '나도 알고보니 그런 면이 있었다'는 이야기를 엄연히 하고 있습니다.

    전반적으로 이 기사는 철저히 개인적인 경험에 기반한 관찰의 결과로 나온 것이며, 필자가 가장 쉽게 접할 수 있는 표본들(유학온 한국 여대생 vs 미국 여대생과 재미교포 여대생)을 대조하여서 나온 것이므로 두 문화 차이에 관한 비교로 충분히 가치가 있다고 생각합니다. 표본이 지나치게 적다는 지적이 있는데 필자가 한국에도 한 번도 가보지도 못 했고 동네에 한국인 한 두명 있는 것을 가지고 이런 글을 쓰지는 않았을 것이라고 생각합니다. 데이터 포인트를 여러 개 눈 앞에 두고도 그래프를 그리지 못하는 중학생 수준이 아니고서야 버클리에서 사회생활을 어느 정도 하면서 볼 수 있는 한국인의 수는 관찰을 하고 어느 정도 경향성을 파악하는 데에 충분하다고 생각합니다.

    편견 논쟁에 관해서도 마찬가지입니다. 이 글에 나타나 있는 것은 편견(prejudice)가 아니라 미미한 고정관념(stereotype)에 가깝습니다. '조센징은 패야 말을 잘 듣는다; 는 명제는 엄연한 편견이지만, '한국인들은 스타크래프트를 좋아한다'는 명제는 고정관념입니다. 이 글에 나타나 있는 주장들은 후자에 가깝습니다. 이 글이 편견이려면, '아무개는 한국인 여자이다. 한국인 여자들은 애교나 부려대고 꾸미는데 목숨건다. 그러니까 아무개도 그럴 것이다.' 라는 식으로 전개가 되었어야 합니다. 고정관념을 차별의 근거로 사용한다거나, 그것에 대한 반증을 보고도 인정하기를 거부한다면 그것이 편견이 되는 것이지요. 하지만 이 정도의 미미한 고정관념은 그다지 논리적이지는 못하나 인간 모두가 행하고 있는 것이며, 신변잡기 성향의 칼럼에서 이 정도를 문제삼는 것은 지나친 것이라고 생각합니다. 왜 이런 칼럼에 학술적 보고서 혹은 정론지 사설 수준의 잣대를 들이대야 하는지 모르겠습니다.

  12. 수정/삭제 댓글
    Favicon of http://juliedahaekim.tistory.com BlogIcon æolia 2011/03/05 16:21

    I believe America to be more of an individualist culture and Korea collectivist.

  13. 수정/삭제 댓글
    Favicon of http://min2virus.tistory.com BlogIcon cielographer 2011/03/05 17:59

    처음댓글에 언제 관찰 자체가 틀렸다고 말했습니까? 글쓴이의 관찰들을 hasty generalization이라고 지적하였으며 글쓴이의 관찰과 반대되는 제 관찰들 또는 제 입장 표명이었습니다. 또한 두번째 댓글 역시 글쓴이가 imply 하고 있는 한국문화는 틀리다 라는 입장에대해 말을 하려다보니 문화에 옳고 그르다가 없다는 제의견을 말씀드린거구요. 또한 두번째 댓글에서 저는 분명히 '미국과 한국'은 서로 다른 문화를 갖고 있는것이지 옳고 그름이 없다 라는 제 의견을 말씀드린건데 그댓글에 ....님이 다른 반인류적인 문화를 예시로 들으시니 세번째 댓글에서 다 접어두겠다는 표현을 한겁니다.

    또한 제 모든 댓글에서 이글의 뉘앙스 그리고 글쓴이의 표현방식에대해서 말했습니다. 계속 입장을 바꾼게 아니라요.

    편견이란 제 표현이 잘못되었다면 정정하겠습니다.

    가볍게 쓰려는 의도였다면 제목이 부적합하지 않나요. 코리안컬쳐와 아메리칸컬쳐의 비교를 생각하고 글을 읽다가 미국문화가 옳다 라고만 말하는 글에 한국인으로서 감정적으로 받아들이게 되는건 비단 저뿐만이 아니었습니다.
    그리고 글쓴이는 글전체에서 나는 안그런데 라는 입장이다가 마지막에 confidence 부분만 인정을 한듯 싶네요.

    또한 이런 고정관념들이 자신의 개인적인 공간에 올라왔을때와 이렇게 많은사람들이 볼수있는곳에 올라왔을때는 상황이 달라지죠. 이 글로 편견이 생기는 사람들이 있을것이고 또한 offensive 하게 받아들이는 사람들도 생기는겁니다.

    다시한번 강조하지만 제가 맨처음 댓글을 달게된 이유도 또 지금까지 말하고자하는 포인트도 이글의 offensive했던 표현방식이었습니다.
    저는 무엇보다도 글쓴이의 의견과 생각을 들어보고싶어요.

  14. 수정/삭제 댓글
    Favicon of http://min2virus.tistory.com BlogIcon cielographer 2011/03/05 21:18

    그러고보니 그럴수도 있겠네요 처음부터 끝까지 '표현방식으로 인해 감정이 상했다'가 맞을수도 있겠군요.

    그런데 어떤것이, 특히 버콥 페이스북 그룹 어느부분에서 공격성과 적대감이 표출되었는지 궁금합니다.
    저도 이곳 필진 멤버로서 글쓴이를 알고 또 적어도 이주에 한번씩은 마주쳐야 하는 상황인데 조롱하고 비꼬다니요.
    이 글이 저에게는 공격적으로 다가왔듯 제 댓글들이 님과 글쓴이에게 공격적으로 다가갈수는 있겠다고 생각하지만 조롱하고 비꼬았단말은 충격적이네요

  15. 수정/삭제 댓글
    Favicon of http://zeuscrisis.tistory.com BlogIcon ZeusCrisis 2011/03/05 23:02

    To commentators: two things I want to comment.

    First, the comments here are not focused on validity of the observation, but mostly about the way Aeolia writes. And also the commentators seem to worry a lot about each other's politeness. Good manner is definitely required, but it doesn't worth to be the main topic. Be clear on your point, show us your flow of thought, and compare it with others. Again, it's not about politeness but about opinions.

    And I also want to remind you that this article is writen in English. If you'd like to communicate with the author, English should be the choice (unless you personally know if the author is fluent in Korean). And for the sake of other English-users, I would recommend you to write comments in English.

    This is indeed a controversial article and I want to discuss more about it. But I'm afraid that the comments are getting too emotional and irrelevant to the article.

  16. 수정/삭제 댓글
    ..... 2011/03/05 23:23

    첫번째 댓글의 1번과 2번 포인트에 대해서 쓰신 내용은 관찰의 진위를 따지는 내용으로 이해했습니다. 틀린가요?

    또한 저와 Cielographer님이 한참 논쟁하던 겸손/자신감 관련 부분을 보면

    님의 첫째 댓글: 자신감 표현 방식이 다를 뿐이다. 한국 사회는 자랑하지 않는 사람을 예의바르다고 생각한다. 그렇다고 한국의 문화가 잘못된 것은 아니다.

    제 첫째 댓글: 자랑하고 싶은 사람들의 자랑할 권리를 사회적으로 제약하는 것은 잘못된 것이다. 자부심을 가지는 사람들에게 왜 예의없다는 멍에를 씌우는가?

    님의 둘째 댓글: 문화가 다를 뿐이지 옳고 그름의 문제는 아니다

    제 둘째 댓글: '자랑'을 하거나 자신감을 표출하는 행위는 누구도 해치지 않는 행위이며 그러한 자유를 제약해서는 안된다. 그러한 자유를 제약하지 않는다는 측면에서(여성의 권리를 제약하지 않는 미국 문화가 중앙아시아 혹은 아프리카 문화보다 우월하듯이) 한국 문화보다는 미국 문화가 낫다.

    님의 셋째 댓글에서는 그 문제를 다루지 않았습니다. 제가 님이 입장을 바꾼다고 지적하는 것은 첫째 댓글에서는 관찰의 진위, 문화적 상대주의, 표현방식(뉘앙스)를 모두 다루었고 둘째 댓글에서는 문화적 상대주의와 표현방식을 다루었고 셋째 댓글에서는 표현방식만을 다루었고, 이제 님이 다루는 문제는 표현방식만이라는 의미였습니다. 결국 남는 것은 '표현 방식으로 인해 감정이 상했다'는 내용 뿐인듯 하군요.

    또한 필자의 마지막 단락에서는 confidence 관련 부분과 애교 관련 부분도 인정을 하였습니다. 여섯가지 포인트 모두 명시적으로 인정하지 않았다고 그것을 문제삼기는 다소 어렵다고 생각합니다.

    이러한 몇 가지 미미한 고정관념이 들어있는 글이 이 사이트에 올라오는 것도 마찬가지입니다. 관찰과 의견을 기반으로 쓰는 모든 글에는 어느 정도 고정관념이 들어가기 마련입니다. 결국 그러한 관찰된 예들을 가지고 어떠한 결론을 내리느냐가 중요합니다. 이 글에서 필자가 내린 결론이 편견을 조장한다고 생각하지는 않습니다. 오히려 그 반대라고 생각을 합니다. 다른 문화들에 대한 더 많은 접촉과 이해를 종용하고 있죠.

    마지막으로 하고 싶은 말은, 말로 꺼내기 불편한 몇 가지를 지적한 필자에 대해 지나친 공격성과 적대감이 표출되는 것이 아닌가 하는 생각이 듭니다. 논란거리가 될 만한 발언을 한 사람을 어떻게 대하며 어떻게 보호해주느냐 또한 문화의 선진성을 판단하는 척도라고 생각합니다. 의견이 다르다면, 발언이 틀렸다고 생각한다면, 정당하게 논쟁을 하는 것이 옳은 일이라고 생각합니다. 지금과 같이 필자를 조롱하고 비꼬는 행위는 옳지 못한 일입니다. 서로 대부분 얼굴 아는 대학교 한인 커뮤니티에서 이러한 다수의 적대감 표출은 결국 간접적으로 필자의 표현의 자유를 제한하기 때문입니다.

    말이 조금 길어졌습니다. 좋은 주말 되시길 바랍니다.

    '나는 당신이 하는 말에 동의하지 않습니다. 하지만 당신이 말할 권리를 위해 목숨을 바쳐 싸우겠습니다.' -볼테르-



    *댓글 수정하였습니다.

    • 수정/삭제 댓글
      momo's 취향 2011/03/05 21:58

      안녕하세요.
      ... 님.
      뭔가 오해를 크게 하시고 있는 것 같아서 이렇게 답글을 달수 밖에 없네요.

      버콥 페이스북 그룹에 달린 코멘트에서 지나친 공격성과 적대감이 표출된다고 하셨는데...버콥 한 필진 멤버로써 이 부분은 그냥 넘어갈수가 없네요.
      페이스북의 코멘트를 보셨다는건.. 저희 멤버분이신것 같은데,어떤 부분에서 그렇게 느끼셨는지 다음 회의 때 나오셔서, 멤버들 앞에서.. 직접 건의를 해주셨으면 좋겠네요.절대 그런 일은 있어서는 안될 부분이고 오해가 있다면 풀어야하니깐요.

      저희 버콥 멤버 대부분 분위기는, 이글에 대한 논쟁을 의미있게 받아 들이고,버콥이 나아가는 방향과 맞다고 여기는 분위기였습니다.
      이글에 논재 존재성에 관해,모두 긍정적이었고,보시다시피 여기 댓글을 다신 분들 모두 충분히 열심히 생각하시고 표현한 댓글들이었습니다.

      ... 님 역시 이글에 대한 가치를 평가해주시고, 여러 의미 있는 지적들을 해주신 것에 대해 감사합니다.

      하지만, 확실한건 이 글이 출판되기전 몇몇 주위분들이 stereotype 논쟁과 관련되어 특정 독자들에게 언짢게 느껴질 수있지 않겠냐는 지적있었습니다. 이부분이 ... 님이 주장하시는 것과도 깊히 관련이 있는 것 같네요.그것과 관련해 다음 회의 때 논의 할 안건이라고 알고있습니다.

      저희 멤버들이 이 글과 논쟁에 대해 가치있게 생각하고 있는 도중, '공격성''비꼼''조롱' 이라는 ... 님의 거친 표현으로,이 의미있던 논쟁이 안좋게 오해를 받게 된 것 같아 개인적으로 마음이 좋지 않습니다.

      그럼 다음 회의 때 뵜으면 좋겠습니다.

      만약,참석 못하신다면 편집장을 통해서 의견을 제시 해주시고, 혹은 직접 페이스북으로 의견을 달아주셔도 좋을 듯 합니다. 감사합니다.

  17. 수정/삭제 댓글
    ..... 2011/03/06 02:31

    본의 아니게 규칙에 위반되는 발언을 했습니다. 죄송합니다. 댓글은 수정하였으며, 관련 규정은 잘 숙지해두어 다시는 이런 일이 발생하지 않도록 하겠습니다.

  18. 수정/삭제 댓글
    BlogIcon Chris, the fobby 유학생 2011/03/10 05:05

    Her observation is valid, yet of course it's still a broad generalization of what goes on in a society of all kinds of people whether or not a society is collectivic or individualistic. After all, we are all individuals regardless of the type of society we live in. Just to provide some sense of direction for the sake of a more productive and insightful discussion, it might be a good idea to investigate what exactly might be the cause of such tendencies which include but are not limited to the observation made by the writer.

    It is definitely many things and more, yet I also know that there is a recurring factor that is so structural and so fundamental that it sort of nudges the Korean people to think and behave in the way they so often do in a generalized sense.

    A strong desire to be successful and their understanding of success might be one of the factors that cause all sorts of "queer" or simply non-Western tendencies to be developed and pursued. All that stuff about imiji can be seen as an individual's effort to be something more or something other than what one really is or is yet to be. And this also may be attributed to the desire to be successful as the socially constructed standard of success may demand certain types of appearance. In other words, there are certain guidelines though unwritten or official by which one within the Korean society may naturally agree upon and pursue. And this invisible guideline will sort of define who they are, who they can be, or even who they should be seen as. In terms of having different desires, it is not exclusively Korean. However, in spite of such desires being universal in all humanity, the distinguishing factor may be in the Korean definition of them. So where does this gigantic yet non-diverse sociocultural norm come from? This may be the better question to ask.

    And most likely, though my thoughts are still unravelling in confusion in midst of temporary clarity here and there, you will find that a lot of it has to do with basic human instinct blended with cultural tendencies that derive, in the case of Korea, specifically from its tightly knit social structure where everything can become epidemic at a spark and where mainstream ideologies or culture is not only more inclusive of the whole of a society, in comparison with the States where there are more people and more outlets both public and private to express one's individuality along with a much stronger desire to be unique and different, but is easily accessible and hence easily agreeable. So in others words, there are structural norms and tendencies, but also the physical infrastructure of the Korean society be in technological or geographical that further adds to the amplification of their general cultural desire to avoid being a maverick.

    The idea of diversity is not really what Korean society thrives on. Not because they are ignorant, but more so because awareness of diversity wasn't as severely required historically, at least in comparision with more ethnically diverse societies. Of course, diversity is everywhere even within the smallest unit of a society, but sadly people are not really sensitive or are willing to be more actively embracive of the differences as they are either not observant or are simply viewing diversity as differences to be either rejected or compromised.

    Well, I kind of went off track, but all in all, hopefully you can find more meaningful links to deepen your insight and in turn make some contributions by becoming more aware of who you are amongst all the different people you will find yourself in throughout life. Sorry, I'm so entrenched in pursuing social justice that I always somehow end up talking about diversity and voices of the marginalized and what not. Is this Berkeley of me? But another random, but possibly relevant question to this discussion is, why do you think so many of the international Korean students are majoring in either Econ, MCB, or something in the area of math or science? Why not so much in the 인문계열? Could one of the reasons perhaps derive from the need for practicality and immediately applicable utility? And if so, why is 인문계열 believed to be not as favorable in terms of practicality?

    • 수정/삭제 댓글
      Favicon of http://juliedahaekim.tistory.com BlogIcon æolia 2011/03/13 11:55

      (I have to admit, this -is- a bit of a tangent.)

      To answer your question, that is something that I've also wondered about. I think in the case of international students, however, their parents have made a huge investment in sending their children overseas to study when they could have attended school in Korea. As such, they want to ensure that their decision to do so was not in vain, and encourage their children to study fields and majors that are typically viewed as more "practical" or "useful." The distinctions between fields that are known as more practical and those that are less so might have been emphasized since the students were young, which result in their own preference for such areas.

      Though my parents never really impressed that on me as I was growing up, I got the exact same ideas and stereotypes from my peers, that the arts were just a hobby and you wouldn't make any money if you went in that direction. Going into more practical fields mean immediate applicability, as you said, which means faster and more immediate returns.

      Though this isn't something that is particular only to international students, I can't say whether it's stronger than similar mindsets in families and students in Korea, though I believe it is about the same level. Perhaps it stems again from the need to feel "useful" or having to contribute something to society, when things like art and music, sociology or anthropology, among others, might not be viewed as such.

  19. 수정/삭제 댓글
    thatkorean 2011/04/07 15:11

    Just to be plain honest, I don't see what the whole fuss is about. This article is a Korean-American's view by a Korean-American writer on what she has observed from a majority of Koreans who are less American in nature. It is inevitable that the article will be biased towards the beliefs and culture that the writer has been predominantly raised in.

    Some have suggested changing the title, some have suggested that the writer talk more in detail about the Korean culture before drawing out a comparison, and some have suggested that because of the way it is written, this article is attacking a certain group of people. However, I don't see what is particularly wrong with any of these issues that have been raised. The title specifically states that the article is written in the view of a Korean-American, and will therefore be subject to the a bias review. Yes, the writer did not write all that down, but it is implied. Instead of being offended by the issues that are presented in this article, it may be better to look at the article and see what others think of the Korean culture. It is not more an attack than it is an insight on how Koreans raised in Korea differ from those raised in America. Also, if the writer really had a full grasp of the cultural history and reasons behind every one of the differences, the writer would probably be teaching at some university and not writing articles for BerkOp.

    Before I begin, I just want to mention that I was born and raised my entire life in the US, more specifically in the Los Angeles and Orange County areas. I have been exposed to many "FOB" Koreans throughout my life through church and in general just from living in those areas. In fact, many of my friends don't really know that I'm totally a second generation Korean-American, until I tell them. Although, I'm not like the 'outsider' that can make the objective view on the subject matter, I believe I have knowledge enough to make some kind of informed observations.

    I believe it was 수줍은 18금 who mentioned that the observations may have had fallacies because in their high school, the Korean HS students were the ones that didn't put on any makeup unlike some of the other students. You forget that 1)These Korean students may have been affected by the American influences around them 2)and the fact that even in Korea, HS students do not put makeup because it is shunned by the adults, which is why they go crazy with trying to look good as soon as they get into college. Cielographer may also note that she is attending a college in which many international students have been influenced by Western ideologies and have learned that at a top-tier university, knowledge is a priority over fashion.

    I first learned how Korean college students were crazy about fashion when I went to study abroad at Yonsei University during the summer of 2010. Unlike most of the exchange students who were living in the dorms, I wanted to experience Korea to its fullest and therefore lived in a hasook house on the opposite side of the campus as opposed to the dorms. I hardly saw any of the international students apart from in the classes I was taking, or when we hung out. Otherwise, everyday I saw Korean-Korean students on my way to class. I took the opportunity to notice that everybody was fashionably dressed. It was summer in Korea, and the weather was as most know, hot and humid, but I saw many students with several layers of clothing in the name of fashion. From my hasook house to the classes of the school was quite a steep walk especially since Yonsei is on a hill, and the West Gate (where I was staying) was on the lower part of the hill. In fact, I, in my tennis shoes, t-shirt, and shorts thought it was the hardest thing ever to get around campus, but every day on my way to school I did not see ONE, not ONE, female college student that did not wear heels. Some were, what are respectively called kill heels (due to their amazingly tall height). In fact, for about at least 2 weeks or so it was quite obvious who the real Koreans were and who the Korean-Americans who came through the exchange program were. In fact, I may also have been pressured, because it just felt weird to be the only one not so dressed up. In fact, it felt as though there were those who saw how I dressed and ridiculed it and I also began to make small changes as far as self-appearance. It seemed like my shanty, multipurpose wear was not up to standard, and I was pressured to change. After several weeks, many of the exchange students also began to make changes, and it became increasingly difficult to tell the difference, but still there were those who did not change, and they could be told apart. Even those exchange or international students we see at Berkeley now, those who haven't been influenced by the Western culture, still exemplify such emphasis on fashion. Also, if you see some international students who don't necessarily worry so much about their fashion, it's probably best to remember that many of them actually went to HS or MS in some other country besides Korea. The overwhelming majority that come straight from Korea still exemplify the aforementioned characteristics. If these Korean students believe that they can balance both study and dressing up, I guess all is fine and dandy, but as a Korean-AMERICAN, I've never felt the need to pay particular attention to my appearance unless I was trying to impress somebody in particular, but in Korea, fashion was everything.

    Since the second and third points don't seem to be much of an issue with the readers of this article, I will put the 4th point on the chopping block. The only thing is to remember that the writer, clearly states, that her lack of knowledge on the Korean culture and also the fact that some of the ideologies go against what the writer has learned prevent the writer from having an unbiased opinion. Clearly showing that this is just an observation as a Korean-American, and should not be read as a judgment on the Korean culture.

    The writer mentions that Koreans do not sit well with people being 'confident' or 'bragging.' I have written many resumes and even college application letters in my years. You look in any English guide about how to write your statement of introduction, and it tells you to basically 'boast.' My community college professor told me when I was writing my college essay, you need to write about why the school would want you. Which I did citing all my hard work doing community service, being a student athlete having kept up a good GPA and having played baseball in HS, and that I also enjoyed and performed musically. (In fact, many of you may be thinking, what a boaster, he wrote all this on a comment). Anyways, I arrived in college and I decided to take Korean 111 so I could get my Korean minor. Our professor told us that today, we would be writing a sample resume. I did, as I would have written them to any American company, just in Korean. I told about my strongpoints and past achievements, and also talked about my weakpoint and how I would go about changing it if the company would hire me. In the next class, the professor returned our papers, and as she handed me my paper, she told me I should write mine again. She told me that my resume was far too aggressive or to 'confident'. She told me it would be great if I was turning it into an American company, as I could have, but in Korea, she told me, "You need to write about the same things, but be more tactful about it. You have to say that you have it, but not say it." ??? "Huh", I thought. Eventually she helped me change it, but it still confuses me.

    The writer mentions the difference between an individualist culture and the collectivist culture, which is best portrayed in the use of 우리 (woori aka our). In America, we say "My mom, my dog, my daughter, my school, etc..." In Korea, we'd say "our mom, our dog, our daughter, our school, etc..." While America emphasizes, "you", it seems Korea places its emphasis on "you WITHIN society." What is your place within society. This can also be seen in that there are so many classifications. For instance, when Americans talk to the President, we have the ability to say Mr. President, or just plainly, Mr. Obama. In Korea, they'd say 대통령 각하. When talking to the boss at work, who says 사장님 or 부장님? In America, it's just "Hey Bob." "Hey Joe," or at the most, say "Sir." It's not a bad thing to give reverence to someone in a position higher than you, and I'm not saying that it's bad. Just as the writer mentions, it's just a cultural difference. Perhaps it is a better thing to be polite and not be too confident about oneself, but the writer does mention that in America, it is encouraged, and because we as Korean-Americans weren't used to the idea that you need to be tactful about displaying your confidence, it was confusing.

    The writer goes on to say that through the writing of this article, it opened up a new world of insight to the writer, and the because of it the writer learned that the American ways were not the only ways that existed in the world. In fact, the writer suggests that instead of learning that American ways were the best ways, the writer essentially learned that there could be better ways. The only thing is that because the writer had only been exposed to the American culture, it came as a culture shock.

    Perhaps, there is a slight stereotyping that exists within the words of the article, but most of us can agree with most, if not all of these observations. Unfortunately, the world is always categorized, and no category can ever be perfect. We can say Africans are black, but not all Africans really are black (I'm thinking South Africa), but the majority are, and therefore all Africans are roped into the same category. It really is up to the reader whether or not to rope themselves in with the stereotypes, especially since the writer specifically mentioned that neither views were right or wrong. Anyone can argue for the positives of dressing up, or having aegyo, and I can come up with several examples on the top of my head at this very moment.

    So, to end this extremely large comment which, I think I overdid... See this article as stepping into the shoes of a Korean-American who has in large part lived in America, and was never exposed to the Korean culture until much later in life. For a full-fledged 2nd gen American like me, this article reflects my sentiments exactly, and I believe it was written quite well.

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