Plunge Pontificates

A place for my thoughts.

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Sunday, May 01, 2005

Dr. Hodges on Korean Courtesy / The 'other side' of Korean Society

One reason I started this blog was so that I would have a place to keep links to posts I enjoyed.

This post on Korean courtesy is excellent.

After reading the post by Dr. Hodges, I got to thinking about other aspects of Korea and Korean life, mostly thinking about things that annoy me.

For example, I am currently in the process of helping a family immigrate to the US. The husband is already here, owns his own business, etc. We have done the paperwork so his wife and 3 children can come and join him.

This is a family that loved Korea and didn't want to leave. Society gave them little choice. I guess I shouldn't say that, they had a choice. But more than loving Korea, they love their children. You see, they have a daughter that is a downs syndrome child. It isn't too severe, but there are the characteristic facial features and some mental retardation.

In Korea, this child isn't accepted. She can't live any kind of a normal life.

I have a neighbor with a downs syndrome daughter and she is completely accepted. The neighborhood loves her and understands her. She is never teased. She is always encouraged and the girls all invite her to participate in their activities. In fact, just think how thrilled she, and her parents were when she was invited to go and attended prom this year. A wonderful young man in the neighborhood who doesn't have a girlfriend took her. They went as a group with some other couples in our area. It was a wonderful time.

This is how every child should be treated. But the opposite is true for our friends in Korea. Contrast the above with how their daughter is treated. At school, she was bullied. She came home one day covered in dirt because the kids pushed her in the mud and told her to eat it. Her clothes ripped, her lip bloodied. This happened more than once. When her mother went to school, the teachers berated her for ever sending a 'child like that' to a public school. In class she was ignored by students and teachers alike. She has no friends and is now home taught. The girl's mother called her sister to cry on her shoulder but received no help there. Her sister wanted to know why she kept her after they found out she had problems. Why hadn't they put her in an orphanage?

Yes, what a difference. In Korea, those with problems are shunned.

Beyond that, you have the wonderful way those that marry foreigners are treated. Heaven forbid they have children.

Being a proud father and husband. I feel my wife and daughter are the two most beautiful women in the world. Imagine my surprise the first time I was told my daughter was no better than an animal, that she was sub-human, an abomination. Here is my daughter. She is a straight 'A' student, she is in the National Honors Society, she plays piano and dances ballet. Yet, to some Koreans, her birth is an embarrassment.

My daughter as a baby.

In the snow.

Before ballet recital.

At the lake with puppy 'Slinky'.

This is a sub-human? An abomination? Oh, I forgot, a 'christian' Korean told me that my daughter had no soul and could never go to heaven. Gee, thanks.

Where does this attitude come from? I've always wondered, and never been able to find, any historical roots for it. You have the 'one people' argument and how they are 'pure blood' but give me a break already. It also doesn't explain the way handicapped are treated nor the way North Korean refuges are treated.

While I truly love Korea, it can be a very harsh and cruel society.

UPDATE: Dr. Hodges left a wonderful reply that I didn't know would be deleted when I upgraded my comment software. Just wanted him to know I appreciated it.

Also, as far as comments about my daughter, amazingly I've never had a bad one from a Korean woman, all have come from men. In fact, one came from a guy as he pulled his wife away from our stroller. She had been commenting on how beautiful our daughter was. Kind of messed up there.