Saturday, 20 March 2010


Everyone feels a lot... we do love, hate, desire, dream...
But are we devided in so called "national mentalities" in such"? Are we different in mental construct depending on where do we come from?

I am not sure...but let me give some remarks on Korean feelings ( though I am not specialist and never will be).

Average perception of East Asian in the West is... emotionless, dull, always correct, with no opinions, fake smile. This is what European and American people think about people from this part of the world usually putting them in one basket called somewhere in their heads "East".

Marching and wandering through Korean streets, stopping at the bus stops, traveling through the city I saw a lot of signs of passion and character in Koreans, and that would deny such prejudices and common sense perceptions.

Not once I saw two guys quarelling and shouting at each other on the subway. I have also seen people expressing their feelings so passionately that a "dull" German or Dutch would look startled at signs of affection of that kind.

Many times when I met Youna, she would grab my hand eagerly and walk this way admitting that Korean girlfriends do that if they are really close to eachother. We are close, so we marched this way down the streets or the malls...

I have to mention the entire storm of critisism and emotional discussion over my research project with the members of my lab, when I was attacked and cornered by remarks with almost agressive temper.

If Koreans conceal their inner feelings, those would be attached with other traits than opinions about topics.

When they really get passionate is if their national identity, history, achievements and other stuff is in the spotlight. They really can quarrel with others, oh yes they do...

Soju helps to open oneself and behave quite differently from official work hours attitude. If a huesaouon gets too drunk, noone remembers the next day his behavior. If he is drunk, everyone will let him sit on the subway and does not complain for as long as he does not become agressive.

I sometimes wonder what is really concealed? Which part of your soul if you are a Korean is the part where the light does not reach, the part which stays covered no matter the circumstances?

So I got philosophical a bit :)


  1. Geez you've become a Korean expert, Kochanie, You’ve observed quiet well Korean culture,
    Just a comment, don't think every Koreans can be described with some characteristics (neither East Asians, ie. The Japanese keep quite long physical distance even comparing to the Polish). I even believe personal differences could be more powerful and influential than cultural differences when it comes to explaining people's behaviors.
    I was told last night +I was the most unkorean Korean he’s ever me+, well, me being an exception, but still I can’t say national cultural features don’t mean anything, ‘cause I’m the exception that proves that rule.

  2. That is quite true, you are the most unkorean Korean I have ever met and I know quite a few :)
    You are right that personal differences are more helpfull to deal with people individually :)

    Yet in collective we do have cultures, common traditions, national beliefs and all that makes us as a whole :)

  3. Koreans are very sensitive is what I feel. They dont like to be ignored. And I had this experience with my Korean roommate who was very upset when my other American roommate who not spend as much time with him as compared to his American friends. They do feel a lot.. that explains the high rate of suicide in Korea.

    The drinking behavior I find it quite funny. It is more like drinking break the walls. Which is hard to understand coz sometimes I feel drinking is just an excuse to let those repressed feelings out...


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