Trip to Korea
I just happened to
come across the 1stopKorea website and found it to be very entertaining
as well as informative, hence I decided to write a short column about
my last trip to Korea. Since immigrating to the "Great White North"
with my parents about 18 years ago I had only visited Korea once before.
The most recent trip I took was last August for 2 weeks. The trip itself
was very short for visiting a country that has so much to offer. I was
flabbergasted by the changes the country had gone through since '89, the
last year I had visited. I was taken aback that there are so many different
nationalities residing in Seoul. The term 'Hermit Kingdom', no longer
applies to this country anymore.
I thoroughly enjoyed this trip, but sure enough one incident managed to
spoil the trip for me. The incident happened inside the subway train one
morning, where I happened to listen in on a conversation between two Caucasian
guys. I suppose they thought no one in the train understood English, hence
they were carrying on a conversation as though they were the only ones
in the train. The profanities they were using in combination with their
derogatory comments about Korea and its people regarding everything from
the unsanitary conditions of public washrooms to how 'easy' Korean women
are really upset me to a point where I told them to go back to where they
Don't get me wrong, I am not the kind of person who goes for an "eye
for an eye" kind of resolution to every confrontation, yet I was
kind of taken by the fact that these guys were carrying on a casual conversation
regarding matters that no one would dare say in the West in public. I
come from an immigrant family, so when I was growing up I remember being
told to get out of the country by school bullies, yet in those incidents,
the comments were provoked through no fault of my own.
I am not saying that every foreigner currently residing in Korea is as
ignorant and backward as those two I faced in Korea, in fact I believe
they were American GIs enjoying a night on the town. Overall, I found
the foreigners in Korea to be incisive, kind and understanding of Korea
and its people. I hope everyone residing in Korea comes away with the
same feeling of fulfillment and a better understanding of its people and
culture like I did.