8/03/2014

Koreans are rude - Culture Shock


I guess I've lived in Korea long enough to get numb, or used to, all the "rudeness" that is a big culture shock to those who visit Korea.

Koreans can be rude (cold, snobbish..etc), that's for sure.  Yes, they don't randomly smile at strangers, or even at customers.  They can seem pretty rude and cold in that sense.

oh the dreaded crowded bus

The thing is that, it's like that most everywhere.

Yes, don't expect to go into a 7-11 and get a smile or a hello, or even have your goods "bagged". Korea does not always bag your things when you buy stuff.

I remember visiting Korea before settling down here, and was shocked how all my goods were left on the counter..without a bag.  So it happens and that's because in Korea, you have to pay for bags (100won? around) in order to decrease plastic bag use.

I guess there are reasons to why things are the way they are.  Even those non-smiling people you come across probably had a bad day, or life (sad to say).  Korea is becoming tougher place to live actually, I can't blame those for their "my life sucks" face.   But that's their life and attitude. 

The fact is, most Koreans are like that... sadly culturally, Koreans don't smile that much in public places (it makes them look dumb-crazy-stupid so they say, and there was a time when smiling in wedding photos was a no no).

You also get that sense that they are always "fighting" for something.  Fighting for their job, children, career, lunch line, traffic...it's true, it's all kind of true.   Korea is not for the weak :P




TRUE STORY:

I was heading down on those "flat escalators" in Emart and noticed an ajoshi(older man) creeping in closer and closer behind me, obviously to get through (and why would you get through an obviously one person line, I don't know).  He bumped into me as we got off the walking path and I went nuts on him!

I told him to get off my back and he said, "I was just getting through..."(as a lame excuse).  Then I told him, "Don't get so close to me!" and he was just looking at me - he didn't raise his voice or got mad - he just stared.

He had that sorry confused dumb look.  He obviously didn't apologize.  He walked right off after a few seconds of staring while I was waiting for his response.

It seemed as if he too was at awe because he believed he did nothing wrong and was dumbfounded himself, while clearly, getting on someone else' rear area to get through a one lane line is not okay or normal. 



Korean admit to the downsides of their "ppalee-ppalee" ("hurry hurry") nature.  It will take a long time for them change.  Damn Koreans.. sometimes, I just want to yell CHILL OUT BITCHES!

This is NOT the first time something like this happened.  It happens when I'm looking at the fish selection at the grocery store (they creep into you like they couldn't wait a second for me to move), escalators, subways, cafes/restaurants (they sit right next to your table when there's a gazillion tables else where).. Those are some of the things that annoy me.

But you get used to it.  I notice it, but I try not to let it bother me.  I blow up only in rare occasions when I'm not ready for the BS.. but you get used to it. 


I even get a random rude service from my bank in my area. (when it's supposed to be service based).  Some just have a grudge for whatever reason. 

So I  feel bad for those visiting Korea who might get the "rude treatment".   Maybe knowing that it's not personal will help you understand their nature(country/people)

My advice would be to ignore those rude folks here (it's not easy I know).  Because there are some really nice people too!

Maybe all they need is your smile!   -smiling is contagious- :)



EDIT:

How to survive the rude culture:

  • Be like them.  I applied this tactic in the earlier years.  I was ruder than rude to Koreans.  I would also push and get in people's way.  I fought ajummas for a place to stand or sit in subways.  I would stare back at people that would stare.  - The downside:  you also get worn out.  Your soul feels sucked and drained with all the negative tactics.  I stopped acting like a "Korean" when I found out how bloody impatient I was getting.  Not a good method, for the sake of your mental health.
  • Start meditating and taking time to accept the nature of Korea(ns), but don't be one.  "The world is cruel" so they say, but you don't have to be.  Give way to those who fight for your seat.  Open the door for a stranger without expecting anything back.  Be kind.  Don't expect anything.  Do it as a way to be a role model and how you would like to be treated.  But don't ever expect anything, nada, back. 


Try the methods.. or whatever works for you.  I learned that overtime to just let this world be.  I'm going to be more patient though.  I think in that way there's no negative energy in both sides.

You know the saying, love makes the world go round.  Patience.  Kindness.  Compassion, too.





EDIT:  (after many negative/hateful comments)

Some took my "personal rant" post into claiming me as a "negative, hater, disgusting..etc" person.  I am not a hater.  I am truthful to my feelings.  I am not saying all Koreans are this way (doh! hate to say be so rude - but come on - really?!)

if you hate my blog and you think it's crap, please spare your time and leave my blog and don't bother hating.  That just wastes your energy and makes you negative.  I don't want that for you.  Leave now while you can.  My blog is not worth your time. 

Thank you.


::I will not edit my original post to be "softer and nicer" to please everyone - I am not here to make everyone happy with my writing on my "personal" blog.  I am also not a people pleaser.   I am not writing for TIME magazine guys. Thanks...




photo credit: sunxez via photopin cc
photo credit: jungmoon via photopin cc
photo credit: OaklandNative via photopin cc

42 comments:

  1. Interesting site. I too have been here 7 yrs. and can relate to a lot of crap "my" people are displaying these days. They have become more rude over the yrs. they say it's because of fast modernization or 1997 imf. whatever the causes i don't like it. the excess materialism , racism, rude service (especially toward foreigners and koreans from other countries). i felt kinda better after reading some stuff on your site. I still don't understand why people take pictures of food. is life that pathetic in korea that all people have is their "dumb"phone. this country has got to decrease or spread out its population and get programs for people to get involved in sports activities several times a week. they love to exclude people even slightly different from themselves. such a petty country. my father says it's because the country is so small.

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    1. hi! thanks for sharing your thoughts! ditto ditto!! more love and kindness Korea..please please please before the country dissolves into snobs and zombies..^^

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  2. Yes. You see the points correctly.
    As you know, most people living in South Korea need to Learn more about "etiquettes" that are regarded as normal cultures in Western countries and Japan.
    They cannot be changed in about 200 years.
    For your mental health, I hope you to escape the crowded toilet.

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    1. That is true. It will take a long time for Korea and Koreans to change.

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  3. It's so nice to hear other people feel the same as I do. As a Canadian who just started teaching here a month ago, I find Koreans to be very rude and it is difficult for me. I am so used to opening doors for others, saying sorry ALL THE TIME and "excuse me" when I bump into people. I find it frustrating that many are rude to foreigners when if they came to Canada they would be treated with grace - why can't they do the same? This is something I definitely hope to adjust to and I certainly don't want to be bitter when I leave.

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    1. I'm sorry to hear that your time is already not so pleasant. Hang in there. I feel you. Why can't they act the way they want to be treated - I so agree.

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  4. Totally biased, pessimistic viewpoint of a person who believes western culture is superior to others and the rest of the world should follow that rule. Lack of in-depth understanding of Korean culture and where it originates from. How would you define right and wrong? How many Korean friends do you have and what did you try to understand the culture instead of interpreting all those social phenomena in your own biased way? Have you ever been to New York or Boston and faced the same rudeness and pushiness? Come on.

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    1. Thank you for your opinion. Right and wrong. You're right. Who defines that. It's all different everywhere and to every person. Yes, I lived in Korea for 5 years when I was young. It's hard to see the changes from then to now. People then were "warmer" (had "jung"). I personally think Koreans are ruder than Americans though overall, but that's my opinion. Thank you for commenting.

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    2. I live in New York City and Koreans there tend to be rude just as well. Most of them clutter in a group and gossip about others. Even on the train when my friend surprised these old Korean couples with her knowledge in speaking Korean, they spoke to her nicely but then when the conversation ended, they talked amongst themselves commenting negatively on my friend's ethnicity. They thought she was Korean at first, but when they found out she's Filipino, they looked at her with disdain even though in the beginning they were complimenting how pretty she is. Of course there are some nice Koreans, but in my opinion it's rare. They do tend to be very ethnocentric so they look down on others.

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    3. That is so true... I am half Filipino(and Korean) and I totally understand how they look down on the south east asian countries(as if they are THE superior). It's a really really sad fact.

      Like you said, it is very rare to find nice Koreans.

      Thank you for commenting.

      Delete
  5. What's with high and mighty attitude? Have you not seen rude people in America? They are not just rude, they are DANGEROUS. People don't smile, people are in rush so they bump into you and it hurt your precious feelings?. Oh please, who do you think you are? You think the world revolve around your insignificant self? Quit crying for something that all average korean ppl go through in daily basis. It's not about you idiot

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    1. I guess I have an opinion. I am an individual with opinions, so mine are obviously different from yours. I'm sorry if I offended you. Your comments sound rather disturbed and angry. Sure, it's not about me (idiot - is not necessary to say to someone you don't know, but that's your opinion, so I respect it). Thank you for commenting.

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    2. Idiot? You are the typical Korean who cannot behave himself. Show some self control for once. Do not verbally abuse people here when they've done nothing to you. Calling someone an idiot when they've done nothing to you says a lot about you. Maybe you've been called idiot a lot and that is why you use it automatically.

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    3. Lol. Lol... lol. First of all your grammar needs work so I editted the lines I am going to refer to. Moving on. "Americans... are DANGEROUS" lol. And there is no such thing as a dangerous Korean right? Because how dangerous a person is is definitely determined by their nationality. "You think the world revolve [s] around your insignificat self." Congratulations, you just discovered a blog, where people write about their experiences and their thoughts."Quit crying for something that all average korean ppl go through [on a] daily basis." I hope you never cry about dying of hunger or selling your body for money or any of the like, because you know, it is something an average person in a third world country goes through. "It's not about you idiot" woooo. Blog. About the blogger. Light bulb yet?

      I am not even going to criticize your character by this point. Please listen to yourself and work on your logic. All I ask really.

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    4. Nice Koreans are hard to find. That depends on what you googled to arrive here. And that does meet the definition of an idiotic statement. Maybe you're not an idiot but maybe you are. It is 50:50. But definitely said something idiotic. I am not going to comment on your character. But you just did. And is violent crime against tourist and foreigners and for that matter citizens higher in Korea or the US? An answer to this question would need to underpin you accusation of implied racism. It isn't a question of whether or not there are any dangerous Koreans. All in all i would deem you commentaries illogical and inflammatory. I am guessing you are not korean since they have the highest IQ in the world (except Ash). I arrived at this site after google search about snow piercer lol. Needless to say i won't be back. It seems my kind aren't welcome in this thread of twisted logic. Not smiling. Go cry about it on you blog.

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  6. I also visited Korea about 5 years ago with a huge frustration. Korean dramas make Korea and Korean people look sooo different. Now, in the Incheon airport, I'm facing the same rudeness from cafe workers, shop attendants and wondering why these people are like that...

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    1. It's just gotten worse I can say. There is a lack of "jung" these days in Korea. It's rather hard to see the drastic change as a whole culture..

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  7. Koreans were rude yesterday, they are rude today and they will be rude tomorrow. Trufax. They are not only rude but also arrogant and extremely selfish. Old folks, younger folks alike. There's no courtesy for strangers whatsoever. They are extremely loud when they are with their people, extremely shy when they are alone. Gawd. I hate them so much.

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    1. Yes, their "attitude" can be so weary and develop such negativity in one even when you try so hard not to let it affect you. Whew...

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    2. Yes I've just spent 4 weeks in Korea and must say I've been dissapointed with the rudeness and unwelcoming nature of the general public especially in Busan. Seoul is significantly better as are some of the smaller cities. In general Korea and Koreans have a lot to learn if they wish to encourage tourism.

      As individuals there are many nice ones but as a race/populace, they are disgraceful by Western, SE Asian and Japanese standards.

      Quite honestly I can't really recommend Korea to people as a tourist destination because of this, and the Koreans don't seem to realise that in coming home I'm telling all my friends my experiences and the number of referrals is not going to be great.

      If Korea wishes to do it the hard way, they are well and truly on the right track. It would be interesting to see how the 2018 winter Olympics are going to work??? Is the government going to teach Koreans how to behave for tourists as the Chinese powers to be had to do for the Beijing Olympics? The only people worst than the Koreans are the Chinese. But the Chinese do occassionally appologise!!!

      After this experience, I'm more inclined to pay more for Japanese products than buy the cheaper Korean one. Amazing how right next to them is one of the most civillised cultures, the Japanese. The Japanese are 100 years ahead of the Koreans and ahead of most of the world in civility. That's a country I can highly recommend. FYI I'm NOT Japanese.

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  8. hello! I'm korean. but I agree strongly with what you said. I'm sorry insted koreans. I think so to rude korean. especially, restaurant, bus terminal, convenience store, bus driver, public official etc... on this account, I get stress from the korean. therefore i will go to emigration.

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  9. hello! I'm korean. but I agree strongly with what you said. I'm sorry insted koreans. I think so to rude korean. especially, restaurant, bus terminal, convenience store, bus driver, public official etc... on this account, I get stress from the korean. therefore i will go to emigration.

    ReplyDelete
  10. hello! I'm korean. but I agree strongly with what you said. I'm sorry insted koreans. I think so to rude korean. especially, restaurant, bus terminal, convenience store, bus driver, public official etc... on this account, I get stress from the korean. therefore i will go to emigration.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hii! Im from Singapore. Personally i think its a 1st world problem. Even in Singapore, people are selfish and arrogant but not all of them.

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  12. i just came back from Korea. one week with minimum once a day, a dose of rudeness makes me yearn looking forward to fly home faster. i wasn't expecting anything fancy or castle in the air thing but the experience is just so discouraging. it was unpleasant experience with male esp. uncles and even one lady in her 20s. both my ankle and feet swell and was walking slow. i got shoved at in subway, get unpleasant stare and these elderly was annoyed just because i was holding the rail right in front or side of the seats. if i were not limping, i would have shifted away. in buchon hanok area, the lady was even critisizing me to her friend right in front of my face in her own language. i feel like returning her words but was not able to put down my pride and image to stoop that low to quarell or return the favor. foreigner even asia tourist does not seem to be a welcome sight for them. never in my life was i looked down so much. anyway, its a nightmare to me. i was polite and curteous for all i know but still i get all sorts of rude return. anyway, its a pity that philosophy is just learned in history and not practice in life. the younger generation working class around ghanghwamun was much better but i get a rude experience with a shop owner there. don't touch anything even if you want to buy them. as though im so dirty that i was not allow to touch anything.

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    1. Gosh, I am so sorry to hear about the rude experiences you encountered here. It is really sad :( I can't explain why and how Koreans became so rude - reading more negative experiences of visitors makes it apparent - but it's almost unbelievably hard to believe why they are so rude to visitors who are visiting their country. I don't get what goes in their head sometimes. Sure, maybe you came across bunch of "ugly mannered" folks - but once a day is enough to make you go sour. It is such a pity..

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    2. Personally the way the I have Korean tourists behave... I no more have any interest in Korea. I think this is one of the worst misconception about Koreans. That they are as polite and respectful as we see them in Drama or on Variety show. Truth is they are selfish, arrogant people who only show respect in the case that they want something from the other person/ the other person is somehow better than them in their screwed up perception. The stares and glares I get only from Koreans are a proof of how racist they are and in all honesty I am going to stop supporting anything from Korea. Cause those people just don't deserve it.

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  13. Recently a Korean ahjumma pushed me in the subway as we were getting out. Instead if just being pushed as usual, I elbowed her right back. What was hilarious was we were walking the same direction to the escalators and she glared at me the whole way. And I was like. Lol. What chu gonna do. The fact that she bothered to walk an awkward full minute just glaring at me to the side, as opposed to a glare and walking off, cracked me up. On my last visit to Korea, I had abother ahjumma yell at me because, again, I elbowed her back when she tried to push through me in the plane as I, someone in a seat before her, tried to get out before her (weird, thought that was the rule but I guess not in Korea). So it got me thinking. Is there an unspoken social convention in Korea that says pushing people from the back is completely okay but not from the front? Because otherwise my only explanation is these bitches be crazy in thinking they are innocent and are victims to an uncalled for retaliation.

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    1. hahaha, wow you are very brave!! bravo! I couldn't have even done what you did. They must have really triggered you. It is really hard to understand..that when you do the same thing to them, they act as if you are THE RUDE one. And let's not get started with the "getting off the planes with Koreans is a rude experience". The younger generations are much nicer, but it's always a "war" when you're trying to get off the planes with bunch of Koreans. Again, I love Korea - those of you reading please don't be offended if you are - but there are pros and cons to every country, experience..etc. And this topic - I guess just never ends. It's really interesting to read about other people's experiences. Thank you for sharing your unpleasant stories with us. I hope the next time you visit, it will be much much more pleasant.

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  14. Though I am Korean, I understand how foreign people might think about Koreans. Actually, reading all the criticisms about Korean people wasn't quite pleasant to me, but I do think that Koreans have to change to be harmonized with other countries. Korean people have many problems related with global etiquette and their behaviors towards anonymous for sure. What's worse is that, common Korean people don't even know that they are so rude to others. I also didn't realize that I was a cold person before I went abroad. So the problem is that they don't even know that there is a problem.
    However, I want foreigners to know why Korean people think that it's normal not to pay attention to others(including foreigners). Korean people never give a smile or make conversation with unknown people unless they had a crush on the unknowns. I know it's weird in the eyes of foreigners, but that's part of Korean culture. So, in the eyes of Korean, it's perfectly normal not to pay attention to others. I am sure that the Korean people that you guys thought rude in Korea didn't even realize that they did something wrong. So, what I want to tell you is that... Rude Koreans didn't do the bad behaviors on purpose. Of course, some(or many) people have no excuse for their bad behaviors.. and I don't mean that the reason that I said above can justify the rudeness.. I know it should be changed because we are living in a globalized world.
    One more thing.. We have short history of tourism industry aiming foreign travelers. It was late 1980's when Korean government let foreign people travel around the country without any restrictions. So.. less than 30 years passed ... You know... even people don't change totally within 30 years.. So we need more time to change.. Of course you guys don't need to sacrifice your precious time for traveling Korea if the rudeness matters a lot to you.

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    1. Thank you for your comment. Yes, what you said is all true. It is sadly inherent in most Koreans that their culture and "normal behavior" is going to be hard to change. There needs to be a general education about the cultural differences - which to many are seen as rude and unpleasant. No individual wants to come off that way - we understand, but if it's their nature - it's even more "shocking" I think because the whole general public are alike in their mannerism.

      I understand the nature of Korea(ns), but that doesn't mean that many do - especially those visitors who do not see it like so. And what country wants to come off that way. Perhaps Korea is doing its best, but maybe they're not doing enough to accommodate to them and visitors are leaving bitter.. :(

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    2. Talking about lack of tourism experience is just an excuse. Hospitality concepts come from how one would lke to be treated and then to treat others in that same way. If someone comes to your home, you give them the best you have. It's just the way hospitality should be. Koreans are often hospitable, but it isn't to be hospitable. It's to get an ego or pride boost when someone says something good to them about Korea. I have never been anywhere else...in 70+ countries, where people always have to ask you what you think about them, and when an honest answer is given, become sullen, bitter, and blame others.

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    3. Ditto. My thoughts exactly! When you give them the truth - a bitter one especially - they become defensive (+ego). Even the well educated ones. And not all act this way, but many do.

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  15. Hello~ I am Korean. Korean people becoming more and more rude..well, it's because our education fails. Our schools don't spend a minute on teaching kids about respecting themselves or others. And parents spoil their kids. These kids become adults, parents and spread ignorance all over. haha. My country is like a farmer in the suit now. The only way to become a true gentleman in the suit is through education. And our education fails big time.Don't expect any positive change anytime soon because education here is getting worse.Get your kids outta here ASAP. lol ㅠㅠ

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    1. My thoughts exactly. That is Korea right now.

      The truth may not always sound flowery and positive.

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  16. Personal thoughts and emotional opinions are "far from scientific". Such ideas can be often kept in DIARY or PERSONAL BLOG, as NOT generalizable over population. No wonder why some of those angry grumpy persons are yelling here in this personal website. HATERS hate always. Individuals with NEGATIVITY always stay grumpy.

    LOOK AT YOUR OWN SELVES instead of sitting down, talking $hit about others and other cultures. Each and every culture has good and bad always. Korea has good and bad like any other cultures do. those haters here can simply avoid/LEAVE any society that makes you feel so upset.

    Life is too short to see negative things greater than positive things. I grew up in Korea and America. I understand different people's opinions from different cultures. Some tend to focus on valuable things while others are busy criticizing and evaluating things negatively. For example, some say "Manhattan is stinky, dirty; people in Manhattan are extremely rude, cocky, and arrogant; Detroit is a crime city, black people are criminals; Mexican people are loud and stupid; Chinese are also dirty and loud." I cannot respect or appreciate people thinking and talking about others and other cultures negatively like that. I prefer to observe, understand, and discover something positive and productive. There are always good things to think and talk about in any ethnicity, society, and culture.

    Thinking and talking about people and culture in such subjective, emotional, and grumpy manners cannot even be scientifically acceptable.
    Yet, some people believe that their personal opinions are the true facts.

    Also, when it comes to different cultures, we should show some respect. For example, do not call Arabic/African/Indian people animals for the fact that they use hands to eat. Do not call black people criminals because of their gangster cultures. Try not to have negative eyes judging and criticizing cultures in merely disrespectful ways.Try to understand why and how things occur in constructive and productive ways.

    Those personal opinions I read above made me feel like they degrade their own selves through their personal/disrespectful tongues.
    Again, I do understand Korea has its weaknesses as any other cultures do. Think about your OWN selves. You are so good and so perfect, unlike others, right?

    If you are Koreans, learn to respect your root. I do not like anyone complaining about their own values in such a disrespectful manner. For example, "I saw a black lady saying we're cursed, that's why our hair looks like this." Nahhh, from my perspective, their hair is beautiful as how it looks like.

    I have difficulty understanding those HATERS and people with NEGATIVITY in ANY SOCIETY. Keep in mind. There are many things we can see and understand in positive and productive manners in any ethnicity, society, culture.

    My eyes were displeased while reading crappy contents on the website. Try to see things beautifully and talk positively.
    Ugly eyes see ugly things and talk ugly.

    I promise that Korea is not the only country that has weaknesses. No single country is perfect.
    You can go to heaven if you need to see perfection. lol

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    1. Thank you for your comment. I will try to only put "happy positive things" in my "personal" blog.. Because I am writing to please each and everyone of you.

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  17. So much unreadable & unacceptable crap contained on this personal blog.

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    1. yes, my "personal" blog is indeed "crap". Thank you.

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  18. Haters hate things always. Leave and don't come back if you hate things there so much. You will always complain about things in any places. Once a grumpy person, always a grumpy person. Sorry for your mental issues as well. Please go home and enjoy how perfect you are in your amazing culture! You should learn how to see the world positively.

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  19. Okay, I am not Korean and I am not even Asian, but - seriously? I'm sorry to say, but not every single Korean person out there is rude. And all those things you mentioned are part of Korean culture. Its not their fault that they don't find it "normal" to hug, kiss and be overcome with joy when seeing a total stranger. And please don't act like every other country in the world is oh-so-perfect, some Koreans don't like to be completely personal with others. Please stop judging a nationality as a whole. And that man that bumped into you? Maybe he should have apologised, but only as a casual, common courtesy. He did nothing wrong that was intentional, it was an accident and you should not have viewed that as an outsider.
    Those few Koreans you mentioned, yes, you may not have liked that and I respect your opinion, but don't defame a whole country. And, please, some Americans are too brash and arrogant, some British are snobbish and some Chinese hid their feelings. Every single nationality, every country has its 'personality problems', but that's because the people who met them say that, not every single American is arrogant. Don't generalize.

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    1. Although sadly, I think there are generalizations about many countries as much as we don't want to accept it.

      America = loud, proud Americans! 'merica!
      Chinese =
      Japanese =
      French =
      ...etc etc

      whether those generalizations comes from their unique cultures..mI think it's fair that different countries act a certain way - we are after all from diff places(=cultures). It is just a persona put into countries.

      Why is being truthful being defaming? Yes truth is not always pretty.

      I am an American and I acknowledge the differences between and Ameircan, French and Chinese. You're right not every generalization is about a whole country. I think that is pretty clear. Not everyone is the same.

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