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Pride in one’s heritage is commendable, but not when it leads to bias or false accusations (or morphs into nationalism).Koreans seem to love looking “global”— many students, me included, enter “international” essay contests, participate in English debates and seek to study abroad; the country strives to hold international events like the World Cup, the G20 and the Olympics; the government and media flaunt any favorable global rankings.It’s now time they really became as “global” as they claim to be.In a world where people of different races intermingle on a daily basis, open-mindedness is a virtue.This idea was further reinforced throughout the late half of the 20 century, as dictators such as Syngman Rhee and Park Chung-hee used the ideology of a unified nation to justify individual sacrifice for national unity.And now, as the MBC report testifies, distorted interpretations of national unity and pride are manifesting themselves in the form of xenophobia.
As a result, Koreans became inclined to bond amongst themselves while driving out foreign forces; to behave in a way that challenged the concept of Korean unity was regarded as treachery toward one’s country as well as one’s people.
One afternoon during the last precious minutes of breaktime before the class bell, a friend and I launched into a heated debate over our ideal type.
According to her, brown-haired guys were the best and my own preference for sandy blondes was written off as the sad result of having watched one too many chick flicks.
The producers buttressed the bogus segment with ambiguous situations, uncited phone-interviews with female “victims,” and provocative language.
But putting the ridiculousness of the “report” aside for a moment, the segment made me think of something that happened a few weeks ago at my prep school in Seoul which may provide a glimpse of what Korea’s youth thinks about dating and mating.