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Full of primitive energy, indeed!

This cock-up by Korean Air is generating quite the reaction among Kenyan Twitterers.

(HT to Slim)

About the author: Just the administrator of this humble blog.

  • http://www.xanga.com/wangkon936 WangKon936

    Alright there… what does it say in hangeul?

  • http://koreanlanguagenotes.blogspot.com/ gbevers

    All right, already. Please use clean, American English: “mess up.”

  • http://www.biblegateway.com setnaffa

    eristic

    adjective.

    Given to or characterized by disputatious, often specious argument.

    noun.

    1. One given to or expert in dispute or argument.

    2. The art or practice of disputation and polemics.

  • http://vmphotography.com.au hoju_saram

    Alright there… what does it say in hangeul?

    Exactly – might just be a translation fail. “Primitive” might have been better translated as “vital” or “ancient” or some other harmless adjective.

  • slim

    Not sure a translation fail really cuts it. They were advertising in English.

  • http://vmphotography.com.au hoju_saram

    For example (and correct me if I’m wrong), but 원시 can be translated as “primitive”, but also as “raw” or “original” something to that effect?

  • http://www.xanga.com/wangkon936 WangKon936

    Slim,

    The copy could be in English and the ad agency could have goofed with the translation. Then again, maybe something less appropriate was in the hangeul and the translation was attempting to be kind. Again, we don’t know.

  • gbnhj

    Even if it were a translation error, this one could have been so easily prevented from reaching the public. They obviously failed to employ (or, perhaps, to heed the changes requested by) a native-English-speaking copy editor, and that’s why it’s such a laughable mistake. Not to be vindictive, but they deserve the embarrassment.

  • slim

    My point is that they are already being judged by what they published under the company logo in English. The ships you are talking about have sailed…and sunk.

    Hoju’s explanation is plausible; WK’s less so.

  • YManchun

    I’m 99% sure its a translation error.

    But I’m not defending them, because if what I’ve read about them on the internet is true, then their administration and flight crew personnel are a bunch of dicks.

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com Sperwer

    @6

    It doesn’t matter; the entire trope is offensively inappropriate; just ask any korean when he has his anti-japanese hat on about the acceptability of such overall colonialist/orientalist characterizations of Koreans circa 1890-1945. Of course, i blame japan; koreans wouldn’t be doing this except they learned it elsewhere

  • Sonagi

    That ad copy didn’t exactly come from Google Translate. Whoever was proficient enough in English to write and/or edit that grammatically correct text should have recognized the poor word choices. My guess is that the editor didn’t bother to clue in the Korean ad writers or they didn’t listen. “Lost in translation” excuse doesn’t wash.

  • bumfromkorea

    @hoju

    While it *can* mean “raw” or “original” in certain context, the primary (as in 99.9%) definition of the word is primitive/uncivilized. Especially in the context of an adjective describing a group of people or a society/nation, it really can’t mean anything else in my opinion.

  • http://www.chrisinsouthkorea.com chrisinsouthkorea

    There’s gotta be a Korean term for cultural sensitivity – that’s what’s missing here.

  • http://www.xanga.com/wangkon936 WangKon936

    Hahaha…. how did Japan come into this conversation?

  • http://www.xanga.com/wangkon936 WangKon936

    Chris,

    Korea is not America or Canada. Hasn’t had 200 years to live with Africans (who later became African Americans) or Native Americans or meaningful immigration. It hasn’t had the trial and error history to develop the sensitivity over the many decades.

    I can handle the criticism of Korea. They need to improve. However, it’s harder to handle the self righteousness. It makes me embarrassed to be an American.

  • susasum

    @12 Ding-dong-ding, and we have a winner.

  • http://www.xanga.com/wangkon936 WangKon936

    susasum,

    I’m glad the Koreans could entertain you. That’s what they are to you right? Entertainment. Who the hell’s being racist here?

  • http://vmphotography.com.au hoju_saram

    While it *can* mean “raw” or “original” in certain context, the primary (as in 99.9%) definition of the word is primitive/uncivilized.

    I’m sure you know more about Korean than me, but my understanding is that 원시적인 is more “primal”, “original”, etc – not exactly nice, but not as bad a translation as “primitive”.

    If they’d meant primitive in the base sense, wouldn’t they have written 미개한?

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com Sperwer

    @16

    Is there any shortcoming of korea for which you don’t have some sort of special pleading excuse?

  • http://www.xanga.com/wangkon936 WangKon936

    Sperwer,

    When was the last time a Korean burned a cross on your lawn or forced to you sit in the back of a bus?

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com Sperwer

    I repeat my question

  • susasum

    @18

    You’re offended because I found Sonagi’s comment the best explanation of several that were previously offered and suggesting that for this reason I’m a racist? Please clarify.

  • slim

    WK – that tu quoque Hail Mary means you have to quit while you’re a… well, you never were ahead here. It was a lost cause from the first Kenyan tweet.

    Consolation of sorts is that many Kenyans apparently are merely taking the piss, not going all PRC fenqing hateful like others might.

    KAL should set up a scholarship for Kenyans or send the Wonderbra Girls over for a tour or something.

  • http://www.xanga.com/wangkon936 WangKon936

    uh… did you not read my series on Korean lack of software innovation or the abuse of chaebols?

    Here’s a reminder:

    http://www.rjkoehler.com/2010/09/30/akli-hadid-states-the-painfully-obvious/

    http://www.rjkoehler.com/2010/04/01/kleptocratic-conglomerates-and-paranoid-governments/

    I also criticized Korea’s handling of Lone Star’s attempts to sell their stake in KBE:

    http://www.rjkoehler.com/2010/03/15/lone-star-finally-selling-keb/

    Most recently I’ve also criticized Korea’s gender inequality:

    http://www.rjkoehler.com/2012/06/16/sex-anti-korean-sentiment-and-videotape/#comment-466391

    You go on and choose to believe what you want to believe. Don’t blame anyone if they think you’re getting senile.

  • http://www.xanga.com/wangkon936 WangKon936

    slim,

    I never said it was right. I’m just saying the standard expat snark on this is reverse racism. Look deep inside. You’ll see it’s true.

  • http://www.xanga.com/wangkon936 WangKon936

    My point is this. Becoming a country and a society is a learning experience. Sometimes it takes a lot of mistakes and learning from those mistakes. Western countries made A LOT of mistakes with ethnic relations. It took generations to learn from them and be the relatively tolerant countries they are today.

    Racism is wrong. It should be criticized. It should be brought out into the open and discussed. However, I find it quite ignorant for non-Korean expatriates to deride Korea and Koreans with an attitude of superiority when Korea and Koreans just haven’t made the plethora of mistakes that Western societies have over the centuries to learn from their mistakes. It’s ignorant to not know your own history and have an ounce of understanding.

    Again, reading the comments of expats who have such an attitude of cultural superiority in their comments makes me embarrassed sometimes to be an American.

  • http://vmphotography.com.au hoju_saram

    From what I’ve read – e.g., here, a lot of Kenyans have been pretty forgiving.

    What the Koreans meant is original, Raw, untampered or first hand. This comes from a direct translation of 원시 read as encino. Sorry guys; these are good brothers

    And you’re a good brother too, Robert Osano.

  • http://www.xanga.com/wangkon936 WangKon936

    Multicultural History 101… what the hell is a “noble savage?”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noble_savage

    Oh, I love this part:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noble_savage#Attributes_of_romantic_primitivism

    Log in your own eyes buddies…

  • bumfromkorea

    @Hoju

    미개한 would be too blatantly offensive… I think it has a much more negative tone than 원시적, something akin to “barbaric” I guess? Korean Air obviously made a very avoidable mistake rather than an intentional insult, but it would be very difficult for them to validly claim that they meant something other than this

    I guess primal would work as well (‘original’ though, I think would only work if they were talking about food or furniture or something) … but as you point out, it’s not exactly an improvement.

    @Sperwer

    An excuse would be if Wangkon followed his explanation with something along the line of “…so it’s okay if Korea does that.” Wangkon offered a very clear and valid explanation as to why something like this happens in a country that, for most valid outward measure, is a first-world country.

    In other words, you’ve preemptively argued with Pawi while talking to Wangkon, as you (and quite a number of others here) do almost every time you interact with a Korean/Korean American. In the end, that just makes you (and the others) as ridiculous as Pawi in my opinion.

  • StevieBee

    @WangKon936

    But this isn’t a gaffe made by some ageing ajeossi from Jeollabukdo who really does know no better – this was part of the promotional literature issued by an *international airline*.

  • http://vmphotography.com.au hoju_saram

    Bumfromkorea – completely agree.

    I think “primal” is actually the best fit, and though it’s subtle, I think it actually changes the tone significantly.

    I’m not defending it, but I think people the translation factor plays a big part.

  • http://www.xanga.com/wangkon936 WangKon936

    StevieBee,

    Agreed. But it was probably similar to what the British thought about the Scots having “primitive energy” in their fighting style so incorporated a lot of them into their army:

    “In the 18th century the debates about primitivism centered around the examples of the people of Scotland as often as the American Indians. The rude ways of the Highlanders were often scorned, but their toughness also called forth a degree of admiration among “hard” primitivists, just that of the Spartans and the Germans had done in antiquity.”

    The difference is that the British learned to not treat the Scots in this manner… at least after half a millenium… :P

    The Welsh and the Cornish? Less so.

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com Sperwer

    My point is this. Becoming a country and a society is a learning experience.

    Whatever happened to Korea’s 5,000 year history of civilization? You mean it wasn’t?

  • StevieBee

    @WangKon

    Are you suggesting then that the marketing department at Korean Air really do believe that Kenyans are primitive people? Or was there another aim to that thoroughly specious piece of reasoning?

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com Sperwer

    @30

    Is English your first language? The first thing out of WangKon’s mouth was an indirect (later made directly) claim that this was a mere translation error. The second was the suggestion that the “mistake” should be understood as resulting from korea’s relative lack of multicultural experience. If you don’t think those read as “excuses”, I know first graders who have better reading comprehension than you.

  • http://www.xanga.com/wangkon936 WangKon936

    Sperwer,

    Your repeating the same mistake bum called you out on. I’ve never said Korea’s history was 5k years. I think I’ve said quite the contrary….

    Again, your memory fails you. I deride Korean historical revisionism by praising this:

    http://www.rjkoehler.com/2011/10/11/pizza-is-originally-korean/

    Anyways. Korea’s history as a people is long (probably 2nd century AD, realistically). Their history as a country is short (1945 with the establishment of the ROK). Their history dealing with ethnic minorities? Even shorter.

    Also, for the record, I like intelligent humor against the Koreans and their idiosyncrasies as I praised this once popular tweet:

    http://www.rjkoehler.com/2010/01/12/digsby-hangs-up-the-spurs/

    I just have a problem with it when it does so with malice, ignorance and/or hypocritical cultural superiority.

    I keep thinking your “one size fits all” response to people like me is beneath a man of your intelligence. I keep being proved wrong! Shit. Are my expectations too high?

  • http://www.xanga.com/wangkon936 WangKon936

    StevieBee,

    I think they thought it was a compliment at first, in some sort of odd way. I think it was a mistake and I sincerely hope they learn from these mistakes. I think they eventually will… and will do so a lot faster than Western countries.

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com Sperwer

    WangKon:

    Apparently your reading comprehension skills are lacking too. Is there any reference to you in my #36?

    Anyway, as you know, we’ve had plenty of run-ins before on this general topic; apart from trivial, and obviously ridiculous, pizza claims, you subscribe to a lot of the bogus master narrative of “korean” history; the very fact that despite what you say in 37, you regard it as all “korean” history makes it res ipsa loquitur.

  • http://www.xanga.com/wangkon936 WangKon936

    Oh, what are these “… bogus master narrative of ‘korean’ history…” that you talk about? Provide links por favor.

    Saying I use logical fallacies without providing any evidence. That’s an obvious straw man sir.

    Dude… be the better man… just walk away.

  • susasum

    @ WangKon I’m still interested in why you think what I said @17 is inappropriate and possibly racist. Does it connect with why you think the KAL ad is neither of those things?

  • http://www.xanga.com/wangkon936 WangKon936

    susasum,

    I’ll sleep on it. It’s 12:10am here.

  • Yu Bum Suk

    Are you sure “indigenous people full of primitive energy” wasn’t meant to refer to the good people at KAL?

  • dokdoforever

    Wangkon – If there’s hypocritical cultural superiority here, you may be the one expressing it. You seem to have overly low expectations for Korea and Koreans. Those ‘poor primitive Koreans’ without any experience in international society. Give me a break. Korea’s one of the world’s top exporters, with a growing multiracial population. And we’re not talking about some 시골 bumpkin operation here, this is Korean Airlines. Many of their customers are presumably East Africans. They deal with foreigners every day and should have some basic sense.

    What’s strange about this advertisement is how slick and professional the whole thing is until the last sentence. “the safari tour’ is also kind of awkward, and of course the last phrase with primitive. It looks to me like the native English copy editor got overruled by some ignorant high-ranking and culturally insensitive dufus.

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com Sperwer

    Oh, what are these “… bogus master narrative of ‘korean’ history…” that you talk about?

    LOL; The one of which you claim to be critical, when it suits your argument of the moment – generally trying to establish some credibility by dissing the most preposterous manifestations of it, e.g., Kim’s Original Pizza. The fact that you now disavow any knowledge of it is a sign of either your ignorance or your dishonesty. Your choice, but I’m sure you will want to be all that you can be, so you can opt for both.

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com Sperwer

    Oh, and brush up on your Latin and your logic; I didn’t accuse you of a logical fallacy (this time).

  • iMe

    LG Ad agency, i assume, is responsibe for this “cock up.” Which is kind of baffling since they employ many native speakers. Whatever. I’m still flying KAL. Some of the finest flight attendants I’ve ever seen and they are all so, so sweet…

  • R. Elgin

    So it was LG Ad. I guess management screwed this then. I really wonder about these inhouse (chaebol) ad agencies, native speakers or not, management clearly is to blame and the fool probably has no English skills.

  • bballi bballi Paradise

    44 wins this thread

    But my favourite part is 27 when Wangkon somehow attempts to flip the argument and start painting Koreans as the victims here of Western superiority complexes…..

  • CactusMcHarris

    WK,

    I’m agreeing that KAL made a particularly bonehead play – do they not employ at least one native-English speaker in the PR department they use, who could see the entire text (including the target audience)?

    KAL, shiting on itself

  • jk6411

    I assume they were referring to the Masai?

    “grand African savanna, safari tour, and the indigenous people”

  • slim

    WK — “when you’re in a hole, stop digging” is the standard advice in cases like this. But you are in a deep, deep pit with three broken shovels and it is our duty to stop you before you pull out a firearm and start shooting off your lower limbs. It’s as painful to watch as pawi going on about Italian food finding no following in Korea.

    As #44 said this is a simple case of “It looks to me like the native English copy editor got overruled by some ignorant high-ranking and culturally insensitive dufus.”

    This is how such cock-ups like “Hi Seoul!” or “Korea, Sparkling” happen.

    The reputation of Korea or the minjok is not being impugned here.

  • hamel

    Sperwer: I am, as you know, neither Korean nor Korean-hyphenated, but I too think this may come down to a translation error.

  • hamel

    Slim: If I recall, Oranckay can provide some interesting insight into how “Hi Seoul” came about – and it has nothing to do with your theory.

  • jk6411

    What’s wrong with “Hi Seoul!” or “Korea, Sparkling”?
    I think they’re charming.

  • jk6411

    That was in response to slim, of course.

  • CactusMcHarris

    #55,

    Are you saying that tongue-lodged-firmly-in-cheek? Because neither of those two are what I’d consider charismatic, or even good copy, but I’m still watching ‘Mad Men’ to get a better idea of what it will take to get The World to The Minjok, then go home.

  • yuna

    I too, think it’s insufficient proficiency in the language concerned.. (English in this case) Some people might have just become proficient through studying or reading blogs so that they fail to realise the nuance of “indigenous people full of primitive energy”

    It happens the other way around all the time on drama subs, either they are done by Chinese people who learned Korean, or 13 year old Korean-American kids who only know enough Korean to have a one-way conversation with their mothers because, boy, they are filled with some crazy funny mistakes which come from people who might speak the language but have no idea..

  • slim

    I still use my 2003 Hi Seoul coffee mug with fond recollections of the city, but “Sparkling” lives on mainly as sarcasm.

    It would be worth asking gyopo and waegukin folks who polish copy at the Korea Herald or Korea Times or at ad agencies if they still get overruled by ajeossis of limited competence in the target language. I used to hear horror stories, and I’m pretty sure this topic has been discussed here.

    But for all the chuckles weird English in Asia generate, there’s an Asian guy out there milking Western tattoos for comedy gold:
    http://hanzismatter.blogspot.com/

  • YManchun

    “What’s strange about this advertisement is how slick and professional the whole thing is until the last sentence. “the safari tour’ is also kind of awkward, and of course the last phrase with primitive. It looks to me like the native English copy editor got overruled by some ignorant high-ranking and culturally insensitive dufus.”

    I suspect that’s exactly what had happened.

    There is a rumor mill of comments posted mentioning how foreign employees and even pilots are bullied and pushed around by Korean employees.

  • dokdoforever

    This is hilarious: http://hanzismatter.blogspot.com/
    Check out the upside down 박노식 tatoo on the back of that person’s neck. She’d better avoid American neighborhoods with Koreans!

  • yuna

    Really? Bullied? What’s going to happen? They are going to get fired for suggesting politely that what the company’s going to put out there is going to make them a laughing stock? I can believe the opposite, some disgruntled guy who hates his boss doesn’t bother to correct or suggest correction.

    I also had encountered this problem with a large Korean animation/character company a couple of years ago who came to exihibit their stuff in London – I said what they had on their website was not very good English, almost gibberish, and they replied ‘but we run evertyhing by a 원어민 Australian guy” and by that I know they meant a native Australian and not a Korean-Australian. I would still blame him for not doing his job properly, for whatever reason, instead of somebody above turning it into gibberish.

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com Sperwer

    Some people might have just become proficient through studying or reading blogs so that they fail to realise the nuance of “indigenous people full of primitive energy”

    how does any korean with even a nanobyte of collective memory not appreciate the offensiveness of the kind of deprecation that was rampant among some japanese before and during the colonial period and the sense of victimization it induced has been so assiduously cultivated in the ROK ever since. See E.g. Primitive Selves: Koreana in the Japanese Colonial Gaze 1910-1945

    http://www.amazon.com/Primitive-Selves-Japanese-1910-1945-Colonialisms/dp/0520266749/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1340121145&sr=8-1&keywords=Primitive+selves

  • yuna

    #63 Are the Koreans tweeting because they are upset at the use of the word in the title?

    But I know what you are saying, I also meant to point out, it’s not a straightforward failure in language SAT, if you think the failing to catch the nuance itself is cultural insensitiveness bordering on racism then yes they are guilty. But I keep hearing the Korean equivalent of the catchphrase primitive energy in cringe-Godawful Kangwonnamdo, the best province in the world on Arirang jingle kind of way that I also know what Wangkon means.

  • slim

    @62 Believe what you want to believe, but look at actual results. For example, lead up on how KAL pilots treat the foreign cockpit help and the near accidents this has caused over the years.

    Hell, the normally sensible WangKon’s inability to abandon a totally meritless argument here is a mini-version of this phenomenon.

  • yuna

    KAL pilots might be a different case, and I am sure that there are bosses who are bullying foreigners with the “Korean hierarchy culture crap”, probably the same ones that bully the Korean juniors. However I still think there are damn cheeky unqualified “native speakers” not doing their job properly for whatever reason – ffsake, to have some integrity in the job that one is hired to do.

  • yuna

    Actually you are right, I don’t blame the employees, I blame the employers. I have seen some really bad decisions (about to be) made when they are trying to hire among the non-Korean candidates.

  • slim

    read up, not lead up

  • YManchun

    #62

    There is a lot of documented rumors going on about Korean Air on the net.

    What got me was the sheer volume of negative experiences of pilots and employees who worked there. I don’t think there was a single positive post about working in Korean Air.

    You can find the threads under “Sooo, You Want to Fly for Korean Airlines Do You?” and “Korean Air Discrimination”. I suggest people to read the first one; lots of eye-opening experiences.

  • slim

    Occam’s razor, Yuna. Which is more likely or common human behavior: people sabotaging their jobs to exact revenge on a boss, or ajeossis being ajeossis and putting face over everything else?

    Admitting one is wrong is difficult everywhere:
    http://blogs.wsj.com/korearealtime/2012/06/19/reassessing-the-sunshine-policy/

  • jk6411

    #57,

    Maybe it’s just me, but I find some examples of Konglish cute and funny.

  • CactusMcHarris

    #71,

    I look forward to going back to the ROK one day, as one of my objectives in doing so is to check the status of Engrish in UriNara – is it true that the peninsular version has surpassed the Islands of Yamato? 5,000 years had to have been an advantage, so I’m thinking yes.

  • jk6411

    CMH,

    Sorry, I couldn’t tell you. I’ve never been to Japan.
    But I think Koreans have a slight advantage in terms of pronunciation.

  • yuna

    people sabotaging their jobs to exact revenge on a boss

    Not really likely for this case, just some clueless translation.

  • CactusMcHarris

    I could not care less the inability, without lots of practice, of distinguishing the ‘r’ and the ‘l’ – I never will be able to make the choking sound in Korean when you’re expressing a heartfelt emotion.

    My interest is in Engrish in Society – How Many Nonsensical Things Can Be Found. It’s purely an amateurish effort.

  • CactusMcHarris

    And full of primitive energy, I’m going outside while the ground is soft to plant a reblooming iris (yellow flowers). I just wish I sweated Pocari when it gets warm.

  • jk6411

    My interest is in Engrish in Society – How Many Nonsensical Things Can Be Found. It’s purely an amateurish effort.

    Yes, I had a feeling that was what you were after..
    I would say that Korea and Japan are pretty evenly matched.
    But considering the cheaper prices of goods in Korea, perhaps Korea would crank out more merchandise with funny English on them. But then, Japan is a bigger economy.
    But then Japan is rapidly aging, and older people wouldn’t be as likely to buy such knicknacks.
    So who knows?

  • slim

    China’s no slouch there, either.

    There is a poetic playfulness to the phrases they come up with on tee shirts and bags and signs in Japan and Korea.

  • yuna

    One of the funniest I’ve seen was a gift watch with the OOCL (Largest container shipping company in China) logo “We take it personally” several years ago.
    I wonder if they’ve changed it since.

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com Sperwer

    Hamel:

    Aren’t you supposed to stop drinking the soju before your meet with Frankenkim? ;). Break a leg!

  • gbnhj

    Fine Trading Co., which operates a bonded warehouse in Incheon, proudly proclaims ‘The Fine is Fine’. That one always leaves me a bit worried.

  • Wedge

    A few points:

    1. KA is an international company and has been for about seven decades. No excuse for this cock-up. As a corollary, it’s not fair to paint the entire country with the Brush of Failure over this.
    2. KA’s objective of letting people know they are now flying to Kenya has been served better by making this mistake than otherwise. Kudos.
    3. Kenyans don’t seem like an overly sensitive bunch–good on ‘em.
    4. Copy editors have a career arc which goes from idealism at bettering the world through proper English, to getting angry at getting overruled by a clueless ajeossi, to not caring whether they stay employed any longer, to actively wanting to leave. So yes, I’ve heard stories from people in the latter stages who’ve let some pretty good howlers pass as a form of revenge. That could possibly be the case here, whether at LG Ad or KA or wherever.
    5. A friend of mine has interviewed to captain 747-400s twice for KA. The second interview was a joke, with one guy doing all kinds of unprofessional crap (probably the union rep now that I’ve read that link). “Let’s have breakfast at the cafeteria. But oh, you’re a foreigner so you don’t like kimchi.” Friend: “No problem. Been in Asia 20 years.” And then cheesy shenanigans in the simulator which my friend actually managed each time.

  • Wedge

    I forgot to add: “Korea, Sparkling” came from Simon Anhalt, a Brit, who if I remember correctly extracted $800,000 for that gem.

    Also, I seem to recall Mike Breen as saying some fairly high-level Seoul Government functionary, the one in charge of the project, kept ruling out all suggestions bar “Hi Seoul” after numerous ones were tossed his way by the selection committee, which included foreigners.

  • keith

    I chuckled a bit when I read Breen’s ‘The Koreans’. If I recall correctly Breen wrote that one of the suggestions before they decided on ‘Hi Seoul’ was ‘My Seoul, Our Seoul’. Try saying the latter quickly, it’s quite amusing in a fairly juvenile kind of way. Pretty much everyone has just the one don’t they?

    Korean branding efforts can be funny, but to be fair some of the American ones are pretty damn weird too. Alabama: ‘Share the Wonder’, Colorful Colorado, Idaho: ‘famous Potatoes’, Missouri: Show Me State, Pennsylvania: ‘You’ve got a friend in Pennsylvania’. I liked Bill Bryon’s comment on the last one, whenever he see a Penn St. licence plate he asks ‘How come he never calls’.

    Those American ones are just as bad as a lot of Korean ones my favourite is possibly ‘Aha! Suncheon’ I love the exclamation mark (it’s genius). ‘Happy Suwon’ is mystifying, I can say however I was quite happy to leave that dump of a place. ‘It’s Daejon’ is funny, though could be improved adding the Suncheon exclamation mark (or even better several exclamation marks) then you could really yell it out loud like the introducer on the Letterman show.

    These branding folks are definitely overpaid, the government forks and companies out a lot of money to these ‘geniuses’.

  • my_internet_handle

    As a Kenyan, I was amused, and disappointed at this advert. Amused, because as a lover of Korean drama (and Asian drama in general), I immediately thought that this is a case English made in Korea.#Konglish!! Disappointed, because I don’t want to think that Koreans have a Superiority Complex like the West and post something that ridiculous on the net. You can bet that if that was a Western airline, #KOT, i.e. Kenyans on Twitter would have been more vicious!! (As the CNN bureau chief in Nairobi learnt. Check out #SomeoneTellCNN, which was trending some months ago.)

    Asia has a lot of goodwill in Africa, and specifically Kenya, where Asian countries have replaced the west as the top trading partners. They have that goodwill, mostly because they have come as development partners to Africa, and not with a Superior/ Colonial mindset (save the poor africans!!). Trade, not Aid is the name of the game. (IMO they can keep that democracy/ human rights gibberish western ambassadors are always spewing on TV here.) For example, Samsung has come out in a big way, opening up offices on Nairobi, a technology academy, getting app-developers from amongst Kenyan techies, and there is a positive reception towards South Korea and Asia in general.

    Asians are also able to integrate into society, picking up the local languages quickly and they do not segregate themselves in their own little cocoons. This is why they should not wreck the goodwill we share with dangerous or even silly ads like this. I personally think that it was a terrible mistake, and maybe 0.001% from a superior “We are South Korea, they are Africa” attitude.

    I am excited that the airline is flying to Nairobi. I am looking forward to going to Korea sometime next year to see the country of my K-Dramas. Hopefully I can see some of those handsome Korean men who always want to carry the very drunk or tired girl on their back :-)………………. Aigoo!! Fighting!! hehehehe!

  • http://www.xanga.com/wangkon936 WangKon936

    I think it might be a good time to include the opinion of an actual Kenyan and one who has some familiarity with Koreans:

    http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/opinon/2012/06/162_113453.html

  • http://www.xanga.com/wangkon936 WangKon936

    susasum,

    I was in error to consider your specific response to # 12 as a racist comment. Upon review it doesn’t appear to be so. However, to me it looked like you were having a lot of fun at the Koreans’ expense. That attitude I do consider to be a racist one, but it does not necessarily make it so. I apologize if I misjudged your intent.

    I do believe being snarky and vitriolic towards a people who haven’t had the experiences and advantages as you did is not only unfair, but if against a different ethnic or racial group, then racist as well.

  • http://www.xanga.com/wangkon936 WangKon936

    A couple more lose ends I want to address in this thread:

    “The fact that you now disavow any knowledge of it is a sign of either your ignorance or your dishonesty. “

    Sperwer,

    Seriously. Let’s be fair here. If you are gonna accuse me of something then provide evidence. So far the evidence has been one sided. You make a claim about my viewpoints, etc. and I provide a link that refutes your claim. Then I ask you to substantiate your claims with links that demonstrate the error of my ways and you respond with more, how shall I say? Dogmatic references to my “ignorance” and “dishonesty.” If you can’t provide evidence of my “ignorance” and “dishonesty” then I respectfully, but also assertively ask you to STFU.

    I’ll even help you out. You may try to put whatever offending phrases and/or words into google using the following string:

    site:rjkoehler.com

    Next, you can customize the search as follows:

    site:rjkoehler.com wangkon936 japanese colonization

    or…

    site:rjkoehler.com wangkon936 baekje language

    … or whatever offending word or phrase you think I’ve made “ignorant” and “dishonest” historical statements.

    Let’s try it. This should be fun.

    slim,

    Whether my argument is meritless or not I believe what I told susasum in # 86 (the second paragraph) is real and often happens. If you think that viewpoint is meritless then that’s your opinion. We’ll just have to agree to disagree.

  • hamel

    keith : also G&G Paju: Good and Great Paju. Eh?

    The Hi Seoul Story that I heard from Oranckay was that, in a focus group, it was not given approval by the westerners, but it was favored by the Chinese and Japanese, who are, to be fair, the bulk of the tourist visitors to this fine city.

  • hamel

    Sperwer: really, I don’t understand your level of disdain reserved for WK. It isn’t quite the kneejerk nastiness of dogbertt towards keith, but it approaches it at times.

    Maybe just leave each other alone for a while. For me, eh?

  • http://www.xanga.com/wangkon936 WangKon936

    hamel, re: “I don’t understand your level of disdain reserved for WK.”

    I don’t understand either…

  • Sonagi

    Not really likely for this case, just some clueless translation.

    But the flawless English up to the awkward phrase suggests that either the writer or the proofreader has native or native-like proficiency in English. The debate over who’s at fault reminds me of a common explanation offered by Korean university students when I’d confront them about possible plagiarism of a text written in perfect English. “But teacher,” they’d protest, “almost the Korean students studied many grammars, so we know English very well.”

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  • dokdoforever

    It’s amazing that some students think they can get away with that one. Now you can just google the phrase and easily discover the source.

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