Couple of Links of Note

– So, did “cranky consumers” drive Yahoo from Korea (HT to Kuiwon)? Or did shitty service?

The blog author cited three factors that create unfavorable conditions for foreign businesses: cranky consumers, highly competitive market conditions, and Korea’s somewhat “ambiguous” appeal for foreign businesses compared with the huge Chinese market and other emerging markets like Vietnam and Indonesia.

The writer said Korean consumers need to be more willing to try out different services to have a more global perspective even though that might cause some inconvenience. Insufficient foreign competition will ultimately result in bigger dominance by Korean firms, which in turn will narrow the scope of options for consumers, the author warned.

Even if that were true, why would anyone—Korean or not—go with Yahoo (well, other than for this)? The only reason I still even have a Yahoo account is Flickr.

– Check out Robert Kelly’s “Korean Foreign Policy in Review 2012“:

Daniel Tudor, the Korean correspondent of the Economist (full disclosure: we are friends), just wrote a book on South Korea where he argues that Korea, despite all its success, is a discontented society. This is exactly right. (Here is a good review of the book.) Despite growing rapidly in just a generation, and capturing some global profile with things like ‘Gangnam Style’ or well-known products like Samsung gizmos, Koreans continue to have wildly unrealistic expectations of global interest in their small, linguistically unique (and difficult to learn) country culturally similar to enormous China. This generates constant geopolitical disappointment, per Tudor, and outsized sensitivities over foreign criticism – e.g., the widespread urban legend here that no Korean has yet won a Nobel Prize, because the committee is staffed by anti-Korean racists.

Four events in 2012 really seemed to capture the chip on the national shoulder, which ideally would serve to recommend a little modesty instead of yet more nationalistic grievance (but that won’t happen):

Be also sure to read Andrew Logie’s commentary in the post’s comment section.

– Hardly recognized golfer Pak Se-ri here. I’d always thought she was a good-looking woman, but give her a bit of makeup, some hair work and decent clothes, and she’s quite striking.

  • Adiejs

    You’re a hate monger.

  • keyinjpop

    Yahoo! is a joke. One day they’re censoring legit curse words, the next they’re censoring certain suffixes. The articles are not proofread, and don’t be surprised if the comments suddenly stop working. The only reason I go there is for the Odd News section, hell, even the commentors there aren’t as hate-filled as in other sections of Yahoo!

  • Lobster

    I would hardly call Yahoo’s lack of success in Korea indicative of ambiguous demand for foreign goods. Yahoo is just bad. Plain and simple. Why in the world would Koreans resort to Yahoo as a foreign alternative when the king of all American search engines, Google, is just as accessible? Moreover, Korean internet content is hard to centralize efficiently and it will be rarer than English content. Naver does a perfectly good job of aggregating Korean content for Korean consumers.

  • Robert Koehler

    And you know what? That some Yahoo Korea employee would pen a blog post blaming the customers for his company’s failure is perhaps indicative of why Yahoo is getting their asses handed to them by Google.

  • Jang

    TheKorean missed the bit about what Robert Kelly said was reported about what PGH supposedly said – “Park
    Geun Hye openly
    said during the campaign that foreigners should be prevented
    from penetrating chaebol ownership.”

    And Andrew Logie said Japanese media is worse than Korean media but then said “…”The
    foreigner hating is largely directed towards Koreans, Chinese and more recently
    Nigerians; Westerners are more passively resented.”

    I don’t think there’s any “passivity” in the Korean media toward any group.  I liked the comment from Anonymous better than A.L.

  • Mrs_Choi

    My husband and I really enjoyed Park Seri on Healing Camp last night. I like straight-talking women. 

  • Hardy and Tiny

    It’s nothing to do with Korea.

  • Liz

    Daniel Tudor’s book sounds like garbage. 

    “Koreans continue to have wildly unrealistic expectations of global interest in their small, linguistically unique (and difficult to learn) country culturally similar to enormous China.”

    Reeks of Orientalism. Wildly unrealistic? Compared to who or what? Wall street bankers who drove the economy to the ground? And small, linguistically unique doesn’t quite capture the current South Korean condition. Korea isn’t that small anymore, and if Tudor has difficulty learning Hangul in less than a week, then he needs to check in with a physician and confirm whether or not he has a blood clot in his brain.

    And (guffaw) Korea is a discontented society? What neoliberal victim/nation-state isn’t discontented these days. There’s never enough money, everyone’s robbing Peter to pay Paul, can Tudor please qualify discontent without being racist?

    My advice for this trust fund hipster: try writing a book next time after doing some actual research. It’s not that hard. No really, it isn’t.

  • YangachiBastardo

    I generally disagree with Liz on every account but this time she is right and the Economist is a pathetic piece of toilet paper, good to kill time at the airport, after you’re done with the Hunger Games saga 

  • Django

    Oh I don’t know about that, the Economist(R. Kelly link) sounds right on here –

  • Lobster

    What was really amusing was that they flocked to failing businesses as supposed “proof.” Motorola hasn’t made a runaway hit phone in years. HTC has seen profits decline 91% and their entire revenue stream is smaller than Samsung’s marketing budget. Research in Motion has been teetering on the brink of death in recent years. What do all these companies have in common? Samsung has been clobbering them in smartphone sales. No wonder they’re going to perform poorly. 

    If they can’t beat Samsung at home, how do they expect to beat it in Korea? It’s not a surprise as to why exactly they left the market. Moreover, they completely neglect to mention that Google has been dismantling Motorola for some time now after they’ve bought it. 

    As for HSBC and GS, HSBC has been exiting Asian retail markets in recent years to focus on profitability. Although GS genuinely appears to be an example of them not being able to compete locally due to domestic giants like Samsung Assets Management and Mirae. Although I believe they exited Japan recently as well. 

  • Angusmack

    It also sounds like you haven’t read his book. You may well be right but don’t you think you should read it first before shredding him?

  • Brendon Carr

    My guess? No Foucault reference in the first five hundred words.

  • Bballi

    Yahoo has free Fantasy sports, that are generally well maintained. Other than that, it gets ugly quick….

  • pawikirogii 석아

    ‘”Koreans continue to have wildly unrealistic expectations of global interest in their small, linguistically unique (and difficult to learn) country culturally similar to enormous China.”

    yeah, it must be all that k-wave making koreans think all that. i think there’s quite a bit of ‘global interest’ in their small, tiny country almost as large as england. once again, the westerner thinks that whatever the west thinks is what the world thinks. i think i’ll pass, thank you.

  • pawikirogii 석아

    i’m glad i clicked the link. just pure garbage from a pissed off expat:

    ‘Dokdo: Ok, we get it. Koreans really, really, Really, Really, Really, REALLY feel like Dokdo belongs to them. I promise I get it. PLEASE. I really promise I get it. Don’t make me chop off my finger too. We all get it. I guarantee that every person I know in the expat community here in Korea knows also. Enough. And please, please stop manipulating young English teachers in Korea – desperate for acceptance and the appearance of local cultural literacy – into ‘supporting’ Korea’s Dokdo claim in the newspapers at some kimchi-making event or something. They’ve got no idea what they’re talking about; this is transparent agit-prop worthy of NK.

  • mightymouse

    Yahoo is good for nonKorean things. I generally don’t go to Yahoo to look up stuff about Korea. 

  • PortaJohn

    I’m not sure I understand the ‘orientalist’ claim, but I sure do agree that yahoo increasingly sucks. Their ads are more invasive than before, to the point where I’ve almost completely stopped using them, and their journalistic adventures/ editing are really a bad joke. The guy who blamed Koreans for being ‘cranky’ because they reject yahoo really sounds like a loser from a losing company.

  • mightymouse

    This K-wave thing is painted a bit like everybody likes it. 

  • PortaJohn

    BTW, today is Kim Jong Un’s birthday.. and it was Elvis’s birthday.. and Kim Jong Il looked like an aging rock star… what exactly is going on here?  :)

  • pawikirogii 석아

    well, that not everybody likes k-pop or korean dramas doesn’t negate the fact that quite a few non koreans do. that, in itself, would seem to nullify the man’s implication that there isn’t any global interest in korea. perhaps, he should take off those glasses forged in his own ethnocentrism.

    ‘many people are interested in the k-wave’ pawi
    ‘yeah, that’s just aisans’ brit
    ‘what do mean by ‘just aisans’?’ pawi

  • dlbarch

    As someone who’s been both a booster and critic of Korea, I’d say Kelly, Tudor, Logie, et al. have nailed it, pure and simple. I’ve argued before that Korea is currently going through a well-deserved and long-overdo Golden Age, and the country is clearly punching above it’s weight internationally.

    And yet, and yet…if you’re not a kyopo or a current or former Korea expat, the general, popular, quotidian interest in things Korean is still practically nill outside of Japan and SE Asia. Except for maybe the foreign policy and security types who make a living out of the North Korea racket, Korea is still very much a niche interest, if at all.

    But the thing is, that’s still pretty fuckin’ OK. Korea is wealthier and stronger than it’s ever been. So what if it’s not the popular subject of Euro-American water cooler conversations?

    Koreans are enthitled to whatever pathologies and insecurities they want, but their time has already come. They just need to realize it…and enjoy it while it lasts.


  • Cm

    What are BMW Korea and Louis Viton doing right, that companies like Yahoo not doing?  The German car makers and French fashion makers are cleaning up the stores in Korea because they give the consumers what they want, instead of just expecting to get market share without even trying.

    This has to be the most moronic statement I’ve heard in a long time.

    “The writer said Korean consumers need to be more willing to try out
    different services to have a more global perspective even though that
    might cause some inconvenience”

    Why should any consumers should desire inconvenient service? Why?????

  • pawikirogii 석아

    ‘ things Korean is still practically nill outside of Japan and SE Asia.’

    yeah, you forgot china. enough to dispel the idea they ain’t no interest in korea. don’t be so ethnocentric, pops. you don’t get koreans.

  • pawikirogii 석아

    btw, britain a country from yesterday. who gives a shit about that place? just a bunch of ugly, pasty folk with bad teeth.

  • DC Musicfreak

    But you didn’t pass; you made 3-4 comments. Must have gotten up your nose (or beak), stone goose.

  • mightymouse

    I have read a significant portion of his book. It does a fairly good job providing a good overview of Korea. I would definately recommended to somebody who wants a good intro to Korea. As to the lack of PR for Korea outside of asia, I guess we have to wait and see how it is going to play out. 

  • mightymouse

    Talking about inconveniencing people. That new law to close stores on certain days is a pain in the neck for consumers. They really need to do away with that because it isn’t going to have much of an effect on the survival of mom and pop stores. 

  • YangachiBastardo

    I like yhoo it’s like dealing with the direct genetic descendant of the T. Rex

  • DC Musicfreak

    Kelly’s points are strong, but his tone is a little on the ranting side.  I think he would have been more upbeat about Korean diplomacy had he written a year earlier — before LMB’s downward spiral with the GSOMIA debacle and the Dokdo visit. I share his overall disgust with the Korean media. 

  • Annie Nonimus

    I’m sure the Yahoo Korea office closing had nothing to do with Yahoo closing offices all over the world and downsizing 2,000 people.  

  • Kuiwon

    While I agree with the sentiment that “Korea is increasingly turning into a market that foreign investors aren’t enthusiastic about,” I note that Yahoo wasn’t an exemplary foreign investor (same with Motorola, HTC, and RIM) with its subpar service. I was also a bit worried when I found out in that article that both Goldman Sachs and HSBC decided to leave Korea. Unless someone can correct me on this, I am under the belief that foreign investment is in part what made South Korea be able to rise out of poverty. 

  • YangachiBastardo

    You are actually wrong unless your definition of foreign investment is very loose. The amount of FDI in Korea has always been low. If  by foreign investment you mean technology transfering and licensing you have a point, but the 2 are treated as very separate entries both in balance of payments accounting and economic theory.

    By the way i think the Korean/Japanese approach was the correct one. If you wanna take a look at countries who (re)-industrialised thanks to an influx of FDI look at no other than Eastern Europe, where formally per capita GDP are not that low but    standards of living are for the most part abject.

    These countries import a bunch of stuff, capital goods and components, assemble and re-export, mostly to Europe. The wages component of their GDP is very low comparing to the profit (mostly generated by foreign-owned entities) part.

    I think did good in following the Japanese approach, otherwise very likely right now it would be a country at the level of Poland or Czech Republic

  • Liz

    You again!

  • Kuiwon

    I stand corrected. 

  • Cm

    I concur with Yangachi.  Attracting FDI has never been a strong approach by Korea inc.  Most of the development over the decades was funded through foreign borrowings.  But I understand, the year 2012 has been a record year for attracting FDI into Korea, when the amount hit the double digits in billions.  There’s actually been a flood of new money entering Korea, increasing the value of the currency strongly.  Luckily, the current account surplus should be about $45 billion which is another record high – I believe that could be more than Japan’s, or at least close to it.

  • Andrew Barbour

    How much research went into the assertion that Tudor is the beneficiary of a trust fund? 

  • Cloudfive|home|newslist1
    The Hanwha chairman who was sentenced to 4 years embezzlement back in August will have his sentence suspended until March as he recovers in hospital.

    Owing to the chairman’s five-month vacancy, the Hanwha Group has had setbacks in its overall businesses.

    In 2012, Hanwha merged with German photovoltaic company Q-Cells, but the
    group is having trouble negotiating with its partners, the German and
    the Malaysian governments, without its chairman

    They made NO provisions for someone to replace him even though he is sentenced to four years in prison? Is this really how chaebols are run in Korea? Scary.

  • DC Musicfreak

    None. Liz is a spambot that spews out poorly digested social science jargon, chauvinistic epithets and knee jerk criticism.

  • Daniel Tudor 다니엘 튜더

    I don’t make a habit of replying to this kind of stuff, but it’s not every day you get called a trust fund-swilling, racist, unable-to-learn-hangeul, brain-damaged, research-shy orientalist hipster. It’s really quite a collection – can I put it all on the jacket of the paperback edition?

    Perhaps you might note that Robert Kelly doesn’t actually quote me in that excerpt, and all he refers to in relation to my book is that ‘Korea, despite all its success, is a discontented society’. I’d agree with that comment. But beyond that, if he ran with the theme, that’s his business.
    If someone actually reads my stuff and doesn’t like it, then that’s fine by me. I’m grateful to anyone who shows a sincere interest in my book, and takes it as they find it. But why judge a writer on the writing of someone else?!

    Anyhow, I’ll be off now, spending my vast inherited wealth on level 1 Korean textbooks and Nazi memorabilia, or whatever it is people like me are supposed to do.
    And, Happy New Year to all in Marmot-land :)

  • ChuckRamone

    I’ve come to the conclusion that people just like to hate on Korea. There’s rarely anything positive. You go to tech sites, everyone hates Korean tech companies. You go to news sites, everyone is angry about Koreans. Same with sports, culture, whatever. I think it’s because they can’t categorize Koreans easily enough. Koreans are this vaguely Japanese but mostly Chinese group of Asians without a very distinct culture, who eat too much garlic, and are too cocky (Asians are supposed to be meek and humble), and have really bad tempers and a huge chip on their shoulder. A lot of these same traits can be applied to other ethnic groups, like Spanish or Italians, but they are instead called “pride,” “tenacity” and “passion.” Then there’s North Korea, of course.

    So there’s always this criticism of Korea going on that has a varnish of intellectualism slapped onto it. But most of the time the commentators clearly haven’t bothered to learn enough, just sought out evidence to corroborate their prejudices.

  • pawikirogii 석아

    i owe you a beer, chuckramone. you put into words what i have always thought. koreans cocky. westerner no realize korean a reflection of themselves.

  • DC Musicfreak

    I don’t see that as an accurate reading of the posts and links and book under review here.  

  • YangachiBastardo

    Well said Ramone that’s the reason i like Koreans by the way, cos most of the liberal arts loser crowd consider them backwards and rude, of course they can’t stomach somebody who’s relentlessly focused on hard work and technological advancement and has absolutely no interest in them and their agenda

    There’s a growing trend of racism against Asians cos well it’s easier to love other ethnic groups when they’re non-threatening, poor simpletons living in the jungle or some small village, ready to be saved from the evils of the greedy white men by some enlightened white men (and women). 

    It’s much more difficult get along with the guys who snatched your daddy job and/or force you to make a shitty living standing in front of a class full of bored kids babbling “Repeat after me, my name is Skippy” all day.

    And Pawi is right: nobody gives a shit about Britain, or any other euro shithole except for some music they composed decades ago, some brands of clothing and luxury items they created a century ago and some dopey looking religious themes they painted well centuries ago 

  • Django

    Thanks for commenting, now I wonder where Robert Kelly is?  He said there’s a “widespread urban legend” as to why “no Korean has yet won a Nobel Prize” but I could’ve sworn Kim, Dae-jung won the Nobel Peace Prize?

  • One for all

    Yeah….but I’ve never met any Spanish/Italians that tell me their culture/blood/society is superior to mine, while constantly trying to make me agree with their dimwitted opinion

  • The Expat

    I read Tudor’s book.  I have a copy with me right now.  While reading certain parts of it, I couldn’t help but thinking “hmmm…some of the die-hard apologists at the Marmot’s are going to be bothered by some of the wording in this book, it’s maybe a little too frank, honest and direct for their sensibilities..”  Then I came over to this post only to confirm my suspicions.  Well written book in my opinion.  I’m assuming that no one else replying this thread actually read it.

  • Sperwer

    “I could’ve sworn Kim, Dae-jung won bought the Nobel Peace Prize”
    Fixed that for you

  • ig5959292ee


  • Sperwer

    i owe you a beer, chuckramone. you put into words what i have always thought. koreans cocky. westerner no realize korean a reflection of themselves.

    Yeah, Koreans acting out the worst views/conduct of (some) late 19th century Western racists/social darwinists. How inspiriting!

  • Sperwer

    Jeff Hodges is much too modest to do so himself, so I’m posting the link to the recently released digital version of his newly published story :The Bottomless Bottle of Beer”:

  • Horace Jeffery Hodges

    Thanks, Sperwer . . . though you overestimate my modesty.

    Jeffery Hodges

    * * *

  • Maximus2008

    “I’ve come to the conclusion that people just like to hate on Korea.”

    Agree. Then my question is “why is that?”. Actually, a different question: do you guys see this kind of expat/non-locals criticism in blogs from other countries? Japan? China? Russia? Brazil? etc.?

    I know that there are critics to Japan and China, for sure, but to the level we see for Korea? I’m just trying to understand that, why people like to pick on Korea so much. And I’d like to have a response better than “oh, because Korea went from rags to riches so fast, k-pop, etc.”. Does anybody with intelligence has a good answer? Is it because of the k-press that likes to publish so much BS about Korea being the best about everything and such?

  • wangkon936

    Easy answer. Korea lets too many low quality expats in. Why? Because it has this artificial belief that they all need to learn English.

    Low quality expats. Low quality bitching. Japan, Russia, Brazil, et. al. don’t belief they need to learn English at that level.

  • Maximus2008


    Is it really that simple? In your opinion, only the English teachers bitch about Korea?

    Maybe they are majority of the complainers, but what about mature professionals (e.g. businessmen, engineers, etc.) that when we talk to them, they seem to have a list of things that they don’t like about the country and the locals, a list bigger than any other I’ve seen from people that were expats in other countries ?

    (Obs.: to the others out there, no pawi-rant like “if they’re not happy, go home”. Doesn’t work. In the end, salary and living conditions – e.g. personal safety, for instance, make it worth despite of the issues.)

    Look, I’ve been living here for many years. In the beginning it was hard, then adjusted (as many others). In my case, what bothered me was this “1/(underdog complex)”, i.e., trying to always make things bigger than they are and end up like fools in media and serious circles, maybe because of their own fears and being afraid to fail (the so called “loose face”). Interesting thing is that your common korean guy doesn’t do this, however, media and government with all these silly actions and campaigns screw up everything. Then, enter the bashers.

    Again, I’ve never seen this level of attacks on Thailand, Vietnam…countries that are also increasing the number of expats. China! Even China, with so many issues, people that live between there and here still say, without blinking: “I would always choose China over Korea, in a heartbeat.”

    I think I will never understand that passionate bashing.

  • YangachiBastardo

    South East  Asian countries are still trapped in a colonial mindset where the blue eyed farang (or whoever holds an OECD passport) is still king, in Korea foreigners are seen for what they are…for the most part clueless pieces of shit (sorry i’m not trying to be a snarky asshole, i’ve got blue eyes and pale skin myself btw).

    Even Japan, with their out-of-Asia mentality, is still not out of this inferiority complex phase entirely. My last ex told me about this Dutch dude she used to date who was a mediocre photographer but just for the sake of being a gaijin made a nice living in Nagoya.

    Your mentioning of China is a bit puzzling though cos all the input i get from the expat community there ranges from annoyed to vitriolic.

    Last but not least Pawi may be a bit abrasive at times but he’s not entirely wrong: if you get, as you mention, a nice compensation package and an opportunity and you keep griping over trivial shit, sorry in my book you’re a bit on the douche side of things and may consider moving to some other place ( for a refreshing change.

    A Korean company gave me a job when i really needed one as i was another time in my life in a huge pile of steaming shit with the law enforcement, they did it just cos i had one good reference with the management (my ex-wife), they treat me really well so what i should do, getting all worked up over the fact that some guys at top management level are indeed some really, difficult morons ?

    And also let me add on a personal note that all the waegooks complaining about institutionalised xenophobia in Korean media really need to grow a pair. What exactly does negative Korean tv coverage change in their daily life ? Just shrug and move on…sometimes they remind me of those squalid associations of American-Italians whining about the Sopranos and Jersey Shore: pathetic

  • Maximus2008


    I hear you and you “may” be right in some aspects, and you have good points. But not 100% of the issues are what you describe.

    There is still something more to it. It is ok that you are a Korea fanboy, based on all your comments in all threads you post (seriously, no issues on that, people can like and defend whatever they want, and I respect that passion), but there is something missing. 

    Because you’d expect people to change and get over it after some time (I mean, after a couple of years, at least), but that doesn’t happen to all. And I know when you mean douches but, believe me, I’m talking about smart people, and not just your regular a-hole.

    Obs.: ref. China, I know quite a bunch of people living there, coming from OECD and non-OECD countries. Of course they complain, but they never quit comparing Shanghai vs Seoul and while they admit Seoul is better on “fancy stuff” (everybody caring – too much – about image and clothes and status) and a little more hygienic, they see Shanghai as more international and open to laowei instead of Korea to waegooks.

    Again, I enjoy living here, and my package helps with that. But still trying to figure out the neverending ranting which, to my knowledge, has some truth to it.

  • YangachiBastardo

    Point taken Maximus: so what is it in your opinion that makes Korea such a negative place for many expats ?


    I find your China experiences really interesting cos all the usual complains about Korea (arrogance, management incompetence combined with hierarchical obsessions, drunkness, aggressivity etc.) i hear them about China

  • Cloudfive

    But still trying to figure out the neverending ranting which, to my knowledge, has some truth to it.

    Maximus2008- Why don’t you do your own survey and write-up a little thesis for the Korea Times? What are YOUR most pressing personal complaints with life in Korea? Is it:
    A. People staring at you
    B: No one will sit next to you on the subway
    C: Some stranger next to you will strike up a conversation trying to get free English practice
    D: It’s hard to make Korean friends
    E: Koreans only want to make friends with you because you are a foreigner
    F: Even though your body size is average in your home country, Koreans call you fat
    G: Even though you are below average looking, Koreans always say how handsome/pretty you are
    H: Koreans who marvel at your use of chop sticks/ ability to eat kimchi/spicy food
    I: Even though there are 12 million people in Seoul, there are only 3 million cars, why is there so much traffic and so many bad drivers
    J:People spitting phlegm on the sidewalks
    K: Koreans who brag about having four seasons
    L: Koreans who make onion and mustard salad at the Costco condiment bar
    M: Ajummas
    N: Ajussis
    O: Other
    P: All of the above

    Choose all the apply.

  • YangachiBastardo

    Can i participate ?

    A: who gives a fuck

    B: if anything, that’s a plus

    C: it happened to me once, i kept answering with monosillabic grunts, he gave up

    D: see # B

    E: # A&C apply here

    F: see #A

    G: never happened to me, i must  REALLY be below average

    H. see # A

    I: that few ? Are you sure ? New car sales in Korea hover around 1.5 millions a year, on a per capita basis pretty much on par with France

    J: beats getting mugged by a chav gang or dealing with the Bandidos Latinos, MS 13 etc. etc.

    K: see # A, Euros brag about the most absurd shit so it really doesn’t bother me

    L: see # A the world is full of shitty food, for 6 long years of my life i had to familiarize with the concept of salad dressing

    M: I’ll concede some are annoying

    N: see # M

    O: winters are brutal in Korea, but again nothing that i don’t see here in a bad year like 2012

    P: see # A

  • Anonymous_Joe

    After I read OP’s post, I thought that I’d stay on the sideline.  What the hell….

    OP, what you left out was the fraud, corruption, and cronyism.  You want a thesis?  Here’s my thesis:  all the cronyism is at the root of the fraud and corruption. Either someone “owes” someone else for his position or he is trying to curry favor.  

    The complaints OP listed are those of someone who has been here only a few months.  None of them bothered me except for hocking loogies on the sidewalks.  The corruption, however, is disdainful.

  • ChuckRamone

    Some of the major reasons I already listed. Also, a lot of the critics come from Western cultures like Britain or Middle America where passive aggressive behavior is what’s considered normal. The type of people who probably think New Yorkers are rude and childish for saying it like it is. They’re used to having their medicine with a spoonful of sugar. For them, Koreans, who will say to your face they think you are fat or have bad acne, are rude and uncouth. But I prefer that to passive aggressiveness most of the time.

  • Cm

     Both China and Japan attract foreigners who who want to be there. Maybe they are there to experience rich cultures.  On the other hand, Korea has to pay foreigners to live and work in Korea.  To many foreigners, Korea is just one big giant office building, a place to go to work and earn money.  And if your job or your boss is crap, then everything becomes ten times worse, including the view of the country.

  • DC Musicfreak

    You are confusing “discretion” with with passive aggressiveness. 

  • ChuckRamone

    I didn’t think it was possible to confuse those two things because they’re nothing alike. Or maybe discretion is just a euphemism for passive aggressiveness, which to some people is the same thing as civility. John Lennon called that kind of subtlety “middle class” behavior.

  • ChuckRamone

    All foreigners who go to Japan and China are there because they wanted to experience the rich culture so badly, and all foreigners in Korea are they because they had to out of economic necessity? That’s a lot of dumbassed generalizing.

  • Cm

     That’s what I’m always told.  People grow up in the west romanticizing China and Japan.  China with the Great Wall of China, Chinese food, and Japan with Samurais, Ninjas, anime, and porn.   China for its ancient culture, Japan for high tech modern life.  What does Korea bring to Westerners emotionally? Dog food, kimchi, and North Korea. I keep hearing Korea has no culture of its own, that everything has been stolen from China and Japan.  People dream of living in China and Japan because of the glory they instill.  They want to be there in China and Japan. The imperfections those countries may possess maybe more forgiven.  On the other hand the only reason people go to Korea is to get ESL jobs. It’s like being paid well to live in an oil platform in the Pacific ocean, to pump oil all day long.  I really think the ESL industry in Korea and its broken system has really hurt the reputation of South Korea.

  • ChuckRamone

    well, a lot of people seem to become very deeply embittered by what they’re experiencing in such a crappy country. it’s like being extra upset after being dumped by someone you didn’t like that much. what’s the big deal? get over it.

  • Cm

     “what’s the big deal?”

    Revenge is sweet maybe?  We always see people in Korea related forums always come back, even though they left the crappy country long time ago.  But I think it’s getting better.  Korea has their own growing number of followers in the West, mostly through the power of Youtube and internet, who actually want to experience the culture in Korea.  Those are the people that Korea really needs to attract, not the job seekers straight out of colleges who’ve never held a real job before.   

  • dogbertt

     Didn’t you move back to Korea?

  • Cloudfive


    Korea has their own growing number of followers in the West, mostly
    through the power of Youtube and internet, who actually want to
    experience the culture in Korea.

    I think that’s already happening. There are more and more young women coming to Korea thru exposure to Kpop and Kdramas and their view of life in Korea is decidedly rosier.