Daily Life in Korea 61

King 2 Hearts is a really funny drama.  It has action, romance, lots of melodrama and a ton of Korean propaganda.

The latest episodes (13/14) involved Koreans interacting with lots of foreigners.  As a note of relevance, I don’t speak Korean.  But I know the languages are VASTLY different and often things that make sense in Korean really don’t translate into English.  And things that Korean people think Americans or foreigners say in English aren’t really normal phrases.  Biggest example from these episodes was “Let’s get along.”  Another interesting thing was a foreigner  presumably from Britain not having a British accident.

Also, the Korean prejudices/idiosyncrasies were rampant in these episodes.  Korean sittings at a table, talking about who they want to compete against so loudly the speaker stops talking to look at them … really, would that really happen?  Hopefully not, but it shows Koreans being incredibly rude.  Then they shouted out the country names during the drawing process.  It was incredibly painful to watch, because here is a team we are supposed to believe can win and they can’t even sit still in their seats.  Instead of being underdogs or heroes, the Korean team just comes off as childish and immature with no place in an international competition.  And that is before the fisticuffs incident.

Of course the North Korean had to fight the Americans before the competition.  It was a bit silly … North Korean can’t hold his anger and only speaks in Korean.  Americans say stuff in English and pat the guy’s head.  Do American’s pat each other’s heads?  Not really.  But it’s taboo in Korea so let’s go with it.  Then the Korean team leader hits the soldier who hit the Americans for fighting.  That was probably not really ironic at all.

Finally there has to be an apology and honestly, it doesn’t really translate well.  I mean, I understand because I am acquainted with Korean culture but I think that apology (given completely in English) wouldn’t have made any sense to a Western audience.  Sigh … Honestly, the writers seem to be oblivious to the fact that Asian customs aren’t global customs.  And the North Korean’s apology only came because of  his guilt if the King lost face by publicly apologizing.   Of course, the Americans quickly apologized too … because of the misunderstanding … but honestly … does that even make any sense?  While an American might say something similar to sorry when accepting a friend’s apology, the American soldiers didn’t do anything wrong so it seems unlikely they would apologize, except if they were being extraordinarily generous on their part towards the Korean team.

Also, it bothered me that some point was made about the Korean team needing to lose on purpose to the American team for the Korean-American alliance.   I guess Koreans might think like that but America is so big … that competition won’t even be a big headline news in America no matter how many times the American team wins.  Honestly, the American people and the American government could care less.  Koreans care when their athletes win competitions.  Koreans care when racially Korean people (and half-Korean people) who are citizens in other countries are famous or successful.  My point is that your ego, Korea, doesn’t apply to my country.  The entire country doesn’t stop when an American and a British athlete compete at the Olympics (also, because that is fairly common).  The entire country doesn’t know the scores of the American soccer team during the World Cup.  Americans aren’t as patriot as Koreans.  So, only some stupid Korean would worry about endangering their alliance by winning a competition against their friend.  Because in real life in Korea, that kind of situation could be stressful (friends like the same girl/boy-friendly co-workers going after the same promotion).  In America, people can talk about their differences, resolve misunderstandings and disagreements, and move on because their sense of worth is more individually cultivated.  UGH!  But you would have to go outside of Korea and make friends with the scary people of another race to understand that.

And of course, the part that annoyed me most was that no one guarded the boat from the match.  So, when the American competition team gets the two keys for the boat, they can’t find the boat.  And of course, any civilian American knows that American soldiers would have secured the boat and their headquarters.  Sigh, but the message of the show is teamwork between Koreans so the strategic discipline of American soldiers has to be sacrificed.

Also, the American team had no Asian soldiers (too confusing for the Korean audience probably) and the Americans had to make racist statements about thinking Asian human bodies don’t work the same way as white or black ones.  I watched the movie Saving Face once and the racism of a Chinese character towards other races in that movie made sense.  There was an older Asian woman who had little exposure to other cultures and races even while living in America and was therefore prejudiced and said hateful/stupid things.  Assuming that Americans would think like that is pretty much a reflection of Korean thinking rather than American thinking.  Even in American media, the presence of Asian-Americans is fairly strong-especially in the last decade.

Sigh, seriously Korea~ why you got to embarrass yourself like that?

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