Friday, November 02, 2012

Brief Conversation with a Friendly Korean on the Jungang Line

Cheongnyangni Station

Yesterday on the Jungang Subway Line as my train was just leaving Cheongnyangni Station, a Korean man approached me where I was standing engrossed in my newspaper, greeted me warmly, took my hand and shook it, and asked me if I speak English. When I had affirmed that, he smiled broadly and asked if I were American.

"Yes," I acknowledged, a bit cautious.

His smile grew, and he quietly but with emphatic certitude confided, "Koreans love Americans!"

At first, I was unsure how to respond, wondering if he were crazy or thought I was, but I finally replied, "Some do."

His smile faded, and he looked concerned as he insisted, "All Koreans love Americans. The Americans helped in 1950. Many died. Perhaps some of your uncles?"

I nodded. "Some fought," I revealed, "but lived."

"Koreans and Americans have a blood relationship," he told me, "so Koreans love Americans." But he seemed to reconsider, for he added, "Some Koreans don't. A few. They are 'Advanced.'" He looked at me to see if I understood.

"Progressive," I corrected, knowing that the Leftists in Korea call themselves that.

"Yes," he agreed. "Progressive. But they are traitors."

I didn't follow up on the possibility of a political discussion, but asked him what he does and found out that he teaches English linguistics in a university. He said that he likes Chomsky's linguistic theories.

I wondered what he thought of Chomsky's politics, but our conversations soon ended anyway as the man bade me farewell and exited the train at Hoegi Station.

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At 6:02 AM, Blogger ilTassista Marino said...

He said that he likes Chomsky's linguistic theories

. . . and Beckett's linguistic practices.

At 6:34 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

I'm still waiting for those . . .

Jeffery Hodges

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At 11:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When someone says "we Koreans love Americans", "Filipinos like Koreans", "you're great people", no one seems to oppose, and even call that person friendly. On the other hand when someone has something less positive to say people label him biased, hater. Some more some less, but we love being liked by others, and judge them by what they think about us. Besides, aren't the former ones also biased?
And frankly, I think I've met, by far more Koreans blaming Americans for everything from Korean War to tooth decay to solar flares, and very few being ever grateful for what they did to this nation. In this they resemble the French who are but better critical thinkers so not many of them would be so unwise to say "we French love Americans" :)


At 1:32 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Well . . . I didn't want to be rude and point out that Progressives are nearly 50 percent of the voters . . .

Jeffery Hodges

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