i've never lived anywhere where i had less of an idea about what was going on around me.
there are many, many, many times that i just don't understand why a situation precipitates the way it does (from [arking arrangments, to construction, to interpersonal interaction) and it kept me in a state of doubt and uncertainty.
after several converstaions on the subject, with everyone i know in korea worth consulting, it seems to be this: they are good at being individuals...but they are still new to the idea of being a soveriegn, unthreatened, individual culture. They really seem like they are just taking their baby steps as far as sanitation, law enforcement, social unrest, and architecture..thoe being among the many other attributes of a uniqu culture in the modern era.
I have been watching a building go up next door to me. It is currently 5 stories arranged over a parking area. the whole structure was built by 6 guys, they show up in the morning and start working...no blueprints, little equiptment. they get a floor prepared and a concrete truck arrives to pour. they prop it all up with jack-stands and metal poles, and they begin the next level...it's not the only project i've seen done this way, but it's the one i'm most familiar with. the pours are often incomplete, leaving large gaps of exposed rebar. I've never seen surveing equiptment of any kind, and they built the whole structure on a 16 inch slab poured on what was a terreced hillside..it just seems cray
it seems to my unfamiliar eye, to be another symptom of this enourmous Korean pride tha pervades the country. Pride to the degree tat it blots out reason...defies logic...and scoffs at naked facts...
in my presence, koreans have laid claim to: instant coffee, pepsi cola, cubism(picasso), and leveed a tangent between their use of the oil lamp, and the conception of the electric light. Now, a bit of research will illuminate the origins of Pepsi Cola and Instant Coffee...and maybe it's some western conspiracy, but there is no mention of korea, koreans, or even kimchi (which, by the way, is rumored to prevent swine flu
koreans rarely say 'i don't know' and are more apt to make something up ad-hoc
now, i'm not trying to bash the people. they are a warm, welcoming, fun people (in some ways) it's just the more modern nuances of civilization that they seem alien to. and it's not just that i'm culturally insensitive...which i long considered the reason for the dischord...koreans themselves acknowledge these same ideas...provided they have left the country in the past...
most koreans don't leave the country because...'why would anyone bother?'