Circles and Squares

Insights into Korea's Sudden Rise

Candle Vigil for the first anniversary of the sinking of the Sewol Ferry

There was an immense gathering in front of Seoul City Hall this evening to commemorate the first anniversary of the sinking of the Sewol Ferry, an event that cost the lives of over three hundred high school students from a working class neighborhood because the ferry operator told them to stay in their seats even after the boat began to tip and he fled himself.

The gathering brought a large number of high school and middle school students who just showed up out of concern, out of “sadness,” as they told me.

The event was billed as a candlelight vigil that would set a “Guinness Book world record.” The gathering was a mixture of spontaneity and meticulous planning. There was a festive mood at times and deep angst and worry about a world which has gone so completely wrong. It seems as if the students were wrestling to understand how this accident could have taken place and how so many in their society could pretend it had not happened.

 

The organizers marked out on the grass the shape of the ferry itself. The participants sat on an imagined ferry right there in downtown Seoul.

The organizers marked out on the grass the shape of the ferry itself. The participants sat on an imagined ferry right there in downtown Seoul.

Hangyore gave away a free edition with all the facts about the sinking.

Hangyore gave away a free edition with all the facts about the sinking.

Laying down the strips that will mark where people sit with their candles for the vigil.

Laying down the strips that will mark where people sit with their candles for the vigil.

2015-04-17 17.19.43

This work of art seems to be made up of figures representing the students who died. I am not sure of its meaning, however. People have scribbled their wishes and fears on the images. Somehow the Sewol Ferry sinking has come to represent all that is dark and hidden for youth in Korean society.

This work of art seems to be made up of figures representing the students who died. I am not sure of its meaning, however. People have scribbled their wishes and fears on the images. Somehow the Sewol Ferry sinking has come to represent all that is dark and hidden for youth in Korean society.

The vigil continues.

The vigil continues.

Carrying a portable cup in Seoul

I have seen all sorts of arguments for new high tech solutions to the environmental problem. They are mostly ridiculous. We need specialized new technologies in the case of responding to Fukushima, but otherwise, actually we need primarily old technologies to respond to climate change.

Most every country in the world required someone purchasing any liquid in a bottle to pay a deposit and then return that glass bottle after the liquid had been used until the 1970s, or even 1980s. This system is very simple and it is not difficult.

 

I have taken a vow to never use disposal cups, but it is extremely difficult since people will bring me drinks before I say I have my own cup and even in cafes they will ignore the mug cup I have brought. They think I just came up to order coffee and put this plastic thing on the counter. It does not occur to people that I expect them to put the coffee in that mug cup.

 

I would go as far as to suggest that most Koreans have no idea why I carry a cup with me and no idea why I do not eat meat.

 

 

Shilla Duty Free

Here are a few images from the Shilla Duty Free Store next to the Shilla Hotel. The culture of duty free is rather mysterious to me. Consumption here seems to approach a religion, an embrace of an image of the “advanced nation” that does not actually exist anywhere.

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“望韩国能从一次性社会中摆脱出来” (中央日报 2014年 6月 3日)

中央日报

“望韩国能从一次性社会中摆脱出来”

2014年 6月 3日

我十分喜欢咖啡,但对在咖啡厅点咖啡感到困惑。咖啡本身非常香醇美味,但这样的咖啡经常会穿上纸杯的衣服,带上塑料的帽子,偶尔系上纸质腰带。同时还有5~10张纸巾、搅拌糖和奶油的搅拌棒,偶尔还会有湿巾和宣传传单。

在资源枯竭的当今时代,在韩国看到的无数资源浪费实在令人心痛。最令人感到痛惜的是大部分韩国人甚至无法认识到这样的习惯是错误的。员工不询问客人是否需要这么多一次性用品,不询问在店内喝饮料的顾客是否用马克杯代替纸杯。甚至有许多店铺为了节约经费,从一开始就取消了洗杯子的空间。

如果我拿着个人塑料杯去咖啡店装咖啡的话,咖啡店员工甚至无法理解我在说什么。我将未使用的搅拌棒和纸巾放回时,员工的眼神就像看见鬼了一样震惊。

人们似乎认为,如果没有将店内的一次性用品都扔到垃圾桶的自由,就无法享受现代化的生活方式。人们似乎觉得,如果经常在自己的包里装手帕或是要洗自己的杯子,这样的生活非常不方便且没有了乐趣。 Read more of this post

跨海求真: 哈佛博士论中美未来 (原文)

跨海求真: 哈佛博士论中美未来

贝一明 Emanuel Pastreich 著

cover

 Link: 跨海求真: 哈佛博士论中美未来

目录

序文…. 9

前言…. 13

第一章理解我的建议从了解我的成长轨迹开始…. 20

家庭教育… 20

耶鲁中文学习记… 31

耶鲁岁月中的师生情… 41

宝岛之旅… 49

中国交流的恩师… 54

第二章解密美国大学教育…. 70

我们应该送给子女什么礼物?… 70

解密美国大学教育… 74

二十一世纪人文教育的重要性… 79

每一位国际关系从业者都应主修文学… 82

教育的危机… 86

第三章给中国青年的忠告…. 89

论价值… 89

历史和新闻的区别… 97

民主和参与… 101

第四章面向世界的中国梦…. 113

亚洲公敌:气候变化… 116

气候变化的语言… 126

生态货币… 127

第五章我眼里的中美关系帮助你认识美国…. 128

中美关系:弗兰肯斯坦联姻… 128

中国是新冷战的主角吗?… 133

美国,若只管自己的事,仍然是一个威胁吗?… 135

朝鲜问题… 137

第六章我眼里的中日关系你应当关注的问题…. 140

论中日关系… 140

论岛屿争端问题… 142

跨世纪的福岛核电站事故对策:中国的角色… 156

第七章认识世界成为世界的领导者…. 162

一触即发的数据危机:我们是否需要一部信息宪法?… 162

Facebook 究竟是什么?… 166

Facebook 与全球治理的未来… 168

世界真的在变小么?… 171

世界究竟是如何运转的?… 175

第八章中国社会万象你看到了什么…. 186

孔子说的“正名”是关于体制转变的警言… 186

性与消费… 188

贪婪、资本主义和热力学第二定律… 190

消费的崛起和因果法则的终结… 191

阶级分化的复苏… 193

李天一与阶级的再现… 197

第九章你的未来与中国的未来…. 199

多元历史成就未来中国… 199

21世纪中国文化的意义… 201

中国的科举与考试制度… 207

结语

年青一代如何成为领导者…. 212

原文:

跨海求真: 哈佛博士论中美未来

“什么才是教授真正的角色?” (中央日报 2014年 4月 29)

中央日报

“什么才是教授真正的角色?”

2014年  4月  29日

 

贝一明

 

关于韩国文化的魅力,教授享受的社会地位堪称其一。在韩国,教授不仅在政府政策审议过程中发挥着重要作用,还经常担任企业顾问,以知识人士的身份受到了很高礼遇,就连我这个外国人也因为“博士”这个头衔受到了极高的待遇。

在韩国,知识分子的地位与过去50多年间大幅下降的美国很不一样。富兰克林·罗斯福和哈里·杜鲁门等美国总统任命大量教授担任要职的事情已经早已过去,所以我一直对韩国这样的国家心怀憧憬,很高兴能在这样的国家生活。   Read more of this post

“从 ‘政策的政治’到 ‘习惯的政治’” (中央日报 2014年 8月 9日)

中央日报

“从 ‘政策的政治’到 ‘习惯的政治’”

2014年 8月 9日

 

贝一明

 

以“世越号”事件为契机,为促使韩国政治系统作出改变的大规模施压越来越大,但企图通过改编政府机构来改变韩国社会结构问题的态度似乎有些不具现实性。不少人对政府的这种动向持怀疑态度,认为政府只是企图创造好像在作出改变的样子,来让国民安心。

韩政府全方位的迅速措施可能会让国民一时得到满足。但很明显,以更换部长、改编政府组织或处罚“世越号”事故直接相关的几个人,今后并不能保证会杜绝此类事件。

韩国面临的不是政策问题,而是文化问题。贪婪的企业和只顾自己利益的政府官员之间不透明交易惯例只不过是整个韩国社会腐败文化的一个方面而已。而正是出于这个原因,韩国孩子们的安全受到了威胁,对政府的不信任因此加深。   Read more of this post

Plastic surgery in Seoul

I thought advertisements for plastic surgery in Seoul had gone too far. But had no idea. Personally I feel that all advertisement for plastic surgery should be made illegal and that it should be offered primarily for those who truly require it.

 

But get a load of this! I want to say it is self-parodic. But no. It looks like it is serious. The Barbie Doll, source of so many complexes for women, from anorexia to neurosis, is held up as a model. What is going on here? Please explain.

 

The quote is:

 

“After surgery, which part are you most satisfied with?”

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The Sa & Jik Altars

Perhaps one of the greatest monument to the lasting impact of the Japanese colonial occupation of Korea is the sad Sajik Park just to the West of Gyeongbokgung Station.

Originally, this space was in fact the site of the Sa and Jik Altars where the King of Joseon prayed for the fertility of the soil to the spirit of the earth “Sa” and to the spirit of grains “Jik” for a good harvest. This ritual, performed in an unadorned space in front of two parallel altars notable for their lack of pretension, was a critical affirmation of the relationship between the kingdom and the livelihood of the commoners.

The Japanese colonial powers had the two altars turned into a park, known thereafter simply as the Sajik Park. This simple act suckout the political and social value of this space and turned it into a quaint park where one could walk one’s dog.

Only recently has the critical step been taken to reclaim this space.

Not that the term "Sajik Park" has been replaced by the term "Sajikdan." The term has not been fully translated as "Altars of  Sa & Jik." It is astonishing that it has taken so long to change the name.

Not that the term “Sajik Park” has been replaced by the term “Sajikdan.” The term has not been fully translated as “Altars of Sa & Jik.” It is astonishing that it has taken so long to change the name.

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A contrast with the Temple of Heaven in Beijing gives some indication of the cultural difference between Joseon Korea and Imperial China. The understated quality of political power in Korea is extremely impressive and is the key to Korean democracy. By contrast, the spectacle of power in China since the Ming dynasty has profoundly undermined democratic processes and transparency.

Temple

“为建“网络空间共和国”召开六方会谈” 中央日报 2015年 3月 14日

中央日报

“为建“网络空间共和国”召开六方会谈”

贝一明

2015年 3月 14日

 

生活在亚洲的很多人一天大部分时间都在不是祖国的地方上渡过,该地就是作为一直扩在张的“网络空间(cyberspace)”。虽然用特定国家的电脑或智能手机连接网络空间,但网络空间正超越亚洲,成为全世界共有的领土。

近代世界始于17世纪。西班牙、葡萄牙、英国等欧洲国家在大探险时代开始开发美洲、非洲和亚洲的资源。这些国家建立的全世界生产和分配网络让它们具有无可比拟的优势,成为今天我们正在使用的全世界制造和分配的蓝图。

但我们已到了地球的物理极限。与之前不同,不酿出严重后果就无法开发资源。在世界人口朝着90亿人发展的今天,为确保粮食和水,我们正在进行激烈竞争。

网络空间向我们提供膨胀、探险和自我完成的新边境线,现在还是处于开发初期的土地。该土地似乎在高声要求给自己下定义并进行系统化。网络创出的虚拟空间可以储存无限信息,而且还相互连接网络和企业内联网的多种信息来源。其结果就是,所有个人的潜力都得到极大发掘。

再加上技术发展,未来几年网络空间将会成为生活空间。现在我们的孩子已在网络空间这一共同土地上穿梭于各大高楼,攀登到山顶,坐上飞机。 Read more of this post

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