I have received numerous criticisms of late to the effect that I am too positive about Korea. Although I think my writings do contain numerous criticisms of Korean practice, it is certainly true that I go to great lengths to keep the tone constructive and positive. That said, I have decided to give a short list of serious issues with Korea that I have.
The white or brown sauce that is squirted on food at restaurants:
So many times we find at Korean restaurants that the cooks feel that they have to squirt a white or brown sauce in lines on top at the food at the last minute to make it look better. The sauce does not add to the flavor and I wish we could just eat the food.
Not being able to see the name of the station from my seat on the subway
How many times on the subway have a found that the sign indicating the station at which the train is stopping at is invisible from where I am sitting? The visibility of signs is clearly far worse in Seoul Metro than in other major subway systems I have ridden.
Talk about food
We all live to hear about food, especially good food. But many Koreans just cannot stop talking about this subject. It boggles the mind just how much time can be spent on this topic when people meet up. Much better to talk about substantial issues of importance. Also, it seems we see on TV images constantly of people mindlessly eating food.
Riding motorcycles on sidewalks
How many times do you find a motorcycle speeding along towards you on the sidewalk in Seoul? No one seems to think this illegal behavior wrong, and I have seen policemen look on with indifference. What a crime! The inconsiderate manners of motorcycles riders, especially those driving delivery service motorcycles, stands in the face of increasing sophistication of Koreans in general. And I had the experience of actually seeing a small child hit by a thoughtless motorcycle driver. It was an unforgettable moment.
Throw-away cups and bags
Korea may be devoted to Green Growth, but in fact the amount of throw away cups, plastic and paper bags and other unnecessary wrappings in Korea is increasing daily. There seems to be little awareness of the impact of disposable cups and bags on the environment, and little effort to bring a bag or use a ceramic or metal cup to avoid using something throw-away.
Sexually charged videos and advertisements
The shows and commercials on TV, and the advertisements in magazines or on the subway, are full of the most suggestive and sexually charged images these days, images that degrade both men and women. I am rather embarrased to come across these images when I am with my children. I hope that Korea will soon come to its senses regarding the negative impact of such advertising.