Monthly Archives: May 2015

“서울의 미스터리” (허핑턴포스트 2015년 5월 11일)

허핑턴포스트

2015년 5월 11일

“내가 경험한 서울 | <3> 서울의 미스터리”

임마누엘 페스트라이쉬

 

 

 

서울의 문화에는 여러 가지 모순된 면이 있다. 예를 들자면, 서울은 정부와 대기업의 월권행위에 대항하는 시민의 시위로 유명한데 반해 그 표면 아래에는 보수적인 군대 스타일의 문화가 깊이 뿌리내리고 있다. 지방자치단체 그리고 심지어 사회 문제에 항의하는 민간 단체의 조직 구조와 규율에서도 군대 문화의 잔재를 볼 수 있다. 서울 문화 속에는 엄격한 위계질서와 연공서열 문화가 곳곳에 남아있다. 아마도 모든 한국 남자들이 경험하는 2년간의 국방의 의무 영향으로 명령을 따르는 것이 습관처럼 받아들여진 것으로 보인다.

서울 속 직원들이 (주로 여성) 얼마나 효율적으로 일하는지 알고 싶다면 서울의 우체국을 방문하면 된다. 상사들이 뒷자리에 앉아서 메시지를 확인하는 동안 직원들은 모든 일을 효율적으로 처리한다. 서울 시민들은 문제를 창의적이고 실용적인 방식으로 해결하려고 한다. 사람들은 그들이 군복무 시절에 배운 “까라면 까”라는 군대식 명령에 따라 일을 처리한다. 시청 안에서도 그 표면 아래 존재하는 군대 스타일의 기강을 볼 수 있다. Read more of this post

The 4 dimensional girl

And how do you interpret the term “4-dimensional girl” attached to this bizarre and disturbing “toy” I saw for sale at Seoul Station? Seems there are three versions of a nude women lying on nori and topped with a generous slab of sushi. What do you make of it?

Disturbing sushi girl toy from dispenser in the subway station

Disturbing sushi girl toy from dispenser in the subway station

Salt Water shirts? no sure what to make of this one

Salt Water

Salt Water

Book “Let us make a Korean President in the United States”

Here is an intriguing book I saw for sale at the subway station. Seems very much a Korean theme. Somehow if only a Korean was president of the United States, all our problems would be solved. If only politics worked that way!

"Let us make a Korean President in the United States"

“Let us make a Korean President in the United States”

Kakao Taxi Service

Since Seoul forced out Uber for its so-called discriminatory practices, Kakao has moved into the taxi service business. I am curious if anyone has used the service.

Kakao Taxi Service

Kakao Taxi Service

“东北亚是 ‘危险地区’吗?” (中央日报 2015年 2月 14日)

中央日报

“东北亚是 ‘危险地区’吗?” 

贝一明

2015 2 14

 

每当阅读美国杂志时,都会对把东北亚地区一直称为“危险地区”的表述感到惊讶。这里面可能包含着因好战的朝鲜或韩中日三国间历史和领土纠纷,该地区隐藏着巨大危机的意味。

部分报道已将东北亚的危机当做一个事实来报道。例如,在欧洲发达国家之间有多种形态的地区机构。 其中包含的认识是,东北亚与欧洲不同的是多元主义基础很弱, 因此西方人虽不认为东北亚是危险系数很高的地区,但也将其视为某种意义上未成熟的地区。

笔者认识韩国一位渴望“亚洲共同社会”的外交官。不久前,笔者与他一起喝茶聊天时,他所说的一番话使我感到震惊。该外交官最近在与欧盟(EU)的一位外交官聊天时询问道,东北亚如果想要实现欧洲那样水平的统合,需要什么。然后,那位外交官作出的回答让询问方非常惊讶,“最重要的是不要重复欧洲的失误”。

战后,欧洲为和平繁荣而努力克服过去的矛盾创设共同市场,在所有领域打造合作的新框架。笔者也在某种程度上为欧洲取得的这种成就感到自豪。不仅是因为笔者的母亲来自于一直推进欧洲完美统合的卢森堡,而且实际上笔者家族中的部分人都在卢森堡政府长期工作。

但今天欧洲正经历着比我们在东北亚看到的问题更严重的危机。这些问题非常棘手,连欧洲地区机构试图想解决都无法解决。其中一个是在希腊大选中新上台的左翼激进联盟党(Syriza)。以左翼激进联盟党为主轴的希腊联合政府就国债向欧洲央行发出挑战。这是欧洲最薄弱环节。这赤裸裸地暴露出不同国家间关于经济的根本认识差别和由此而来的地区连带龟裂的可能性。 Read more of this post

“韩流的危机和机遇” (中央日报 2014年 1月 7日)

中央日报

“韩流的危机和机遇”

贝一明

2014年 1月 7日

 

Youtube上鸟叔的《江南Style》视频的点击量超过十亿次,由此可以充分推测韩国人会多么为此感到骄傲。这非常具有活力并且具有创意。但看着鸟叔的下一个曲子《Gentleman》,笔者明确感到韩流正在朝向错误的方向发展。自然韩国朋友说明称,鸟叔的视频是在讽刺江南的物质主义风潮。实际上,虽然不知道鸟叔是否有此意图,但作为外国人,说实话,笔者感觉这是对消费文化的赞扬和女性的侮辱。

今天在韩国迫切的议题不是速度和量,而是方向性。韩国文化无论多么具有活力,如果未能带有明确的伦理信息,即,无法给喜欢韩流的世界人超越单纯的被动消费的可以为社会作出贡献的灵感,那么最终韩国文化的影响力只能受限。在为韩流的兴起感到开心之前要想一想历史上经济和文化大国的荣枯盛衰和没有蓝图干脆消失的文化的原因就在于此。 Read more of this post

WHAT DEMOCRACY MEANS TO US?

 

A SEMINAR ON DEMOCRACY IN EAST ASIA BY MEMBERS OF PEACE EAST ASIA

 

 

PRODUCED BY:

PEACE EAST ASIA

WITH THE SUPPORT OF

THE ASIA INSTITUTE

 

 AI logo small

Participants:

 

Discussion Members:

Jingyu GAO  (China)

LeoYao LU  (China)

Myeongsu Ryu TODA  (ROK)

Sunny Chan Yiu LAM  (HK)

Shi Pong LEE  (HK)

Yumiko SHIMOGAKI  (Japan)

 

Moderator:

Emanuel Pastreich (United States)

(Director, The Asia Institute)

 

(Based on a series of discussions held on October 5, November 15, November 22, and December 6, 2014)

 

 

Opening Remarks by Emanuel Pastreich (United States)

This seminar presented us with a valuable opportunity to learn about each other, and also to learn about our own perspectives and our own biases. We came to the question of democracy, and specifically the case of Hong Kong, with a general impression the issue based on how we saw it presented in the media. But in fact that are many aspects of politics in Hong Kong and of democracy today that we do not understand all that well. The very term “democracy” is not a given like “tomato” or “oxygen” but rather a vague term subject to an infinite number of interpretations. The value of this effort by youth from many different countries to create a platform for an honest and non-political discussion about the important issues of our age is critical to our future and it is an honor to be here today for this event.

I was struck by the sincerity of the questions raised and the care of the responses given in the course of this discussion. There was a sincerity that was striking about the discussion and I was touched by the clear desire of the students to understand the problems in Hong Kong in a larger context. By extending their discussion to all of Asia, and avoiding a narrow definition of democracy, they have opened the way to a constructive dialog that will extend to the rest of Asia, and to the world.

Youth in Hong Kong are facing incredible pressures. They face economic pressures related to the breakdown of the economic system that supported their parents; political pressures related to the immense influence that other nations have on Hong Kong because of its links to global capital; social pressures related to an aging society and the profound alienation among young people today. Read more of this post

“Revising U.S. Grand Strategy Toward China” (Council on Foreign Relations)

Here a link to the special report from Carnegie Endowment entitled

“Revising U.S. Grand Strategy Toward China”

 

Council on Foreign Relations

 

(by Robert D. Blackwill & Ashley J. Tellis)

 

which has been much discussed recently.

 

I have not read it all, but it strikes me as a rather complex document. In parts it seems rather positive in direction:

“In this context, take into account the negative consequences for each
country’s formidable domestic challenges if the United States and
China seriously mismanage their relationship. Imagine the tumultuous
effects on the global economy. Consider the dramatic increase in tension
throughout Asia and the fact that no country in this vast region
wants to have to choose between China and the United States. Envision
the corrosive impact on U.S.-China collaboration on climate change.
Picture the fallout over attempts to deal with the nuclear weapons programs of North Korea and Iran.”

“With this in mind, the U.S.-China discourse should be more
candid, high level, and private than current practice—no rows of officials
principally trading sermons across the table in Washington or
Beijing. Bureaucracies wish to do today what they did yesterday, and
wish to do tomorrow what they did today. It is, therefore, inevitable
that representatives from Washington and Beijing routinely mount
bills of indictment regarding the other side. All are familiar with these
calcified and endlessly repeated talking points.”

But at the same time there are multiple sections in which a militaristic response, a modified containment policy, is proposed without any particular justification.

As I have said before, China is 1 in 5 people in the world. It is integrated into the global economy at every level. There is no containment possible. But don’t worry, there is plenty of work to do. Start with climate change. Climate change is mentioned only three times in the document, and there only as one of a list of areas for possible cooperation.

Read more of this post

Mongmin Simsho (Essential Notes on Leadership) for the modern age

I was much impressed when Seoul City Government issued a new version of Mokmin Simsho that is updated to the ethical challenges of being a public official in this day and age. The book presents specific ethical traps and challenges, based loosely on those within the original book, but adapts them to contemporary society. The text stresses how corrupt acts often do not appear corrupt on the surface and that it is a challenge for the government official to remain pure and set forth a model for probity.

Jeong Yak-yong was a towering intellectual figure of the late eighteenth century in Korea who was a rigorous scholar and deeply immersed in the challenges of effecting good government in his own age. His book Mokmin Simsho 牧民心書 (Heartfelt Notes on Leadership) is included in a collection of Jeong’s writing compiled in 1818.

Mokmin Simsho was intended for government officials, especially those from rural areas who might not have had the advantages of elaborate educations in the Confucian classics.

The work presents simple ethical rules for working as a public official and presents clear essays on the importance of government work. Most importantly, Mokmin Simsho gives very concrete examples of how to respond to conflicts of interest and attempts to promote corruption.

This updated text is striking because it is so concrete and applied. There are many vague discussions of Confucianism and its value in China, and elsewhere, but few efforts to actually make the tradition accessible. Finally, I am struck by this book because it draws attention to the root of Korean success. Koreans are not successful because they work hard, or because they have deep feelings, or they us chopsticks. Korean success is above all a result of the tremendous tradition of good governance from the fourteenth to eighteenth century in Korea.

Mokmin Simsho (Essential Notes on Leadership) by Jeong Yak-yong updated by Seoul Metropolitan Government.

Mokmin Simsho (Essential Notes on Leadership) by Jeong Yak-yong updated by Seoul Metropolitan Government.

IMG_2894IMG_2895IMG_2896