Season 3, Episode 15: Looking Outward

In this episode we switched things up a bit. Rob is doing News of the Weird, with Eugene doing On the Pulse. The show is about how Korea sees the outside world, and how it relates to them. We had planned to make the show about 사대주의, or the Korean tendency to idolize powerful countries, but it didn’t quite work out the way we planned.

An image depicting Korea's "shrimp complex" in which Korea is the shrimp and China, Japan, Russia and the U.S. are whales. Essentially suggesting Korea's weakness means that stronger powers get to dictate its destiny. (Image credit: Busan Haps)

An image depicting Korea’s “shrimp complex” in which Korea is the shrimp and China, Japan, Russia and the U.S. are whales. Essentially suggesting Korea’s weakness means that stronger powers get to dictate its destiny. (Image credit: Busan Haps)

News of the Weird w/Rob

  • The Korea Times reports on the Chicago BEARS (a football team) winning the Stanley Cup (an ice hockey championship)
  • Korean student in U.S. claims to have been accepted to both Harvard and Stanford, except she wasn’t
  • Lighting Round: MERS Mania!!!

Ask Blossom Rob & Eugene

  • Which countries does Korea look up to, and is that relationship volatile? If so, why?

On the Pulse w/Eugene

  • An Interview with Dr. Emanuel Pastreich, Director of the Asia Institute, discussing his book “The Korea Unknown Only to Koreans.”
Dr. Emanuel Pastreich

Dr. Emanuel Pastreich

2 responses to “Season 3, Episode 15: Looking Outward

  1. Eugene’s opinions on the local traffic/driving situation always entertain me. I’ve been driving in Korea for 10 years. What Korea has are tons of EASILY avoidable accidents that are caused by selfish behavior, or outright disrespect for the law. On one day I counted 16 people running red lights on my 12 minute drive to work. I could sit at an intersection in LA and I think it would take me several hours to observe that many people running a red light. Eugene’s passion for defending Korea’s driving is admirable. I had a friend who shared Eungene’s opinion, but he died last year after a Seoul taxi ran a red and struck his motorbike.

    • I (Eugene) do not defend certain aspects about Korea’s driving culture. One of my biggest pet peeves is that nobody stops for two particular stop signs, one near my home and another near where I work. Sometimes there are police standing right in front of the stop sign and they do nothing. What I have said on the air is that driving culture in Korea operates on a different set of rules… that traffic laws are treated merely as suggestions. However, in my own driving experiences, which admittedly have been mostly on scooters, driving in Seoul is no more dangerous (to me) than driving in crowded cities elsewhere. I do often get frustrated at certain things like people switching lanes without signaling, people running red lights or stopping in the middle of crosswalks, or drivers waiting until the last minute to get into a turn lane, thereby causing a traffic jam as others that have been waiting understandably don’t want to let them merge. All of this really bothers me, but I want to avoid saying that Koreans are bad drivers because that falls into the stereotype that Asians make terrible drivers, when in fact if that person had most of their experience driving in the US (for example) it is more likely that they would take red lights and stop signs more seriously. So I am in agreement that in general driving culture in Korea needs to change, and that begins with enforcing traffic laws more effectively rather than in a series of pre-announced two week crackdown periods. After listening to what I said in this episode, I made it clear that I wanted to avoid stereotyping and that I was talking about safety in terms of drivers, which I still think is reasonable if you yourself practice defensive driving here.

      Thank you so much for your comment!

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