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Sun, February 25, 2024 | 18:08
Hauntology: the ghosts of Korean trauma
Any reader of my column will recognize that I have a largely positive view of Korea, its people and its society. I recently categorized the nation as 'antifragile' because it has not only continually demonstrated the quality of being able to overcome great adversity, it has also achieved remarkable success. While other nations might have succumbed to the lingering effects of ...
The death of 'Han'
This week I received a request from a friend and professor in the United States: “Can I please explain the concept of 'han,’ particularly how it manifests in contemporary society and the benefits it provides to the community.” Korea clearly continues to fascinate many people around the world and a lot of them are looking for the secret code or key to understanding why Korean ...
Korea is antifragile
Modern society and the online world present us with many success stories. Yet we generally only see the aftermath of this success. We see the tree reaching to the sky, but the roots that made the growth possible remain invisible. Let me start with a story of personal failure.
Can Korea have an ethnic revolution?
Korea is no stranger to revolution. Although many think of Korea as a very conservative culture, stuck in the past, and mired in tradition, the truth is very different. This is a country and people that have experienced incredible change over the past few decades. And during that time, much of the vision has been forward. Looking at the future and achieving the impossible.
Understanding Korean Modernization
Ask foreign students whether Korea is modern or not and you will get lots of different answers. Many will nod their heads and point to the first-class infrastructure and public transportation that safely whizzes them around the capital city with free WIFI. They will acknowledge the technology on display at every moment, from the gadgets people hold in their hands to the digit...
Le Sserafim: Whisper-pop techno
Starting the recent EP from Le Ssefarim, I must confess I wasn't expecting to be greeted with dirty techno, Japanese lyrics, the word bitch in a single, and a chorus unashamedly declaring “I don't give a shit.” After all this is K-pop. However, it probably explains why the video had 16-year olds gyrating on the floor in sweaty clothes, but I'll leave the analysis of sexuality...
Korean dramas vs K-dramas: What is a mother?
What is a mother? Are there certain standards regarding age or socio-economic class that determine when it is acceptable or desirable to become a mother? Do these standards differ by country and over time? Finally, do Korean dramas have a responsibility to show us reality or fantasy? There will be various answers to all of these questions and it is for that reason that a popu...
The Korean kids are alt-right
Transcultural diffusion is real: ideas, technology, beliefs and styles move between cultures and nations all the time. Sometimes this diffusion is generated by expansion as powerful nations stretch outward, increasing their influence over a growing number of countries and peoples.
Is Kim Jong-un progressive?
As someone who grew up in the 80s and 90s, I've generally understood human rights to be a good thing. Freedom of thought, freedom of movement, freedom of religion, and to not discriminate against people on a political, racial, gender, sexual, or class basis are good for us and the people around us.
Korean grand narratives: the problem of ideology
Much of modern politics and discourse has become a question of morality. When people vote, they are not simply expressing a preference over economic policy or the correct distribution of limited resources. Instead they are seen as taking a side in a Manichean battle of good versus evil. This environment has been fostered by social media and is reinforced daily by ideologues o...