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Eureka: 10 things on Korean crisis
by Jay Gutman
2017-05-25 07:36:43
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What should you know before trying to solve the current crisis in Korea? Here are ten things on how things work on the Korean peninsula.

korea01_400_021. You are not allowed to be an individual

Weird haircuts, unconventional colors, mannerisms etc. You want to get rid of all those. Dark suits with dark ties, short clean-cut hair and little or no perfume or cologne. You want to use standard language, a flat tone and to be on your guard constantly. Sit straight, use little or no body language and start a conversation with the person next to you if the conversation is heating up.

2. North and South have completely different agendas

North Korea wants a communist paradise. The North argues that we went from Marxism, which is about production and industry, to Leninism, which is about equal distribution, to Juche, which is about harmony and equality for all. The South believes in putting Korea at the number one spot in as many categories as possible, everywhere from GDP to tennis to producing the world’s biggest apple. The South believes the North will envy their status as world number one, the North believes the South will envy their stress­free and harmonious way of life. Both claim such pursuits are closer to the original Korean ideal and tradition.

3. Information is very complicated to obtain

Both Koreas are not famous for their accurate storytelling and predictable lifestyles and structures. A lot of stories are scripted, a lot of them are made up. Knowledge of traditional Chinese and Korean symbolism can help understand some of the codes. There can be coded messages in the food you are served, the position you are being seated on the table or the gifts you are offered.

4. North Koreans are discreet

You can ask the North Koreans anything, as long as you insure discretion and confidentiality.

5. South Koreans are bossy

You can ask the South Koreans anything, as long as you make it sound like it was their idea and their decision.

6. The North is overall more informed than the South

The South puts a lot of information online but doesn’t really educate its people on the North. North Koreans know and care what goes on in South Korea, South Koreans don’t really know what goes on in the North. North Koreans view the South as disorganized and bellicose and believe they lack morals and integrity. South Koreans often don’t care what goes on in the North.

7. North Koreans are everywhere, but they are discreet but efficient.

8. South Koreans are everywhere, they are known for being loud when they drink and for not bothering to integrate to the local culture.

9. Communication between the North and the South is often done by signs and gestures, rarely in the form of information trading.

10. A series of South Korean provocations led the North to flex its muscles

Real estate investment and investments in transportation and construction, plus the need of a cheap labor force meant the South tried to push the North to fold and unify, so big South Korean companies could grab land and make cash. South Korea confused economic interests with security interests. Let’s hope that’s a lesson learned.

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