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Eureka: Four minor problems
by Jay Gutman
2018-04-22 09:01:28
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Four minor problems have been in the news lately. Here's my commentary on them, and hope this sheds some light.

skorepe01_400-Water rage: Cho Hyun-Min, also known as Emily Cho put her family in the headlines again. Her sister, Cho Hyun Ah (Heather Cho) made international headlines after forcing a commercial passanger plane she was not piloting to taxi back before it was about to take off because her macademia nuts were served in an unopened bag, not a bowl. Her sister's tantrum was reminiscent of a few tantrums I've seen here and there. I once saw a man throw a tantrum in Algeria because his soda bottle had been opened by the waiter, when he thought he really should be the one opening his soda bottle. But Heather Cho took things a bit too far, forcing the flight attendant to get on his knees and apologize, then ordering the chief flight attendant off the plane. Now the flight attendants should have been national stars given the international exposure and I would have given them their talk show, but they kept their jobs and one of them eventually suffered from cancer for what he believed was excessive stress after the incident. Sad.

Now Cho Hyun-Min is in the news because she apparently threw a cup of water during a meeting with PR representatives. Apparently, one of the PR representatives did a poor job answering her questions, and it is unclear whether she threw the cup of water on the representatives or just on the floor. Of course this is political revenge, because Korean Air had done a poor job at handling the Heather Cho case and caused international shame on the company and the country. But guess what, after Heather Cho had forced her flight attendants to kneel in apology, pretty much every Korean boss, professor, senior was forcing Korean subordinates to kneel in apology. The question that has not been adressed is bullying at the Korean workplace, and incompetence at the Korean workplace. Some Koreans are so incompetent I'd gladly throw a cup of water at them, but I wouldn't, I'd just fire them. Some Korean bosses also throw excessive tantrums, but go to any Korean meeting and you'll see cups of water flying off the roof, taps on the shoulder and on the hand, and perhaps a ripped shirt or two. It's the whole totalitarian approach to management that needs to be adressed.

-Ahed Tamimi calls sexual harassment for being told she has pretty eyes. This is how Israelis talk. We call everyone pretty, everyone handsome, everyone has pretty eyes and everyone is honey, sweetheart and sweetie, from the waiter and waitress to your colleagues to your friends. It's kind of like Korean girls calling everyone handsome and then some foreign dude thinks they have a crush on them. I think the press should have mentioned the cultural note.

-KEI and USKI. I've been in the world of Korean studies for 13 years now, yet never heard of the Korean economic institute and the United States Korea Institute. Both claim to be academic institutions, and the Korean government threatned to withdraw their annual grants, eventually withdrawaing the annual grants of the United States Korea Institute. Many said that was the Moon Jae In administration repressing academic freedom. Come on guys! 1.7 million dollars a year? And I'm not sure they have an annual conference, nor have I seen them advertise workshops, seminars, lectures or talks. And everyone was talking about 38 North, their blog and calling it “influential” (the press called it a journal, but it's really a blog) and last time I checked (I had never heard of it) I saw it had like 5 or 6 articles a year, mostly poorly written. So 1.7 million dollars a year, no famous international conference, no famous national conferences, no famous seminars, no scouts to scout Korean studies talent, no journal, no papers, no Korean studies camps and no event advertised. Not even an annual dinner. Then people were surprised they lost their grant.

-Arab in Berlin wears kippa and gets assaulted by another Arab man. For (expletive deleted)'s sake, what kind of guy yells “Ich liebe dich” three times (“I love you” in German) while getting repeatedly whipped by a belt. That was on the video. I heard that. Maybe he subonsciously thinks Jews deserve a beating?

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