중앙데일리

Why are Koreans rude?

Temper makes them the Italians of Asia

Mar 05,2007
Koreans hide their hot tempers in front of “foreigners” but not their peers.
Here’s this week’s tip on Korean language and customs:

Q.Since my arrival last year, working and living in Korea has been pleasant because I quickly learned that Koreans generally treat Westerners with great respect and hospitality. But my Chinese-born wife, who passes for Korean, believes it is different for Asians. I was shocked when I found that someone who was extremely kind to me treated my wife rather rudely, as if she had a split personality. When my wife drives, she’s often turned away at a crowded entrance; when I do, I’m led to a convenient spot. Given these differences, I rely on Asian staff members to get an accurate view of the local retail market.
The more time I spend here, I find that Koreans are quite rude and unpleasant to strangers. Can you explain this?

A. Anti-social behavior displayed by Koreans is said to have its origin in the agricultural society of the country’s past. In close-knit communities where members care for each other like family, strangers were rare. This perhaps explains why the Korean language has limited expressions appropriate for social conversation between complete strangers.
As society modernized, companies engaged in Western-style services or retail industries had a hard time training local staff to be “hospitable” to customers, as they have a habit of taking professional situations very personally.
Compared with other Asians, Koreans in general are known to be temperamental.



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