[Letter to the editor]Life’s complications
A few months ago, I made a trip to Singapore, a bustling, multicultural hub of Southeast Asia, and embarked on a one-day tour of this charming former fishing village. On the tour, I met an ethnic Chinese now residing in Vietnam on a similar excursion to the Lion City.
Hearing that I am Chinese-American, born in California, working in Korea and now visiting Singapore, she blurted out, “Your life is so complicated!” We marveled over diversity and living in a borderless world.
In work as in life, individuals strive to avoid complications, which are inextricably linked to stress, anguish and a generally more wrenching existence. In other words, complicated lives as well as tasks are seen as being overly bureaucratic, inefficient and prone to chaos. In an era when one can apply online for a job in Korea while sitting at home in Silicon Valley, being complicated is the new norm.
Reflecting on the recent presidential elections in Korea, it seems that being complicated is not necessarily perceived as a negative. Lee Myung-bak, the president-elect by a landslide, also known as “the bulldozer,” is himself quite a complicated individual. Born in Japan, raised in Korea, once blacklisted by the government, a former mayor of Seoul and an initiator of groundbreaking infrastructure projects, Lee Myung-bak’s personal journey through poverty is anything but simple. His life was and is shaped by an accumulation of obstacles, triumphs and everything in between.
In business in particular, firms prefer “complicated” applicants. Possessing a United Nations-like pedigree in terms of one’s nationality, ethnicity and breadth of experiences is crucial to success in any field. Since future accomplishments are intrinsically linked to past endurance, the president of any country needs to be the most “complicated” and competent individual in the nation. Being complicated and competent go hand-in-hand and reinforce each other’s strengths.
Most people wish for a simple, financially predictable life, but when it comes to choosing one’s political leaders, a “complicated” upbringing is incomparably preferable.
Dennis Yang, English teacher, Gimhae Foreign Language High School