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December 20, 2011

Comments

Martin Adamson

And it's not even remotely true on its own terms. The architecture of Pyongyang is Moscow 1952. The mass displays are China 1964. Painting is Soviet Academy 1936. Music is Gang of Four Operas 1974. Dress is Bucharest 1988 etc etc.

Phomesy

My jaw literally dropped when I read this in yesterday's Times.

Just mindboggling stuff. Winchester should be deported to the North Korean countryside.

Dom

This "protection of one's culture" only seems to work for other cultures. At home, westerners consider it bigoted and intolerant.

Canadians recently ruled that muslims must conform to Canadian culture by removing their veils for a few seconds while posing for a driver's license. Whatever you think of the ruling itself, most commentators believe it unnecessarily places Canadian (and Western) culture above others.

Mick H

I thought it was when they were taking the oath of citizenship. Surely not even the most committed multi-culturalist could deny the need for veils to be removed for a driver's license.

Dom

Sorry, you're right.

DM

Dear Mr Hartley,

I was dining out in Seoul with Korean friends. Perhaps it was alcohol, perhaps it was being able to tell a foreigner about certain issues dear to their heart, but they made the following surprising statement to me :

They explained that, in a way, they envied North Korea's independence, its way of saying to the world, to the United States and Japan in particular, that they will do things their way; in contrast, my friends told me, South Korea was long an American-dominated puppet regime, and still has an enormous number of foreign troops on its soil.

The topic was sensitive and it is seldom a good idea, when travelling abroad, to enter a discussion on sensitive local political topics. I just nodded in understanding.

Perhaps that's the line of thought that the author you quoted was alluding to.

Wedge

DM: That's why American troops should leave South Korea posthaste. Whether they realise it or not, South Koreans have been running their own country for some time and can certainly defend themselves against the nation of the nutritionally challenged to the north.

Calling South Korea an "Americanised culture" would be like calling Hong Kong an "Anglicised culture." Like the denizens of Hong Kong, South Koreans simply enjoy the trappings of modern civilisation, something their bark-eating brothers to the north don't have the option of doing.

John C. Randolph

DM: I hope you urged your delusional friends to seek serious professional help. Equating abject slavery with "independence" is quite literally insane.

Esteban

"They explained that, in a way, they envied North Korea's independence, its way of saying to the world, to the United States and Japan in particular, that they will do things their way; in contrast, my friends told me, South Korea was long an American-dominated puppet regime, and still has an enormous number of foreign troops on its soil."

Well, without those American troops your friends, instead of dining out and speaking freely to express their discontent and disapproval of their government, would likely be praising the Great Leader, on the edge of starvation, and/or in prison.

Even traveling abroad there are diplomatic ways to tell someone they are wrong, or at least that they are perhaps not considering an important point relative to their view. Simply nodding in understanding is not required, particularly where the opinion expressed is as myopic and even asinine as that one appears to be. You missed an opportunity to win hearts and minds.

martin

Eating pine-bark, dirt, frogs, and corn husks is "uniquely representative of an ancient and rather remarkable Asian culture" ?
Who knew?

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