An identity crisis in South Korea

I’ve been following South Korean media and South Korean blogosphere for several years now. I believe South Korean seems to be in the middle of crisis. An identity crisis. This is what I’ve been thinking lately about South Korea in general.

There were several turning points in recent South Korean history.

  1. The landmark June 2000 North-South summit
  2. Nuke test by the North
  3. The VT shooting

The landmark June 2000 North-South summit

Since this point, many South Korean people turned to Pro-North leftists and Anti-Americanism. The leftists started to claim the U.S is the leading cause of the thread and a war. And many listened. The accident was just a little push.

Korean nationalism grows. Roh says “I’m anti-US, so what”, “North’s nuke is a good nuke”.

I’ve heard and witnessed all kinds of nonsense from many many South Koreans about the U.S this period. Many South Koreans even praised North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il. I was really afraid South Korea would turn red.

The North conducts Nuke test

I was up all day, watching South Koreans reaction, and it was just amazing. When they heard the news, they all, I mean all praised the success as if they became one of the great powers in the world. It seemed to me it was South Korea, not North Korea successfully conduct the test. This fiasco lasted until the UN condemned the Nuke test by North. This seems to be the first time they realized how the world sees about North Korea.

They stopped praising North Korea. The U.S. is not an enemy and they have no choice to rely on the US-ROK alliance. But this fact pisses South Koreans off more.

The VT shooting

Again, I was up all day, watching South Koreans reaction, and it was just amazing. They never let me down. In the begging they said all kinds of crap, such as the shooter was a Chinese and he killed over his Japanese girl friend, no the shooter was ugly Japanese etc. They were all over it. They didn’t forget to make fun of the U.S.

The shootings had a huge impact on Korean society. Their only hope left, the great race, Korean has lost. They had nothing but the collective fear of backlash, and guilt.

Since then, South Korean seems to loose everything they have believed in.

It’s been a while since the shooting, but I feel weired every time I hear from individual South Koreans. Many of them actually admit Koreans were wrong in the past. This is highly unusual thing to me. It seems they are at lost.

Roh is screaming at Japan from his blue house, but no one is listening. Korean politics will be messy for a while and the presidential election will be very interesting to see for the future of South Korea. I wouldn’t count on Lee though.


Interesting article from Newsweek although I don’t agree with many points of the article. h/t The Marmot’s Hole

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