Week 10 Rebuttal

Overall, I agree with your opinion that awareness of pregnant women should be raised. Many pregnant women are forced to stand while using public transportation while some even give up altogether and resort to driving. This is a hazardous to the health of pregnant women and should be addressed. However, I take issue in the fact that the overall cause of this situation is due to lack of awareness of pregnant women. As I have mentioned in my own critique of the article, the article’s main theme is about agism masquerading as fights over subway seats. Tension over subway seats is but a minor ripple caused by agism and more time should be focused on alleviating agism within Korean society.

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Week 9: Subway Seats

The government’s approach to solving the problem in the given article is but a flimsy knee-jerk reaction that fails to address the fundamentals of the situation. Pregnancy badges and pink seats will not make a difference in helping pregnant women secure a seat in the subway. Of course, the badges could help people identify women in their early stage of pregnancy and the introduction of pink seats could encourage some people to leave the seat empty. But in the end, people who have gave up their seats for pregnant women would have done so regardless of the existence of the badges and seats.  Overall, the governments plan is ineffective in alleviating the problem that pregnant ladies are going through.

As the article has well pointed out, this situation is a problem about the elderly population in Korea masquerading as a problem about pregnant ladies not being able to sit in public transportation. The article only skims on this part, but the divide between the young and old generation is a great problem in Korea nowadays.  A large portion of the elder generation has been hardened by colonization, war, and tyranny and in the process some of them think for themselves and only themselves a little too much. That along with the fact that most of the elderly population is suffering from poverty and loneliness further aggravates the frustration they feel. The government needs to prioritize on revitalizing the older population, many of which are capable and eager to make a living, and treat them as a viable pillar of society. Giving them jobs, providing them with financial security and showing that they are cared for is the long-term remedy for this problem.

Midterm Essay : An Analysis of the Korean Government’s Strategy to Globalize Korean Cuisine and Why it has Failed.

An Analysis of the Korean Government’s Strategy to Globalize Korean Cuisine

and Why it has Failed.

It’s all about Kimchi. One of the major strategies that Korea has chosen to promote Korean food is to go on and on bragging about the history and science that Kimchi has. During 2009 till 2012, the Korean government spent a whopping amount of 931 billion won on promoting Korean food worldwide.[1] Despite all this effort, Kimchi, along with Korean food in general, is not popular or even well-known at all to the rest of the world. It is hard to find Korean restaurants among the plethora of Japanese, Chinese and even Vietnamese restaurants even in big cities such as London or New York. [2] This is because the Korean government’s strategy of food globalization is in its current state is extremely ineffective. Encouraging a positive image towards a country’s cuisine is important in that it helps create a favorable image towards that country which could further lead to people visiting that country, consuming its cultural products or even learning the language, all forms of soft power that contribute to strengthening national competitiveness. Korea’s food globalization plan in its current form can be categorized into three patterns: celebrity marketing, eccentric experimenting with Kimchi, and hosting Korean food festivals. This essay will proceed to analyze these three strategies and point out why these strategies are far from effective.

Korea’s current attitude towards globalizing Korean cuisine mostly focuses on being the talk of the town. Instead of promoting the proprieties of the food itself, such as the taste or healthiness, the main strategy is just to be the hot topic of the day and a large portion of it relies on celebrity marketing. During former president Lee Myung Bak’s administration, the government paid several Hollywood actresses such as Brook Shields 350 million won ( approximately 30 million dollars) each to be seen by the paparazzi picking out Korean food while grocery shopping .[3]  Later, the Korean government used the photographs to falsely report how these famous actresses enjoy cooking Korean food. [4]Not only is this false advertising, blatantly going on about how celebrities enjoy a certain food is not enough to persuade others to enjoy it , especially when there is little  mention about the food itself.

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Kim,B.S. Brook Shields picking out Korean food while grocery shopping. 2011. Photograph.http://news.naver.com/main/read.nhn?mode=LSD&mid=sec&sid1=101&oid=001&aid=0005102338[20.10.2015]
False celebrity reports aside, a major problem of Korea’s current strategy is its obsession with eccentric Kimchi products. Kimchi is a salty, peppery-hot cabbage side dish that is fermented over a long period of time. Depending on the region, some people add pickled seafood or even raw fish to add a zesty flavor. Unfortunately, as an attempt to capture the attention of the foreign market, the government encourages extreme ludicrous experimentation with Kimchi. A few years ago, the Korean Tourism Organization came up with Kimchi based dessert dishes such as Kimchi flavored chocolate and Kimchi cocktails. Not only are the execution of these dishes unappealing, the taste of sweet chocolate and liquor do not clash well with the spicy taste of Kimchi.

“ The chocolate tasted waxy, and it was milk, not dark- boo. And the kimchi taste was dis-gust-ing. Think sour cooked cabbage in low-grade milk chocolate. Not a winner” (N.A, 2009)[5]

Such experiments certainly do manage to attract interest but rarely manage to form a regular customer group due to the eccentric taste. Blindly focusing on shocking ways to advertise Kimchi has turned it to a laughing stock rather than urging people to try it.

KimChiBox

N.A. An image of a Kimchi chocolate. 2009.Photogaph. http://chocolatebythebay.com/magazine/outsidechocolate/chocolateroundtheworld/koreanchocolate/how-unusual-kimchi-chocolate/ [20.10.2015]

Currently, there are a lot of Korean food festivals of various scales promoting Korean food mostly funded by the government.[6] Most of these festivals have a thing in common; giant sized versions of Korean food. Whether it be Bibimbab (rice mixed with various vegetables), Japchae ( stir fried noodles), or Naeng Myeon ( cold buckwheat noodles), such festivals mostly end with  people serving food out of an enormous plate of food and serving it to foreigners, most of them who have seen Korean food for the very first time. It could push foreigners away from eating Korean food.[7]  When it comes to selling food, the execution of the food is almost as important as the High-end restaurants spend a lot of time on the plating of the food as much as the cooking itself. The reason is simple: If it does not look good, people do not want to taste it. An enormous plate of Bibimbab that can serve 300 people is certainly captures the interest of the public and is worthy of generating Guinness buzz. Whether it plants a positive view toward Korean food and actually makes people want to try though, is a whole different matter.

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Lee,J.W. A photograph of a Korean food festival held in Atlanta.2014.

http://www.fnnews.com/news/201507081559052335

The aim of this paper is not to discredit Korean cuisine or suggest its inferiority compared to dishes from other countries. Korean cuisine has a lot of potential to achieve worldwide popularity but its incompetent attempts at promoting it is hurting what little reputation it already has in the global market. However, the incompetent strategy that is used to promote Korean food highly underpins these notions. As pointed numerous times within this essay, Korea’s current strategy in doing so is nothing short of ineffective. Instead, a new tactic promoting the merits and beauty of Korean food based on the unique features that it possesses should be formed. [8]Unfortunately, the Korea has been stubbornly clinging to this strategy for over a decade and shows no intention of adapting a new strategy. Regardless, there is no disagreeing that if apt the innate qualities that Korean cuisine carries is combined with the apt marketing, there is no reason preventing Korean food from achieving worldwide acclaim.

Bibliography

Chang, M. J., & Cho, M. S. (2000). Recognition and preference to Korean traditional food of foreign visitors in Korea. Journal of the Korean Society of Food Culture, 15(3), 215-223.

Choi, J. A., & Lee, J. M. (2010). The Perception and Attitude of Food Experts in New York city toward Korean Food-Assessed by In-depth Interviews of. Journal of the Korean Society of Food Culture, 25(2), 126-133.

Kim,B.S. (2011). Brook Shields loves Korean food. Retrieved from http://news.naver.com/main/read.nhn?mode=LSD&mid=sec&sid1=101&oid=001&aid=0005102338.

Kim,B.S. Brook Shields picking out Korean food while grocery shopping. 2011. Photograph.http://news.naver.com/main/read.nhn?mode=LSD&mid=sec&sid1=101&oid=001&aid=0005102338[20.10.2015].

Lee, E. J., Kim, T. H., & Kim, D. R. (2008). Globalization of Korean cuisine through the Korean food items promotion-focus on marketing strategy of Korean food items. Journal of the Korean Society of Food Culture, 23(6), 729-736.

Lee,J.W. A photograph of a Korean food festival held in Atlanta.2014. http://www.fnnews.com/news/201507081559052335 .

Min, K. H. (2009). A study on cultivating Korean chefs for the globalization of Korean food. Korean journal of food and cookery science, 25(4), 506-512.
N.A. An image of a Kimchi chocolate.2009.Photogaph. http://chocolatebythebay.com/magazine/outsidechocolate/chocolateroundtheworld/koreanchocolate/how-unusual-kimchi-chocolate/ [20.10.2015].

Son,K.K. (2013). Lee Administration’s unwise spending on food globalization. Retrieved from http://www.kookje.co.kr/news2011/asp/newsbody.asp?code=0100&key=20130622.22002214847.

[1] Son,K.K. (2013). Lee Administration’s unwise spending on food globalization. Retrieved from http://www.kookje.co.kr/news2011/asp/newsbody.asp?code=0100&key=20130622.22002214847

[2] Choi, J. A., & Lee, J. M. (2010). The Perception and Attitude of Food Experts in New York city toward Korean Food-Assessed by In-depth Interviews of. Journal of the Korean Society of Food Culture, 25(2), 126-133.

[3] Son,K.K. (2013). Lee Administration’s unwise spending on food globalization. Retrieved from http://www.kookje.co.kr/news2011/asp/newsbody.asp?code=0100&key=20130622.22002214847

[4] Kim,B.S. (2011). Brook Shields loves Korean food. Retrieved from http://news.naver.com/main/read.nhn?mode=LSD&mid=sec&sid1=101&oid=001&aid=0005102338

[5] N.A. “How Unusual: Kimchi Chocolate.” 2009. Retrieved from http://chocolatebythebay.com/magazine/outsidechocolate/chocolateroundtheworld/koreanchocolate/how-unusual-kimchi-chocolate/

[6] Cho,Y.C (2015).Government devotes time and money revitalizing Korea’s tourism industry. Retrieved from http://www.fnnews.com/news/201507081559052335 .

[7] Chang, M. J., & Cho, M. S. (2000). Recognition and preference to Korean traditional food of foreign visitors in Korea. Journal of the Korean Society of Food Culture, 15(3), 215-223.

[8] Min, K. H. (2009). A study on cultivating Korean chefs for the globalization of Korean food. Korean journal of food and cookery science, 25(4), 506-512

Week 7: Academic Fraud

While I understand what motivated the girl in the article to fabricate her university letters, I still believe that she is the one most at fault. I honestly believe that every single student who has spent a certain amount of time studying in Korea could certainly understand the pressure behind her actions and even sympathize with her on some level , at least I do. However, the most rest of us did was to crudely fake our report cards only to confess right away when confronted by our parents. The girl in this article took the faking-report-cards act to a whole different level. Not only did she lie that the two most globally prestigious universities  created a special program just for her, she did not confess even when the press got interested and her father got requested to come as a guest on the radio. Her actions were not spontaneous but meticulously thought out and she spitefully stuck to her act. The press releasing flimsy articles without verification and her father appearing on TV (regardless of whether he knew of his daughter’s con act) was also to blame but in the end, everything that has happened is of her own doing.

Week 7 : Cram School Rebuttal

I agree with you in that cub cram schools (sekki hagwons) are a result of the excessive education craze caused by overcompetitive parents and should not be tolerated. However, I take issue in your arguement that studying ahead of curriculum should also be prevented. Unlike you, I believe that studying ahead does carry certain benefits. As long as it is kept at a reasonable pace and level, I believe it can encourage students to excel academically and also boost their interest in studying, especially if the student shows potential . Furthermore, I feel that there should be more explanation on what you meant by an “alternative aid” that replaces current private education as there is not much clarification about that part.

Week 6 : Cram Schools

Cram schools in their true form are beneficial and useful to students who struggle with their grades. I myself am favorable towards cram schools and the benefits they possess. I was accepted in college through a screening process only for students with a high command of the English language. This involved taking an essay examination in English that asked my thoughts on world affairs and political ideologies. The level of understanding and knowledge expected in those tests required me to study at cram schools. Even till this day I do not think that I could have gotten accepted to college without studying at cram schools.

Even so, the private tutoring industry in Korea has now developed into an aggressive stage that is reaching borderline insanity. Private education should only exist as an aid to public education; it should not be the main core of a child’s education nor should it depend on prestige. The concept of a cram school preparing students enter a seemingly more prestigious cram school is nothing short of ridiculous. I myself have also drifted to cram school from cram school as a high school student. Some were extremely overpriced while some cost close to nothing. And in the end, it all comes down to the aptitude of the student. If the student has the potential to achieve academic growth, it would be achieved regardless the fame or yearly statistics proving the prestige of its cram school.

Those who worship private tutoring to the point of lunacy need to slip out their delusion and realize that such cram schools are not miracle schools. It is up to the student themselves to excel in academics. In the meantime, the government needs to strengthen the competitiveness of Korea’s public education sector and try to lessen the public’s over reliance of private tutoring. If Korea has a strong public education curriculum, private education will return to its intended purpose naturally. Whether the government is actually willing to implement a plan that will do so is a different matter though.

Week 6: Conclusion

The aim of this paper is not to discredit Korean cuisine or suggest its inferiority compared to dishes from other countries. However, the incompetent strategy that is used to promote Korean food highly underpins these notions. Encouraging a positive image towards a country’s cuisine is important in that it helps create a favorable image towards that country which could further lead to people visiting that country, consuming its cultural products or even learning the language, all forms of soft power that contribute to strengthening national competitiveness. As pointed numerous times within this essay, Korea’s current strategy in doing so is nothing short of ineffective. Instead, a new tactic promoting the merits and beauty of Korean food based on the unique features that it possesses should be formed. Unfortuanately, the reformed strategy suggested in this paper is but a theory and could prove ineffective when implemented in real life.Regardless, there is no disagreeing that if apt the innate qualities that Korean cuisine carries is combined with the apt marketing, there is no reason preventing Korean food from achieving worldwide acclaim.