Friday, November 11, 2005

Overcoming the Culture Gap

I had a very pleasant lunch today with the author of one of today's Joongang Ilbo Columnists. She has conducted many interviews with North Korean defectors in Seoul as part of her Fulbright Research and she touches on the not often discussed issue of how South Koreans treat their "brothers" from the North when they arrive in South Korea as well as how North Koreans might perceive that they are being treated. Obviously coming from such different backgrounds there is a lot of room for misunderstanding between these two. Even though South Korea may be the country with the most in common with North Korea, its not so much a matter as the two having much in common as the rest of the world having virtually nothing in common with the North. Even the former and current Communist states.

Citizenship is over-rated anyway
It makes a difference to the sheep has a link to a US citizens test. I figured that, though I am not American, I've been here two years so I should do okay. I was wrong.

You Failed the US Citizenship Test

Oops, you only got 5 out of 10 right!

I'm not sure which questions I got right or wrong but since I'm not planning to become a US citizen I'm not going to bother studying up on this. I remember when I was coming to the US and someone showed me a sample citizen test and I was stunned to learn that US presidents could only be there for two terms. I like to think I've learnt a lot about the US and its whacky ol' style of democracy since then. For example, I learnt just yesterday that in Virginia a governor only gets one term and it seems that they vote on the second Tuesday of November of the election year and have done so since around 1894 - bizarre! I'm not sure where you can vote on a weekday since its a schoolday but I'm guessing it must be churches (like I saw happen in DC for the Presidential elections) - also bizarre!

Currently reading:

"Hell" by Yasutaka Tsutsui