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MAGAZINE, August 2002.
by Cheryl Robbins
the end of the 2002 FIFA World Cup, the world seems to have
suddenly become quiet. Friends no longer meet up in pubs
to watch the games and office chatter has returned to the
topic of best way to lose weight. Although Brazil¡¦s win
came without the violence of other World Cup finals, it
was not enough to dampen doubts about the fairness of the
referees and the dissatisfaction with host South Korea.
criticism of South Korea from around the world, I am reminded of
that country's strong national character. For example, South Korea
went from being very poor to one of Asia¡¦s major economies. During
that period, there were serious penalties for selling Japanese music
in South Korea. Taiwan, by comparison, seems to have developed a
stronger affinity for Japanese culture, even though there is also
a ¡§deep historical relationship¡¨ between Taiwan and Japan.
The year that
the whole world was captivated by the movie ¡§Titanic", the
South Korean government called for its citizens to boycott foreign
films to stem the flow of currency outside the country. Thus, many
people in South Korea did not succumb to the media hype and stayed
away from the movie theaters. I really admire this patriotism. However,
in the few short weeks it took to complete the World Cup, people
obtained a less flattering view of South Korea.
But, for those
living outside South Korea, this image does not have much impact.
This brings me to another point. When you are in another country,
it is important to be observant and to have an international outlook.
For example, Japanese who are used to slurping their noodles will
find that in England they are the loudest ones in a restaurant and,
as a result, will receive unwanted stares. It is important to follow
the customs of the country you are in so that, no matter where you
go, people will think that you have manners.
There is one
advertisement that I like very much. It explains that the same color,
body language and gesture can have very different meanings in different
countries. If you have the chance to travel, you will find that
learning about other cultures changes you in the process. However,
no matter where you go, respect yourself and the whole world will
respect you, too.