Kyoung Update: Korea

by kyoung on November 14, 2005

Hello everyone!

It’s time for one of those Kyoung updates… It’s been a while, huh? So let’s see… I think I’ll bullet point to be concise:

1) Very important: THE EUROPEAN CONNECTION. I will be traveling to Europe for the holidays–i.e. Christmas and New Year’s. I’ll most probably be in Amsterdam or Barcelona and I have from a week to a month-and-a-half to travel around the Old continent. Who is going to be in Europe around that time? I would love to see anyone who will be around–this is a special shout-out to my friends from Chile who I haven’t seen in YEARS! Tell me when and where you’ll be, and I’ll try to figure out train rides or cheaps flights to visit.

GIP-GSP Conference, 2005

2) School: God–how up and down I go in this school. Some of you may have received my desperate emails trying to cope with it all. It’s not the transition, the morning exercises or the work that’s getting to me–it’s this idea that I’m trying to compress world politics into one framework. World Politics, World Peace, the whole picture, the history of Eastern and Western politics and philosophy all in one. Comparative theoretical studies, comparative religion, comparing the I-Ching, Chaos Theory and Thermodynamics in one session, the UN–diversity in your mind can be boggling!

But good things come out of it. We had a very interesting seminar last weekend in observation of the 24th Anniversary of the UN International Day of Peace. This school was one of its principal promoters, and this day is quite special for that reason. We had seminars on Humanity, World Cultures and politics, hearing from so many intersting people: John Hall, Dean of the Faculty of Arts of McGill University, Paul Hoeffel, Chief of the NGO Section of the UN Department of Public Info., Joseph Verner Reed, Under-Secretary-General to Koffi Annan. Hearing about global governance from global governerns and sociologists was just amazing–and they didn’t seem to be aloof to the leftist criticism that global governance faces. I think I’ll try to sum up what went on during the conference for an editorial, so I’ll let you know more about it once I write that up.

Kyung Hee Univ.--UN Peace Day, 2005 (1)

3) I have had trouble writing my plays, and I think it’s because I promised to myself to re-educate myself to improve my writing. That leads me to the only possible creative outlet possible: my thesis. I think I’m narrowing down my subject to CULTURE, and for that matter, WORLD CULTURES (according to Samuel Huntington, there are only 7), and DIMENSIONS OF CULTURE. Why is this important right now?

Well, you see, there’s this whole new field that’s being promoted called “cultural geography.” Those who are promoting it have good intentions, they are trying to understand why globalization seems to pull us apart, rather than together. And as tensions collide around the world, (let us just think about what is going on in France right now), everything’s getting blamed to cultural differences.

Again, quoting “recognized” sociologists in this new area–cultural geography–they’re basically stating: if you’re an underdeveloped community, it’s because you have the wrong cultural mind-set. And because you’re underdeveloped, you’re not enjoying the wonders of globalization, and you’re being resentful and unproductive.

However, I think one of the main reasons why culture seems to be tearing us apart, is because the more we know about a foreign culture, the more we realize we knew nothing about it to begin with. That is a horrible, tragic truth to realize, and as globalization becomes the norm, we’re all gonna’ have to deal with it…

Therefore, the reality is that WE HAVE different cultural mindsets, (duh!), and organizations like the UN are trying to protect cultural DIVERSITY. In other words, in order to maintain CULTURAL DIVERSITY, we need to respect our CULTURAL HERITAGE, and not tolerate, but EMBRACE THE OTHER, and their differences, without criticizing their socio-political standing.

Kyung Hee Univ.--UN Peace Day, 2005 (2)

This is global governance: demonstrating our interconnectedness, our interdependency, and the need for us to put ourselves in each other’s shoes, understand the “other” we have neglected. We need to deal with the fact that we live in a world with billions of people who we may be ignorant about. If you just read the pompous literature regarding culture, and the way we’re being stereotyped –latinos are lazy, americans are arrogant, moslems are terrorists–you can begin to see why this should no longer be the way we see each other.

We’re too smart and too intertwined to allow this to go further, yes? Anyway… Those are a few thoughts that cross my mind. Especially when I look at how far this email is going, and to how many friends from such varied backgrounds this email is intended to reach.

4) I know I’m horrible at getting back to you after I send my mass emails. I usually get over twenty emails at once, and I’m just so overwhelmed trying to write back to y’all at once… But I still try my best. You have no idea how happy those emails make me.

5) If you’re getting this email, is because you’re not near me, and that makes me sad. I miss you all!

Peace out,

kyoung

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