Confucianism… or should that be confusionism?!

Korea is an extremely random place. Things happen rather whimsically, & it is irrelevant how important these things may actually be. It can be exceedingly frustrating at times & may well be a common cause of mental health issues! For some reason it is very difficult to get a straight answer from a Korean. Most sentences will begin with ‘Maybe…’ or ‘I think…’, immediately bringing the forthcoming statement’s integrity into question!! Maybe this is an issue of language barriers? I think it might be an inherent trait of Korean people in general…?!?!?

The random changing of details, or even entire events, is exacerbated further by the rules of Confucianism… or as it should be dubbed, confusionism?!… that govern the people. Confucian philosophies are a fairly complex amalgamation of social & moral thoughts, with a bit of religion thrown in the mix as well. It may be easier to dissect the reality from the simple observations of an outsider,… the waygook. The social implications seem to be the most prominent, centred around loyalty & respect to elders & social superiors. Confucianism demands the deference of higher social positions & the elders of the community. While most people foreign to this school of thought can still  appreciate the sentiment, it is difficult to imagine how blindly strict these rules are adhered to. The theory seems fairly routine but it’s application in Korea appears to have led to an almost dictatorship circumstance, with those empowered with respect answerable to no one!

The most obvious example I have witnessed is in the school system, where principal’s are a god-like creature, doing as they please, when they please, no matter how ridiculous their decisions may seem… & NO ONE can do anything about it because that would be disrespectful. So with considerable reservation everyone blindly follows the orders of their superiors. Questioning a decision, even to understand its true meaning, is also out of the question. This is a certain aggravation of ‘Korean confusion’. It filters down with increasing disorder until it is almost utterly non-sensical when it reaches the people who are to implement it.

Having said that, I do have a few positives observations on this crazy Confucianism! Relationships are a central theme which means socializing with work colleagues is encouraged… nay, demanded!… resulting in businessmen stumbling around in their suits pissed as farts at a ridiculously early 7 o’clock!! Hilarious,… sure… but maybe a valid thought too. How can you trust someone in a professional relationship without knowing them a bit better as a person? Mmmm…

Also, the haphazard changes that Confucianism helps feed can be a pleasant surprise! Walking into school expecting a full day of lessons only to find out they are cancelled for whatever reason is nothing short of delightful!! A prime example… while writing I have just been told, ‘We have school trip next week. You will have no lessons on monday & wednesday,… but maybe tuesday you will have some’…..

?!?!? I think that quotation provides sufficient evidence to support my claims, if not the theory behind them!



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  • day by day…

    February 2010
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