Koreans are infamously zigzaggy: Korea is the land of last-minute changes in plan, as well as last-minute accomplishments of plans. But despite having lived in Korea for eight years, I've never gotten used to this flexible relationship with punctuality, and often marvel at how such an efficiency-averse culture has managed to succeed as well as it has, both economically and technologically. The answer can only be the scramble: Koreans are famously hard workers, and I suppose much of their effort is devoted to (wasted on, more like) compensating quickly for all the zigzagging from Point A to Point B. This vicious cycle of plan-change-replan reinforces the peninsula's headache-inducing "Hurry! Hurry!" mentality. While the scramble does make Koreans more flexible and open-minded than many of us planning-happy Westerners, it produces a great deal of unnecessary stress and chaos along the way. Korean culture, far from being Swiss-linear, is a drunkard's aimless stumble.On the other hand, Westerners of the procrastinating type tend to force the scramble upon ourselves, instead of letting other people do it for (to?) us. I'm not sure if that's better or worse...
Monday, December 03, 2012
A perceptive observation by Kevin Kim: