5 things I don’t like about Korea and USA

As much as I like living in both Korea and America, I have some complaints about both countries. Yes, I know no country is perfect, so here’s my biggest gripes about each.

5 things I don’t like about living in South Korea

1. Racism
I wish Koreans would stop worshipping white people and treating white people different than other foreigners. Black people, Hispanics, and other non-Korean Asians all get treated differently, or “lower” than white people get treated and this is an issue common to most Asian countries I think. Because of Hollywood and history, white people get looked up upon and Koreans think of themselves as “better” than other Asians.

2. Citizenship
Its very difficult for a foreigner to become a Korean citizen. There’s really only a few ways, either marry a Korean national, have Korean heritage but live abroad, invest $5m into the Korean economy, or become a Korean cultural ambassador. So for the majority of us foreigners the only reliable option is to marry a Korean, which I’m not opposed to, but its difficult meeting a girl to marry when you can’t live here permanently. And you have to marry to live here permanently. Working here for any amount of time doesn’t cut it.

3. Online security
Doing anything online, buying tickets for a movie, getting internet, going to naver cafes, online shopping, transferring money to a bank account, getting a cellphone contract etc all requires a Korean resident number (only Korean citizens have that), or requires an Foreigner ID card (only foreigners with a work permit have that). So if you are living in Korea short term like me, good luck getting those things online. Its a major headache and hassle.

4. Work culture
The work culture in Korea is very strict. You have to follow what your boss tells you do and can’t talk back. You can’t leave work until your boss does. You have to go drinking with your boss if he tells you do. Overtime and Weekend work is normal. That’s why I don’t to work for a Korean company. But they have to get with the times and change these rules. Its way too strict and hinders intellectual and career development. Also, you’re encouraged to stay with the same company to show your loyalty. These rules are pretty different than Chinese work culture where there is more freedom of movement.

5. Gender equality
the recent murder of a girl in Gangnam by a guy who hated women prompted some people to talk about gender equality and misogynists in Korea. But unlike in America, where girls complain about sexism in every single thing imaginable, in Korea its very real.

There is a 30% work pay gap between Korean women and men, and that is the highest gap in the OECD. Korean women are pressured to look pretty all the time, and some have to get plastic surgery to find a job. They are discriminated against if they get pregnant while on the job and can be dismissed. In America, people can sue for this, but in Korea women are too afraid of retaliation to even try. In fact, online Korean bloggers even trying to talk about women’s rights get attacked viciously online by Korean males who don’t want women to have more rights.

In the US, there is the benefit of American males who have sympathy for feminists, but the reason why you don’t see many feminists in Korea is because its a patriarchal society, and people are afraid of retaliation and backlash, where Korean men don’t have that much sympathy for the women.

5 things I don’t like about living in USA

1. People love guns too much
I have to talk about this yet again, because recently a popular Youtube singer was murdered out in the open right in front of all her fans. Nowhere else in the world would this happen but in the US.

America has a gun problem. They think more guns is the solution, not the cause. They have 310 million of them and its impossible to take them away. Pro-guns people usually say banning guns won’t keep criminals from killing people, they will find ways to get guns or other weapons.

I don’t disagree with that, but I think the reason how they can get other guns in a city like Chicago for instance, which has a lot of murders but strict gun laws, is because they can always get it from states or cities with more loose gun restrictions. Because in America every state is different, people can just buy guns without a background check from a private gun dealer or gun show in a state with loose gun laws and take them to a state with strong gun laws and shoot people.
The solution is ban guns everywhere like in Canada/Europe/Australia/Korea/Japan/most of the developed world.

As for criminals finding other weapons, well a knife is quite less lethal than a gun. A knife is a short range weapon and multiple stabbings are required, whereas for a gun its long range, and multiple shots can kill multiple people at once. A gun is far more deadly than a knife is, so if a criminal uses a knife, a lot less deaths will happen. The time it takes for a person to stab someone fatally versus a fatal gunshot. You can’t say that stabbing someone is faster. A bullet travels way faster than a hand does. In a mass shooting situation, that happens a lot faster than a mass stabbing situation.

Plus, a lot of these mass shootings happen not from criminals, but from ordinary citizens with mental health problems. They aren’t criminals until they commit the act. Which means, banning guns 100% from every state is the right choice so that common citizens can’t get access to them easily.

Another argument people make for guns is that they need them for self defense (against intruders or the government) or for hunting purposes. My response is, in 2016 why do you need to hunt, since fresh meat is widely available, and why is a gun necessary for self defense when a knife will do? The same people who say that knives are just as deadly as guns (foolishly arguing against my point above) will defend this point in pure contradiction and say that no, knives are not as deadly as guns are. And what chance do you stand against a military that has access to choppers, tanks, bazookas, stealth jets etc. This ain’t the 18th century anymore.

2. People think socialism is evil

We all know that there is a lot of uneducated people in the US, which is how Trump became the Republican nominee for President. 70% of them don’t have a university degree. So unfortunately a lot of them don’t understand exactly what democratic socialism is. They hear socialism, and they equate that to communism which equals Soviet Union/Red China/Cuba/Vietnam for them, and they hate it. They think that Obama or Bernie Sanders are communists. Which is blatantly ridiculous.

Canada/Europe/Korea/Japan/Taiwan/Australia/Scandinavia/etc a great majority of developed countries in the world practice democratic socialism, basically its the idea that the people pay more taxes and in return the government provides more welfare. The US is already like this in some sense because of Medicare/Medicaid/Social Security. The problem is Americans are selfish and don’t want to pay more taxes to help their kids get better education, or themselves to get easier access to healthcare. When they are already paying taxes to help the US military invade other countries. So very ironic.

3. People care more about fetuses / animals than other human beings

the shooting of a gorilla because a family’s 4 year old son went into the cage prompts people to care more about the gorilla than the child. In Hollywood movies, you are more likely to see an adult get killed than a dog or a cat.
Conservatives are fine with lax gun laws that facilitate mass shootings of fully developed human beings but are against abortion, which is a pre-developed human being.
I don’t get it.

4. Politically correct bullshit

When I go to IGN or PC Gamer I don’t expect to see article about body shaming or fat shaming. I expect to see articles about gaming. I don’t want to see 50% of the news coming from formerly respected magazines like Economist and BBC and TIME and websites like Verge or Techcrunch or Engadget constantly post crap about feminist / gender / equality bullshit. I want to see actual news about what they are supposed to talk about! World events! Tech news!

People care too much about being politically correct. calling someone fat will likely result in your getting ostracized for it “body shaming”. Complimenting a girl too much is “sexual harassement” and “objectifying”. You can’t make any comment that can me misconstrued as racist, sexist, stereotyping, etc if you don’t have enough diversity in your company or game or movie, then you get criticized “not enough girls”, “not enough gays”, “not enough blacks”, “not enough transgenders” etc. Everyone is offended by everything. In short, I hate the politically correct “progressive” society that we live in today.

Here’s an example of how much ridiculous politically correct shit get into my newsfeed, this is just in the last 15 days from my Facebook wall:

why do diversity quotas exist again?
more BS articles about the supposed plight of women
Cat calling is now a crime
gender equality emojis
We can’t be having men write womens roles anymore thats a problem
Transgender bathrooms yay
lets combine two of our most inaccurate reported things together, gays and unequal pay gap
Women apparently have been “oppressed” in Hollywood until now!
Canadian anthem should be gender neutral
Womens rights. because no one else cares about gender equality right?
People are angry that an animation has a fat person in it
Fat makes you beautiful
Not allowed to be racist inviting someone to your home
Don’t like a movie because of the characters? you must be sexist
No swimsuits for beauty pageants because a beauty pageant wasn’t about looks? oh right..
Caitlyn Jenner news
feminism in tv shows needs to be highlighted for some reason
somehow single women need to be highlighted because they are single
Apparently having 1 more black kid in the don’t do category makes this saftey poster racist
forcing everyone to be a feminist
Miss Piggy is a feminist
New term “Manosphere” for men who deny women discrimination
every movie has to have a gay character now, even Star Wars
Now we have to throw our racist prejudice onto other countries too
Porn teaches men to objectify women (you don’t say!)
apparently you should be as fat as you want to
Implying that being fat and ugly is better than being slim and attractive
Implying that women are single are better than women who are married
Laws that prevent women from being forced to wear high heels
Articles that imply that women have to dress up more than guys
Remakes using all-female casts
implying that not voting for Hillary Clinton is sexist
A ‘leadership gap’ between men and women
Being against recasting Hermione from Harry Potter as a black person is racist
Schools have sexist dress codes
A strong female superhero that gets assaulted by the main villain is too violent
Financial crisis helped narrow the gender wage gap
Celebrities who think women are better than men
The Sims PC game allows you to be transgender

Now lets look at these sources… CNET, Economist, Eurogamer, BBC, TIME, etc. Wow thats a lot of feminist/diversity agenda being pushed down our throats every day. Now you know why I’m annoyed by this.

ridiculous political BS
ridiculous political BS

5. Gender Equality

I think Gender Equality is BS, and I’m probably the first to go ahead and openly say this. Go ahead mock me and hate on me all you want. I have my reasons. Feminists complain about small trivial things that they think are owed to them and hate on men without thinking about how much opportunity they have in the world compared to other women in the world.

They don’t think about the fact that men and women were born unequal, are biologically unequal, mentally unequal, have done different roles in society for millennia, and should continue to do so because they are good at different tasks. Women are better at taking care of kids, dealing with people etc thats why a lot of women are receptionists, service people, etc Men are better at dealing with physical labor, being scientists/engineers, fighting in battles etc and thats what they have traditionally done. One of the points I love about Korea is that the gender roles are very divided and separated and the guys do what the guys do best and the girls do what the girls do best. And there’s no complaining from either side. And look how much faster Korean life operates as a result! Its more optimal, more efficient that way.

I hate that everything a guy says in western society can be misconstrued as sexist or misogynist by today’s feminists and its just insane to think that. And not only that its a double standard against men. For example, you can have a movie that promotes feminist values and in the same movie you have girls ogling over a buff guy with his shirt off for half the movie. What kind of double standard is that? So girls can say sexist things and objectify men but guys can’t? That’s the definition of gender inequality. The same thing with that X-men article I linked earlier. So feminists want a strong woman to be a superhero and fight the bad guy but cry misogyny when the main villain chokes her? You can’t pick and choose which things are equal for you!

That’s why gender equality is complete BS, at least the way I’ve seen it played out online.

Edit: 6. Stereotypes/Racism

I don’t like how Americans have these stereotypes about non-whites, especially when it comes to mass shootings and mass killings. The recent Orlando shooting was a great example. That guy never said he was a Muslim and automatically all the media outlets reported that he was a Mulism and terrorist and pledged to ISIS because of his name! Despite all his family and friends saying its a hate crime. Just a few weeks later, a Texas mom shoots two of her daughters. I’m going to let you guess, do you think she was labeled a terrorist? Oh of course not, because she was white, so she had mental issues. A week after that, a Palestinian boy killed an American girl in her sleep in Israel. I’m going to let you guess again, do you think he was labeled a terrorist even though the situation is not that different than the other one? Of course! he was labeled a terrorist. Because he was of middle eastern background.

There you go people, now we know how the media reports things. White = mental issues. Middle east background/Muslim = terrorist. Black = gang related violence. This just feeds into peoples stereotypes and hate which is also exactly where Trump is getting his supporters.

On a side note, how about these ISIS attacks eh? There’s been ISIS attacks everywhere, in Istanbul, in Brussels, in Paris, in Tunisia, in Syria, in Iraq, in India, in Afghanistan, in Pakistan, in Lebanon, etc but just take a wild guess which attacks got the most media coverage? That’s right! The attacks that happened in Western countries! I know some people might be saying, well of course Western media will report on Western attacks the most, but thats simply not true. In fact, media outlets around the world devoted much more attention to the Brussels/Paris attacks than to any other ISIS related attack. In fact did you know that a tornado happened in Jiangsu, China just a few days ago? No? Well I guess you wouldn’t, because Western media outlets never reported it. On the other hand, Chinese and Korean media outlets very widely reported the Paris attacks and Orlando shootings. In fact, I believe the Paris and Orlando attacks got more coverage in China than their own tornado disaster which killed 99 Chinese! How messed up is that.

Facebook made their famous profile generator tool in support of Paris victims. I’m sure you’ve seen it, since almost everyone on Facebook and social media started changing their profile pictures to support Paris victims. But the Beirut attack that happened around the same time? The Istanbul attack that happened a few days ago? Nope. No Facebook profile generator tool. Not many people on social media even said much about it. On Kakaotalk, a Korean application, I saw many “pray for Paris” messages on there but not a single “pray for Istanbul”, “pray for Baghdad”. Nope. This just reinforces the issue that Western societies seem to get the most coverage out of any society in the world. The world is Western centric, and has been throughout history. In fact, who are the most famous people in history? The most famous scientists, conquerors, discoverers, kings etc? All Westerners right? Newton, Einstein, Shakespeare, Lincoln, Washington, Columbus, we all know these people. Do we know their Asian equivalents? Do we know their Persian equivalents? No, of course not! The great navigator Zheng He is far less known than Columbus. Shen Kuo, a famous Chinese polymath who made many important discoveries long before Europeans did, is far less known than Leonard da Vinci is.

So yes there’s another issue I have with the world, is that its based around Western society.




Life update… I’ve been in Korea for 9 months already!

Holy cow its September 2015 already. I barely even remember the new year has passed and already the year is almost finished. Crazy. I’ve been in Korea for 9 months now and its just flew by. I guess when you stay at home most of the time, that tends to happen. Ugh…

Anyways what have been my thoughts about living in Korea so far? I love living here, I love how fast things get done here, like getting a pair of glasses took just 30 minutes (it would be 2 weeks in the US), getting a bank card is instant (in the US it takes 2 weeks+ to mail it to you), getting contact lenses took me just 5 minutes, I just bring the prescription and they immediately give it to you. It’s so fast, so efficient, I love that aspect of Korea. There’s just too much bureaucracy in Western countries to get things done fast.
The aspect I don’t like about Korea? How everyone is so busy all the time. I know, its Korean society and they have alot of pressure to work hard. Their whole life is set out for them, study hard, graduate from good university, find a good job, and then impress your boss. It’s not much of a life. There’s alot of things in Seoul to do, but its hard to find people to do them with. Everyone has a lot of pressure and has to study or work overtime. That’s the main reason why I don’t want to work in Korea.

Other things, well despite some embarrassing moments, my Korean has improved alot. When I first came to Korea in Aug 2013 I could barely hold a 20 minute conversation in Korean. Now, I can spend an entire day with someone speaking just Korean. Listening still needs alot of improvement though. As for getting a gf, well I found that much like a job, you can’t just go for the best right away. You have to get some experience first. I couldn’t have gotten my job at Walmart if I didn’t work at BitTorrent, and I couldn’t have gotten BitTorrent if I didn’t work at Switchfly, and I couldn’t get a job in the USA if I didn’t do an internship in Canada. And so on.
A relationship is similar. I’m kind of too picky, and I have to start somewhere first. I realize now that I can’t just go for the prettiest girl all the time, having very little relationship experience, and expect that girl to like me. Girls can detect whether or not a guy has a lot of experience, especially pretty ones. So, I have to lower my standards and start from somewhere first. If I keep waiting for the perfect girl, it would take forever, because its a catch 22, just like getting a job.

My parents want me to come back home to live with them in Canada. I think thats pretty much a death sentence for me. Going from the busy nightlife of Seoul to a place where there is basically nothing, no friends, no girls to meet, nothing to do.. I would probably die. My parents think that I would be more happy in Canada (I have no idea why they think that). I would still be working from home, except in a much more desolate place in that small country town in the middle of Ontario.

People here like to dress up, and that makes sense to me. Why not try to look good all the time? Why only look good on special occasions? The only real excuse is laziness. I know that appearance doesn’t matter as much in Canada/US, but the truth is, it does, just people don’t say anything about it. If an average girl always puts on makeup and dresses up in Canada/US she would get much more attention than if she didn’t. When you’re young in you’re 20s and 30s, you should make good use of your time, and I definitely don’t want to look back on that time in my life and say, wow I was much better looking back then, but I didn’t make good use of my looks. I like to dress up and look good everyday. There’s no downsides to it. Why only look good sometimes?

So yeah, I plan to stay in Korea as long as I can work remotely. As long as I can keep doing my work. My place in Seoul is kind of expensive right now ($900 a month), and I can definitely find a cheaper place, so as soon as my lease expires in Dec 2015, I’m moving to a different, smaller place. Maybe around $500-600 a month would be good.

I’m fine in Seoul. I might not be really happy, but I wouldn’t be happy anywhere else either. I’m trying to find happiness here, that’s my goal. I wish I could go back to 2012 and 2013 life back in San Francisco, I was really happy back then, but times change and I can’t go back. People change, people got older, my friends got married and had babies, and I got older. And now I’m here, and thats my future I think.

In other news, I met some Chinese people at different meetups and its interesting to hear their take on the differences between Korean culture or American culture with their culture. I agree that China is very different than Korea and America in a lot of ways. A lot of that is due to the size of the population in China, the socialist government there, and the amount of diversity there in China, compared to Korea. I have always got the feeling that Koreans are less open, more xenophobic and more racist than Chinese people are in general. That comes from living in a small country that is 99% Korean. For the comparison with USA, I found this book an interesting read. It compares China’s meritocracy to the USA’s democracy system. I think both have their advantages and disadvantages but one thing that everyone seems to agree on is that both systems are corrupt and no system is perfect. (Not trying to be overly patriotic here, but I think Canada has the ideal system with a mix of capitalism and socialism).
One thing Chinese people are right on is that they don’t attempt to force others to believe in their ideology the way Americans seem to force on other countries.

Speaking of great books to read, here’s another one I read recently and it was a pretty great read that shone alot of computing history to me: Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution. If you’re a techie like me, its right up your alley. And written by the same guy that wrote the Steve Jobs biography, another great book.
Other books I’ve read: Becoming Steve Jobs was an interesting take on Steve Jobs. And American Born Chinese is a book that while short, hits pretty close to home for me. The Kennedy Half-Century was one of the better books about JFK that I’ve read. And The Book of Basketball, The Dream Team, The Showtime Lakers, and When the Game Was Ours are absolutely fantastic reads for any NBA basketball fan like me. Highly recommend these books.

Thoughts about introversion, leaving BT, Ladies Code, Tech

Work
Today is my last day at BitTorrent. I enjoyed working there, I had a cool manager, smart co-workers, I learned a lot of technologies like NodeJS, EpoxyJS, more Backbone and especially payments systems like Paypal and StripeJS, but in the end I guess I was still tired of the monotony. I needed something new and invigorating, I needed to move someplace new. It’s been 4 months already since I was in Korea, and I’m dying to go back already. 2 weeks a year of vacation simply wasn’t enough. It was like being in jail for 50 weeks and having freedom the other 2 weeks.

Tragedy
The tragedy that happened to Korean pop group Ladies Code deeply disturbed me. Two members died in a car accident, the other 3 have to undergo surgery. Still, the fact that they were so young, just beginning their careers and with so much hope to the future, and their sudden death made me realize how fragile life is, that anyone can die at anytime, and I hope we can learn to cherish our loved ones knowing this in the future. Yes, people die all the time, even young people, but the fact is these were celebrities and they were Korean, which hit me hard. Parents should never have to bury their children.

Smartwatches and Smartphones
The Apple Watch finally came out, and as always my opinion on smart watches are, if they have a long lasting battery (> 2 weeks) and is waterproof then I’ll buy it. If not, then they aren’t better than my current watch (a Seiko Kinetic), which charges automatically and is 100m waterproof. Also, I prefer round to square faces. My opinion is that smart watches should only do basic functionality, like show notifications and basic PIM-like functions. Anything more than PDA-like functionality is too much. We use smartphones to do complicated tasks, we’re not using to interacting with a watch other than just looking at it, so anything more than a glance is overdoing it. The only area where I think complicated functionality might be good on a watch is a voice assistant (Siri/Google Now/Cortana) but it shouldn’t respond with more than just the basic answer. The Apple Watch is an example of doing too much (viewing photos on a watch is just ridiculous), but the Meta watch gets it right. Looks good, with basic functionality at a glance. Anything more, just pull out your phone from your pocket.

As for smartphones, I wish more manufacturers would make two sizes, a smaller size and a bigger size. I think 4.7″ is a little bit big for me, coming from a 4″ iPhone 5S, but right now there’s no more options for smaller sizes. Every manufacturer now including Apple has moved to making phones at least 4.7″ in size, and that’s too bad. That’s like saying, lets only make laptops with 15″ screens and discontinue smaller screens because most people don’t like smaller screens. Some people do want smaller screens (either for portability or battery life) and we don’t need the bigger screen.

Introversion
I have always been an introverted person. It’s just built into my DNA. From a young age, I had a hard time making friends. In high school, sometimes I would hide in the school bathroom just to avoid talking to people. I am very awkward in social situations. I don’t like to start conversations. I purposely take longer routes sometimes to avoid meeting people. Sometimes I just like to stay at home and not talk to anyone. I am very much a loner, close friendships are hard to make, and long lasting romantic relationships have never existed for me.

That said, this sort of changed in 2010 when I joined AIESEC. Since then, I’ve been involved in meet ups, couchsurfing, and conversation clubs to meet people. But that’s more or less because I am forced to. In America/Canada, it’s very hard to meet someone unless you actively make an effort. You have to actively join clubs and meet ups and network with people. This is in contrast to Asia, where most people meet from introductions or services.
I am Asian to my core. I dislike having to make an active effort to meet people, and it feels very forced to do that. I’d rather have my friends introduce me to someone, but that culture doesn’t exist here. What’s more, I’m not a very good conversationalist, I don’t know how to keep conversations going. This is something most Americans are good at, and I’m not. I’m very good at following orders, and not very good at leading. I’m very good at listening, but not talking. All this just means, I’m probably a better fit for Asian society (where I was born) than Western society. I just feel like a fish out of water in a society where people constantly reference pop culture, makes jokes, come up with random topics, etc. This has always been the case for me. That’s why most of my friends are Asian or international students.

Pictures
I try to take more pictures these days, because I regret not taking more pictures before. Its sad that I can’t remember anything that happened 4-5 years ago because I have no pictures. Also I have no pictures with my good friends back in Toronto, which is kind of sad. It’s regretful, but better start logging these later rather than never.