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A Korean puts almost everything in perspective
September 24th, 2007 posted by JB under Opinion

I just received this essay that’s supposedly written by a Korean. And it’s sniper-accurate. I didn’t edit this, so just forgive the minor mistakes.

Jaeyoun Kim

Filipinos always complain about the corruption in the Philippines. Do you really think the corruption is the problem of the Philippines? I do not think so. I strongly believe that the problem is the lack of love for the Philippines.

Let me first talk about my country, Korea. It might help you understand my point. After the Korean War, South Korea was one of the poorest countries in the world. Koreans had to start from scratch because entire country was destroyed after the Korean War, and we had no natural resources.

Koreans used to talk about the Philippines, for Filipinos were very rich in Asia. We envy Filipinos. Koreans really wanted to be well off like Filipinos. Many Koreans died of famine. My father & brother also died because of famine. Korean government was very corrupt and is still very corrupt beyond your imagination, but Korea was able to develop dramatically because Koreans really did their best for the common good with their heart
burning with patriotism. Koreans did not work just for themselves but also
for their neighborhood and country. Education inspired young men with the spirit of patriotism.

40 years ago, President Park took over the government to reform Korea. He tried to borrow money from other countries, but it was not possible to get a loan and attract a foreign investment because the economic situation of South Korea was so bad. Korea had only three factories. So, President Park sent many mine workers and nurses to Germany so that they could send money to Korea to build a factory. They had to go through horrible experience.

In 1964, President Park visited Germany to borrow
money. Hundred of Koreans in Germany came to the airport to welcome him and cried there as they saw the President Park. They asked to him, “President, when can we be well off?” That was the only question everyone asked to him. President Park cried with
them and promised them that Korea would be well off if everyone works hard for Korea, and the President of Germany got the strong impression on them and lent money to Korea. So, President Park was able to build many factories in Korea. He always
asked Koreans to love their country from their heart.

Many Korean scientists and engineers in the USA came back to Korea to help developing country because they wanted their country to be well off. Though they received very small salary, they did their best for Korea. They always hoped that their children would live in well off country.

My parents always brought me to the places where poor and physically handicapped people live. They wanted me to understand their life and help them. I also worked for Catholic Church when I was in the army. The only thing I learned from Catholic Church was that we have to love our neighborhood. And, I have loved my neighborhood. Have you cried for the Philippines? I have cried for my country several times. I also cried for the Philippines because of so many poor people. I have been to the New Bilibid prison. What made me sad in the prison were the prisoners who do not have any love for their country. They go to mass and work for Church. They pray everyday.

However, they do not love the Philippines. I talked to two prisoners at the maximum-security compound, and both of them said that they would leave the
Philippines right after they are released from the prison. They said that they would start a new life in other countries and never come back to the Philippines.

Many Koreans have a great love for Korea so that we were able to share our wealth with our neighborhood. The owners of factory and company were distributed their profit to their employees fairly so that employees could buy what they needed and saved money for the future and their children.

When I was in Korea, I had a very strong faith and wanted to be a priest. However, when I came to the Philippines, I completely lost my faith. I was very confused when I saw many unbelievable situations in the Philippines. Street kids always make me sad, and I see them everyday. The Philippines is the only Catholic country in Asia, but there are too many poor people here. People go to church every Sunday to pray, but nothing has been changed.

My parents came to the Philippines last week and saw this situation. They told me that Korea was much poorer than the present Philippines when they were young. They are so sorry that there are so many beggars and street kids. When we went to Pasangjan, I forced my parents to take a boat because it would fun. However, they were not happy after taking a boat. They said that they would not take the boat again because they were sympathized the boatmen, for the boatmen were very poor and had a small frame. Most of people just took a boat and enjoyed it. But, my parents did not enjoy it because of love for them.

My mother who has been working for Catholic Church since I was very young told me that if we just go to mass without changing ourselves, we are not Catholic indeed. Faith should come with action. She added that I have to love Filipinos and do good things
for them because all of us are same and have received a great love from God. I want Filipinos to love their neighborhood and country as much as they love God so that the Philippines will be well off. I am sure that love is the keyword, which Filipinos
should remember. We cannot change the sinful structure at once. It should start from person. Love must start in everybody, in a s mall scale and have to grow. A lot of things happen if we open up to love. Let’s put away our prejudices and look at our worries with our new eyes.

I discover that every person is worthy to be loved. Trust in love, because it makes changes possible. Love changes you and me. It changes people, contexts and
relationships. It changes the world. Please love your neighborhood and country.

Jesus Christ said that whatever we do to others we do to Him. In the Philippines, there is God for people who are abused and abandoned. There is God who is crying for love.
If you have a child, teach them how to love the Philippines. Teach them why they have to love their neighborhood and country. You already know that God also will be very happy if you love others.

That’s all I really want to ask you Filipinos.

About the author:

JB has blogged 119 posts

Read the Comments

[ # 1183 ] Comment from deity [September 26, 2007, 4:36 pm]

this is an old article. it was posted in almost every ESL websites here. i looked at it as some kind of attack to us Filipinos. maybe the author’s right. maybe he’s wrong. i dunno. what i know is that Koreans have a way of putting down their neighboring countries to make them look good. again… i maybe right… i maybe wrong… but having lived her for 3 years now, i basically know how they look upon us, Filipinos.

and yes JB, am back… with a big bang:)

[ # 1184 ] Comment from deity [September 26, 2007, 4:38 pm]

Thanks for your comment! It has been placed in the moderation queue, and if it is approved it will be published here soon!

what moderation queue are you talking about? i could see my comment as i type this. gahhh!!! i think you need to tinker the system a lil bit more. hahha! go check my e-mail add. lol!

[ # 1191 ] Comment from JB [September 27, 2007, 7:24 am]

i remember that old joke in some blog that the TV show The Amazing Race flopped in Korea when they realized the race in question was not them. ha ha ha

yes, of course, xenophobia di ba. but i think everyone’s inherently racist, and that racism actually helps when a country is fucked up — like what korea used to be. racism/nationalism seems to have a protective effect on a national level. so i think what this essay is trying to say is: “hey, be racists too, just like us! and all your economic dreams will be fulfilled! welcome to the LG-Samsung Proudly Korea Country!”

i know. it doesn’t sound right. but still. because right now, we’re not sufficiently “racist”: we openly let other people screw us so savagely, all while we screw one another equally savagely. i used to know somebody who had a huge pus-filled “pigsa” the size of my fist and when it got punctured, everything went out and he’s dead in a day. gross ano, but i think that’s our country without the protective membrane of “racism”/nationalism: we’re bleeding to death. and worse, we’re sometimes nationalistic in the wrong ways — like when we get sensitive when some other foreigner as much as say something remotely “unkind” regarding our country. the small unimportant things get blown up in the media, while the more important, policy-related stuff get ignored. even our highest officials are not clever enough to get a good deal with other governments. okay lang if our officials are corrupt — because no government in the world is free of corruption, lalo na korea — but the difference here in the philippines is aside from being corrupt, the filipino executives are not clever. they’re so goddamn stupid.

i was one of the people who wrote the 2004 export manual for the DTI, i also wrote the web content for Japan’s JBIC — the institution that lends money and grants to other governments (flyovers, the MRT, and lots of many things came from JBIC money) — and the things i’ve discovered while working on those projects are mind-boggling — kitang kita how naive we are, for instance, and how cunning and clever for example the japanese. sure, they give us money, for instance, and these funds have grant components (meaning very low interest stretched out in a long time), but ultimately the agreements in-between governments are so carefully structured that they ultimately benefit greatly japanese companies. japan helps poor countries — but in a way that hugely benefits them. two birdies in one stone. and if you see how it all works — and how filipino officials seem to act all clueless in the face of all this — malalaglag ang panga mo.

i realize why i think this essay has made a good point is because it’s somehow similar to what i’ve been harping about to my small circle of friends — which happens to be the same things people like local financial consultants Rufo Colayco and Robert Kyosaki (Rich Dad, Poor Dad) have been telling people in the past years.

teka, kakain muna ako. =D

[ # 1208 ] Comment from deity [September 29, 2007, 3:10 pm]

koreans can be racist- the older generation, that is. guess because they are still not sold to the idea of seeing foreigners around, especially the ones who despise them for eating dogs.

generally though, koreans are very helpful. there are but very few of them who would refuse to give a helping hand if needed.

i dunno about japanese, but koreans are really into helping poor neighboring nations. they even beg north koreans to let them help. gawd.

most koreans believe in good karma. maybe because more and more of them are converting into Christianity.

opppsss… touchy subject.

kakain na rin ako:)

[ # 1214 ] Comment from erwinilao [September 30, 2007, 3:15 am]

Racism will never be stamped out as sure as human nature will never change. It all stems out from the perspective of the “other”. Among Filipinos it is best exemplified thru Cebuanos’ hatred of Tagalog, or Tagalogs despising Ilocanos, or the Visayans hating the Ilonggos. Wherever you are, you will definitely have views of other people, or other country, or another group. Same as when we look down on La Sallites. Same as when UP students look down on Ateneans. Everything is just human nature. You dare change that? Well that is when you achieve a level of enlightenment. Make no generalization. Create no opinions. Face the facts. You will see that the world is not different at all. The difference is in the way you see it. Keep loving one another mere mortals. We all bleed.

[ # 2187 ] Comment from dentorrecampo [April 24, 2008, 4:10 pm]

A “national pride” or a “sense of country.” That is what other countries have and that is what we do not have. That’s our albatross. I’ve said it each time Filipino officials praise variously Singapore’s authoritarianism, Thailand’s monarchy, China’s communism, America’s liberalism, Europe’s parliamentarism, Japan’s corporate socialism, and Korea’s eclecticism, and wonder if we shouldn’t adopt one or the other system to get us going. Those countries in fact may have different systems but they have one thing in common: They have pride, they have a sense of country. We want to adopt anything, we should adopt that.

It’s not the system, it’s the attitude. The system is variable, the attitude is not.

National pride or sense of country alone won’t guarantee progress, but the lack of it will most assuredly guarantee no progress. It’s not sufficient but it’s necessary, to borrow a phrase from Logic 101. You have no national pride or sense of country, you won’t particularly care what happens to your country. The Tagalog word is “malasakit,” and it suggests more than caring, it suggests compassion, solicitousness, love. That is a feeling you have for people and places you have a real relationship with. You have no pride or sense of country, you will not have malasakit for your country—and vice versa. That is our one glaring fault. Our own elite, whence comes our leaders, studied in the US, have kids studying in the US, have properties in the US. At the end of the day, or when this country goes to the dogs or is overrun by revolution, whichever comes first, they’ll live in the US. Why should they mind despoiling the country?

The other problems are derivative. Take corruption. Other countries have corruption, too, but both the quantity and quality of their corruption are different from ours.

Quantity-wise, well, we’re now the most corrupt country in Asia. You have no malasakit for your country, you’ll rip it off any which way you can. Some more than others—and the current rulers are the worst by far since Marcos. Quality-wise, other countries have “patriotic” crooks, ours add treason to greed. The corrupt of other countries keep their loot at home, thereby giving jobs to their countrymen and helping their countries produce their own goods. The corrupt of this country stash their loot abroad, thereby forcing their countrymen to look for jobs elsewhere and the national treasury to cough up whatever money they have not yet stolen to import goods.

-Excerpt from Conrado de Quiros’ column at

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