Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Are Koreans Stingy in their Greetings?

Often we hear that Koreans are stingy in their greetings to one another, unless they are dealing with persons they know well. They are not as quick with their thanks as we are in the West.
In an article in the Korean newspaper the writer did critique his compatriots as slow in greeting people for the first time, such as taxi drivers, people at toll booths, in department stores and restaurants. He mentioned how free we are in the States to great those we meet, even if we don't know them with the
"Howdy" salutation. Koreans would not be as free and he feels it may be due to the formality of the culture.

Koreans are rather effusive he says to an extreme with those they know or want to please and quite the opposite to those they are not on familiar terms. Many years ago I entered a small store and was never even greeted by the owner, even though I was the only one in the store. Things have changed a great deal, the marketing world has made it clear what is necessary to stay in business. "A man without a smiling face must not open a shop" says an old Chinese proverb, understood by all these days. The customer is king.

Many years ago one of my fellow priests gave his altar boys a jacket for Christmas and not a word of thanks from any of them. He found this very hard to understand and mentioned it to the Korean Sister. She told him, "Father, the boys from the day you gave them the jacket they have been wearing it and if you could have looked into their eyes you would have know how thankful they were." The Koreans are not as quick with the words 'thank you' as we would be but they have their own way of thanking and sometimes we miss it.

Koreans often thank you with a gift; more often in this culture than in our American one. The Korean culture does influence them much more than the American culture does us. Their culture is the same for all, we in America have a multiplicity of cultures that have influenced us, giving us much more freedom than the Koreans have.

The writer mentioned that all those who come to Korea and study the language learn very quickly three Korean words: 'hello', 'thank you' and 'I am sorry'. He would like all his compatriots to learn to use these same words. The more we use them the more those who hear them will give answer and we will see change.


Just to keep you informed on trips to North Korea.

The North Korea Ministries of Foreign Affaires and Public Health have fixed the dates for the two Humanitarian Aid trips to North Korea.

1. November 11 14, 2009

2. November 23 December 8, 2009

The first trip is a U.S. Aid Project for 3 General Hospitals in South Pyong An Province. The Generator Project is designed to insure local hospitals an adequate supply of electricity for critical care sectors such as surgery, diagnostics and lab work.

The second trip is to bring medical supplies for T.B. drug resistant patients and medical equipment for 20 Peoples Hospitals in North and South Pyong An Provinces also Nampo City which is the port city for Pyong Yang. The multi-drug resistant tuberculosis medications have given much hope that even difficult cases of tuberculosis can be cured. As a result, chronic tuberculosis patients are beginning to seek out Care Centers where we collect specimens to test for MDR TB.

Asking for a remembrance in your prayers.

Jerry Hammond

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