Thursday, April 16, 2009

Conflict of Values

We are replacing presently an old fence behind the Church with a block foundation and a new fence. The property was surveyed. We are not claiming all the land that we own but trying to keep close to the line of the old fence. I thought this would be appreciated by our neighbors. Well, when the contractor started to work we had all the neighbors there complaining about the drainage. I thought that since we were so generous and were also interested in handling the drainage problem correctly all would be well. The contractor has his own views on what should be done. He was involved in the initial conflict and doesn't want a problem with the neighbors.

Even the Catholics and not only our neighbors are guided by the traditional Korean values. I am a Westerner with a more individualistic appreciation of my rights. The Korean Culture emphasizes group awareness, over my personal concerns. They are much more sensitive to the feelings of the others, and they on the whole do not like conflict.

These traditional Korean values seem to be more Christian than the values that I have been brought up with and consequently the conflict. I have decided to stay out of it for my own peace of mind but it is difficult.

We Need 3 Different Set of Eyes

This Korean e-mail was received yesterday in my e-mail and thought it worth sharing even though it is a poor translation.

First we need eyes to see ourselves. What do I want?
I need eyes to see truly what I need.

Secondly we need eyes to see the other.
To know what the other expects of me.
Not losing the core of what one live in harmony with the other
is forming a healthy personal relationship.

Thirdly Eyes to see the world.
How is the world changing?
I need eyes to see what I can do for the world.
If the society that I am part of does not grow then my growth will be limited.
We need to see ourselves and others with the eyes of wisdom to discern the society to which we belong.
When we have these eyes we can cultivate our will and strengths to positively change the society to which we belong.
First see myself, see the other and then extend to seeing the whole of society.
It is then that our ideal and the real world begin to come into harmony.
The person with these 3 set of eyes will walk firmly in the real world: the head and heart in the direction of the ideal.

What the Business World Want?

All of us who work in Korea know how strong the desire for education is on the part of parents.
I can recall when the family would raise a bull for the future education of the child. The times have changed but the sacrifice made on the part of the parents for the child is as strong as ever.
They strive to send them to the best schools and take the means to do this. The cost at times is very high.

Over the years the Country has made some big changes in their education policy. Many thought that the system was too rigid and the system did not produce flexible, creative people with the human touch. This has improved a great deal. However, I was surprised to see an article in the Chosun Ilbo ( 3/30/2009) that had many in the the business world saying that the students come out of college standardized . They were all too similar according to one manager. Another mentioned that a person loses his individuality. Another mentioned that they have the language ability and the technical expertise but they lack the creativity for the job. The statement that surprised me the most was a personnel manager who said that companies are looking for candidates who do not just have high scores on the Toeic and generally high marks in their studies but "they are looking first for people who can sacrifice for others but they are difficult to find."

Even if this was a statement of a very rare type of personnel manager it was rather surprising to see. It is a good sign that our Korean world of business is still influenced by the traits that we have come to see as important for a good life. And there are those who are not embarrassed to make it known publicly.