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05 May 2013

Four Things We Can Learn from Koreans: "No Excuses"

Part 3: Four Things We Can Learn from Koreans

Children and teenagers are the same everywhere. It is normal for a young child to weasel his way out of not doing his homework.  Some of my former students were sleepy in class because they studied until 1 A.M.  and they had to memorize 100 words but some Koreans become sleepy because they were on Facebook or played computer games until the wee hours of the morning.  Kids are the same wherever you go. However, many professional Korean adults do not make excuses.  If they are late, they apologize and they do not blame the traffic. They may say they woke up late but they will apologize for it and admit their mistakes for not waking up on time.  If they committed a blunder at work, they do not point fingers. Even if it is not entirely their fault, they owe to their responsibilities, especially if they are the ones in charge.  They accept the reprimand of their superiors, sometimes even to the point of being unfairly chastised, but they do not dodge their responsibilities. 

This is evident in their public officials.  Many past Korean presidents publicly apologized when their corrupt practices were exposed. One former Korean president even committed suicide.  (Some political activists I know are still hoping that one notorious public official at least try to commit suicide). Once, a chief of the Korean National Police resigned because a 112 rescue call (Korea’s version of 911) was mishandled and that resulted in the gruesome death of a Korean woman from the hands of a serial killer. 

If you owe to your mistake and face the consequence, you show strength of character.  It means “Yes, I committed a terrible blunder, but it is just an unfortunate action on my part. It does not mean I will continue to do such thing on a regular basis. I deserve to be punished.”  If you point fingers, lie or make excuses, you prove that you are unprincipled and you should not be trusted.

In the Philippines, it is a different case. We have presidents who have already been sentenced for economic plunder.  Oddly, he is still well-loved by the people whom he betrayed and he is yet to admit any wrongdoing despite being video-taped playing in a casino while still in office.  We have a former president who is generally perceived as extremely corrupt, and she was even caught on tape calling a top Commission on Election official. Yet, this brilliant individual has maintained her innocence and still has strong allies in government.   Nobody has also resigned or been removed from office after the Manila hostage tragedy in 2010, which resulted in the death of 8 people.   

4. Absence of Slave Mentality [and Disclaimer]

(First published in “The Chair” Blog) By Rob San Miguel

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