m a r k a n d e y a

“Pride of Asia” Strikes Again

Posted by Brian on October 11, 2003

Lee Seung-yup, Pride of Asia

That’s the headline from a recent Korea Times article that praises the new “Asian Home Run Record” set by Lee Seung-yup. According to the KT, Lee’s the “Pride of Asia.”

The “Pride of Asia” label is one Koreans enjoy using whenever one of their own sets some Asian record or does something better than the Japanese (or sometimes the Chinese). It was last (obnoxiously) used towards the end of the 2002 World Cup after China and Japan were knocked out of the competition and Korea was the only Asian team left standing. All of a sudden, Asian solidarity was big, and Korea would be the standard-bearer as Asia’s representative against the rest of the world.

But, as you might have guessed, Koreans are quite selective about when Asian solidarity is in play. The Korean media was remarkably silent back when Ichiro blew away the league in his rookie year as a Mariner. And there was very little attention payed last year when that Chinese player – is his name Yao Ming? – became a NBA star. In fact, I’d be willing to bet that many Koreans silently hope that non-Korean Asian athletes do poorly… as it gives them a better chance at being the first Asian left-handed 2nd Baseman with 20 steals, or some other ridiculous self-serving “record.”

Be wary whenever you see Koreans talk about the “Pride of Asia.” It’s usually their ego talking… nothing more.

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