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Archive for September, 2005

Not the Chopsticks…

Posted by Brian on September 27, 2005

Today, the Korea Times asks why 10 South Korean golfers are on the LPGA list of the top 30 circuit money-makers. The answer? Why, chopsticks, of course. And because they’re Korean:

What enables South Korean lady golfers to be so formidable in the U.S. LPGA Tour? It is nothing less than the Koreans’ talent to make things skillfully with their hands, a trait handed down from generation to generation for thousands years.Celadon in Koryo and the Yi dynasty are world famous for blue and white china in quality, and you know that pottery involves the same skills as playing golf.

Not to change the subject, South Koreans’ special talent to make things skillfully with their hands is also believed to greatly contribute to their making almost a clean sweep of the World Skills Competition.

By the same token, Koreans are good at various sports that are played chiefly with the hands: handball, archery and table tennis, to name a few.

Professor Hwang Woo-suk of the Seoul National University who led the first cloning of embryonic human stem cells told in a public lecture that one of his assistants surprised the stem cell big shots of the world with his skills, which were beyond their imagination but actually nothing for Koreans.

Professor Hwang, referring to the use of chopsticks, mentioned that the Koreans’ skill with their hands contributed to their success in cloning embryonic human stem cells.

An editor golf fan of an English daily newspaper mentioned that one of the root causes for Korean ladies to play such great golf in the U.S. is closely connected to dexterity, which is also critical to preparing delicious Kimchi, a Korean side dish loved by the people around the world.

We all know that even when you use the same materials for Kimchi, it tastes different depending upon the hands that mix the materials.

This is why a so-called hand-taste or rather a typical taste created by the hands is heard frequently in Korea when it comes to preparing foods.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this kind of “it’s the chopsticks” nonsense is an insult to the Koreans who bust their asses trying to be the best at what they do, whether it’s golfing or genetic research. If I were one of these athletes I’d get my agent on the phone and have him or her put a stop to stories like this.

And of course, you saw the obligatory comparisons to Japanese and Chinese athletes coming, right?

The Japanese, who also use chopsticks like Koreans, once produced a golf great named Ayako Okamoto, who became a member of the LPGA Tour in 1981 and won 17 events between 1982 and 1992. She was recorded as the first woman from outside the U.S. to top the LPGA tour’s money list in 1987.

Among Japanese golfers playing in the PGA of America is Shigeki Maruyama, who is often compared to South Korean golfer Kyung-ju Choi.

Despite this, the Japanese do not surpass Koreans in the golf world possibly because they do not attach as much importance to the hands in preparing foods. They use sashimi knife in preparing raw fish, their all-time favorite, instead of directly using hands as Koreans do.

Similarly, the Chinese do not distinguish themselves as much as Koreans in the LPGA tour of America because they do not stress the role of hands in making foods. Their food culture features fire. Mostly they use fire to create taste instead of using their hands.

Among Chinese golfers, Hong Mei Yang became the first Chinese player to win a tournament in the United States in April 2004 by capturing the IOS Futures Golf Classic in El Paso, Texas, the developmental circuit for the LPGA Tour.

Of course, there are some other factors that make all the great achievements possible including tenacity and indomitability, two characteristics of Koreans, along with quite a lot of synergy among the South Korean golfers. But without the dexterity unique to Koreans their great success would be hard to imagine.

I love the way the writer qualifies the “it’s the chopsticks” belief by suggesting other factors could be at play, and then lists two more “Korean” characteristics.  Notably absent as contributing factors are such individual athletic traits as hard work, perservance, and dedication, presumably because it’s isn’t nearly as easy for an entire race of people to piggyback on one member’s glory when her success came after buckets of her own blood, sweat, and tears.

Furthermore, if Koreans are naturally so good at golf, why is it that I kicked my girlfriend’s ass at a game of miniature golf in Leavenworth, WA., back in 2003?

Posted in Korean Issues | Leave a Comment »

Red State

Posted by Brian on September 6, 2005

I should’ve de-linked Red State when this garbage was prominently featured on their front page, but I never got around to it. This, however, is the proverbial straw, and RS is no longer among my elite.

I began reading RS because I was looking for a conservative blog that kept a high standard of dialog, where I could actually witness intelligent conservatives openly debate their party’s policies without the mindless drivel of, say, Michelle Malkin’s site. They were able to keep it up for awhile, but it seems Katrina disaster has pushed them over the edge into Little Green Football-ish territory. It’s a shame.

I guess I’ll just have to spend more time at the non-partisan Tacitus blog.

Posted in American Issues | Leave a Comment »