Saturday, February 22, 2014

Cosmic Justice in Sochi?

David W. Carmichael
So it seems Kim Yun Ah may have been cheated out of retaining her Olympic crown in the figure skating. Adelina Sotnikova could have had some home help from the judges to push the 'Ice Queen' into silver instead of the much anticipated gold that the Korean public demanded and felt she deserved. But it wasn't just the Korean public, apparently many observers from a range of different countries were confounded by the judges scoring.

On the other hand, there were some people who thought that Sotnikova had a more difficult routine and therefore scored more points despite a minor - but what appeared crucial - mistake during her performance.

In the wake of this controversy, everyone has become an expert figure skating judge, one way or the other. I myself, don't have a damn clue about how to score a figure skating routine.  From my perspective, Kim Yun Ah's routine looked flawless and beautiful and better than Sotnikovas (and Sotnikova's certainly not 5 points better), but what do I know? Nothing, absolutely nothing.  My thoughts don't matter regarding who actually won.

With this in mind then, let's assume, for the sake of argument, the decision was a scandalous one and that the Russians fixed the whole thing and cheated Kim Yun Ah and the Korean public.  If this is the case, it's wrong, annoying, and an example of sporting injustice.  But what about cosmic justice?

I find it slightly ironic that Korea's number one sports star, and someone whose performances mean so much to the country, may have fallen foul to a controversial home bias decision at an Olympics.  Why?  Because one of the most blatant examples of home advantage cheating at any Olympics was perpetrated by the Koreans themselves at the Seoul Olympics in 1988 when Roy Jones Jnr fought Korean Park Si Hun for gold in boxing.   You can see the full fight and judge for yourselves below:

Now, I'm not a boxing judge either, but this fight was the equivalent of a figure skater falling 5 times in a routine and still winning the gold in the face of an almost perfect performance by a competitor.  Everyone knows that this decision was highly motivated by what many Koreans thought were bias decisions by American judges at the Los Angeles Olympics in the boxing 4 years earlier.  The history is well summed up over at Gusts of Popular Feeling, along with some other issues regarding boxing at the games.

It is one thing getting even by a little cheating in a contentious, closely fought fight, but the obviously fraudulent decision in the Roy Jones fight was shameful and reflected badly on Korea.

Swings and roundabout then, and it seems rather apt that many Korean people feel cheated by the judges in Sochi, some might say it couldn't happen to a more deserving country.

It is tempting to think this way and to believe cosmic justice has been done.  But personally, I do not believe in justice of this kind.  If something was wrong then it was wrong.  If it was done dishonestly, then that is even worse.  And I know one thing for certain; if Kim Yun Ah really was the deserving winner and she has really been cheated out of a gold medal, then she does not deserve it, forget about Korea as a country.

The revenge aspect of the 1988 decision with Roy Jones is also something any right-minded person or Olympic organisers in a country would steer clear of.  One hopes - but does not expect - that Russian athletes will be treated fairly in 4 years time when Korea hold the next Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang in 2018.  Unfortunately, the likelihood is that if a Korean ends up battling a Russian for a gold medal in an important event (especially the figure skating), Korean organisers may see it as an opportunity for retribution. Let's hope this is not the case.

An Olympics of any kind presents both opportunities to flourish and fail for the host nation.  These days, it seems, people are waiting for what a country will do wrong in the lead-up to an Olympic games.  In Russia's case, there were question marks about morality (think stray dogs), of the construction of the venues, and the general organisation.  In London 2012 for the summer Olympics, questions were being raised before the start about the competency of security and of problems with dated infrastructure and poor transport.  In Pyeongchang in 2018, the worry will be fairness and impartiality.  Can South Korea, a country with a fiercely nationalistic mindset (it was about 90% Koreans who managed to crash the site, and all for figure skating!) manage to not interfere with the results of events?  The temptation for revenge was too great in 1988, so will it get the better of them 30 years later as well?

It will be a test for the character of a nation and it is an opportunity for Korea as a country to show they are above this kind of skulduggery and insecurity now.  They now understand the burn of being cheated like Roy Jones Jnr.  I hope they can react to Kim Yun Ah's disappointment in the best possible way, rise above it in four years time and do their best to be fair to all athletes who have trained so hard for the chance to be Olympic champions.  They and the world demand that they be judged on their performances, not on where they were born.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

My Wife is in Australia, so Who is Cooking my Breakfast?

Not exactly what Koreans have in mind when they think of a cooked breakfast.

So, I'm alone at the moment in Korea without my wife, and will be for a few months yet.  To cope with not having her around, I am turning to the other love of my life, exercise.  I'm busting a gut running up mountains, biking, pumping iron, and circuit training, with the odd game of squash every now and then when I can.  I am almost too tired to be sad.  But of course, I miss my wife being around in so many ways.

My co-workers and other Koreans I know are often quite shocked that I am living alone now, and when I say shocked, I am not over-stating things, they are almost horrified and wonder how on earth I am coping with it all.  I find myself sort of understanding their reaction, that is until they follow it up with why they are so concerned with me.

I reckon I might have told about 25-30 Korean people (in Korean and English) about my wife studying in Australia and I can't recall any of them not saying, in response to this, "But who is cooking your breakfast?!"

What's interesting is that it is always breakfast as well, not dinner (although I am sure they are concerned about my dinner too).  I guess Koreans take the saying, "Breakfast is the most important meal of the day", very seriously.

My usual response to this is that my wife never cooks me breakfast (in fact, I am sure when it comes to breakfast, I might have prepared hers more often), as I usually just eat cereal.  Concern then does then focus on dinner and just how I am managing to get by in life without someone looking after me.  You know, someone to clean the house, wash the dishes, make sure I'm wearing clean underwear, clean my ears, wipe my nose, and make sure I'm not walking out the door in the morning with my clothes on inside out, that sort of thing.

I guess these are the traditional duties of a Korean wife in a traditional, normal relationship.  When I live with my wife, I see things more practically, logically, individually, and perhaps also more from a Western perspective and so does my wife.

We try and do our equal share around the home as a couple.  When it comes to cleaning, however, I am bad, I'll admit it.  I take out the rubbish, wash clothes and always go out when we need something, but most cleaning-related chores I steer clear of and if I do them, I do them so badly that the trouble and strife usually just takes over, no matter how hard she has been working.  Apparently, however, this kind of situation happens in the UK too and I suspect is common world-wide, no matter where people are from.

Looking a bit messy in my kitchen sink at the moment.

I believe that this will always be the case, whether it is fair or not, and it is nothing to do with inequality between the sexes, but simply that women usually care more about a clean and tidy home than men.  This makes sense from an evolutionary perspective as women have always been the primary care givers of children.  An unclean and cluttered home or place of habitation is unsafe for an infant, and so there is a greater instinct in women for more cleanliness and order in the household.  It is not a coincidence that women are usually in charge when it comes to the home.  I am sure, however, that when it comes to Korea, and perhaps in most countries, the delegation of chores probably could be shared out more evenly between the sexes.

Anyway, interestingly, the response from people in England, when I visited last month and told them of my wife and I's current circumstances, contrasted starkly with that of Korean people.  Most often, it was something like, "Oh, that must be hard, don't you miss her?  Aren't you lonely?"  Not a whiff of a remark about cooking or cleaning, or looking after me, the concern was simply for me being away from the one I love.

I'll leave you to draw your own conclusions about this, but then I had a curious thought; how would I have reacted to some English people if they had said, "Well, who is cooking your dinners?" or "Who is doing the ironing?"  I wondered whether I might take offence to this; I think I might have done.  I think I might have admonished them in my head (and maybe in conversation) for stereotyping my wife, to thinking that this is what all Asian women do.

In previous posts, I have lambasted this sort of behaviour.  When people would ask me things like, "What is your wife doing today, cooking?"  (This was often from middle to older aged men and women.)  After a conversation with my best mate in England about this, he concluded that they were just ignorant, not showing prejudice and that they could very well say the same thing to his wife, who is English.  I think I at least partly agree with him on reflection, but I do think there is a hint of stereotyping and prejudice present because of these kind of comments combined with, "Where is your wife from, Thailand?"

If they are guilty of a prejudice like racism, I am now inclined to think it does not have any malice about it. Painfully ignorant, yes, but I think I would like to take a step back from that post now and admonish myself for being a little too quick to judge these people.  They had spent their lives in a town of very low ethnic diversity, they had almost no experience travelling, and very little experience interacting with anyone who wasn't White and British.  I believe they simply weren't really prepared for the introduction of me with a Korean wife, whether in person or merely in conversation and clumsily just searched for something to say.

So you see, what I find interesting is my intuitive double standards for reacting to how Korean people perceive my relationship and how English people perceive it.  It seems Koreans are stereotyping themselves, so is it any wonder some Westerners believe these things too?  I must also add that, in most cases I have known, wives in fact do cook breakfast for their husbands, do most of the cleaning, and do look after them, even take the reins in their husbands lives in Korea.  And whats more, most of the discussions I have had with Korean men about marriage end up in them telling me that this is what their wife does or that they look forward to having a wife who does it.  I guarantee that when I have a new lot of students in March at my boys high school, and I say I am married to a Korean woman, that a great many of them will ask me whether she cooks well (once a student asked this question and I replied that she was "alright", and he replied with, "oh, I feel so sorry for you").

I do think that Western culture is a bit caught-up in talk of racism and prejudice at the moment.  We seem confused and very intolerant of ourselves when it comes to what we say about other cultures and not inclined to give each other the benefit of the doubt on matters of prejudice.  No doubt there are many cases of cultural chauvanism, racism, and genuine prejudice and discrimination, but I think many cases of simple ignorance in dealing with those of another race or culture are painted in this way and I think this maybe a little unfair.

I'll leave you with a link to a post from Roboseyo, a blogger in Korea that I have had a few disagreements with, but one whose blog has always been worth a look.  I think what I have written here relates quite well to what he, very sensibly, writes about TheKorean's theory of culturalism and how many Korean people are quite possibly as guilty, if not more so, than anyone else of it when it comes to themselves.  He uses the example of Kim Seong-Kon's article in the Korea Herald, a professor of English at Seoul University and apparently well-respected Korean intellectual (although he did happen to write one of the worst articles I have ever read on Korean mothers).

It seems Koreans are stereotyping themselves more than anyone else, but if it is what they believe about themselves, isn't it hard to call it prejudice if Western onlookers believe it too?

Saturday, February 8, 2014

In the Absence of my Wife, my Heart Grows Fonder for my In-Laws

Anyone that has been following my blogs for a while (you never know, there might be some), will know that I have not always had the smoothest of relationships with my in-laws.  I think I have always mentioned what nice people they are, but it has been our cultural differences that have often caused some problems and frustrations.

Recently, however, due to the absence of my wife - who is studying in Australia, where I will follow in a few months time - some of the advantages of Korean culture are starting to show their face, which is causing a greater level of mutual understanding between my in-laws and I.

My in-laws truly dote on their daughter, especially my father in-law, who really treats her like his little princess and becomes quite down and depressed sometimes when she is away.  He is a tough-looking, thick-set, older Korean man with a very vulnerable sweet and gooey centre.  He and my mother in-law treat me like family, but obviously their love for their daughter is unmatched.  As wonderful and understandable as this is, it can create some tiresome situations for me, because when they want to see their daughter, I am usually obligated to tag along.

Because my wife doesn't live with them anymore, they try to take full advantage of her coming to see them. This usually means an all-day marathon of sitting on the floor and drinking (both are not exactly my favourite things to do).  As the day wears on my body gets stiffer and more uncomfortable and my mind becomes weary of trying to understand Korean all day.  At the same time they tend to get more drunk and the Korean comes thicker and faster and is more difficult to understand. Not having the option to go home, I usually start looking pretty miserable and bored, which as a result, makes me feel a little guilty.  I also start to feel guilty about perhaps encouraging them to think about saying we should leave earlier, especially, as we will be living away from Korea and they won't see her as often as they would like.

A Skype call to my wife from Korea
Since my wife moved to Australia, though, such situations have not really occurred and an opportunity has arisen to get to know my in-laws better.  I visit my in-laws once every 3 weeks or so for lunch or dinner and they are always very sweet and kind to me.  My mother in-law usually has lots of food for me to take home (the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, and I am no exception); side dishes, soups, fruits and vegetables, and she even comes to my apartment occasionally and tidies-up, cleans, and puts even more food in my fridge.  She is amazing and I appreciate it more than I can ever express to her (you have no idea how good it felt to come home, after about 24 hours traveling coming back from England, to a perfectly clean house).

And it is not just what they can do for me, but now when I visit them, I actually look forward to doing so.  They feel like a family in a place where I technically have none; it is nice to be useful and chop some wood or move rocks with my father in-law at their house in the countryside and then eat together after. This is often only for a few hours, instead of all day, as it was when my wife was in Korea.

In the presence of my wife, I also found speaking Korean difficult.  Because I had a ready-made translator beside me all the time, I didn't try as hard as I could to get my message across and my in-laws used to immediately turn to my wife if they originally didn't understand me.  Without my wife, there is no hiding place for me or my in-laws, we have to make conversation with each other.  While I am getting a little better at making myself understood, they are also making themselves easier to understand by speaking more slowly and using more basic Korean.  It is all coming together to help us build a better relationship with each other.

With the better understanding of each other, so to have I begun to have a greater appreciation of Korean culture when it comes to family.  I always knew of a kind of unsigned contract (duties) between family members; parents look after their children and their son in-law (let's leave daughters in-law aside, not sure about that one) and then they look after them when they are older (both monetarily, and more directly). They look after sons in-law well because they traditionally pay and care for their daughters. To begin with this can seem a little calculated and even selfish to Western eyes, I think I saw it this way at first.  Parents have children, it is their decision, and there should be no debt to pay (see the first post I ever wrote on this subject), but obviously people often choose to care for their parents when they are older.  That's approximately how I thought about the situation and essentially I still do, but perhaps that is over-simplifying things a little.

I get the strong feeling that my in-law's patience and extra-special kindness towards me is due to the fact I treat their daughter well, period, and I think this is a really nice attitude and makes me feel rather proud of myself.

My wife was a bit of a tear-away teenager who caused her parents a fair amount of strife at middle school, but then settled into the idea of learning English, to pursue a dream of becoming a nurse and living abroad, specifically in Australia.  I think when she became focused on achieving this goal, she started to quell the fears her parents had for her future at the same time. Perhaps they also thought that she might be a bit of a challenge for a man to marry due to her rebellious nature (just theorising, honey!).

With the nursing profession in Korea being almost unbearably stressful, poorly paid, prone to sexual harassment, and in my view hazardous, and England making it increasingly difficult for us to live together there (as well as being a place of increasing social problems these days), Australia became the logical choice (it is also somewhere I have wanted to live for a long time).  I am having to make sacrifices and to use quite a lot of saved money to help my wife study and my in-laws see this and do, quite literally, all they possibly can to help me while I am staying in Korea on my own.

Yes, they are being kind to me for a reason, they also might expect their daughter and I to help them out financially when they are older, because of the care they have given their daughter throughout her life and me for a shorter amount of time, but that unsigned debt that I have to pay them and the care for their daughter feels less like a weight on my shoulders, but something I would pay gladly (from a famous old miser, this may shock some of my friends).

Now, let's not get too soppy, priority number one is me, then my wife and my own family and then my in-laws.  I have no guarantee of success in the future and I'm not going to break my back to fund my in-law's sometimes slightly irresponsible (in my view) attitude to money (they, like many Koreans spend far too much on unnecessary status symbols and gifts, as well as drinking too much soju).  However, if I am able and I am sure that my own parents are well looked-after and happy first, some portion of the fruits of my labours will gladly be spent on making sure my Korean family are happy and comfortable in their old age.  They deserve to have their kindness repaid back to them and for the happy fact that I am lucky to have in-laws that I like, which is not always something that can be said in any marriage, whether it is cross-cultural or not.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

A Complaint About People Complaining About People Who Complain

Me getting prepared to complain about the purpose of modern art, I believe.

Shoot me if you like, but the 'forget about our differences and let's all live as one big happy family' principle that exists in many circles today leaves me wanting to stick my fingers down my throat and bring up my kimbap.  It's not that I don't think - in a perfect world - that this is a good idea, who could argue against it, but I am pretty sure it only exists as an idealistic principle and never works in practice or at least that those who peddle this have no clue how to make it work in the real world.

This is why multiculturalism is on shaky ground at the moment in many Western countries, we have the above principle and think the way to live together in perfect harmony is to just forget about all the stuff that people from other cultures do that we really think is awful and chalk it up to differences we can simply laugh-off as unimportant, or at least not as important as keeping them happy.  We aren't honest with each other and we keep quiet when we want to say something, and by doing this we simply don't understand each other well enough to live together in harmony or truly respect each other.

I remember Christopher Hitchens once saying he considered himself a divider and not a unifier, but that if someone labeled themselves as a unifier they would get all the applause and all the plaudits.  People love a unifier and why not, but unifiers are not always good and sometimes dividers can be underrated.  His point was that if some people are evil or merely immoral or they exist in a culture which encourages abhorrent practices and will not listen and never change, he didn't think it was a good idea to live alongside them.  The divider works to keep these people away, the unifier wants to bring them in.

So, what am I getting at exactly?  As great as unifiers can be they can also have some strange priorities.  In the quest for togetherness they can ignore or explain away some pretty horrible stuff.  I could use many examples to illustrate this, but seeing as this is a blog about South Korea, let's take the example of complaining in a post from a new blog at

The message is, stop complaining about Korea.  It isn't that bad in Korea (true) and all the bad stuff is the same or at least there are equally bad things going on in our own countries (kinda true).  I've gone true and pretty much true here, so what's the problem?  I have a few, but I should acknowledge some more nuance to the argument that wasn't really in the original post, but appeared from TheKorean in the comments section.  He is dead right that many complaints just aren't learned enough to be useful, the only problem I have with him generally is that he often paints every complaint involving Korea or Korean culture as unjustified and unlearned and every complainer as something akin to a racist or culturalist or just simply dumb. You don't always need to be a Korean, have a degree in Korean politics, or read 100 books about Korea to have a valid complaint while living there.  Here are the problems I see with keeping too quiet about the things that upset you.

1.  What if we are Discriminating by not Complaining?

Well, I'm a complainer, always have been, but I am an equal opportunities complainer in that I moan just as much when I am at home in England as I do in Korea, just usually about different subjects.  And, funnily enough I moan about England more when I'm in England and Korea more when I'm in Korea (conversely, I also talk-up England more when I'm in Korea and Korea more when I'm in England).  Why? Because you just don't think about complaining unless something has happened to you recently.  Should I stop moaning when I live in another country?  Surely this would involve not treating each place equally, not being honest, not considering Korean people my equals or of equal value to Brits, and not being true to myself.  Do Korean people never moan about things in their own country? (I know for a fact that they do).

One should perhaps check yourself if you find that you are moaning more than normal or without good reason, however, and this could be a sign of basic culture shock or discrimination in the other direction.

2.  The Moral Implications of not Complaining

Whether bad things happen everywhere is largely irrelevant.  If people are doing something dangerous, immoral, rude, or out of order, I do feel like one should not be afraid of pointing it out.  The unifier makes the mistake of trivialising some really seriously nasty stuff in their bid to make us all just get along and by trying to equal-up the cultures in all regards.  In the post I mentioned, there were two classics; bad driving in Korea and the treatment of dogs.

"Bad driving exists everywhere I go and, from my experience, the difference between Korean drivers and the rest of the world is negligible."

This old chestnut.  Even if this statement were true (which it isn't), why shouldn't we be upset about bad driving, wherever it occurs?  It is no trivial matter, people die from bad driving and according to OECD statistics people die at a 1.7 times higher rate in Korea than average in the OECD on the roads.  Yes, there are higher rates in third world countries, but Korea is not a third world country.

The people who will die in the future are potentially my friends, my family, my wife, and possibly even me (and actually we really should also care about those we don't know).  So when reckless driving nearly puts me in hospital while I'm riding my bike - even on the pavement - I might be justified in having a little moan, because it happens more here than anywhere else in almost the entire developed world (and even if this were not the case, complaining is still valid if you feel there are safety issues that can be improved and even better if you can suggest how they could be improved). When you are a genuine part of the culture and have real Korean friends and family, who you care about, this kind of thing should move you to at least speak out about it.  How would you feel if someone in my family really did die on the roads by reckless driving in Korea?  Would you condemn me for complaining then?  Until some changes actually occur and something is done about deaths on the roads in Korea, continued complaining is justified.

The treatment of dogs is another one.  You are pushing at an open door with me if you say Western countries don't exactly have a sparkling record when it comes to animal welfare and we eat pigs and cows, and in raising them for slaughter, treat them badly too.  But does this excuse the cruelty inflicted on dogs every day in Korea?

"I also harbor no bias in my disregard for people that dress up their dogs, dye their fur or carry them around in the streets—regardless of what street they are on, in whatever country it may be, and whether they plan to eat them or not."

I know the writer doesn't like bad driving or the poor treatment of dogs, so why not complain about it?  I think he should because we all hate the mistreatment of dogs, but if you are being honest, all of the above in the quote occurs far more often in Korea than in most other countries.

Dogs can't speak, but if they could, I am pretty sure they might disagree with the concept of having their tails dyed pink and their ears luminous green.  Also, they might just say that they want to have a walk, have a sniff, and enjoy the outdoors rather than being carried about for fear of getting their paws dirty (bad for dust in the apartment I hear).  It is all a failure of care on the owners part and the treatment of the dog as an accessory.  Whether I see this - admittedly fairly minor mistreatment - in England or Korea (never seen it in England as it happens), it matters not, it's wrong, period. I will complain about it.  So if the writer harbours the same disregard for such behaviour, again, what is wrong with complaining about it?

When it comes to eating dogs, I have some sympathy to the argument that we eat pigs, chickens, and cows, so who are we to comment.  However, there are some troubling aspects to dog meat.  It is technically illegal in Korea, so it is unregulated and severe cruelty can result, both in the care for the animals and in the slaughter.  The practice of beating or strangling the dogs slowly to death is still something that occurs in the daft and sinister belief that it makes the animal taste better or conveys a sexual boost for the person that eats the meat.

So when people say stop complaining about the driving or the treatment of dogs, I have to wonder whether they are just ignorant or simply have a callous disregard for human life or the treatment of other living beings.

3. Complaining Works

A couple of years back, you wouldn't believe how much crap my country of birth put me through to get properly settled in the UK with my wife and what the government and many companies tried to get away with making me pay for.  I was constantly moaning at them, and what did I get for it?  Money back, stress relief, personal satisfaction, some justice, and an easier life.  So I'd say complaining was pretty successful.

Just a couple of months ago, a Korean airline tried to change my flight home to a day later on New Years Eve, so that I'd arrive late in the evening that night - as you can imagine, most inconvenient, as well as knocking a day off my trip back home.  They offered nothing in response to this inconvenience, not even an apology, so what did I do?  That's right, I had a good complain, twice by phone and twice by e-mail.  And where did it get me, you ask?  I got a seat on a more expensive date a couple of days earlier, a heartfelt apology from Mr Moon at customer services, and lounge service at Heathrow and Incheon airports.

Complaining gets things done, especially in this day and age, as long as it is done in the right way.  Surely, complaining is the first step to change in almost every negative situation.  But how does complaining specifically stop Koreans driving badly and treating their dogs cruelly?  Shaming people can go a long way*, particularly if you shame a country with a sometimes nationalistic mindset, as well as raising consciousness to issues that some people may know nothing about.  And it should work the other way too. When a Korean complains that we are hypocrites for criticising them for eating dogs and treating them cruelly, when we eat pigs for example and treat them poorly too, this should be cause for self-reflection, shame, and change.  As an Englishman, the more complaints about the UK from people of other countries, the better, because I'd really like to learn their perspective and I find it interesting.  If they are nonsense complaints, I can ignore them or argue against them, but I am sure many can be used to help build a better society or at the very least educate me a little.

4. And Finally...

If my complaining combined with many others, spares some people dying on the roads and a few dogs suffering, I've done something good, but even if it doesn't do anything at least it has made me feel better.  I have hurt no one by doing it because if you don't want to hear me complain, don't listen and don't read my negative blog posts, it really is a simple as that.  Same goes for any other moaning expat; stay away from them if you don't like it.  Why must we all be so damn sensitive to any little thing some expat says on some forum on the internet, on facebook, or drunk in some bar.  Feel free to complain about this post though, but please realise that you are not on some higher plane of moral consciousness and that you are doing exactly the same thing you are complaining about.

* One should acknowledge that you have to be careful with 'shaming', this is because it has partly backfired when it comes to dogs.  After the 1988 Olympics and the 2002 World Cup, the issue of embarrassment about eating dog lured the government into making dog meat illegal.  This would have been great if the laws were enforced, but as they haven't, the effect has been to deregulate the rearing and slaughter of dog meat, making cruel treatment easier to get away with (although I bet it when on before).  However, it is still possible the net effect of the feeling of shame has reduced the consumption and therefore the suffering of dogs overall in Korea.  There is still a long way to go though.

As I have written before, however, the cruel treatment of the dog for the purpose of food - and generally - in Korea should give us all pause for thought about our own practices in rearing animals for food.