(This post is part of the “Looking Past Korea” Series, my general wrap up on Korean culture. So far I’ve gone over superficial differences of Korea and cultural aspects that I think are over rated by foreigners. In this part I talk about the things that I think make Korea unique and different to Western Culture)
Undercooked meat and an open grill…my favorite type of restaurant.
I think of it every time I enter a kalbi restaurant. This type of restaurant could never fly in the States, the lawsuit potential is just too high. But somehow people in Korea manage and somehow children who can’t walk more than 3 steps without falling over on the street are suddenly gymnasts.
While The United States is lawsuit crazy Korea generally avoids lawsuits. They exist, but the culture has more of a “at your own risk” nature. It speaks to an idiosyncrasy in Korean culture where a person may not be independent when it comes to societal roles yet will not accept the help or payment of others when it is needed or deserved.
Buy some crappy merchandise? Should have been more careful.
Get hit by a car? Should have looked both ways.
Get harassed and punched by a drunk old man? Should have been older than him.
I’ve never been a fan of America’s lawsuit culture. I hate ambulance chasers and will never support John Edwards for the sole fact that he made his money from a rich family and lawsuits. I just can’t respect that.
Settlements are popular in Korea as many people avoid the stigma that legal actions bring by simply buying off their would-be accusers. At least money is still in charge, that much hasn’t changed. The downside is that many things that probably should be changed or fixed don’t get the proper legal action it deserves; like taxis that constantly run red lights.
I bet that somewhere between money and a good old fashioned whoop ass there is a decent middle ground.
Also, I bet that just because I haven’t seen it doesn’t mean some Korean child hasn’t face planted directly into the middle of a kalbi grill. Too bad, I really like kalbi.