Thursday, May 27, 2010

Conditioning Our Minds to the Threat of War

It seems like everyone is wondering about the situation between North and South Korea (and let's not forget the U.S., Russia, and China...)

Today, I talked with a friend of mine who travels to Korea two to three times a year. She said something like, "Normally, my concern level is at a 2. But now, it's definitely more." To me, that's saying something.

Then, just a few minutes after that, someone at worked asked me, "Have you talked to your family in Korea?"

Clearly, it's on a lot of people's minds... well, at least if they're American.

When I got off work tonight, I called my sister, Hyun Jeong. And like usual, she said she is not concerned. Not concerned? How can this be?

Then, I talked to her husband, Glenn. He said he was a little worried, but his voice didn't have the same urgency as the voice in my head. Really?

It has occurred to me over the years that South Koreans really don't consider the North to be a threat. They don't believe that the North wants to really go to war. They are used to crazy threats from Kim Jung Il and his regime. They even shrug their shoulders at a torpedo now and then.

It's unimaginable to me. My parents were so concerned when Jim and I went to Korea back in November... I can't imagine what they'd be thinking now.

I'm getting off subject a bit, but generally Korean people are so hard to understand. In one regard, they're super healthy with the way they nourish themselves. The food seems so healthy. Yet, when we were in Korea, people kept sneezing on each other and us during the height of swine flu. Jim was outraged! No one taught them to cover their mouths?

The same thinking goes for the tense situation over there. How can people ever get scared? They live next to an unstable country with a leader who's eccentric and aging. What does he care if he starts a war? The countries never signed a treaty to end the war in the 1950s. They just signed a cease fire. UH, HELLO?

I know South Koreans are just used to this kind of behavior from their naughty neighbors to the north, but it sure scares the daylights out of me. South Koreans are (again, generally) such happy, pinky-ponky people. I worry about their internal threat meters sometimes.

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