Friday, September 08, 2006

culture shock

I've finally experienced some culture shock here in Korea instead of just when I go back to Canada and find 'normal' things have become so insanely bizarre.

In my dealings with one of my many, many bosses I've been told that it's disrespectful of me to call him by his name, Mr. No, as I am younger than him. Instead, I was informed by another underling like myself that I must refer to him, even when I'm addressing him directly, as Bon BuJangNim 본부장님!

When I learned that my boss required me to address him with this title I was aghast. I couldn't help but think:

"Crazy Korean men"!

This has helped me in my understandings of the psycho ex-business-partner of mine as well. He is truly a megalomaniac, claiming that he can control my life completely. If he says that I'm fired, well then, I can never work in Cheonan again. It's actually hard to say how far his self-importance goes, he may even think he has the right to control whether or not I work in Korea ever again as well.

After all, if you are surrounded by underlings who wouldn't even think twice about the requirement to only address you by your title, even in person, what are you going to think about yourself?

I must admit that I'm still having trouble adjusting to this cultural aspect of Korea and I'm quite shocked that it has taken me nearly 3 years to run into this particular practice full-on as I just have. Nonetheless, I will do my best when I meet Mr. No, oops sorry, I mean when I meet Bon BuJangNim again I will do my best to address him as such without a trace of a smile on my face and with a steady unmirthful voice untainted by sarcasm.

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