Monday, June 18, 2007

Response to a critical comment on the blog:

Let me begin by saying I love Korea. I have lived here for ten months now, and have just signed a contract that will keep me here through September 2008.

I have my complaints about work, but who doesn't? We live in a fallen world with other human beings and when we are all put together, our little quirks tend to make life more difficult. This is magnified by the fact that I am working in a foreign culture.

Korea is a great country, the people are wonderful, and overall, I like it here. That being said, I will continue to offer my "fish out of water" or rather "fish in a fishbowl with a bunch of people looking at him" stories.

Below is an anonymous e-mail I received a few days ago that asked some good question that I wanted to respond to:

Why do you have a problem with "fake" Korean brands. It almost sounds like you want Koreans to still wear hanboks. Western (NOT American!) fashion is now the norm in most parts of the world so its not abnormal for Korean business owners to want to appeal to their customers by 'westerinising' their stores as THAT is what their young Korean customers prefer!
To start out with, I noted in my introduction to my "fake brands" series, that brands are inherently fake. They are an image placed on an item to make it more appealing to consumers. The image of the Marlboro man is fake.

As for Koreans and their fake brands, I am not passing a judgment, merely pointing out a funny and odd phenomenon: Koreans dressing up their products and businesses to appear fully western.
It almost sounds like you want Koreans to still wear hanboks.
I'm not at all suggesting that Koreans should be confined to hanboks. I'm merely pointing out the humor in this scene: a wholly Korean store that employs very pale, westerners to model their clothes, and whose clothes bear nonsensical phrases. Again: "bone and fragments" what does that mean?

Koreans are not alone in being fooled by these fake brands. As I noted before, I'm sure very few Americans would actually mistake Taco Bell for authentic Mexican food. However, how many people knew that Outback Steakhouse, was founded and is headquartered in Florida and has no real ties to Australia?

1 comment:

  1. I too find humor in these things here in Korea. I often find myself walking in to these stores simply curious if the clothing is something you would see in the latest "teen" magazine. Hardly!


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