Fatman Seoul at TEDxSeoul

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Fatman Seoul’s Jennifer Flinn did a quick presentation for TEDxSeoul in late March on the culture of Korean food bloggers in Korean society. The videos are just starting to pop up on the web, and it looks like there’s some team translation going on. If you feel like participating please help out here.

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7 thoughts on “Fatman Seoul at TEDxSeoul”

  1. I found this quite irritating.

    Not in Jennifer’s presentation, but in the Korean audience’s reaction.

    The little self-deprecating jokes were spot on, and laughter seemed appropriate. But why the laughter every time Jennifer mentioned a Korean food name? Or a word such as dica? I understand laughing in the joking context, but this is why I sometimes hate presenting to general Korean audiences — many Koreans still find it absolutely unfathomable that foreigners are conversant in basic Korean words and concepts, to the point that it’s apparently REALLY funny.

    At 00:50, note the guy in the bottom corner just TICKLED PINK that Jennifer knows about wingbus and menu pans or whatever. *I* don’t know about them because I’m not interested in Korean food. Is it surprising that Jennifer knows about them, as an avid blogger of Korean food? Looked at another way, SHOULDN’T THE AUDIENCE EXPECT that she, as a TedX speaker about Korean food, know about such basic ideas as “wingbus” or “dica” or whatnot.

    And extend that — just how low are Korean expectations of foreigners who are called upon to be experts on something? That’s why Jen’s up there and the audience are in the little chairs, right? What else were they expecting?

    It’s like a presentation I gave on Korean nationalism, related to my dissertation research, focusing on public intellectuals in the 1980’s and the Olympics. At the afterparty, some Korean undergrad was oohing and aahing about how I knew how to read Korean. TO READ KOREAN. Think about that. I had just given a paper on a very specific topic in Korean history and society. It requires that I had read the writings of the person in question, newspaper articles from the time, items from popular culture.

    Yet, she’s impressed with me because I can READ, like I’m a trained seal.

    Anyway, I get a lot of that as an “expert” — and the low expectations of what can be “known” about Korea reflect not only the general cultural chauvinism of the Korean audience, but the condescension with which foreigners here are generally viewed, because the base assumption IS that non-Koreans can’t really “know” anything about Korea, unless proven otherwise.

    Or that some clueless, unintentionally annoying undergrad is complimenting a trained academic that he can READ the language in which he is supposed to function.

    “Wow, invited guest and implied expert on the field of food blogging — you know Korean WORDS? How funny! OH! You also know Korean food blogging sites?! So hard to imagine — because you’re white!”

    Irritating.

    Reply
      • yeahhh …. i’m korean and all – and when i was in the states for college, i got a lot of “WOOOOOOW, you speak english SOOOOOOOO well! i mean, oh my god, your accent is perfect! where are you from? oh, korea? north korea or south korea?” ….

        welcome to being the minority. the SAME THING happens in the united states of america.

        i agree w/ zenkimchi – you are LOOKING for a fight, for something to be irritated about. relax, have a cup of tea.

        Reply
        • really? people laughed every time you said an English word (i too am shocked at this behaviour and really have a hard time both understanding the behaviour itself and the ability for foreigners to so easily acquiesce to the bebaviour)?
          really? people commented on your English ability after you defended your thesis? i guess the people i hang out with are just completely different than everywhere and everyone else…and it is only me who doesn’t have the SAME THING (sic) happen – while living in the u.s.a.

          Reply
      • oh yes, i’m an “academic” too – and it’s all too easy to hide in the clouds of academia and not face reality. please. you’re making academics look bad. if you really understand the culture so well, then some acceptance should come along with that.

        Reply
  2. Being African-Korean-American, I think The Metropolitician already understands life as a minority. I was hoping that we could reserve this post to give Jennifer her time in the sun and congratulate her.

    Reply

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