Occidentalism
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Seoul Shinmun Cartoonist Apologizes

April 18th, 2007 . by Gerry-Bevers

Today, Seoul Shinmun cartoonist, Baek Mu-hyeon, apologized, through a cartoon, for offending people with his April 18 cartoon on the Virginia Tech University shootings. I talked about the offensive cartoon here, “Does anyone find this cartoon funny?”

Translation:

I respectfully pray for their souls.

(Under the pictures on display is written “Virginia Victims.”)

I sincerely apologize for offending the bereaved families, Korean residents aboard, and readers with my satirical cartoon that was distributed to certain regions on the 18th.

Seoul Satrical Cartoonist, Baek Mu-hyeon

I am glad to see the apology, but I doubt there would have been one if the shooter were not Korean.


30 Responses to “Seoul Shinmun Cartoonist Apologizes”

  1. comment number 1 by: sitwell_87

    I am tempted to email them and tell them I am not excepting their apology. Just to give them a hard time, I swear, Koreans are so good at burying themselves. They say they are afraid about backlash that doesn’t exist (this was an act by an individual, not an organized group of Koreans claiming their hatred for America, though there are many of those), yet they go about making absolutely insensitive comics, go figure. Never had a thing against Korea until I found out how deeply rooted their mindless xenophobia was (and after I began attending a University where over half the student body is Korean, and as a result, feeling constantly segregated and what not)

  2. comment number 2 by: sayuri

    Cartoonist’s apology is okay, but I think NO more cartoon is necessary.

    If I were a family member or a friend of a victim’s, I would feel offended by this one too. This is a tragedy; no newspaper should carry any kind of cartoon. Just some words of condolences should be carried.

    Well, I am not surprised, though. Koreans have expressed their “joy” every time the Japanese meet a disaster — at earthquakes and a train crash.

    A Korean cartoon that appeared just after an earthquake hit Noto, Japan.
    http://www.enjoykorea.jp/tbbs/read.php?board_id=teconomy&page=15&nid=2855000

  3. comment number 3 by: kjeff

    sitwell_87,
    Out of curiosity, what college do you go to? I know Berkeley has a larger number of Asian American students, but I’ve never heard one that’s over half of the whole student body are Koreans.

  4. comment number 4 by: kjeff

    sayuri,

    If I were a family member or a friend of a victim’s, I would feel offended by this one too. This is a tragedy; no newspaper should carry any kind of cartoon.

    Writer writes, cartoonist draws.

  5. comment number 5 by: sitwell_87

    kjeff,
    I study in China actually, at a certain chinese universtiy, majoring in Chinese. So I’m not in the states

  6. comment number 6 by: kjeff

    sitwell_87,
    Hmmm…my apology. Anyhow, that’s interesting. I know that some Korean parents send their children to study in China, but I didn’t know it reaches that extent. You learn new things everyday I guess.

  7. comment number 7 by: sitwell_87

    ehhhh, no hard feelings, I still have some friends who are Korean. Most of them choose to come here though, as in, they weren’t sent here by there parents, I dunno, anyways, don’t apologize, you didn’t do anything.

    It’s hard for a lot of the other foreign students not to have bad feelings towards the Korean students. Anyways, the only thing one can do is be nice and try to judge them as individuals, not as a single group.

  8. comment number 8 by: kjeff

    sitwell_87,
    Too bad that they’ve given you not-too-nice impressions about Koreans. I must say that not all of ‘us’ are like that. I spent a summer in a predominantly white(feels like 90% of them) college, and that wasn’t really a pleasant experience either so I think I know what you feel. A fellow student actually robbed my Chinese take-out, ironic really… Anyway, I appreciate that you’re trying to judge them as individuals. BTW, my brother spent a semester there as part of an exchange program(he doesn’t speak Korean, so I don’t think he’d be considered one), I’ll ask him how his was.

  9. comment number 9 by: sayuri

    koreanJeff,

    Writer writes, cartoonist draws.

    Writers write, cartoonists draw, and Korean media let them spread without considering how people would feel.

  10. comment number 10 by: dogbert

    I must say that not all of ‘us’ are like that. I spent a summer in a predominantly white(feels like 90% of them) college, and that wasn’t really a pleasant experience

    Seems Koreans love to emigrate to white-run nations, yet when they get there, they are displeased to find themselves surrounded by “foreigners”.

  11. comment number 11 by: kjeff

    sayuri,
    Congrats…You are the second person(or, is it the third?) who chose to alter my id into koreanJeff. If somehow you feel necessary to put ‘korean’ in front of my id to validate your opinions, “He’s just another ‘Korean’,” then sure…

  12. comment number 12 by: HanComplex

    Sounds like he’s more sorry that he found his foot in his mouth after it was known the killer was Korean. Talk about backpedaling.

  13. comment number 13 by: HanComplex

    Never had a thing against Korea until I found out how deeply rooted their mindless xenophobia was (and after I began attending a University where over half the student body is Korean, and as a result, feeling constantly segregated and what not)

    Sitwell,
    I’m not really surprised at your experience. Even if you’re studying in the states, it’ll most likely be the same thing, if not worse. Their xenophobia is so pervasive in their culture, it seems, that it manifests itself constantly especially whenever they’re together as a group. Here’s another guy’s experience:

    I’m a white American. I lived in Korea as a teenager, surrounded mostly by Koreans who didn’t speak English, so I learned Korean fairly well. By the time I left Korea to attend college in the US, most of my friends were Korean, and I had developed a real love for Korea and Koreans. I had been treated so well that I knew I would miss Korea terribly.

    Naturally, when I started school in the US, I tried to make Korean friends in the US, both among the students and in the larger community. What I encountered was like a slap in the face. I’d walk into a Korean bookstore to get a dictionary and the people behind the counter would immediately start muttering about “the miguknom” in the store. I’d try to start conversations with Korean shopkeepers, martial arts instructors, etc., and often they would refuse to speak Korean with me, offended (some explained) that I would “consider Koreans too stupid to speak English”, though it was only Korean men who reacted this way. Brand new arrivals (incl. men) seldom acted this way, but it seemed the longer they had been in the US, the more bristling with touchy ego they had become and the nastier they got. Some, however, did a complete flipflop when I explained that it wasn’t that I thought they were too stupid to speak English, it was just that I missed Korea. Then sometimes their egos made me a hero, but that felt a little creepy, too.

    It got worse on campus. Though there the Korean girls didn’t hesitate to talk to me, this seemed to drive Korean guys into spasms of rage. Some Korean guys who later became friends of mine explained that they didn’t blame me. It wasn’t my fault, they explained. It was those *&#@ing Korean girls who were despicable, traitors to the cause, not “acting Korean”. I tried to figure out what this cause of theirs was and, depending on who you asked, it was showing off the greatness of Koreans, destroying the Japanese, restoring the purity and glory of Korea’s past, getting revenge against America for its unforgivable insults against all Koreans, and that sort of fun stuff.

    Real Koreans were supposed to hate everybody, it seemed, especially hating other Koreans who didn’t hate everybody. They also seemed to feel that the gravest insult they could dish out was to claim that another Korean wasn’t “real Korean” enough, which required burning and unwavering national pride, hatred of Japanese, resentment of America, keeping the wounds of various perceived insults open so that if the opportunity for revenge presented itself there would be no hesitation (“even a thousand generations is not too long to wait for revenge for us Koreans with our 5000 year history”), etc., etc.

    You can find the rest of his post here:
    http://metropolitician.blogs.com/scribblings_of_the_metrop/2007/04/the_politics_of.html#comment-66753128

  14. comment number 14 by: kjeff

    HanComplex,
    I wonder how YOU found out about the ‘Korean’ experience.

  15. comment number 15 by: jp123

    To Sitwell_87:
    You make generalizations and racist remarks of the Korean people that are far from the truth. First off, the “backlash” you talk of-actually, there are some ignorant people out there who will blame an entire country for the doings of one individual.. speaking of, you say that we “go about making insensitive comics.” You are absolutely right-the entire population of Korea came together to draw this comic because we don’t give a damn about 32 innocent lives being taken. You’re attacking Korea because of what one careless cartoonist did? Real smart. As for the comment on xenophobia, this is a complete false statement. If anything, I say Americans are more afraid of what they aren’t accustomed to and are ignorant of cultures/societies other than that of themselves. And if you were at a Chinese university, isn’t it understandable that Koreans would group together? Considering that probably most of them don’t know complete Chinese and Chinese is a language which you never really quit learning because it’s so complex, it’s kind of logical that they group together. It is not xenophobia: obviously, humans in society like to group together with their own people/people they are comfortable with. I know lots of Caucasians that group together and lots of African Americans that group together. They must be xenophobic then.It would be another story if you were in America, but what you’re saying has no base for an argument. Next time you make an argument, get your facts straight.

    To Sayuri:
    The comment you made about Korea expressing their “joy” at Japanese disasters- And Japan never express their “joy” at Korean disasters? I’m not saying that this is an excuse for Korea to bash Japan, but don’t act so innocent. This feud between Japan and Korea has been an ongoing process and both sides have faults. Go read a history book.

    To Dogbert:
    Whoever said anything about complaining of “foreigners?” Koreans come to America for “a better life” as so many Americans like to put it like any other place other than America is a horrible place to live. You’re reference to Koreans being displeased is not because they are surrounded by foreigners, but because of how they are treated. I’m not saying all the so-called foreigners are horrible people, but most experiences of immigrants to America are not the exact picture of the “American Dream.” Racism, discrimintation, ignorance- THAT”S what immigrants, not just Koreans but other nationalities as well, are displeased about, not being surrounded by foreigners.

    Just so all of you ignorant people know, the people of Korea are grieving for the Virginia Tech shooting as much as the American people are. Unfortunately, the shooter had to be Korean and some uneducated people choose to use this as an argument to hate all Koreans. You don’t even know the degree to which this incident was felt in Korea. Have you seen the Korean news? Have you read their newspapers? Have you talked to any of them? Do you know how ashamed and embarrassed they are? I don’t completely agree with them: instead of being so consumed with worrying about our reputation, why don’t we think about what is really important here, like school violence, guns, the troubled shooter, the victims and their families. Everyone is grieving: America, Korea, and the rest of the world. Don’t make it as if you’re the only victims here.

  16. comment number 16 by: sayuri

    jp123,

    And Japan never express their “joy” at Korean disasters?

    Have we?
    When?
    Have Japanese media ever carried such a disgusting cartoon as the one I quoted?

  17. comment number 17 by: jion999

    HanComplex

    It is a very good link above!
    Thanks.

  18. comment number 18 by: jion999

    sayuri

    Your link of cartoon is good, either.
    I didn’t know such a disgusting manga.
    Koreans believe earthquake in Japan must be “divine punishment”.
    So is A-bombs.
    And they bring poor casualties into ridicule.
    They did it too against Americans and faced the consequences.

  19. comment number 19 by: wiesunja

    jp123,

    You cannot answer Sayuri’s question, can you? the reason is that it is nothing but a typical Korean lie. Unlike you Koreans, Japanese retain a level of class that is quite higher than that of a disgusting, low life animal. Japanese do not rejoice and publish funny cartoons about Korean people getting killed in the Sampoong Dept. store collapse or Songsu bridge.

    Such barbaric behavior is much more akin to your beloved country of Korea. Koreans really seem to love to project onto others their own nasty and disgusting culture and behavior. Fortunately, it is just a case of what Koreans do best..making up lies and unfounded claims.

    Oh, wait..I forgot, Koreans are excused from having to substantiate their claims with evidence. In Korean culture, as long as one is Korean and one screams all the time, then everything that person says is absolutely 100% true.

  20. comment number 20 by: wiesunja

    Unlike what you Koreans do to foreigners who do as little as criticize the absolute putrid smell of your national food, we Americans do not lower ourselves to the level of you Koreans and start burning Korean flags, spitting at korean people in the street, or any of the other barbaric reactionary behavior that you Koreans would normally do. Also, unlike you Koreans, even though a foreigner commits a crime on our soil, the person’s ethnicity is not an issue unlike in Korea where a foreigner’s ethnicity is beaten to death 24/7 as being the cause of all “evil”. Also, we Americans are much more mature and the better person in that we don’t blame a totally unrelated nation toward who we feel jealousy (cough..Japan) for every single fuck up that we commit. So I suggest to all the idiot Koreans in here that they should just shut up, grow up, and have respect for the real victims of this horrific crime.

  21. comment number 21 by: Matt

    Unlike what you Koreans do to foreigners who do as little as criticize the absolute putrid smell of your national food, we Americans do not lower ourselves to the level of you Koreans and start burning Korean flags, spitting at korean people in the street, or any of the other barbaric reactionary behavior that you Koreans would normally do. Also, unlike you Koreans, even though a foreigner commits a crime on our soil, the person’s ethnicity is not an issue unlike in Korea where a foreigner’s ethnicity is beaten to death 24/7 as being the cause of all “evil”. Also, we Americans are much more mature and the better person in that we don’t blame a totally unrelated nation toward who we feel jealousy (cough..Japan) for every single fuck up that we commit. So I suggest to all the idiot Koreans in here that they should just shut up, grow up, and have respect for the real victims of this horrific crime.

    wiesunja, please do not make multiple postings of the same comment. Also, you know writing “idiot Koreans” is going to be inflammatory, so please exercise restraint in your comments.

  22. comment number 22 by: Durf

    wiesunja: “Also, we Americans are much more mature and the better person in that we don’t blame a totally unrelated nation . . .”

    /me invades Iraq in retaliation for 9/11

  23. comment number 23 by: kjeff

    Unlike what you Koreans do to foreigners who do as little as criticize the absolute putrid smell of your national food, we Americans do not lower ourselves to the level of you Koreans and start burning Korean flags, spitting at korean people in the street, or any of the other barbaric reactionary behavior that you Koreans would normally do. Also, unlike you Koreans, even though a foreigner commits a crime on our soil, the person’s ethnicity is not an issue unlike in Korea where a foreigner’s ethnicity is beaten to death 24/7 as being the cause of all “evil”. Also, we Americans are much more mature and the better person in that we don’t blame a totally unrelated nation toward who we feel jealousy (cough..Japan) for every single fuck up that we commit. So I suggest to all the idiot Koreans in here that they should just shut up, grow up, and have respect for the real victims of this horrific crime.

    Wow, I didn’t know…wiesunja is a genuine all-American. Thank you really, you’ve made my night. I’ve been sort of depressed the last couple of days, but you really cracked me up. It’s like listening to O’Reilly’s rants with bad editing, ever more funny.

    Unlike you Koreans, Japanese retain a level of class that is quite higher than that of a disgusting, low life animal.

    Wait…are you Japanese too? Arggghh… Japanese-American… Some of us have better short-term memory than Leonard Shelby, so a little less careless please…Wait, what am I talking about? Checking my tattoos, “P.M. & Racial Supremacy” Hmm…what does it mean? Wait, what am I talking about?

  24. comment number 24 by: HanComplex

    jion999,
    どういたしまして. The Metropolitician is another good blog. You should check out Michael’s other articles.
    sayuri,
    Thanks for the link. What kind of culture would rejoice at another’s misfortune? Just shows you how Koreans can be so tasteless, classless, and at times subhuman in their behavior. But then this is no surprise to non-Koreans who’ve lived in Korea or been around many Koreans.
    jp123,
    You’re typical of many Koreans: loathe to self-criticism and introspection. Instead of looking at yourself and your culture with a critical eye you try to find excuses, deflecting the issue and pointing out other’s shortcomings. Not really surprised, as this is a common Korean tactic in argumentation. Keep that up and contribute to your culture’s further deterioration.

    In the light of this recent incident, what I find terribly ironic is the recent post here on PM Han’s speech:

    We are not far from the the future when our country will be the greatest country, and our race should be able to become the worlds greatest race”, she emphasized.

    It looks like that’ll be postponed for a little while longer.

  25. comment number 25 by: Errol

    HanComplex said:
    In the light of this recent incident, what I find terribly ironic is the recent post here on PM Han’s speech:

    We are not far from the the future when our country will be the greatest country, and our race should be able to become the worlds greatest race”, she emphasized.

    It looks like that’ll be postponed for a little while longer.

    Posted on 19-Apr-07 at 12:37 am

    It will be postponed as long as Korea indulges male children.

    한국남자는 하늘 여자는 땅.

    Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1994 Sep;51(9):732-9. Related Articles, Links

    Predicting early onset of male antisocial behavior from preschool behavior.

    Tremblay RE, Pihl RO , Vitaro F, Dobkin PL.

    Research Unit of Children’s Psycho-Social Maladjustment, University of Montreal, Quebec.

    METHODS: Data from a large longitudinal study of boys who were between kindergarten and age 13 years were used to (1) test whether Gray’s and Cloninger’s personality dimensions measured in kindergarten predicted the early onset of stable, highly delinquent behavior; (2) test whether 1, 2, or 3 dimensions were needed; and (3) test the predictive value of a categorical approach. RESULTS: The impulsivity dimension was the best predictor of the early onset of stable, highly delinquent behavior. Anxiety and reward dependence made significant but weaker contributions. The categorical approach corroborated Cloninger’s suggestion that boys who are high in impulsivity, low in anxiety, and low in reward dependence would be more at risk for delinquent involvement. Boys who were high in impulsivity and low in anxiety but high in reward dependence were much less at risk for delinquency. Differences in antisocial behavior among extreme kindergarten personality groups were stable from ages 11 to 13 years. CONCLUSIONS: The behavioral activating system appears to be the major dimension underlying the propensity toward early onset of antisocial behavior, but both the behavioral inhibition system and the need for social rewards play important roles. The behavioral style (personality) that results from the interplay of these systems is clearly in place by the kindergarten year. Preventive efforts should target preschool children with at-risk behavior profiles. However, longitudinal-experimental studies with at least yearly assessments between birth and school-entry age are needed to understand the extent to which the behavioral styles are antecedent to preschool disruptive behavior disorders.

    Oh, the intense pressure of being a mother of a Korean boy! Like any young mother, (name deleted), 34, wanted everything to be perfect when her son, (name deleted), started elementary school last month.

    From: “The intense pressure of being a mother” Joongang Daily, April 05, 2007 By Oh Jong-taek

    Note that in the article (no longer online) none of the children are girls. Not surprising in a system that values female children so highly that 20% of females foetuses are sacrificed on the altar of Korean male superiority.

    More quotes:

    “(Different woman’s name deleted), who is also a doctorate student in the women’s study program at Ewha Womans University, insists some of the school’s good intentions were being misused as a tool to exploit the labor (sic) of young, anxious mothers.”

    Mothers! Why aren’t the fathers helping their BOYS at school?

    At least one Korean professor talked sense:

    “But Kim Do-ki, a professor from the Korea National University of Education, disagreed, pointing out that parental organizations in the United States have the authority to make suggestions in school meetings, while Korean schools expect only sacrifice from parents and manipulate them by making appeals to maternal love.
    “Korean parent groups should change and demand more control of the schools,” Kim said.”

    Jo Seung-hee: yet another wonderful product of indulging the tantrums (화병) of Korean male toddlers.

  26. comment number 26 by: crypticlife

    The cartoonist is being a bit deceptive.

    He’s not apologizing to the families, really. He knew quite well there were grieving families when he drew the cartoon, and also knew that most likely none of them would ever see it.

    He might be apologizing to Korean residents abroad, as he fears a supposed backlash. The backlash he fears will never come.

    He might be apologizing to his readers, though without indicating what he’s really apologizing for the apology is incomplete.

    What he should be apologizing for is making Koreans look like callous racists who only care when the event affects them. But then, this apology sort of promotes that view, doesn’t it?

    A difficult situation. Frankly, as an American, I don’t think he should have apologized. He certainly would not have if the shooter had not been Korean, and the apology is far more directed in spirit towards Koreans than any other group. A half-apology looks worse than simply pulling the cartoon, or even just leaving it in history, would have been.

  27. comment number 27 by: sitwell_87

    JP123,
    Guess I might have came off that way. I was just upset for the unforgiving way Koreans treat US servicemen, yet expect us to take the high road. Truth is, I probably could have worded my post a little nicer. Anyways, I would never want to hate an entire nation for the actions of a few, even if it was an accident. I wasn’t attacking Korea for what one cartoonist did, I should have been more clear about that. As for the other things you said, well, they don’t really deserve. Sorry, guess I came off too hostile, I just hope Koreans can learn not to get so angry enext time a foreigner does something wrong.

  28. comment number 28 by: sitwell_87

    *really deserve a reply

  29. comment number 29 by: jp123

    To Wiesunga:
    At first, I wasn’t even going to say anything about your comments, but I would like to ask a question. What is the reference to the “barbaric reactionary behavior that us Koreans would normally do?” Please, enlighten me. I do believe lots of countries in this world have burned flags and done other disgusting acts of hatred. This is not an attempt to excuse Korea for doing it, if we really did, in any way. But people have done far worse things to express their hatred for your country, especially in the Middle East. Many many countries have. I cannot bring to mind any major event in which Korea barbarously denounced your country. Really, do inform me.
    As for the comment on our smelly national food, if that is your opinion, that’s fine with me. Although I will say one thing: it’s people like you who encourage the stereotype of a typical American some people have in this world. (Not saying the stereotype is true, but there are people who do believe it) I feel sorry for the Americans who aren’t as ignorant and intolerant.
    I was not blaming Japan for anything, certainly not the Virginia Tech Shooting. (More on this later)
    I hope you will take your own advice in the future.

    To HanComplex:
    This really is a message to all. After hearing of the horrific tragedy at Virginia Tech, I felt a whirlwind of emotions, as did many other people. At first sadness, then anger (as is apparent in my other post).
    I do have to apologize for some things I said. I was enraged by the incident, not just because the shooter was Korean, but for the loss of innocent lives. I was also upset over the response of some to the incident. However, this is in no way justification for some of the things I said. Some of the comments I made were rather repulsive, as I see them now. However, I do stand by most of it, although it should not have been said in that way. But one thing that I would like to point out is my remark of xenophobia and the Korean people. I would not go so far as to say that Koreans hate everyone and everything that is not Korean, as some people did. Looking at the situation from a non-Korean point of view, I can definitely see why many feel this way. I think a lot of it has to do with cultural differences because Koreans are definitely not as courteous and friendly as Americans are. In fact, Korea ranks as one of the top countries found to be rude and bad-mannered. But again, this is from an American point of view. In Korea, we just don’t see ourselves in that way. I’m certain Koreans know we are rude to some extent, but also, Koreans gasp in shock at some of the things America does. When I first came to this country, I was shocked that strangers were so friendly as to acknowledge my presence by giving a smile or saying hello. I wish that the Korean people were this way, but again, it is what’s always been. But most of us don’t take it too personally and it’s not anything that we resent about ourselves. But maybe we should to some degree.
    Another thing is that many Americans feel that Koreans feel like they are better than everyone else. I see the argument and agree that nationalistic feelings hinder some Koreans to see the beauty in other countries. (I do point out that Korea is not the only one.) But the truth is, many Koreans admire America. Koreans look at the achievements of the American people and look up to this country as a whole. Even so much that many go to great heights to even look more western. (I wish they didn’t.) Why do so many Koreans immigrate to this country? From personal experiences, I am definitely one of those people who have gained so much in America.
    I apologize if I came off as someone who was so prideful as to ignore the mistakes and shortcomings of my own country. That was not my intention at all. Reading your response though, I sensed resentment and dislike for our country. Please do not feel this way. Everyone has faults, including Korea AND America.

    To Sitwell_87:
    As I have said before, the manner in which I commented on your post was totally and completely unnecessary, although I did disagree with some of your points. However, I see now that you did not mean for it to come off that way. For your understanding response to my rather distasteful comment I thank you and I apologize that I responded in that way.

    To Sayuri:
    I should have chosen my words carefully. No, I have never seen Japan expressing their joy at Korean disasters, and have to say from the moment I saw that cartoon I was deeply ashamed. However, I have seen Japan political cartoons directed at Korea (most of these are really irrelevant considering they are from a long time ago) This isn’t exactly a cartoon, I’m sure you’re familiar with Kenkanryu.
    http://mdn.mainichi-msn.co.jp/waiwai/archive/news/2005/08/20050810p2g00m0dm014000c.html
    I did not make it apparent in my first post, but I do apologize on behalf of the cartoonist for that disgusting cartoon.

  30. comment number 30 by: HanComplex

    jpl23,
    Thank you for your post. I can clearly understand where you are coming from. There’s really no need for apologies on your part, as it’s understandable how one can get emotional from this incident. This tragedy is deeply upsetting and affects not just the victims’ families and Koreans, but also Americans in general. Hopefully with time, some healing can take place.