Tuesday, June 05, 2007

The Empire Strikes Back

Insofar as I have some reservations about some of the effects of globalisation, the irony of my own position here is not lost on me. But while I sometimes wonder about my cultural impact on the Koreans I come into regular contact with, I think the truth is that the cultural lessons have been more of a one way street in the opposite direction. After all, my inability to speak Korean, and their inability to speak English, means they are protected from some of my wilder egalitarian ideas, which I suspect this country is not ready for.

I can however today, report two small victories for the truths we hold to be sacred and self-evident back home. When I first arrived here, Korean Mother sometimes served me thin-strips of anaemic and hardly-cooked potato alongside my rice. It's been slow progress, but these have evolved to the point that I have taught her how to make chips, although this is still seen as something of an English eccentricity on my part.

In an even more promising and potentially far-reaching development, a visit from Psychic Aunt this week coincided with a pizza delivery, and it transpired that she'd never had a piece. I respect the fact that she doesn't try to force her religion on me, so I wasn't about to force mine on her either, but she wanted to try a slice so I wasn't going to stand in the way of free will. There's something magical about watching someone try to eat pizza for the first time - the mysteries of how it should be held and eaten without burning the roof of your mouth. I had to leave her to it though because I was working. From the initial looks on her face, I didn't think I had a convert. A few minutes later though, she was asking for another piece. I think she was more surprised than I was.

I'm told that she's coming again tomorrow, and she's already planning for us to have pizza together...

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