Greetings from Seoul, South Korea

By Robert Shuter

Dragon statue and red flowersI am currently in Seoul Korea, my first stop in Asia which will also include  Hong Kong, China, and finally Singapore for the ICA conference.

In addition to enjoying the sights of Asia, I’ll be guest lecturing at Hong Kong Baptist University, listening to lots of folks from business and academe about the cultural business challenges in East and Southeast Asia, and finally presenting a study on cross-cultural new media in Singapore.

This is my first time to Korea and it was a terrific experience that was enriched by Hoh Kim, who received his MA degree in 1997 from the College of Communication majoring in public relations. I haven’t seen Hoh since he graduated from MU but his warmth and graciousness were extraordinary: he cared for my wife and I as though we were family. In Korea, teacher is equal to king and father, as they say, and Hoh treated us royally: dinner at a traditional and exceptional Seoul restaurant, gifts for the two of us, and more!

Confucianism is alive and well in Korea and is reflected in the relationship between teacher and student, a precious bond that is ever lasting. Hoh has been very successful since graduating MU, former managing director for Edelman in Seoul and now managing his own PR firm while completing a Ph.D in communication and technology.

In addition to visiting major sights in Seoul—including the DMZ which was “really tense” according to our guide—I gained some insight into a significant generation gap between South Koreans over the recent sinking of the South Korean vessel by North Korea. It appears the young generation, particularly those in their 20’s, are not particularly angry or concerned about the incident; in fact, many blame the South Korean current president, Mr. Lee, for inflaming the North. This view appears to be at odds with their parents—those over forty—who are outraged by the ship’s sinking and loss of life, and very disappointed by the response of young South Koreans, who they find have little historical memory of the Korean War, and are just too self-centered.  This is just one of many issues that appear to divide the generations in South Korea.

Next stop Hong Kong—and then China.

Robert Shuter is a Professor and Chair of the Department of Communication Studies at Marquette University’s Diederich College of Communication.

1 Response to “Greetings from Seoul, South Korea”

  1. 1 Hoh June 18, 2010 at 12:39 am


    It was all my pleasure, and I was very happy to see you and your wife after all those years (13 years!). Thanks for contacting me, and I am glad not only you enjoyed the visit, but also had an opportunity to better understand cultures of East Asia. Hope your rest of trips are fascinating. Indeed, to me, you’re my KING!, and hope our paths cross again and again. Have a great trip to Asia.

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