I've been thinking about doing this for a while, but this post finally pushed me over the edge.
Remember back in April, I tagged Brian from Jeollanam-Do my April Blogger Of The Month for his stuff about the Coreana Nazi ads, which eventually got the attention of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and coverage on international news outlets.
Well, I've been thinking about featuring a kind of K-Blogger of the month every month, and doing a brief write-up about one of the Korea Bloggers on my blogroll (see sidebar). Today, Joe's latest post, has finally prompted me to do it.
Without further ado, to give credit where it is due, here is September's K-Blogger Of The Month.
Joe Mondello has been in Korea a way long time, and speaks Korean really well, as well as playing a respectable mandolin.
Joe is one of the expats who has lived in Korea for a long time, and still manages, on his blog, to try to walk a mile in Korean shoes, tries to offer up the benefit of the doubt wherever he can. You can see in his writing that he certainly does have things he likes and dislikes about Korea, but those things do not seem to cause him to lapse into bitterness or unabashed judgementalness. Meanwhile, he has a wry sense of humour that takes a while to spot, but that is consistently refreshing and occasionally hilarious, once you know when he is talking out the side of his mouth. (Writing out the side of his keyboard?)
He is very perceptive, and subtle, and prefers to tell stories (he calls them slices of life) over making proclamations. I think this is a very good approach to living in a different culture. I respect him a lot for it.
Anyway, Joe also has decided that, when he sees Koreans acting like "ugly Koreans" (you know what I mean) rather than confronting and pushing about, he will shame them into remorse for their inexcusable behaviour with his own class and politeness. Taking the high road like this, when one is being constantly watched anyway, the way we paleskin bignoses are, is probably the best way to go anyway. That we could all do the same.
Well, here is an anecdote Joe shared about being a good guy in the face of all the peer pressure to litter and spit in the street, and buddy, I admire the heck out of him for reacting to this situation with so much grace, given that he has probably spotted this exact situation five hundred times. Here. Read his story.
Here's to you, Joe. Well done, sir: I raise my glass to you and your "good foreigner" directive. May we all be as generous and gracious on our bad days as well as our good.