Thursday, August 27, 2009

Shrimp among whales?

The reason that I brought up the population of these countries is not to suggest that Korea is a better country by any means, but to rid the common perception that Korea is not a "shrimp among whales" at all. It's just the very fact that Korea's neighbors are so monstrously large that lends credence to this misnomer.

Consider that among the countries neighboring the two Koreas that the next two smallest countries in terms of population--Japan and Russia both have well over a hundred million people. Of course, there are no equivalents in Europe (just assume Russia is not a part of Europe, which it really isn't in my opinion and who, according to most Russia observers these days, doesn't really care to be). Then, of course there's China.

What brings me to writing about this topic is that in the process of visiting the regions outside London, it's hard not to come across the feeling that this country isn't that large. What I mean by this is when I visited Wales, I could picture a lof of the people that were there would consider a visit to her capital as like a visit to the city. I mean, yes, I bet rural areas the world over, including those in the United States, would fall into a similar category, but just the ridiculously small scale at which this occurs in let's say not just parts of the U.K., but that of France, Spain, and probably Italy as well, reminded me of what I felt when I would come across people that have lived in Seoul their whole lives without visiting Busan even once and vice versa.

Perhaps, this is the norm in most parts of the world and countries such as the United States, China, or Russia are the exceptions. But, to me it shed the image of Korea being this really small country if countries, such as the United Kingdom, France, and Italy were, by nature, actually smaller than Korea. Of course, none of these countries borders a China, let alone a Japan.

Now consider South Korea's recent satellite launch from her own territory and North Korea's many "attempts" to put a satellite into orbit -- though I question whether there actually were more than dummy satellites in the North Korean missiles. It seems more than a tad ridiculous in my opinion that in South Korea's quest to attain respect and prestige somewhat akin to China, the country would be willing to expend vast sums to build a rocket when the country remains divided.

South Korea forgets that when most foreigners hear news of a rocket launch from South Korea, they hear the word South, before the word Korea at all.

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