Monday, December 03, 2012

still nothing from the damn uni

I've heard exactly jack shit from Sungkyunkwan University about whether they want me for an interview. This produces two simultaneous internal reactions: (1) because the interview date is December 8, and today is December 2, I've got a sinking feeling that I've once again not made the cut; and (2) because there's still a chance I might be called to interview, I'm experiencing a rising sense of astonishment that the university is dragging its feet until the last... fucking... minute. Am I expected (correction: is my buddy Tom expected) to buy my ticket one day before departure? I shake my head in wonder.

Koreans are infamously zigzaggy: Korea is the land of last-minute changes in plan, as well as last-minute accomplishments of plans. But despite having lived in Korea for eight years, I've never gotten used to this flexible relationship with punctuality, and often marvel at how such an efficiency-averse culture has managed to succeed as well as it has, both economically and technologically. The answer can only be the scramble: Koreans are famously hard workers, and I suppose much of their effort is devoted to (wasted on, more like) compensating quickly for all the zigzagging from Point A to Point B. This vicious cycle of plan-change-replan reinforces the peninsula's headache-inducing "Hurry! Hurry!" mentality. While the scramble does make Koreans more flexible and open-minded than many of us planning-happy Westerners, it produces a great deal of unnecessary stress and chaos along the way. Korean culture, far from being Swiss-linear, is a drunkard's aimless stumble.

And I'm feeling the effects of that stumble right this moment.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is easily my biggest gripe about living in South Korea. The thing is though, it would be pretty easy to quantify the actual won being lost due to this sort of inefficiency (I'm not an economist myself).

For example, at my college nobody is told what our vacation dates are for Sollal/Chuseok/Fall Festival etc. until literally a few days before the actual holiday. So every faculty member, office clerk, and student has to make their plans at the last second. And this is _expensive_, not to mention incredibly backwards from a Western perspective.

I told my boss that as long as I'm here I'll just buy my vacation plane tickets in advance and if I miss any classes, so be it -- we'll do make-ups. I told him I'd quit if I couldn't operate and he understood (it helps that he lived in America himself for six years).

I could go on, but I won't. :)