Barred –

Apology about last week’s article: I said that Jeremy Wariner’s 400 meter race was August 23 but it turned out to be the wrong date. I usually try to check with two or three sources before I write such information but in this case, after a lengthy search, I only found one website and it stated that it would be on the 23rd. Later in the week I found the more trustworthy nbcolympics.com which gave all the schedules, plus videos and fun athletes’ information.

No, I didn’t get to see Jeremy run his race. I wondered why my television showed archery, taekwondo and weightlifting most of the day. I kept waiting for the women’s (and toddlers) gymnastics but they never showed. It finally dawned on me that Korean TV only showed games in which there were Korean competitors. The only Phelps swim race that I saw was the one in which a Korean also swam (the Korean got the silver). I tried to watch the replays of Jeremy and Michael Phelps on nbcolympics.com but a caption popped up that said “sorry, viewing is prohibited outside of the United States”.

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It’s not Korea that’s barring the videos, it’s America. Unlike the Chinese government and its Great Firewall of China, I don’t believe the Korean government bars any websites or information from its citizens, but I often run into American websites that bar outsiders from viewing or listening in. Often yahoo.com teases with ABC news headlines and, after clicking on the link to view more, that hated sentence pops up “sorry, viewing is prohibited outside of the United States”. Another example is the NBC website, which allows people in America to view reruns of many of their popular shows. When I try to view them I get that pop-up. In that case I’m sure it’s because NBC doesn’t want Koreans ,and other nationalities to view shows that NBC plans to sell to the Korean TV stations six months later. Thus, I get to watch what ya’ll watch on TV, but it’s six months afterwards. Also, I don’t get to see my free yearly credit report online.

Three years ago I used to listen to my favorite Dallas morning drive time radio station over the internet “Kidd Kraddic in the Morning” and also to a favorite Christian station but now they don’t service outside the United States. At least I still have NPR. I know, I know, “When in Rome, do as the Romans”. I should be immersing myself in Korean media but I’m not. In America we get upset at foreigners who move to America and who continue to live in their former country’s language and culture without trying to assimilate into the American English culture, but we find that American’s are just as bad or worse when moving to another country, Korea for instance. Some of my friends have been here longer than I have and still don’t speak Korean. We tend to run in our own English circles, watch and listen to English programming and hang with Koreans that speak English. Many places of business have enough English-speaking people or signs to get us by. Same as in America, many products and places of business offer Spanish in order to get that extra almighty dollar from the Hispanics, which just reduces any incentive to learn English.

Sorry if I’m sounding pessimistic. A few weeks ago I bemoaned my Korean “problems” to an American friend who used to live in Korea. She told me to look at the good things about Korea that she misses in America. She said, “Be thankful that the crime rate is very low. The children can still play outside without the parents worrying. The teenagers are studying hard and not getting into drugs or other trouble. And always remember that God is with you”.

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