I fear Donald Trump really is mad…

Unwise, for sure. Now the “other guy” in North Korea is not the full quid either, to be sure. Trouble is, between them these charlies are threatening us all! This is the worst scene I can recall since the Cuban crisis in the early 1960s. And here is something Kennedy had to say.

Kennedy, in his memoirs, wrote about the seven lessons he learned during the crisis, number six being, “Don’t humiliate your opponent,” which is, of course, a central face issue. And, as Ting-Toomey put it, “By understanding the face-honoring process intuitively, intellectually, and diplomatically, the two statesmen learned to honor and give face mutually in the eyes of their salient referents and in the arena of international diplomacy.”

That’s from a 2004 article by Sarah Rosenberg. It’s pretty much a commonplace among those of us who have ever conducted cross-cultural relationships, personal, business, educational or political. Trump just seems to have no idea! He has obviously not grasped the significance of face, especially among Koreans — wherever in the peninsula they live.

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That’s me 27 years ago visiting Wollongong with a group of Korean and Mainland Chinese from my class at Wessex College of English in Sydney. It was in that year that I began to learn about face. These students were good teachers.

How it played out for me later you may partly get from a professional post: On welfare issues with Korean-Australian students.

This post has become very long. Written over two days, it has four distinct sections.

— The first part is my immediate response to questions being asked about possible cultural factors in the tragedy that occurred at Virginia Tech. It should be noted that I do not aim to “explain” that tragedy.
— Then I present some other posts I have found that take up the same or similar questions. The most significant one comes from a Korean-American pastor.
— In the third section you may read further thoughts based on my own observation of Korean and Korean-Australian students in Australia.
— I conclude with reflections on the need to have a perspective shaped by something more than monoculturalism.

****

In the past fifteen years I have both at school and in the tuition sector had quite a bit of contact with parents and students in the Korean community. Before that (1990-1991) I learned something of Korean culture and attitudes from young adults studying English at a Sydney language college. Some of the conversations at that college went into some depth. There were some very thoughtful people in the groups I had then, many of whom were very keen to share, at times very personally and very deeply. I was interested as I had known virtually nothing about Koreans before that. What I learned stood me in good stead later on.

That someone in Donald Trump’s position seems not to have a clue about such matters ought to concern all of us. Indeed, he seems to deliberately cultivate his ignorance, preferring rather the stage show of one of his revival meetings to a mature engagement with the problem North Korea presents. That at least is how it seems to me, and it scares me more than I can say! I cannot recall anything quite like it before, not even from Reagan at his “Evil Empire” best, or George W Bush in full “Axis of Evil” mode.

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Donald Trump pursuing an Emmy or Academy Award for worst performance as President of the United States.

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2 thoughts on “I fear Donald Trump really is mad…

  1. You’re right. I was under the impression that ‘face’ was one of the cross-cultural concepts that was taken up within the business community, and it stuns me that as a businessman he hadn’t come across it beforehand (to say nothing of being President of the United States).

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