How Embracing Western Culture Is A Risk For Korean Players
ORLANDO, FLORIDA | They walk a fine line most Westerners do not understand. Nor do most golf fans in Europe or America take the time to appreciate the dilemma facing Korean players when they come out onto the LPGA Tour. It’s more than where to live or what tournaments to play or how to get around when their English is circumspect. It’s a question of what culture to embrace, and what consequences that choice might bring them.
As narrow-minded as it is, when you catch many average golf fans in a honest moment, they will say things like, "Those Asian players just aren’t very exciting,” or "They don’t show any emotion or do anything to separate themselves,” or, the best and most borderline-racist one, "Their names are unpronounceable and it’s hard to tell them apart.” Even in 2019, you don’t have to travel far in cyberspace to find some stuff that would make Bull Connor blush.
What those people don’t realize is that in most Asian cultures, but particularly Korea, showing emotion – celebrating victories or accomplishments, separating yourself through word or deed – is not only frowned upon, it is viewed as a national embarrassment. Throughout Korean history – a history filled with bloodshed and suffering for a people trapped geographically between two historically brutal imperial powers in China and Japan – it has not only been just polite to remain reserved, it’s been a matter of survival. Celebrating a victory is ...
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