This week, I was able to experience the reality of volunteer/charity culture in Korea through the UNICEF camp. On the last day of the camp, we were supposed to hand out pamphlets to the people in the Bongwha subway station, to persuade them to donate to UNICEF. Unfortunately, we were only allowed to do this for an hour because the subway managers kept telling us to leave, saying that we were being a nuisance. Although we tried to be  as quiet as possible, the managers still wanted us to leave as fast as possible.

This experience was shocking because I was astounded by the managers’ lack of respect for the volunteers. We did not want to hand out pamphlets in the subway for commercial reasons. We were doing this for a good cause. Also, UNICEF was a global organization, so there would be little reason for the volunteers to steer away from our duties and cause troubles like what wandering salesmen in subways would do.

Even the organizers were disturbed by the managers’ disrespect. I hope in the future, many more Koreans would respect charity work and try to help these organizations like UNICEF as much as possible. I believe that many of them do not see much value in charity work yet. But, when I recall this experience, I keep thinking about a story  about a Korean golfer that my father told me. A famous Korean golfer Kyong Joo Choi always wondered what made Tiger Woods play golf so well. Of course, talent played an important role but Choi believed that Woods had something else that helped him to become a world-class golf player. So one day, when Choi made a small donation, Choi felt that charity has helped  Woods to play golf so well. According to Choi, he felt proud and safe, because it seemed that the people who were affected by his donation would help him to win golf tournaments. Finally, Choi had recognized the value of charity. 

Just like Choi, many Koreans would not immediately recognize the value of charity/volunteer. But I hope, when I’m an adult, many Koreans would feel what charityvolunteer can do to their lives. Just as they give something to the needy, the benefactors would give something back to them.


Shifting away from Friedman, I decided to talk about an issue which I think is problematic in Korea- air conditioning. Despite the campaign about decreasing the use of heavy air conditioning in buildings, I believe that many other buildings failed to recognize the urgency of the campaign’s message. For example, a building where my hakwon is starts air conditioning from 8AM until 8PM. When it’s air conditioned, rooms in my hakwon get so cold that we cannot help but open the doors a little bit. Also, some of the students and I bring sweaters to warm ourselves.

I’m not saying we should not have any air conditioning. I just want to say that we should try to use less air conditioning so we could save energy especially during the time when oil prices are increasing. Also, if we are continuously exposed to heavy air conditioning, then we might miss the opportunity to savor summer in Korea. Yes feeling the heat and humidity in Korea can be an unpleasant experience. However, I believe it is even more unpleasant if we cannot feel what really summer feels like due to air conditioning.


 Although the mad cow diesease protests have cooled a bit, i would like to talk about how friedman would respond to this issue now that I have finished reading his book, “The World Is Flat.”

        It is clear that Friedman is a strong advocate of free trade- since it would ultimately allow flattening process to spread throughout the world. Therefore, it is likely that Friedman would not favor these protest very much because it would delay free trade agreement in Korea. However, he would not criticize the protestors. Rather, he would most likely criticize some of the American government for letting the bad image about American beef to prevail in Korea.

        While i was surfing through the websites about certain colleges, I was able to find a document related to the mad cow disease written by Professor Sean Decatour from Mount Holyoke College. It was interesting to find articles on mad cow disease because I could easily relate this to the protests in Korea.