Being Jewish in Korea is for the most part awesome. I mean where else in the world am I admired for the size of my nose. When I see a book titled “유대인 파와, Jewish power that runs the world,” I know it comes from a place of respect and admiration, despite however misplaced and incorrect it actually is.
I mean there are some down sides, especially when I go to buy glasses and I can’t purchase the local brands and have to resort to the much more expensive imported brands (the nose thing). Also it does get tiring asking to have the pork kept out of the kimbap every time I place an order. Seriously ham is in almost everything here.
In general I would recommend all Jews in Europe and places afar feeling the pressure of increasing antisemitism and anti-Zionism to either go to Israel or come to Korea. The food, minus the ham, is great! The average day as a Jew in Korea is great. As I wrote in a previous post, there is a great community here and the city of Seoul make for a fun place to walk around on Shabbat. But then there are times when stupid stuff like this happens and I wish I lived in Laos.
So, today, this lovely humid and hot June 19th in Seoul I was sitting in my friendly local neighborhood doctor’s office waiting. Now I really don’t like waiting. I guess my mindset has changed to the local “빨리빨리빨리! ” pronounced “palli, palli, palli” which translates to the local Israeli lingo of “יאללה יאללה יאללה” (yallah, yallah, yallah) so I decided to read the magazine in the office. This magazine is called Today Magazine and it is one of those feel good fluff magazines about people doing wonderful things for poor people and Africa and such. I usually just skim it and look at the pictures and chuckle. It comes off as the most innocuous of magazines ever. But then today I saw this advertisement and I lost my kimchi! First I will post the advertisement as is. Take a close look and tell me what you see in this advertisement. Then I will post a little translation and an enlarged section.
I have a very touchy sensor for all things related to Israel (이스라엘) especially in Korean. So naturally when I saw this ad my eyes went straight to it and it was all down hill from there. My already bad mood was even further soured. Now have you spotted why this add really is both sad and disturbing? Take a closer look at the kid in the bottom left’s desk. What is that he has scribbled on his desk? It’s not his favorite band name or athlete, nope what do you see? So, now I am going to put in another picture with a rough translation (my translation I mean I did take a test that says I’m pretty solid at Korean).
The real selling point for me is the swastika. This whole advertisement begs the question, what dreams is this company supporting? I mean to me it looks like the next generation of anti-Israel anti-Jew murderers. What makes me more “so mad I could spit” is that a company in Korea would even use the whole Israeli-Palestinian conflict narrative as an advertising gimmick. This advertisement implies very blatantly, Israel the bad guys who turn off the lights and disrupt the dreams’ of these innocent little boys who just want to learn. It re-enforces the slanderous stereotype of Israel = bad oppressors and Palestine = good innocent victims. I guess this advertisement is successful to a point but then the kid has a full swastika and a larger partial one drawn on his desk. So in the end advertising fail. Maybe. The big guys in Korea, and you know em I’d bet your cell-phone and cars are Korean, would never be so stupid.
Just because I live in Korea, far from Israel, far from the college campus in North America and Europe and wherever else self-righteous little snots who rally from the comfort of their ivory towers on mom and dad’s dime, does not mean I live in a vacuum. I know what is going on. Come on I read the Times of Israel. This advertisement hurts because this is the narrative of the conflict that is portrayed in Korea. The average person on the street if you ask them if they know about the recent kidnapping, they will look at you blankly. This advertisement leaves me wondering, what about those boys’ dreams? My heart breaks for their parents, my heart breaks for them. My heart breaks when I see stupid shit like this. Does Mirae Electricity not care about the darkness those boys, their family, Kol Israel is going through? To me it would appear not. To me it appears like they care more about some little nazi (He ain’t no Buddhist that’s for sure) and what ever dreams he has. Well Mirae Electricity you are not my hope of tomorrow. Also, Mirae (future by the way) Electricity I will never buy any of what ever you sell. It is actually rather confusing because there are a lot of Mirae Electrics in Korea. This one is located in Gumi-city. According to Google pages, they are electricians. Well maybe they sent some people to Gaza to turn on the lights too bad they couldn’t turn the lights on the hearts of Gazans and in their (Mirae) brain. Either way advertising FAIL. Well unless they just want contracts in … then win.
The message that I take home is that I have a lot of work to do to promote Israel and Jewish people in Korea. I guess I’m going to be busy. Until then, bring those boys back and show the people the light of truth. Korea still is awesome though and I won’t live anywhere besides Korea. Well if Korea doesn’t work out, Israel or maybe Taiwan. I hear Laos is great for Jews too.