Thursday, July 16, 2009

Dimming the lights on "Korea, Sparkling"?

The Korea Times is reporting that the Presidential Council on Nation Branding is considering giving the oft-derided "Korea Sparkling" slogan the axe

Ever since its adoption in 2007, the slogan was met with ridicule by English-speaking community. To be honest, it does sound a bit goofy in English, but I don't think it was ever really designed with people from English-speaking countries in mind. To people throughout East Asia, for whom English is an important medium but one with less depth, it sounds just fine. At least, "sounds good" is what people from Vietnam, China, Japan, and Taiwan have told me. 

I wouldn't mind if they go back to the "Dynamic Korea" slogan that "Sparkling" replaced (I think). That summed up Korea quite well. Or just go with "Annyong!" (and do not spell it "Annyeong"). 

For the past few months I've been working on a proposal I was going to present to some people I know who work or worked in the KNTO, but it's not ready yet, so I hope "Korea Sparkling" can hold on for another semester or so. 

Oh, I see this has already been tossed down the Hole. Go to the comments section to witness first-hand the disdain for Korea held by some people who have long left the country but still can't seem to let go of their demons. 


  1. I understand people getting cranky from time to time about Korea. But I'm turned off from over-the-top negativity from the following two sources:
    1) People no longer in Korea, and
    2) "professionals" in fields other than English teaching, who generally look down their noses at us lowly English monkeys.

    That comments section is hard to take, and I usually pass.

  2. Ha ha... I assume you were referring to those I mentioned in the update and not me, because I fit into neither of those categories.

    First off, I am not a person no longer in Korea because despite doing my "yuhak" right now, I still spend a substantial part of the year in Korea, where I own a home and where 75% of my stuff is.

    And second, while I'm not an English teacher, lowly or otherwise, I was once a teacher (GRE, GMAT, and LSAT instructor, which was why I returned — or, rather, was returned — to Korea after college) and I certainly do not look down on the English teachers, though I may use the term "English-talking monkeys" or some such in an ironic or sarcastic way.

    In fact, I have high hopes to improve the lot of the English teacher in Korea, if only people will listen to me.

    Oh, and third, I'm not exactly the font of negativity about Korea. There are some things I dislike and mock, but I'm no more negative than I am about, say, Hawaii, which has its share of stuff to gripe about.

    But, yeah, the two groups you mention seem to either be using Korea-bashing as a surrogate for something else and NSET-bashing as a way to make themselves feel superior. Both reflect more negatively on themselves than on their targets.

  3. Well, no, I wasn't talking about you, I was talking about the ones in your post.


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