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Now Blogging Afresh at Ad Orientem 西儒 - The Western Confucian

Friday, November 07, 2003

The Tenth Commandment

The following editorial recently appeared in the Digital Chosunilbo (English Edition):

Living in Gangnam Not a Sin

Gangnam is the area in Seoul south of the Han River. It is considered to be the home of the wealthy elite and often comes under attack in the Korean media for the perceived extravagant ways of its inhabitants.

According to the above editorial, popular resentment of Gangnam has reached the point that...

[s]ome elementary schools and kindergartens in Seoul's Gangnam area have been receiving letters and phone calls threatening to kill students individually or poison school food. This means that the area is being looked at with increasing displeasure. It also means that there is a growing atmosphere in which those living in Gangnam are seen as the culprits in something.

Koreans have a saying that "one gets hungry upon hearing of another's good fortune." Koreans tend to be a highly competitive people. They also tend to become possessed with extreme jealousy of those who are seen to be more successful, be they neighbors who have bought a new television, fellow countrymen living in Gangnam, or advanced (I only use this term because Koreans use it so often) countries like the United States.

It seems to me it would be wise for Koreans to remember the oft forgotten Tenth Commandment:

You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods.