[Cont.] New Year, New Job - Part 1

Evil People, Evil Nation

I am back with the continuation of my previous post that you can see right below this post. I think this post is going to be a long post, so spare some time or you can just skim on this... and judge me later. Haha~

First of all, I write this as a reminder for myself for not ever going to go through the same mistakes and to stay away from anything that has relation with my office in whatsoever form. I start to work at this office since May 2014. I am an administration staff at General Affairs division that mostly deal with intern affairs, taking care of the insiders' paper works, documents, etc. I am working mostly with Koreans. The amount of Koreans in my office are almost in the same amount of Indonesian workers, so you can imagine that it is a lot as comparison. Before working in this office, I studied in Korea pursuing a master degree on Korean Studies. I spent a solid two years there as a student and I managed to get my degree on time. More or less, I have many interactions with Koreans, especially the ones in Seoul and until the day I depart back to Indonesia, I always have this belief that Koreans are good people. Too bad that belief has to be shaken really hard when I actually work with Koreans in my office. I am not trying to say good or bad, but it is more of my own approach in dealing with them and my own thinking as an Indonesian with all the background that I have as someone from the Eastern part of Java.

As what I am going to write here is based on my personal experience, therefore I do not intend to pull any theories regarding the social science or whatever branch of studies in this. This is purely my own thought as something that I faced first hand. At the end, I decided to walk away from this environment for these following reasons:

1. Ridiculous Collectivism
I think as part of a bigger society like a country, people have the feeling of collectivism but each country have different degree of collectivism. Korea is one of the countries with the biggest degree of collectivism. In my office, it is simply put like this, when there is a gathering where Koreans and Indonesians are in the same room, the Koreans would automatically creating their own space where only Koreans are there in the circle. They are reluctant to mingle with the Indonesians. In daily life is more or less the same, at lunch Indonesians and Koreans would never go to the same lunch place. It is becoming something automatical that even the Korean new comer would rather joining other Koreans who are from other divisions than hanging out with Indonesians who are working in the same room with him/her.

I think because of this reason as well, snacks and drinks are specially provided only for Koreans. This is most ridiculous thing I have ever seen in my life. There is this fridge in a room where only Koreans can take the snacks/drinks out of it. There is no sign that states only Korean can take the snacks/drinks but since the fridge is located inside a room with only Koreans working in it then it is automatically assumed that only Koreans can take snacks/drinks from there. Here we can see a clear differentiation of Koreans and Indonesians. They differentiate both nationalities by giving different treatments for each. This matter can easily be swifted into Racism problem which I am going to write in the next point.

2. Racism
At this era where people from different race are now considered equal, the practice of Racism is somehow very strongly practiced at my office. I studied about Korean society and history but I cannot find anything that can actually trigger the tendency of Korean people to be openly racist towards people of other race. Talking about racism, well.. all people are basically racist. The difference would be whether they decide to let it out or just let it sink in their own thoughts, unseen from the outside. It is always different case with the Koreans in my office. Beside the thing I pointed out previously, the special treatment for Koreans, I also find out that those Koreans treat each other well. They address each other formally with their own title which in English can be translated as Mr. or Ms (while in reality, the title is a lot more complicated than just Mr./Ms.). In the state of blurted out anger or dissatisfaction, a Korean can still address his/her subordinates with the title, while this is a totally different case with the Indonesians. The Indonesians will always be called only by name, most of them are the given name. Things get nasty when something goes wrong, an f-word like 씨발 can come out of their mouths. You can google that or if I can be blunt, the meaning is more or less the same as the word "fuck" in English. For this particularly uttered by my own boss a lot of time. At the earliest stage, I would be all denial thinking it must be only my imagination but as time goes by I can definitely be sure that it was the "majestic" word thrown at me and my colleague. For my colleague, that is certainly no problem, for he doesn't speak the language, but for me, it hurt really bad. That word is not clearly said, usually the first syllable is said loudly and the second syllable would be said without sound, but the mouth movement is too clear to be not seen.
It was a first time for me to feel like a slave in the colonial era, where in the past Dutch people always emphasize that Indonesian are inferior than them, that Indonesians are people of no worth, savage and need some civilization. It looks dramatic indeed, but people who are from the country with colonialism background would get what I mean. I feel that my self worth has been degraded.
The funny thing about this is that people always think it as something blurted out to let out their anger, with the purpose of no more problems in the future, yet the reality is they hurt the pride of being an Indonesian by treating me and my colleague like a trash in our own country.

3. A boss is a god, therefore s/he is never wrong
If you ask a Korean what is the thing they fear the most after being an ugly person and being a poor person, the answer would be their boss. Boss is like god. They have the power to rule people and they are never wrong. They should not be answered with the word no, and they have all the rights to treat you the way s/he wants to. This is the exact mentality that they have. Whenever they want something, they must have it and if they don't have it, they would turn into monsters with a lot of swearing words and ugly body language. They would dreadfully stare at their subordinates and that usually comes with some ugly vocabularies and utterances full of pressure and stressing. My boss would turn into an outraged pitbull once he got scolded by his boss. As a boss himself, he would unleash his rage to his subordinates, us. He would intimidate us with the loud yelling, swearing and sometimes accompanied with office-supplies throwing which sometimes directed to the unlucky soul in front of him or just random throw anywhere. Once he tantrums, my colleague would panicly collect the thrown away stuffs, while for me, I refuse to do such thing for my own reasons, pride reasons.
Once they got orders from their top leaders, they would do it the best they can, although it means bugging their subordinates with constant whining and complaining.
The existence of Indonesian subordinates is to be treated like worthless people. A boss would never protect their subordinates when other boss tries to "chew" them alive. Instead of protecting, they would join the attacker to attack the subordinates, especially when the "attack" comes from a higher rank boss. At this point, who would not question their self worth?

4. We Buy You Food, We Buy Your Soul
If you know Koreans, you would know their "bribing" culture. That does not apply only to smoothen their way to obtain something in official stuffs, but also in daily stuffs. Well, for this one I actually never experience it but I saw this happen to my colleague from other divisions. Usually before asking their subordinates to work hard on something, they would treat them food or buy them something to eat. With that mindset, they think they would not feel bad later to ask for big favors. It is always about give and take, there is almost no sincerity.
A little bit about sincerity, a friend of mine who studies Korean Studies until he got his doctoral degree, he said that in Korean there is no word that means sincere or sincerity. There are a lot of synonyms but nothing come close to sincerity which means doing something without expectation of getting something in return. With the Koreans, there is always expectations of paying back. Always.
Back to the bribing matter, it is simply hard to give an understanding to a Korean to not giving things after I do my work which sometimes means assisting people in processing official papers, etc. After I am done with it, usually they give me something as something in return. FYI, this is rarely happen to me, but when it happens, for bosses, they would give me stuffs like souvenirs, once I even receive money. For internship students, after I help them with their official papers, they would just give me chocolate/ a few packs of Korean coffee/ candies/ something like that. In this way, these people think they can erase their own burden of "bugging" the people who help them. For me it is simple, it is my job and I am paid to do those things. I don't need extra "sweets" from these people, especially when the purpose is only to value my assistance with the thing they gave to me.

Okay those are the points that I manage to gather for now, the continuation would be posted as soon as possible.


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