Thursday, November 6, 2008

Pepero Day in Korea vs. Remembrance Day around the World

I decided to put the slides from a power point presentation about Remembrance Day on the bulletin board outside my office.

I really want to raise awareness about this global cultural event in Korea. For the majority of Korerans November 11th means Pepero Day.

As I said in a previous post, "I have a hard time not looking at Pepero Day in Korea through the socio-cultural lens of my own cultural identity and experience. Koreans in general don't seem to know anything about November 11th and what, I think it's pretty safe to say, 'the rest of the world' does every year on this special day."

Remembrance Day in Commonwealth countries is on November 11th.


"Remembrance Day – also known as Poppy Day, Armistice Day (the event it commemorates) or Veterans Day – is a day to commemorate the sacrifices of members of the armed forces and of civilians in times of war, specifically since the First World War. It is observed on 11 November to recall the end of World War I on that date in 1918. The day was specifically dedicated by King George V, on 7 November 1919, to the observance of members of the armed forces who were killed during war; this was possibly done upon the suggestion of Edward George Honey to Wellesley Tudor Pole, who established two ceremonial periods of remembrance based on events in 1917."

Also from,

World War I
"Over 40 million casualties resulted, including approximately 20 million military and civilian deaths."

World War II
"Over 70 million people, the majority of them civilians, were killed, making it the deadliest conflict in human history."

All I'm saying is that maybe Koreans could alter Pepero Day slightly and have major portions of the profits made by selling chocolate sticks go to Korean war veterans and other charities they deem appropriate.

It might also be nice if some sort of international/global awareness was developed of what goes on in the majority of other countries on November 11th . . .

The final point I'd like to make here is that if you're still trying to think of something to teach next week why not make a Remembrance Day cultural lesson?

Think about it.

Lest we forget.



Brian said...

Thanks for these two posts.

TO be honest I don't remember ever spending much time on this day in the US---then again it's been a while since I was in grade school. I don't remember if we did anything special these days. From just what I've read on the blogs and forums it looks like Canadians and Europeans make more of this than Americans, so I'm a little embarrassed that doing lessons on this never occurred to me.

But, I think I'll put something together for Monday for my afterschool class and for my teachers' workshop on Wednesday. Can't do it for the other classes, though, but maybe the Korean teachers would pass some information along to students.

For me, Christmas is the "holiday" in Korea that I can't look at neutrally. I know it's been commercialized to hell back home, but to many people it still means something (even for those who aren't Christians). It's my favorite time of year, but yet also a thoroughly depressing one having to spend it in Asia. But more on that later.

Back to 11/11, is there any donation campaign to give money somewhere? Too late this year probably, but I was just thinking that if everybody---Koreans, foreigners, whomever---gave a fraction of what they spent on chocolate to some type of charity or humanitarian group, that would make a big difference and would be a big symbolic shift, too. I mean, if everybody gave the cost of a box, that would go a long way. Do you know about anything like that?

Anonymous said...

Hello! Maybe you are not aware of the UN memorial cemetery in Busan? It's a memorial where you can find the flags of all countries who helped in the Korean war. During my last visit, students were on an educational trip there. So please don't fret, Koreans do remember and recognize greatly the global efforts awarded to them during the war. Try to visit there some time. :)

Jason said...

Hi Anonymous,

I'm sorry but I don't feel that FLAGS are enough.

Can your Korean students IDENTIFY the country names? Maybe a few of the bigger countries but I really doubt they'd be able to recognize, for example, the Ethiopian national flag.

Also, how can flags give the basic information of how many soldiers and service personnel came to fight and help Korea in the Korean War? How can flags communicate how many died in the war? How can flags communicate what the other countries did to help?

In my opinion it's not enough.

I've had several discussions with Korean co-teachers and students and they all tell me that on memorial day in Korea the focus is ONLY on Korean soldiers and people who died--yet the truth is that other countries had people who died in the Korean War, and I feel that ignoring their sacrifices and forgetting to honor and remember their sacrifices is wrong.

Anyways, that's my opinion on this topic.