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Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Trader's credit / credibility

Economy 21 of the Hankyoreh group has a column on credit and credibility of merchants, using the example from ancient China. The writer has the recent garbage mandu scandal (self-link) in mind, as given in the last paragraph.
"Chinese traders are normally stingy (insaekhada) and and very frugal. But traders in Nanyang (南梁 or 南洋?) are traditionally quite hospitable (insimi huhada), which is said to stem from the house of Kong."
Note the Korean view on Chinese and Chinese merchants; that Chinese are thought to be skillful merchants by Koreans, to which stingyness and frugality are associated; these characteristics on the other hand in conflict with expressions of warm-heartedness (having a good insim 人心, "human heart"): hospitability, open-handedness. Insimi huhada / chot'a vs. insaekhada.

Mr Pak the rice pastry baker (the second from right in the header picture) characterized me as kômsohada, thrifty, frugal, especially when he said that I had repaired my flashlight with a piece of tape. Wasn't sure if this was only positive appraisal, and talked about this with Ms Hong the hairdresser; she said that yes, there's also a bit of a negative feeling in it, meaning not knowing how to give (pep'ulda).

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