Sunday, October 26, 2008
Koreans distorting American currency, culture.
At the Gwangju Folk Museum there is a small display on currencies from around the world. They have a selection of American bills, including the following:
I first read about that distortion of American culture on the Galbijim forums last February, but didn't see it for myself until the Kimchi Festival last weekend.
A few days ago I was browsing a local bookstore's magazine section and came across one for kids to acquaint them with other countries and cultures. This particular one had a significant portion devoted to the US.
The flag on the cover is incorrect, as our flag has fifty stars to represent our fifty states, rather than the twelve stars and two orbs depicted above. What's more, our flag has thirteen stripes to represent the original thirteen colonies from when England occupied our land; implying fourteen is just insulting. There was a little section about currency, and below you'll see the one-, five-, twenty-, and fifty-dollar bills, our four pieces of paper money that have presidents on the front.
Two of the four are the latest editions, but as every American knows that twenty-dollar bill is a 1929 edition, as pictured below.
The fifty-dollar bill is a 1997 edition, and not the most-recent 2004 one. All this comes shortly after I discovered a 2007 Korean movie was using 2001-edition five-dollar bills for action that takes place in 1971, suggesting that Koreans were able to travel through time and bribe officers with currency from the future.
I told my parents about this problem and they said that our eight-year-old cousin came home from school crying because of what the other children said about him and his ugly currency. My dad, who can find both Koreas on a map, is afraid of what these representations will do to our country's reputation. With the dollar as weak as it is, we mustn't allow it to be devalued any more in the eyes of foreigners who believe we cannot afford new money.
Following the example of South Korean outrage at a Singaporean textbook, I encourage all Americans to tell their government to aggressively protest these distortions of our currency and culture. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice must pressure the magazine and the museum to remove this incorrect information at once. I also think the American embassy would be interested to know that Korean adolescents are getting a warped view of the United States from these examples, and that the ambassador should adjust her behavior accordingly. As a developing nation it is our duty to protect our image from powerful countries that wish to do us harm by controlling our history and misrepresenting our culture. We must work to correct the opinions foreigners have of our country, and we have to fix the mindset of yellow people like that.