My model is a South African martial artist. I am an American who likes to breakdance. We both share a similar spiritual and religious upbringing. We each eventually arrived at very different conclusions. After taking pictures at Mudfest, I wanted to start developing a portfolio of working with individuals. He was more than happy to comply. We had a wonderful photo shoot and exchanged our perspectives on the nature of God, free-will, our concerns about the Christian worldview, and several of our heroes ranging from the likes of William Lane Craig and N.T. Wright to Lawrence Krauss, Christopher Hitchens, and Richard Dawkins. We both enjoyed the conversation and our time together. It was a shining example of free thought and tolerance, void of overbearing insecurities and raging emotions that so often permeate these types of conversations. I was so struck by our conversation that I wanted to write about the lack of tolerance experienced by those of us with more conservative or religious viewpoints. Nevertheless, instead of writing on a topic that like-minded people would support and people with opposing views would contest; I wanted to write about a universal truth regarding each of us. Despite our similarities or differences, we share the undeniable truth that we are both extremely fortunate and grateful to call South Korea home.
In 1948, a new country with its new yin-yang style flag competed in the Olympic Games in London. More than 60 years later, that new country of South Korea is not only dominating the Olympic games in London but has become an economic powerhouse. I’m unsure of the exact status of Korea, but in under sixty years South Korea transformed itself from a third world country to one of the most prolific countries of the world. While there are numerous factors that led to the rise of South Korea, a historian would have to attribute a large part of this rise to the relentless work ethic of the South Korean people. The intensity and time they devote to their education and jobs are unparalleled in world.
Due to their hard work, I have a safe home where they have blessed me with a job because they are obsessed with making an impact on the global community. Furthermore, they have provided me with a home where I am safe to walk outside any time at night and I never have to worry about things like the recent shootings that took place in Colorado. South Korea is not perfect. My trip to Japan illuminated several weaknesses and problems with South Korea. However, with the drive that the South Korean people possess, I have no doubt they will begin to bridge these gaps.
There are currently debates upon the use of foreigners as English instructors in Korea. I think several objections of using foreigners are legitimate. Nevertheless, I hope Korea never forgets that they are not only receiving native English instructors, but are creating ambassadors for South Korea who travel back to America, Canada, South Africa, and the United Kingdom and across the world. I’ve yet to hear one person who legitimately did not enjoy their time here or was not thankful for the opportunity to teach in such a wonderful country. Teaching here as given me a second lease on life that I will always be eternally grateful for.
So, without further adieu. Here are pictures taken by a subpar American bboy/photographer and an excellent South African martial artist. The location is Olympic Park in Seoul where South Korea hosted the 1988 Olympics. This is dedicated to South Korea. I have never cheered for another country or been so excited to see another country’s flag in the Olympic Games until now.