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Article Title: Populism Isn’t The Problem


Article Summary

This article tries to explore the ppalli-ppalli culture (routine speediness) of South Korea. Every work from serving the order in restaurants to delivering things to customers is done with great speed. However, it is not what was routine in 1960, when things were done much slower. In the early ’60s, South Korea embarked upon a series of five-year economic plans which brought about the transformation from a war-ruined country to an economic powerhouse in a short period of time. According to anthropologists, such a large magnitude of success in a short period of time was possible due to South Korea’s focus on speed; expeditiousness is embedded deeply in their minds as a basic value.

The Gyeongbu Expressway is a symbol of their ppalli-ppalli culture, in which the project was completed much ahead of the estimated time. By no means, though, has the speed of construction in South Korea tapered off since then. North Korea too seem to have the speed bug. And there are examples of towers completing the construction ahead of time. It is important to note that the roots of ppalli-ppallicuure go much deeper than the modern era. The building and construction in the historic past were also completed ahead of schedule and these buildings still remains in excellent condition today. It also suggests that manual dexterity and artistic mastery were well desired, along with speed. Even today, Koreans seem to possess agility. And it might answer why they manage to dominate Olympic games involving speed.  However, outside commentators sometimes overly rely on the idea of ppalli-ppalli when trying to explain Korea. There are also many in Korea who have rejected the hustle and bustle of city life.

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Words to learn from this Article:

Surreptitiously – in a way that attempts to avoid notice or attention; secretively

Unpretentious – pleasantly simple and functional; modest

Glitzy – attractive in a showy and often superficial way

Anthropologist – a person engaged in the study of various aspects of humans within past and present societies

Expeditious – characterized by or done with speed and efficiency; prompt; quick

Exquisite – extremely beautiful and delicate

Celadon – a grey-green glaze used on pottery

Dexterity – skill in performing tasks, especially with the hands

Caricature – a picture, description, or imitation of a person in which certain striking characteristics are exaggerated in order to create a comic or grotesque effect

Bucolic – relating to the pleasant aspects of the countryside and country life



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