Crazed Korean Daddies

i wrote about these crazed korean daddies a while back. the ones who do the unthinkable…within them festers a horribly inchaote knotted-up ball of rage and shame and disappointment that culminates in murder-suicides. for a few weeks this summer, we in los angeles heard about several of these appalling incidents in a row.

now someone has interviewed the one girl who survived her father shooting the entire rest of her family, including himself. and another reporter has talked to domestic violence and mental health experts to get a better sense of why and how these men snapped.

when the public facade crumbles, the family always has to pay in private, don’t they?

i emailed spouse about the stories: “what confucian patriarchal culture giveth (privilege and power), it also taketh away.” meaning, if you slip and lose hold of the things that let you swagger as an asian male in traditional asian patriarchal society, the punishment in loss of face is fast and hard. it’s the same i think for male dominated and traditional male measures of success the world over. but the asian kind is the one i’m most acquainted with from inside out; confucian chinese culture is the poison i know best.

i’ve said it before, i’ll say it again: repressive confucian culture and repressive christian fundamentalism geometrically compound all the problems found in either one.

“The core problem is the relationship with the spouse,” he says. “They do not have enough communication. At some point they explode with the stress. But they don’t know how to deal with the stress. In Korea there is no education on how to deal with conflict.”

The violence in families is part of a larger cultural pattern, Chang says. In Korea, men suffer corporal punishment from the time they are very young. They get hit by their parents, by their teachers, by their officers in the army. “When you look at a man’s life history, their life is related to physical punishment,” he says. “From birth until they’re 27 years old, they learn that. Then they marry, they have a problem, they use the same behavior.”

filial piety, the stupid notion that the heavens rule the emperor who rules the man who rules the woman, and which governs all those nested relationships, is the vector in confucian culture for the delivery of violence (through beating/disciplining one’s child, or apparently, one’s wife). it’s all done in the name of love, and it is so very wrong. enough already. this isn’t a religion. we should be able to banish these stupid, ineffectual, outmoded beliefs and practices by just rooting them out, right?

i wish those ticking time-bomb korean (might as well have been any other asian ethnicity–it’s not only koreans) daddies had better communicative skills and less invested in being Alpha male. maybe with increased americanization it’s possible to talk things out more easily, to use tools that are available? i can only hope. it’s bad enough that women and children get beaten regularly, but to pay for someone else’s fucked up idea of pride–FACE–with your life is wrong every way you turn it.

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