Thursday, May 28, 2009


Just in case your wondering what 'kagm' means,no, it is not a korean word, it's an acronym that means Koreans are good merchants. The other one i'll tell you l ater. Maybe I should say awesome merchants. Then it would be Kaam. Anyway, being that we were talking about the Korean economy and things like that, I remeber where I grew up (the best city in the world) [El Paso], there used to be a big chinese population in the city, there used to be a chinatown but they have moved on to San Francisco or Mexico. My bishop in Juarez, Mexico was of Chinese origin. He only spoke Spanish and English, not Chinese:(. That's ok though, he was still a good man. Now there are a lot of Koreans in El Paso and a lot of them have businesses in downtown El Paso which is right on the border with Mexico. I remember I had some students who also agreed that Koreans are awesome merchants, so it's not just my imagination. What is neat is that most of them are trilingual: Spanish, English, Korean. You would have to be to work in that part of town. An example of a good (but tricky) merchant was when I lived in Korea. STORY TIME (get comfortable) as far back as I can remember, when I used to live in Korea, I spent 7 months alone then I brought my wife and son over to spend the remainder of my time with me. I lived in area 1 ,the area closest to the DMZ, and many of my superiors said that it would be impossible to bring my family over (this is an example of how God heard us and answered our prayers despite what big wigs said) but that's a story for another day. So my family came over but before that I went right off post to look for an apartment and I took a Korean friend with me to help me. I had asked soldiers who had married koreans and phillipinos for advice and it pretty much summed up to one thing: Don't trust Mister Kim!" So poor Mr. Kim was already notorious. I walked around and took down some addresses and later returned with my Korean friend. Lo and behold some of the addresses belonged to Mr. Kim, but I decided to go check him out, after all, you can't trust everything you hear from soldiers. We went down an alley and behind a big building was a black door that you could see your reflection on. We went in and it was just like the movies. It was pretty dark, cool, and a big desk in the center of the room. Behind that bik desk was a big chair. In that chair was a big Rottweiler. Not really, but in that chair was the man, the myth...Mr.Kim. He looked pretty hype, maybe the kind of mand who is into the B-Boys or rap. He was in his 60's, had a dark silk shirt (it may have been polyester) dark pilot shades that reflected images like his door and a Kangol hat. "This guy is a stud with the ladies' I thought and my friend started wheeling and dealing with him explaining my situation. He knew army policies, and was asking me through my friend several questions. He knew more than me about how the army overseas pay works and everything. "Hmm" I thought, "I can't pull the wool over this guys eyes," besides the fact that he was wearing sweet pilot shades and I didn't want to ruin those, I didn't want to rent from him. It was a gut feeling. Or maybe it was the cold noodles I had for lunch. I don't like cold noodles. I thought he would pull out a tommy gun and riddle me with bullets and make an escape in a private helicopter. But that didn't happen. My friend and I just walked out and I could feel his cold stare drilling a hole in my back. I should have gone in front of my friend so he wouldn't stare at me. But my friend was short so even if I was in front Mr. Kim would still be able to stare me down. It was too late though. So I went out looking for more apartments, pretty much groping in the dark. (I think that would be an awesome name for a rock band "groping in the dark") To make a long story short there was a nice lady, Mrs. Lee and I rented from her and my family came and we lived happily ever after. But really, Mr. Kim and my other Korean landlords knew policy, regulations, rules, everything much better than the soldiers did! That is how one can be a good con artist, knowledge is power. So my point is that Koreans have a knack for business, most of my Korean friends are majoring in Business Management, shocker huh? That could partly explain why a rubbled Korea could rise so quickly and be so prosperous when other countries are still lagging. One man in Korea also told me that Koreans since the Korean war have had to double time (work super hard) to catch up with the rest of the prospering countries, and ALL of my friends are always busy. They love to be busy and have that ingrained in their minds. Ok well enough story time, maybe more later!!! raul :)

(PS Don't trust old men who wear Silk shirts, dark pilot shades and kangol hats) ((PSS my personal rule of thumb for life))

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