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Thread: South Korean Ferry Sewol Sinks — Why It Wouldn't Happen In America

  1. #1 South Korean Ferry Sewol Sinks — Why It Wouldn't Happen In America 
    Forum Professor jrmonroe's Avatar
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    The sinking of the South Korean ferry the Sewol is in the news. Sure, it could have happened in America, but most likely not as serious a disaster as in South Korea.

    Captain Lee was not on the bridge when the ship turned. Navigation was in the hands of a 26-year old third mate who was in charge for the first time on that part of the journey, according to crew members.

    Several crew members, including the captain, left the ferry as it was sinking, witnesses have said, after passengers were told to stay in their cabins. President Park Geun-hye said on Monday that instruction was tantamount to an "act of murder".

    Many of the children did not question their elders, as is customary in hierarchical Korean society. They paid for their obedience with their lives.

    Public broadcaster KBS, quoting transcripts of the conversation between the crew and sea traffic control, the Jindo Vessel Traffic Services Centre, said the passengers were told repeatedly to stay put.

    For half an hour, the crew on the third deck kept asking the bridge by walkie-talkie whether or not they should make the order to abandon ship, KBS said.

    No one answered.

    "At the time, we could not confirm what the situation was on the bridge," KBS quoted a crew member as saying.

    "We kept trying to find out but ... since there was no instruction coming from the bridge, the crew on the third floor followed the instructions on the manual and kept making 'stay where you are' announcements. At least three times."
    source

    Important differences between "new world" and "old world" philosophies (for a lack of better descriptions).

    Captain Lee was not on the bridge when the ship turned. Although someone can find an instance where an American captain was not in charge during a maneuver, almost all would be there. Why? Because new world leaders serve the people under them, whereas old world leader are served by the people under them. For example, new world government employees are "public servants" who serve the people; whereas old world government employees are served (read "bribed") by the public.

    The captain, left the ferry as it was sinking. Even in this day and age, I think most American captains would remain on the ferry until the last possible moment, maybe longer. Why did he do it? He is an old world captain who is, not only more important than any one passenger, but more important than the nearly 500 others on board. A new world captain would know that he could get easily dozens — probably hundreds — of others to safety before leaving. As new world people read about this disaster, they probably think, "How could he do that? How could he possibly explain his actions?" This is so foreign to us.

    Many of the children did not question their elders. They weren't little kids, they were high school students. Obviously, they were not well-versed in American movies. When Americans of almost any age realize that no one is in charge or that those in charge don't care, they take their situation into their own hands. I think the squeaky-cleanest kids from Mormon High School would say, "#@’& this, I'm out of here. C'mon, let's go!" More American movies than one would think show this theme — When a person's own knowledge contradicts what his superiors are telling him, he is almost duty-bound to act autonomously, even if it means going against orders. It's even in the Home Alone movies — the little kid doesn't merely refuse to surrender, he takes charge and defends his home. He knows what to do and acts autonomously.

    This reminds me of a military action during WW2 where a German unit overran a Russian unit with nary a shot fired. Again, new world versus old world. The Germans interrogated the Russian commander, who shocked them with his candid responses, ad libbed below.
    Germans: Why didn't you order your men to defend themselves?
    Russian: I didn't receive orders to defend our position.
    Germans: So, why didn't you retreat?
    Russian: I didn't receive orders to retreat.

    We kept trying to find out but ... since there was no instruction coming from the bridge, the crew on the third floor followed the instructions on the manual and kept making 'stay where you are' announcements. At least three times. What were they thinking? They weren't receiving orders, so they went by the book? How unamerican! The new world not only promotes the freedom to act, but also the freedom of speech. Let me explain. New world crew members would, not only be allowed — but probably be required — to know how to act in all sorts of emergency situations. Old world leaders command by secrecy. Only they know how to do their job. In this way, no one can question their decisions and commands, no one can challenge their authority, no one can contend for their position, etc. Even Don Knotts in the movie The Reluctant Astronaut (1967) knew what to do when his automated spaceship broke down, and he saved the day.

    And yet, there was The Angel of the Sewol, Park Jee Young, who knew the new world responsibility of position and how to serve, and she saved many lives in that disaster, but sadly, lost her own. Had she been captain, this disaster probably would not have happened. She should be awarded honorary captain status.



    source

    New world people read about these terrible situations, and we wonder how they could possibly happen. Let me repeat two important points below, but please, I am not blaming the victims, I am blaming the culture.

    #1 — Freedom of Speech. Leaders do not command by secrecy. Information flows freely and understanding is easy. Everyone is encouraged to learn how the system works. Don't forget that "Freedom of Speech" means the freedom/right to hear/read/learn what you want in addition to the freedom to communicate what you want. Those who rise to the top do so because they are the most capable (meritocracy) not because of their seniority or secret knowledge. Interestingly, Genghis Khan formed a meritocracy under him, and it obviously was a blazing success.

    #2 — Personal Liberty/Responsibility. When unable to communicate with superiors, or when superiors obviously don't have a clue what to do, people are expected/encouraged to act autonomously. Why do you think the Mayflower Compact has intrigued us for nearly 400 years? Because the Mayflower, blown off course by a storm, landed at Massachusetts instead of Virginia, where their charter had allowed them to form a settlement under the laws of England. And so, they were in a lawless situation. The Pilgrims, worried that the non-Pilgrims who sailed with them would do as they pleased, decided to form a compact among everyone to ensure their survival in the new world. The compact established a form of self-government, where they would make their own rules as required by the situations they encountered.


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    I find the terms and the actions between old world and new world thinkings really strange and have had several of them reversed.


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    Forum Masters Degree LuciDreaming's Avatar
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    I find it very strange that anyone thinks there is such a thing as old world and new world cultures. The old world supposedly covers Africa, Europe and Asia which have a multitude of differing cultures - with Asian countries having a more socially oriented culture than the European propensity for individuality. I find that whole post really weird and divisive to be honest - hopefully there wont be an incident that proves it wrong though.
    "And we should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once. And we should call every truth false which was not accompanied by at least one laugh" Nietzsche.
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  5. #4  
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrmonroe View Post
    children did not question their elders
    My father was at the wheel of a ferry that struck reef and had to be evacuated. Here's his anecdote:

    The captain had decided to try an unconventional route through the Northern Gulf Islands of British Columbia. Many of the passengers were local Natives, which means fishing people. When the Native kids saw where the ferry was headed, they grew unruly and began to pester the crew with questions and warnings. As well they broke open the life jacket lockers. So by the time that ferry ran aground, the scene on deck was of adults trying to maintain authority over a teenage mob ready for the thrill of abandoning ship.
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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