Culture is “man-made part of the environment”and is like the air we
breathe. Thus, in counseling, we can not ignore the culture by which counselee
or counselor is influenced. One of the Korean culture we should be
aware is the ‘chemyun’culture.
‘Chemyun’means honor, dignity or reputation. If you lose face, you can
say you have lost your chemyun .In Korean culture, you must have and
show dignity because no one wants to lose face or be ashamed, and everyone
desires self-respect. The emphasis is more on other people's opinion
about you rather than virtue or value in yourself. Because of chemyun, sometimes
you have to refrain from eating when you are starving, and you have
to eat even when your stomach is full. Sometimes, you cannot put on more
clothes even when you are freezing, and you cannot take off your clothes
when you are sweating. Besides, you cannot cry or laugh in response to
those things happening.
In chemyun culture, it is a virtue to refrain from boasting about oneself,
but people, deep inside, want to be admired and envied. So, they try to have
what others recognize and to do what others approve. Such behaviors reflect
their subconscious or even conscious desire to be recognized as superior by
others. For example, some people spend so much money that they get into
financial difficulties because they are caught up in what others might think
of them. That is the fear of man. Fear of man is inversely related to the
fear of God. As the fear of God is eroded, the fear of man is intensified in
the heart of the human being.
A question must be raised, “What is your biggest concern, what people
think about you, or what God thinks about you?”If you are pursuing chemyun
more than just trying to be courteous, you probably are seeking
approval of man and your own glory. Behind the chemyun culture, there
can be a self-worship.