WHEN CULTURE MEETS CULT – A SOUTH KOREA CASE STUDY

The brain is a very powerful organ. No one danced through their teenage years unaffected or unscarred. The processes of transitioning from a teenager into adulthood is seriously tough business. The only difference between those who survived or even thrived in the so called game of life and those who didn’t were very much dependent on the mind.

Growing up in one the poorest Chinese neighborhood in Kuala Lumpur meant that one wasn’t immune to the grasp of gangsterism. My former secondary school was notoriously famous for receiving visits from police officers. It wasn’t at all a surprise then to receive news such as chairs being thrown at teachers or incidents of vandalized vehicles belonging to teachers with death threats attached as a courtesy of vengeful students. When accessed objectively, most people without a doubt would think that we were all a bunch of lost cause. Losers! Hopeless people clinging on the edge of humanity.

At age thirteen, I was picked on a lot by a fellow classmate who also happened to be involved in the gang. Instead of spending too much time dwelling in the feeling sorry for myself mode or playing the victim card, I took that opportunity to channel my frustrations into picking up a new skill set known as self-defense. That was how I got involved in Taekwondo. Best of all, not only my bully ceased tormenting me, even the bitchiest among the popular girls left me alone as I was so confident in rocking short haircuts. I was never criticized for my next to non-existence sense of fashion, my weight, my appearance nor my intellect. To them, I was a non-threat and someone not worthwhile their time offending.

Looking back, I should really thank my bully not in a condoning manner but because everything happens for good reasons. Probably I would not have been so motivated to attempt for the black belt certification at age sixteen if he hadn’t “liked” me so much. As a result of that, I got transferred to one of the best high schools in town several years later. The type of schools attended by blue blooded leaders of the country and their descendants. Perhaps it was that period in my life that I had early exposure to the intricacies of white-collar crime.

Up to date, I’ve mentioned only about the GOOD things and nothing but the good aspects of South Korea. However, life is a package, which means we also need to embrace the good, the bad and the ugly facets of life. The most bizarre experience throughout my encounter with South Koreans was being approached by members of World Mission Society Church Of God.

Despite South Korea having produced many excellent and innovative exports, cult churches such as the Unification Church is definitely NOT one of them. Moonies, as they are popularly known, are named after their founder Sun Myung Moon. Both members of the Unification Church and World Mission Society Church Of God believe that their founders are the Messiah. It is the belief of Christians worldwide in the second coming of Christ as stated in the Bible in the Book of John chapter 14 verses 1 to 3.

Not long ago, members of the World Mission Society Church of God were spotted to be actively recruiting members at local malls in Kuala Lumpur. Their common modus operandi were they’ll confused targeted victims with misleading verses in the Bible concerning concepts such as Mother God, Passover Feast and Saturday Sabbath. These concepts are especially confusing to vulnerable young people such as teenagers, college students and young adults who do not have a good grasp of the Bible yet seeking a sense of belonging. Only heaven knows the amount of money these cult churches make annually through recruitment of new members and subsequent brain washing.

It was still kind of unbelievable to me that I was approached by two South Korean female cult members while running my errands in one of the local malls in Malaysia. Seriously? Unsure whether it was more of a fateful day to me or to them. Anyhow, curiosity led me to send them back to their church. On the way there, I warned them of the potential dangers of accepting rides from strangers and that they’ve no idea how valuable their organs were. Mind you, I take my civic duty as a citizen of Malaysia very seriously. Malaysia is not only an infamous hub but also serve as a transit point for human trafficking. After that day, I never saw nor heard from them ever again… (-.-)”’ huge sweat…

Let me explain a little about how human trafficking works. Often, young girls from the most impoverish part of South East Asia such as Cambodia, Vietnam and Phillipines took risks to work in Malaysia due to higher salary offered here in order to support their family members back home. Once they arrived in Malaysia, unscrupulous agencies and authoritive figures work hand in hand in ripping apart passports belonging to these girls. Without passports, these girls will never be able to return home and that was how they contributed to the modern day slave trade in the country where they were held captive. It is a very complicated issue as many groups are involved. Beware!

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