A popular female TV celebrity from Germany is creating a heated debate, if not controversy, with her book that apparently focused on the less than glamorous side of the Korean society.
Vera Hohleiter, a panel member of the popular KBS2 TV show, “Chat With Beauties” ? also called “Misuda”?published a book in Germany, apparently highlighting her negative experience in Korea.
In the TV program, Hohleiter said on a number of occasions that she “fell in love with Korea.” Her book, however, indicates otherwise, according to a South Korean blogger who lives in Germany and read the book.
On Thursday night, the blogger who identified herself as “a Korean student studying in Germany” posted a piece on a popular Korean Internet web forum. She said she bought a book, titled “Sleepless Night in Seoul” written by Hohleiter and gave it to a German friend as a gift.
Not long after, her German friend came back to ask her: “Is everything written in the book true?”
Realizing something went wrong, the Korean student read the book. “I am convinced that she wrote the book with a clear intention of dissing Korea,” she was quoted as saying by JoongAng Ilbo on Saturday.
According to the Korean student, Hohleiter wrote in her book: “As a well-mannered and well-educated person from Europe, I put in a great deal of effort to appreciate the Korean society, but everyday I counter something that makes me fail to do so.”
For example, Hohleiter wrote: “Korean girls are obsessed with keeping up with the popular trend of time and therefore they predominantly wear mini-skirts. But then, when they walk up the stairways in the subway station, they make every possible pretentious effort to hide their exposed bodies. I don’t understand why they even wear mini-skirts from the start.”
The 29-year-old German also said, “Koreans have a bad taste for gossiping about foreigners. When they spot them in a public place such as in the subway, they delve into a very detailed criticism of their appearance and do it in a loud voice.”
In the book, Hohleiter complained that Korea is a difficult place for a vegetarian to live, how her Korean boyfriend doesn’t pay enough attention to her, and that the crowded Korean subway reminded her of a group of mice, packed in a small space.
As for her TV remarks, she said a half of them were pre-written by a writer. “You just memorize and regurgitate what is already scripted during the show,” she said.
As the contents of her book became known in South Korea, Korean bloggers were divided along the line of understanding and betrayal.
Some view what Hohleiter said rings a bell and her perspective could be used as ``food for thought.’’ Some yet are critical of her, questioning the entire verity of her remarks on the TV program, including her repeated praise for Korea.
Responding to the uproar, Hohleiter said in her web blog that there was some misunderstanding as well as distortion added when the contents of her book were translated from German to Korean.