Mighty Scotland, the 140th largest country in the world, slumps to 141st place next month when the creation of South Sudan shunts us further down the list of nations. Except, well, we’re not actually on the list of nations.
The UN does not recognize Scotland as a country. Neither does America’s train provider Amtrak. Neither does a South Korean named Kevin who I met last week.
“Scotland…” said Kevin, pausing while searching for the English. “Scotland is not a real country. Scotland does not count.”
I was outraged.
“No, I do not think it does.”
“Scotland definitely counts!”
“No. You do not have your own passport. If no passport, no country. Not real country.”
And then he went too far.
“Your country is only a pretend country.”
Sacrilege! I was a mere half step away from declaring war on South Korea. A quarter step. Does Kevin not know that only Scots may speak disparagingly of our land? Once he had ambled off, leaving me seething at a bus stop, I did a small dance of rage, which looked remarkably similar to a 30-second ant-stomping frenzy, and then decided to boycott all Korean restaurants until further notice. All feelings of solidarity with Korean eateries for, like Scottish restaurants, having menus laden with items sure to frighten foreigners, are gone. They can keep their soup of bone of cow knee, their broiled tripe and their seasoned entrails. South Korea is on its own, culinarily speaking. I bitterly resent ever saying anything complimentary about Bulgogi or Bibimbap. I hope we get independence soon. Bibimbap is delicious.