Friday, April 30, 2010

Korean National Pension Service Cheongju

I went to the National Pension Service office in Cheongju today to file my paperwork for the lump sum payment. I leave in less than 2 weeks and definitely want my money.

I went wary of how long it would take and ended up pleasantly surprised. Once again, great service from a government office. I was in and out in about 15 minutes, including a quick call they made to my employer.

I went prepared thanks to my boss and Galbijim. Of course I went early just to be safe. I was met as soon as I entered by a woman who spoke some English. She directed me to the proper clerk. His English was good and he checked my paperwork. He even asked if he could photocopy my documents instead of just doing it. Very polite, professional, and friendly. I left there with the date the money would be deposited in my home bank account and he wished me a good afternoon.

FANTASTIC service! I can't imagine EVER getting service like that back home from any government office.

Galbijim too. Great info. Thanks muchly.

Keep up the great work!

What the ... language barrier?!?!?!?

Encountering a language barrier is a common problem in Korea. Of course, it is one people should expect to meet after all it would be moronic to expect every Korean to be able to understand English. Unfortunately that isn't the language barrier I am talking about today. I am talking about the inability of some Koreans, especially taxi drivers, to understand their own language.

This is something that I have encountered since my 1st year in Korea. You say something in Korea, often something so simple a Korean child should be able to understand it, and they give you that clueless look and just can't understand you. I would have to say it happens with at least 25% of the taxi's I have taken over the years.

Case in point today. Stig and I met downtown for lunch. I grabbed a cab to get to work. On the way the clouds darkened and it started to spit rain. I figured I would get the cab to drop me off at the front door since I didn't have an umbrella, and it is EASY to find. One right turn. Go straight a block. Stop. Right is very easy to say in Korean. As is turn right.

So we are heading for the spot to turn right. Well before we get there I tell the taxi driver to turn right in Korean and point right. He keeps going straight. There is still time. I tell him again, more forcefully, again pointing right. He drives straight toward the light. I say loudly RIGHT. Too late we are through the light. He pulls over after the light.

I ask him if he speaks Korean. (I usually carry my phrasebook with me just in case.) He seemed offended by the question. I told him that I had said turn right 3 times and he didn't. He gave the blank look. I said in English rightuh turnuh.

You could see the light bulb go on from his feeble brain. It was a pretty dim bulb. "Ah. Rightuh!"

"Yes, you stupid son of a bitch. Rightuh." I made him give me the change and walked the 2 blocks to work. Luckily it didn't start raining.

We are talking some seriously stupid fucking people if they can't understand simple directions in their own language. Why the kimchi should we even bother learning the Mongol tongue if they don't understand it? They understand "rightuh" "leftuh" but not the Korean for it?

And I know some of you apologist and Koreanphile assholes are thinking "Well you are saying it wrong. Your accent is off." To you I say go fuck yourselves. My pronunciation of those simple words is spot on. Years of practice have seen to that. If it was something more complex you might have a valid point. Some Koreans just don't understand their own language when a foreigner uses it correctly, just aren't paying attention, or deliberately play dumb for shits and giggles.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

What the - Chemical Warfare II?!

This should be viewed as an addendum to Flint's post...
You should be able to see an orange and blue contraption at the side of the road. It's hooked up to the big blue tank on the right. The orange part is a fan, and it is blowing chemicals onto the road (and every car that passes by) from the tank. There is another one on the other side of the road, so every vehicle that enters or leaves Oksan is pretty well slathered over.
My director explained to me that this is some kind of disinfectant designed to combat the spread of hoof-and-mouth disease, which has broken out in Korea.
The fans have been there blowing away every time I have gone to work, so I imagine they've been going 24/7 ever since Monday.
It rained on Monday and Wednesday, and pretty good, too. I can only imagine the "effectiveness" of these chemicals in a steady rainfall.
Coming into town on Tuesday, I had the windows rolled down, and only managed to get them up just in time. I had to slow down a bit (who knows what those chemicals are), and the mookish motorist behind me was in a bit of a hurry. He beeped his horn, and I... gestured.... that I would only be "one minute" (I think I used the right finger to convey my meaning).
But I wonder how many fans are blowing in how many other towns? I wonder who has to set up these... uh... blow jobs?

What the ... OCD?

After observing Koreans in action last weekend I can't help but wonder if a good percentage of the country has some sort of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. It seems as though many of them just can't help but touch my scooter as they walk by. Whether it is tapping the seat, running their hand on it, or a quick single tap on the back board or seat. They just can't seem to keep their hands off of it.

I really noticed this on Sunday while Stig and I were enjoying coffee and cigars. I tend to keep an eye on my scooter because some Koreans have no fucking respect for peoples property and will sit on it, try and use it as a table, or throw garbage in the basket. I like to put the run to them. So I tend to notice people around it.

In a period of about 2 hours at least 8 people (that I noticed) touched it is some way. That would be one every 15 minutes. What the kimchi?!?!? Is OCD so common here?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

What the .... Chemical Warfare?!?!?

I had finished my workout and showered at the gym. Since I had time to kill before work I was talking with my friend, the woman who works the desk. Her English isn't good but between her bad English and my bad Korean, and having known each other 3 years, we get by.

Then two men barge in. One of them bellowing some nonsense in Korean. The other has what can only be described as a cross between a Sub-Machine Gun, mini-vac, and some sort of man portable water cooler. He is immediately demanding to know where to plug his contraption in. There is a 3rd guy in the hallway looking for something. (Turns out he wanted an electrical socket too.) The two "armed" guys are wearing face masks, the other isn't.

When he finishes bellowing at my friend I ask her what the kimchi is going on? She said something about cleaning or disinfecting. Ok. Liquid must be some kind of cleanser. Or cleaning mist. The building owner sent them. She also said the maskless guy said it was safe. Now the mouthy guy is making sure the windows and doors are closed. The Koreans are coming to the front to find out what is going one.

I look in the hallway and the guy is plugged in and the contraption is spewing out some kind of mist. It smells ... familiar. The guy inside is plugged in and spewing mist. The maskless guy who said it was safe ... is no longer maskless.

All of the Koreans are leaving the gym and heading into the hallway. Some are heading out onto the balcony area. The gym area is now getting foggy.

I sniff the air again. Fuck me! They are MoGi Men! They are spraying insecticide in the gym and hallway. Safe my ass!

This is one of those things that makes you wonder what the fuck is wrong with people in this country. It is bad enough when you have those trucks or scooters going by outside spraying insecticide to kill mosquitoes. Kids will follow and play in the damn "smoke". But they do it inside an enclosed space while people are there too! What the kimchi?!?!?

I have never experienced this happening indoors before. Outdoors, yes. Too often. Hope I never experience it again.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Mook Of The Week

As you may know, I live in Cheongju, and commute to a small town called Oksan. I see many, many mooks and mookish behaviour on the road, but it's difficult to document when you're driving. I think I would be considered a mook if I was concentrating more on taking pictures than taking care of business.
It's also not a good idea to take your mind off of watching out for the next accident coming your way, because you know the mooks are selfishly oblivious.
But, I have taken to having the camera at the ready, just in case the opportunity presents itself. And, as they always do, the mooks obliged.
I saw this mook just as I was coming into Oksan. The road crosses a river, and then comes to a T-intersection. I was waiting for the light to change when I saw him.
That's Oksan in the distance. Not much more than a wide spot on the road, but it's smack in between here and there, so it gets a lot of through traffic, including heavy trucks, buses, etc.
There're also a lot Kim Kadiddlehoppers on their tractors and forklifts(!) clogging the highways and byways. Oksan is full of old ajummas and adjussis who just don't give a fuck about traffic safety. I think they must've grown up walking on the road simply because there wasn't anything else. Sidewalks are one of those recent innovations that come with entering the 20th century, and these mooks are still looking askance, deciding if they're really that practical. The jury is still out.
I mean, look at this guy! There's a guardrail there, but why would he want to walk behind that?! And walking against traffic, so you can see it coming?
No way!
They should look out for me!
The bridge is ahead of this mook. He was probably going across. Why? Fuck if even he knows.
But it's kind of narrow; only two lanes with no sidewalk. It wouldn't take much for some selfishly oblivious mook to rub him off against the guardrail and over the side into the drink.
But he doesn't care, 'cause he's got places to go.
You sir, are a mook.

Mmmmmmmmmm Cigar.

A lazy Sunday afternoon. The weather is absolutely gorgeous, like the Korean hotties strutting past Flint and myself, lounging at the Dunkins patio.
After a lunch of Popeye's chicken, it's time for a cigar. Today it's a Partagas series D.
I have never been affected by a cigar quite like this one. I hope my description does it justice. It's been a couple of hours, and I am still buzzing.
Inspired by Winston Churchill, we've taken to punching a hole in the cap with a matchstick rather than using a conventional cutter.
I wasn't sure about the draw at first. It was almost too much work, and I was debating about using the cutter anyway. I'm glad I didn't.
I was drinking a strawberry Coolata, which wasn't really a good match with the cigar. Flint asked me why I didn'y get a coffee flavoured one, and I had to take my cap off to smack myself on the head.
And then, it was like something popped inside the cigar. The draw was everything I could have asked for.
It was about 1/3 of the way into the cigar when this wave just washed over me. It was an instant high. As I said, I've never experienced such an intense reaction before. I've had some pretty good buzzes while smoking, but this was just so much more.
My whole body was tingling, and my head was floating away on a cloud. Alizee's "J'ai En Marre" was running through my brain, adding to langourous effects of the buzz.
It was the kind of feeling you have after a really, really good sexual experience.
This went on for the rest of the time I was smoking. I was feeling very mellow, just enjoying the great weather and the scenery rolling past.
The cigar went out with about a quarter left to go, and I couldn't get it relit. It didn't matter, as I was feeling so good, I don't know if I could have handled anymore.
The walk home was more of a stroll, and the day co-operated with me.
Well, mostly. I did have to elbow a mook who figured he could walk through instead of around me.
But the air was fresh-smelling, with the green growing of new grass and leaves. I trailed along behind a Korean hottie, enjoying her perfume and the slow sway of her hips.
Now I'm relaxing at home with Alizee's Moscow concert playing on the computer.
She's singing Simon & Garfunkel's "Sounds Of Silence."

Thursday, April 22, 2010

What the ... admission?!?!?

A friend pointed out a Korea Times article to me today. It is titled "Koreans Swayed by Herd Mentality".

Basically the article talks about something most of us already know about Koreans. The group mind, collective mentality, bandwagon effect, or herd mentality if you will. Take your pick they all give you insight to the way Koreans act. It is one of the few countries in the world (maybe 1 of 2?) where you can generalize about behaviour or attitudes and be right.

The article points out how this type of mentality can hurt the economy.

Even the country's top financial regulator warned midway through last year that herd behavior can end up generating asset price bubbles, thus wreaking havoc on the economy.

It isn't just the economy and buying practices that it affects. According to the article it can affect innovation.

Another downside is that the mindset may call for mere conformity while intruding upon innovative thinking as amply demonstrated by partisan regionalism. In other words, herd mentality may choke innovation.

As a foreigner in Korea I know it reaches even further. It affects how Koreans react to situations. Look at the whole craze against foreigners teaching in Korea. Thanks to media hype and KKK's with an axe to grind this is perpetuated on an almost daily basis.

Look at the Mad Cow stupidity. The sheep would read the net, watch PD Diary, and just bleet back the BS they heard whether it was true or not. And in most cases the fear mongering was based on lies.

Look at things like the way they think about seasons. No not the "we have 4 distinct seasons" BS. If it is this season you must dress this way. You ONLY wear short sleeves in summer. As I mentioned in another post Koreans tend to freak out if you wear out of season clothes. It is conformity and if you don't conform the herd will show their disdain.

While it is nice to see that some Koreans are recognizing the herd mentality they need to look deeper. Maybe then they can actually effect some changes for the better.

What the ... KKK?!?!?

I have been working on this post for awhile. It seems more timely now considering Lousy Korea closed her blog. From what I have heard she was receiving death threats, which she would have put up with. The kicker was some Korean Kimchi Kommandoes threatening to kill another bloggers children. Lousy felt enough was enough, the KKK are too insane. Thus she gave in to the assholes and ended the blog. It is hard to fault her thinking.

The Kamikaze Kimchi Kommandoes. I can't think of a better, non-vulgar, name for some of the "Korean" nutizens and other so-called "Defenders" of Korea. They like to believe they are "defending" Korea from the rest of the world. Most of the time they just make Korea and Koreans look bad. Many of them are kyopos. Some of whom have NEVER been to the "motherland". Yet they think that the KNOW what life is like in Korea and have the temerity to imply they speak for all Koreans.

How do they make themselves and Korea look bad? They act out like children.

Look at the Winter Olympics. They didn't like a call against the Korean skaters. The usuall fuckery happened. Death threats to the Australian judge, who was ONE of several judges to make the decision. A bomb threat to the Australian Embassy. And a lot of whining. Much like what happened during World Cup 2006. The Swiss beat Korea. The Swiss embassy recieved a bomb threat. Korean nutizens caused the Embassy server to crash spamming it with hate mail. Sadly, this is a pretty normal reaction when the KKK don't like something.

God forbid someone posts something on the internet that they feel (rightly or wrongly) is anti-Korean. These whack jobs will do all they can to destroy the person. They will try and find your personal information and post it on the internet. They will try and get people to call your work place and get you fired. They will deluge you with hatemail and death threats. Your avegare Korean doesn't seem to be able to handle any criticism of Korea. These nutjobs take it to a new level.

After the English Spectrum bull shit the nutizens used the net to rally themselves. They organized hunts for foreigners in Hongdae. The Anti-English Spectrum group formed to stalk and harass foreign English teachers in Korea.

It isn't just the netizens though. Korean protesters don't help either. To protest Japan claiming Dokdo some Koreans beat pheasants to death in front of the Japanese Embassy, ate their entrails, and threw the carcasses at the Embassy. This was done to show the world how CRUEL Japan is. All it did was make Koreans look like psychoes to the world.

Another protest saw a live baby pig literally ripped into 4 by a crowd of protestors. This is how sane adults protest? No it isn't and it makes Korea look barbaric and cruel to the rest of the world.

Then you have the places these idiots make to speak out and "defend the motherland". The web sites they make tend to hurt their cause more than help it.

A Grand Wizard (Ok the title is Grand Master but how could one not alter it.) on one site would say things like;

"Well that's good. At least you're not like that n-ggah blackboon mike in Korea blogger who whines and gripes about "scrimination and shiet" 24-7 on his defunct blog. Or that youseok aborigine who plays the race card and poses and pretends that he's a black guy, because a lot of abrogines of australia look like black people. I find most of the hardcore anti-Korean racist to be black foreigners living in Korea. They try to bring white-guilt and their victimhood to Korea and the rest of Asia and also want to be treated like king"kong" and queens. LOL!"

"LOL! Armenians remind me of those messicans. They tend to be arrogant, pushy and cocky. A lot of them have dark brown skin and look like hispanic people. I didn't know that a lot of them are on welfare, though.

Exactly. This kind of shit happens to us Koreans and many other fellow Asians living in the US and other western countries. Yet, we don't act childish and immature by going online and starting blogs calling people racial slurs, or posting news articles that badmouth your host country."

This from a KKKommando who had a blog taken down because of its racist vitriol. It was nigger this and darkie that. But hey they don't act childish or immature by going online starting blogs calling people racial slurs or anything like that. Unless of course you look at the blog he set up or the site they gather at. Personally I think blogspot should have left it up because it just showed what a racist piece of shit the Grand Wizard is.

"Basically children from Korean farmer dads and SEA mothers are going tobe bottom of the social ladder and very few fortunate will succeed the expectation and become fully accepted by Korean community. "

The person who posted this is stating a truth about how mixed-race people are treated in Korea. Instead of talking about how that is not a good thing, it is racist, he blames Korean women.

"It's shame to see many Korean girls in South Korea willing to marry foreigners with any kind of looks and with poorer financial backgrounds but turns blind eyes to local rural farmers. "

Then you have another Grand Wiard saying this about crime in Japan.

"Sadly, Japanese aren't interested in their crime unless there are "Korean" involved. It's like entire Japan is evolved around Koreans."

Wow Mr. Pot can you see Mr. Kettle trying to get your attention? Insert Koreans and foreigners and you pretty much have life in Korea viewed through such journalistic wannabes as the Korea Times, Korean Herald, and other so called media outlets. Hell the website this KKKunt posts on perpetuates this BS. The site that some of these Lousy KKKunts come from actually makes Lousy Korea's blog look TAME at times. (I don't usually talk directly about these kind of sites because I don't feel like sending hits their way. I am making an exception for the Grand Wizards and the other Lousy KKKers.)

Mind you this does show a big difference between the way these people think and the way I, and a lot of other people I know, think. The KKK will talk about how they don't care about discrimination against foreigners because they were discriminated against. Or they heard Koreans were discriminated against. They will spew out racist garbage in order to complain about racists. I do care. I didn't tolerate racism when I saw it at home. If I saw people treating foreigners back home the way many Koreans do here I would and did SAY something. If the Canadian media was putting out blatantly anti-foreigner BS I would say something. When I do move back home I am not going to treat Koreans I meet badly just because of assholes in Korea or on the net.

What these idiots fail to realize is that when they "speak out for Korea" they make Korea look bad. They whine about people complaining about Korea and people who are racist towards Korean while just spewing out their own racist crap. For protecting Korea they get a big FAIL. For making Korea and Koreans look bad they get an A+.

To the KKKommandoes all I can do is take a page from John Stewart and say Go Fuck Yourselves!

What the ... Lousy Korea?!?!?

What the kimchi?! Lousy Korea has vanished from the blogosphere. Who will annoy the Korean Kimchi Kommandoes the way she did? Anyone know why she vanished?

UPDATE: If you are interested in what happened to Lousy Korea then check out Korean Rum Diary.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Cigars - Bolivar Belicosos Finos

In one word ... disappointing.

After reading the review of this cigar on the Seoul Cigar Afficianado Society Blog I was intrigued. They ranked it up with the Monte Cristo Torpedo. And they emphasised the strong flavour of it.

I bought two of them. The only good things I can say about the 1st one was that it had a beautiful even burn. Strong ash. Great draw. But the flavours just weren't there. It started to taste better once you got to the last 1/3. Overall a very poor showing.

The second one was even more of a let down. The burn was HORRIBLE. And once again the flavours were lacking. The first 1/3 of it had almost no taste. It was like smoking air. The flavour picked up a bit after that. It wasn't until the last 1/3 that it beging to have a stronger flavour. But it still wasn't that flavorful. As it got into nub territory it had problems staying lit and with the draw. Probably because of the horrible burn.

If I was given one I would smoke it again. I will never buy another one. Very disappointing.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Year 1 - World Cup 2002 memories

I was fortunate enough to be in Korea while the World Cup was here. I have watched every World Cup as far back as I can remember. I never thought I would be able to watch a game in person. As the email I posted showed I wasn't disappointed.

I know when most foreigners talk about World Cup 2002 and Korea they aren't favourable towards Korea. Me? Well, I had a great time. I enjoyed watching Korea play and the festivities around it. I REALLY enjoyed the festivities. :)

My co-workers and I watched every game from Korea vs Portugal on at the same samkyubsal restaurant. They had a projection screen. The place was PACKED. It was just fun. We met some nice people and shared a lot of soju with strangers.

Yes, there were some lousy calls but they weren't all in favour of Korea. (I wanted Korea to go as far as possible because it meant the partying would continue.) The Italians particularly irked me. The BS with Ahn JangHwan. The whining because Totti, who was notorious for diving, getting red carded for ... diving. They were acting as immaturely as Koreans often do when something goes against them.

Fondest memories?

The live game in Ulsan of course.

The chick who snogged me after Korea beat Spain. Everyone was celebrating. Strangers shaking hands and some hugging. This cute chick hugs me and starts kissing me. And it wasn't a little peck on the cheek. It startled me at first. We exchanged phone numbers and made plans for a date. (Of course it turned out she just wanted to practice her Englishee. She wanted her boyfriend to join too, he was the guy who shook my hand and thanked me for cheering for Korea after I finished kissing her. Strangee.)

A guy sporting wood riding on the roof of a truck. Cars were all over the place after the games. Lots of Korean flags flying out windows. One pick-up truck was meandering down the street with a guy getting his groove on. Matt noticed the guy either had a hard on or stuffed his pants. Matt noticed stuff like that.

The family that ran the mart in my apartment building. They were such nice people. Still are. I go there from time to time. The mother was always slipping us vitamin drinks in the morning. Or some bacchus for energy. After a hard night of partying that was always welcome. For the Korea-Spain game we painted our faces up. The grand kids were at the store so we did them too. Soon we had strangers asking to be painted.

The partying. It was just pure good fun. I can't recall any mooks ruining things. There were mooks, you can't avoid them here, but they were low key.

Ok, one incident with mooks does come to mind. You knew one would. As I said we went to most games at the same place. We pre-booked our table. If you didn't you wouldn't get one. We invited some friends to come as well. BumSuk brings a gaggle of Koreans. His sister, her fiance, some friends. All in all about 5-6 extra people. Friends of theirs come and go. They ALL left without leaving ANY money to pay. Hilda and I ended up with a bill of around 150,000 won. All of the bastards ate and drank ... and buggered off.

We told BumSuk that he could come next time but not to invite anyone else. The ricetard brings his sister and fiance again. Friends pop in again and they all manage to bugger off leaving a whole 20,000 won with BumSuk to pay for their share. Needless to say BumSuk was not invited anymore. (Ok, I didn't invite him anymore but Hilda stupidly still did. I made sure to keep a separate bill for myself.)

All in all I had a great time.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Mook of the Week

Yea though I walk through the shadow of the valley of Mooks I shall fear no Mook because I have a shiny object.

Welcome to the latest installment of Mook of the Week. What a week it was. I actually encountered THREE candidates for Mook of the Year! It was hard to decide which one to use as Mook of the Week. After some deliberation Stig and I concluded the decision could only be made in the traditional Korean manner. Rock, Paper, Scissors. Thus we have our winner.

I was meeting my adult students at Dunkin Donuts for coffee instead of using the classroom. Being me I was VERY early. So I picked the best seat to observe the world outside. The same seat I saw last weeks Mook of the Week from. And it didn't disappoint.

While the light was red the Yellow Mook drove into the crosswalk and stopped. You could tell by the way he stopped that he was either going to pull a U or run the red and turn left. Then the green walk light came on. At this point he was just a typical mook. Blocking a crosswalk. Then he started moving forward. While people were using the crosswalk.

At this point he is through the crosswalk and out in the street. He stops. People are still crossing. A woman and child are just starting to cross. The green to walk isn't even flashing. It is still solid. Then he cuts his wheels and goes to finish the U-turn.

He came close to tagging the mook in the car who had been edging out even though the light was red. Thus blocking the other crosswalk. And even though he should be able to see that people are still using the crosswalk he stepped on the gas and sped off.

If ever there was a poster boy for Mooks this ricetard is it.

You sir, are the mookiest mook that ever mooked.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

What the ... fan death?!?!?

Lousy asked for some guest writer to do something on fan death. If I didn't have my own blog I would have submitted this to her.

Fan death is a phenomenon peculiar to Korea. No other country believes in or suffers from this ummm what is a good word to use? Stupidity? Extreme lapse of logic? Problem! This problem. :)

Basically, Koreans believe that if you leave a fan (or air conditioner) on in a room with the windows closed you can die. It does this in various ways.

1) It creates a vortex that sucks out all the oxygen from the room creating a vaccum. (But if the room is sealed where does the oxygen go? )

2) It chops up all the oxygen particles in the air leaving none to breathe. (Who knew fans could split molecules!)

3) The fan uses up the oxygen in the room and creates fatal levels of carbon dioxide. (Except that fans don't create carbon dioxide.)

4) If the fan is put directly in front of the face of the sleeping person, it will suck all the air away, preventing them from breathing. (Wouldn't that be blow the air away? And what avout the air it replaces it with?)

5) Fans contribute to hypothermia, or abnormally low body temperature. (Ummm ... yeah. )

6) Fans contribute to prolonged asphyxiation due to environmental oxygen displacement or carbon dioxide intoxication. (Mind you HOW really air tight is your apartment?)

7) That fans directly on the body deprives "skin-breathing," leading to suffocation. (Bwahahahahahaha!!!)

The Korean government and media perpetuate this myth every year. In fact the Korean Consumer Protection Board actually issued the statement:

"If bodies are exposed to electric fans or air conditioners for too long, it causes [the] bodies to lose water and [causes] hypothermia. If directly in contact with [air current from] a fan, this could lead to death from [an] increase of carbon dioxide saturation concentration [sic] and decrease of oxygen concentration. The risks are higher for the elderly and patients with respiratory problems. From 2003 [to] 2005, a total of 20 cases were reported through the CISS involving asphyxiations caused by leaving electric fans and air conditioners on while sleeping. To prevent asphyxiation, timers should be set, wind direction should be rotated and doors should be left open."

They actually said asphyxiation from electric fans and air conditioners was among South Korea's five most common seasonal summer accidents or injuries. Of course there were no autopsies to confirm this.

Ask a Korean did look into the idea of fan death. He believes he found proof it can happen. He did a good job looking into it and presenting his opinion. He actually may have found a reason to fear fan death. Unfortunately the reason he found ISN'T the reason why Koreans fear fan death.

Nor have there been any deaths proven to be caused by it. They just believe the BS they were handed down by someone older than them and repeat it no matter how stupid it makes them look. Sometimes it seems that Fan Death is just used as a way for the police and media to explain a death by unknown reasons. Several students (adult) have said that it is used in cases of suicide to cover it up.

Ever notice that no foreigner has ever died of fan death in Korea? But how could that be? Because when a foreigner dies there must be a full and proper autopsy (as I was told when a friend died). I guess foreigners are either stronger than Koreans or no Korean doctor would be stupid enough to sign off on fan death as a cause of death on an international death certificate.

It kind of reminds me of the "reason" why many Koreans shut off their lights when they actually stop for a red light. They believe it saves wear on the battery. No scientific fact behind it. Much like many of the problems Koreans have with Mad Cow Disease. Little fact and lots of fiction. And you just can't discuss these things rationally with them.

Once someone older has told Korerans something it never enters their mind that it might be wrong. Korean schools teach that there are only 6 continents not 7. I had students argue black and blue in the face that there are only 6. It didn't matter how much evidence to the contrary you showed them. It came down to the fact an older Korean authority figure told them so it must be true.

Whether it is a fact that diverges with reality or something silly like fan death Koreans grab on to the nugget and just can't let it go. Only in Korea.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

What the ... traffic violation?!?!?

HT to Marmot's Hole for pointing out K-Popped's post.

Anyone who has spent any amount of time in Korea should know the disregard Koreans have for traffic laws. Whether it is running red lights, doing illegal u-turns (which is kind of amazing because there are legal u-turns in Korea), driving through crosswalks, moronic parking, or any other kind of violation. They occur on a daily basis.

Anyone who follows this site knows that Stig and I often hang out at a Dunkin Donuts that has a patio on weekends and watch the hustle and bustle around us. You can't turn go a minute without seeing a traffic offense of some sort. We have seen the police walking around just ignoring the violations.

Evidently, KBS won't ignore them. They have announced that they will no show Rain's video Love Song because ... make sure you are sitting down ... he is show running across a deserted street in the video. What the kimchi?

Yes, Rain's video shows him blatantly violating one of Korea's traffic laws. The cad! How dare he! Thank god KBS refuses to show this horrible behaviour. It could have resulted in Koreans J-walking. We all know that what law abiding people Koreans are, especially when it comes to traffic laws. And how easily they are influenced by K-Pop stars. Now the streets will be safe from J-walkers and other traffic law breakers.

What a pile of horse shit. I haven't seen many Rain videos. Thanks to Stephen Colbert, thanks only because it was funny, I saw one. In it we see someone running down a street, destruction of property. I guess KBS just had enough of the tom foolery that is Rain and had to put their foot down.

Mind you the morons in charge at KBS probably violated 10 or more traffic laws the day they made the decision to ban his video. Hypocritical morons. If they were REALLY concerned about people violating traffic laws they would have actually taken steps to educate the public and address the problem by tackling the major problems and not a video.

What the .... cultural stupidity?!?!?

I have a 3 hour break Tuesday and Thursday. I actually kind of like it. I get to get anything I need and still be home for dinner.

So, I am getting ready to head out. The kyopo says to me "What about the meeting?"

Shaking my head because I know what is coming I say "What meeting?"

She replies "Don't we have a meeting today? To go over the new computer program we will be using?"

I shrug and say "Evidently it isn't a meeting for me since I wasn't told."

She seemed shocked (she has become assimilated after all and said "But won't we (now she includes herself as a foreigner) have to use it eventually."

As I was going out the door I said "No idea. Can't plan for what I am not told about. They have my phone number if I am actually needed." With that I started to carry on..

This is typical Korean Bullshit, not being told about something. Nothing worth getting bent out of shape over. Not informing the foreign teacher has been a problem everywhere I have worked in Korea. Hell everywhere anyone I know has worked in Korea. Last minute notification is nothing new either. But it did bring a question to mind.

I went back into the teachers room and said "So, why are Koreans so lousy at informing people of things in a timely fashion?"

After blinking a couple of times she said "Oh it is cultural."

"Seriously? It is part of Korean culture to not inform people of things, sometimes important things, until the last minute or it is too late?"

She said "Yes, I think so."

Now keep in mind she isn't really a Kyopo. She was born and raised in Korea until the age of 18. Then spent 10 years in Canada. She may have a Canadian passport now but the Korean mindset is there. She was raised through her formative years in Korea. She should actually be able to tell you what is or isn't cultural.

I said "Well you have lived in Canada. In Canada we consider it to be stupidity not to inform people in a timely fashion. Or laziness. Especially when it is done repeatedly. You really think it is cultural trait in Korea?"

"I think so."

I left laughing. Basically I have just been informed that stupidity IS cultural. It is an intrinsic part of Korean culture. Wow. I don't think the collective will be happy with her answers when they hear them.

I mean I have always suspected it could be cultural. What with all the apologists and Koreanphiles trying to pass off stupid things Koreans do and say as being cultural. Add to that the stupid things Koreans do and say. To have it confirmed by a Korean. I never expected that to happen. :)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Mook of the Week

Welcome to the latest installment of Mook of the Week. This week we see the Clown Mook. This kind of mook parades around in his pajamas.

There are a couple of hospitals in the area, odds are he was at one of them. The I.V. was a dead give away. It isn't strange to see people in pajamas milling around outside hospitals smoking cigarettes. It isn't the pajamas that make him a mook.

It is his actions. He ambles up to the crosswalk dragging his I.V. stand. Ok pulling it as it is on wheels. He can't be bothered to wait on the sidewalk at this busy intersection he has to stand on the road.

It turns out he was heading across the street to a 7-11 in order to get some smokes. A mook with no smokes can lead to more problems.

On his way back he once again has issues with patience and logic. Why walk on the sidewalk when you can walk on the street. At this point he decided to lift the I.V. stand up and carry it, as he would be stepping down onto the street. Being a mook he didn't pay attention to his surroundings. Ok that also seems to be a trait of most Koreans. And some hilarity ensued.

He lifted his I.V. stand, tube and all, into the branches of a tree. It took him a minute or more to free it. Then he stood there cursing at the tree. As if it had deliberately offended him and would understand him. Then he mooked down the street to the crosswalk, stood in the street, and crossed at the next green. He was able to make his way back to his hospital without further incident.

You sir, are a mook of the 1st Order.

Year 1 - Denmark vs Uruguay


What a weekend, take 2. The expanded version after some sleep. :)

Saturday night was FANTASTIC. There were some bumps in the road getting to the World Cup Game in Ulsan, but nothing that could detract from the experience.

Friday night I watched the France-Senegal game with friends outside White Market. It was a good time, and a good game. No one expected Senegal to upset France like that.

I got an early start to Ulsan Saturday. Well, early for a weekend, late considering what time I have to be up and about on weekdays. I left Chongju on the 10:00 A.M. bus. Overall the trip took about 4.5 hours, putting me in Ulsan at around 2:30. The trip was pretty good. Korean buses are a lot more comfortable than Canadian, and more efficient. We made one pit stop at a place called Chilgok, and to drop off passengers in Kyeoungju. Other than that it was straight through to Ulsan.

The countryside along the way was spectacular. I am still not used to the sight of so many mountains. We only passed through part of Kyeongju, but what a town. Everywhere you look is history. Kyeongju was the capital of the Silla kingdom for almost 1000 years, until 982 A.D. when the kingdom was conquered and the capital moved to the north. Its origins go back to around 57 B.C., around the time Julius Caesar was conquering Gaul. It survived a sacking by the Mongols in the 13th century, and Japanese in the 16th. Most of its artifacts survived the Japanese occupation of the early 20th century. Even considering what the Japanese stole, a wealth of historical treasures remain. I will definitely be going back there for a visit.

Ulsan has been a major harbour in Korea for over 1000 years. A legend from the Silla Kingdom said a man, believed to have been an Arab, arrived in Ulsan in 879 for trade and then settled to live among the people. Since the 60's the government has invested heavily in building up the infrastructure and industry base of Ulsan, turning it from a town into a modern city. Today Ulsan is one of the largest industrial cities in Korea. Most oil imports flow through the port. It has the biggest shipyard in the world, the area is also a home of many multinational petrochemical corporations as well as a center for the Korean shipbuilding industry. With a population of over 1,000,000 it is almost twice the size of Chongju.

The first thing I noticed when I got off the bus was the heat. It gets hot in Chongju, but I expected more of a breeze off the ocean here. There wasn't much of one. A wave of heat washed over me, and stayed with me the whole day. Patrick and his girlfriend were late getting to the bus station in Seoul and missed the bus. They didn't leave until noon, and their bus wasn't slated to arrive until after 5PM.

I went in search of a Yeogwan. After an hour of walking around in the heat I ended up back at the first Hotel I went to. Yeogwans are usually aorund 20-30,000 Won a night. For the World Cup they decided to jack their prices up to Hotel level. I couldn't find one that was below 50,000 Won a night. So I got us rooms at a hotel instead. The first thing I did upon entering my room was shower. I was a little ripe after walking around in the heat. ;)

Patrick and Chun Soon were SUPPOSED to have arrived at 3 PM. They missed the 10 AM bus, and the 11 AM. They never got out of Seoul until 12 Noon, and it takes around 5 hours to go from Seoul to Ulsan. So, I decided to head to the bus station before 5 and meet them. % PM rolls around, and no bus. 5:10, 5:20, FINALLY at 5:30 the bus rolled in. The game started at 6:00 and it was 30 minutes form the bus station to the stadium. Luckily, we found a cabbie that knew shortcuts and didn't know what a speedlimit was. ;)

We missed the opening kickoff but only by a couple of minutes. You could hear the roar of the crowd outside the stadium when the game started. The main thing slowing us down, other than the distance from the road to the entrance gate, was security. Security was tight, but fairly efficient.

Our seats were fabulous. We were in the lower bowl, near the entrance, to the left of the net! We started off behind Uruguay, and finished behind Denmark when they switched ends. The only thing better would be to have been down with the players. The teams were evenly matched, and both sides made some great plays. We were cheering for Denmark, which made it even sweeter when they won.

We did have to laugh at some of the calls, or rather non-calls, one ref-linesman made. It is kind of funny that no matter what the sport some moron always manages to get a job as a ref. This guy gave new meaning to incompetent. Several plays happened in front of him that should have resulted in some form of penalty. Once, a Uruguayan player hammered a Dane in the face several times with his elbow while trying to get the ball right in front of the ref. He got the ball, and took off with it. When the Dane stared at the ref and asked why he didn't call it the guy just made a face and motioned for him to go away. (We had a great view of this happening.) And this twit of a ref gets to go to the World Cup and officiate? Reminds me of Andy Van Hellemond in the NHL.

During the half time we wandered around, looking at over priced souvenirs. I called mom and said hi, and told her where we were sitting. Then I called one of my sisters to say hi. The 2nd half started just after I got through so I had to rush off. When I sat down I realized that we were no longer behind the Uruguayan net, they changed sides at half time. So I called home and let mom know we were behind the Danish net now. Just as I hung up Uruguay scored. We got to see 2 of the 3 goals scored up close. Great game!

The Koreans organized people to cheer for both sides. It was a nice sight, or rather sound. The roar of the crowd was awesome! Fans were well behaved in the stadium. A yank cut in front of me while I was waiting to get drinks. He ended up turning around just as I was about to tap him on the shoulder. He asked if he cut in front, apologized and bought me a beer. :)

After the game we took a walk around, trying to find our way out. We did see one fight start, but it ended pretty quickly. One guy in Uruguayan colours, and another in Danish started going at it. Interestingly enough both had English accents. They saw some Korean police heading their way carrying these big ass night sticks, about 5' long, and decided to stop, and bug out. :))

Leaving the stadium took some doing. However, things were well organized, with free buses to take people all over town. However, the line ups were HUGE. We ended up looking for a cab, which was not easy. We ended up on the street with some Brits and others who were looking for a cab. The Brits had to get to their hotel and to the airport or miss their flight. Patrick's girlfriend played interpreter for them, and talked to the police. The police went WAY above and beyond to help out. They got the airport police to come in a van, pick up the Brit's, take them to their hotel, and then to the airport. We also got a lift to the hotel with them.

From there we decided it was time to have supper, and some soju. We decided to go for something traditional, sum kyub sal Plus soju of course. Unfortunately, for some bizarre reason, we could not find ANY restaurant in the downtown area that served what is a very basic Korean food. It was astounding! Lots of fish places, night clubs, and western style places. After an hour we gave up and went back to the area around our hotel. I had seen some places while walking around that afternoon.

We ended up at a traditional Soju bar. Then we settled down for supper and to watch the Germany - Saudi Arabia rout. I can't bring myself to call that massacre a game. We had a good time watching the game and drinking with the people at the bar. By the time the game was over, the day had taken its toll, as had the soju and beer, and it was time to sleep.

Sunday was another hot day. I spent some time looking around, nothing much to see in that part of Ulsan. There is a HUGE ferris wheel on top of the Lotte Department store, but we never went on it. I hopped on the 1 PM bus and was home in time to go out and watch the England - Sweden game. It was a great weekend.

Take care,


This was my 1st ever live World Cup game. Hell my first live soccer game. It was great. I am glad I was here to see it.

I didn't have a TV or the World Cup coverage would have probably pissed me off with the focus pretty much being Korea and nothing else from the complaints I heard from friends.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

What the... Drunk?!

Well, as you know, Flint and I enjoy cigars. This week, we have been trying out some new brands rather than our usual.

We like the Romeo y Julieta and Monte Cristo's, but we decided to take advantage of the other cigars in the selection available at Maska's. We let them know our desires, and they e-mailed us a list that we have been uncontrollably drooling over ever since.

This week, we have tried a Partagas Series D No. 4, and a Bolivar Royal Coronas 25. We also got an H. Upmann Corona, but we haven't smoked it yet.

The Partagas was smooth, but strong, while the Bolivar was smoother, less strong but more flavourful. The Partagas was smoked on a Friday night, late because Flint is stuck at work until 10. So we didn't have anything with it but regular beer, which is no way to smoke a cigar. But after the work week we needed it, and it was a nice way to relax and wind down from the rigours of teaching. It gave us a chance to chat about this and that, shamelessly ogle the eye candy, and laugh at the antics of the mooks that shamble through our lives.

One of the things we talked about during our smoke was what cigars Churchill smoked. We didn't know off-hand, but a quick Yahoo search has revealed the secrets.

Churchill's cigar smoking habit began during his stay in Havana, Cuba at the end of 1895, just before his 21st birthday. He had gone there as a correspondent, and to get involved in the fighting between the government soldiers and guerilla fighters. Churchill's preference for Cuban cigars was to last him for the rest of his life (as was his other Cuban habit: the afternoon siesta).

Churchill's cigar tastes were limited to a small number of favoured suppliers. In particular, his favourite cigar brands included Romeo y Julieta (my own personal fave rave).

Churchill's cigar consumption was between 6 and 10 a day, and he maintained a supply of several thousand in a room near his study in Chartwell. Winston usually smoked his cigars down to a couple of inches.

In contemplative moments, he would let his cigars go out, and he would then chew on them as he was thinking and writing. Despite receiving cutters, and wearing one on his watch chain, Churchill would pierce the moistened end of a cigar with a match rather than cut off the end. He could also be very careless with his ash. He had a favourite silver ashtray that followed him everywhere, but he would still burn carpets and even his clothes with carelessly dropped ash.

Pepin Fernandez Rodriguez, who bought the Romeo y Julieta brand in 1903, is credited with introducing the "Churchill cigar." At 7 inches long, with a ring gauge of 47, the delicious Romeo y Julieta Churchill cigar in its distinctive red and gold band is still a favourite today. I myself kept the tube as a souvenier, and look forward to having another one any day now.

Of course, Hitler and Mussolini were non-smokers, while Churchill and Roosevelt were both keen smokers. And we all know what happened to all of them. Churchill, as a lover of food, liquor, smoke, and liberty, is one of my ideals.

So anyway, Flint and I were out on the benches earlier tonight, enjoying the Bolivar Corona, and vainly waiting for the usual parade of eye candy. The pickings were pretty slim, but the mooks were out in force.


There was this one particular group gathered outside of the rib place Flint and I frequent. We noticed one particular mook smoking a cigarette with one foot up on the wooden table outside the restaurant. He looked like he was trying be dramatic and cool, but of course he came off as nothing more than a mook.

It looked as if they was trying to decide where to go. Most mooks don't know where they are going from one moment to the next, so to see them arguing about where to go is not unusual.

One person was pointing one way, and another person was pointing off in another direction, and one mook at the centre of the group was just trying to maintain his balance. It's always the way here. They drink to excess. Flint and I drink for enjoyment. Mooks drink to get plastered.

I remember coming home Friday night; the first thing I see getting out of the cab is two mooks going at it hammer and tongs. It was really funny, because both of them were so drunk they couldn't get a handle on walking, much less winning a fight.

Anyway, the group seemed to splinter, and go off in various directions. The mook at the centre, who was obviously the worse for wear, wandered into the street with another mook trailing him disconsolantly. Ignoring the traffic, as all mooks tend to do, he headed toward a Korean SUV, where he got into the driver's seat and pulled into traffic.

This is the type of shit that really gets my goat. With the number of cheap taxis and call vans available to the drunk and disorderly, there is absolutely no reason for someone over the line to get behind the wheel.

It's the kind of asshole-shit for brains-mookish-ass clown behaviour that shows all Koreans in the worst light imaginable. This is normal? People get away with this?

Friday, April 9, 2010

What the ... spell check?

I had planned on staying away from the Dokdo issue. I knew there was an article out in the craptastic Korea Times about it but stayed away. Then I was at Korean Rum Diary and read his post about the article. There isn't much more to say that he didn't cover.

The thing that sticks in my mind the most is the poor English used on the bracelets. They all say
"Dokdo is Korean Territory" and "East Sea is Korea". The East Sea is Korea? What the kimchi?!?!? And here I thought Korea was a landmass, a peninsula in Asia. It turns out is a body of water! Wow! What the kimchi are these morons doing building stuff on the peninsula if Korea is the East Sea? They are stealing someones land! Morons!

It REALLY makes the Korean American groups Korean American Leaders Association (KALA) and BYON International look like ricetards. They couldn't find someone to proof read what they wanted to say properly in America? It is bad enough when this crap happens in Korea and there is no excuse for it. But to have such crappy English in the US? It makes you wonder if they can find their own ass without a road map.

It is hard to take people who are either so lazy or stupid, or both, seriously. Add to that the fact that their newspaper campaigns made the Americans who noticed them think the islands are disputed.

I have a hard time believing they will ever learn.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

What the ... air compressor?!?!?

The rear tire of my scooter needs some air, it is running a little low. Easy problem to solve right? You just go to the gas station and use the compressor there . Problem solved. Not in Korea.

For a country that has so many cars it is incredible to find out that most gas stations do NOT have air compressors. What the kimchi?!?!?!?

I went to four different stations on my way in to work. None had a compressor. Nor could they tell me where I could find one.

When I got to work I asked my boss if he knew of any places. He said that in Korea gas stations don't have compressors. You have to go to a dealer or a mechanic they will do it for free.

Well, the guy I got the scooter from is in another Dong. (Heh ... I said dong.) I guess I will have to take a spin over there later tonight.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

What the ... obvious?!?!?!?

Why are there so many people who feel the need to constantly point out the obvious in Korea? I am starting to wonder if it is genetic. The first thing they probably hear at birth is "It's a baby!" that scars them for life. Maybe they just never got out of the stage of development where you say the obvious so they remember it. Oranges are sweet and that kind of thing.

It can be infuriating at times. One of my classes today was disrupted for a bit by a Captain Obvious. One student stood up to do his presentation when another student let out a gasp. In Korean and mime she let the whole class know he had ... short sleeves. The whole class had to stop and stare, some pointed, and say "short sleeves" like a good flock of sheep. It was as if someone had thrown a shiny object into the room. It took about 5 minutes to get them settled down because someone had short sleeves on.

These were grade 5-6 kids. They are still kids though so I didn't mock them for being so ... stupid. I did explain to them what Captain Obvious means and how people who tend to state the obvious are viewed as being stupid.

The scary thing is that this isn't limited to kids. This desire to point out the obvious can be found in a lot of Korean adults. Sometimes it can lead to hilarity, frustration, and even violence.

Getting out of a cab and having some DAK point at me and say "You are a foreigner in Korean." Of course I had to play the game so I pointed at her and said "You are stupid." in Korean. She seemed flustered.

Or Stig's favourite. It is cold out. The Korean is not properly dressed for it and keeps repeating that they are cold in Korean. Of course you are cold. It is cold out and you dressed like it is fall or spring.

Or that mook one night last December when Stig and I were out enjoying a cigar who screamed "You are cold! Go home!" Ok, he was wrong we weren't cold, he probably meant it is cold but it just makes him look like a fucking idiot.

Yes, I did say violence earlier. I mentioned this story once but it does bear retelling. I was out with a Korean friend and he saw an African-American. He immediately walked up to the guy and loudly said "You are black! You are a nigger!" Luckily for him the shock factor was there or the guy would have killed him. I apologized to the guy and told him my friend was a fucking moron with no class. The guy just muttered "Fucking Koreans." and left. My "friend" couldn't understand how he did something wrong.

At times Koreans remind me of Ralph Wigham making the profound statement "My cat's breath smells like cat food."

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Mook of the Week

Here is the latest Mook of the Week. I can hear it now "Flint you are picking on the handicapped. How evil of you. " To which I say piss off. A mook is a mook.

I know the handicapped have a hard time in Korea but this guy is an idiot. Unfortunately by the time I stopped the scooter and got the camera out the real stupid stuff was over. Basically he drives his wheelchair the same way most Koreans drive their cars. Like a fucking moron.

He went through a red light to cross the road while traffic was coming. Almost hit, or was hit by?, a car turning onto this street. Then he drives the down the street almost hugging the center line. As you can tell from the pictures there are UNOBSTRUCTED sidewalks on either side of the road. Why the blue hell would you you take your wheelchair on the road when the sidewalk is clear? Actually he had the same type of sidewalks on the street I first saw him on.

I think the best way to sum it up is to harken back to the wisdom of Stig. We saw a mook do something similar on a busier street. Stig just shrugged his shoulder and said "I guess we know why he is in a wheelchair."

You sir are a Mook.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Comfort TV

People talk about their comfort food and how it harkens back to mom's cooking. Well, there is also comfort TV.

Ice Road Truckers is one of my guilty pleasures. It seems like an insane premise for a show. Yet ... I watch it and like it. It reminds me of a lot of good times I had with my dad. I can see my dad in some of the truckers.

As you may have guessed my father was a truck driver. Among many things he did in life, including serving in the Army as a mechanical engineer during World War 2.

He wasn't home as much as he would have liked to be over the years. But he was earning money so we could have a home, eat, and have clothes. He made sure we were provided for. He made me promise him I would never become a truck driver. A promise I will always keep but kind of regret. I would have loved it.

I spent a lot of my life in a truck. Helping load and unload them. They were some of the best times of my life. Dad would pull me out of school sometimes and take me on trips. I learned more about life and people on those trips. I was lucky enough to travel the eastern half of Canada

and a lot of the eastern US.

Hugh "Polar Bear" Rowland reminds me a lot of dad. The attitude. The cockiness. The skill set. About the only difference is dad rarely swore and smoked a cigar. Mind you when the old man swore ... the air would turn blue. :) You have to be a jack-of-all trades in Ice Trucking and that was dad. Little schooling but if it had an engine he could fix it.

I could see the old man doing the ice runs just so he could brag about
it. :)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

What the ... Junior?!?!?

I remember reading on some site, one of the Kamikaze Kimchi Kommando variety, about the Senior-Junior relationship. Someone was praising it. He went on about how great it was. How it fostered respect. How the whole Confucian system is what makes Korea great. Kind of funny coming from somone who had been born in America and never really had to put up with the Senior-Junior stuff daily. So I quickly forgot about it.

This week it came to mind again. In one of my classes they had to do an exercise that would have them talk to one of their "friends" (classmates) and write down their answers. Well, that ended the exercise. There are age differences between the students. They had a hissy fit because they would have to say someone who is a senior or junior was a friend. They have no qualms about saying big brother or sister but god forbid in a writing exercise the word friend is used. I tried to change gears and say "Ok. Use classmate not friend." But the damage was done. Their cultural imperative would not let them do that. Friend was mentioned. End of exercise. Move on.

It struck me just how seriously fucked up the senior-junior concept is. (Ok, I already knew that, it just brought it to mind again.) You can't do an exercise because the word friend is used and not classmate. This wasn't a case of them not wanting to do the exercise, it was all about using the word friend. We did the exercise the next day, not in the book, with classmate in the place of friend and they did it with no problem.

It often leads to bullying here. The older student in the name of "helping" the younger student learn will smack them around. I have had more than one run in with this type of behaviour. The strangest involved a runt of a student named Harry. He had great English and wanted to study and live in America. Then there was Bob. Bob was TALL for his age. Harry was in grade 8 and Bob grade 6. Harry and a couple of other "seniors" terrorized Bob. Harry was the worst of them. When he brought the BS to my class I ended it, at least in my class. Bob actually said "He is my senior so I have to put up with what he does." I told him that in Canada someone would have kicked the shit out of Harry by now. I always hoped Harry's dream came true and he went to High School in America. I wonder if he would last a day before a "junior" kicked the shit out of him.

This is one of the things that was screwing the Korean National football team. The younger players had to pass to the older players so they could score. Even if the younger player had a better scoring chance or was more skilled. It was one of the first things Hiddink changed when he took over the team.

It is one thing to have a kind of mentor system going with the Senior helping the Junior but that isn't how it always goes here. As with so many things in Korea it gets taken to extremes. If you are older you are right even if you are wrong. You must let the older player get the goal. Then you have some twat who didn't grow up under the system wax poetically about how great it is. I hope he gets to experience it first hand. As the Junior.