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."


  1. Why was a kid wearing short sleeves such a big deal? Because it's not the Korean definition of summer yet?

  2. Yes, because it isn't summer yet. So it must be too cold.

    Anything the collective doesn't deem normal stops them in their tracks faster than a princess passing by a mirror.

  3. It's April and the weather is still chilly. No spring there.

    "You are black! You are a nigger!"
    WTK! What was that? This should never be excused for "They don't know yet" or "They are not exposed to foreigners yet".

  4. I didn't excuse it although I didn't want to see him killed. The guy he said it to handled it well. The Korean who said it and I are not friends anymore. There is no excuse.

  5. Haha, it's so true. I hear, "You are foreigner" every day.

    And I'm glad the weather is getting hotter. Koreans will say "It's cold" every 2 or 3 seconds until you slap them in the mouth.

  6. Even back home it always irked me when people would just state the obvious like it is some profound statement. It happens too much here.

    Weather gets warmer ... skirts get shorter. :)

  7. I like my kids, generally. I give them some slack for being kids, and not knowing the deadly shit adults have to carry around all the time. But they always remind me of Korean Komedy Klassic TV shows.
    Every joke is underlined and replayed three, four, five times with captions and funny noises added so the audience knows which bits are funny.
    Whenever I do funny bits in the classroom, I have to do them more than once. It's like I have to follow the formula of the comedy shows.

  8. That is too true Stig. When I have been forced to watch Korean Komedy they replay the joke as soon as it happens 3-5 times. Fuck!