Been living in South Korea 13 years now, ask me anything!

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Re: Been living in South Korea 13 years now, ask me anything

Postby perchorin on Thu Apr 04, 2013 12:42 am

BigBallinStalin wrote:How would you describe the general reaction of male Koreans to white, Western foreigners?

(I've heard South Korean males can generally be a bit xenophobic).

Yeah...I suppose things aren't as bad as they used to be but I've definitely had some very bad experiences (being a white Western foreigner myself). It's like a lot of things. Individually and sober most of the Korean men I know are lovely people. In a group and intoxicated is a very very different story though. About 5 years ago I was in a bar in Seoul (I live in Busan and was just taking a weekend up there. Seoul is a vile shithole though and best avoided no mater what else you've heard) chatting up a lovely young local girl when a group of 7 or 8 drunken Korean guys decided to take exception. We went outside and I flattened the leader and that's when the other half dozen descended upon me. Nobody tried to stop them or call the police, and I had to take a taxi to a local hospital. When I went into the emergency room they told me there were no doctors there, sorry so I went to a nearby motel instead and ruined all their towels and bedding. I still have problems with my right ear and jaw from the beating I took that night. Unfortunately that's not the only such experience I have in this area but it was the worst of them. Being as I'm 193cm and 100kg and the average Korean dude is around 175cm and 80kg, they have to be pretty drunk to start something with me and you can just push those guys over.
As I said though, it's gotten much better over the years. I fought a taxi driver (Korean taxi driver = scum of the earth) just a few months after moving here back in 2001 because as soon as my Korean gf at the time and I got into the cab he started hurling abuse at her like what a white woman would have heard dating a black man back in the 60's in the US. Nowadays I can't remember the last time something like that's threatened to occur.

/ wrote:Do you have any preference on the result of the Pinnacle Islands dispute?

I had to wiki "Pinnacle Islands" as that's the first time I'd ever heard the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands referred to as such. If there's one topic that has proven time and time again to be the bane of my existence over here it's local island disputes. People lose all semblance of rational thought so I avoid the topic entirely. It's like bringing up abortion in the bible belt.
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Silvanus wrote:perch is a North Korean agent to infiltrate south Korean girls
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Re: Been living in South Korea 13 years now, ask me anything

Postby perchorin on Thu Apr 04, 2013 12:52 am

BigBallinStalin wrote:2. How do Koreans generally feel about the US presence of military there? What's there general take on US involvement with their country?

There is a very clear generation gap as regards the US military presence in Korea. If you're over 60 (and with the aging population problem over here, that's a very significant percentage) you have nothing but warm fuzzy feelings for Uncle Sam and his boys. Mi-ka-duh (MacArthur) is still revered by this group. If you're 30-60 you likely see the US military presence as an unfortunate necessity, but would be happy to see them pack up and leave someday (unless you're particularly astute and realize the dollar value of the free security services being provided). If you're under 30 you generally hate the US military presence and many go so far as to claim the US is the enemy and sole preventer of peaceful reunification with the north. Young people here are pretty fucked up! A poll a few years ago of the local youth asked "who is the Republic of Korea's 'main enemy'" and Japan came in number one, the US at number two and North Korea was a distant third.
muy_thaiguy wrote:Chinese noodles, Korean noodles, or Japanese noodles?

Japanese noodles every time, but don't tell anyone I said so!
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Re: Been living in South Korea 13 years now, ask me anything

Postby Funkyterrance on Thu Apr 04, 2013 9:23 pm

This is a great thread! I'm really learning a lot, no joke.
I think this is the absolute best way to learn about a region tbh, the media just sucks when it comes to this stuff.
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Re: Been living in South Korea 13 years now, ask me anything

Postby perchorin on Thu Apr 04, 2013 9:27 pm

Funkyterrance wrote:This is a great thread! I'm really learning a lot, no joke.
I think this is the absolute best way to learn about a region tbh, the media just sucks when it comes to this stuff.

Glad to be of service, the media is definitely lacking in it's coverage of Korean issues. I also highly recommend this blog if you want to stay up to date on what's going on over here:
http://www.rjkoehler.com/
p.s. that's not my blog!
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Re: Been living in South Korea 13 years now, ask me anything

Postby Neoteny on Thu Apr 04, 2013 9:47 pm

What have you done with got tonkaed?
Napoleon Ier wrote:You people need to grow up to be honest.
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Re: Been living in South Korea 13 years now, ask me anything

Postby oVo on Thu Apr 04, 2013 10:00 pm

Thanks for the thread... and the blog link.
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Re: Been living in South Korea 13 years now, ask me anything

Postby perchorin on Thu Apr 04, 2013 10:24 pm

Neoteny wrote:What have you done with got tonkaed?

I never really knew the guy but I remember chatting with him about Korea once. He lived way on the other side of town from me as I recall. My guess is he went back to wherever it was he originally came from and left CC behind.
oVo wrote:Thanks for the thread... and the blog link.

Glad to do it. Anything to get some accurate information out there for a change!

Also the US Embassy here has been sending this out to all Americans living in South Korea:
The U.S. Embassy informs U.S. citizens that despite current political tensions with North Korea there is no specific information to suggest there are imminent threats to U.S. citizens or facilities in the Republic of Korea (ROK). The Embassy has not changed its security posture and we have not recommended that U.S. citizens who reside in, or plan to visit, the Republic of Korea take special security precautions at this time. The U.S. Embassy takes as its highest priority the welfare of American citizens in Korea.
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Re: Been living in South Korea 13 years now, ask me anything

Postby jonesthecurl on Thu Apr 04, 2013 11:58 pm

My nephew is thinking about spending some time in South Korea next year. I believe (we don't communicate that often) it's something to do with his studies at University. Where would you say he really must see, and what should he totally avoid?
Incidentally, if ethnicity is important, and if South Koreans can differentiate between white guys, he has no trace of U.S. ancestry - he's (let me calculate) 1/4 Welsh, 1/4 English, and 1/2 Flemish. He's fluent in English, his first language is Flemish / Dutch, and he speaks French and some German.
And remember what the poet said – “in booty there is loot, and in loot booty.” Or sump’n like that.
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Re: Been living in South Korea 13 years now, ask me anything

Postby jonesthecurl on Fri Apr 05, 2013 12:02 am

Oh, and this will not be important to anyone in Korea, I'm sure, but he speaks Luxembourgois too, or at lesat the version current to where he grew up. I understand that the language (if it can really be called so) is a mixture of the various surrounding languages and perceptibly shifts from one town to the next.
And remember what the poet said – “in booty there is loot, and in loot booty.” Or sump’n like that.
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Re: Been living in South Korea 13 years now, ask me anything

Postby chang50 on Fri Apr 05, 2013 12:12 am

Hi,as one Western expat living in Asia to another how do you regard Western armchair critics of Eastern culture,in particular the irrational (to me) revulsion re. what animals it is acceptable to eat?
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Re: Been living in South Korea 13 years now, ask me anything

Postby perchorin on Fri Apr 05, 2013 3:01 am

jonesthecurl wrote:My nephew is thinking about spending some time in South Korea next year. I believe (we don't communicate that often) it's something to do with his studies at University. Where would you say he really must see, and what should he totally avoid?
Incidentally, if ethnicity is important, and if South Koreans can differentiate between white guys, he has no trace of U.S. ancestry - he's (let me calculate) 1/4 Welsh, 1/4 English, and 1/2 Flemish. He's fluent in English, his first language is Flemish / Dutch, and he speaks French and some German.

Over here, white is white. Actually I never knew how good white guys have it over here until after I got married to a Korean girl. Drunk racist men notwithstanding (see a few posts above) I almost always get the friendliest VIP service wherever I go. Just yesterday at lunch the cook came out from the kitchen to give me an extra helping of meat with my meal. This kind of thing happens all the time! Everything is big smiles and I generally am able to get anything I want, even if it's not on the menu so to speak. I always knew I had it pretty good, but it wasn't until I got married and saw the service my wife gets and her treatment by people like movers (we just moved to a new place last week) and waitresses and the like. It's basically what you guys get in your home country. That may be fine, but I don't think you'd confuse it for VIP treatment.
What your nephew sees and does will depend a great deal on where he's staying. Likely as not he'll be in Seoul which, as already covered, I have nothing but disdain for. In my opinion, one gigantic city is pretty much like the rest no matter where you go. I will say he should avoid the places where US military congregates. Those are trouble spots generally. There's really no one "must see" sight here but the food is delicious and the countryside is beautiful. I may not be the guy to ask though as it now seems quite obvious I'm not a fan of urban life. One thing I can guarantee though is he'll have no shortage of Koreans offering to take him to any number of "world famous" places once he gets here. They're inordinately proud of their peninsula and take every opportunity to show off to the foreigners. Tell him to get ready to see 1000 temples that all pretty much look the same.
chang50 wrote:Hi,as one Western expat living in Asia to another how do you regard Western armchair critics of Eastern culture,in particular the irrational (to me) revulsion re. what animals it is acceptable to eat?

Yeah I agree. Can't stand that sanctimonious bullshit either. Several years ago there was a French-based group who decided to protest the consumption of dog meat over here. Likely as not the were mostly vegans or something anyway, but why travel halfway around the world when people eat foix fucking gras in the country you're already in? Food and humor are about as culturally intransitive as you can get and really shouldn't be criticized by people outside of said culture. Also, I'm 99% sure there would be far less whale consumed in this part of the world if people in the west would just shut the f*ck up about it. It's become a nationalist issue in Japan and half the people who I know who eat it do so just as a "f*ck you" to people who say they shouldn't. All that being said, the storage and preparation of dog for consumption here is quite horrific. Imagine veal, except after they're pulled out of the tiny cage they've spent their entire lives in the dogs are beaten with a steel rod and thrown into a boiling vat still alive. All this to make the meat more tender so it's said. I say, eat what you want but don't be a cruel vicious prick about it to the animal you're about to consume.
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Re: Been living in South Korea 13 years now, ask me anything

Postby BigBallinStalin on Fri Apr 05, 2013 4:29 am

perchorin wrote:
BigBallinStalin wrote:2. How do Koreans generally feel about the US presence of military there? What's there general take on US involvement with their country?

There is a very clear generation gap as regards the US military presence in Korea. If you're over 60 (and with the aging population problem over here, that's a very significant percentage) you have nothing but warm fuzzy feelings for Uncle Sam and his boys. Mi-ka-duh (MacArthur) is still revered by this group. If you're 30-60 you likely see the US military presence as an unfortunate necessity, but would be happy to see them pack up and leave someday (unless you're particularly astute and realize the dollar value of the free security services being provided). If you're under 30 you generally hate the US military presence and many go so far as to claim the US is the enemy and sole preventer of peaceful reunification with the north. Young people here are pretty fucked up! A poll a few years ago of the local youth asked "who is the Republic of Korea's 'main enemy'" and Japan came in number one, the US at number two and North Korea was a distant third.


I wonder if the young may shift their attitude as they get older, or perhaps they could be correct--in that the US military is not necessary there. Perhaps a mutual defense pact is, but that can be honored without basing US troops in Korea.

Their attitude is interesting because the general US foreign policy argument against non-interventionism is that if they pull out US forces from Korea, then the Koreans would be extremely upset. They would have 'lost' an ally (even though there's still the mutual defense agreement...).
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Re: Been living in South Korea 13 years now, ask me anything

Postby _sabotage_ on Fri Apr 05, 2013 6:49 am

chang50 wrote:Hi,as one Western expat living in Asia to another how do you regard Western armchair critics of Eastern culture,in particular the irrational (to me) revulsion re. what animals it is acceptable to eat?


I've eaten some pretty weird shit, but one dinner stands out. I was part of a diving consulting firm and we were negotiating our services with an operator in Hainan. They ordered and the first course was shark fin soup. It blew our we can help sustain and develop your operation argument straight out of the water.
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Re: Been living in South Korea 13 years now, ask me anything

Postby Symmetry on Fri Apr 05, 2013 6:58 am

Last time I was in Pusan, I wandered in to a hostess bar. How can they be avoided?
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Re: Been living in South Korea 13 years now, ask me anything

Postby _sabotage_ on Fri Apr 05, 2013 7:01 am

Tell them you're a volunteer for the WHO.
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