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 Mon Apr 08, 2013 5:50 pm

spurgistan wrote:Also, do Koreans ever drink soju not in beer? Haven't seen soju not be somaek.

You better believe they do! That's like asking if people ever drink tequila not in margarita form. If all you're seeing is somaek it probably has more to do with the group of people you're eating out with more than anything. I'd take a stab and say you're working in a hagwon with 90% female staff right? Mostly 20s and 30s? Somaek wasn't even a thing until a few years ago. Let some of those middle-aged guys who wanna practice their English take you out for pork some night, they'll show you how it's done.
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Re: Been living in South Korea 13 years now, ask me anything

Postby 2dimes on Mon Apr 08, 2013 10:32 pm

spurgistan wrote:Also, do Koreans ever drink soju not in beer? Haven't seen soju not be somaek.

Follow up for really ignorant people. What is that stuff. I know what beer is...
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Re: Been living in South Korea 13 years now, ask me anything

Postby perchorin on Mon Apr 08, 2013 11:47 pm

2dimes wrote:
spurgistan wrote:Also, do Koreans ever drink soju not in beer? Haven't seen soju not be somaek.

Follow up for really ignorant people. What is that stuff. I know what beer is...

Ah yeah sorry. Soju + Maekju (the Korean word for beer) = Somaek
It's basically a weak boilermaker.
Soju is generally consumed in straight shots.
Oh and if you don't know what soju is, think half-strength vodka sold in 330cc bottles for about $1.50 US.
It's no mystery why the Koreans have been referred to as the Irish of Asia.
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Postby 2dimes on Tue Apr 09, 2013 12:24 am

Interesting thanks.

Most of my very favorite booze is from Ireland. No wonder they drink a lot.
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Re: Been living in South Korea 13 years now, ask me anything

Postby nagerous on Tue Apr 09, 2013 7:02 pm

Spurgistan, Perchorin...

So when Kim Jong Un is advising all foreign nationals to get out of S Korea as he is going to bomb the shit out of it, does this not generate an atmosphere of tension between you and your pals or are you all still as calm as hindu cows?

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

Postby perchorin on Tue Apr 09, 2013 7:51 pm

nagerous wrote:Spurgistan, Perchorin...

So when Kim Jong Un is advising all foreign nationals to get out of S Korea as he is going to bomb the shit out of it, does this not generate an atmosphere of tension between you and your pals or are you all still as calm as hindu cows?

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

Postby Roussallier on Wed Apr 10, 2013 7:23 am

Great topic

I moved to Thailand after finishing my Army contract. When you sign it, you're agreeing to be re-called to active duty if shit hits the fan. Nothing stateside has any useful information on the tension in the region.

I taught English for a year here, but I just left.

In general, are Korean students respectful during classes? Are they motivated to make something of themselves or coast through school?
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Re: Been living in South Korea 13 years now, ask me anything

Postby perchorin on Wed Apr 10, 2013 7:09 pm

Roussallier wrote:Great topic

I moved to Thailand after finishing my Army contract. When you sign it, you're agreeing to be re-called to active duty if shit hits the fan. Nothing stateside has any useful information on the tension in the region.

I taught English for a year here, but I just left.

In general, are Korean students respectful during classes? Are they motivated to make something of themselves or coast through school?

Thanks mate! How do you like life in Thailand? My wife and me plan to retire someday down that direction, though we're leaning more towards The Philippines right now. Did you work in a hagwon? How'd you like it?

Korean students of days gone by had a reputation for being highly respectful of their teachers and relatively superior students when it comes to work ethic. This reputation was entirely deserved and it hasn't entirely changed but it is significantly different now. To be honest, I work in a private, selective admission high school so I see only the best and brightest kids every day. I'm very spoiled in that respect. Before that I worked solely in universities and adult language schools so I've never actually been a teacher in an elementary or middle school setting. That being said, the news is filled with stories of kids gone wild in the classroom, students attacking teachers and most disturbingly sexual assault of all kinds. It's actually easy enough to explain why this is happening now though. Remember (if you're old enough) the fall of the Soviet Union? It was chaos and that's kind of what's going on in the schools nowadays. In the past there was respect for teachers sure, but it was respect (more likely fear) gained at the end of a very hard rod wielded liberally by almost every teacher. These kids used to get beat like Ukrainian Jews! Then there was kind of a liberal revolution in the education sector and they decided kids shouldn't get beat on anymore. That's fine and good, but to go from one extreme to the other in a short period of time, well you get the aftermath of the fall of the Soviet Union is what you get. All in all however, students here are still much better behaved than similar aged students in the US.

Like everywhere else, Korea has it's motivated students and it's slackers. The problem here is, in many respects your entire future can be decided by what schools you attend, even as early as middle school. This may not actually be the case, but public perception certainly believes it to be so it may as well be reality. This puts tremendous pressure on the kids to study hard and do well from a very young age. Some kids handle the pressure, some don't. The ones who don't handle it become your slackers in the best case or another statistic in the country with the highest teen suicide rate in the world in the worst case. Simply put, education here is an extreme environment of cutthroat competition. Whether that's a good or bad thing I leave that to you all to decide.
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Re: Been living in South Korea 13 years now, ask me anything

Postby nietzsche on Wed Apr 10, 2013 7:58 pm

5 pages and still no picture of perchorin fucking the wife?
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Re: Been living in South Korea 13 years now, ask me anything

Postby MudPuppy on Thu Apr 11, 2013 3:15 pm

How would you say the mating rituals of high schoolers in Korea compare to those of their Western counterparts? My wife & kids are hooked on Korean dramas where there is often a season-long build-up to a single kiss. Does a kiss in Korea mean more than one in the U.S.?... or is it just portrayed that way on TV?
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Re: Been living in South Korea 13 years now, ask me anything

Postby perchorin on Thu Apr 11, 2013 7:03 pm

MudPuppy wrote:How would you say the mating rituals of high schoolers in Korea compare to those of their Western counterparts? My wife & kids are hooked on Korean dramas where there is often a season-long build-up to a single kiss. Does a kiss in Korea mean more than one in the U.S.?... or is it just portrayed that way on TV?

Hi MP, thanks for dropping by! The k-drama has followed swiftly on the heels of the k-pop phenomenon into the pop-culture consciousness of the world hasn't it? They're really not my cup of tea, but it's hard to avoid seeing them as there's one on some channel all the time and people talk about them here like folks talk about Game of Thrones or Breaking Bad back home. That fact alone should give you a good picture of the culture difference in play here!
A kiss does indeed mean more over here than in the US. In fact, just holding hands or even casual touching is a big deal! It's still quite a socially conservative culture in most ways and as far as "mating rituals" go, your average Korean 20 year old would be doing the things your average American 15 year old is doing over there (that gap has closed considerably in the last 10-15 years. When I first got here it would have been a 25 year old or older doing the things kids do at 15 back home). In that respect, the TV dramas are accurate. In almost every other respect they are not! In every damn one of those shows, the family lives in a big American-style house with a servant. They drive German cars and wear only designer label clothes. It's as if Beverly Hills 90210 was presented as a realistic portrayal of average American life.
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Re: Been living in South Korea 13 years now, ask me anything

Postby puppydog85 on Thu Apr 11, 2013 8:18 pm

what would be the big social issues up for debate?
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Re: Been living in South Korea 13 years now, ask me anything

Postby perchorin on Thu Apr 11, 2013 9:30 pm

puppydog85 wrote:what would be the big social issues up for debate?

Good question! One thing I have to admit I like better about South Korea than the US is there are very few huge divisive social issues and even when they do pop up they still take a far backseat to economic issues. In fact, the biggest social issue I can think of is the increasing gap between rich and poor, and that's really an economic issue itself. Unfortunately dumb issues like island disputes and mad cow hysteria also take precedence over more legitimate things to worry about, in my opinion.

As far as more traditional social issues go, the number one would be about the education system and educational reform. It may be a stereotype, but in this case it's one based in fact to say that East Asian parents (and Korean parents more specifically) are fairly obsessed with education. I mentioned a few posts above about the changes that have occurred in schools in the last decade or so. Those are just the tip of the iceberg. Everything you can possibly think of related to education is constantly up for debate and argued about. An unfortunate side effect of this is the politicians all promise "change" and when they get elected the completely undo whatever their predecessors have done. Regardless of which policies you support, it's not a good thing to have drastically changing ones every 4-5 years, especially regarding education.

The sex industry is another contender for on-again off-again hot button issue. I also touched on this in a previous post but in recent years it's been the sex workers who have been making noise about legally being allowed to ply their trade once again. Also I mentioned earlier about the high-pressure school system here. This contributes to their being a ton of girls who drop out of school and turn to prostitution as a way to get by. That's a growing social issue, along with women beginning to speak out more and report sexual assaults. It's not nearly as bad as India here (and never was) but still until recently a shockingly small number of sexual violence went unreported and that's slowly beginning to change.

The distressingly high suicide rates, especially among teenagers is a big issue, as I mentioned in a previous post.

Maybe addiction would be the last big one I can think of. Koreans seem at least superficially to be more easily addicted to whatever than western folk. Be it tobacco, alcohol, gambling, internets or what have you I'd bet the rate of addiction among Koreans is higher than that of an average western country.

All in all though, most of these issues still come down to economics at their base. Even education is just the means to having wealthy kids in the future. Oh yeah that one's become pretty big recently--the rapidly aging society! It's no exaggeration to say that old people and young people are increasingly at odds with each other over the allotment of resources, and that's only going to get worse.

Actually I'm not happy with most of my answers here after the first two paragraphs. I wrote it in a hurry before a class and it transitioned into social problems, rather than social issues people actually talk about which are two totally different things. I'll come back and add more when I have time.
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Re: Been living in South Korea 13 years now, ask me anything

Postby spurgistan on Thu Apr 11, 2013 10:20 pm

Mr_Adams wrote:You, sir, are an idiot.


Timminz wrote:By that logic, you eat babies.
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Re: Been living in South Korea 13 years now, ask me anything

Postby puppydog85 on Sat Apr 13, 2013 7:43 am

perchorin wrote:Actually I'm not happy with most of my answers here after the first two paragraphs. I wrote it in a hurry before a class and it transitioned into social problems, rather than social issues people actually talk about which are two totally different things. I'll come back and add more when I have time.


Thank you. You are correct that it turned into a social commentary on Korea. You are also correct in that I was slightly more interested in what they see (ie. discuss) as problems. Or perhaps the conversation does not reach the level of polite discussion that it does here in the U.S. :lol:
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Re: Been living in South Korea 13 years now, ask me anything

Postby muy_thaiguy on Sat Apr 13, 2013 11:05 am

For the general populace, how much, if any, animosity is there between Koreans (South or just in general) and Japanese?
Now is not the time to divide ourselves, to relish in letters by men long dead. Now is the time to come and work together in order to bring this country onto the right track. We are all citizens of this country, it is time to treat eachother as equals.
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Re: Been living in South Korea 13 years now, ask me anything

Postby Ray Rider on Sun Apr 14, 2013 6:51 pm

Hilarious:
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