Archive for the ‘korea’ Category

Coffee and waffle

Posted: August 14, 2011 in korea, personal


On days when I had to have injections for allergies and my reproductive malfunctions – this is my “day saver”. Freshly brewed coffee and HoneyNut Waffle at Caffe Bene. It’s just wonderful to sit around and contemplate what the hell is going on in one’s life…



A few days ago I had to go the bank. I had to send money, overseas transfer obviously. I use Moneygram usually. I’ve been doing it for so long, in the same bank. So what happened last week was a surprise, well, a little bit…

When you’re sending money abroad, you need to present your passport (if you’re a foreigner) or your ID (if Korean). The lady asked for my passport. Okay, can’t blame her for that, I don’t look Korean. I didn’t mind that. I just continued taking out my ID. She saw what I was doing and she almost blocked my hand and told me she needs my passport. This irritated me. I pulled out my ID and looked at her. “I’m Korean”. That’s all I said. She still didn’t seem apologetic.

She asked me to sign some documents. I told her I don’t need to. I only need to fill-out the Moneygram form. She insisted that it’s procedure and that I have to do it. I told her that I’ve sent money before and that I don’t need to sign an ‘overseas transfer form’. “Just fill this out. In case there’s no record”. She said.  I didn’t. I told her to check and I’ll wait.

I am annoyed because right when I was taking my ID she had already judged me. She assumed I was a foreigner although I was talking to her in fluent Korean (I don’t hold this against any Korean, I DO understand this part). When she almost blocked my hand just to tell me again to present my passport, that’s what annoying. It’s very unKorean-like. They’re mostly the best when it comes to customer service and respect. What she did there, she wouldn’t do to another Korean. She’d be yelled at!

This isn’t my first experience with Korean bigotry. I had to deal with a lot of that here. I usually let  it go, you can’t change the whole society anyway. But sometimes it gets in my nerves, especially when I’m in a hurry and I could tell that I’d be having a bad day.

On to the next round

Posted: June 24, 2010 in korea
Tags: ,

The game started at 3:30 AM here in Korea. But the coverage, backgrounds and specials started the day before.  The specials cover a history of some sort and opinions on how Korea could advance to the next round. Their chances weren’t that bad. They just need to win or to tie and Greece to lose to Argentina.

I’m not into soccer. (I AM fascinated at the nation’s overwhelming support and love for their team.) I have anticipated that there would be noise when the game starts and I’ll know for sure when they score.  Koreans don’t care about what time it is, as long their team is playing. I decided to go to bed early that night because of migraine. And right on the dot, I could hear my neighbors turning their TVs on, cheering. I could even faintly hear the people at the nearby university shouting and screaming when the first point was scored.

Since I couldn’t sleep, I decided to take a peek. Minutes after I did that, Nigeria scored! What?! C’mon, I just started watching…so I turned it off again. Heard screams when Korea scored their first. I resisted to turn it on again. Sleep, sleep, sleep… Can’t, so I turned it on again. And goddammit, Nigeria scored again!!! WTF was that? So off it went. Not gonna watch it. There was silence outside. The score was 2-1 in favor of the opponent. Koreans were anxious. Will they or won’t they? Then sudddenly more screams!!! Whoa! Tied now. Before the game finished I turned to watch again. Koreans were tensed (as shown on tv) up until the game ended. It was that close. When it was finally over, you could see how proud they are that their team made it. They’re all sleep-deprived but they’re all happy and cheerful.

The cheering and excitement had a tragic twist to it. I heard on the news that a man in his 20s jumped the Han River after the game. Adrenalin overflow. That’s crazy.

I never liked soccer

Posted: June 18, 2010 in korea
Tags: ,

But since I live in a country which worships the sport, I cant help but take notice and join the enthusiasm they have for it.

Before the game started today, Koreans had high hopes or, let’s call it faith, that their team would emerge as a winner. They beat Greece in the last game. Although they knew winning against Argentina is a long shot, they were hopeful. As I went out to buy something, I thought most people were in their houses waiting for the game to begin. But as I near the restaurant/school area, I saw hordes of people in chicken/beer restos eagerly anticipating the game.

As the game started the mood was festive, full of smiles. There were near misses, but still Koreans were forgiving. After the opponent’s first point, their happiness started to go down, naturally, but they were still optimistic. They were pissed though, because that first point was a mistake. There were still cheers in the air. Korea! Korea!

Next point they were losing faith, but still trying to cheer for the team. Then they scored! Whoa, they’re alive again. Cheers started too and optimism was back in the air.

Then came two more points from the opponent and  more misses and mistakes for them. Gone were the cheers, replaced with shouting you could hear from outside- “What the hell is that?”…

I wasn’t watching the game. I didn’t need to. If the noise outside was cheerful and loud, they were winning. There’d be drumroll and music from the nearby restaurants and university.

The silence was deafening today. 4-1. They were slaughtered.

But there is still hope. Next game, they’d brace for another game, another optimism and cheers for a team that’s unbelievably overpaid and undertaxed.

I wrote about the same topic two years ago when I read an online article about it. Part of what I wrote was how (usually) female job applicants go through the procedures of plastic surgery to enhance their chances of finding  a good job.

Today, there is this article again. “Looks believed to be key to landing a job.

“Most college students have good qualifications these days as they prepare thoroughly for employment. Since resumes make little difference, impressions they give on interviewers matter more than before,” said Kim Byung-gun, a plastic surgeon at BK Dong Yang Plastic Surgery Clinic.

“The surgery helps improve first impressions. Those who think they are unattractive feel inferior during interviews. That’s why they fail,” said Hong Ki-seok, a PR manager at Medi Hershe.

Well, isn’t that fascinating?  The emphasis they put on physical appearance and how confidence is associated with it. During one of my adult classes, this was one of the topics which turned into a two-hour-conversation. I asked one of my students if job applicants really go through surgery to find a job. I told her I read about it and she basically told me that it happened in the past but not anymore. I told her that with Korea’s obsession with beauty, I was sure it’s still happening.

She then asked me if I’d ever consider surgery. I said no, and her follow-up question was blunt.  “You think you’re perfect and don’t need one?”. To which I replied: I never said I’m perfect, I don’t think I am, but I don’t think I need one. It’s just being able to accept yourself and learning how to emphasize your good qualities and hide your flaws without surgery.”

Before we finished the class, she came up again with something: “You just think that way because you’re pretty.”

(Well, thank you…) It still isn’t my point.

suicide and anti-depressants

Posted: May 22, 2010 in korea, science

I was watching the news and this one jumped at me:

Antidepressants can backfire.

Click on the link cuz for some reason I can’t embed MSN videos in here.

It basically says that for 14% of those taking antidepressants the effect or the thought of committing suicide is likely to occur after 48 hours of taking the pill.

So, I’m in the bracket huh? I can’t find my post where I talked about my experience with the anti-depressant a neurologist gave me after diagnosing with “severe migraine”… Yes, migraine and he gave me antidepressants…

Anyways, so, question is what to do now when you’re depressed…


Blood Type Discrimination

Posted: May 2, 2010 in korea

I thought the ridiculousness is just here in Korea. I was wrong.

BBC has this article on Dating by Blood type. Go read.

It’s interesting to me because it is also widespread here in Korea. I haven’t read or heard anything in regards to dating but most Koreans believe your blood type determines your character.

There was even a movie titled “My Type B boyfriend” referring to a guy who is promiscuous and irresponsible.

So let’s be clear again:

Type A: dependable and self-sacrificing but reserved and prone to worry

Type O: decisive and confident

Type AB: well-balanced, clear-sighted, logical but high maintenance and distant

and the worst of them all…

Type B: flamboyant, free-thinkers but selfish

I’m Type B and I am in no way flamboyant. I am a free-thinker but never selfish, as far as I know…I’m more of a Type A if you believe in that stuff. But how could that possibly be?

One time someone asked the same question cuz she thought I was type A, based on what she perceives of me. Another time someone said I’m type B just because I did not want to listen to what he was saying.

Anyways, the discrimination is there. When somebody just dismisses you and gives you that “Oh, that’s why!” face after asking you what your blood type is.

Again, this is just ridiculous and sometimes all anyone can do is just laugh.

BTW, I don’t see anything wrong with being a free-thinker and flamboyant.