Living in Wonju South Korea, These Many Long Years

Living in Wonju South Korea, These Many Long Years: Version 2.0!

Monday, November 15, 2010


When I first started at my job, I made a point to bow and say anyong haseyo to all my coworkers, regardless of their position.

Perhaps I did put a little extra in the bow for the older folks, but I was overall an equal opportunity bower.

This earned me many friends in the lower ranks.  They think I am a nice guy.

One of the guys in accounting is slightly older than I am.  Every time I would bow and say anyong haseyo to him, he would either ignore me completely or give me the slightest of nods.

I would try to ask him stuff about his family, how he was coming along after he broke his foot, what he did on the weekend.

He would reply in a somewhat gruff and succinct manner, then go on and talk with someone else.

This started to irk me after a year.  I believe in the importance of maintaining healthy relationships.  This guy was being an ass.

A few months ago I got a promotion.  Part of my promotion is that I now get to participate in the evaluation of other departments.  My evaluation carries a fair amount of weight.

Can you guess what happened next?

Dude did a complete 180.  Now he's like my best friend, chatting in an English he seems to have just discovered, asking me stuff about my family.

Now this is where I'm a petty bastard.

His name is Kim.

Oh, good morning Mr. Park!  It's Sooooo good to see you!

My name is Kim.

Oh heaven's, I'm so sorry!

-next day-

Good morning Mr. Bae!  Have you eaten?

My name is Kim.

Oh my goodness!  I can't believe I made such a mistake!

Repeat ad infinitum.

I only speak in English to him now, and am not so polite.  I should just get over myself and work towards rebuilding the group's kibun.  I wouldn't want to be called a hypocrite after all. . .

But it does feel good.

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