Living in Wonju South Korea, These Many Long Years

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

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Just like my grandparents.  Sort of.
One thing that surprises me is just how open many Koreans of the younger generation are.

They have no issue discussing love interests, petty crimes they commit, true feelings for coworkers, spouses, or relatives, all at top volume in public locations.

I was reminded of this several times over the last few days: at the bank, a couple of women were talking about their wayward husbands, and how they were getting their own things on.  At a restaurant on the weekend, one woman was screaming at her father about what an asshole tyrant he is and how he has messed up everyone in the family.

When I first came to Korea, I was repeatedly told that Koreans were very private people who did not like to share personal details.  This was in tune with a social ethic that promoted harmony and cohesiveness.  It's kind of hard to feel at peace when you know too much information about Mr. Kang's vasectomy, Ms. Oh's feelings towards her neighbors, or how Mr. Jang and Ms. Chae are unmarried and shacked up.  In most cases, propriety and tradition held that it was best to just keep it quiet.

While an interesting aspect of living in Korea is how stated mores often bear little resemblance to actual actions and behavior, in my experience it would seem the willingness to share and be open has increased noticeably in my short eleven years here.  PDA, arguments, and fights, while an obvious example of the unique Korean passion, were far less common and didn't really stand out in the past.  Now they seem much more common place.


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