Living in Wonju South Korea, These Many Long Years

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

Monday, December 31, 2012

Yellow Knight!

I checked in on my stoopid blog this morning to work out my end of year posts to find that a commentator had taken offense to my positive remarks about the film Cloud Atlas.  This is what they had to say:

This film is a racist film target at Asian male. So if you are not Asian male, you should enjoy this film. We Asian-American male don't like this film. We have pre-screen in MANAA (media action network for Asian-American), we all got busting out of laughter when we saw the awful geeky Yellowfaces . You have no problem of Yellowface cuz you probably are not Asian male or stupid one. In Korean saying " 병신 쌔끼!"

Some may ask why I would bother, as an MANAA meeting sounds rather clannish, and trying to talk sense to a mob is a sure way to get trampled, but this does need to be spelled out: one of the reasons this film is so excellent is because it will challenge the perceptions of race and ethnicity held more by Asians then it will us melanin deficient lot.  Think about it: the whole Neo Seoul is prophetic of the future homo sapiens, since almost everyone is of mixed progeny.  To deny that this is an accurate vision of the future ignores the reality we live in and histories of migration.  So despite the criticism Jim Sturgess has received in the past for portraying Asian characters, the film makers probably deliberately chose him since near everyone in the Neo Seoul segment is made to look mixed as well.  Durrrr.....

That Sonmi is a clone whose kind is rendered to feed the next generation is brilliant.  I'd see that as a sort of veiled criticism of contemporary Asian (Korean) culture.  OMG get angry! Yellowface and discrimination at the hands of the white man!  Just continue remaining willfully blind to the indiscretions committed by other Asians, and you've got all it takes to be The Yellow Knight!  Enjoy that passion and anger while you can, son.  I know that it's because you come from an East Asian society, which generally still contain strong elements of ethnic nationalism, and these types of images have more potent significance for you then for me.  Me and my ilk are generally more accepting and open to the idea of cultural exogamy, but I would suggest you stop looking at white woman (man?) porn, you traitor!

For that section of the film alone I'll pay to see it.  January 4th I'm heading up to the big smoke to check it out at the IMAX in Yongsan.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas!

Yesterday began with fashioning the worst mobile Christmas tree evar.  After killing a second tree in five years, I thought letting one be free range while I work out soil acidity then dig 'em up and keep 'em indoors was a smart course of action.  Instead, I thought of making this cuz I saw it in the internetz:


After pretty much ignoring most of the directions and watching it get tangled right the fuck up:

parenting fail: level 만냥금
Instead of agonizing over not get accepted into art college, I hung it up then hit the shops.  Presents are fun on Christmas after all!  This year I was Mr. Practical, focused on what was needed while minimizing the frivolous.  After June laughed at my 350 thousand offer for our ten year anniversary, I decided that buying the Corning Wear 20 piece set she asked for 5 years ago was a totally cool idea.  The tag reads: To the ***********s.  Merry hoho! Wouldn't serve to say: To June.  Who gives dishes to their wife?  Not this hombre.

Bought a few groceries in between, primarily dirty cheap liquor with mixes, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli.

Still needs Kahlua, whiskey, red vermouth
I came home and baked cookies in our new steam oven.  This deserves it's own post, but in case you wanted to know, we bought a steam oven.  No, not a regular oven: that is too difficult to move.  It needed to be a steam oven.  I was unimpressed with my first attempt making cookies, but maybe I still suck.

Then it was Christmas specials with the girls while waiting for a bunch of Christian Christmas carolers to come by and collect our donation to the soup kitchen.  Kidding!  There is no soup kitchen.  But I'm sure they are more than willing to pass around ramen packs to relatives who spend their time collecting cardboard boxes and others in predicament known to the church.  It's all cool.

We watched The Grinch: it's always a favorite.  Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph, then Home Alone have been the repertoire in the past.  This year I decided to mix it up and watch an old one from childhood: An American Christmas Carol, starring Henry Winkler:


I watched it while drinking beer and wrapping presents and Christmas stockings.  I figure I got about 3 more lols outta it then the "So this is what I remember most from 1979"s.  Wasn't sure if I wanted to show that tomorrow or Napoleon Dynamite again.  The bling on Christmas Future is so 1984.  As I was about to decide, I was distracted by figuring out a better way to wrap, then forgetting it once I realized that smacking on huge wads of duct tape was not only easier and fun, but would make the experience far more rewarding once everyone realized they needed scissors to open their gifts.  What you work for is always sweeter, right?  Hopefully they'll get to the scissors I stuck under the tree first, they are the easiest ones to open.

In about 4 hours I have to be bright eyed and bushy-tailed, cooking fowl.  

Stop drinking beer!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Irreverent!

I keep turning over how North Korea discovered a unicorn lair.

That shit would not get out without official approval.

KJU is basically a product of the modern internet age.

He must be taking the piss.

Think about it: young, full of vim, educated in history and the now at some Swiss school, hey guess what?  You're the next leader of this fucked up little shit hole.  And btw, you have to marry this broad.

Aight.

The internet is alive.  We want the world to love us.  What does the world love?

Unicorns.  And rainbows.  Shooting out of their butt.  Yeah.

We must make a unicorn lair mothafuckas.  Pass that bottle of single malt and bring some fresh virgins in here! And make me a unicorn lair by Thursday.  Fuck!

What would you do? Got to bring 'em up to speed after all.

North Korea: origin of the unicorn!  No one called that shit yet!  Mine!!!

Pass that bottle, KJU.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Cloud Atlas!

I've always been a fan of Bae Doona.  I first saw here in The Ring Virus and Plum Blossom, and thought she was not only a great actress, but also completely hot.  I even forgave her for the travesty of a film The Host, that's how awesome I think she is.

Imagine my excitement when I heard that she was to star in Cloud Atlas, what seemed like a seriously cool sci-fi fantasy flick starring all kinds of big names and directed by none other than the Wachowski brothers.

Sadly, the South Korean release date is January 10th.  Instead of getting all wtf about it, I did the sane thing and downloaded a crappy Russian cam version.  Finished watching it a short time ago.

What can I say?  This film was so awesome that I will definitely be going to the theater to see it again.  It is definitely worth seeing twice, and even paying money for.

Time for some somaek.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Kim Jong Un!

It seems that thanks to some pranksters, Kim Jung Un is set to win the readers' poll as Time Magazine's Person of the year.

Hilarious.

Personally, I think it has more to do with the photos below than anything else. 

Everyone has to admit the sheer awesomeness of finding a unicorn lair, or how cool it is to be a dictator by day and an international silly fun time superstar at night. 

The truth has been revealed!

KJU certainly seems to be getting better press than his dad or grandad.  At least more interesting press that is.

Drain!

A couple of weeks ago we discovered that there was a leak in the main bathroom.

The girls had gotten a little crazy: I foolishly said they could use some of the shampoo to make a bubble bath, and they turned the entire bathroom into one big sud party.  In the process, they let a lot of water run over the side of the tub, which in turn revealed the leak when the peeps downstairs called us up.

This is generally one thing I love about Korean bathrooms: the whole thing is tiled with a drain in the floor, which means that you can run water wherever you want.  This does make cleaning of the bathroom simpler among other things, but I digress.

We called in some plumbers.  After a few days, during which they ripped everything out, recocked and replaced all the tiles, we were supposedly ready to go.

Hah!  For some reason, the geniuses decided to put a new drain in the floor that could not be removed.  Usually, there is a trap that will catch excess hair and the like so it doesn't go down the drain.  The intellectual prodigies we had come in actually cemented tiles over the plastic catch, so that the trap could not be removed.  As June sheds like crazy, it took no time at all for the trap to get clogged with hair which could not be removed. 

We called the plumbers back in.  At first they said they didn't need to come as we were simply not using enough force to remove the catch; after they finally did show up, they realized what they had actually done and that I was right.  Durrrrr.

The rub came when they said they could fix it by removing the tiles around the catch again, and that the job wouldn't cost more than a couple of hundred thousand won and take a couple of days.  Wait, what?  You screwed up, then you want us to pay for you to fix your mistake?  Their response was we couldn't expect them to do that much work for free.  I told them to GTFO of my house.  Politely.

So I did a somewhat equally stoopid thing:  I took a hammer and screwdriver to it, and knocked the center plastic cover out and removed the trap.  It was actually quite easy to do.  Everyone was amazed.

Time for coffee.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Support!

This support available to club leaders only
One thing any waeg should consider when entering a Korean workplace for the longer term is to join the Member Support Group, or 상조회.

For a nominal fee of usually 10000 won a month, the good worker has the opportunity to not only join in club activities, such as dinners and trips, but can also participate in the Death LotteryTM.

Essentially, if a member of your family dies, the Member Support Group pays out an amount relative to how close the family member was to you.  Recently, Mr. Nam in accounting saw his mother in law pass, and received the tidy sum of 2 million won.

There was much envy around the water cooler that day, let me tell you!

The hope is that you collect cash off the deaths of as many family members as possible before you yourself are put into the ground, are forced to retire, are laid off, or otherwise 'terminated'.

The club also saves the company money, as dinners and what not twice a year are paid for by the workers through the club, thus saving the company the added expense of paying for the event.

Genius.

All I know is I am looking forward to the Christmas dinner: this year the prizes for embarrassing yourself by singing old Korean trot music in front of all your coworkers not only include the usual bottles of expensive whiskey, which are required to ensure that everyone gets messy and bonds well, but also a 42'' TV.

I can hardly wait.

Hermione!

Lately the eldest has begun mimicking Hermione from Harry Potter.  She insisted we buy her a coat similar to one Granger wore in the first film, and whenever it is movie night she constantly requests Harry Potter.  She has seen each film at least 3-4 times, and has read the entire series twice (in Korean).

But last night it took everything to not start laughing when she began speaking in a distinctly Hermione style.  I decided to not say anything and went along with it.  There are worse role models to have after all.

It is interesting that at about the same time she really got into the series, her math scores improved considerably.

Still, I am glad that I've stopped letting her watch Harry Potter movies for a while.  It is good to broaden one's perspective, hmm?  As we just finished reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (again), it's been all about the Raold Daul and watching both versions of the movie.  They both think Johnny Depp is weird.

The other day she came home with James and the Giant Peach, although I had to teach her the word Giant. Yes darling, I have read that book.  I quite enjoyed it when I was your age.  I'm not sure if there are cloud people; have you ever seen any when we took a plane?  Not just cloud men, I'm sure there must be some women as well.

Time for coffee.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Birthday!

This morning over breakfast the youngest informed me that today was a very special day: the sprout's birthday.

How old is it sweetheart. Uh, I think, it is one month old.

Didn't look like a month old to me. But I sat down during the tea party the girls put together. It's not everyday you celebrate a sprout's birthday after all.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Mountain Bear!

An actual conversation, Saturday night at Piers 8, Itaewon.  Waeg is happy drunk and dancing.  He does not give a shit about much of anything.  He is approached by two men:

You know, in the gay community, you're known as a bear.  We like bears, don't we?

Oh yes we do.  Bears are grrrrreat hahahahahaha.

They each tweak one of waeg's nipples.  He laughs.

Thanks guys, I'm flattered, guess I still got it.  But sorry, not gay.


Are you sure?  We could have a lot of fun you know.

Oh yes we could.  Don't knock it till you try it!

Waeg laughs again, keeps dancing.  At the end of the song he heads to the bathroom.  One of the men follow him.

Mmmm you are just deeelish.  Are you sure you're not gay?

Haha, thanks friend, you've made my night, but no, not my thing.  But thanks, seriously.

He heads to the bar and gets another drink.  When he gets to the table, he relays the story.  The group laughs at him.

Hahahaha Gangwon country boy mountain bear! The group roars.  For a moment he knows: I am bear.  Generally solitary, avoiding large groups of people, somewhat cantankerous at times, behavior affected by fermented fruits and grains.  He laughs again.

The conversation moves on to other things, but waeg doesn't hear; only the music fills his head.

He gets up to dance.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Lamb Stew!

For dinner, I made a big old pot of lamb stew.  This time around I got distracted and put a bit too much salt in.  It isn't horrible, but it now resembles more of a soup than a stew.

As usual, June refused to eat it.  She hates lamb, which I can get.

The girls devoured each a full bowl.  While we ate, I shared how when I went to buy the lamb, I saw a woman in burqa.  We talked about what that meant, and how years ago in Korea women also had to wear clothes that pretty much fully covered their faces.

Everyone is quiet and sated at this point.

Sleepy. 

The Morning After

Braaain.

A bottle of "Condition" and some eggs Benedict nearly brought me out of it.

A quick stop at the international food store for some lamb, then train to the Wonj. Fitful sleep, as the train now only takes an hour from Seoul.

Home. Time to make some lamb stew.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Big Smoke!

Today I'm up to the big smoke for a meet and greet with clients at a swanky hotel.

I feel somewhat unprepared, as I have not brought any little plastic bags to fill full of expensive food. I know this is what is expected, as I've seen it happen at more than a few do's over the years. Ostensibly, you are supposed to be somewhat surreptitious, although this is waived if you are adjumma.

After, I plan on hittin' the 'twon to meet up with some peeps. I'll be the guy wearing tweed.

Friday, November 16, 2012

So many kinds of wrong

Been home nasty sick the last couple of days.  In between bouts of sleep, had a chance to catch up on some vids from the internetz.  Hence, here we have a long overdue extended edition of

So many kinds of wrong

lucky you!















Friday, November 2, 2012

Walkabout!

It started as a night on the Wonj like any other; get primed at Rumboat by playing darts and winning a bunch of free beers, head over to the Kraken for some top shelf single malt.  At the bar, a couple of waegs are sitting musing on life.

I'm telling you, being married to a Korean woman is hell!  All she does is take my cash, berate me when I can't give her more, all the while leaving me with the biggest case of blue balls this side of the Han river!  Thank god she lives in the US with the kids; at least my spawn won't end up thinking like they do here!  So I decide to take matters into my own hands, you know?  Meet someone here.  I mean cmon, I'm alone, it's been years.  So I meet this very nice married woman, similar situation, doesn't get along with her husband.  It being a small town, now everyone knows, and now I'm a pyrriah, the lowest scum on earth.

He's telling this to a fairly attractive woman.  I hear you mate, but moaning on about it isn't going to make it better and will only make you look insecure and foolish, and it certainly won't help you score with the ladies.  Instead of saying all this I lean in:

Dude, you already are the lowest of the low, you're a waeg in Korea.  Sure some might get all starry eyed with you from time to time, but when push comes to shove you are dirt.  Why rant on about it?

Guy buys me a beer and then we have another.  After a round at the tent bar, I decide I should head out.  He suggests we hit the disco, but discos in the Wonj generally don't let waegs in.  Even if they did, I'm not in the mood to drop another couple hundred.

As I walk home, I think of nothing in particular.  The streets are full of people living life.  So many stories, so little fucks to give.

As I walk by a Family Mart, I accidently bump into a guy milling about.  Sorry, and I keep walking.  Apparently this isn't enough for him as he and a buddy decide to take offence.

Hey, you, waeg!  Why did you bump into me?  Why are you so clumsy?

Yeah, sorry about that.  Good night fellas.

They run up to me and one of them grabs my arm.  Hey!  Why are you so rude, you should apologize to my friend.  What is your job?

His fingers grip my arm tight.  I yank hard and something in me snaps.

My job?  My job?  What does it matter what my fucking job is?  What is your fucking job?  I apologized already, it was an accident, get over it.   Why are you guys being such assholes?

Ashhole?  You call me ashhole?  Dude then calls the police to report a crazy waeg walking on the streets of the Wonj.  I encourage him.  Yes, call the police.  That will be a nice conversation to have, how you accosted me and are acting like complete twats.

His friend tries to get him to stop the call, but buddy is adament and won't let it go.  I press my advantage:

How old are you muppets?  Cmon how old are you?  32 and 33.  Great.  Guess what, I'm older than you by about ten years, so why don't you go drink a big old cup of shut the fuck up?  What is your job?  Computer programmers both.  Ha.  Too much time as netizens, staring at a little screen.  Just shut the fuck up.  At this point I'm yelling in English, as I can't get the Korean out fast enough, I'm too angry.  They actually do speak fairly good English though, which is fine by me.

The cops show up in record time.  I'm impressed.  I calm right the fuck down and when they approach I am serenity incarnate.  When the cop asks what's going on I very calmly state:

I was walking and accidently bumped into this man.  I apologized and kept walking.  They started following and yelling at me.  I thought of running as there were two of them and I am a foreigner, but this man roughly grabbed my arm and started yelling rude language at me.  

This sends the two guys into an apoplectic fit.  Their bodies are flaying as they claim I shoved him, spoke rudely, was generally a public nuisance.  I remain calm.

Cop quickly assesses the situation and tells the two dudes to calm down and go home.  He says they are making themselves look like idiots, and they should have just accepted my apology.  They are acting like racist morons.  The two dudes looked almost as shocked as I am, then they are embarrassed.  They apologize to me and leave.  He apologizes and off I go.

Sometimes life is just and good I think as I walk the last 2 kilometers home.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Left Handed

Ms. In, you are quite meticulous with your handwriting.  I watch you write; you write so carefully.

Silence.

Ms. In?

Pause.

Actually Mr. Waeg, the reason why I write so carefully is that I actually was born left handed.  When I was in kindergarten, I noticed that all the kids wrote with their right hands.  The scissors were right handed, the way the tables were designed, everything.  I lived in a right handed world.  It was one morning when I was first learning my letters that I decided to become right handed: my elbow kept bumping into the girl next to me angering her; it wasn't the first time this kind of thing happened.  So I decided to be like Pinnochio and cut the strings that fettered me: I would learn to be right handed.

It was painful.  Trying to do everything with my right hand was extremely difficult.  Even simple tasks like trying to eat with chopsticks would see me break out into a sweat, leaving me exhausted afterwards.  But I had to do it, I had to overcome my disability.  And I did.  But even now I still write slower than most people, in fact many things take me more time, but at least I'm normal.

Silence.

Ms. In, wouldn't the real fetter be the one in your mind which prevents you from being left handed?

A harsh look is cast across the room, but nothing more is said.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Vary!

Today at work one of the interns came up to ask me a grammar question:

"Mr. Waeg, could you help me? I'm trying to understand the difference between vary in, vary with, and vary among. Could you explain it please?"

My initial reaction was to say no: it was lunch, and I was busy thinking about how to put together the girls' Halloween costumes; after lunch I had a pile of TPS reports to burn through. But I did a stoopid and actually thought about it, only to realize that I had no idea how to explain when to use each.

I mumbled through some half-assed explanation, gave some correct examples, but truly felt stumped, then like crap for being unable to explain it. I used to be an Englishee teacher after all, and due to my holding this job I should be able to explain the technicalities of even the most arcane grammar.

When I got home, I shared the story with June. She simply laughed and said "well, why can't you explain it? You're a waeg who used to be an English teacher, you should know."

I reminded myself of the mental note I made years ago to not talk about work stuff with June, in fact to just generally avoid talking to her about most things at all. Then I talked with the girls more about their Halloween costumes, helped the eldest sort out some of the settings on the electronic keyboard, and opened a bottle of Daepo.

It's almost done.

Time for a second.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Oysterhead!

Way back in October of 2010 I wrote about my love for the band Oysterhead.

Guess I must be getting old, as I keep coming back to the same music again and again.  Or it could just be that his band is that freakin' awesome.

I have noticed that it often seems to be in the fall when I start listening to them again.  I'm quite sure I wanted to post about them last year at around this time.  Maybe it's because I first heard the album in the fall of 2001.  Weird how that is.

Anyway, this song bounced around my head this morning until I played it like 6 times.

Enjoy.

Friday, September 28, 2012

So many kinds of wrong

After such a long hiatus, you'd expect some good vids, no?

So many kinds of wrong
















Thursday, September 27, 2012

Buffoon!

Village Idiot
This morning I read over at the Marmot's how Tiger JK, the granddaddy of Korean hiphop, had a meltdown during a performance in the US.  Apparently, he berated the crowd when they supposedly asked him to perform Psy's Gangnam Style horsedance, saying he wasn't there to make all the whities in the crowd laugh.

I'm sure the irony was palpable for more than a few hogwon English teaching monkeys out there.  You must make class fun!  Kids like you when you sing and dance, give candy and pizza party!  But I digress.

I headed over to the link and read how many peeps, at least some of whom I assume are Asian American, hate Psy for propagating the buffoonish 'comic relief' Asian guy stereotype, similar to Ken Jeong in The Hangover movies.

Sacrilege!

What these critics don't get is that they are actually denigrating the ancient, time honored tradition of the Korean mask dance; they are undermining the power of the Imae-Tal, or the village idiot.  How dare they make such an attack against the pure and virtuous Korean culture!  Psy actually is a shaman, as he is channeling one of the great spirits found only on the greatest Korean peninsula!

If they are waegs or hyphenated Koreans (-American, -Canadian, -etc.) they may be partially forgiven, as they have been corrupted by the lazy western civilization that encourages their populations to eat BSE inducing hamburgers and perceive themselves as inherently victimized by the world.

Tiger JK however, can not be forgiven.  He must be stripped of his Korean citizenship immediately!

Time for coffee.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Needle!

June has had problems with her stomach for years.  She has always insisted on going to a traditional doctor, claiming that the foul smelling shit tonic they sell her for 400 bucks works best to ease her pain.  She also goes for acupuncture when things are particularly bad.

I will say I've had some good results with acupuncture myself, especially when I pull a muscle.  But I do think that for the most part, western medicine is more reliable.

Lo and behold, June's faith in traditional medicine has been shaken!  Last Thursday she called me up while I was getting ready to head out to a company dinner with the CEO and the VIPs from Singapore.  She was in such pain that she could barely walk.  She had just left the acupuncturist's, and needed me to pick up the girls.

This was a pretty serious predicament, but I could tell she was hurtin'.  I risked looking bad in front of the bosses by getting the girls and bringing them to dinner with them.  In the end, everything played out well, although I did have to pay for the girls' dinner.

When we got home, June showed us what they problem had been: the 'doctor' had left one of the needles embedded in her chest.  June found it after she got home and lay down, and once the needle was removed the pain pretty much abetted instantly.

That's pretty messed up.

The next day she went back to the clinic, and was way cooler about it then I would have been: she told the doctor she understands that mistakes do happen, but what she couldn't get was how nobody listened to her when she complained repeatedly about the severe pain she was enduring, and that they had told her to simply go home.  She demanded compensation, and felt pretty good walking out of the clinic with a hundred thousand won.

A hundred thousand won?  You could have been seriously injured!  You settled for a measly hundred thousand won??

She said she was also going to tell everybody about what happened.  I'm like great, get sued too for defaming the doctor's name.  Even if what you say is true, in Korea this can't form a  defense against libel.  All that matters is whether what you say damaged a person's reputation, regardless of how accurate what you say may be.

Anyway, I'm thinking that leaving the needle somewhere fitting might be in order, like under the doctor's front tire.  But I didn't say that, no, I did not.

Time for some random stoopidz from the interwebz.

Chestnuts!

Today the bunch of us headed out to the mountains for the great chestnut hunt of 2012.

We hiked up near Geumdae valley, which contains a large number of huge chestnut trees.  I climbed up hills, a few trees, all in the quest for more and more delicious chestnuts.

At one point I knocked a nice bunch out of a tree, but one of the them hit the youngest on the arm.  She developed a nasty rash; who knew you could have an allergic reaction to chestnuts?  She was alright however, just dealing with some minor discomfort.

We should have gone yesterday.  We did collect a nice pile, but most of them are a bit small.  It seemed nearly every old couple we passed was walking out of the valley carrying large bags of huge fat nuts. 

Still, half a grocery bag full isn't bad.  We saved at least ten thousand won, man!  And it was nice to get out and walk around.

Time for some more internetz.

Party!

Last night the fam went over to party with another family.  They self describe as freaks, which is A-OK in my book.  The husband works in purchasing for a construction company, while the wife graduated from law school at SNU, decided that being a lawyer sucks, then went to study photography in Greece for 4 years.  They moved to the Wonj to get away from the trappings of the big smoke and enjoy a simpler life.

I baked a couple of lasagnas.  They were delicious.  Then I proceeded to get quite hammered on red wine and white Russians. 

A good time was had by all.  Of course, feeling a bit slow today, but that is to be expected.

Time to look at the internetz.

1000!

When I started out writing this stoopid blog, I had this crazed impractical idea that I'd write three posts a day, everyday.  I truly wanted an accurate chronicle of my stoopid, inane, mundane life.

This of course proved to be near impossible to achieve.  For most of 2012, I've tried to write at least 25 posts a month, with varying degrees of success.

Yet, harken to my words!  Just shy of 2 years in, and this is my 1000th post!  Let the liquor flow from the breasts of vestal maidens!

Yeah.

Back!

Greetings readers, Waeg here.  After nearly three intense weeks of work, during which I hosted a group from Singapore as part of a work alliance, regular posting should resume. 

I'm sure you're all just tickled pink to hear that. . . I am terribly sorry that I couldn't keep up with regular missives about my boring mundane life, but I was double timing to keep the visit flowing smoothly.

Anyway, back to it.  Need to work on some new shirts this week.  I like this one.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Moisturize!

Lately the waegosphere has been ablaze over an article which appeared in Business Week on how Korean men feel the need to use various cosmetics.

What these waegs don't get is that this is simply another attempt by the biased western media to emasculate and disenfranchise Asian men, represented in the most fashionable of the yellow peril, Korean males!

By stating that Korean men use more cosmetics, the implication is that they are simply lacking in manliness.

Discrimination!

Fret not, Korean breathren!  All of us self hating koolaid drinking waegs are well aware of the nefarious means those less talented and less adaptable of us will use to undermine your self confidence and increase your self loathing!  Korea Hwaiting!

I for one agree and have seen the light: nothing eases the rough dryness of my hands like a few pumps of lubriderm!  I keep a bottle handy for whenever nature renders it necessary.   Precise application eases even the most irksome stiffness and increases fluidity.

Time for some more rice wine.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

. . .

No explanation for the absence beyond work.

Just this:



26:20 for the money shot.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Finger Condom!

Today I headed out to the bustling metropolis of Heongseong to see a doctor about changing the bandage on my finger.  Heongseong is about the same distance as the Wonj from work, and I decided to go country and avoid the traffic around the places I've visited over the last week.

The finger's looking pretty nasty, thanks for asking, but the itch lets me know that it is on its way to being healed.

After wrapping it up nicely, the doctor reached into his stack of bandages and then handed me what is best described as a finger condom. When I called it this, he immediately began laughing and went on for a good three minutes. OK, it is pretty good, but was it that funny?  I laughed along and said thanks.

As he was showing me how to put it on and off, he said: "Ah, your finger, it is very thick".  Yeah doc, that's what she said.  He didn't get it.  He seemed to take great interest in putting it on and taking it off, rolling it up just like a Trojan before putting it in a small plastic bag and handing it to me.  He said since it was so tight, I should make sure to immediately remove it after showering.  No worries, I know to take it off once I'm done.  He didn't get that one either. I decided it prudent to avoid any snarky comments about Korean condoms.

In any event, happy to finally be able to take a shower without wrapping my hand in a ziplock bag held in place with elastics.

Awesome.

Time for coffee.

Friday, August 31, 2012

So many kinds of wrong

This week's edition: game shows

so many kinds of wrong









Everything you need to explain the low birth rate in Korea is found in this next video:




Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Typhoon?

Yesterday the fam came home all worried about the impending doom typhoon about to inundate this fine peninsula in meters upon meters of water.

June came home with a large box of groceries, and berated me for not taking care of it myself. Why aren't you getting ready for the typhoon?

I didn't hear anything about it. What typhoon? When?

It's coming, we need to get ready.

The eldest was particularly worked up, as she'd seen some kind of video at school which offered tips on how to survive if a typhoon hit. She'd picked up several newspapers, and was insisting we wet them and cover the windows, as it is much more effective than tape for preventing glass from flying about.

While that is an interesting little tidbit that I'm not sure I believe, I was annoyed that they'd had the fear put into them. My gut was telling me to chill, nothing serious will come of it. We're inland. If we were close to the ocean, I'd be all about putting wet newspapers on the windows. I explained that we've got two separate glass doors between us and outside, I'm sure we'll be fine. The position of our apartment and the surrounding apartments also makes it unlikely that we'll be facing any serious issues as far as wind is concerned, as we're facing a courtyard that makes a nice buffer. Relax. If it makes you feel better, I'll lay out some of the camping gear, here are some flashlights, and I'll go pick up some more bottled water.

Sure enough, my intuition was spot on. While it has been a bit windy, and right now it's suggesting that it may get windier still, nothing really serious has hit. Meanwhile, all the kids stayed home from school, and I had a meeting cancelled as the dude said he couldn't make it because of the typhoon. I'm like: what typhoon?

It's true that the south and the west were hit pretty hard; some of the photos I've seen on the web show how nasty it got down there.  Might have been even fun under the right circumstances.  Not so much in Gangwon. The heaviest storm I remember in Gangwon was back in 2001. I remember as at the time a very nice girl drove all the way down from Seoul to get me drunk and take advantage of me. Good times, good times.

Time for some rice wine.

Mimic!

If you haven't been following the news on the Samsung -vs- Apple lawsuits in the US (and just about everywhere else), Apple recently scored a huge victory taking Samsung to the cleaners for copying Apple products.

Having used an iPhone4 and Galaxy S2, I don't think it takes much of a supergenius to realize that the Samsung products do greatly resemble Apple's.  That Samsung had been producing parts for Apple for years also would explain why Samsung might be inclined to simply make a product very similar to Apple's, since merely following the blueprint on something is much easier than drawing one up yourself.  That Korean products have long been considered cheap copies, albeit often improved and more functional, over original designs isn't really shocking news to most adults who have spent any time thinking about it.

Anyway, this morning June was in full on rant mode about how she now hated her iPhone, and that it was terrible that Samsung had to pay so much in damages to Apple.  She insisted she only bought her iPhone as I said it was better than the Samsung product, and then she began to go on about how lacking in functionality her Maps program is compared to her friend's on a Samsung product.

I said she needed to simply download the appropriate app, problem solved.  She got angrier, saying she'd have to pay for it on the iPhone.  Are you sure?  Did your friend have to pay for the app on the Samsung product?  She didn't respond, and I thought it prudent to stop sounding like an Apple fanboy and go to work.

While some may say the result may not be the best for the tech industry in general, as now simple functionality of many products may be hindered, I don't buy this argument.  This next round of tech advances will probably feature complete hands free type gear, a complete redesign of how the tech is integrated into our lives.  Apple may have shot itself in the foot in the long run, since now Samsung, which has gotten huge thanks to slavishly copying foreign designed stuff for years, will now need to do some serious soul searching and change to make new and unique products.

Or they may simply get stuck in a rut, continue copying products, mired in a corporate culture that stifles innovation.  We'll see now, won't we?

Time for coffee.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Shovel!

Today the fam went off to Seoul to go visit June's friend's new cafe. Originally the girls were to stay with me, but at the last minute June took them with her. So I did the only sensible thing when home alone and decided to reorganize the metal shelving units in the veranda.

One thing that should be made clear is that I've been using the back of the van as storage for quite some time now. I didn't appreciate just how much space in the apartment I was saving until I hauled the lot upstairs. A fleeting sense of accomplishment almost made me forget the three or four times I seriously banged my wrapped up finger, but I'm the kind of guy who won't stop until the job gets done. Getting started is another story altogether, but I made myself feel even better when I found a nearly full pack of smokes buried in one of the tarp bags, and a bag of fishing gear I'd thought lost.

But I realized I was missing one of my shovels. I remembered taking it out of the van when I cleaned the floor mats, so took a quick walk over to the car wash to pick it up.

What? Shovel? No shovel here. You must have made a mistake.

I left it leaning against that post. Are you sure? It's a grey metal shovel.

No shovel like that here. I can't help you.

On a lark, I walked around to the back where they have a vegetable garden. Imagine my surprise when I see a grey metal shovel.

Here it is, thanks. Sorry for the trouble.

The woman looks fit to burst: that isn't your shovel, you can't take it. I'm calling my husband.

The husband confirms it is their shovel. She says he's on his way.

OK, sorry, it's true these shovels are fairly common. Still, why did you say you didn't have one like it?

We have many shovels here, I can't keep track of them all. This is our shovel, you can't take it.

Sorry to bother you.

I went home scratching my head. On the way, I stopped at a hardware store and bought another nearly identical to it for 9 chonners. The last one had cost me eight. Ah, inflation.

Surprisingly, I wasn't that upset; it could have been their shovel, and if not if they're willing to get so worked up over 8 bucks, they probably need it more than me. I went back home and finished organizing the shelving units.

Time for bed.

Friday, August 24, 2012

So many kinds of wrong

This week's edition, in honor of my own stoopidity at slicing open my finger with a clasp knife, ijits:

so many kinds of wrong



fast forward to the 2 minute mark on the next one for pure idiocy gold:







Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Stitches!

Pen marks the spot.
Late Sunday night I had a little accident.  While working away at a piece of presswood with my clasp knife to make smaller chunks for the fire, I must have accidentally pressed the clasp, with the result being the blade cutting deep into the center of my middle finger.

I knew it was bad as soon as I did it.  I immediately grabbed a clean cloth and tied it tightly around the wound.

My first thought: you ijit boy scout.  How the hell did you do that?  Did you forget how to hold a knife all of a sudden?  At least you're in Korea, and blaming it on being drunk will be a-ok.  But that passed when I considered the practical side of things:  it was almost midnight, and the closest hospital was a good hour away.  I was also quite drunk, so driving would probably not be the smartest thing to do.  Did I risk letting infection set in?  I figured I'd probably be alright overnight, as long as I kept it dry, clean, and tightly bound.  So I retied the wound with a strip torn off another clean cloth.  As soon as I removed the initial bandage, blood immediately covered my hand.  I saw a nice big flap of skin; I moved it to it's appropriate place and wrapped the strip around tight.  It was indeed a bad one, and I again considered driving into town, but decided that waiting the few hours until morning would probably be alright, as long as I kept pressure on the cut.

I slept well, all things considered.  It was all well and good that I had had plenty of painkiller before the incident occurred. 

Next morning, I drove into Heongseong, found a clinic, and went in.  The wound hadn't bled during the night, but when a nurse removed the makeshift bandage, the wound again began bleeding profusely.  She nearly went into hysterics when she saw it, which seemed a reasonable explanation for why she was working the desk instead of directly helping the doctor.  I said here's my ID card, can you please tell me where to go.  I got annoyed when she insisted on filling in all the paperwork first, and had difficulty dealing with my number and with typing in general.  Hey, I'm the one with the finger wound here, can't you fill that stuff out a bit faster?  Instead, I remained cool and when she finally finished, I headed up to see the doc.

When he looked at it, he uttered a long woooo.  When the doctor says woooo, you know it's woooo.  He said I luckily missed any tendons or major nerves, but I'd cut down to the bone and would probably lose sensation in the fingertip.  He shot me full of anesthetic, sewed it up, gave me a prescription for some meds, and sent me on my way.

After getting the prescription filled, I went back to the fam van.  Lo and behold, the van would not start.  The starter had been acting up lately, and of course it chose now to finally give in.  At this point, many people would probably begin committing random acts of vandalism to vent; oddly, I was incredibly cool, and instead of freaking, I simply called my insurance provider, who sent along a nice tow truck driver, who towed me to an even nicer car repair shop.  A couple of hours later, I was finally able to leave Heongseong.  The only upshot to the whole affair was when I saw a stunningly beautiful woman; she had an amazingly proportioned body, and had dyed her hair a hot flaming red.  I had many a sinful thought, which were excellent for taking my mind off the shitty day I was having.

I went back to the site.  Once the anesthetic started to wear off, the pain set in.  At first nothing too serious, but whenever I sat or lay down, the pain intensified.  The bandage he had put on it was tight, but as the bottom of my finger seemed to be turning purple, I wondered if it wouldn't be smart to loosen it up a bit.  Sadly I had nothing to replace it with at the time, so endured.  It truly was a zen moment.

I contemplated how best to break down the site: this would be a bit of a challenge, as it usually takes me about 90 minutes if I hustle.  With the splint on my finger, and warning jolts of pain shooting up my arm whenever I tried to exert the hand too much, I knew it would involve a massive headache to get everything all sorted.  This was when some friends called up and said they were on the way.

I figured at that point that no one was going to show, due to all the rain.  These guys are almost as crazy as I am, but I smiled.  Sure, pick you guys up at the bus stop in 40.

We stayed one more night, then broke the site down and headed back to the Wonj. They were as surprised as I was that I'd actually cut myself, especially that badly.  I said it was because of the liquor, and one of them laughed and asked if I was going native, using that excuse, and whether I'd be swimming out to Dokdo next.  All I could do was show humility, since I deserved to be mocked for doing such a stoopid.  The worst part?  I couldn't even drink.

Tuesday gave several hot sunny hours around noon, so everything was dry when we packed up.  Good thing I didn't stay until today, as it's been raining pretty heavy since the middle of last night.

This morning I visited another doc to get the wound redressed.  The pain immediately abetted once he took the old bandage off: it had been too tight, cutting off circulation to the point that I'd had two pretty craptacular nights of sleep, waking up every 20-30 minutes of so, walking around until blood flowed regularly again, then dozing another 20-30 minutes.  Weird dreams.

Anyway, I have to come up with a better story for work tomorrow, as I was supposed to be working from home, not hanging out in the woods sitting around a campfire getting hammered.  It'll probably involve something cooking related and being distracted by one of the girls.

Time for coffee.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Camping 2.9 Flyin' Solo!

So I decided to be a bad drone, take some time to myself, and head out camping.

I'm in a new spot. We came here years ago just after the eldest had been born to enjoy our first anniversary, staying in one of the many fine cabins they offer. It is a pretty nice spot, and where I'm at there is absolutely nobody.  I'm here for the next three hopefully awesome days.

I brought my laptop and other assorted internet gear, ostensibly to get some work done.  Who knows, I may even work at something more than simply answering emails. Sadly, the Egg I subscribed to about a year ago doesn't work here, so I have to tether through my SGII if I want internet access. Works alright, but it will be interesting to see how the bill plays out later this month.

I've sent out some leads to bring others into this camping extravaganza. The fam is at home, so I can let my hair down. So far, there is only one nearly committed. I'll be just fine by myself, which made June and the girls open their eyes wide: how can you camp alone??

I told them how I used to go camping a lot back home, often solo. I'd bring everything I'd need in a pack and hike 10-15 miles out into the woods to get to some of my favorite spots. One of the best had a small waterfall that was a great shower, and the pool was awesome for a nice refreshing dip. The pack was always lighter on the way out, as the canned beer and whiskey bottles were empty.

I didn't tell about the time a pack of coyotes showed up, and how I built a platform a good 9 feet up in the trees to store garbage and to crawl up to in case it happened again. I was tired of the raccoons getting into the trash anyway; sometimes, those fuckers just don't give a fuck what you throw at em, they'll take what they want and go when they're ready.  I didn't tell the girls about the coyotes, maybe later when they're older; it was a fluke and they'll have plenty of time to learn fear. The coyotes had probably been drawn by the chicken I'd been cooking on a spit; luckily I was able to dissuade them by screaming like a banshee, throwing some well aimed rocks, and holding a stick like a gun. Coyotes know guns.

Just finished digging some drainage ditches as it will probably rain fairly hard off and on tonight.

Time for some somaek.

Get Used!

I have so many good friends here, that I love and care for immensely, and it angers and upsets me that they allow themselves to be so easily manipulated.

What?

Emotional manipulation.  You ever read Machiavelli?  At least know, better yet encourage, the prejudices of the masses; when things get tight, just push the magic mob button, and have them react, get riled up, expend their energy in some 'safe' preset way, distract them from thinking too much about what really matters.

What are you on about?

Every country does it.  It just seems so much more crass and obvious in Korea.  Too many emotional buttons to push, granted so horrifically by history.  Still, I wonder how so many intelligent people let themselves be used.  Get Used.  isn't that a brand name?  They changed it to Coax a few years later.  here, pass the bottle.

I think you've had enough.  You're not making sense.  

You want to know what I'm on about?  Are you sure?  You probably don't want to hear what I have to say.  Unadulterated.  It will make you angry, or at least uncomfortable.

Silence.

OK, I'm going home.  See you later.

Good night waeg.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Salvage!

condition: salvage
Today after cleaning out the car, I decided to head over to the local car part salvage marketTM.

The fam van needs two new sliding doors, a new door on the back, a new windscreen, and new floor mats.

They had everything I need.  Total cost for the lot: 120 manners, not including labor.

It seemed a bit high.  I'm tempted to drive up to Chunchon to check out a bigger salvage yard there.  I told the guy I'd get back to him, but thought it was pretty steep.

He then offered me 60 manners for my van.  When I told him the engine was replaced 5 years back, he laughed but then upped it to 65.

Nice negotiating skills, waeg.

Now I have to decide: should I buy the parts and get them installed, or should I simply buy a new car?

Decisions, decisions.

Best to think about it over some rye and water.

Floor Mats!

Today I did something nasty that I'd been putting off for awhile:

I cleaned the floor mats in the fam van.

With all the camping, they were pretty damn nasty.   The one in the back of the van had some steering and brake fluid on it, as the respective bottles had oozed out some of their contents.  It doesn't help that they are made out of fabric instead of rubber, which makes them all that much more absorbent.

I went to the local DIY car wash near my place and took the high pressure hose to em, then gave em a good scrub.  I tossed em into a washer they had there set to spin cycle, and watched as they came out pretty much just as filthy as when I put em in.

I considered doing the sensible thing, which was to douse them in lighter fluid, light em up, and chuck em into the dumpster.  At least that would be mildly entertaining.

Instead, I threw them back into the van and went to go look on gmarket for replacements.  Then I started looking at new cars.  I figure what with everything that needs replaced on the van, I should just buy a new one.  Instead, I decided to go to the local salvage yard to check out how much it would cost to get all the things I need.

Friday, August 17, 2012

So many kinds of wrong

Let's start with a little holy spirit, follow through with animals

so any kinds of wrong








Thursday, August 16, 2012

Flexplace!

Stolen from here
Lately the company has been experimenting with flexplace, allowing some employees the option to work at home instead of being stuck in the office.  The idea is that employees will be happier, more productive, and it will save the company money on daily maintenance and overhead, what with not running as many air conditioning units, computers, and the like.

So far it hasn't been a huge success.  It's working great for women with children, and younger married men.  Those who are unmarried or older are generally still in the office 8-6 or beyond.

I haven't taken advantage of it.  I've learned that if I spend too much time at home during the day, June invariably becomes annoyed that I'm constantly sitting in my man den staring at the computer.  She thinks this equates not working, and will begin suggesting I get at some home improvement stuff, housework, or take her out places.

What is interesting to note is that the majority of people who are not taking advantage of the program are older married men.   I wonder why that is har har.  People will get on the typical adjusshi about how he is generally absent from the family unit, but I'm a bit more sympathetic: if their wives are anything like mine, the only time you can get some peace and quiet is to stay away from home.  If you work full on and you get a day off a week at best, it isn't unreasonable to think that you may just want to sit quietly in a room and not deal with the hordes at a beach, or run through the mob at emart, or fight through a three hour traffic jam to move 60 miles.

But then, I may just feel the urge to go fishing next week. . .

Dinner Home!

The remains from the 3rd crepe
Tonight I decided to head home early, go all out and make a full course meal for the fam.

I started off with a mixed green salad with tomatoes and cucumbers, served with warm baguette. Olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dressing.

This was followed with chicken cordon blue served with buttered parboiled potatoes. I impressed myself with how well I was able to butterfly the chicken breast, folding it over the ham and cheese nicely. This was dusted in finely ground rice flour and lightly fried in olive oil.

Delicious.

For dessert, we had crepes, served with canned raspberries, mangoes, raisins, and of course whipped cream.

The girls clamoring for crepes was what set the whole affair off. They found a recipe in the multicultural cookbook the eldest got at school a while back, and had been after me for the last few days to make some. I decided to make a full go of it, as I was pretty tired of eating kimchi chiggae, rice, and bean sprouts anyway.

So full.

Now there is a nice mountain of dishes.

I'm sure they can wait until morning.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Rock Hard!


Today around the watercooler I listened in bemusement as one adjumma called out another over the rock hard firmness of the peaches she'd been hawking in the office:

Your peaches are usually so tasty younger sister! But this year you brought them in too early! You should have let them ripen on the tree longer before picking them!

I know, I know! But if you let them sit a few days they'll be fine! I had to pick them earlier since they go bad very quickly if we pick them too late!

Even if I let them sit they still aren't as juicy! Please bring me some more in a few weeks once they're riper!

This is actually a gripe of mine, how fruit producers will often harvest their crops well before they're fully ready to ensure the maximum profit on their wares. I hate paying 3.5 or 4 manners for a box of peaches that are rock hard, or grapes that are much too sour since they should have stayed on the vines longer. It was nice to hear someone else voice it, and it wasn't just a question of a stoopid waeg not understanding the special Korean situation.

Luckily, we know a few small growers just outside the Wonj who always save some for us and let us know when to come pick them up. Some of the best peaches I've ever had have been from them, but you have to be patient.

Back to work.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Camping 2.8!


As I was able to get out of the planned company retreat this weekend, We've been out near Juchon with a couple of other families enjoying the mountain air.

It seems about a quarter of Gangwon province has also congregated in the same little valley. This has provided mostly amusement, especially the older bunch we saw get seriously down singing their favorite trot favorites at 10000 decibels. The men were really belting it out, splashong the water with great vigor, as the women pretty much screamed in accompany. It was something to behold.

Tired now, but the campfire needs tending.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

so many kinds of wrong

A Thursday edition!

So many kinds of wrong





this next one is seriously awesome:

Sight from Sight Systems on Vimeo.




some Korean content:

Burp from GEUNTAE PARK on Vimeo.


And in case you missed it, the best kpop video I've seen in a while:

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Mountains!


We left Pochon before noon. It wasn't that great a place, despite it being called 'Beautiful Calm Camping Ground'. I got pretty tired of being woken up at 5 AM for roll call at the very nearby army training camp, and it was as hot as sin during the day.

The only redeeming qualities were the beware of the snakes signs all over the place and that the inlaws could easily come out. The sacrifices I make for family.

So we packed up and now find ourselves in better known climes down near hwangdun-ri. The temperature is near chilly and the water very fresh. We'll enjoy the next hour or two before heading back to the Wonj to bake in our apartment.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Lemon Cass!


When June's brother showed up for the family camping extravaganza, he joked about how he was unable to find any watermelon, so he brought more beer as he knew I'd probably appreciate it.

I laughed appropriately and said thanks, as he had brought about ten jugs.

I quickly sorted that three of them were near undrinkable, as they were Cass Light and Lemon Cass.

I'm wondering if I've pissed in his cornflakes lately, but here I am near the end of the trip, knowing that once I drink the cans I picked earlier, I'm left with the lemon. We burned through the light last night, so at least I'm spared that as my finale for the camping trip.

I may just have to go to bed early, the horror!

I hope he got a good laugh out of it at least.

Buds!


The last couple of days have been a full on family camping extravaganza.
After moving to a better spot scouted by yours truly, the gang started showing up. At highest count, there were sixteen of us. Mostly the cousins and the parents in law were on 100%.

It was a pretty good time; got drunk with one of my brother inlaws, and was surprised when I discovered he has a massive tattoo on his back, but more on that later. One of the more amusing sideshows of the trip was how one of my nieces is very obviously pleased with her new breasts.

They just started coming in, and the change in her is obvious: now she.is woman!

She's in the eighth grade, and just really beginning to be fully self aware. Watching her be above most of the kid stuff, feigning boredom and indulgence towards the younger kids was good for a few chuckles.

They've all gone home now. We're heading back to the Wonj tomorrow, as this weekend I've got a company retreat to attend. Back to work, waeg.

But first, some somaek.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Camping 2.7!


As I got off the plane yesterday, I'm now in the mountains north of Pochon drinking soju bacchus cocktails with Guiness Foreign Reserve as chaser. Parov Stellar's Shine is on repeat.

June organized a full on inlaw camping extravaganza. They'll come tomorrow, although we aren't too keen on stayin' where we're at as we're set back a way from the closest stream.

Admittedly, she had to wait for her siblings and parents to make a decision, but bein' the kinda guy I am, I've already laid out a scouting plan for the morrow to find a better spot.

Although the two bottles of soju the very obviously tattooed owners gave me as service has made me more amenable to just staying put. There is a pool which will be great for the gang of kids showing up tomorrow, still we will bake.

Time for another bacchus soju while I look again at maps.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Identity!

Last night while out walkabout one of the more memorable conversations I had was with a Korean who worked as a DJ at one of the clubs.  He had lived most of his life in Vietnam attending an international school there; in his words Vietnam is a complete shithole filled with sketchy people.  He seemed truly surprised that I worked at a Korean company, at first asking me if I was indeed full time.  He got a weird look on his face when I mentioned that my wife is Korean and I have two kids, and shocked when I said I did not send them to an international school.  He had been living in Singapore for the last 4 years, and our conversation turned to identity.

I love going back to Korea man, at least once or twice a year I go, my girlfriend is there and I love the culture.  Singapore's got no real culture, nothing uniquely Asian about it.

Don't you think it's more a question of how the diverse Asian cultures that make up Singapore make it unique?

No man, it's all based on Western ideas.  Korea has it's own culture, you know that.

I thought: well, actually a lot of the ideology that underpins the modern Korean drive also is drawn from Western sources, the idea of Minjok for example, as well as the drive to reimagine and reclaim traditions from the past, which is another example of a global trend in response to western hegemony and colonialism.  Isn't it a bit unfair to bad mouth Singapore since they are in many ways just doing the same thing that other countries are doing as well?  Besides, what's so bad about using ideas from other places?  Why is this a bad thing?

I got close to actually saying all this, but luckily I was distracted by a round of jagerbombs and decided to let it go.  I wish I could say that I was surprised by what he was saying and at the obviously faulty rationale serving as foundation for his opinion, but I'd heard this kind of thing before, and knew that trying to talk about it using logic and reason would just bring me down.  I remembered that I was out to have fun and it wouldn't serve to waste time talking about such weighty topics in a nightclub.

So I drank the jagerbomb and danced.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Morning After!

Brain hurts.

I ended up hitting the Butter Factory, then I hit another club called Mink.  The cover charge there was a bottle of Moet champagne.  I don't want to look at my credit card bill.

The evening ended at about 6, met with the gang for breakfast at 7.  The evening is hazy, although I definitely remember being driven home in a Ferrari.  Nice car.

Singapore is awesome.

Brain.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Butter!

After a fairly intense few days, tonight a bunch of the crew are heading out.  I've decided that I'll hang with em for a bit, then cut out as soon as I see an opening.

As we'll be doing the trendy Boat Quay route, I'll head over to The Butter Factory once I get a chance after 10.

Despite how I've got two final meetings tomorrow, as they're in the afternoon I figure I can probably pull it off.  Last real night to go hard here in the S'pore, so there is no duck and cover.

More later.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

A Night on the Town!

Yesterday I decided that staying in the hive on a Saturday night would not be conducive to my continued productivity over the next few days.  As we've had to extend our stay and the hard work is about to begin, I knew that I should get out, get hammered, and go walkabout for the good of the team.

After browsing the net, I reserved a room in Geylang, one of the seedier parts of Singapore.  Everything I've seen so far has been tidy, clean, antiseptic, beautified up nice;  I figured it would be good to get a fuller picture of the city by checking out what is billed as a scummier part of town.  What I found on the web said that Geylang has plenty of clubs, good cheap restaurants, and a supposedly former red light district that was cleaned up by the police some months back.

It wasn't very clean.  As I approached the hotel, I realized I must have chosen prostitute central, as across from my hotel was a large congregation of women, many of whom tried to latch on to me as I passed.  This was at 4 PM, the night hadn't even started, and droves of women were already out plying their trade.

I had to wait to check into the hotel as there were two couples ahead of me, both men who had picked up girls.  I watched as the girls gave their passports in turn to the clerk, who diligently recorded the information on a separate sheet from the check in list.  Not a bad idea: saves the possibility of trouble later on, but then this did let me know that not only was the street trade tolerated, but that hotels had systems in place to control who came and went when.  I did momentarily think of moving on to a less 'popular' hotel, but as I'd already booked the room I had to pay for it regardless. 

It didn't take me long to realize that most of the women on the street were either older Chinese, Thai, or Malay.  I wondered where all the younger women were.  Leaving my hotel, I stood across the corner ignoring the calls from the girls, and asked an older Indian man:

You want the younger girls, you have to go to the clubs.  The Chinese girls are west.  It's a mix to your east.  Fillipinas and Indian are in the pubs near Orchard.  These girls here are cheap; most of them have kids, are married back home, over 30.  Stay off the street if you want nicer girls.

I thanked him and went on my way.  I wasn't interested in picking up women on the street, I wanted to get out and hit some clubs.  What followed was several hours of drinking in sidewalk cafes, walking down the many side streets stocked with vice.  At one point I let myself get dragged into an Indian outdoor cafe that had Hindi karaoke and a bunch of 40 somethings dancing up a storm.   I struck up an interesting conversation with a guy who was a quarter Portuguese, a quarter Lebanese, half Indian.  His wife was Chinese, and their kids were very cute.  This is a piece of Singapore he said; you should come, bring your wife and kids.  There is always room for different kinds of people here.

The whole time I sat and chatted, various hideously unattractive women came up and sat next to me, offering to let me kiss them for $10, $5, a drink of beer.  Sorry dears, I'm married, but here have a drink anyway, we're having fun tonight.  I didn't add that if I were to cheat, it wouldn't be with some ugly broken whore.

The night ended with me chugging double vodka redbulls in some nightclub and dancing until the place closed.  How I got back to the hotel is hazy.  Looking at my photos from last night, I love one of the toilet (photo will be added later): the sign says Check that the toilet is properly flushed after use.  Keep the toilet seat clean and dry.  Save there is no toilet seat, and the toilet would rank in the top 100 for nastiness.  Ah, irony.

Time for some Raffles beer.