Living in Wonju South Korea, These Many Long Years

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

Friday, August 3, 2012


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.


Anonymous said...

You realize that when the revolution occurs you're one of the first against the wall. . .

F5Waeg said...

Not sure what you mean bud. If you mean that I was a bit put out by guy's Asian-centric bias, and did my best to ignore the incredulity he expressed at having a white guy work in a Korean company, so be it. Come to think of it, how Raffles has statues everywhere in Singapore might be what has him rankled.

LaFoix said...


If I may say, I think you did exactly the right thing.

I'm married to a Korean and have to suffer her two older brother in laws from time to time... (mercifully; not very often)

It's actually hilarious listening to their opinions on 'how it is'; globally, and otherwise.

Since both of them have a Korean university 'education', they would obviously not be very conducive to listening to a foreigner put them straight, so I don't even bother. But the whole structure upon which their opinions are based is just creepy in it's insignificance/inaccuracy...

They are out on Pluto, and Korea has a lot of work to do before it will ever be a player on the global stage~~

Fuck 'em, my man~~ Just grin and drink the jagerbombs. And thank the Lord for your 'God given' (or Western Democracy given?) abilities to spot enormous error in just a few, simple propositions~~

While they have stick to their worthless opinions like a fat girl does cake!

Anonymous said...

He should've been thankful gum and spitting are outlawed!

Todd said...

He's a "DJ." He turns "knobs" and gets mommy and daddy to fund his existence. Why bother?

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