Living in Wonju South Korea, These Many Long Years

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

Friday, November 2, 2012


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.


Anonymous said...

And then you woke up from this dream...

Anonymous said...

Oh well, this was my shit for the night and I was quite happily listening to music and having a cider

Sooooo, my wife gets dropped off in a taxi, which aint a taxi after heisik. She's shitfaced. They want 10 pounds. I've got 5 in coins not expecting this. Lovingly she cannot communicate any cash to me despite the taxi slob saying she have money. To behonest I'm glad he's not necessarily the quickest or hardest thinking. I say lets go to the station I'll get some cash, I tell my wife in Korean get her sister to let her in. The prick starts trying to lift the price, I ask for a receipt. No. I ask for an address. No. Business card, no. I keep re-iterating I need a receipt. He's a phoney. I ask how much for him to go away. He says 10 pounds. So hes made 15 pounds for a 10 minute journey. He burns away ,yells his head off calling me bald , I think about calling him trash,whatever,it's unseemly, people at bus stops look uncomfortable. I realise he's driving a 200-series Mercedes. I realise it's not his. He has stopped at the upper lights. I think me be quickly walking around via the back lights, these people are losing money staying here.I take off my jacket to show a bright red sweater.
And my wife is still snoring!! She's oblivious to all this.


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LaFoix666 said...


Nice post, mannolo...and I loved your comment as below:

'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.'

A lot of foreigners I've met living here really need to get their heads 'round that fact, if I may say.

(But it also sums up the Koreans own take on themselves, I think! They think of each other just as badly, behind all that Confucian bowing and scraping and crap. Sorry!)

I really get that 'all starry eyed' bit and you summed up my 2+ Korean years, so far. I work in a school where I am virtually ignored all day, every day (except by the kids, of course - sure, why else would I be here~ I can easily get over the adults!!) and as you say yerself, the occasional stranger wets herself when they speak to me in the coffee shop, or wherever...

...but I just KNOW that I ain't shit when push comes to shove: just the lowest of the low..and how I can see it the many different faces I come across in my work. Especially the other teachers!!! I know it's not personal, just the way things are and it makes for good people watching at the very least...

BUT!! As you know by now yerself, I'm sure, Korea has its many advantages, also, and one has to drink the cool aid in order to survive~~ plenty of foreign travel in my previous life has helped a lot with that score...

...but Korea is definitely the weirdest place I have - or am likely to have - visited in this life..


a fellow waeg pond critter~

Kstylick said...

The fact about Korean wife just getting all your money and berating you is really funny. It makes me think if I'd be like that someday or if my mom and aunts are like that already. Seems like your right.

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