Living in Wonju South Korea, These Many Long Years

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

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Me and My Big Mouth

Sometimes people say all kinds of crap without thinking about it too much.

This blog is a case in point.  I just speak my mind, when I should just sit quietly. 

Lately, Mr. Na two cubicles down has decided to be my friend. Any long term waeg will know what this means: some random person decides they want a waeg friend, sets you in their sights, and before you know it you are being invited to participate in Chorwon's World Famous Eggplant Festival. This usually isn't such a bad thing, since at times you actually can make a good friend, but often the 'friendship' devolves into lessons on how to properly appreciate and respect all things Korean. But I digress.

Mr. Na is a bit different in this regard: he has been bouncing his creative ideas off me. Today, he handed me a treatment for a script he's writing. He wants to make a movie, and he came by to ask what I thought of the idea. This was what I read:

Year 2044.  Resources are scarce, especially oil and natural gas.  Japan and Korea are on the brink of war over the valuable gas deposits around Dokdo.  After finally wresting control of the World Ocean Council and the International Cartography Association from the hands of a newly resurgent imperial Japan, the case seems finally settled as Dokdo becomes once again Korean territory.  However, Japan refuses to let full possession; if they can't get the gas, no one will.  They try to nuke the islands to prevent Korea from exploiting the resources, since this would allow Korea to become the most powerful country in Asia.  Their plan is foiled when the newly deployed nuclear shield, invented by Korean scientists, stops the missiles.  The world knows the truth, and Japan is isolated and faces extreme sanctions.

Mr. Na, who do you think will want to watch this movie?

Mr. Waeg, I hope to make it a short film that will be shown to elementary and middle school students.  They must be made aware of the dangers the future holds, and know that they study towards useful ends.  Their minds will create the technology that will ensure Korea's future, and they will be the diplomats and scholars who will cement Korean power in world organizations.  They know Dokdo is Korean territory, but they must know what that means and be ready to fight for it!

I felt my eye twitch, and looked at him.  Mr. Na, I know well the narrative that Koreans tell themselves about Dokdo, and I don't doubt it is Korean territory.  But quite frankly don't you think this whole Dokdo thing has gone too far and for too long?  I mean, all I have to do is mention Dokdo in front of a group of Korean kids and their reaction borders on the insane.  Isn't this more akin to what Machiavelli discussed in The Prince, where leaders should know and encourage the prejudices of the populace so that they can manipulate them when it is politically expedient?  Aren't you helping to create a generation of reactionaries instead of rationally engaged people?  How do you expect to aid in kids' education and help them become global leaders if you are simply teaching them to become jingoists, similar to the folks up north?  Just then my phone rang, and Mr. Na went off in a huff.

Now I'm sure Mr. Na is mad at me.  He wouldn't look at me and is obviously stewing.  He was simply trying to make small talk and be nice, to engage in conversation, and instead of just playing nice, I became asshole incarnate.  Who knows what the future may hold; maybe there is a need to present a strong united front.  So why?  I guess I was just thinking about my own kids, and how one day I expect them to come home and ask if I know that Dokdo is Korean territory.

Now, I do believe that stupidity is a universal constant, and I'm hoping he won't hold a grudge against me and that his panties aren't in a knot about it.  From experience, these types of conversation never end well.  You can't win and it's best to just smile.  When will I ever learn?

Monday, October 28, 2013

RIP Lou Reed

Thanks for the tunes, in the same way you're thanking Andy Warhol for the in.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Any long term salty waeg is well aware of the persistent vilification of all things foreign by the mainstream Korean press. The long term waeg has no illusions as to the so-called positives they'll find in what passes as news: puff pieces that celebrate and exalt all things Korean, such as the numerous articles of waegs making kimchi or wearing hanbok while dancing Gangnam style in front of Lee Sun Shin's statue. Sadly, it is a safe bet that most waegs on this most finest of peninsulas are humanities graduates who will argue that these few puff pieces do not allow waegs any real agency in their lives. In my experience, it is best to defer to the words of Jean Rasczak, who taught how social scientists nearly brought us to the brink of chaos.

However, for those that persist, understand: Koreans are generally encouraged to think waegs are bad people, because they are taught to live their lives harboring a grudge against those perceived as more powerful. As such, the news is usually about either unqualified, immoral, English teachers, misbehaving American GIs, or some egregious slight that not only insults and diminishes the messianic quality of the great Corean Nation, but the entire Corean history and ancestry as well. This becomes even more intense if the slight involves that most holy of holies, the kvagina.

Deal with it as my Aussie brothers would say. Harden the fuck up.

However, this most sympathetic and most epic shill of all things Korean must set the record straight!

A first on the F5Waeg! So listen:

Sexual politics. The waeg being seen as the defiler, come to abuse and rape all Korean women, and by extension, the nation. The waeg portrayed as seeing all Korean women as playthings, easy to collect, just as easy to disentangle themselves from.

Such a 1980s mindset, that even then was based more on fear and insecurity than reality.

So Korea: why don't you also harden the fuck up, and share 'your' women? I'm not talking about the 'used up' ones you send overseas to exploit (because after all, only Korean men are allowed to exploit anything on this most perfect of peninsulas); I'm talking about Korean men being men as opposed to little mama's boys thinking they can own the unownable. This mentality might have worked fine and well thousands of years ago, when defending the women was necessary to ensure the continuation of the community, but that tribal mentality doesn't have a place in the modern world, with the reality of what community has come to mean.

Thanks for supporting the sterotype by the way, that Asian men can't compete, by trying to hide away 'your' women or treat them like garbage if they dare associate with the dreaded waeg; I know it must be hard, but that's what she said.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

So many kinds of wrong

Normally I would post this kind of thing on a Friday, but there has been so much of this vapid stoopid shit coming my way of late I just can't help myself. 

Considering the first song, maybe we should call this edition:

So many kinds of Wong.

Monday, October 14, 2013


As soon as I saw these, I had to buy them. Probably won't smoke them, as who in their right mind would want to smoke a bunch of leaves dried by baboons over an open fire?

Some might see this brand as an extension of an imperialistic colonial mentality, what with Korea and other Asian countries exploiting Africa; however, these naysayers obviously know nothing of the special Korean situation: it isn't exploitation, it's all about bringing much needed Hallyu~! to the masses.

Gotta hand it the guys in marketing at This cigarettes; they certainly do come up with some unique packaging despite selling a pretty awful product; but then in Korea, the packaging often is more important than the content.  The bottom of the pack says: "Golden Sun Dark Dawn". I have no idea what that means, but I know having read it is an added bonus for purchasing number one world best Korean cigarette.

Time for a puff.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Good Drone!

Greetings all, waeg here reporting from the warm confines of my wannabe man den!

Apologies for light posting; work has been seriously full on the last few weeks, what with the bi-yearly visit from our Singaporean partner, quarterly reports, and the usual heaps and heaps of paper work.

Throw in some nasty office politics, and you have the perfect shit storm to distract from writing about my boring mundane life!

Sure, there has been the usual baking of cookies, cakes, casseroles, and soups that I could have rambled on about, but I decided to give those a pass for the last bit.  Once I start posting recipes I know I might as well go choose my tomb plot on a mountain somewhere.

A number of my friends are starting to get annoyed by my repeated absences.  I'm a terrible friend, trying to make plans weeks ahead which often get changed due to family responsibilities or simple fatigue.  What a lame-o!

Really nothing too much to report, save that as tomorrow is most wonderful Korean Language Celebration Day, I've decided to get into some rice wine.  Chiaksan number one world best dongdongju baby! 

Tomorrow I plan on sleeping until at least 8 and riding out the incoming typhoon.  I've got a nice stack of books that I may actually get to, including the newest Margaret Atwood, Malcolm Gladwell, David Sedaris, and a bunch related to marketing and behaviorism.  Good times, good times.

I may write some more later.  But first, another nip or six of that delicious rice wine.