who ... moi?

a social butterfly: scared of much, but not of many. never lets the truth get in the way of a good story. not a fan of acronyms, snakes and angelina jolie. a HUGE fan of Fathead.

this blog is black for ENERGY-SAVING reasons.

thanks for your understanding.
if it's too dark, put your glasses on old one.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

dear korea

to our dearest korea

i'm writing this letter to gather some thoughts, get some things off my chest and to bid your a fond, temporary farewell.

it's been an interesting 6 months.  you've been incredibly kind to us, so thank you for this.

korea, you have much to be proud of.  you're such a small, remote country - with an enormous heart.  your people are mostly aloof and unemotional, yet show such passionate patriotism.

much of your cultural quirks and norms are, in fact, unoriginal. yet you seem to somehow make them your own. i hate to break it to you, but that song that you all sing during soccer matches is actually a remake of the pet shop boys "go west".

sometimes you spell your name with a "c".  the rest of the world always spells it with "k". i'm not choosing sides, i'm just suggesting you pick a spelling and stick with it.

oh, and there are a few things i wanted to clear up with you, before i go.

firstly, you need to ask your waiters to clear tables.  this is their job.  restaurant service should not function as a non-return valve. you can't only bring things to the table ... you need to actually take things away sometimes.

warn your people that when they visit foreign lands, they will actually be required (by law) to stop at red traffic lights. this may be optional in your country, but to the rest of the world - it's kind of the done thing.

in other countries, you will also need to be careful when driving.  this includes not watching tv on your gps, and talking on your cell phones. again, only optional here - caution and concentration whilst driving has become quite the trend in most other countries.

kindly advise your people to chew with their mouths closed.  it's considered rather gross, the world-over.  i know this might seem petty, but many people prefer not to see your food in its initial phase of digestion.

given that your are such a safe country, could you maybe consider trusting people not to steal your toilet  paper?  you might find it rather convenient to leave a roll or two in each bathroom stall?  just a thought.

your musical talents are an advertising fraud created by corporate giants for nothing more than cheeky commercial promotion. it is not "normal" to go to a music concert and have the artists break their performances to promote the latest technology functions on their samsung cell phones.

us waeguks (korean word for "foreigners") prefer to drink hard tack slowly, with a mixer.  we don't like to shoot whiskey like it's a cherry-flavoured liqueur.

what are those tasteless circular bar snacks you serve, actually made from?
is it rice?  puffed plastic?  c'mon ... you can tell me ...

i don't really appreciate the fact that i'm considered 29 in korean age. i'm already having my late-20's crisis ... is it necessary to add on 2 years to my life?

why can't you guys just count age using actual, mathematical logic.  you cannot, in any conceivable logic, be 1 year old, the day you are born.  even if you must be pedantic about it, you are 9 months at the most.  if you are born in november, and the country celebrates its nationwide birthday on february's lunar new year's - you are still only 4 months old, not 2 years.

household fans don't kill people.  fact.

but i don't mean to sound negative.  i have to say you have opened my eyes to a world of difference, a sense of safety and permanent amusement.

your respect for the elderly has earned you my utmost admiration. a lifetime spanning war and accelerated growth has made them hellova grumpy - but who can blame them?  i will forever remember and respect your agro-mama's and itchy-pappas.

until your nation's people hit the age of 30, i have to say, they are quite exquisite. your woman are incredibly beautiful.  their skin is flawless (an amazing feat, given the amount of smog in the air), and their petite figures are astounding.  how do they stay so slim and slender, with all the candy, cakes, donuts, deep-fried, battered, processed, sweetened and artificial foods they eat?

your beer is amazing, too! who knew that if you use chemicals instead of actual hops to produce your local beers, they won't make you gain weight!  hallelujah!

i love the way you voluntarily, and unashamedly, spike your own drinks.  your soju is potent and should not be underestimated by any waeguk. a foreigner who thinks that they are harder, tougher and more resilient than any korean-drinker, will swiftly learn their lesson.  they may not remember it the next day, but they'll learn.

the children of korea are being groomed into a diligent, highly-educated force to be reckoned with.  they will continue to grow korea into the world's technological leader that you are destined to become.
the way that you educate them is tough.  i cannot think of many other children who work as long and hard as yours do.

keep it going - they will be incredibly book-smart when you're through with them.  just a thought though -
you might want to ease up on the kiddies now and then.  maybe let them have a two-day weekend every once in a while?  they may enjoy some time spent outdoors. i hear that fresh air and sunshine do wonders for increasing happiness levels.

finally, i should express my gratitude to you.

you've hidden some of your most beautiful parts in remote valleys - which have been an absolute pleasure to discover.

the river rafting adventure was a blast (although  i'm not sure the helmets were necessary).

your people have good hearts.
your weather makes sense. it's freezing in winter, and sweltering in summer.

despite your reckless driving, your traffic system seems to function without accidents or road age.
you are a peaceful, content nation.

thank you most of all, for teaching me tolerance. your cultural differences are vast, but i have come to respect them.  most of all, i have developed an unwavering respect for you.

you're a nation that, since the end of wwII, has risen from 3rd to 1st world status.  you have increased your GDP, employment rate, education system, literacy rate, strength of currency, international ties and international ranking.  you've moved from being an aid-receiver to an aid-giver.  you have much to be proud of - and the world at large, needs to learn more about you.

we'll be back for further lessons on life, in 6 months.

so for now - it's farewell.

stay safe and keep your eyes on those northern-neighbors of yours.
congrats on kim yu na and the dedicated spirit of your red devil soccer fans.
i hope you kick nigeria's ass in the next world cup game.

bye for now, dae han min guk.

fondest regards


  1. Thank you for sharing your open letter to Korea with us. Reading it made me feel as though I was there while you were experiencing it all. It sounds like a unique, interesting and beautiful country.

    Happy travels around the rest of the Asian region and look forward to reading more from different parts.

    Much love

  2. Me and Ali think this is your best blog ever!!!! I laughed so hard. It's so true and should be shared with all waeguks. Awesome. Good Job. Ffi & Ali

  3. Ta friends ... can't wait to see you again - I miss you ALREADY ... goodness me. Check you crazies in Saturday (but I do think your arm should be twisted into Friday night at school. Can you spell B-A-L-C-O-N-Y & M-U-S-I-C S-T-U-D-I-O?