Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘gnomes’


WARNING: This blog post ends with a really lame attempt at humor. You’ve been warned.     

I’m always surprised by the things I miss whenever I’m overseas. When I was 21 and backpacking around the world for a year, it was Old Dutch potato chips (click here if you’re not Canadian). When I was living in xenophobic Dublin from 1999 to 2000, it was Vancouver’s racial tolerance. Now that I’m in South Korea, I miss grass and strong coffee.     

When I say I miss grass, what I really mean is that I miss all the parks and playing fields that Vancouver and Victoria have. In Vancouver, especially, you don’t have to walk very far to find a nice big patch of grass. This is fantastic if you are the parent of a really energetic little kid like Ian.     

Back home, it was easy to find places where he could run and run and run until he was all tuckered out. If he fell down a hundred times, it didn’t matter. That soft cushy grass was no danger. And it was easy to keep him well away from cars.     

South Korea, by contrast, is unfortunately not greatly endowed when it comes to parks and playing fields. This is pretty understandable when you consider the twin facts of its small geographical size and relatively large population.     

South Korea is about the size of Portugal, but seventy per cent of the country is covered by mountains. This means that 46 million South Koreans and all the factories, farms, shops, roads, military bases, etc. are squeezed into a very small area. In a country this cramped, it’s no wonder there are nowhere near the number of parks and fields we take for granted back home.     

The lawn in front of the in-laws' house is nice, but our little guy needs a lot more space than just this.

The lawn in front of the in-laws' house is nice, but our little guy needs a lot more space than just this.

 

Coffee is another thing I miss – strong coffee. KJ and I are on a constant search for a nice French or Italian roast, but so far we have had no success. We’ve tried many of the cool little independent coffee shops, as well as the chains with interesting names such as “Angel in Us”. We’ve even tried Starbucks. You would think Starbucks in South Korea would offer a nice strong cup of coffee, but no. The strongest they’ve got here is what would pass for a medium roast back home.     

So there you have it. Those are the two things I miss. For the reasons mentioned above, I can accept the paucity of parks and playing fields in South Korea. I wish it weren’t so, but I can accept it. However, the total lack of strong coffee is not acceptable. I know the South Korean government has more pressing matters to attend to at present, but I do hope they will address this situation as soon as they have the time.     

There are quite simply no grounds for weak coffee.  

Howdy and thanks for visiting gnomeless.com. If you enjoyed this post and would like to help us out, please share this link with your friends:   http://tinyurl.com/26u6xko

Advertisements

Read Full Post »


Evangelical Protestants around the world have a well-earned reputation for working hard to win converts to their faith. Evangelical Protestants in Korea, however, put all the others to shame with their industriousness and marketing savvy.    

South Korea is enthusiastically capitalistic and intensely competitive. Just handing out a pamphlet and hoping people will come check out your church won’t cut it here. You need to generate some goodwill and build brand awareness, too, so the little groups that seem to be everywhere in this country also give out a variety of goodies.    

Candies are an item they hand out quite frequently – much to the delight of Ian and his future dentist. Another popular promo are little packets of tissues. But my all-time favorite is this packet of mineral salt:    

There are a wide range of uses for this mineral salt.

There are a wide range of uses for this mineral salt.

 

I received this quite randomly. One sunny afternoon, I popped out of the house for a cigarette. My customary smoking spot is right by my father-in-law’s garden and he happened to be there, tilling the soil and what not. Due to the intricate rules regarding age in South Korea, I had to go somewhere else to get my nicotine fix, so I went to the street in front of the house – which is really more like a lane, to be honest.    

Anyway, I’m quite glad I took this particular smoke break there, because after a couple of minutes a middle-aged guy and two ajumas came walking down the hill. The man was wearing a golden sash with a red cross at the top and a bunch of Korean writing. It was pretty obvious they were out spreading the Good News. Ever friendly, I gave a little bow and said “Ahnyoung hasayo” when they got near me.    

Naturally, they thought perhaps I spoke Korean and one of the ajumas said something to me. After I shrugged sheepishly and said “Mienhamnida”, the formal version of “I’m sorry”, they quickly realized this was not the case. The ajuma who spoke to me was kind enough to give me the packet of mineral salt, though, and I said “Kamasamnida”, which means “Thank you.” They carried on their way after that, which was pretty lucky for me, because I had nearly exhausted my Korean vocabulary by this point.    

As I finished my cigarette, I marvelled at the cleverness of this little promo. What a nice spin on that “salt of the earth” scripture, I thought. Then I went inside to find KJ so she could give me a translation.    

KJ told me that the front of the packet said the mineral salt inside was of the highest quality and had been featured on KBS1, a Korean network, as well as CBS. It also said that this top-notch mineral salt can be eaten, used as a facial scrub, or for a woman’s “special cleansing”.    

Versatile stuff.    

Having gone to church once or twice a week growing up, I was able to puzzle out the message on the back of the packet myself.    

Are you on the right road?

Are you on the right road?

 

What you see on the back is the standard stuff about two roads, one leading to the good place and the other leading to the bad place. There is a picture of the bad place, and it looks quite nasty. Everyone is all singed white and looking scared as the flames of hell rage out of control. The good place, I must say, looks a far sight better. Everyone there is dressed up nice and cheering as Jesus looks on benignly, serenaded by angels. The way to the good place is through prayer and faith – and going to church, of course.    

Oh, did I forget to mention that the front of the packet also says when you run out of this mineral salt, you can go to their church to get more? Now that’s marketing, people! 

Howdy and thanks for visiting gnomeless.com. If you enjoyed this post and would like to help us out, please share this link with your friends:   http://tinyurl.com/2f7s37a

Read Full Post »


Koreans are fond of little kids. They are especially fond of cute ones and are fascinated with mixed-race children. Ian is cute and mixed race, which means going out with him here is a bit like being part of a movie star’s entourage.     

I’ve completely lost track of the number of times that we’ve entered a shop or a restaurant and heard people gasp when they see our little boy. Young women and school girls often squeal. Almost everybody stares.     

There was one time near Busan National University that is quite typical. KJ was getting her hair done and Ian and I were hanging out in the shopping district. We popped into McDonald’s to get a cheeseburger and the place went silent when we entered. Everybody was watching us and a few started going Ohhhhhhh and murmuring to each other. One young woman turned to her friends, held the tips of her index finger and thumb together and reported to them that Ian’s eyes are “like this!”     

Of course, I felt proud of my little guy, but I also really wished the other customers would stop staring. It’s a bit uncomfortable when you’re eating. It’s even more so when you’re holding a toddler on your lap with one hand and trying to feed him and yourself with the other, all the while making a big old mess. You’re not exactly at your glamorous best at such times. I know they weren’t staring at me – they were staring at Ian – but still.     

This sort of thing is also very common on the street, where Ian also attracts a considerable amount of attention and one of the many, many ways that Korea is different from North America manifests itself. In Korea, people feel absolutely free to come up to other people’s kids and tousle their hair, pinch their cheeks, hold their hands and even pick them up – without asking the parents. Since I’m not eating at these times, I really enjoy it. I think it’s great that Koreans are so affectionate towards kids.     

This is the face that stops Koreans in their tracks.

This is the face that stops Koreans in their tracks.

 

The other day, we were in Nampodong, which is a hip little area with a street full of trendy shops, cafes and restaurants that leads to a traditional Korean market occupying a warren of narrow lanes and alleys. In the market, KJ went into a clothing store to check out a sale. I stayed outside with Ian, parked his stroller right up against the curb and sat down to have a chat and keep him entertained.     

Just a few moments later, an ajashi (middle-aged guy, basically) came over and bent down to examine Ian. “Yepuda!” he said, which means “pretty!” He took Ian’s right hand and kissed it and spoke to the little guy in Korean. He kissed Ian’s hand again. Then Ian did something pretty entertaining. He pulled the ajashi’s hand to his mouth and kissed it. The ajashi laughed, so Ian did it again. And again.     

Then another ajashi came over and shook Ian’s hand while the first one pinched his cheek. Ian shook hands with the second ajashi a couple of times and then realized this was a good way to meet people and make friends. So he started holding out his hand to random people passing by who all had a good chuckle as they shook it. By the time KJ came out of the shop, there were about a dozen people all crowded around Ian. I even noticed an ajashi taking Ian’s picture on his cellphone.     

After KJ exchanged pleasantries with a couple of the members of Ian’s fan club, we carried on and checked out the rest of the market. About an hour later, we passed by the same spot. KJ wanted to buy a dress she had looked at before. Again, I stayed outside with Ian.     

An ajuma who had a stand in the middle of the narrow little street said something to KJ when she came out. “He must be sick of people,” she said. “He’s such a beautiful baby so people are always coming up to him. He must get tired of it.”     

Luckily, Ian is a very social little fellow and he isn’t sick of people in the least. He seems to really enjoy the attention and all the opportunities it brings for him to interact with people. And I’m grateful to be in a place where random strangers routinely show such kindness and warmth to my son, in the process giving me a pretty good idea of what it must be like to hang out with a movie star. 

Howdy and thanks for visiting gnomeless.com. If you enjoyed this post and would like to help us out, please share this link with your friends:  http://tinyurl.com/25p7hvh

Read Full Post »


The combatants in the mostly low-grade conflict entering its eighth week here in Yangsan don’t even qualify as flyweights. In one corner is So-min “Rhymes with So Mean” Kim, the four-year-old daughter of my older sister-in-law. So-min stands 41 inches tall and weighs in at 36.5 pounds. In the other corner is my pride and joy, Ian “Monkey” Melland, who is 16 months old, 35 inches tall and tilts the scales at a whopping 26 pounds.      

This is clearly a mismatch.      

My father- and mother-in-law live with my wife’s older sister Kyung-mi, her husband and So-min. For the first couple days after KJ and I moved in with our little guy, So-min tolerated Ian fairly well. But then the novelty wore off and she began to resent the tiny interloper who kept touching her stuff, playing with her toys and – worst of all – receiving warmth and affection from her grandparents and parents.      

On about our third day here, So-min decided it was time to show Ian his proper place by giving him a good shove that sent him right down on his keister. The first point had been scored by So-min – but at a cost. Her sneak attack was roundly condemned and she got a good scolding from her mom.      

So-min adjusted her tactics and limited herself for a while to simply ripping any toy Ian was playing with out of his hands – even if it was his own toy. A favorite maneuver of So-min’s is to grab a toy from Ian and if he begins playing with another toy to grab that one as well. It’s not uncommon to see her suddenly standing in the living room clutching about five or six toys that she has confiscated.      

Unfortunately, clear limits and consistent discipline are lacking in So-min’s life. Her parents both work, and between their commute and the long hours typical in South Korea, they don’t have a lot of time with So-min during the week. They let her get away with a lot, because they don’t want to spend what little time they have with her ragging her out, I guess. KJ’s parents let her get away with a lot, too, because they’re old and simply lack the stamina to keep up with a little kid.      

So-min quickly realized that generally my wife and I were the only ones who were going to scold her. This emboldened her and she suddenly began to slap at Ian’s hands, take things from him and push him around with abandon. She would stare unblinkingly at us and nod her head when we told her what she did was wrong, but then she’d go right back at it. So-min scored point after point after point while our little guy was completely shut out.      

So-min scores a point.

So-min scores a point.

 

What So-min didn’t know, though, is that Ian has phenomenal grip strength and that he bites like a crocodile. He is also extraordinarily persistent and has an innate grasp of tactics.      

Finally, after a couple weeks of being bullied and feeling increasingly frustrated, Ian reached his limit. One evening, after being pushed a couple times and having several toys snatched away, Ian saw his chance to score a point. And by God he took it.      

So-min was sitting on the couch with Harabaji (Korean for grandfather). They were sharing a peaceful little moment and suddenly Ian got a gleam in his eye. He quietly walked over to the couch and clambered up beside the two of them. So-min gave him a little push and that was it. In a flash, Ian had grabbed both of So-min’s pigtails and was yanking on them with all of his might. He’s very strong for a toddler and you could see and hear that So-min was in some pain. KJ rushed over and pried the pigtails out of Ian’s hands – which took a few moments.      

One point for Ian.      

As soon as KJ had freed So-min’s pigtails from Ian’s grip, however, he lunged for her bangs and pulled down hard, really hard. So-min was in absolute shock and looking a little the worse for wear by the time KJ was able to rescue her again. Her glasses were askew and hair was sticking out all over the place.      

Two points for Ian.      

Harabaji was having a pretty good chuckle over this, but everybody else was making lots of noises to indicate shock, concern and disapproval. KJ and I scolded Ian and told him what he did was bad, it’s wrong to pull people’s hair and he better apologize to So-min, etc. But I have to say, our reprimands were half-hearted. We don’t want to raise a brawler and we’d prefer that Ian not get into fights, but deep down we were proud of him for standing up for himself. To be really honest, we felt like So-min had it coming. Judging by the warmth with which Harabaji was looking at his little grandson, he apparently thought so, too.      

You can just feel the love, can't you?

You can just feel the love, can't you?

 

A night or two after this, So-min went over the top. Ian was sitting on Harabaji’s lap and she went over to sit down next to them. Suddenly, she grabbed Ian’s face from behind and pulled his head back hard. Harabaji tried to stop her, but she did it again.      

KJ and I lost it and some family drama ensued. In the aftermath of this, KJ and I seriously considered moving out. We didn’t leave in the end, but we have had a strict policy of never leaving Ian and So-min alone together ever since that night. We watch So-min like hawks.      

So-min kept things pretty low-key for the next couple days – some toy snatching and the odd swat at Ian’s grabby little hands, but nothing too bad. Then, one morning in the kitchen, she decided it would be fun to put Ian in a headlock. Big mistake. Big, big, big mistake!      

I was standing right there when it happened, and I was about to snap at So-min and move her arm away from Ian’s throat. The poor little guy’s face showed that he was both surprised and unsure of how to escape from his predicament, and I had just had it with So-min by this point. But before I could make a move to end things, Ian looked down at So-min’s forearm, opened his mouth wide and chomped down with all of his mandibular might.      

I mentioned earlier that Ian bites like a crocodile. Of course that’s an exaggeration, but not much of one. It really hurts when he bites us, so you can imagine how much it hurt So-min. Once again, she looked completely shocked and her little eyes were filled with tears. Once I separated them, she started crying.      

KJ gave Ian a perfunctory “Don’t bite, Ian. That’s bad.” Then she examined her niece’s arm. For the sake of appearances, I also told Ian biting was bad as I carried him to our bedroom and closed the door. What I was really thinking was, “Good job.”      

This sort of thing has become routine now. Only once has So-min done anything as bad as the night she pulled back on Ian’s head. She punched him one morning, but I put the fear of God in her right away. It’s just been pushing and hand-swatting and taunting since. And, of course, she has continued to rack up the points while little Ian just scores just a point or two here and there.      

Ian’s last point was quite the shocker, though. On Saturday night, KJ was with Ian in her parents’ room. Kyung-mi was giving So-min a bath in the ensuite. Now, Ian loves bare skin. So when Kyung-mi brought out her butt-naked little girl, Ian got up and started to walk on over.      

“Grab him! Grab him!” Kyung-mi cried out to my wife, but KJ couldn’t be bothered and did nothing to stop him.      

Ian reached out to touch So-min’s tummy. She pinched his arm. He reached out again to touch her tummy. She pinched his arm again. Then, suddenly, Ian surprised the entire family by slapping So-min in the face.      

Everybody laughed except Kyung-mi – and, of course, So-min. Even KJ’s mom laughed, and she’s very biased towards So-min.      

I hate to say it, but I was really proud of Ian when I heard about this. He’s about a hundred points behind and he’ll never catch up to So-min, but it’s for this very reason that the points he does score are just so deeply satisfying. It’s a bit like watching an Ewok take on a Storm Trooper. You can’t help but cheer for the little guy. 

Howdy and thanks for visiting gnomeless.com. If you enjoyed this post and would like to help us out, please share this link with your friends:  http://tinyurl.com/3ylluqa

Read Full Post »


Well, we’ve been in Korea for close to a month and a half now and we haven’t really done many touristy things. So on Tuesday we remedied that and visited Haedong Yonggungsa, a spectacular Buddhist temple complex on an outcrop of rock overlooking the sea in Busan. 

We went with KJ’s friend Gae-young and her four-year-old niece Young-ju, whom we picked up at kindergarten after lunch. I don’t think she knew in advance that she would be meeting a 6’6″ white dude and a rambunctious mixed race toddler that day. The poor little thing seemed a bit stunned the whole afternoon. 

Haedong Yonggungsa

Haedong Yonggungsa

 

In the beginning, I wasn’t too sure about Haedong Yonggungsa, because the first thing you encounter as you walk in from the parking lot is a string of tacky little shops selling snacks and trinkets. Once you get past all that, though, the good stuff comes, starting with a row of imposing rock statues of the twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac. These amused Ian greatly. 

After that, you come to a stone bridge. At the midpoint of this bridge, down below, are two stone figures. The lowest one is a tortoise with a bowl on its back and the one above is a goddess holding a bowl. This is one of the ways the temple makes money. If you can throw a coin into the goddess’ bowl, your wish will come true. I probably threw about twenty 100 won coins (about 10 cents) at the darn thing. I came close several times, but I didn’t manage to hit the target. Next time, I guess. 

All religions should make donating money this much fun.

All religions should make donating money this much fun.

 

The story goes that Haedong Yonggungsa was founded in 1376 by a great Buddhist teacher known as Naong. Unlike most Korean Buddhist temples, which are built on mountains, Naong built his temple by the sea to honor the Great Goddess Buddha of Mercy. She lives alone near the sea, apparently, and rides on the back of a dragon.   

Devotional figures left near a statue of the Great Goddess Buddha of Mercy's ride.

Devotional figures left near a statue of the Great Goddess Buddha of Mercy's ride.

 

It is said that Naong was practicing asceticism in Gyeongju when the country fell victim to a terrible drought. The crops died and there was famine. The people were greatly upset at the gods for allowing this to happen and for not giving them rain. 

During all this, a sea-god appeared in a dream to Naong one night. The sea-god said that if a temple was built at the edge of Bongrae Mountain and if the people prayed there, the drought would end and happiness would return to the land. Naong was soon on his way and got started on the temple shortly thereafter. 

Many believe that if they pray hard at Haedong Yonggungsa, at least one of their wishes will be granted. As a result, it’s not just a popular spot for tourists. Lots of devotees come here, too – although I must say that I didn’t see a single Buddhist monk while we were there. Probably the first time I’ve ever been to a church, temple, mosque or synagogue without seeing a person of the cloth. 

My little guy and I check out all the little Buddhas.

My little guy and I check out all the little Buddhas.

 

Young-ju stands a safe distance from me and Ian as we all pose in front of the big gold Buddha, called Podaehwasung. If you rub his belly or nose, you will have a son.

Young-ju stands a safe distance from me and Ian as we all pose in front of the big gold Buddha, called Podaehwasung. If you rub his belly or nose, you will have a son.

 

A statue of the Great Goddess Buddha of Mercy towers over one of the small temples at Haedong Yonggungsa. This is apparently the largest statue in South Korea carved from a single piece of stone. I don't believe the steel rods have any special significance.

A statue of the Great Goddess Buddha of Mercy towers over one of the small temples at Haedong Yonggungsa. This is apparently the largest statue in South Korea carved from a single piece of stone. I don't believe the steel rods have any special significance.

 

The Jijang Bosul, a minor deity with the power to save people from hell.

The Jijang Bosul, a minor deity with the power to save people from hell.

 

Imposing statues of the twelve Chinese zodiac characters lined up to wish us a fond farewell as we made our way back to Gae-young's car.

Imposing statues of the twelve Chinese zodiac characters lined up to wish us a fond farewell as we made our way back to Gae-young's car.

 

And, no, Haedong Yonggungsa is not wheelchair accessible.

And, no, Haedong Yonggungsa is not wheelchair accessible.

 

Howdy and thanks for visiting gnomeless.com. If you enjoyed this post and would like to help us out, please share this link with your friends:  http://tinyurl.com/2cq22y3

Read Full Post »


Wednesday was Children’s Day here in South Korea. It’s one of four days in the year when children aren’t tortured with endless hours of school, study hall, after-school classes and cramming – the others being Chusok (Thanksgiving), Christmas and Lunar New Year. This holiday is a pretty big deal. 

Like children in any other country, Korean kids greatly love presents, so gift-giving plays a prominent role in Children’s Day. In the days leading up to this holiday, I saw many people walking around with toys or clothes they had just bought for their children, their nieces and nephews or their grandchildren. There was also a definite sense of excitement among the kids as they counted down to the big day. 

Ian With His Children's Day Loot

Ian With His Children's Day Loot

One of the really nice things about Children’s Day is that it’s a national holiday. Korean parents have pretty brutal schedules – long days at work, long commutes and fairly frequent compulsory drinking sessions with work colleagues. They don’t have nearly as much time to spend with their kids as parents in the West do. This is their chance to get in some quality time. 

At the Lee household, we decided to go on a picnic. Now, the in-laws’ house here in Yangsan has a nice front yard that I think would work just fine for a picnic, but no. Kids need to have something to brag about. They can’t just be sent off to school the day after to tell their friends they had a picnic in their front yard. They need to be able to boast of having gone somewhere. And so we went somewhere. 

The somewhere we went is called SPO 1 Park in Busan. Now, it’s not really a park in the sense that I’m used to. It’s a sporting complex surrounded by bike paths. There are some narrow strips of land with trees and flag stones between the bike paths, and we had our picnic on one of them. Since Korea is not very well endowed with green grassy fields, it’s also where a huge number of other parents decided to drag their kids for their picnic. 

We thought SPO 1 Park would be a great place for a picnic - and a million others in the Busan area had the same idea.

We thought SPO 1 Park would be a great place for a picnic - and a million others in the Busan area had the same idea.

I can’t say I found it terribly restful. The periods when Ian was content to sit with everybody on the padded Pororo groundsheet were fine, but he doesn’t like staying still for very long. I spent a lot of the picnic shepherding Ian as he went off in random directions searching for random things to put in his mouth. This is one of my daily duties, but what made it exhausting was making sure the little guy didn’t get mowed down by someone rollerblading, running or riding a bike. And there were lots and lots and lots of kids and adults engaged in those activities. 

All the cousins in one spot. Jun-pyo, So-min and Ian, as well as Jun-pyo's mom Kyung-hee (my younger sister-in-law), and my unphotogenic self.

All the cousins in one spot. Jun-pyo, So-min and Ian, as well as Jun-pyo's mom Kyung-hee (my younger sister-in-law), and my unphotogenic self.

I must say, I was happy we took the kids out for a picnic, but I was especially happy when it was over and we could go home to have some cake and actually have enough space to stretch out our legs. Like so many holidays in Korea, Children’s Day is exhausting work. 

So-min and Ian discuss how the Children's Day cake should be divvied up.

So-min and Ian discuss how the Children's Day cake should be divvied up.

Read Full Post »


When I used to teach ESL back in Vancouver, my South Korean students were fond of telling me there are three types of people in their country: men, women and ajumas. 

Ajuma literally means “married woman”, but my students were really talking about a specific subset of this group between roughly 45 and 65 years of age. The young people in Korean society are cowed by these women who seem able to do pretty much whatever they want. 

You wouldn't want to mess with this ajuma.

You wouldn't want to mess with this ajuma.

 

Stories abound of how an ajuma getting on a subway train will throw her purse on an empty seat before rushing over to grab it. Some poor young kid who has been standing for fifteen minutes and was about to sit down can do nothing about this due to the importance of age in South Korea

Ajumas are also notorious for cutting to the front of long lines, using any and all means to get to the last item of a product on sale, and loudly discussing the bodies of young Korean women at the public baths. 

Ajumas are also incredibly fast. The first time I was in Korea, my wife and I had to take a long ride on the subway in Seoul. After I had been standing for about thirty minutes in the very crowded train, a young student who was sitting right in front of me got up to make his way to the door. I couldn’t wait to take a load off, but just as I began to turn around to take the newly vacant seat, some tiny little ajuma magically appeared from nowhere and took it! She was quick as lightning, and while I was irritated that I had to keep standing, I couldn’t help but be impressed. My students had told me about “ajuma power” many times, and now I knew concretely what they were talking about. 

In addition to their mighty power, ajumas also have a distinctive style of dress. Floral prints mixed with pastels or else a dark track suit are the two main looks. A perm is de rigueur. It starts off as a wave perm for women in the pre-ajuma power stage, gets tighter around 45 and finally progresses to a poodle-like coif later. To cap it all off, so to speak, almost all ajumas wear a visor, preferably one with a dark shade that covers almost their entire face to prevent their skin from freckling in the sun. 

An ajuma with full visor works out.

An ajuma with full visor works out.

 

Young women put up with a lot in Korea. Growing up, they often take a backseat to their brothers – especially the eldest brother, who is basically the parents’ retirement plan. Smoking on the street is taboo for young women but not for young men. Their curfews are stricter typically. And if a Korean woman marries a first-born son, she will usually live with his family and be under her mother-in-law’s thumb. 

Given all this, I can understand why a woman in South Korea would let loose once she reaches a point where she is older than most and finally has some power. After basically being a second class citizen for her entire life, why not enjoy the perks once they come? This is why I don’t believe the women of my wife’s generation when they tell me they won’t behave like today’s ajumas. Power corrupts. Ajuma power corrupts absolutely. 

Ajuma visors come in many colors - but all black is best for intimidating the young.

Ajuma visors come in many colors - but all black is best for intimidating the young.

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: