‘Just’ – Revelations
I was given a guided tour of Insadong (Seoul), on Monday by two ex-high school students. The tour was interesting for several reasons; firstly, because few British kids would have the least interest in taking their old teacher out for the day unless it was to lure them to some secluded alley and then assault them. Teachers are not particulalrly cool in the UK. However, this is Korea and for students, taking your old teacher out has considerable kudos attached to it. Both boys call me ‘teacher’ despite the fact they graduated high school over a year ago and even though I invite them to call me by my first name, both tell me this is rude and uncomfortable and continue calling me ‘teacher.’
Secondly, in a relationship with Korea that spans ten years, I have managed to avoid Seoul for all purposes except leaving and entering the country. Considering I live in a city, namely Daegu, which could easily pass for a location in Seoul, this avoidance is pretty stupid. However, the size and complexity of the metropolis will continue to scare me away unless suitably chaperoned.
With a guided tour of some important locations and quince tea in a traditional tea shop, the day is memorble but mostly because I ask one of the boys if he has a girl friend. The reply he provides is one only a Korean could utter and epitomizes that cute Korean innocence that many teenagers exhibit. ‘Oh teacher,’ he laughs, ‘I don’t have any interest in girls; I like boys, but I’m not gay!’
© 林東哲 2010 Creative Commons Licence.