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On ‘Filial Piety’

Posted in Uncategorized by 노강호 on March 28, 2012

Following up on my recent post (Fulfilling a Promise to my Mother, March 22nd, 2012),

March 22nd, 2012), which focused on ‘filial piety,’ I recently stumbled upon two divergent posts on the subject. One is an excellent and touching explanation of filial duty while the other concerns the filial piety of Korean celebrities. I do not doubt that many western celebrities provide cars and houses for their parents; I believe Justin Bieber recently bought his mum a house, but what is interesting in the second account is the sense that filial loyalty is a gauge of one’s character and devotion. Maybe it’s the translation, and the article is brief, but they almost seem to be bitching about who is the best son.

Both posts are re-blogged in their entirety.

Re-blog 1 from: Encocoen Staff Blog

Traditional Chinese filial piety culture (中国の親孝行文化/中国孝道文化)

According to Chinese tradition, filial piety is the primary duty of all Chinese. Being a filial son means show respect to one’s parents during their lifetime and–as they grew older–taking the best possible care of them.

A story can best illustrate the concept of filial piety. During the Chin Dynasty (4th-5th Century CE), a boy named Wu Meng was already serving his parents in exemplary filial piety although he was just eight years old. The family was so poor that they could not even afford a gauze net against the mosquitoes. Therefore every night in the summer swarms of mosquitoes would come and bite them. Wu Meng let them all feast on his naked stomach. Even though there were so many, he did not drive them away. He feared that the mosquitoes, having left him, would instead bite his parents. His heart was truly filled with love for his parents.

Filial piety is a good virtual of Chinese people, and people from other countries should also learn from it. Parents gave us birth and nurtured us, therefore we have the obligation to respect them and to take care of them when they can no longer take care of themselves. Western countries have complete social welfare systems to support people financially after they retire, but older people often face loneliness; they long for somebody to talk to them, especially their children and grand-children. We should try our best to spend more time with them, talk to them, and take them to family gatherings and trips to the nature.

Filial piety can benefit our society. It can make our family tie stronger, and children can learn a lot from our attitude to our parents and from their grandparents. They can realize how important a family is to a person, and develop a strong sense of responsibility to their families and friends. For example, when it is necessary to stand out to defend our families and even the nation for danger, we will not hesitate to do so, because we know how important our families and our country are to us.

In short, the most important custom from my country that I would like people from other countries to adopt is to be good to their parents. It is not only ensure that our parents can be taken good care of when they are getting old, but also help our children to develop good virtues and spirits.

(Published 0n 19th Oct 2011)

Re-blog 2 from: 2Elf4Suju

Kyu-hyun showing his filial piety : bought the apartment for his parents, new car for her Mom & guaranteed for his Dad’s Korean academy in Taiwan

Kyuhyun said he guaranteed his father’s business.

On 7 March’s broadcast of MBC’s ‘Golden Fishery- Radio Star’, MC Kyuhyun shared the filial piety that he showed to his parents, and boasted to guests 2AM that he guaranteed his father’s business, attracting much interest.

When the MCs asked “What have you done for your parents?” as 2AM were answering about buying cars, houses and other presents, Kyuhyun added that he didn’t lose in the area of filial piety. He mentioned that he bought “A 40th storey apartment in Wolgokdong” as a present for his parents.
He added, “The car that I’m driving now used to belong to my mum, so I got her a new car as a present. I also guaranteed the Academy that my father opened in Taiwan.” which got the attention of everyone.

(Cho Kyu-hyun is a member of the K-pop boy band Super Junior, and sub groups Super Junior-M and Super Junior-K.R.Y.)

권수빈 for Newsen

http://www.newsen.com/news_view.php?uid=201203080003381001

Chinese translation by hyunlove
Translated to english by @kikiikyu

(Published 8th March, 2012. http://2elf4suju.wordpress.com/

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It Can Pay to be a Pygmy

Posted in bathhouse Ballads, Comparative, Entertainment, Gender, Korean children by 노강호 on October 7, 2010

Not suitable for Pumpkin people

My Korean girl students love camp boys, other wise known as ‘flower boys.’ Camp is totally in and the poncier and more androgynous a boy or man is, the better – provided of course, he’s straight. If you dressed a frond of ooo-wong (우엉 – burdock) in fashionable clothes, gave it a nice haircut and sent it flouncing down the street all limp and bendy, girls would swoon.

‘Boys over Flowers;’  highly successful!

Jay Park (박재범) – Handsome or Pretty? Or even pretty handsome!

Boys over Flowers (꽃보다 남자) was a highly successful drama which ran in early 2009, was aired in numerous other Asian countries and has subsequently been identified with the migration of Korean culture to other countries, a phenomena known as the ‘Korean Wave’ (할류). The first ‘wave’ (2005-2009), often associated with Winter Sonata,’ consisted exclusively of drama which gradually gained a fan base outside Korea, predominantly in Asia. With the export package now including  pop music, theater and musicals, a second wave (dating from 2010), can be identified. As an example, the singer Jay Park created more traffic via Twitter, on March 8th, 2010, than did that day’s Oscar nominations. Coined by some as ‘Hallyu 2.0,’ the ‘2nd ‘wave’ has encompassed Egypt, Turkey, Romania,  India and even Uzbekistan. Interest in Korean has increased and a country as small as  Nepal now has 30.000 people a year  signing up for  Korean language proficiency tests.

Burdock, wu-weong (우엉) Limper than a lettuce!

The incredibly popular, ‘Boys over Flowers,’ which has among other things, helped lower the fan-base age associated with the ‘Korean Wave,’ consists  of 29 episodes following the intrigues of a group of  high school boys. The four central characters, often refereed to as ‘F4,’ have been attributed with consolidating the interest in ‘flower boys’ and encouraging men to take more pride in their appearance. As a result, significantly more Korean men now use cosmetics and the current trend for teenage boy fashion is what Americans might call ‘preppy.’

Boys over Flowers‘ (꽃보다 남자) was inspired by the Japanese bi-weekly manga comic, Hana Yori Dango, by Yokio Kamio and ran from 1992-2003.   The magazine was targeted at Japanese high school girls. I find the title, ‘Boys over Flowers,‘ a little clumsy and  feel ‘Boy’s before Flowers,’ a frequently used alternative, much clearer. The title is a pun on  the Japanese saying, ‘dumplings before flowers’, which refers to the habit of being more interested in eating snacks than viewing the cherry blossom during the famous Hanami festivals.  It is the snacks and  festival foods that  are the most alluring; the blossom simply provides an excuse to indulge.  And if you’re not eating the snacks, you’re probably watching the passing boys, especially if they are as beautiful as the blossom.

A Japanese hanami party. Beautiful blossom, beautiful boys, delicious food. What’s your priority?

‘Flower boys,’ basically meaning ‘pretty boys,’ is not in the least offensive and Korean youngsters, even boys, are able to differentiate between those who are ‘handsome’ and those who are ‘pretty.’ Neither identifying someone as ‘pretty’ or indeed being labeled ‘pretty,’ implies  any accusations of homosexuality or effeminacy.

A boy nominated by his class as a ‘pretty boy.’

‘Pretty boys’ have delicate features, soft skin, and are usually a  little gaunt and certainly very androgynous. In terms of western, and certainly British standards, they’d babyishly be deemed ‘gay’ and might even get the shit kicked out of them.  Korean ‘flower boys’ can also get a rough  ride, not because they’re gay, but because  of their pin-up status and ability to capture the hearts of girls and women.   One significant mystery-comedy movie, ‘Flower Boys,‘ often called by the crappy title, Attack of the Pin Up Boys’ (2007), centers on the theme of ‘flower boy bashing.’ There’s no pleasing thuggy straight men who will just as quickly bash you for being gay as they will for being heterosexual and a babe magnet.  Of course,  Attack of the Pin Up Boys is only a story and doesn’t reflect real life. From what I’m led to believe however, the biggest problem ‘flower boys’ face, is in convincing girlfriends they are not ‘playboys’ (바람둥이) because they are often too pretty for their own good.

Leetuk, one of the Super Junior celebrities. A possible candidate for a ‘pretty boy’ nomination.

Unlike many British girls, Korean girls tend to like a boy who is well-mannered, slim and  averagely muscled (which given we are talking predominantly about boys, means skinny), has broad shoulders, is fashionable and  intelligent. Neither do they have to have a six pack or look manly. Indeed, a few of my female students positively dislike both aggressive boys and muscles. But the most important quality of all, one which  constantly supersede all others, is that a boy has to be taller than his girlfriend. Girls can be quite cruel about this requirement and while talking to a class of girls about the celebrity Tae-Yang (태양), I overheard  one call him a ‘loser.’ The reason? He is under 180 cm tall. Basically, if you’re a boy and short your fucked!

Taeyang Big Bang member. ‘Handsome’ or ”pretty?’

Though they wouldn’t understand the word even if explained to them, the definition most reflecting the sort of boys Korean girls like, is camp! In the very words of one of my students,  ‘we’ like boys who ‘look like girls.’ And though ‘handsome’ boys, that is boys who look like men, are attractive and certainly seem to be preferable in terms of a solid relationship,  many girls will swoon in discussions about ‘pretty boys’ even if they prefer the ‘handsome’ type.

Back in Scumland UK, when it comes to boys, many girls have no taste at all often because their priority is a quick rummage in their panties or a passionate-less poking behind the bike sheds and hence prefer boys who are one step up from brute primates and who are valued for being aggressive, butch, sporty, loud mouthed and promiscuous. If British girls demand any prettiness, it is that their lads be, ‘pretty unintelligent.’ Yes, I’m being horribly unfair but in the UK, currently riddled with anti-intellectualism,  teenage pregnancy and sexual diseases, for many, any spark of brain is a turn off.   The reason why the Korean predilection with ‘flower boys’ is so refreshing is that it is a kick in the mouth to the belief that the alpha male is universally appealing. I would go as far as to suggest that in Korea, even the boys and men who look like men pail into effeminacy when compared to the shaven heads and brute physogs of the men that dominant and epitomize so much of British culture. Meanwhile, if you’re a Korean girl with the stature of a pygmy or dwarf, life’s gonna be one big ride!

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‘Flower Boy’ Flesh – The Quest for the Tastiest Dumpling. 박재범 (Jay Park)

Posted in Entertainment, Gender by 노강호 on September 1, 2010

My female students largely advise me on which boys are the sexiest but the problem I find with Korean youth fashion is that celebrity boys tend to have a range of images rather than one. So, in some photos they look rough and ready, in others more like throwbacks to the UK of the 1980’s, typified with big hair and frills and at the furthest extreme, their campness borders on transgenderism. In the middle and toying with the androgynous, is handsome or pretty.

I have to admit, I have little interest in Korean pop music (K-pop) and like the western equivalent, most of it is superficial shite. However, the K-pop industry, is one of the largest pop industries in the world and in terms of production and choreography, incredibly well produced and slick. There are undoubtedly plenty of other sites providing information, gossip and images of the current ‘artists’ and the purpose of this corner of Bathhouse Ballads is purely, and superficially, to introduce a little eye candy and a light, visual insight into the ‘Flower Boy’ phenomenon. (Clicking the following link will give you background information on the significance of Flower Boys’ and ‘Tastiest Dumplings.)

Jay Park (박재범) – Handsome or Pretty? Or even pretty handsome!

One of the tastiest dumplings qualifying for Flower Boy Flesh is Jay Park (박재범), a 22 year-old 3rd generation Korean from the USA. Jay Park is surrounded by scintillating intrigue all of which can be read at Wiki. He even topped the Twitters chart on the day of the Oscar Awards. He sang in the boy bands 2pm and 2am and currently is pursuing other projects.

Mmm…getting a little too 80’s. That collar thing is a too Wham.

Getting tougher

 Korea meets the Ghetto. Not my scene! I think the tats are temporary which is cool because permanent tats are rank. Only flower boys can wear temporary tats but the Catholic theme is horribly tacky and on a par with blessed furniture spray and luminous rosary beads.  Hopefully a shower excommunicates it. The hair is horrid and the side-panels on his head remind me of a skinny Mr T from the ‘A Team.’ Educated in the USA, he probably knows all about naughty things like drugs, being disrespectful, underage sex and sexually transmitted diseases, though looking Korean one can have hope that he is really a nice boy. He can certainly look it but  unfortunately, not on this occasion.

Mr T. Blinged to the max in the days before bling was bling.

Are you looking at the same thing as I am? What the fuck is it?

Okay, Jay is looking pretty pretty and somewhat handsome but my attention is drawn to that thing the other guy is wearing. What the fuck is it? A fancy face mask? A sequined gas mask? A fake beard? One of those things a belly-dancer might wear or is it possibly one of the Wonder Girl’s, Satan’s Panties? Whatever it is, it looks kinky and completely kills Jay’s handsome physog. Thank God he isn’t wearing one!

Handsome? Probably!

And then you notice the silly thing  on his head which instantly reminds me of the Korean habit for spoiling something tasty, like putting jam on a cheese, ham and salad sandwich or dipping your hot-dog in sugar!

Dominant! Say no more!

Somewhat cute – but it’s not Jay Park but Nich-khun

 And finally, for a glimpse under his T-shirt…

Revealing  – the tastiest dumpling!

Links for Jay Park:

Creative Commons License© Nick Elwood 2010 Creative Commons Licence.