Elwood 5566

An Old Favourite – ‘The Supplanter’

Posted in Blogging, Education, esl by 노강호 on March 5, 2012

I’ve always enjoyed reading The Supplanter. Being a fellow Brit I enjoy his humour and we seem to share a common ground in our experience and analysis of Korean culture. Of more importance, it nearly always elicits a smile. When I first stumbled upon The Supplanter, around three years ago, I remember sitting up to the early hours of the morning reading some very amusing posts. Originally based in Korea, The Supplanter has relocated to China but he still publishes occasional posts on issues relevant to South Korea. The following is an extract from Teacher Bloopers:

Middle School, speaking test preparation after school class:

Me: ‘What’s your Father’s job?’

Student: ‘He no work’

Me: ‘He doesn’t work. Or you can say He is unemployed’

Student: ‘No, my Father dead’

Me: ‘Oh, erm, sorry to hear that’

***

Women’s University, Seoul, speaking test:

Me: ‘Describe your ideal man’

Student: ‘I don’t like men’

Me: ‘Why?’

Student: ‘I’m a lesbian’

Me: ‘Good answer’

***

At Elementary Summer Camp, Seoul, speaking to a parent about her son’s strange behaviour:

Me: ‘Your son pulls out his hair and tries to eat it. I’m very worried about him’

Mother: ‘Yes, he does that’

Me: ‘Do you know why?’

Mother: ‘The doctor says he’s worried about things. Stressed’

Me: ‘Yes, clearly he’s very stressed. What did the doctor say to do?’

Mother: ‘Oh doctor said he’d grow out of it and if it gets bad we can get a …? I don’t know the English …’ (Mimes)

Me: ‘A wig?’

Mother: ‘Yes! That’s it – Wig!’

***

Exiting from building in a Chinese university:

Me: [Walks into knee high metal bollard] OH FUCK ME!!!

[Shocked students turn to observe foreign teacher hobbling away in agony]

Me: [Looking up] ‘Oh, hello Dean … I …’

***

In conversation with a teaching assistant, University, China:

Me: ‘I really think you should change your English name, Enoch is not a good name if you’re British’

TA: ‘Why? I like it’

Me: ‘Well, it tends to make British people think of Enoch Powell, who was a racist politician’

TA: ‘You mean he hated black people?’

Me: ‘Well yes, amongst others …’

TA: ‘Me too’

Me: ‘Umm, that’s a terrible thing to say, but he’d also hate you too!’

TA: ‘Why? I’m not black!’

Me: ‘He didn’t like anyone who wasn’t white – or British – or not Christian’

TA: ‘Well, I’m not Christian, maybe he’d like me!’

Me: ‘… I think you’ve misunderstood, let me put it another way … Just change your name, ok?’

***

Responding to text from Female Chinese Student in Advanced English class:

Student: ‘I really like your class! Your so funny! But, I need some help, can I come and see you?’

Me: ‘Thank you, glad you enjoy the class. Come and see me before or after the lesson’

Student: ‘No, I mean we should meet up’

Me: ‘Yes, before or after lesson is fine’

Student: ‘No, I want to come to your apartment. We can hang out, watch a movie. I stay with you because dormitory close at midnght. Too early’

Me: ‘I don’t think that’s a good idea. Bye’

***

Middle school, Seoul, in conversation with the baseball coach:

Korean Teacher: ‘Discipline is hard these days … students think they can do what they want …’

Me: ‘Well, they’re much better behaved than English students’

KT: ‘Really? I always thought English people were well behaved’

Me: ‘No’

KT: ‘Hmmnn … I got suspended last semester because I disciplined a student’

Me: ‘Really? What happened?’

KT: ‘Oh I just hit his legs with a baseball bat … and not broke but …’

Me: ‘Fracture?’

KT: ‘Yes – fracture! His parents complain … so I got suspended. You can’t harm students these days, parents complain about everything …’

Me: ‘…’

***

Eliciting from low-level students, University, China

Me: ‘So, here are things you like [indicates board] But what about things you don’t like – or dislike?’

Students: [Silence]

Me: ‘What do you dislike? Don’t like?’

Student 1: ‘Hate?’

Me: ‘No. Too strong. Dislike – Don’t like.’

Student 1: ‘Japanese?’

Me: ‘What?’

Student 1: ‘Hate Japanese’

Me: ‘No, no … not hate … and not Japanese. Dislike – don’t like – Hate [gesticulates] too strong’

Student 2: ‘Japanese people?’

Me: ‘No, no, no!’

Student 3: ‘Japanese culture?’

Me: ‘No! something else – forget the Japanese’

[Silence]

Me: ‘Anything else you dislike – don’t like – but not the Japanese’

Student 1: ‘Chinese people … Chinese people cannot forget Japanese’

Me: ‘Ok – write on your sheets things you don’t like – dislike – but NOT JAPANESE’

Me: [Checking answer sheets] ‘So, everyone has written Japanese …’

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©努江虎 – 노강호 2012  Creative Commons Licence.

Further References:

The Supplanter

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Just (그냥) Some interesting photos

Posted in Just - 그냥 by 노강호 on July 19, 2011

No! They’re not mine and are simply amusing photos I’ve discovered while browsing.

Even though junk food burgers can taste okay, but are never delicious, I dislike their imperialism and subsequent dumbing down of our taste buds. However, I find this advert amusing…

a politically incorrect candy

brilliant!

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© 林東哲 2011 Creative Commons Licence.

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I was Butt Plugged by a Korean Kiddy…

Posted in customs, Korean children by 노강호 on July 14, 2011

dirty,dirty!

Pinch a Korean man or boy’s nipple and they’ll accuse you of perversion (변태) but you can stroke and touch them everywhere else (except in the most obvious of places), and they won’t see anything wrong with it. Even the bum hole isn’t exempt a digital delving though this is a jokey pastime of kids and much more likely to occur between children or from children to adults. It would be extremely odd for an adult to start surprising his or her work colleagues with a digital ‘ddong-ch’im.’ Apparently, manual butt-plugging, as a form of humour, is widespread across east Asia and has a long history.  Naturally, there is an association between the ddong-ch’im, and that other Korean obsession, poo!

ddong ch'im - shit needle / shit injection

a popular perversion

note, how the buttocks are tightly clenched. I'm not sure about the facial expression as it somewhat resembles a blow up doll

But the actual purpose of this post was to expose an excellent Korean game I discovered, entitled JJileo-jjileo which being at the juncture where poo meet ‘the finger,’ brilliantly demonstrates more Korean customs and humour. Enjoy… (Note– I have recently noticed the game breaks down after several minutes, hopefully this is only temporary –  for an interesting insight however, it is still worth a visit).

click to enter game

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When Weird is Normal – Traditional ‘Beggar Singers’

Posted in bathhouse Ballads, Entertainment, Food and Drink, Gender by 노강호 on July 5, 2011

Podcast 86

Experience has taught me to avoid them like the plague. Traditional singers (각설이 or 품바), sometimes known as ‘beggar singers’ are often seen in festivals, towns or cities; sometimes they appear in a troop, as a sort of band and at other times as individuals pushing a kind of decorated cart.

the ‘band’ in action

The ‘bands,’ for lack of a better term, consist of a central character, always bizarrely dressed, supported by others who take part in the comedy and play the various percussion instruments which accompany singer and prerecorded support.  This type of entertainment is popular at various types of festival.

The individual performers are also common at festivals but are often seen in towns. They usually push a barrow which carries various props, an audio system, sometimes even a computer and screen capable of playing karaoke and sell traditional pumpkin toffee, hoa-bak yeot (호박엿).

kak-sor-i

Why do I steer clear of them? My first encounter was on the streets of Daegu only a few weeks after arriving in Korea. It was a hot afternoon in September and I was on my way to work. Attracted by the strange singing and the even stranger apparel of a man who looked like Boy George in the early stages of his career; when he prettied his face and wore farmer’s milking smocks, I stopped to watch. A big mistake! Nothing aids a kak-sor-i’s performance more than the presence of a naive and uncomprehending waeg. I had no idea what he was saying into his portable microphone but suddenly the small crowd were starring in my direction, and laughing! Next moment, he grabs my arm and coaxes me into performing a ridiculous dance in the center of the crowd. Eleven years later, and the recollection still makes me cringe. His dance was similar to something that you might have performed around a Native American Indians fire, with a tomahawk, except I was carrying a briefcase and can remember swinging it wildly as I copied him. At the time, I didn’t feel a prat and simply thought I was responding in the correct manner. Perhaps the heat induced a temporary insanity or maybe it was the hypnotic rhythm he struck on his strange drum with which he accompanied his tinny ‘music box’ and weird wailing. Luckily, a friend pulled me back into the crowd and with a surprised and embarrassed look on her face, asked me what the hell I was doing. And she was Korean!

Boy George and his milking smock

Several months later, I saw a troop performing at a festival on the beach in Pohang and kept a respectful distance. On this occasion, the lead singer had something rather large dangling down the inside leg of his baggy pants and to the amusement of the children seated in the front, he frequently lunged his hips and what appeared like a hefty boner sprung forward.

It’s difficult interpreting how these artists are perceived by Koreans because for a westerner they verge on the obscene and bizarre. Often there is an element of cross dressing, both from male-female and female-male; the content is often mildly sexual with sprung activated codpieces down the pants, simulated stripping, flashing knickers or underwear and sometimes traits of campness. Kak-sor-i ‘drag down‘ rather than ‘up’ until everything becomes rustic, lopsided and the people a bit pumpkin. Verging on the grotesque, it is the antithesis of British drag. Whenever I see a troop of performers I am reminded both of the freakish scenes from Fellini’s Satyricon and Jackie Stallone and somewhere between the two lurks Michael Jackson.

a kak-sor-i performer

Fellini’s freaky Satyricon

Jackie Stallone – truly freaky

 I don’t have a zoom lens. They don’t make them for my cheapo camera so capturing a photograph of a performer can’t be achieved at a distance. Getting too close brings back bad memories and also, I’m culturally confused. A few weekends ago, I happened to see a kak-sor-i at a traditional wrestling festival in Daegu. He was on the edge of the festivities and with his barrow atop of which sat his music system and bags of pumpkin toffee, he was giving a half hearted rendition of some an old fox-trot song (트로트), almost apologetically and as if he shouldn’t have been there.

As far as such performers go, this one was slightly more cross-dresser than some and though it might not be politically correct to say so, if I  saw him performing on a London street, I’d probably consider him a freak and steer clear. I see nothing threatening in transsexuals or transvestites because I usually know into which category such individuals fall; a transsexual would do a much better job looking female and a transvestite would parody female characteristics and associations to the max. Neither would wear fishnets with a pair of socks and trainers. Unable to read the character, I’m confused and on British streets this would attract the label of ‘possible freak’ and cause me to avoid them. Kak-sor-i don’t seem to bother hiding their sex and this one is clearly male but  his hair is all wrong, his sequined shorts, or is it a skirt? too ambiguous, and  what’s with the blobs of intense rouge on his cheeks? The rouge is the freakiest part of his appearance because no self respecting trans-person would ever mock their face in such a clown-like manner. Further, his movement is male and there is nothing camp about him in mannerism and rather than performing songs by Barbara Striesand or Kylie Minogue, he  is warbling to some typical Korean trot.

not yet spotted…

I sit down at a distance and casually take out my camera. I’m thinking I can perhaps get a few shots while his back is turned but I really want a full frontal. Eventually, I catch his eye and before he has consented I click a few off. He’d previously been singing with intermittent announcements advertising his pumpkin toffee, at 2000 Won a bag. Suddenly, he starts talking about me, I can pick out the words ‘waygukin,’ meaning ‘foreigner’ and my cheeks start turning red. Not sure how Koreans read this character, I’m concerned if they see it as anyway perverse, or what Koreans term ‘pyontae’ (변태 – abnormal), they will likewise think I am for wanting to photograph him. Once I’ve got my photos I am polite and go up and buy some toffee and all the time I know he is talking about me. He tries telling me it’s 20.000 Won a bag but I know it isn’t and hand him 2000. Then I leave as quickly as possible.

See! He’s talking about me…

I now sense from discussions about performers, that they are not perceived as ‘strange’ (변태) and their costumes and make-up cast no dispersions on their sexuality, gender or mental state. Indeed, Koreans probably view even the most extreme kak-sor-i as more normal than they would some western celebrities whose’ freakishness’ goes beyond the cosmetic and transitory to pervade their entire persona. I am told kak-sor-i are no more the character they are wearing, than the actors in a drama or movie. However, my fear still lingers because without the ability to communicate effectively, I’m at their mercy. And once bitten, twice shy!

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© 林東哲 2011 Creative Commons Licence.

Just (그냥) Interesting

Posted in Just - 그냥 by 노강호 on July 1, 2011

If you mistakenly type the Korean for ‘alive, living’ (생) in English rather than Korean (tod), you end up with the German for ‘death.’

Cheong-cha (정자), is both and ‘arbor’ and ‘sperm.’

chilling

probably more than you - but perfect English!

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Beating Boknal (복날) 1. My Wooden Wife (죽부인)

Posted in Quintesentially Korean, seasons by 노강호 on June 30, 2011

Who needs this? (Joo-Hee Kim, Miss Korea 2006)

When you can have this!

(Originally published August 5th 2010) I’ve just got myself a ‘wife.’ Rather than travel to the Philippines or Thailand, and spend a fortune on one who might be mouthy, problematic, dump me the moment she has a British passport  or demand too much, this one was bought at my local E-Mart at the amazingly cheap price of 9500 Won (£5). I didn’t have to pay a pimp for acting as middle-man and she even came in a bag.

She is incredibly skinny and all ribs but being mute and pretty lifeless, I neither have to suffer nagging and can easily boot her out of my bed should she fail to please. And though I know it’s a bit misogynistic, the bits I don’t like are missing. The down side? She is fucking lazy. I left her on the bed this morning and she is still laying there eight hours later.

Cool sleeping

Unlike real wives who are apt to raise your temperature in more ways than one, my new Wooden Wife, lowers my temperature and reduces my stress levels. In Korea, she is known as a chuk-bu-in (죽부인) and  is used as the traditional method of keeping cool on hot  and humid evenings, especially during the hottest time of year (boknal –  복날)).

My wife about to undress and go to bed

Made of bamboo, the wooden-wife is used to drape your leg or limbs over, to sort of cuddle, and in doing so body heat trapped between limbs and torso is reduced. Using the wooden-wife  allows air to circulate around the body. Last night, I spent my first evening with her  in my bed and I must say, it was cooler than sleeping alone and definitely cooler than sleeping with a real human – if not somewhat more boring.

making a wooden wife (죽부인) Often called a 'wooden lady.'

The bamboo is very smooth and there are no rough edges. I also noticed that the bamboo is much cooler to touch as it doesn’t retain heat so with my air conditioner blowing down onto it, it even felt a little chilled.

Wooden-wives come in children and adult sizes and are also made in different colours. Though usually made of bamboo, other materials can be used. You can also buy attractive covers for bamboo chuk-bu-in.

Making wooden-wives

Wife on bed - waiting patiently

You get the gist...

UPDATE JULY 30 2011

She is absolutely fantastic in hot weather and I couldn’t do without her. I’ve been sleeping on and off with her for the last year though when the weather cooled last year, I kicked her down the side of the bed, between bed and wall, and that’s where she lay most of the winter. I’ve recently stuck one of those hooks on the wall and that’s where I put her when she’s not needed. Hanging about where she is, she’s within easy reach but during the summer she’s constantly on my bed. I cannot stress how fantastic wooden-wives are and mine has become a crucial item throughout hot summers.

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© Nick Elwood 2010. This work is licenced under a Creative Commons Licence.

Exposing Those Seedy Searches

Posted in Entertainment, Uncategorized by 노강호 on June 28, 2011

There are plenty of degenerates trawling around the internet looking for ‘interesting’ tid-bits. Sometimes I’m one of them but I’m not degenerate, my interests are cultural and academic – honestly!  The great thing about WordPress, is the access to  a large amount of statistical data and this was certainly absent from Blogger a few years ago and which prompted  me to switch platforms. Every now and then I look at the ‘search terms’ people have used to access Bathhouse Ballads and it’s depressing; because I’ve written about ‘girls knickers’, ‘penises‘, ‘skinship,’ ‘circumcision,’ ‘corporal punishment,’ ‘showering,’ ‘shitting,‘pissing,’teenagers,’plus the mention of ‘sex,’ ‘gays,’ and lots of stuff on ‘bathhouses,’ many search terms are from those looking for something seedy. And all mixed together, the permutations are extensive, I’m attracting some weird searches.

Here are my favourites:

Chillies on his willy – rather a bizarre search term but why not go the whole hog with chillies that look like willies.

click photo for link to relevant post

Boys stripped to the waist – clearly a frustrated waeg! Go to the bathhouse and you can see them naked! Actually, better still, have a wank!

Girl’s Knickers – interestingly, the only word I don’t think I’ve ever written in this blog is, ‘vagina.’ So, girl’s knickers? Like used, unused, soiled? And by ‘knickers’ I guess you mean the shapeless baggy things as opposed panties or the Devil’s Panty – ie a thong.

Dirty Gays – now is this an opinion or do you mean gay people with dirty hands?

Bathhouse Ballards – I actually have 16 entries with this spelling.

Boy flesh – Look at Jay Park and have a wank!

Bathhouse squirt – another bizarre entry. Is this a small person or does it refer to some strange practice?

Little kids nude skinship – you can find all you need under 변태 성욕.

Jimjjilbang Penis – well, you’d be much better searching for this in Korean rather than badly spelt English (jjimjilbang).

Korean kid saw me poop – please tell me it didn’t arouse you? Actually, I used to know a boy who used to invite you into his house to watch him shite? He was very sexy but watching someone crap is not just a freaking turn off, but puts you off your food!

Little man cok poto – clearly from a Korean which is ‘pine.’

cute yes, but sexy, no!

And my favourite…

Water forced up arse in spa – yes, you need to take a trip to Wonderful Spa Land, Wolbae in Daegu. They have an amazing set of massage stations one of which you sit over and it lifts you up. If you hold onto the sides and pull yourself down you can manipulate the jet to provide a very intimate probing. My Korean friend and I had quite a laugh doing this and the interesting thing was, that he had never previously thought to pull himself down onto it. Mind you, he’s getting regular sex so he’s clearly satisfied. Wonderful Spaland also has 4 excellent chest massage water jets but you’d have to mount these or bend over in front of them, which might attractive some attention. These will certainly provide a deep aqua invasion and you’ll probably need to expel your intake on the toilet immediately after. Good luck!

Interestingly, Hieronymus Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights, is a popular search term especially considering this painting depicts all forms of human vice and ‘perversion.’

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© 林東哲 2011 Creative Commons Licence.

Beanus-ah

Posted in Photo diary by 노강호 on June 21, 2011

It’s close enough…

he he he

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Pray it’s a Foreigner Serving Your High Tea

chocolate fingers – as British as high tea

(Originally published March 15th 2011) Here’s something to ponder. You’re going to be forced to stick your nose up someone’s butt. They might be clothed, they might not. The only choice you have in the matter is what nationality they will be.

Podcast 75

When I used to train and teach taekwondo in the UK, sweaty sessions often produced brown watery stains on the butts of students’ white suits. I used to refer to it as ‘bum lick’ and basically, after rubbing shit around your arse  smearing it clean, residue remains which when mingled with sweat produces shitty water which then stains your pants. Despite the hideously hot summers in Korea, I have never seen ‘bum lick’ on kids taekwondo pants probably because their diet is substantially different. The moment you convert to loading up on pizza, big mac, bread and pastries plus a churn load of milk, cheese, butter and cream and it takes five minutes and half a roll of toilet paper to smear yourself clean.

Now, I’m not into backsides but if I were forced to stick my nose up someone’s crack, but could choose the nationality of the backside, it would most definitely be Korean. I base my choice on two reasons, firstly: a Korean diet leaves less mess and secondly, Koreans are simply more fastidious about personal hygiene.

guess where they’ve been?

With a culinary repository heavily based on soupy type recipes, Korean food never hangs about in the gut too long and when it is expelled it is ejected with such force that suction drags out any loitering debris.  Typical British food however, loiters in the intestines and has to be squeezed out of the body like toothpaste.  It passes through the body at such a slow pace that the entire intestinal track contains one enormous fecal sausage, a gigantic colonic conga which congests the entire gut like an enormous traffic jam as it slowly worms its way downward. Kimchi jjim, or a bowl of bean curd soup however, is ingested and processed at such speed that by the time it is blown out not only is the consistency unchanged but so too is its temperature.  With such force is it ejected from the body that it cleans your backside as it departs.   And I have to say, cleaning-up up after a Korean meal is not much different to dabbing your mouth after a drink of water whereas a British diet can only be compared with trying to smear-up a muddy hole.

despite what you might hear, most Koreans do shower before getting in a pool

And you know most Koreans wash their backsides thoroughly because  you can watch them doing it in a bathhouse. Many people in the UK still use bathtubs as a primary source of personal hygiene but how can you wash your arse in a little swaddling tub that binds your knees together and prevents easy access. Worse, the same water than cleans your body, that contains dead skin cells, hair, and other scud, the same water that rinsed out your backside and crotch, is then wallowed in. Yew! What a filthy habit and one almost as revolting as fitted carpets or cotton handkerchiefs. British showers aren’t much better being taken standing in restrictive bathtubs or in shower cubicles that provide as much freedom of movement as would a coffin.  Have you ever seen a westerner clean their backside?  And how do western kids learn how to clean themselves in that area? Are they just left to learn for themselves or do they simply let their underwear soak it up? I assume most westerners clean out their arses but I’ve never seen them doing it.

Nothing annoys me more than those who condemn Korean bathhouses, especially if they’ve only been a few times, and consider them places of moral and physical corruption or seething with rampant contagious infections; or those who like to bash Koreans because they use chopsticks in communal bowls of food or because they once had to use a crappy toilet.  Yes, of course somethings in Korea seem ‘dirtier than they do back home but traveling shouldn’t just spotlight the inadequacies in your host country but should also expose ones you hadn’t considered back home. Last year I came across a commentary by a westerner who complained:

And my 02. worth. Korean bathhouses? Dirty. Think about this for a minute.
The hot and cold pools. The water is NOT filtered. You have people who scrub their body and DON’T rinse off and still jump into the pools. I’ve seen it and I’m sure you have also. Leave the sauna, sweat pouring off you and hop into the cold pool! I have never seen a sauna in Korea that filters the water. It gets changed once or twice a day. Japan? Yes the water is filtered and cleaned. Not Korea. I know a few people who caught the crabs in these saunas. The blankets in the sleeping rooms are not washed daily. The towels that the saunas give you to dry off usually are not washed in hot water. I’m not bad mouthing Korea saunas, I have been to a few but most are dirty. Even the fancy looking saunas that are expensive to enter do not filter the hot/cold pool water. People are peeing in them also. I’d think twice. The saunas are good things but many are lacking customers who use good hygiene. If you are lucky enough, you might have been using one when it was being cleaned. I was and never did return.

Actually, I don’t totally disagree! People, me included, go from the various saunas into one of the pools, bodies sweating, and occasionally I see kids get straight in a pool without showering and some bathhouses are cleaner than others. I’m sure some people must pee in the water and I’ve certainly seen people pee in the showers. Is the water filtered? Well, I know water is sucked in through vents and in other places blown out. Is this filtration? I’m no more aware of filtration systems than I would be in British swimming pools where people often swim without showering, and if they do it’s only in a cursory manner, and in which they do urinate. I’ve even seen a turd floating in a British swimming pool but most of us aren’t too bothered about pool hygiene because chlorine sanitizes not just the watery environment but mentally as it leads us to believe the environment is biologically sanitized.  British pools might be bug free, but are they clean? Would you wallow in a cesspit if it were purged with a bottle of chlorine?

with a chlorinated pool one can wash their muck off in the water

Without doubt some infections are passed in bathhouses, ‘red eye’ (conjunctivitis) being one and possibly a nasty infection of the testicles but even a mild infection of the bollocks is nasty as it results in them needing to be groped by your GP.  Personally, such risks I consider small and I’m happy to gamble infection for the pleasures bathhouses provide.  In years of using bathhouses I only ever had one infection and it’s debatable where it would have been contracted. I can identify a number of practices I consider unsavoury in Korea, some examples being how individuals might dump garbage at collection points which isn’t bagged, or dipping odeng (오댕 -fish cake snacks) into communal soy sauce bowls, a habit which I think might actually have almost phased out.  Then there is the habit many kids have of coughing in your face without covering their mouth with a hand.

beware the communal soy sauce dip – great for herpes

Some restaurants, especially small ones, have dubious cooking areas but once again I’ve seen just as bad in the UK where kitchens are usually hidden from public view.  Several years ago I attended a course which was hosted in a prestigious yacht club. When the caterer didn’t turn up, we took it upon ourselves to use the kitchen to make tea and coffee and what we found was alarming; filthy fridges containing curdled milk and atrophied onions, meat placed above vegetables and shelves tacky with sugary residue on which cups were stored upside down. I made a complaint to the local authorities which resulted in the restaurant being fined several thousand pounds. The head chef, who was subsequently sacked, had previously owned a swanky sea food restaurant in the same village.  Though lots of westerners will bemoan the state of many public toilets, I’ve seen far worse examples in the UK. I taught in one school where kids would deliberately urinate on the toilet floor, and even, on occasion, defecate beside the toilet rather than in it. There’s good and bad in all cultures but I will admit to being more lenient in terms of standards when I am eating something that costs next to nothing than I am when confronted with bad practices in an expensive, pretentious eatery. When eating out is expensive and an exception rather than the rule, as it is in the UK, I don’t expect Faecal Fingers or dirty anything.

an ultra-violet sanitizer in my last Korean high school

Generally, I do not think standards differ too much between Britain and Korea except in terms of personal hygiene, which unfortunately is one of the most important criteria. It’s great having no rubbish lying in your streets or chlorine in public bathing water but it makes little odds if the community around you are filthy fuckers. Several years ago, research by a British University revealed that between 6 and 53% of city commuters had faecal matter on their hands. (BBC News 2008) Apparently, the further north you go in Britain, the higher the rates of contamination.  This is especially alarming when you consider British people will usually fully unwrap a burger before eating it and are much more likely to put things like fingers and pens in their mouths. I’m the first to admit I unwrap my burger fully in order to consume it and find comfort in fingering the bun but Koreans always eat it from the wrapper even after washing their hands.

my students find this a dirty habit

A person’s hands are the prime tools of first contact, they touch people, open doors, activate buttons and knobs, finger and prepare food and much more; they are the tools which, with an opposing thumb, not only define us as primates, but facilitate and make possible our interaction with the physical world.  You can have all the brains in the world but without thumbs – you’re screwed! At the other end of the scale, your bum-hole does very little and generally spends a large proportion of the day sitting on its arse. If a person fails to sanitize their hands after a dump , if they can’t even be bothered to keep clean such an important tools, what horrendous microscopic offenses are lurking in that dark and humid crevice. And then there are the peanuts in bars which in the UK are usually contaminated with multiple traces of urine.   My Koreans students often call me ‘dirty’ if I stir my coffee with a pen or put a pen end in my mouth and they are unaware that so many Brits have faecal fingers.  Now I know why a number of British confections focus on ‘fingers.’ I have rarely met a dirty Korean student and the pissy urine smell that I’ve noted in numerous infant schools in Britain certainly never existed in the Korean kindergartens in which I taught.

I suspect much of the animosity towards bathhouses is simply the result of nudity; some westerners clearly perceive bathhouses physically ‘dirty’ because they consider nudity morally dirty. As one commentator wrote: I’ve also been here since 2001 and have never gone to a bathhouse. I’m not into sausage fests. I work out every day and shower at home. The room of soapy Koreans just doesn’t appeal to me. For some westerners, all it takes for a clean environment is a piece of cloth over a cock and buttock and suddenly the environment is clean; splash a bit of chlorine around and we will happily swim in each other’s neutralized dirt. In 2008, when I first read how widespread faecal matter was on the hands a large chunk of its population, I made a resolution to be extra vigilant in terms of personal hygiene and not only do I wash my hands after using the toilet, but I sanitize them with a spray or anti-bacterial hand cream. I have not once broken this resolution!

 

there are times when nudity is undoubtedly preferable (Borat)

It’s pointless getting defensive about our lack of hygiene, for years the British have been the butt of jokes about bad teeth. I once meet an Australian who told me he’d been taught Brits changed their trousers once every few weeks and I’ve seen the skid marks in changing rooms and smelt the effects of using underwear as blotting paper, in British schools. If you’re British at least, observing how fastidious Koreans are about personal hygiene should prompt you to realise your own cultural failings. What’s important is that you learn from such observations and of course, the process goes both ways. Koreans are also fastidious about dental hygiene and I recently read that brushing teeth three times a day over decades can lead to receding gums. A number of sources now suggest only cleaning teeth with a brush, twice a day.  As I said, there are good and bad practices in all cultures.

to contract -E-coli!

Okay, so now you’re going to be forced to stick your nose up someones butt. It’s time to choose. What nationality are you going to pick?

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© 林東哲 2011 Creative Commons Licence.

Just (그냥) – More Bad English…

Posted in Just - 그냥, Photo diary by 노강호 on June 7, 2011

cute

words of French origin are often the most difficult to spell even for the native speaker

brilliant!

I'm still chuckling...

a classic mistake

I'm a 'fairy?'

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