It's not been long since i got into Korea, and I know there are a lot of people starting to get interested in South Korea cultures, especially after the "Hallyu Wave" and stuff. Even though I'm a pure Asian, there are still things that intrigued my mind, especially our difference in cultures. And here they are!
1. KOREAN DRINKS A LOT.
Me too, have gone through that. We went to an orientation to welcomes the seniors from mandatory military service and it's was WILD. I saw with my own eyes my friends are completely wasted (even the girls). And compared to other major, our major actually better. We still had some cola / beer, in the other hand other major only serves soju / 소주, which is, tastes like a pure alcohol. Taste like acetone to me :/
The other factor is soju is cheap and available almost in every mini market. Only with ₩ 3.000 you could enjoy a nice cold bottle of soju. They don't even bother to ask your age. They asked me to show my ID card to buy 'Final Destination 5' on cinema, but they don't even bother to ask me when i bought a bottle of soju. wth.
Girls, boys, doesn't even matter, if someone older says to drink. You have to drink. Even my friends had their professor forcing them to drink some makgeolli / 막걸리 (rice wine) the first time they met. It was actually funny tho lol. But makgeolli tastes like liquid 'tape' (Indonesian traditional food, if you know what i meant) and not at all gonna make you wasted. Still it is an alcoholic drink, If you can't take it, then don't drink it.
2. KOREAN DOES PLASTIC SURGERY A LOT.
But i must say i agree. They did many plastic surgery. I don't mean many as in one person did like 5-6 surgeries, but a lot of people did the surgery. A lot of people did their double eye lid surgery, some are jaws, nose, and fat reduction bla-bla. But you must remember, Korean is also number 1 in make up skills. You have to see how junior high student wear their make ups and check them selves out every 5 minutes. So it's pretty hard to tell unless you asked them directly.
In contrary, Korean actually quite open about surgery. There are some of my friend that's openly and honestly asked me should she do plastic surgery on her eyes. And some of them actually said they got plastic surgery even before being asked. lol. You pay around ₩ 600.000 and maximum ₩ 1.000.000 you got your eyelid! Pretty economic!
The one that i hate is when people from other country value Korean by how they operated them selves to get pretty. Calling them FAKE and B*TCHY because they got plastic surgery just show how shallow you are. Grow up idiots, it's modern era already. Of course not ALL PEOPLE did plastic surgery, but even though they did, people does act pretty normally :)
3. KOREAN CAN'T SPEAK ENGLISH
You can't expect ahjummas/ahjusshi talked you back with English tho, but you could have hopes in students. Recently they have begun to REALIZE how English is important. In my university it self, more foreign teacher came and had only English speaking classes.
Of course they learn basic English in schools, and learn it more in university. Some of them might go to English speaking country to study for about a year or so. But the funny thing i learned, they always said they have this 김치발음 means 'Kimchi Pronunciation' so they can't speak English well. It's true how their pronunciation is heavy and difficult to erase it when they speaks in English. That doesn't mean they can't understand English tho. They are better in written English.
The thing i can't understand is, how they still teaches English is universities, with KOREAN. Hello? It's just weird. Believe me I took English class, we learned prepositions with Korean. So why again they can't speak English? :/
4. KOREAN LIKE K-POP A LOT.
Coming along with their nationalism and somewhat low English ability, they have no other choice than enjoying their local songs. With western styled beats and music, i guess they're satisfied and didn't bother to listen English songs except when it is really REALLY famous. Like lady gaga ;) So yes, they liked K-pop.
But are they freaked over K-pop?
I must say, majority, no. They know what song is this, they know who sings it, they know idol group members, but it's all as far as common knowledge ONLY. The one that freaked over and somewhat grouped into fan or anti-fan are usually junior - high school students.
I remember when i went to a concert sponsored by Hyundai Mall, and most of them are early-teens and group of ahjummas because they got the VIP seats for frequent mall visitor, and families. Yes, families came and open a box of chicken and watch the concert as if they had a family picnic. It was totally different from what i imagined! I imagining groups of teens in our age with their friends come and enjoy the concert BUT NO! I see only junior high student :( which is actually really great, i met a group of nice students and they gave some of their seats to us :)
If you go to Korea, you'll notice they only played K-pop popular songs. If i were a Korean, i would be sick already before i get the chances to 'freak over' k-pop. Me myself have been lack of K-pop information here, just because i've kind of sick of hearing catchy-bubble pop-cutesy-pop music over and over again!!
5. KOREAN HAVE TO GO TO MANDATORY MILITARY SERVICE
But still they have rules and requirement to actually sending someone to the military. So if you didn't fulfill the requirements, you can't go the army. One of my friend's male Korean friend actually failed the test so he had to wait until some months later.
The mandatory military service gradually become a Korean man pride. You are a man? Then go to military! If you're not? You're a sissy. Something like that.
I've heard military nowadays is not as harsh as the past. When violence is used in almost everything. But right now it's been so much soften, but still it's pretty hard to endure it. And i heard celebrities going on military is harsher than normal people. Because it's their chances to somewhat 'bully' famous people. So they always got hit more, got bad treatments and stuffs. But i believe it's the past stuffs, not happening in recent days.
Most of Korean male served in military after they graduated from high school / freshman year in college. Most universities have an event called sinbok / 신복 to welcomes seniors from the military and the new student. Some would have a 'little' military training experience in sinbok :P Because the senior is going to join their junior class until they're graduated so that event also for introducing 'new seniors' . So every male student in your year, won't graduated in the same year with you unless he could avoid the military :)
Another option is to take ROTC class. It means you didn't go to mandatory service before you graduate. But instead, you take ROTC classes, cut off all your hair, wear somewhat military like uniform, stays in the dormitory, and trains your physical abilities every holiday. Yes, military in school! You have to be smart tho to enter ROTC class. They said if you take ROTC class, your mandatory service is much shorter and easier. I guess ROTC student will be placed in more to administrative job than the field job. But 4 years of semi military in college? Hem....
Part II coming soon!