Koreans Love Me, But Hate Me

Love always wins

Don’t read if  you’re not cool with truth bombs!

Whenever I tell Korean people about Seoulistic.com, everyone tells me that I’m doing such good and meaningful work. Koreans are very proud of their culture, and I am proud to be a part of it too! I see the beauty in Korean culture. I really do. I gladly share Korean culture with everyone, and for that, Koreans love me.

But at the same time, I am still a Korean-American–not a full Korean. I have a different way of sharing Korean culture than how Koreans might choose to do it. And for that some Koreans hate me (or at the least strongly disapprove of my stuff).

Take for example my video on Korean Punishments. I love this video. The punishments are things that I personally experienced in my life. This kind of stuff makes me feel super connected to Korea (which I love!). But some Korean people didn’t like the video because they thought I was criticizing the way Korean parents and teachers punish their kids. The fact that I talked about hitting children was a sore spot for some too. But the fact is… it’s a part of Korean culture. Nearly every Korean (older Koreans at least) experienced hitting from a family member or a teacher. Shoot, I experienced it, and I was a 2nd generation Korean-American living in New York!  To me, it’s a part of the culture that’s helped shaped me and also helped shaped Korea. And I think that’s awesome 🙂 (I was also glad to see youtube commenters experiencing the same things in their own cultures!)

I also just posted on The 5 Most Interesting People You’ll See on the Seoul Subway, and I’m sure there are going to be Korean people that are not happy with the post. There I write about blind beggars, feisty ajeoshis and pushy ajummas. Things that some Koreans think I shouldn’t write about. But these are real people that you’ll see on the subways, undeniable members of Korean society. And I think they’re interesting as hell. Many foreigners will only get to meet Korean people of certain backgrounds: educated Koreans, multi-lingual Koreans, Koreans with international experience, Koreans who are not poor. But I think that’s misrepresentative of Korean society.

There are things that people aren’t so proud of in their cultures (i.e. the reality tv show ktwon–although I must admit it is entertaining). But I embrace it all. I think it’s great that there are beggars that fake being blind. I think it’s awesome that ajummas don’t care and just shove everyone out if their ways. And who doesn’t like to watch a harmless fight between ajeoshis? I don’t want to be censored because to me, it’s everyone and everything, good and bad, that make Korea so interesting.

I see the beauty in all things Korea. Love me or hate me, your boy Keith is gonna bring it honest!

Korea Then vs Korea Now: Korean Cultural Identity Crisis

Seoulistic.com is a site dedicated to introducing Korean culture among other super useful tips. But here’s the problem: Korea itself is having a cultural identity crisis. I had a post about how Korea was different 10 years ago. That just goes to show how much and how quickly Korea is changing. It also makes it really difficult for me to create videos/posts that are 100% correct about Korean culture. Here’s a few examples:

– Touching in Korea: I made a video about what touching the opposite sex is like in Korea. The older people usually don’t get all up on each other, but some of the younger generation is all like “whatever, yo! lets get busy!” in public.

– Korean Style Punishments: this video was about what punishments are like in Korea. I showed the original video to a couple of people including @kyeongeun and @yo_ona. Hitting is old school… now it’s all like “I love you, i love you!”

– Being awesome on subways used to mean never siting in the priority seating and getting up for the elderly/kids/etc. But these days there are lots of younger Korean kids that are not that awesome and just stay glued to their smartphones (sometimes ignoring the elderly in front of them). Scary ajummas and ajeoshi’s 10 years ago would have ripped one into them, but now they just give em stank eye.

So it’s hard to be totally on point cause Korea is changing so fast. It’s kind of stuck between the old way and new way of doing things. While all the older traditions and ways of doing things is still true, it definitely is changing. Nowadays it’s all about being chic and modern, but personally, I like most of the old stuff much better. If you haven’t noticed, I’m an ajeoshi at heart 😉