Today, the final hour of work consisted of me and my fellow NET (native English teacher) attending a seminar on the misuses of pornography and how detrimental it is to society. Our school brought in a guest lecturer and we joined the 40+ teachers in a our school’s lecture hall for the presentation. Being that the entire presentation was in Korean, I’m not sure what it was all about, but I left not really knowing why it was important for us to know the ills of pornography. Anyway, that’s not really the point of this post.
The point is, the lecture was supposed to end around 4:20pm and ran until about 4:30. After 4:20, people started getting restless and shifting around a lot in their seats. Soon, anonymous voices called out things like: “Hurry it up!”. People started checking cellphones and shuffling papers, etc. to convey their desire to adjourn.
The reason I like this is because there’s not a false feeling of happiness among Koreans in a situation like this. In the United States, a situation like this would most likely be met with people thinking of getting up and leaving and getting fidgety, but not to the extent that it’s done here. I’m reminded too of the Korean wedding I attended this summer, where, during the ceremony, people were just gabbing away with each other socially, not paying a great deal of attention to the bride and groom on the stage as they exchanged their vows. In America, while such ceremonies can be tiresome, we define respect as remaining quiet and “suffering through” such a long-winded process. And then we all let out a sigh afterwards.
I love it about Korea because in a situation like this, respect is something else. They just don’t give a shit really. If their bored, they let it be known. Sometimes my sixth grade students will call out something similar while in class and participating in a game: “재미없어!” (“It’s not fun!”)
Gotta love the straight-forwardness in this regard.