I turned in my Korean card when I was 6 and starting school. I was so keen on fitting in that I spurned my culture entirely in favor of an American identity. Luckily home life was falling apart, hence, my imposed exclusive association with Korean society was over by the age of 10. So for over 2 decades my community (other than family) was otherwise solely comprised of Chinese friends. But I do have many encounters reminding me of my background. People ask me about actors with funny names and my take on kimchi once in a while, not simply to be educated, but because somehow I’m part of a club that has become trendy in recent years. Well let it be known I am at best 5% Korean with a transparent grasp on the language and not at all tolerant of spicy foods, alcohol, or cigarettes. Be that as it may, that small part of me is something I treasure and would hate to lose.
Here are my perspectives on notable aspects of the country’s influences:
North or South?
Thanks to the lack of communication from my parents I didn’t understand this question until way after elementary school when I was first queried. But researching on my own one summer it was like a personal tragedy learning how the 38th parallel forever changed my parents’ country. The North has nothing while the South has every luxury. Such extremes that heartbreakingly remind me of the Districts and the Capitol. Making light of the grievous situation, ex. The Dictator (haven’t watched it) isn’t appreciated.
My limited experience has me turned off to traditional Koreans due to their narrow minded self-righteousness (something I unfortunately inherited along with a short temper). There is a veneer of politeness but there are definitely a lot of petty comments and materialistic snobbery not unlike high society in Georgian England. Though there is a tendency in most to take shameless advantage of others, there are a number who are absolutely devoted to God and are generous to a fault. I can relate most to their direct nature, obtuse humor, and over the top sentimentality.
Music – hearing Psy’s Gangnam Style on US radio I was stunned first, then thought, “yuuuup”
Smart phones – Samsung and LG ftw (I own the Note 4)
Dramas – renowned and thankfully devoid of the smut we are subjected to here
Restaurants – all you can eat Korean BBQ reigns supreme in SoCal; tofu, Pinkberry, it goes on
Miscellaneous – killing it in b-boying dance, ice skating, and archery; also, those dress clothes you got dry cleaned? you’re welcome
All this leads to an inevitable conclusion I’ve held for a while now.
South Koreans will take over the world.
You have been duly warned.