TL;DR - Age Differences in Korea


Uploaded by simonandmartinabonus on 11.08.2011

Transcript:
[TL;DR MUSIC]
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It's salty ears 66 from Utah USA asks, "Korean's seem to focus on age and respecting their elders
even if it's only a one year difference, does this make it difficult to make friends,
and have we made any mistake that make us seem disrespectful."
Okay, this is a really good question actually, definitely something you face a lot in Korea.
We've got this email tons of times. Yeah, so I think it really really depends on the Korean person.
Let's say you meet someone who's really interested in making foreigner friends,
and they're kind of already into foreign culture they'll totally scrap
the korean hierarchy of names, and age, and marriage and they'll just be like, right away,
"hey my name is mo mo mo = blah blah blah great to meet you."
But those are really the foreignized Koreans, the Korean people that have a lot of
experience with foreign people and they don't try to hold foreigners to Korean standards.
yeah, so maybe they lived overseas and they're gotten used to that already.
So with the Koreans that don't have a lot of experience with foreigners,
they will be noticeable uncomfortable when it comes to dealing with them,
and they will ask what's you age and what's your marital status
so that they can try and understand what position they should have with you.
yeah and a lot of foreigners that first come to korea might feel offended
we know some people that said things like, "oh that's weird why would you ask my age,
or why wouldn't you ask if I'm single or married?"
But they're not at all trying to be offensive,
it's just how Korean society works so they can know what to say to you,
how to address you, and so on an so forth. Noe because this is a little bit confusing,
we actually found a really helpful video on this by Dr. Whathexherfrigginame.
[static sound]
Is it filming? Is it on? I don't like these--it's filming--it's filming? *clears throat*
[snobby university music]
Hello, I am Dr.Whathehexherfrigginame and today we will talk about honorific,
and honorific name systems in the Korean culture.
Learning the correct honorific name to call your Korean friends can be STRESSFUL!
But I shall break it down for you and make it easier for you to understand.
Rollllll the fiiiiilm!!!
So, first, if you meet someone who is in school with you,
the person who is a grade above you, he is called your "seonbae"
and it's doesn't matter if you are boy or girl, this is gender neutral.
Since you're younger then them, you are their junior,
and they will describe you as their "hubae".
We saw this being used a lot in the drama Boys Before Flowers between Geum Jandi and Jihoo.
---HEY! YOU! STOP DREAMING ABOUT THE FLOWER BOYZ! AND PAY ATTENTION TO ME!
But let's say you go out and "talk a lot" and you drink soju and beer and these kind of things,
if you become closer friends, your Seonbae might not feel uncomfortable
being called "seonbae" all the time since it represents both an age gap
and authority over the other person.
In that case, they can change their honorific label to one that represents closeness,
but still maintains the age divide. For example between girls:
Seonbae to hubae, but when they get closer, she says, "EH! Call me Eunnie"
Between guys when they get closer, he might say, "hey, call me Hyeung"
Between older girl and younger guy, she might say call me "Noona"
Between the older guy and younger girl he might say call me "Oppa".
So you can see between the age gap there is always an implicit barrier
reminding you that you can never really be BFFs.
Now I hope you can understand the importance of the Korean label system.
Now let's continue on to my next lecture, the importance between Geum Jandi, Jihoooo
and their relationship between Goo Jun Pyo and his curly hair. He's so dreamy---
[sleeping nap time music]
[snoring]
[RECORD SCRATCH, MUSIC STOPS] HUH! WHAT!? is it over? Huh?
That girl is so boring. Uh. That was a long video. She's pretty though.
She's got a moustache, she's not pretty at all, you take that back.
I like her.
*GASP*
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So the whole honorific name thing is usually broken down
specifically to do with age, and position in a company.
Those are like the two big ones I think, right?
But it's not only for naming people,
it's also for how you're supposed to interact with that person as a result.
Mmmmm...especially with drinking.
So as soon as you know that person's age,
you know exactly what you should be doing with them.
So it was my first couple weeks in Korea, and we were going for TEAM BUILDING EXERCISE (hweshik).
And TEAM BUILDING EXERCISE (hweshik) is usually when your whole staff goes out for supper together
and it's supposed to be like a bonding experience,
it's not like a meeting or anything.
TEAM BUILDING EXERCISE 99!
It was my first time meeting my principal face to face at dinner,
and he wanted me to sit across from him,
and so I was a little bit nervous and flustered
but I had read so many books about Korean culture before coming here,
So when he poured me soju, because he's older than me,
and he's my principal I should be super respectful,
So I made sure to hold my cup either with two hands or supporting it at the bottom.
You have to show that kind of respect,
And everyone was impressed, they were like OHHHH MARTINA KNOWS!
And right away I took the bottle, and I poured his glass,
because you should do back and forth like that
And everyone was like, WHOA MARTINA KNOWS!
And then the big bomb came,
So everyone was like ONE SHOT! And everyone started to turn away from the principal,
But I just took the shot straight, staring at him, you know, like
[COWBOY WESTERN MUSIC STARTS] WHUTCHA GONNA DO, BOY?
I'MA DRINK THIS SOJU AND THEN I'MA SHOOT YOU IN THE FACE
I felt like a cowboy, you know, staring him down or something,
[COWBOY MUSIC ENDS]
And then she murdered her principal which made her relationship with her school
a whole lot more awkward for her.
THAT DIDN'T HAPPEN!
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The principal didn't say anything. He was such a cool guy.
And they were really impressed that I already knew all the other things,
but I asked my coworkers like "GUISE WHY DID EVERYONE TURN AWAY?!"
But they said that you should show respect to your elders
or people in higher positions by turning away when you drink,
So if you're the principal, I should have turned away like this,
or like covering my mouth like this.
But put yourself in this situation. Say you have the principal in front of you,
the Vice Principal to the left of you, and the head teacher to the right of you,
then where do you drink? SO, what you should do, is turn all the way around,
and then you can drink. What happens if an old man sneaks up behind you. *LOLS*
Another similar story I have, I remember we were dealing with some Korean associates
and we had drank a lot of soju, and whenever you drink a shot you usually clink it
and you take a shot. What I did by accident was, when I clinked it,
my glass was higher then his, and he wasn't very upset about it,
but he corrected me afterwards. He said that my glass should never be above his
because he is older. It should either be below his or on the same level.
I wanted to say to him, look I already had like 12 of these glasses,
my motor skills are really not that good right now.
You're lucky that this shot glass didn't go directly into your face.
So you should be happy that we were at least able to touch glasses somehow.
But Koreans are really good at drinking. Yes they are. We're light weights.
So long story short, it is possible to make friends with different people
from different ages in Korea, but a lot of the time it's awkward for some people
because they know that there are different rituals you have to do with different ages.
I think that those rituals and those respect things can kind of remind you
that you're not on the same level, like I have to respect you because you're older that me
and it's kind of hard to become BFFs with someone in that situation.
BUt don't let it scare you away, my best friend in Korea is at least 5 years older than me,
YEAH SEOKBOK! And she said if I called her Ahjumma..she's kill me. Oh. Ohh.
So that's it for this week's TL;DR, if there is a question you want us to answer
for next week's TL;DR, leave you question in google moderator page.
Or, you can check out the questions already asked
and you can thumb them up, or thumb them down.
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