Tuesday, February 15, 2011

One more thing Korea is famous for something

And I'm referring to something other than the North and South Korean tensions (which is pretty much the only thing the Western world knows and reports on about Korea).

As we wake up and go to school we are faced with a challenge.  How on earth do we pass 8 hours where sometimes there isn't any work to do if we finish lesson planning and prepping for tomorrow's classes?  You can tell the slow days when everyone comments and posts stuff up on Facebook, others have promised themselves that they will try to learn Korean or start reading rather than live the mundane life of waiting for new Facebook posts or watching/catching up on tv shows.  Whatever people have chosen to make this deskwarming season more entertaining, I enjoy reading the links and posts people have found on the internet.  You know its interesting if it starts getting recycled through each person's page. 

Today's news story was Global Alcohol Consumption: Drinking Habits.
Apparently, from 2005, the World Health Organization reported that with all the alcohol consumed in the world it was enough to give each person 6.1 litres of pure alcohol.  Now, I've become weary of studies (even if conducted by the WHO), but nevertheless, Korea seems to be equivalent to the world's leaders of alcohol consumption- Russia.  In fact, it seems that Korea sets the drinking level as the highest in Asia. 
I can't say I don't agree.  There's not a day that I walk home in the evening that I don't encounter at least five different groups of drunk Koreans (guys and girls), and Monday mornings are the most entertaining/revolting walks to school as I try to avoid the puke stains made the night/couple of hours ago.  I also can't say that us expatriats don't do anything to decrease these numbers as I have never been exposed to being able to buy alcohol in convenience stores open 24/7, nor have been able to buy alcohol (meaning soju being almost comparable to vodka) for only 2,000won (equivalent to less than $2). 

Drinking with my teachers and Principle always ends in a drunken state of chaos as everyone has drunk themselves to oblivion and made a fool of themselves (quite frankly, I can't understand why you'd chose to be the drunken mess in front of your superiors, but hey! This is the life here, and nobody's going to remember because everyone's blitzed!).  What I do like about the drinking lifestyle here is that it doesn't exclude women in the mix.  For sure, men drink far more than women, but its not uncommen to see drunk women stumbling the streets with not a care in the world.  I know that, back home in Toronto, you see drunk girls and you almost snicker to yourself as they make the fool of themselves (unless you are that drunk girl and then you have no care in the world, until you end up puking in an alley/car/yourself/your friends).  Maybe I don't see the casting down upon and the general bad looks from the elders/males in Korean society when women chose to drink themselves dry, but either way, below is the picture of the world's alcohol consumption.  Chose what you'd like to believe.

Yesterday's news story: K-Town
As well, I'm trying to figure out if this is a joke/spoof or real.  Much like Toronto decided to join in on the Jersey Shore success, apparently, the Asian-Americans want in as well.  The show's being called K-Town.  Although, not everybody is Korean, the show follows these young adults around LA's Korean Town to see all their sloppy and karoaking (noraebanging) madness.  Its humorous to me that the show's executive producer is model/actor Tyrese Gibson, although if he wants to incorporate the Blasian (I guess its too offensive to just say Black-Asian?), here's his venue.  However, the pilot's been shot but not picked up by any network.  But is it degrading to Asians?  Maybe, but we've seen the majority of America's youth depicted as shallow, ignorant and trampy as most MTV shows provide, so what makes Asians any different?  At least they're not being depicted as the stereotypical nerd, martial artist or piano superstar.  As one of the shows producer Mike Le says,
“A lot of stereotypes about Asians are good.  We’re smart, we play the violin or piano, we’re hard workers, great at math. Our cast is like that, too, except they’re also sexy, stylish, and have swagger. Those are things people don’t think of when they think of Asians in media. They think Asian guys are asexual, girls are docile, repressed"
As a fellow Asian person (although people love to say that being Indian is not Asian, more Southeast Asian, to which I respond, "Its still in Asia right?"), I would love to see the media show Indians as more than just taxi drivers, nerds, convenience store owners, Bollywood stars and traditionalists.  It may be a step in the wrong direction, but when nobody wants to change the stereotypes, at least there's somebody trying something new- and that's when change happens and its always interesting to see where the fine line is between stereotype breaking and stereotype reinforcing.

The cast comprised of four girls and four guys, include similar characters to the Jersey Shore.  "The Situation"-like character is Peter Le (who also has an x-rated website), there's a club promoter instead of DJ Pauly D and the Snookie-esque character is Scarlet Chan.  The others are Young Lee, Jennifer Field, Joe Cha, Violet Kim, Steve Kim, and Jasmine Chang.  It appears that their choice of drink is Korean beer Hite, and soju, it'll be interesting to see how many other things they do that are traditionally Korean/Asian.

Funny that an American would chose to drink Hite


  1. Yeah, somehow that K-town show is empowering and offensive to Asians at the same time. Go figure... I resent your title though. Korea has one of the most famous movie industries in the world. It also has one of Asia's most popular music industries. I know it's just a joke, but still... Korea is famous for stuff other than drinking!

  2. Actually, a huge part of why I wanted to come to Korea was because of its media industry. I do love it, and try to highlight it as much as possible.
    However, I've found that nobody outside from the Western world really knows about Korea outside of its tensions with the North. These were the first stories I've read about Korea from foreign sources.

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