07 February 2008

새해 복 많이 받으세요!!!!

Today is the first day of the lunar year, the Chinese year of the rat. It actually feels like a new year since for the solar/western new year my hagwon did not give us time off. However we only got two out of the three day holiday off. The first day is usually spent preparing the food (usually the woman's job), the second day spent eating the Ddok Mandu Gook breakfast, praying and bowing to elder family members to receive money. The last day is usually spent hanging out with friends at the pub. Koreans visit their parents or grandparents and sleep overnight so they can share the breakfast together on New Year's Day.

I was working on the day that is allocated for preparing the food, so Songsu's mother just bought everything at the supermarket. However she made the soup (Ddok Mandu Gook) this morning and nagged everybody to get up while she was at it. Songsu's brother got back from his last day at the army 24 hours before and I had a hangover so it was difficult for us to get up. Songsu's mother wanted her daughter-in-law (middle brother's wife) to help her this time (because usually she is pretty lazy) so I did not feel to guilty about not being able to chip in.

The bowing was equally confusing this time as it was last time, with Songsu's mother wanting I do it the proper way for a female, while his father insisting that it is all right for me to do it the male way as it is easier and more comfortable. In the end I did it the female way, with my left leg placed forward as I bent my head and back as far down as I could. Afterall, Songsu's mother usually wins and I have to bow like this at our wedding anyway.

At both Chusok (Harvest Celebration) and Sollal (Lunar New Year) the younger family members usually give very generously to the older ones. Songsu's mother is quite picky so Songsu usually gives his parents a department store voucher for W100,000. Also bosses usually give a lot to their employees, usually a huge toiletry set or food basket, but the employees then have a duty to give whatever they receive to their parents. So in reality, the bosses buy presents for the parents of their employees. Songsu's parents got the toiletry set that Jimmy gave me (but I kept the tuna^^).

The translation of the title of this post is " Receive lots of good fortune in the New Year", the Korean way of saying "Happy New Year". Songsu and I are hoping that the new year will be happier than the end of the last one. To cut a long story short, a visit to Lotteworld amusement park resulted in one of the workers staring at me in a perverted manner, and when Songsu asked "what are you looking at?" we were then followed by the worker across the amusement park museum, with profanities shouted at our backs. Songsu naturally shouted various choice words back, which lead to the worker grabbing him by the collar and raising his fist to hit him. The worker suggested several times that he should 'step outside' to 'talk' with his fist still raised, but we got out of it and walked into another shop in the museum. Unfortunately the worker followed us a second time and again threatened to drag him outside. None of the other workers tried to help us or call security.

When we finally got safely ushered out of the museum by another customer we came across a security guard who did not believe our story and after much persuasion took us to the customer service centre. When the managers arrived they too did not believe us at first. One of the managers phoned us the next day saying that the worker has been 'warned', and as it turned out they did not bother to check the CCTV. As a result Songsu wrote a four page letter of complaint to the headquarters, and the president personally contacted Songsu on the phone, apologising profusely and said that the the worker had been fired.

Songsu is still considering contacting the newspapers to suggest they research the percentage of foreign woman in Korea who have had some kind sexual attack or been followed home by a Korean man. Korean newspapers scream blue murder about the American soliders attacking young Korean women...in our opinion it's about time Korea took a good look at the opposite.


At 2/09/2008 4:36 am, Blogger Why am I here??? said...

I couldn't agree with you more about that last statement. As much as I adore Korea there are some things that just make my blood boil. Koreans are sure to write and publisize NEGATIVE things foreigners do which gives us a bad rap. Unfortunately what they don't write about is our negative experiences with Koreans. As for these new E-2 visa regulations or banking regulations, well I just won't even go there.

I think Songsu should write something to the newspaper but I wouldn't be surprised if nothing happend as a result.

Are you two planning on living in Korea after your marriage or are there plans to head back to your home country? (just curious) ;)

At 2/09/2008 8:04 pm, Blogger Louise said...

Hello again,

Actually I agree with som of the new EC2 visa regulations. All teachers SHOULD get a criminal record background check. Afterall, every public and private school teacher gets this back in the UK, and I'm sure it must be the same in Canada too. Korean public school teachers also get criminal record background checks (but not hagwon teachers).

However I do feel that Korean hagwon teachers should get criminal record background checks too. It's this part which makes me angry.

As for the blood tests, I disagree with this but other countries such as Australia do this to foreigners, even if they are just students, so this is probably tit for tat as well as a safety measure.

What are the new banking regulations???

I have already written to the Korea Herald (the English version) about this research idea but I got no response. I am not going to persue it any further for fear of getting deported. However Songsu can do it without getting kicked out ;)

At 2/11/2008 7:13 am, Blogger Why am I here??? said...

Yes you certainly wouldn't want to get deported!!!!

And I agree with you on the criminal record check, definately!!

I read somewhere about the new banking regulations and I can't recall exactly where (probably someone's blog). So from what I've heard it has to do with issuing foreigners ATM withdrawl cards. Now if you have a bank account set up you are not allowed to withdrawl money from an ATM for 3 months. Till then you have to go into the bank and deal with a teller


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