Thursday, August 06, 2009

How to Teach Etiquette

I'm at Starbucks, ostensibly writing progress reports, but there is the loudest American here. She has been going on and on about how rude Koreans are. After listening to a diatribe that was in progress when I walked in and continued while I organized my stuff, ordered, received my order, and for a few minutes after that, I finally realized she was teaching a private. When she finally paused for breath, her two students added ways they think ajummas are rude, then she finished up by asking if there was anything else to say about etiquette. I wanted to jump in and say-- how about not yelling about how crap you think the residents of a country are when you are in public in that country?

I live and work in an area where even the ajummas that push fliers in your hand can speak some English. It's not too much of a stretch that the various people in here with their English language dailies and novels are capable of getting the gist of the "lesson" on rude Koreans. I know, venting about the rudeness one deals with in daily life is one of my hobbies, but I try not to speak at 11 in a quiet, public space while doing so.


Justin said...

I had a similar experience a little while back. I guess I shouldn't expect much on the weekend in my neighborhood...but I was finishing dinner one evening when I overheard another ex-pat proclaim rather loudly: "You know what I miss? Potheads."

He then went on to explain why he thought buying pot in Seoul was "bullshit."

I mean, I'm not going to go all 1984 on the dude, but he could have been a bit quieter about it...When I was back in kindergarten or preschool, I believe we called it an "inside voice?"

Foreigner Joy said...

My Mom called it "Quiet thoughts"

Karl said...

I'm always surprised that people get paid to teach english, have a grasp of how many Koreans study english, but then never think the Koreans around them know english.


Anonymous said...

I'm a bit late to this conversation but I just wanted to pitch in my 2cents - which is that I've had the same experience (many times, actually)! The most memorable was the time I sat on a university provided shuttle bus (on a very, very international campus)and listened to two young dudes sit in the back and loudly talk about how stuck-up and conceited Korean women are. They shoudln't have been talking shit about anyone, of course, but the fact that the bus was *full* of blinguial Korean women really pissed me off. I kept glaring at them but they didn't stop. ^^

This is my first time to your blog (so, "hi":)and I'll add a link from mine, if you don't mind. Cheers!