They came, I saw, will they conquer?
I don’t know when exactly, but I know I have wanted to become a writer ever since. Young I was, the subjects of my childish write-ups are people- my mom, sister, neighbors, anybody I know. Now I feel that I am qualified to draft something about people who don’t have the skills comparable to that of Japanese, whose culture is far less diverse than that of the Americans, whose lives are way more conservative than those from Rome, whose spirit is unfathomable — I feel I am qualified to discuss some things about Koreans, yes that bunch of people who I often mistakenly thought to be Chinese.
We didn’t notice them come, live with us, find their niches around the village- and here they are… in a number one cannot help but care. Now, we can see them anywhere. Go to the malls and you’ll see Koreans roaming, eye-shopping (the cute Konglish term for window-shopping), wearing only rubber sandals and ultra- short and worn-out short pants, jazzed up with those I-can-never-live-with-this sling bags. Have you tried visiting your favorite massage parlors lately? You’d better make reservations ahead of time cos your favorite masseuse could have possibly been serving a Korean client. Saturday night fever? Mr. Webster has defined it as partying with Korean people in the Philippine Islands. When was the last time you visited Boracay? Don’t you know that it’s latest tag is “The perfect place for KOREANS and others to go.” ? We just couldn’t ignore them. Their proliferation has reached beyond expectations. I was even shocked to hear a Korean saying… ” Hello, I am Lee, Hyun-jo from Seoul, South Korea…always listening to… (name of an FM radio station)…” What? For Christ’s sake! A Korean “always listening” to that radio station? Urggggggggh! How can a Korean living hundred of miles from Cebu invite me to listen to a local FM radion station?
So, are you asking me if I am in favor or in great abhorrence to Koreans in the Philippines? My answer goes beyond a Yes! or a No.
Koreans have helped the Philippine economy in many ways. They have built Hagwons (private academies), shops, restaurants and bars, and communities around us that help Filipinos earn a living. The Philippines striving workforce has somehow found a refuge in Korean establishments here. But… Why are Korean business establishments catered only to Korean communities ? I once tried to enter a Korean-managed hair salon and was more than surprised to see surprised faces looking at me. I was left wondering if I was welcome there or not… I just slowly inched my way out of the shop.
Discounts! Something that would paint a smile in Filipino and Korean faces. Working in an academy was less of a burden to me. But who wouldn’t be happy if once in a while you’d be given a break? Fact: Koreans love discounts and discounted items. Fact: Filipino ESL teachers pretend to like teaching (bad!). Fact: SM and Ayala malls offer sale items on certain occassions. FACT: NO CLASS IN MY ACADEMY DURING MALL SALES! Rejoice.
English. The main consideration of coming here and the sole avenue for me to meet them. They are crazy for it. They need it. Some even resort to fakingly make friends for this reason. Know them deeper and you’ll understand, envy, and love their passion for the language. Understandably enough, English has been regarded as an important tool in working for LG, Samsung, and Hyundai. Tell me how many Koreans would work for a small, striving company way back in their land.
Food. Korean food is synonymous to Kimchi. Spice and condiments uniquely bring flavor to Korean menus- the nearest and most acceptable reason for the overflowing Korean libido best manifested by the caressing hands, bone-deep stare, and the most noteworthy Korean’s high attendance in girlie bars (and gaybars).
Sex- the only thing I couldn’t understand about them. They tend to be so affectionate yet sex is a taboo. They easily jump into relationships yet commitment is a no-no! They proudly display their kissmarks yet the word “sex” has to be whispered. They never take off their clothes, yet their skirts are short enough to bare their soul.
Now…would you say that I like Koreans? Believe me or not, I do. Soon enough, they will conquer me.
They are just so interesting. I am Koreanholic.
And who is that man in the picture? A Korean friend who is celebrating his birthday today!