Monday, 13 July 2009

You old Whitey

Here is a bit of Korean to get you through the week. After a bit of weird and broken English, one of my students managed to get the point across that White Person = Hundred Person. What?!

It turns out that this is a play of words. A word for “white” is 백인(baek-in), but (baek) can mean “100” and (in) is a word for “person”

There you have it. Wasn’t that fun?

Friday, 10 July 2009


For the love of all that is good! Stop feeding me already!

Yesterday evening I was taken to dinner by some of the teachers.

Today in my adults class we had a whole fresh home baked bread, one cake, two smaller pastries, two packets of biscuits and four cobs of corn to share. When I got back to the teachers room the teachers were pigging out on corn and offered me some. On my desk was a packet with ddeok. After lunch we were all given small cups of Baskin-Robbins ice cream. Did I mention lunch?

Just now someone called out for everyone to come get a sandwich.

Tonight I have to go for dinner with the adult students and after that I’m attending a birthday party.

Tuesday, 07 July 2009

Sure, plonk down next to me.

The express bus to Seoul makes a quick stop just after leaving the downtown area to pick up a few more passengers. Not exactly express, is it? This stop creates a familiar scene for us white/black/coloured/Indians/non-East Asian looking people. I’m sure you all know how it goes when you are the foreigner sitting in a nice spot with an almost as nice seat next to you. A Korean will get on, look at you, and weigh up the options before moving on to find another seat. Seeing the whole mental process on their faces can be quiet amusing.

In this context you can see why it is strange to see a young woman get on the bus and just plonk down next to me. She didn’t seem to look at me and think “Waegogin. I want to sit next to him,” or “Waegogin. Is it worth sitting there?” Nope, she just plonked down as if I didn’t exist. Very unusual indeed.

Even more unusual was that she pulled out her iPod classic and started watching Friend. “Friends? That is unusual?” you are thinking, aren’t you? The show had no subtitles and was not translated. Your English has to be pretty good to understand the speed of the language used and humour that is delivered by the show. I was thoroughly impressed.

Friday, 03 July 2009

Interesting Test Ideas


Interesting test idea #57:

50 questions

Surprised or Surprising



Interesting test idea #58:

50 questions

Fun or Funny

Thursday, 02 July 2009

“Ultimate Wellbing” Consumption by Korean Middle School Students

At the beginning of the year one teacher decided to stand at the kimchi bucket to make sure every student takes a portion. Since then I have been looking at student’s plates to see how many load up on Ultimate Wellbing (Copyright Otto Silver, 2009). I estimate that about one in three students do not take kimchi with their lunch. Many of the students will even admit to not liking kimchi!

Why do I find this so interesting then? I estimate that to be about the same number for foreigners who will not eat kimchi. Most foreigners I have met who have been here for a reasonable amount of time will eat the stuff. Very rarely is it too spicy and like other fermented products you get “addicted” to the “disgusting” taste very quickly.

Why then do Koreans persist in stating that foreigners don’t like or can’t eat kimchi when, based on my not so scientific research, the numbers say Korean students are not exactly a bright light for kimchi consumption either. Why do new textbooks for use in schools persist in teaching this groundless stereotype?

Bundaegi on the other hand…