Edit Blog Post
Published: September 28th 2010
So you're probably wondering what we do for fun here in South Korea. A night out is started ussually at a resturant with barbequed meat and a variety of side dishes such as the spicy kimchi, bean sprouts, tofu and salad leaves. The idea is to wrap up the meat in leaf with some kimchi or other side. Yum! This is accompanied by drinks such as Cass beer or soju - a strong vodka-like spirit. After an hour or so of shared food and drinks we head to a bar in which you ussually have to buy a plate of food to share and can purchase more drinks - beer, sake, soju, cocktails... by this point you are either getting very drunk or very full of food based on the food to drink ratio you've been ingesting. After this point you may go dancing or to a DVD bang (a room where friends can watch a DVD together) or to Noraebang or Kareoke to sing, eat and drink the night away.
One such night recently started in a Western bar where we we able to drink copious amounts of beer without purchasing food. Feeling shy initially, we went around meeting
all the people there - Americans, Canadians, English and one Kiwi. Is it just me or where are the Aussies in Korea? After a bit the party moved upstairs to another bar where we had more drinks in a seated position. People drifted off and our Korean hosts ended up paying for the bill (they don't normally split the bill here). Then 5 of us went o a Noraebang where more drinks and the obligatory hot rice cake and cheese thing weas ordered. We sang the night away under neon nights until 6am when the sun was already rising.
I've also noticed young women dressed in tight little skirts and shirts in a uniform fashion, handing out flyers. I discovered these women are advertising hostess bars or rather, places men can go and the host will bring them women. I found this rather incredible when I first heard of it and it seemed pretty sexist. So the men go there, sit down and pretty women are brought to their table? Yes. But what if the women don't want to drink with the man? Well they can refuse but the women get the benefit of sharing what the man is
drinking. Apparently the more expensive drinks the man orders, the prettier the women are who are brought to the table. So who is this exploiting really...?
I don't know, I don't understand it and I'm sure nothing like that would occur EVER in New Zealand! When I asked a Korean why they do this, he said that tradionally Korean people are very shy and this is a way of introducing people. But now young people are getting the guts to go up an talk to strangers more...so these places are becomign less popular.
There are also bars where the waitresses are paid to bring men drinks and also complement them.... "Oh you're so strong, so SMART!" I imagine them squealing, giggling shyly. It makes me shudder slightly that there are places like that - not brothels but almost as seedy. "Is there anything like that for woman with men bringing the drinks?" I asked, "no". I can't seem to shake my western ideaology of gender equality - if there's something for men there should be something for women. Things are changing in Korea for sure but historically there was this divide. Women normally cease work and go to live in the husband's home when they marry, and are treated as house help. Modern Korean women I have met can't seem to stomach this anymore and want more for themselves such as travel, career and adventure but some still admit "I HAVE to have kids by the age of 35". In their minds it's not a question but an obligation. I feel lucky that my parents have never pressured me to marry or have kids, though they have strongly suggested I focus more on my career.
Back to entertainment for a second. I went with a friend the other night on a 4D movie ride where you hop into a moving simulator car and ride a virtual roller coaster. At $3 it was bang for buck and I actually ended up screaming and laughing outloud!
Anyone else have thoughts on Korean entertainment or identity issues in this changing society?
Tot: 1.166s; Tpl: 0.06s; cc: 7; qc: 56; dbt: 0.0329s; 1; m:saturn w:www (22.214.171.124); sld: 3;
; mem: 1.4mb