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Koreans Out Of Their Usual Element Ignoring You
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nicwr2002



Joined: 17 Aug 2011

PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 8:22 pm    Post subject: h Reply with quote

Think about it, if you were working at a store in your home country and you just happen to see someone you remember visiting your store before, would you say Hi to them? Unless you live in a town with a population of like 500 people then I wouldn't let it bother me and it's definitely not a "Korean" thing.
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nicwr2002



Joined: 17 Aug 2011

PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 8:22 pm    Post subject: h Reply with quote

Think about it, if you were working at a store in your home country and you just happen to see someone you remember visiting your store before, would you say Hi to them? Unless you live in a town with a population of like 500 people then I wouldn't let it bother me and it's definitely not a "Korean" thing.
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schwa



Joined: 18 Jan 2003
Location: sokcho

PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 8:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My experience is completely opposite the OP's. Every Korean I have repeat dealings with seems happy to acknowledge me outside the usual context.

Town vs big city?
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Smithington



Joined: 14 Dec 2011

PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 9:03 pm    Post subject: Re: h Reply with quote

nicwr2002 wrote:
It's definitely not a "Korean" thing.


I'm not sure that I agree. I have also noticed the same thing as the OP. And if it was the same back home we wouldn't feel compelled to note it. I have colleagues from my public school who greet me at school and are pleasant, but if I run into them on the bus or at Lotteria its like they've never seen me before. Then next day at school it's all chummy again.

It's certainly curious.
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highstreet



Joined: 13 Nov 2010

PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 10:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There was a Curb Your Enthusiasm episode about this. How Larry sees people he knows on the street and doesn't want to stop and make small talk with them.

Never knew Larry David was a racist.
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12ax7



Joined: 07 Nov 2009

PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 12:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wait until you've taught in excess of 10 000 people like I have. A student not saying 'Hi!' when I'm walking downtown? As if I care. It's not as if I'll remember him or her in a couple of months.
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schwa



Joined: 18 Jan 2003
Location: sokcho

PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 12:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

12ax7 wrote:
Wait until you've taught in excess of 10 000 people like I have. A student not saying 'Hi!' when I'm walking downtown? As if I care. It's not as if I'll remember him or her in a couple of months.

I've taught in excess of 10000 students, all in one same area. I recognize a great many of them even years later & those I dont certainly remember me. Again, maybe its a small town thing, but I've come to expect cheerful acknowledgement whenever I encounter my former students. On a typical stroll through downtown I'll be greeted by name a few times, called out to across the street, waved & smiled at, introduced to parents, even hugged. Warm-hearted kids, teens, & many who are young adults now.
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Scorpion



Joined: 15 Apr 2012

PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 1:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

schwa wrote:
12ax7 wrote:
Wait until you've taught in excess of 10 000 people like I have. A student not saying 'Hi!' when I'm walking downtown? As if I care. It's not as if I'll remember him or her in a couple of months.

I've taught in excess of 10000 students, all in one same area. I recognize a great many of them even years later & those I dont certainly remember me. Again, maybe its a small town thing, but I've come to expect cheerful acknowledgement whenever I encounter my former students. On a typical stroll through downtown I'll be greeted by name a few times, called out to across the street, waved & smiled at, introduced to parents, even hugged. Warm-hearted kids, teens, & many are young adults now.


I might be wrong, but I don't think the OP is talking about children. My own students lean out of the car window to yell to me. If they see me on the street they are pleased. But I think the OP is talking about adults. I've a co-teacher who's quite nice, but if she sees me in the local coffee shop I get the most perfunctory acknowledgement. I've even had co-teachers who will see me on the bus on the way to work and actually avoid eye contact. But ten minutes later, if we pass in the school hallway, they're completely different. Someone else above also mentioned the same thing. I think the OP has a point, and saying "who cares if they acknowledge you" is neither here nor there.

Now the kids are a different story. And that's why I opt to teach children in Korea. They are not 'Korean' yet. They are just (in the most part) lovely little people whose heads haven't yet been filled with a lot of nonsense. In fact, sticking with kids is one of my 'survival techniques' in Korea. I would hate to have to deal with Korean adults all day. The children are much easier to deal with.

And they have the decency to great you on the street.
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EZE



Joined: 05 May 2012

PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 2:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Scorpion wrote:
Now the kids are a different story. And that's why I opt to teach children in Korea. They are not 'Korean' yet. They are just (in the most part) lovely little people whose heads haven't yet been filled with a lot of nonsense. In fact, sticking with kids is one of my 'survival techniques' in Korea. I would hate to have to deal with Korean adults all day. The children are much easier to deal with.


I've had the opposite experience. Adults are either consistently friendly or consistently unfriendly regardless of the setting or situation, but the children do something similar to what the OP described except it's always at school, and it can be when they're alone or in groups, so I don't think it's a peer pressure thing. It has been like this at all three schools where I have taught. It's a cultural quirk that I find very bizarre.

One day, a kid will be very friendly, saying, "Hello EZE Teacher!" Then, maybe I'll walk through the hallway or greet them in the class room a day or two later by saying, "Hello John" or "Hi Emily" and they might do one of the following:

- shake their head
- wave their hand as if to say "no"
- ask "Why?"

The next day, I'll just ignore them in the hallway or wherever since I don't want to bother them, but they'll usually be saying "Hello EZE Teacher!" and acting very friendly and excited again. Very strange. This is the only country where I've seen kids do this and it has happened hundreds of times.
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schwa



Joined: 18 Jan 2003
Location: sokcho

PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 2:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Scorpion wrote:
I might be wrong, but I don't think the OP is talking about children.

Yeh, my comment was a response to 12ax7's comment.

But as I mentioned earlier, I dont get the adults not responding thread-starter either. Teaching colleagues, admin staff, shopkeepers, restaurant workers, bar workers, clinic staff, bus & taxi drivers, etc, even cardboard collectors! that I've encountered a few times acknowledge me back anywhere.

Gad, I sound like an apologist, but living in Sokcho I have never felt overtly snubbed.
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schwa



Joined: 18 Jan 2003
Location: sokcho

PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 3:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

EZE wrote:

- shake their head
- wave their hand as if to say "no"
- ask "Why?"

I think you're misinterpreting the gesture. Korean kids do this quite commonly (though curiously, Korean adults when questioned about it deny it ever happens). Its not meant in an unfriendly way, I sometimes get it from my best students. Maybe they just dont want to engage in english small talk right now, fair enough, their call. Or maybe its just an automatic adolescent response without any real meaning.

"Why?" just means "what?" A mistranslation of a common Korean response.


Last edited by schwa on Sat Feb 16, 2013 3:07 am; edited 1 time in total
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chungbukdo



Joined: 22 Aug 2010

PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 3:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Once I worked at an English hakwon, but none of the other 12 Korean staff members talked to me because they couldn't speak English. They could only teach it (in writing, sort of). And the parents of the students paid $400 per month to put their kids under their tutelage because they are wise and discriminating consumers of educational services.
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12ax7



Joined: 07 Nov 2009

PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 3:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

schwa wrote:
12ax7 wrote:
Wait until you've taught in excess of 10 000 people like I have. A student not saying 'Hi!' when I'm walking downtown? As if I care. It's not as if I'll remember him or her in a couple of months.

I've taught in excess of 10000 students, all in one same area. I recognize a great many of them even years later & those I dont certainly remember me. Again, maybe its a small town thing, but I've come to expect cheerful acknowledgement whenever I encounter my former students. On a typical stroll through downtown I'll be greeted by name a few times, called out to across the street, waved & smiled at, introduced to parents, even hugged. Warm-hearted kids, teens, & many who are young adults now.


I teach at university, so it's different. Most of my students leave after graduation, never to return again...But, a few of them have become my friends. I'm still good friends with a student who was in the very first class I taught here (on the first day I arrived, nonetheless) and I recently started working out at the gym with a guy was my student nearly a decade ago. So, it's not as if I'm some grumpy old man.
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cdninkorea



Joined: 27 Jan 2006
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 5:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Squire wrote:
I have a co-teacher the same age as me and we get on great, but we'll never just chat outside of classes or situations where she's obliged to speak to me regarding holidays, festivals and contract renewal. The only female staff members I ever speak to in the afternoons or outside of school have been at least 30 and usually old enough to be my mum. It's possible I'm a freak, but I don't think that's true. This sort of situation wouldn't happen back home. The younger the co-worker the more they avoid me


My wife, a Korean public school teacher, says that happens because the young teachers don't want anyone to think they're dating you if they're alone with you outside of school. Seems odd to me that a) people might be so judgmental and b) they would give a damn. But that's what she said.
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Steelrails



Joined: 12 Mar 2009
Location: Earth, Solar System

PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 9:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Basically this is one manifestation of the people who get butt-hurt that not everyone here loves them and treats them as special, but everyone here should. Heck, they probably feel the same back home. Me me me me me me me.

Of course if people actually did stop and say hi to them all the time, they'd turn around and gripe about it.

"I can't go out in public without people I know wanting to always talk to me. Back home people could tell you were busy and just let you alone. Not here."
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