Disclaimer: I’m having a bad day and I’m jut gripping and complaining after I’ve somewhat recovered from my hissy fit.

Something that troubles me while living here in Korea. If the double standards in regards to respect. Depending on the conjugation of the verb, shows the level of respect and there are levels of respect institutionalized into the society. But there’s a curious casual use and disuse of respect.

For example in my work office at Singa. Technically everyone is the same level as far as work goes, so you can demand anything of anyone, like turning down headphone volume, computer volume, etc. I do actually listen to my music or watch stuff on the Internet at a lower volume than usual because there are ten of us shoved into a classroom. But my 5thgrade co-teacher makes it a point to complain that I need to turn everything down when I can hear her stuff with my headphones on. I’ve never said anything to her because there’s ten of us in a small room and so I’m able to hear everyone else’s stuff. So today, she made my 6th grade co-teacher (because she’s younger than her) talk to me about the volume of my iPod. Because she knew what I would say about her music and because she could make my 6th grade co-teacher since she’s ten years younger than her. So basically she can have loud music or movies but no one else can.

So lunch starts at 12:10 everyday. Since I don’t have a homeroom class, I eat lunch in the teacher’s room with the other teachers from my office, the nurses, the librarians, office workers, etc. I generally teach the entire 40 minutes so that my fourth period class gets the same information as the other classes. Not all the other subject teachers do that. So if you stay the entire time, your lunch will be rice and kimchi, which is usually fine for me. But I had to go to the bathroom before I went to eat and there was a small bit of rice and that was it. I go into the lunch room and there are people in there withhuge mounds of food. I should take a picture to show you how ridiculous that about twelve people have taken about 60% of the food. On a regular day the rice pot is huge, a child could take a (bucket) bath in it, about a 10 gallon soup bucket, the kimchi bowl/bucket is about 5 gallons big, the same for the meat bowl/bucket, and there’s usually another vegetable bowl/bucket. It’s more difficult for me to eat since I don’t eat pig any day of the week and I don’t eat meat on Wednesdays or Fridays.  So the ending of lunch was me having 10 minutes to eat cold rice from the cafeteria before my afternoon class started.

I haven’t been too happy to say the least today. And part of me is just frustrated, because with lunch, you know that there are about twenty teachers that need to eat and twelve have overflowing plates and the last two or three have only rice on their plates. And when you ask the cafeteria for more food, they get upset because you’re basically telling them that they didn’t do a good job of providing enough food for the teachers. And the part of the frustration is that there’s so emphasis on having harmony and respect with others but make sure that you get yours first and then think about others.

Or talk to me only in Korean and then tell me that if I stay in Korea long enough, I may be able to learn what being Korean is and be able to speak and understand Korean. I just have to shake my head at all of this.


2 responses to “R-E-S-P-E-C…T?

  1. I”m sorry there are some people who are making your days so tough. I know that it’s hard at times to keep them from getting you down, but keep your head up! You’re an awesome person; too awesome, I add, to be weighed down by these inconsiderate acts. I’m in a bit of a funk today too. I don’t really know why, but it’s one of those days where I just want to be somewhere quiet and where I’m relatively isolated. My co-teachers are much easier to get long with than those two (now one) that you’ve been working with… I’m sorry. =(

    • baikeunsook

      It’s okay. In the afternoon, the teachers’ meeting was actually a seminar on stress and lowering stress and how you treat other teachers will affect their stress. It’s interesting to me that my 5th grade co-teacher complains that the kids don’t like her and that she has no one to do things with, but what she doesn’t see is how she treats other people and how that affects how people see her.

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