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  • Cyanea
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1368

    • September 04, 2016, 01:48:24 pm
    • Las Vegas
Five facts about Korea
« on: January 24, 2020, 01:23:57 am »

Please impart your wisdom about Korea for any newbies considering teaching here, in five random facts.


Ok I'll start:

Korea can be great but only if you put a massive effort into it. You can have a positive experience but.. that is mostly on you.
Korean food is healthy and there are lots of tasty dishes.
ESL in Korea is basically not worth it anymore. The wages are stagnant, the cost of living is shooting up, you can earn more doing a starter job at home.
The Korean workplace is full of bullying. If you stick up for yourself, you will be non-renewed/ got rid of/ fired.
There are authentic and original experiences to be had here if you get out of the expat bubble and have a sense of curiosity or adventure.
Catch my drift?


  • L I
  • Waygook Lord

    • 5211

    • October 03, 2011, 01:50:58 pm
Re: Five facts about Korea
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2020, 01:37:56 am »
Kpop music is excellent.
The air is polluted.
The Korean language is extremely difficult.
Teaching is sometimes satisfying, sometimes not.
University jobs aren't easy to get anymore. Market seems to be on the decline overall at all levels.


Re: Five facts about Korea
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2020, 03:54:07 am »
If Korean food makes you lose weight it's only because it constantly gives you the runs and other gastro issues. It is NOT healthy, and it's often full of sugar. It's almost always made with rotten or semi-rotten low quality ingredients.
Quote
Quote from: Mr.DeMartino on Yesterday at 01:40:32
    Trump is a liar and a con man.
Quote
Quote from Mr.DeMartino on June 14, 2019 at 02:28:07
Donald Trump is a lying sack of shit


  • VanIslander
  • Moderator LVL 1

    • 2042

    • June 02, 2011, 10:12:19 am
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Re: Five facts about Korea
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2020, 05:58:59 am »
1. The cities are congested but there are plenty of countryside farms and nature-hiking spots.
2. Foreign teachers are treated like dogs: some are loved like pets, some are feared despite their non-threatening appearance and some are eaten up.
3. People in the provinces love their nation, their capital city but not the other provinces.
4. It is the land of the morning cleaning crews of old people.
5. The youth are adopting English swear words like never before.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2020, 06:00:46 am by VanIslander »


  • stoat
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1733

    • March 05, 2019, 06:36:13 pm
    • seoul
Re: Five facts about Korea
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2020, 07:49:59 am »
Not many of these sound like 'facts' so far.


  • oglop
  • The Legend

    • 4323

    • August 25, 2011, 07:24:54 pm
    • Seoul
Re: Five facts about Korea
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2020, 10:31:26 am »
Not many of these sound like 'facts' so far.
beat me to it

i agree with magorhaggor though, most korean food seems insanely sugary or salty


Re: Five facts about Korea
« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2020, 02:30:28 pm »
1. South Korea is a densely populated country, a good chunk of which is non-arable mountains, and has little in the way of natural resources. Due to its political situation, it is effectively an island. Consider of all this when making proclamations on prices and other matters related to economics and living conditions.
2. Up until 1988, South Korea was effectively a dictatorship. During that time it saw repeated protests and at one point, a full-on armed uprising in the city of Gwangju. Even after, protests were a regular occurrence. Many people who participated in  this are still working today. Consider this before ranting and raving how no one here does anything or tries to change anything. And before you dismiss some random middle-aged to elderly Korean as some sheep who cares nothing about issues like rights and freedom.
3. The same radar that we have back home of "Uh oh, this can get me in deep shit and potentially fired/sued" exists here too. It's just calibrated to different things. Much of Korea has little consequence for some actions, but there are others where the hammer can come down. Keep your eyes and ears open and play it smooth.
4. This is more of an opinion, but always have an ajosshi/ajumma who knows how to bulldoze people in your back pocket. The guy who can storm into a police station, yell at them and get you out. Be sure to identify this guy/lady. Treat them well. Bring them gifts. Put up with their 4 rounds of drinking and smoke breath and all that. And hold onto that card. Don't play it until you really need to.
5. It's red on the top half, blue on the bottom.


  • VanIslander
  • Moderator LVL 1

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Re: Five facts about Korea
« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2020, 04:04:13 pm »
1. South Korea is a densely populated country, a good chunk of which is non-arable mountains.
This is silly talk.

I have spent over 15 years crisscrossing the country on trips, from Geoje to Gunsan, from Sokcho to Mokpo, from Yeosu to Chuncheon, from Jeonju to Namhae, from Pohang to Wando, and I have driven past COUNTLESS fields and greenery, trees and fields and valleys galore! Get off the express highways between major conjested cities and see the space and openness and greenery.

Koreans love to clump together. The perfect metaphor for the population geography is how Korean theater employees assign seats directly around other people, so even when the theater is 70% empty of people, you are surrounded be people! (Lol. Back home the assumption is you want your own space, and you are suggested seats away from others.)

EDIT: To be fair, if by "a good chunk" you meant nothing more than the trivially true  observation that there are a lot of mountains in most provinces and a chunk could be 30% or 40%. Then, yeah. But that doesn't reflect the huge disparity between urban and rural population density rates in South Korea.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2020, 04:09:35 pm by VanIslander »


Re: Five facts about Korea
« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2020, 06:48:10 pm »
The mountains in South Korea would be considered hills in many other countries. Koreans refuse to live on these hills because they think only poor people live on hills. Also Koreans don't plow roads in the winter so the hills become deathtraps where you wouldn't want to live or do farming.

An underrated fact: if you don't count joke-ass city states like Monaco and Macau and so on, South Korea must be one of the most consistently densely populated countries on Earth. Even rural towns are set up like a dense urban neighborhood. It's pretty hard to get away from people in South Korea.

Another fact: Koreans are some of the most unproductive workers in the developed world. So next time someone whines about useless lazy English teachers, you can rest easy knowing that you're accomplishing as much work as two Koreans would be capable of. I'm sure Gyopotino will stomp in here and whine a bunch and yet again remind us that he spends all day shitposting on Waygook instead of doing any kind of useful work.

Quote
Quote from: Mr.DeMartino on Yesterday at 01:40:32
    Trump is a liar and a con man.
Quote
Quote from Mr.DeMartino on June 14, 2019 at 02:28:07
Donald Trump is a lying sack of shit


  • VanIslander
  • Moderator LVL 1

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Re: Five facts about Korea
« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2020, 07:03:54 pm »
...Even rural towns are set up like a dense urban neighborhood. It's pretty hard to get away from people in South Korea....
Have you ever honestly bought or rented a motor vehicle and tried????

It is not as hard as you may think (once you get out of metro Seoul, head southeast or southwest of Jeonju).

Most of my memories of this country are non-urban. I live in a small town. I was a boy scout so i love camping. I have my own vehicle. I find countless uncrowded beaches and green rural areas.

Gawd, I should write a book. (Er,.. i guess it should be a vlog these days but i fxxx at tech).


Re: Five facts about Korea
« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2020, 07:14:57 pm »
My first year in Korea was in a town of about 20,000 people, in a county of about 40,000. Tiny by Korean standards, yet the entire town was like an urban neighborhood with densely packed buildings and narrow alleyways. There were some older high-rise apartment buildings and they were building some new ones. Once you got to the edge of the town it was nonstop rice paddies for miles and miles though.

The only part of Korea that really feels empty to me is Gangwon, but even that has some massive cities. Korea just doesn't really have massive empty areas like say the US. It's the size of Indiana but has 7 times more people.
Quote
Quote from: Mr.DeMartino on Yesterday at 01:40:32
    Trump is a liar and a con man.
Quote
Quote from Mr.DeMartino on June 14, 2019 at 02:28:07
Donald Trump is a lying sack of shit


  • VanIslander
  • Moderator LVL 1

    • 2042

    • June 02, 2011, 10:12:19 am
    • Seogwipo, Jeju Island
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Re: Five facts about Korea
« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2020, 08:38:45 pm »
... Once you got to the edge of the town it was nonstop rice paddies for miles and miles though. ..
Agreed.

This country fits into my home province of B.C. Canada TEN TIMES but, like back home, population density is localized. If you visit Vancouver, Burnaby, Surrey, Richmond, and other metro areas you would think the country is pretty urban. It ain't. Just the people are localized. Not as densely as Koreans huddle, but more than a trip around the country would show.


  • z80
  • Expert Waygook

    • 661

    • August 24, 2014, 07:34:50 pm
Re: Five facts about Korea
« Reply #12 on: January 24, 2020, 10:22:09 pm »
If Korean food makes you lose weight it's only because it constantly gives you the runs and other gastro issues. It is NOT healthy, and it's often full of sugar. It's almost always made with rotten or semi-rotten low quality ingredients.

This is spot on. What the hell is it with men's asses exploding in the public/my work toilets? Do Koreans think their asses and poo exploding like a hand grenade is normal?
People have to understand that Korean food is made to avoid starvation rather than any thing else.
The whole rotten or semi-rotten low quality ingredients is why I found I liked most Korean food back home but here it's just terrible.


  • Cyanea
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1368

    • September 04, 2016, 01:48:24 pm
    • Las Vegas
Re: Five facts about Korea
« Reply #13 on: January 25, 2020, 01:01:07 am »
This is spot on. What the hell is it with men's asses exploding in the public/my work toilets? Do Koreans think their asses and poo exploding like a hand grenade is normal?
People have to understand that Korean food is made to avoid starvation rather than any thing else.
The whole rotten or semi-rotten low quality ingredients is why I found I liked most Korean food back home but here it's just terrible.

Its probably all the fermented gimchi/ methane.

That and the ageing populace= flatulence.

What I will say for the korean diet is that the large amounts of garlic is very healthy.
Catch my drift?


Re: Five facts about Korea
« Reply #14 on: January 25, 2020, 04:00:33 pm »

The whole rotten or semi-rotten low quality ingredients is why I found I liked most Korean food back home but here it's just terrible.

Yep. Korean food in the West is pretty good because it's made with good steak/chicken/seafood and other good ingredients. In Korea the ingredients are whatever they didn't sell last month, and usually a massive pile of sugar thrown in to stretch out the taste as well.
Quote
Quote from: Mr.DeMartino on Yesterday at 01:40:32
    Trump is a liar and a con man.
Quote
Quote from Mr.DeMartino on June 14, 2019 at 02:28:07
Donald Trump is a lying sack of shit


  • KimDuHan
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1339

    • January 15, 2015, 11:48:59 am
    • Seoul
Re: Five facts about Korea
« Reply #15 on: January 26, 2020, 03:14:35 am »
Yep. Korean food in the West is pretty good because it's made with good steak/chicken/seafood and other good ingredients. In Korea the ingredients are whatever they didn't sell last month, and usually a massive pile of sugar thrown in to stretch out the taste as well.

The worst food I’ve ever seen served was in Ilsan, Korea. It was a salad that had literal flies in it.

They flew out when my coworker touched the salad. Inspecting the salad more we found the inside lettuce to be rotten.

Korean restaurant quality right there.


Re: Five facts about Korea
« Reply #16 on: January 26, 2020, 05:33:09 am »
Yep. Korean food in the West is pretty good because it's made with good steak/chicken/seafood and other good ingredients. In Korea the ingredients are whatever they didn't sell last month, and usually a massive pile of sugar thrown in to stretch out the taste as well.
Korean food in the U.S. sucks. Tastes pretty bad compared to the food here. U.S. chicken's have less flavor and are brown for massive breasts. U.S. beef doesn't work great with Korean food and Korean food doesn't work great with a lot of European dishes.

Dude, you might be more credible if you toned down the hyperbole on this.


Re: Five facts about Korea
« Reply #17 on: January 26, 2020, 05:39:53 am »
The mountains in South Korea would be considered hills in many other countries. Koreans refuse to live on these hills because they think only poor people live on hills. Also Koreans don't plow roads in the winter so the hills become deathtraps where you wouldn't want to live or do farming.
Well, that and the whole risk of mudslide thing. I mean in the Seoul area, everything has been civil engineered so the hills they live on here are fine, but in other areas, it would be really expensive to get it up to code there.

Quote
An underrated fact: if you don't count joke-ass city states like Monaco and Macau and so on, South Korea must be one of the most consistently densely populated countries on Earth. Even rural towns are set up like a dense urban neighborhood. It's pretty hard to get away from people in South Korea.
Agreed

Quote
Another fact: Koreans are some of the most unproductive workers in the developed world. So next time someone whines about useless lazy English teachers, you can rest easy knowing that you're accomplishing as much work as two Koreans would be capable of. I'm sure Gyopotino will stomp in here and whine a bunch and yet again remind us that he spends all day shitposting on Waygook instead of doing any kind of useful work.
That doesn't mean they're unproductive. A U.S. teacher isn't achieving double the output of a Korean teacher, nor is a U.S. factory worker. It is reflective of the purchasing power and value attached to the goods produced. For example, 1 Norwegian worker could work in oil production, and generated $200 worth of oil per hour. This is because Norway has access to petroleum/NG reserves. Meanwhile, lacking such reserves, a Korean would instead have to engage in say, textile labor, running a chicken shop, etc. In that case they might only generate $100 in an hour.

There are things like Koreans working 8 hours and then generating 2 hours of worthlessness because everyone is sitting at work, waiting for the boss to go home, but to use that chart to say Koreans are half as productive, top to bottom, is an incredible fail of economic understanding and statistical analysis.


Re: Five facts about Korea
« Reply #18 on: January 26, 2020, 09:25:02 am »
Except even factory workers are really unproductive even though they work reasonable hours and are paid well. It's not like they can get away with sleeping for hours at work or doing nothing all day like like Korean office workers would.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-autos-hyundai-labour/hyundai-union-stuck-in-a-marriage-of-inconvenience-idUSBRE9A802K20131109

Quote
SEOUL (Reuters) - It takes twice as long on average - over 28 hours - for Hyundai Motor Co (005380.KS) to make a car in South Korea than in the United States, even though its domestic plants have far more workers for each production line.

Add in high wages, frequent industrial action and outdated facilities, and Hyundai’s hourly labor costs per worker in South Korea, at 24,778 won ($22.26), are 16 percent higher than at its U.S. factories, and triple what they are in China.

Its seven domestic plants have driven Hyundai to become the world’s fifth-largest auto manufacturer, but are now a legacy asset that need to be addressed to sustain profit growth. It may make more sense, economically, for the company to close a plant it built 45 years ago - one of five in Ulsan - that is now its oldest and costliest facility.
Quote
Quote from: Mr.DeMartino on Yesterday at 01:40:32
    Trump is a liar and a con man.
Quote
Quote from Mr.DeMartino on June 14, 2019 at 02:28:07
Donald Trump is a lying sack of shit


  • fka
  • Expert Waygook

    • 596

    • September 05, 2019, 06:37:44 pm
    • Seoul
Re: Five facts about Korea
« Reply #19 on: January 26, 2020, 10:22:10 am »
Quote
That doesn't mean they're unproductive. A U.S. teacher isn't achieving double the output of a Korean teacher, nor is a U.S. factory worker. It is reflective of the purchasing power and value attached to the goods produced. For example, 1 Norwegian worker could work in oil production, and generated $200 worth of oil per hour. This is because Norway has access to petroleum/NG reserves. Meanwhile, lacking such reserves, a Korean would instead have to engage in say, textile labor, running a chicken shop, etc. In that case they might only generate $100 in an hour.

There are things like Koreans working 8 hours and then generating 2 hours of worthlessness because everyone is sitting at work, waiting for the boss to go home, but to use that chart to say Koreans are half as productive, top to bottom, is an incredible fail of economic understanding and statistical analysis.

https://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/sites/b2774f97-en/1/2/8/1/index.html?itemId=/content/publication/b2774f97-en&mimeType=text/html&_csp_=11d9839f3d9224cfd95c09c235f434d0&itemIGO=oecd&itemContentType=book

^ This is how those stats were compiled.

A summary:

Quote
The indicators presented in this publication are drawn from the OECD Productivity Statistics (database), which provides a consistent set of annual estimates of labour, capital and multifactor productivity growth, unit labour costs and many other related indicators as a tool to analyse the drivers of economic growth in OECD member countries and emerging economies. The database includes the following indicators:

GDP per capita and labour productivity levels
Growth in labour productivity
Measures of labour input, such as total hours worked and total persons employed
Measures of capital input, as an aggregate and by type of capital good
Share of labour costs in the total cost of production
Multifactor productivity growth
Unit labour costs and labour compensation