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  • plan b
  • Super Waygook

    • 366

    • March 22, 2013, 11:53:06 am
    • Korea
Re: People reacting rudely when you ask for help
« Reply #20 on: November 24, 2020, 10:46:51 am »
Seoul is kind of notorious for that, you're not the first to say that people from Seoul walk with a "Don't talk to me, get away from me, I'm in a hurry, I hate my life." expression on their face.

If I were to point at something distinctly Korean, I'd say it's something Koreans call "Jeong".

Odds are, you'll only find the positive definition of "Jeong" when you ask a Korean what it means or read about it. In it's nicest sense, it sort of means caring for and being sensitive to the needs of those who you've formed a bond with.

The flip side is that those who are not within your inner-circle/clique are viewed with complete indifference. So, the worst of people aren't going to give a crap about inconveniencing strangers (parking illegally, driving like an asshole, cutting in line etc.) because they're not part of their circle. This could explain why nobody wants to talk to or help strangers, Korea is a very cliquey society.

This cannot be emphasized enough.. Koreans are really nice to you if they know you, but to strangers, not so much. You would be hard pressed to find a Korean to spit on you if you were on fire. These people are simply cut from a different cloth.


Re: People reacting rudely when you ask for help
« Reply #21 on: November 24, 2020, 11:01:36 am »
This cannot be emphasized enough.. Koreans are really nice to you if they know you, but to strangers, not so much. You would be hard pressed to find a Korean to spit on you if you were on fire. These people are simply cut from a different cloth.
I think that's a bit much. There's far more the various peoples of the world have in common and far more significantly than the many real and imagined differences some claim exist.


  • fka
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1006

    • September 05, 2019, 06:37:44 pm
    • Seoul
Re: People reacting rudely when you ask for help
« Reply #22 on: November 24, 2020, 11:05:46 am »
I disagree about the help thing in Korea. I've had quite a few random strangers give me "above and beyond" levels of help in my time here.
My first experience in Korea, I'd just arrived, and was taking the bus, got off 1 stop too early and decided to walk to my hotel from there (only added like  5 - 10 mins walking time). The young lady that got off with me had her dad pick her up. When they started to see me walking, they gave me a ride right to the hotel.

I wouldn't even get that level of help back home, and if I was offered it, I'd probably assume they were doing something sketchy.

This has been my experience, by and large. I've also seen, on a few occasions, English-speaking Koreans help foreigners on the Seoul subway when they seem unsure about whether to get off the train or how to transfer in the station. I think the big city / small town friendliness divide is largely a cultural myth, here and abroad. Plenty of insular, standoffish people in more rural areas and open, gregarious people in big cities.


  • Kyndo
  • Moderator LVL 1

    • 2295

    • March 03, 2011, 09:45:24 am
    • Gyeongsangbuk-do
Re: People reacting rudely when you ask for help
« Reply #23 on: November 24, 2020, 11:07:08 am »
...from Alabama to Wyoming.
You had to make things political? Going off on Red states? Actually the folks from around those parts are some are the friendliest you can find. Way friendlier than more urban areas.

Even I, one of those poor unfortunate souls who isn't lucky enough to call the USofA home, know that the king of pumpkins used those 2 particular states because they bracket all the others when listed alphabetically.

... but you knew that too, so I'm guessing your comment was just sarcasm, and I should delete my comment, but I've already invested all this effort so no.   :blank:
« Last Edit: November 24, 2020, 11:08:48 am by Kyndo »


  • 745sticky
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1446

    • March 26, 2020, 01:52:57 pm
    • Korea
Re: People reacting rudely when you ask for help
« Reply #24 on: November 24, 2020, 11:10:35 am »
... but you knew that too, so I'm guessing your comment was just sarcasm, and I should delete my comment, but I've already invested all this effort so no.   :blank:

You can never be sure on this website


Re: People reacting rudely when you ask for help
« Reply #25 on: November 24, 2020, 12:10:55 pm »
This cannot be emphasized enough.. Koreans are really nice to you if they know you, but to strangers, not so much. You would be hard pressed to find a Korean to spit on you if you were on fire. These people are simply cut from a different cloth.

I definitely wouldn't say it's that bad, even as a hyperbole. My point was that the culture of 'Jeong' has a nasty side, but not all Koreans are going to follow traditional Korean culture, to the tee. Funnily enough, my CT at today's school constantly tells me how she loathes Korean culture (particularly the bullying, gossip, backstabbing etc.), she was actually in the process of emigrating, before the virus came around. Yes, she's a small sample group, but many Koreans, particularly the younger generation, would be happy to help a stranger (as long as they feel safe).

When I visited California, I was kind of taken aback with how easily people strike up a conversation with strangers, even from the perspective of a Capetonian where chatting to a stranger while you're in the queue is perfectly normal. Korea, Japan and China are places where people generally don't chat to strangers. This isn't a bad thing, just different.

I've never been the type to ask people for help, so, I can't draw from too many personal experiences. I can only comment on culture.


  • Kayos
  • The Legend

    • 2150

    • March 31, 2016, 07:13:57 pm
    • NZ
Re: People reacting rudely when you ask for help
« Reply #26 on: November 24, 2020, 12:14:52 pm »
This has been my experience, by and large. I've also seen, on a few occasions, English-speaking Koreans help foreigners on the Seoul subway when they seem unsure about whether to get off the train or how to transfer in the station. I think the big city / small town friendliness divide is largely a cultural myth, here and abroad. Plenty of insular, standoffish people in more rural areas and open, gregarious people in big cities.

I agree.
The story I mentioned happened in Uijeongbu.
I've got other stories like this, from both big cities and small rural areas too.
And I'm definitely not good looking as well. (for Kyndo's point) :p


Re: People reacting rudely when you ask for help
« Reply #27 on: November 24, 2020, 12:41:26 pm »
You had to make things political? Going off on Red states? Actually the folks from around those parts are some are the friendliest you can find. Way friendlier than more urban areas.

Scusi. Without four simultaneous threads about whatshisface winning the whosawhatsit I have very few outlets for my partisan rancor anymore.

You can never be sure on this website
I actually took stoat to be serious when I first quoted him, but I let my comment stand after I realized that my own sarcasm could also be interpreted as playing off his rather than being critical of it, like laying a Draw 2 on another Draw 2 in Uno rather than a Reverse, as was my original intention, to put it in layman’s terms everyone can understand.


  • shostager
  • Super Waygook

    • 367

    • November 06, 2012, 06:08:10 am
Re: People reacting rudely when you ask for help
« Reply #28 on: November 24, 2020, 12:53:12 pm »
I'm one of those people that will probably do my best to ignore you, unless you're clearly lost or something.

Part of this is because one of the first strangers (in my first week) to talk to me instantly asked "Are you Russian?" and went from there, even when I assured him I was not (and didn't know what he was implying, at the time).

In Korea, foreigners get more of the benefit of the doubt (are more likely to be lost). In my experience, Koreans who approach me either want me to join their church, or want me to tutor them / their child / their relative (though this happened more when I was living more rurally). I could never imagine just grabbing a rando off the street and asking them to teach my child, even if they were likely to be a teacher.

For the tutor-seekers, I would either A) tell them it's illegal for me to teach off-contract, B) suggest tutors I actually did know who wanted new students, or C) suggest that they come to the English discussion group at the local uni I was a part of (some very high levels there, it was more of a social group, of which I was just one member). People never seemed to take me up on B or C. *shrug*

For the church people, if I catch the vibes early enough and can't ignore, I suddenly become a Spanish speaker who knows 0 English. This will work, hopefully, until I catch that overachiever who also speaks Spanish.

Ignoring people is my first instinct now, unfortunately or not. My mother-in-law was unhappy when I did it last Chuseok on our family walk, but man, it was clearly a church ajeosshi trying to get my attention.


  • Kyndo
  • Moderator LVL 1

    • 2295

    • March 03, 2011, 09:45:24 am
    • Gyeongsangbuk-do
Re: People reacting rudely when you ask for help
« Reply #29 on: November 24, 2020, 01:03:45 pm »
Ignoring people is my first instinct now, unfortunately or not. My mother-in-law was unhappy when I did it last Chuseok on our family walk, but man, it was clearly a church ajeosshi trying to get my attention.

What do you figure he'd have lead with?
 "Are you Russian?" or "Do you know God the Mother?"


  • shostager
  • Super Waygook

    • 367

    • November 06, 2012, 06:08:10 am
Re: People reacting rudely when you ask for help
« Reply #30 on: November 24, 2020, 01:13:24 pm »
What do you figure he'd have lead with?
 "Are you Russian?" or "Do you know God the Mother?"

I certainly hope that he wouldn't be trying to solicit a prostitute in front of an entire Korean family, one of whom is clearly close to her (I was either holding my husband's hand at the time, or walking right next to him), but you never know.

I've only gotten the Russian question once though, thank goodness.


  • tylerthegloob
  • The Legend

    • 2523

    • September 28, 2016, 10:46:24 am
    • Busan
    more
Re: People reacting rudely when you ask for help
« Reply #31 on: November 24, 2020, 01:22:25 pm »
i got the russian question once (and im a dude). a taxi driver said something in russian to me while i was waiting for the bus. i guess i looked confused so he asked me if i was russian in korean. i told him im american and then he got back in his taxi and drove away  :shocked:
more gg more skill


Re: People reacting rudely when you ask for help
« Reply #32 on: November 24, 2020, 01:27:20 pm »
I certainly hope that he wouldn't be trying to solicit a prostitute in front of an entire Korean family, one of whom is clearly close to her (I was either holding my husband's hand at the time, or walking right next to him), but you never know.

I've had a couple older Korean men ask me this while I was out running errands with my male coTs, lmao. And while I was with some female relatives. Of course my male coTs knew what they were asking and ran them off. Female relatives had no idea and I had to explain it to them, and one of them still doesn't believe me, haha.

Some of these guys just don't give a ****, they probably thought I was a prostitute with a john.


Re: People reacting rudely when you ask for help
« Reply #33 on: November 24, 2020, 01:58:32 pm »
i got the russian question once (and im a dude).

You must be f****** gorgeous  :-*
« Last Edit: November 24, 2020, 08:56:31 pm by Don Hobak »


Re: People reacting rudely when you ask for help
« Reply #34 on: November 24, 2020, 02:31:13 pm »
I've gotten asked by some older men a couple times in Seoul, by many Russian people (many live near me and go to my Korean classes and they really thought I was Russian despite speaking only English) and nurses at clinics......the older guys I felt creeped out by and by the Russian men too because one tried to follow me however I'm def not attractive so .....although I still don't know why the nurses etc asked me because they did see my ARC that says USA.....

I am very wary of guys trying to talk to me though because they act like they want to be friendly but its about other things....one guy not Korean decided to take the opportunity to grab me multiple times on a subway too crowded to move an inch.....lucky for him I couldn't move or I might have used my taekwondo on him

I've not experienced too many rude people if I needed help, as long as I asked in Korean...only one I can remember is when I asked the school security guy where the office was on my first day....he was rude and to this day refuses to acknowledge when I greet him


Re: People reacting rudely when you ask for help
« Reply #35 on: November 24, 2020, 08:44:38 pm »
Yeah, the flipside of this is that I often react rudely to unsolicited “help” or casual “let me use you to show off my English” “conversations” initiated by strangers. Though now I kind of feel slighted that I have never been asked the Russian question before  :sad: Maybe I’m so attractive the answer is obvious?? I wonder how actual Russians answer that question...



  • confusedsafferinkorea
  • Waygook Lord

    • 5732

    • October 08, 2010, 01:02:32 pm
    • Zhubei, Hsinchu County, Taiwan (not part of China)
    more
Re: People reacting rudely when you ask for help
« Reply #36 on: November 24, 2020, 09:27:50 pm »
Never had that experience but I seldom asked for help. I was offered help quite a few times when I was studying the subway map or loading my card for the train. When we were hiking, we occasionally asked for directions and were always helped and many of the Korean men on the trail took a liking to my wife and we were often invited to share their food with them.  So, overall never had a negative experience with that at all.
There is no known medical cure for stupidity!


  • VanIslander
  • Moderator LVL 1

    • 2516

    • June 02, 2011, 10:12:19 am
    • Seogwipo, Jeju Island
    more
Re: People reacting rudely when you ask for help
« Reply #37 on: November 25, 2020, 02:23:09 am »
I have encountered more rude people online than on the streets.

By far.


Re: People reacting rudely when you ask for help
« Reply #38 on: November 25, 2020, 07:07:08 am »
i got the russian question once (and im a dude). a taxi driver said something in russian to me while i was waiting for the bus. i guess i looked confused so he asked me if i was russian in korean. i told him im american and then he got back in his taxi and drove away  :shocked:

He might have thought you were a pimp, haha.


  • tylerthegloob
  • The Legend

    • 2523

    • September 28, 2016, 10:46:24 am
    • Busan
    more
Re: People reacting rudely when you ask for help
« Reply #39 on: November 25, 2020, 07:33:23 am »
damn i really gotta do a self vibe-check. i dont wanna be giving off russian pimp vibes
more gg more skill