The Derelict Duplex

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Is Someone Trolling the Gwangju Folk Museum?

Something caught my eye as I perused the Gwangju Folk Museum’s display of traditional opium pipes hair pins.  Apropos of nothing, there was a new-ish painting (since removed) of three Africans with unusual hairstyles that had absolutely no purpose being behind the glass among old artifacts from the Jeollanam-do region.  It didn’t have a label saying what it was or why it was there.  I had to visit the museum twice in the span of a week or so, so I noticed it was missing the second time.  Had to laugh.

This is why I love the Gwangju Folk Museum!

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Korean Rainbows Blaze Across Europe

The latest over at koreaBANG is the hilarious case of the technicolor hiking gear worn by Korean tourists no matter where they go.  Europeans who bother to notice find groups of Koreans in overpriced fruitloop apparel to be incongruous with things like, uh, the center of Rome.

Hiking clothes have become the norm among many South Koreans as clothes they wear when going on a trip. No matter what the destination is– the sea, mountain or whatever, the huge popularity of hiking outfit has reached the point where people see no difference between tourist clothes and hiking clothes. South Koreans’ love of outdoor clothes, without exception, can be seen in their overseas trips as well.

For officials in the European tourist industry, body-hugging hiking outfits in solid colors are emblematic of tourist groups from South Korea.

The problem is local European people often feel strange when they see South Korean tourists in hiking outfits as they find their clothes to be incongruous with the surrounding landscape.

Europeans have historically engaged in many outdoor activities, so Europe of course, also has outdoor clothes in flashy solid colors. However, those clothes are worn so that hikers in distress in snow-covered mountains can easily be found.

Therefore, wearing hiking clothes in the city is unsuitable in the eyes of local Europeans.

Well, what do Europeans, let alone Italians, know about fashion?  Besides, everyone in Korea knows that neon-colored fabric is worn to keep from getting run over by Korean taxi drivers wearing hiking gear of their own.

One official, surnamed Han, at major South Korean tourism agency Hana Tour said, “We advised our customers who go on overseas trips not “to put on hiking clothes in flamboyant solid colors” when they are in a city for sightseeing because they could be stared at by local people there who find their clothes to be an eyesore.

“Hiking clothes worn by South Korean tourists because they are comfortable, or because the clothes are expensive and they want to show them off, have made Koreans a laughingstock in Europe. This has led Europeans to label them as ‘ugly Koreans,’ added Mr. Han.

This is what happens when Koreans get more of the global spotlight they’ve been begging for, good and hard.  But my suspicion is that this piece is more about Korean authors fashion-shaming Korean proles who make their countrymen look ridiculous abroad.

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The Greek Bust of Gwangju

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Parking Tickets Are Korea’s Moon Landing

Smack dab in the middle of Gwangju’s richest neighborhood, the soggy, pinkish patty of breaded chicken that came with my bowl of fried rice seemed determined to run the length of my intestinal tract in record time.  There was no other option save to pull over and paint the nearest porcelain with the fetid, record-breaking bobsled team winding through my bowels.  Not even the candy-apple red Ferrari parked on the street was alluring enough to stop me.

In the restroom of a large coffee shop, I burst through the nearest stall door and beheld a massive yellow submarine that had been left to fester.  The next stall yielded a tinier yellow-brown submarine that was fresher.  The toilets were functioning and there was plenty of toilet paper, yet the previous weight-lifters still decided it wasn’t worth dumping a flush into either of these toilets.  For a time, I tried to imagine the mindset of lazy entitlement it must take to leave a porous log stagnant just for the hell of it.  Men’s rooms in Korea should come with professional midwives to help these grown-assed babies learn to properly pass, wipe and flush after themselves when plumbing conditions are favorable.  Maybe they simply never learned how.  Teach a man to flush…

Thinking about slovenly ajeossis with toddler-entitlement getting their jjigae-stained asscracks wiped by trained nurses kept my mind busy as I squatted, shitblasting a poorly digested lunchshake roughly down and to the back atop the previous turd like putting relish on a hotdog.  I knew I had it good.  There’s been no better time in human history to take a dump than now.  After cleaning up and flushing the way my mom had taught me around the time when I was potty training, I washed my hands the way my mom had also taught me when I was that age.  Old habits die hard.  Among the Koreans I feel like a hopeless conservative in a land of revolutionaries.

*      *      *

Taped to my door two weeks later was a request that I visit the post office to pick up a letter that was waiting for me.  It was a parking ticket given at that exact moment when I was logging out on top of another log thinking of irresponsible ajeossis getting their asses wiped by nurses.  There was my car in the photo with the Ferrari in the background.  It was undeniable proof.  It was also the first ticket I’d ever gotten in Korea—the first piece of evidence that there was in fact an incipient state effort to control illegal parking in this nation of illegal parking.  I smiled.  Somewhere out there, even if it were only in richer areas of big cities, the center was at least pretending to hold.  That may be only one tiny ticket for a man, but it’s one giant leap for Korean-kind.

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“You The Handsome Man!”

Now that catcalling is public enemy de rigueur, it’s interesting to note that many Western men frequently get catcalls here in Korea.  The major difference is that these catcalls don’t come from anyone who could pin us down and meatcleave our insides by force, but instead from obnoxious kids.  Also, these catcalls don’t come from a desire to get in our pants; they usually come from a peculiarly Korean inability to keep from ejaculating as many of the half dozen or so English words they know they know whenever they see a roundeye of pallor.  Half of these words just happen to be ‘you,’ ‘handsome,’ and ‘man.’  The few others are ‘mother,’ ‘father,’ and ‘gentleman.’  Couple this knack for spastic outbursts with East Asian taciturnity and you get these blunt, awkward-sounding kiddie catcalls that sulfurize the air like stale queefs of candor.  Ten hours of walking in front of elementary schools in Korea would yield enough of these toasty kimchi queefs to power a hot air balloon to Dokdo.  It’s outrageous!

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Free Market Failures, Gwangju

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