Tuesday, May 02, 2006
Korean Knock Culture, or Lack Thereof
Well, suddenly the glass looks half empty again. How long did my good mood last, a couple hours? Here is something that enfuriates me about Korea: an awful lot of people here have absolutely no conception of knocking on doors or ringing doorbells. As unbelievable as that sounds, it's just a common courtesy that has been slow to develop in this country. In Japan where a lot of walls are made of paper, I could maybe forgive this. But I lived in Japan for a while and was never rudely intruded upon there. They all seem to have the common sense to realize that people do private things in their houses and it's irrefutably rude, not to mention moronic to just walk into a personal residence. Not a difficult concept to grasp. Or so it would seem. Here being walked in on is a monthly to bi-monthly occurrence for me. Last year I worked for Seogang College in Gwangju and lived on campus in the dormitories. I was walked in on a dozen times. There were two main offenders who both walked in on me a few times each. One maintenance man and one security guard. The guard preferred what I call the "knock-and-walk" style. He would knock and then without heed to my pleas to hang on or wait or changamanyo, (which means wait a minute in Korean), walk right on in. The maintenance guy, just walked right in. The totally bizarre part about the whole thing is that they were not dissuaded one iota when I was wearing only my gotch or when I was in bed fast asleep or even when I was completely naked and they had females in tow. I swear I was in the shower and the maintenance guy walked in with two ladies behind him. They were there to dust the ceiling fans and that job being so urgent, was reason enough not to a) knock or b) stop coming in when they saw me in my dripping wet nakedness. I had to yell at the guy and practically force him out physically before he aborted his fan cleaning mission. My fans remained dusty and unused the entire year. I don't know how many times I yelled at these guys and demonstrated a knock and wait strategy to them but to no avail. I was about ready to, in reference to 40 Cent Fiasco, kick the damn dog. But now that I live in a private residence as opposed to living rent-free in a dorm, I thought the walk ins might dissipate. Aparently not. Tonight I was watching the Kia Tigers play the Doosan Bears on TV. Matt Randall is pitching for Doosan and has the win so far. I was in my underwear with my feet up on my cardboard box ottoman when some guy in a three piece suit carrying a tape measure, (????), just walked right in. I yelled at him, "Hey what the hell?" He kept on coming in. It wasn't until I got up and started walking toward him yelling, "GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE!" and pointing at the hallway that he finally took a step backwards. I pointed at my Homer Simpson undies and yelled, "I'm in my gotch here!" Then I reached the door and knocked for his edification on it, pushed him out and locked the door. Immediately I hear from the other side of the locked door KNOCKING! I grabbed my shorts and while dressing shouted, "Just wait a minute!" By the time I got dressed and got to the door he was gone. Probably lucky for him. I ask you in sincere supplication, WHAT THE FUCK?!?! Is there any explanation for this? Somebody please save the life of the next asshole to do this! I think this may be one area where I might take it upon myself to educate the Korean public one person at a time and with extreme prejudice.