Friday, July 31, 2009

Pink is my favorite color!

I do like Aerosmith, in fact, but that's not the reason for the title, in case you wondering.

I had promised some more Korean cultural oddities in a previous post, but this isn't it. This is just a hold-you-over, snack type thing till we get to the meat of the situation.

But seriously, Koreans really like pink. And not the girls, either. I mean, they like pink too, but that's sort of to be expected, right? I'm talking about the boys. In the past few days of summer camp (and judging by past experience, this seems to be the norm) I've seen pink polos, pink t-shirts, pink-striped shorts, pink socks, pink Converses, pink pencils and pens, pink notebooks, even pink calculators.

It's sorta weird, but Koreans are very flashy in some areas and extremely conservative when it comes to others. For instance -- the socks. Korean socks are awesome. They're largely pink or yellow, and lots of them have pictures of cartoon characters on them. The guys wear a lot of shiny suits, skinny ties, bright shirts and crazy-colored socks... while the girls seem to settle for more muted colors. Of course, they do tend to wear little skirts and tiny shorts over patterned tights, and ridiculously high-heeled shoes... but generally it's earthy tones, with maybe a purple or green here and there.

This whole randomly-conservative thing persists with cars as well. Basically, you get 3 "colors." Most of the cars you see in Korea are white, black, or silver. You see the occasional red, and lots of the work-specific trucks are navy blue, but for the most part the road is pretty boring when it comes to the colors. However, they make up for the lack of visual excitement in other ways.

Traffic lights in Korea, or at least in the rural areas, are completely voluntary. I can't count the number of times I've been in a car where the driver (a normally respectable Korean citizen, by the way) just decides to go for it. Red lights are more or less suggestions here. If there's no one (that you can see) approaching an intersection, it's perfectly acceptable to just hit the gas and burn through that red light. Actually, it's broader than that. It seems like anything that's physically possible in a car is also borderline legal. If you can pull off a U-turn on a crowded street, due to pedestrians blocking oncoming traffic or a school bus picking up passengers, that's definitely fair game. If you can scream through a crowded intersection without killing anyone, feel free! If you can slam the parking brake, spin the wheel, and pull off a 360 while flipping the car end over end blindly through a crowded market without landing on any small children -- well, not sure that actually happens very often, but if you can -- be my guest! And this is why I decided not to buy a motorcycle here. Well... I don't have license, either, but that's mostly why.

PINK! It's the color of passion!


Hiemann said...

Hey Sean,

My name is Hiemann and I'm from Reliable Teacher Hagwon Review, a site where current and former teachers can share their hagwon and school experiences with other teachers.

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fiel-kun said...

Just dropping by to say annyeong!

Greetings from the Philippines~

I think its a fashion trend in Korea wearing Pink colors.