5/24/2008
Thirty-eighth parallel redux

"Dean's lister ka ba?"

Stuck in traffic, I pretty much had nothing else to do, so I read on.

"Fifty percent discount on all fees!"

And then the sign continued. It was an advertisement for one school, perhaps located in ParaƱaque, since that's where I was earlier. It wasn't really big - just a tarpaulin obscured by traffic - but it somehow cracked me up, and for a darkly funny reason.

Blah, blah, blah, it went, mentioning the name of the school, until it mentioned one thing that's supposed to entice me into studying in that school. Apparently it's got a new management. A new Korean management.

I haven't got anything against the Koreans. Why should I? They have given me, to mention the obvious, kimchi and Sponge. They have given others new teen dramas to rip off and new styles to, err, get inspiration from. In fact, I'm not here to bash them or anything. So far they haven't done wrong, and so far I haven't been annoyed, and it won't seem to go that way for a pretty long time. It's just that, well, they're getting fairly ubiquitous lately.

Gone are the days when a drive down the major thoroughfares of BF Homes in ParaƱaque will only yield signs with squiggly characters coupled with either "church" or "school". Now I see Koreans everywhere - on the bus to school, along school corridors, maybe making some scene at the Alabang Town Center - making the most of the climate and the hospitality we're apparently known for.

They say they're here for the English lessons. Throw in some globalization, and play with some history, and they find themselves learning the world's second most spoken language - it only trails gibberish - because we're good at it and we charge less. As an unintended result, they're somehow starting to change the landscape. Something else to get used to, I guess.

But we're also loving the attention. We're watching a lot of Korean television programs, dubbed by the hundreds of voice talents that we have. Sure, it was triggered when Meteor Garden came to the airwaves and introduced suave haircuts and chinky eyes to a swoony love-starved population, but when we started seeing these Korean dramas... guess it struck a chord.

"Ma-appeal ba Koreano?" I asked Piyar.

"Para sa akin?" she replied. "Sakto lang sila. Para silang... tao din."

Yes, you can blame globalization now, but I guess we can't really do much about their ubiquity. We love them - to an extent, I think - and they love us, too. To an extent. They're probably out there happily paying for their jeepney fare and running around for movie tickets. Perhaps there is something that makes stuff tick, and perhaps - no, most definitely - it's not in our job description to figure that out.

"Singkit. Ibang klaseng buhok at makulay na damit." Perhaps a stereotype, if you believe my interpretation of what Piyar said. "Yung ganong klaseng style at ayos lang sa'kin... pero 'di ko masabing sobrang ma-appeal ito sa akin."

No conclusion yet. But they are really out to change our world. Sure, some are complaining of a so-called Korean invasion - from the south, they'll probably blow up to, well, everywhere else - while some are just shrugging their existence off as temporary. It's just reality working out in one way or another, but I can't help but wonder about what comes next.

"Nagtataka kasi ako," I told Piyar. "The cosmopolitan people have Korean boyfriends."

"Yun nga," she answered back. "Baka uso."

With more signs popping up, more offers coming in, and the love story continuing to develop - oh, wait. I think I struck a chord.

And your responses...

I had a Korean classmate back in high school. Sure she is pretty that makes every guy likes to be with her (I wonder if Dex had a crush on her), but in her case, she is just a pretty little package with nothing in it. XD

Blogger Lizette5/24/2008     

The only part of Korean culture I actually like are some of their movies, especially those starring Jeon Ji-hyun (protagonist of "My Sassy Girl"). But I never really got hooked to their dramas, or to their men. XD

I'm not sure if it's because a lot of my friends and batchmates in the College of Computer Studies are part- or full Chinese, but I still prefer Chinese music and dramas.

But yes, the number of Koreans staying here in the Philippines is increasing every year. Everywhere I go, be it Glorietta or DLSU, I always see a Korean or two. Or perhaps more.

Blogger Adette5/25/2008     

Niko,

Ack! Do you know, I watched SPONGE before!?! Saturdays, 10pm or 9 - it varies. Hahaha! They pronounce it spongeee (yeah there's the extra e's at the end) :P I don't know when it airs now though. Sighs.

It's weird, 'cos I passed by Ongpin earlier, after I've gone to church, and one of the shops were playing F4's "Liu Xing Yu" (or Meteor Garden as translated by MYX). And you write about this. Hahaha! :P

Liz,

Tut tut; it's so obvious you absolutely HATE her, and even that might be an understatement. I never got why you hate her though.

But for the record, I don't like her (I'm actually wondering where that came from). But no, associating yourself with someone does not necessarily mean you're looking at them as a prospect, if you know what I mean.

Adette,

Amen to that! Hahaha! I just saw two on the church a while ago. :P

Anonymous Dexter5/25/2008     

Ay naku Dex, a tupperware will always be a plastic. XD

Blogger Lizette5/25/2008     

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