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Posts Tagged ‘1960s’

“빨리 빨리”

BBALLI- BBALLI

A pretty common phrase you’ll hear in Korea these days is “빨리 빨리”, which means “hurry, hurry!”  Everything you do, everywhere you go, 빨리 빨리! 빨리 빨리!

I particularly remember Samchon (my host dad) saying this to me numerous times.

We were going somewhere and I was putting on my shoes- 빨리 빨리!

We were about to leave for Emart and I’d be shutting the computer down- 빨리 빨리!

I was getting ready to go to school- 빨리 빨리!

Time for dinner- 빨리 빨리!

I was walking- 빨리 빨리!

Seriously, I have never been so rushed in my life before… and my mom rushes me a lot… and I’m a New Yorker.  I practically grew up in a fast-paced life, but never had I been so… rushed before!  It was like living in a super-sped-up society.

I liked the ring of “빨리 빨리” so it never bothered me much.  In fact, I used it quite often myself to hurry other people!

One day, Samchon explained the phrase 빨리 빨리 to me (don’t ask me why- it was so random… I was putting on my shoes and he went 빨리 빨리! and then started explaining the meaning behind it…).  I learned that 빨리 빨리 is a positive term- it references to Korea’s rapid economic growth around the 1960s.

In the early 20th century, Korea was a very slow-moving country- everyone seemed to be moving at a leisurely pace.  Some say this might have been due to the fact that the Koreans were worn out from the long Korean War.  Not only were the people slow and tired, the country was war-ravaged.  However, this all changed in the 1960s under the rule of Park Chung-hee.  Korea industrialized and went under rapid economic growth through export-oriented industrialization.  Around this time, Koreans started to move faster.  With the 빨리 빨리 mentality, Korea has now developed into a fast and dynamic society.

Personally, I love the phrase 빨리 빨리.  I love how the phrase has a historical and cultural context behind it- it makes me appreciate the term that much more!  I remember coming to California soon after my stay in Korea and it was a HUGE contrast.  I went from 빨리 빨리 to… slow and chill.  It was such a strange adjustment… especially since Californians are known to be really relaxed .  I recall rushing to all of my classes… and seeing people stroll in 5 minutes late.

While it is nice to slow down once in awhile, I miss the 빨리 빨리 culture.  To be honest, I wish some people here would 빨리 빨리(︶︿︶)

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