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Posts Tagged ‘history’

“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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Primary Sources 1

A Moment to Remember ( 머리 속의 지우개).2 Dir. John H. Lee, Cha Seoung-jae. CJ             Entertainment, 2004.

Audition (オーディション).3 Dir. Takashi Miike, Satoshi Fukushima. Vitagraph Films, 2000.

Cabot, Meg. The Princess Diaries.4 New York: HarperTeen, 2001.

Chou, Jay.5 Still Fantasy (依然范特西). Sony Music Taiwan, 2006.

DBSK (東方神起). Mirotic (주문).6 SM Entertainment, 2008.

Picoult, Jodi. The Pact.7 New York: Harper Perennial, 1999.

Spencer, LaVyrle. Separate Beds.8 New York: Jove, 1986.

Super Junior (슈퍼주니어).9 Bonamana (미인아). SM Entertainment, 2010.

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1 Hatched on April 28, 1993 in New York, I began my clumsy adventure in search of who “[Kokoseyo]” was.  As a child, I had no other interests except art, specifically fashion designing.  Choosing to do nothing else but draw all day long, I was quite a boring child.  Then, one day, my parents reminded me that I need food to survive and that working as a fashion designer was not going to be enough for me to put food on the table.  Once I dropped fashion designing and began to poke and prod around other activities, I found a different side of myself.  The journey to  discover who I really am is not yet complete.  But, I have traveled a long way since my isolated fashion designing days.

2 All through my elementary and middle school years, I spent every Saturday and Sunday scribbling solutions to difficult math problems.  Sometimes I could not help but look outside the window and see my neighbors playing in their backyard while I was stuck inside working out of a math book.  I could not even pretend to work or shove the book aside and do something else because my dad checked all of my math work; I considered this child labour.  The only thing I was allowed to do during my “break” was play the piano.  When Dad looked over my hard work, he would point out every mistake I made, even if it was a minor one.  It sucked to have no choice but to sit there and listen to my dad explain the “correct way” to solve such and such problems, while my peers were riding bicycles, watching Spongebob Squarepants, etc.  By the time I entered high school, my dad finally gave me more freedom; this was due, in part, to the fact that I had completed every math workbook that was available at the library.  Though I was frustrated with the work as a child, I grew to be proud of my efforts as my high school math courses increasingly became difficult.  When my classmates struggled to understand a topic in class, I knew it like my own birthday.  For the first time, I was thankful of having such a strict and math-loving dad.  Even when I had problems with certain questions here and there, I had a dad who could assist me at any given moment.

Over the years, Dad aged.  His myelin sheath began to wear, essentially affecting his originally sharp math skills.  All Dad does now is watch television and sleep.  He’s forgetful and introverted.  There is an eraser in his head.  “Once your memory is gone, your soul is gone as well.”

3 When I was fourteen years old, I developed an obsession with horror films.  Actually, I would have started watching horror movies earlier, but I did not have the luxury of high-speed internet.  Watching American horror was not enough.  I would be scared for a moment or two, but the feeling came and went.  I was seeking horror films that were going to leave me sleepless and give me nightmares.  Every time I watched a Japanese horror movie, I felt a high.  Starting with Japan’s horror film of the decade, “Audition,” I was captivated by the torture scene at the end and the infamous “body bag” scene.  The movie was so spine tingling that I had to turn away from my computer screen as the man’s foot was being sawed off.  However, I wanted more horror movies.  So I searched for every Japanese horror film that was available on YouTube and Crunchyroll.  When I watched all that there was, I moved on to Korean horror movies.  Everyday, I craved for more horror movies.  Japanese and Korean horror was gorier than American horror; they satisfied my craving for blood and increased my adrenaline.

4 In the third grade, my then best friend and I pretended we were princesses in other worlds that we made up.  We had different teachers, so the only time we were able to talk during school was recess.  While everyone else was on the swings or playing on the jungle gym, we isolated ourselves by these two lone trees- one was my tree and the other was her tree.  All we had to do was touch our fingers to the trunk of the trees to travel to our own imaginary worlds.  Everyday, we took turns going to each other’s “worlds.”  Her world was known as “Dreamland.”  In “Dreamland,” she was the princess and I was her guest.  There, we were able to do anything we dreamt of, so we would prance around and do somersaults.  My world was called “Wishland.”  Similar to the concept of “Dreamland,” I was the princess this time and she was my guest.  “Wishland,” rather than being a carefree and childish place like “Dreamland,” was a world where we would lay on the grass and rest.  Sprawled on the fresh grass and protected under the shade of the “Wishland” tree, we would reminisce about our memories together and about our personal life- the time we went to Boomers and I was too short to drive a cart, so she gave me one of her sandals, the boy that she had a crush on but was too afraid to approach, or what potions we could concoct the next time we had a sleepover.  In “Dreamland” and “Wishland,” it was just the two of us-best friends- with no other thoughts but our childish fancies.

5 My mother is a homemaker.  She is always home cleaning, cooking, and caring for me and my sister.  I spent so much time with her that I am still very attached to her.  She was the one who taught me ABC’s and how to add and subtract.  On top of that, she also taught me a bunch of other little things as I was learning how to speak.  When Dad yelled at me and smacked my forehead for not getting math problems correct, Mom would come to my defense and take those feelings of hurt away.  That time I touched the stove and burned my finger, she gently placed a band-aid around it.  That time I touched a light bulb and burned my finger, once again, Mom yelled at Dad for not watching me.  That time I fell off the kitchen counter and had a bad nosebleed, Mom rolled some tissues to stuff in my nostrils.

Searching for a way out of Communist China, Mom found a way to Macau and then America, her ultimate goal.  She wanted to come to America to give her children the best opportunities available.  Here, she did everything in her power to raise me and my sister to be respectable and filial daughters.  “Listen to mother’s words, don’t let her get hurt.  You want to grow up quickly so that you can take care of her.  Beautiful white hair, growing inside happiness.  Angel’s magic benevolence within her gentleness.”

6 Up until early last year, I only listened to American, Taiwanese, and Japanese music.  For some reason, I never cared to try Korean music, even though I had heard that they have amazing choreography accompanying their music.  One evening, I was cruising on my Facebook, when someone posted up the latest DBSK video, “Mirotic.”  Bored, I was tempted to watch the video.  After watching the music video, I was blown away by the amount of talent DBSK had.  The choreography was extremely complex and the beat was very catchy.  From here on, I changed into a new person.  I was more involved in the Asian entertainment business than ever!  It was weird because one music video, one song, made me respect the Korean culture in a new way.  There is no other word to describe my craze but “obsession.”  Following “Mirotic,” I was on a hunt for other DBSK songs and Korean entertainers.  My friends were so shocked at my change that they asked me “what happened?!”  Beyond Korean music, I grew to like the Korean culture, as a whole, more and more.  I felt the desire to learn the language, eat their food, and experience their lifestyle.  Finally, this summer, I will be traveling to South Korea for a cultural experience- the opportunity I have been waiting so long for.

7 Ever since I was a child, I did not enjoy reading.  Though my parents made me take out books to read, I was never captivated by them.  To me, books were just packets of paper filled with nonsense letters and pointless plots.  The fact was that most of these books were fiction!  I never understood how reading about something that did not even happen was “interesting.”  Despite that I loathed reading, I did it anyway because school work required me to.  Bored, I would skim through chapters and take “breaks” from reading.

When I was in the seventh grade, there was a book recommendation in the New York Post for The Pact by Jodi Picoult.  The summary in the advertisement caught my attention.  For once, I wanted to read something.  As weird as it may seem, after reading this book, I regretted wasting all those years not reading!  People always say that there is magic in reading; though it is sad to say, I finally found the magic of books when I was in the seventh grade.  Books, it seemed, explained things, things that made no sense on any normal occasion.  But, once I read, there were hidden messages and ideas that the author was hinting at.  On many occasions, the different themes of each book helped me understand life from different perspectives.

I spent the rest of that summer entangled in Jodi Picoult books.  Reading every book she had written to date, I was so intrigued with her stories.  By the time I had finished reading all of her books, I grew an appreciation towards reading and English class.  Like never before, I actually listened in English and felt a closer connection to the books I was assigned to read.  Books were no longer distant objects in my life, they were symbols of a new passion I developed.  After Jodi Picoult, I pursued other “thought- inspiring” pieces of work, such as Gone with the Wind, The Count of Monte Cristo, The Five People You Meet in Heaven, Anna Karenina, etc.

8 One of my hobbies is watching dramas.  Early 2008, I began a drama known as “Fated to Love You.”  This drama followed a period of time in my life where I stopped watching dramas for awhile.  I was bored with the same love stories repeated in Taiwanese dramas.  Plus, the silliness in these dramas was getting ridiculous.  I was seeking dramas with more meaning in them, perhaps ones with themes and morals.  “Fated to Love You” introduced something I had never thought about before: fate.  Every person I meet in life is important in some way; they add to my life and make it what it is.

I used to be easily frustrated by my mistakes.  Things that I did wrong never left my thoughts, rather, they remained as a reminder of how stupid I was at one point or another.  Regrets haunted me all the time.  However, I never thought that my life was controlled by something called fate.  Is my life planned out already?  Did fate set everything up to get me to a specific destination?  The strangers that I met and have yet to meet, are they a key to another event in my life?

9 My iTunes was always dominated by soft rock and pop songs.  I was never the type to enjoy upbeat dance music.  For one, it hurt my ears and the music sounded choppy and unflattering.  Especially, I hated techno sounds because it was not real singing.  There are singers with beautiful voices, but choose to hide it with robotic technology.

“Bonamana” was my first experience with a new genre of music.  I am a huge fan of Super Junior, but their new style of music shocked me.  When “Bonamana” was first released, I was surprised at the change in their style of music.  They were experimenting with something called “SJ Funk” and “Bonamana” was supposed to represent this new genre of music.  I neither hated the song, nor liked it at first; my initial reaction was a blank stare.  Something inside me told me to hate the fact that my favorite band was singing a song in the exact type of music I disliked.  On the other hand, I wanted to hit the “replay” button and get up and dance to the song.  Confusion- that was what I felt.

Music is a funny thing.  Especially when it is made by Super Junior.  Beyond “Bonamana,” which I absolutely adore now, I have been and am crazy for anything by Super Junior.  Many people do not think that musicians can change them, but I beg to differ.  Loving Super Junior has  made me do many things I would not have done.  Take “Bonamana” as an example- I never thought that I would listen to upbeat, party music.  It has also been quite an experience learning to dance to some of their songs.  I never enjoyed dancing, until I came across Super Junior.  And everyone can remember their first celebrity crush.  I mean, a celebrity crush is an experience that everyone should have.  Well, Kyuhyun is my first serious celebrity crush.  I’ll be honest, I have never liked a celebrity more than Kyuhyun.  It’s quite funny because I know I am such a “fangirl,” but I cannot help but save pictures of Kyu and create collages with them, or write long blog posts about him.  I bet ten to twenty years from now, I’ll be laughing at my behavior.  For now, Kyu is my perfect idol.  We have so much in common, beginning with our names…

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