Sunday, February 19, 2012

Pow uh

English is power here. We're able to come here and work because of this simple fact. Students marvel at our ability to speak. They desire it. Their place in life here depends very much on how well they'll test in English. Even though most of our students can't speak it, they certainly know it.

Businesses write their signs in English, even though most don't read it when it's on a storefront. The business uses english to show they are progressive and sophisticated. Nearly every business does this here. The biggest businesses use english almost exclusively on their signs, even though it's wasted on 99% of the public.

Everybody wears shirts in english. It doesn't matter what it says, it doesn't matter if it's grammatically correct, it doesn't matter if it's nonsensical. Most students, if you ask them what their shirt says, they have no idea. They haven't even bothered to read it. That's because what it says isn't the point; the point is it isn't in Korean.

We get special treatment because we speak english. We aren't expected to know Korean, in fact it's usually the other way around. I had to return something to a grocery store a few months ago, and I went with a Korean friend. They said that usually they don't allow returns, but because she was with me that they would do it.

Walking down the street, children will yell "Hello, nice to meet you, I'm fine and you!!!" Like I said, they know english but they can't speak it. It's so strange having this power that I was born with, yet it's so coveted. Sometimes we feel like superheros that have a really lame power.

1 comment:

  1. Funny thing is, in America we value our language skills less and less. Or so it seems to me.