"Words have no wings, but they can travel a thousand miles" (Korean Proverb)

Welcome to Flying Words, Jon and Aileen's blog of our adventures in South Korea! We will be in South Korea for a year, starting in mid-July, teaching English in a private school. We just graduated from college this past May, and are looking forward to having some adventures before continuing our education. 
We started this blog to keep all our family and friends updated and to share our photos and stories. We hope this is entertaining for you! We will miss you all, and are very thankful to have the internet to keep us in touch. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Kai, Bai, BO!

"Kai, Bai, Bo" is the Korean version of rock, paper, scissors, and I am pretty sure that Koreans use that to decide everything from who will pay the check to the fate of the world. Well, maybe not that last one, but I'm not convinced they couldn't use it during unification.
Case in point. My students are highly competitive. Seriously. They will fight over nothing, and compete for who can finish their work first, and who gets the most answers right....etc. One of my classes assigns each other medals (gold, silver, bronze) in every exercise we do, and even created 3 more ranked categories since there are 6 people in the class. They started fighting over who finished first, seriously fighting, to the point of tears in some of them. So, after that episode, they started doing rock paper scissors to solve the disputes. This worked perfectly. No problem. They completely accept the outcome of this random game. It cracks me up. Something that used to make them fight to the death is now solved by rock paper scissors. 

Not only is RPS a way to solve disputes, but in Korea it's also a game by itself, with an added element. Whoever wins gets to flick the other one in the forehead. Hard. They practice. My students play it all the time. They've even gotten Jon to play with them, but I refuse to get flicked in the forehead. Or flick anyone else. But mostly get flicked. 
The best time I had playing this game...well I guess the only time I played...was waiting for the subway one night in Seoul. It was the night after Joe, Tara and Nate's first night in Korea, and we were heading back to the hostel. This drunk Korean guy came up to us and, after babbling something in Korean he started in with the rock paper scissors motion. So we got the point. So we all played a group game, and then the ones who lost got flicked in the head by, of course, the drunk guy, who, of course, won. We kept playing until the subway came, and getting flicked in the head. It was ... interesting. 

But my favorite RPS story has to be last week at this new bar we found. Our friend Carlos called us and told us where to meet him. The bar is this small dive in the basement of a random building only a few blocks from our apartment. Another foreigner discovered it a few weeks ago, and a week later there were tons of us. There is a lot of imported beer...rare in this city...and it's pretty cheap. The beer is just in fridges in the bar, and you just grab it and they add up the bottles. 
But there was an older Korean guy there with one of the foreigners, he was one of her students. He was really friendly, and bought us a round of drinks. Then, he was talking to the owner of the bar, and then he turned to us and said "Ok, this is the owner. We will play rock paper scissors. I win, he give this beer (shows us 5 bottles of $5 beer). I no win....uh...I will win." 

So they played. And he won. So we got free beer. And later we found out that all that happened if he lost was that he had to pay for the beer. 

I love rock paper scissors. It solves everything. :)  

1 comment:

Lyn said...

That subway guy was creepy! lol

Also, this is sort of random, but you did mention your students:

My advice for you is, you will die... by me. :D