We had to call the restaurant twice to ask why the delivery was taking so long. (The restaurant is just a few minutes away from our apartment.) We were told that it was a busy day and they had only one person to make deliveries. My husband didn’t argue nor cancel the order, though he was hungry as a bungry, but my hyeongnim did. (You know how it is with women. ^^) I am not trying to make a big fuss about the incident, but that was the first time I have experienced a delay in Korea. That doesn’t usually happen here. In fact, this country is known for its “pali-pali” culture, not only in preparing and delivering food, but also in everyday life.
“Pali-pali” (빨리빨리) is a common Korean expression which means “Hurry up!” or “Faster!” When I came to Korea for the first time, that was the first thing that I heard from my friend’s mother every morning when she woke me up for breakfast, and I thought it was just a phrase she used to wake me up. ^^ No one explained to me exactly what “pali-pali” means until I came back to Korea as a wife. My Omonim (mother-in-law) uses it a lot every time we work together in the kitchen. My husband, who normally speaks to me in English, says it, too, when we are getting late for an appointment and I’m still putting on make up as if I have all the time in the world to do that.
“Pali-pali” is every Korean’s way of life. You can see people here running or walking in haste, so that they won’t miss the bus or the train. Even women in high-heeled shoes take part in the marathon! On the other hand, buses and trains come frequently, and the commute is fast and very convenient.
At work, Koreans always arrive on time or sometimes even earlier. There is no dilly-dallying when you go to the bank or a government office. The service is so systematic that you don’t have to wait or stand in a queue for a long time.
“Pali-pali” culture can also be seen in Korea’s infrastructure development. There is always something new. The other night, just as we were coming home from Seoul, I noticed a new Dunkin’ Donuts coffee shop in our area. I pass by that street everyday when I go to work, and I remember that it was Crown Bakery two weeks ago. Change is truly “inevitable” here… and it happens in a jiffy. When we came back from our 15-day vacation in the Philippines, my husband and I were surprised to see one of the roads we usually drive on going to Guri city reconstructed, and now there’s another road construction somewhere near the place. (I wish we could do the same thing in my country. Road constructions in the Philippines usually take longer to finish.)
Korea’s remarkable technological advancement is also very evident with major corporations such as Samsung and LG. Seoul is ranked as the world’s “leading digital city” and the “tech capital of the world”. The country has become a global leader in electronics, digital displays and mobile phones.
A few decades ago, Korea was a poverty-stricken country marred by war and political chaos, but over the past 50 years, it has metamorphosed into the third largest economy in Asia and the 13th largest economy in the world. What made this economic success possible? The country’s “pali-pali” culture” and Korean people‘s ardent patriotism and perseverance are just some of the many reasons.
If you want to know more about how South Korea became one of the world’s most progressive countries, you can read about the “Miracle of Han River”. It is a very inspiring story.
Also, the video below will tell you briefly of South Korea’s “humble beginnings” and its “dynamic rise”. As I was watching this video, I was thinking of my homeland, the Philippines. If the impossible was made possible by the Koreans, can’t we Filipinos do the same for our country?
- Seoul Subway Song (chrissantosra.wordpress.com)
- Just How Important Is Your Alien Registration Card? (chrissantosra.wordpress.com)
- Freebies Galore! ^^ (chrissantosra.wordpress.com)
- Some Korean Food That Will Make Your Mouth Water (chrissantosra.wordpress.com)
- Some Korean Food You (Probably) Can’t Stomach (chrissantosra.wordpress.com)