My husband always tells me not to get involved in other people’s business, especially among Koreans. Most of the time, those who meddle in someone else’s affair or play hero here find themselves in big trouble. This is the reason why some Koreans never interfere when others are quarreling. Instead of trying to stop the fracas, they choose to ignore it or “watch” as if they were watching an action movie or K-drama.
Just last month, right after Chuseok, my husband and I witnessed two women getting beaten by an inebriated young man who happens to be their relative. I didn’t expect my husband to get involved, but he did… and I am proud of him for stepping in. He tried to stop the beating, but it angered the drunk man more. Other neighbors heard the commotion, but no one, except my husband, thought of calling the police.
When I came to Korea for the first time, I was taken aback when I saw two drunk ajossis fighting in the street. No one dared to get in the way, and somehow I understood why. Everyone was afraid of them.
What if you were minding your own business and all of a sudden, someone you don’t even know comes to you and provokes you? This is what happened to one of my neighbors a few days ago. He was at the parking lot, waiting for his wife, and this intoxicated ajossi spotted him and decided he would make a good sparring partner, so he began swearing and picked a fight with him. My neighbor knew better than to mind an irrational drunk man, so he tried to shun him. When ignoring didn’t work, he asked him to leave him alone, but instead of doing that, the drunk ajossi hit him in the face. He hit him back. The fight escalated. The drunk ajossi fell to the ground, but my neighbor was hurt, too. He was complaining of headache. When his wife came, he told her to call the police. Dizzy, he lied down while waiting for the police to arrive. Curious passers-by had gathered, watching the “drama”. I was watching through the bedroom window. I didn’t actually witness the whole squabble, but I was awakened by two men shouting and then I heard a loud thud. When I opened the window, I saw a man (drunk ajossi) lying on the ground and another man standing in front of him. At first, I thought that it was my neighbor who started the fight, because he was very angry and kept saying the F-word in Korean, but the whole story unfolded when the police came. A few minutes before the police arrived, the drunk ajossi woke up, moaning. He was too intoxicated that they could not interrogate him. What I could not understand is that they just left him there. They didn’t take him to the police station. On the other hand, my neighbor was taken to the hospital. They asked the drunk ajossi to go to the hospital, too, but he refused. He sat down and kept grumbling.
I had an unnerving encounter with a drunk ajossi before. Thank God, nothing serious happened, but since that incident (which I wrote about in a previous post), I have developed a fear of drunk strangers. I still think South Korea is a safe place, but not when I see drunk ajossis around. I avoid them as much as I can, and I would never ever get in their way (unless someone defenseless is getting hurt), but they are everywhere, even in my neighborhood! Some of them are harmless even if they like to make a scene and are extremely loud, but some are inconsiderate and uncouth and should not be tolerated.
- Unspeakable Neighbor (chrissantosra.wordpress.com)
- An Unnerving Encounter with a Drunk Man (chrissantosra.wordpress.com)
- Korea’s Drinking Culture (chrissantosra.wordpress.com)
- The Annoying People You May Meet on Your Commute (chrissantosra.wordpress.com)
- Woman Smoking in the Subway Fights with Passenger (chrissantosra.wordpress.com)
- Don’t Mess with Ajumma (chrissantosra.wordpress.com)
- Are You A Good Drunk or a Bad Drunk? (mamatattoo.com)
- Intoxicated People Make Bad Decisions (lifevesting.com)
- Zero Tolerance Idiocy: Sober Varsity Superstar Punished for Giving Drunk Friend a Safe Ride Home (wchildblog.com)
- DMV.us.org Launches Guide To Help Prevent Intoxicated Driving (prweb.com)