So to begin this post I will explain the title.
I went to the Hongik District today. Its home of Hongik University which is the art and youth culture center of the city of Seoul. There’s an art school there. I realized that Art Fags are all the same.
Anyone who knows me has probably heard me use the term “Art Fag” many times (not quite sure why I’m capitalizing, it just feels right) and they know what I mean. For the rest of you, Art Fag is a generalization or stereotype I like to use. Things are often easier to explain and talk about when you generalize and I’m sorry if this upsets some of you. If you are getting upset, you are probably an Art Fag of some sort (most likely, an Indie Rock Faggot).
I must first say that I’m not a homophobe (Why on Earth would I fear gay people? Really?) and I have no problem with people who choose to go the other way. Honestly, I don’t even know what an Art Fag is and I can’t explain it so the next few paragraphs will likely contradict each other. It’s just a term that encompasses all of the artists out there who create works that I just don’t understand or appreciate.
This term entered my vocabulary at Sir Wilfred Grenfell College, Corner Brook, Newfoundland, where I was going out with and living with a female Art Fag (Art Fags can be both guys and girls, but I only go out with girls, so I if refer to going out with an Art Fag you can assume it's a female). The college has a fairly large art school there and I knew many of the “artists,” but more importantly I saw their work on a daily basis. A little of it was great, some of it was decent, but most of it was crap. The problem was that the worst artists took their work much more serious than the people with true talent. It is for those “artists” that I began using the Art Fag terminology.
This phenomenon continued to exist where ever I lived, whether it be Halifax - Nova Scotia, Stoney Creek - Ontario (I went to a recording school with a few Art Fags), St. John’s – Newfoundland (I must admit that my favorite artist is a friend I lived with there named Greg Ryan – and I’m not really sure if he takes “art” serious or not, but at least he doesn’t create crap).
The phenomenon has continued to be true here in Seoul, South Korea. Here are a few pictures to try to make you understand my politically incorrect view of the world.
Is this about the Newfounland Cod Moratorium? Gotta be...
Crab People... If you don't watch South Park you just won't understand...
A peacock made of spoons??
But okay, sure, enough about that. Now on to much more important things such as cell phones and making little girls cry.Yes, today I made a little girl cry. She was in grade six and all I did was ask her the same question I asked half a dozen other students before her. The emotionally charging question was “How was your holiday?”
The answer simply required the students to read one of four lines from the text such as “It was fun” and “I visited my grandparents.” After I asked the question she put her head down and covered her face. I thought she was just being shy so I asked her again. Then I noticed the girl sitting next to her put her arm around her and being rubbing her back in a soothing manner.
I was told by other English teachers that it was just a matter of time before some Korean child began crying in my class for no apparent reason. I didn’t doubt them but I really never thought it would be from such a simple, polite question.
Oh well, what can you do right? It’s not that I’m an insensitive person but this just seems a little ridiculous to me. People told me I was shy as a child but this girl redefines the term.
Today was also important because not only did I make a little girl cry, but I also attended a seminar about working with my co-teacher. My two co-teachers and I attended and it took about an hour to get there on the subway. We arrived at 2:15 and watched a couple of experienced teachers conduct a lesson. This was over at 2:40 and then we were split into two groups; Native Speaking Teachers and Korean Teachers. The Native Teachers all went to a room and sat around and chatted for 15 minutes and then had a 15 minute “discussion” about our experiences so far. Then the lady told us what the plans for tomorrow are (we have to make a lesson with our co-teachers) and we were outta there by 3:30
It was bullshit. What a waste of time! Why didn’t they just get us to have the discussion tomorrow? Some of the English teachers got up and left in the middle of the discussion because they are sick and tired of all of this wasted unused time. We could have easily done this tomorrow?! Why drag us all the way across the city to have a 15 minute discussion and tell us what were gonna do tomorrow?
A simple e-mail would have just fine, thank you.
And on top of this, my main co-teacher told me to bring the text for each grade (4, 5, and 6) and the accompanying teacher’s guides (which are all in Korean anyway). I’m sure glad the communication channels are wide open and clear.
So I left with my co-teachers hoping to find something to do. The other English teachers (well, the ones I like who were there – not everyone was at this location) said they didn’t wanna go out and do anything so I asked my male co-teacher who’s the same age as me to go to Hongik and grab a beer.
Well, guess what happened? My main co-teacher decided to join us (BUMMER!) because she had a meeting in the same area. We walked around, and around, and around – this would have been fine if I didn’t feel like I was still at work – when I spotted a Subway Restaurant. I told them I was getting something to eat and they both joined me. Then, to reverse my animosity of the situation, my main co-teacher paid for the meal! Then, shortly after leaving Subway she went to her meeting. Then me and Kim Dong-Sik (my male co-teacher) went to a place called Beer Hunter and grabbed a few jugs.
We had some great conversations about teaching, his mandatory two-year service in the Korean Military, targeting and launching bombs, China’s position in the world, the threat of North Korea, shooting off bombs, and blowing stuff up using bombs.
He was an artillery guy during his two years and spent his last year simply monitoring and evaluating people’s skills at launching bombs at stuff.
Now he’s an elementary school teacher! I say we need more of this type of stuff in Canada. Don’t you agree?
And finally, I got a cell phone today. I got it used for 50,000 Won (about 50 bucks). My friend, Jack, recommended going with LG because of the great deals. 35,000 Won a month for 11 hours of talk time and only 150 Won (15 cents) a minute when I receive calls from home.
The funny thing is that Jack paid 120,000 Won for his phone. And he got the worst deal on an apartment out of anyone working for SOME. I can’t wait to tell him I only paid 50,000 Won for my phone. He’s going to hate me (even more).
I also got my charger for free. It was supposed to cost 10,000 Won but Kim Dong-Sik was with me and when the clerk told him the price he simply said “Anio,” meaning no, so she just gave it to me for nothing.
You know, it always helps to have a professional bomb launcher in your presence when purchasing a cell phone.