Banner design by Helena, portrait by Eva


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Korean Men: Forever haunted by their military training?

Tae Hun admits that he had a better military experience than most of his friends, but he regrets "wasting" 2 years of his life and he still dreams about it, like he did the other night:

Hi eva. today i had weird dream. i had to join the army again even i finished already. i said to a private first class soldier, "hey man, i finished mine already. i think there must be something wrong with military system. he said, "i don't care whether you finished your obligation or not. i just follow HQ's order." i had to join the army again! and you see me off to the main gate of boot camp. it was really weird.

I asked what my reaction was in the dream. He said I wished him good luck.


MUD said...

It is not uncommon to have dreams about the Military after 10 years. I find myself in a dream and in uniform and know there is just no way it could be true. I also dream about smoking my pipe. When I find myself loading the pipe and lighting it, I know it is a dream. For some strange reason I have gone to the red light district in Nuremberg, GE and Elko, NV but have not stayed to play with the ladies. I guess I am old fashioned and think the vow I took with my wife is concrete. MUD

Kevin said...

I've had this conversation a couple times, apparently military duty is an extremely difficult time.

I've also heard when you graduate basic training you go to a brothel to celebrate. Sex is so strange here, on the one hand girls are punished if they express their sexuality, on the other every city has a red light district, or 3. Double standards seem to be the norm.

MUD said...

No Military duty is easy. They make you get out of bed early, run, do Physical Training (PT) make your bed and clean your room. As Eva can tell you, being away from friends and family is in its self a challenge. I can't speak to th issue of Red Light Districts in almost every town. I wish the US had a better attitude about control and making sure the girls have proper medical care/screening. In Junction City the girls walk the streets and most have a hotel room or a flop room near the downtown. Go to the strip clubs and the girls are there for a "date".

Kevin said...

I live in Suwon myself, you're right it isn't easy living away from family and friends.

Kevin said...

Let me clarify about the military duty here. I'm not talking about PT or any of that. The Korean language has a couple different forms, you use one form for close friends and family, one form for people you just meet, and another for people with extremely high social status. If you are in the military and don't use the correct form of Korean (the most honorific) with your officers, they will hit you. I don't mean push, I mean hit you. As far as PT, try being a human TV remote control, standing for hours in your Captains office waiting for him to tell you to change the TV channel.

That is just one story I heard from my closest Korean friend. I heard a similar story from a girl I briefly dated about her brother.

That's what I mean about an "extremely difficult time" in a mans life here.

Kevin said...

Oh, almost forgot this little tidbit. When out on maneuvers anyone who didn't smoke was required to fill everyone's canteen while the smokers were allowed to rest. My friend quickly became a smoker, as do most Koreans during military service.

Alright, I'm done venting. Only two and a half months left then it's off to china! *gulp*

Eva Karrin McKinnon said...

Kevin, but you're going home for a visit first, right?

Tae Hun was telling me his upperhand ordered him and a few other soldiers to build a tennis court! He likened the position to 'king.'
While training, they only got one shower for the entire month. Good thing they're Asian- they should have stank!

He was also saying being LIKED was important in the service. If your officer disliked you, watch out. And yes, severe beatings were VERY common.

Kevin said...

Yes, home for a few months first then off to China.

Helena said...

Oh my goodness. Those poor guys.

Anonymous said...

When my younger brother was doing his mandatory stint in the military he would often call us crying, wanting to come home. Since he's the baby of the family we all knew he was going to have a hard time.

Since there was nothing we could do for him we just basically told him to, "shut up and take it like a man!".