Intrusion: A coda, or 'Hui Shiks for the Uninitiated'

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Just a little follow-up to my previous post, in which I mentioned last-minute invitations to school events. These events are known as hui shiks, and are roughly equivalent to  the UK institution known as the Office Night Out. There are a few differences between these things, so I thought I’d create a handy guide for interested parties, or any Brits thinking of making the move to the Land of the Morning Calm. I hope it is useful.

Over on our fair isle, the sequence of events will probably go something like this:

  1. Several weeks before an event takes place, someone will send an email to everyone asking for opinions on where to go, what to do, and when.
  2. An exchange of some length will take place during which a variety of dietary and commuting requirements will rule out the majority of restaurants within a twenty-mile radius. Dates will be agreed on and discarded as people cite weekends with the in-laws, date nights, not wanting to be too hungover on a Wednesday, and generally having better things to do than hang out with the people they see all day at work anyway.
  3. A date is agreed upon and a Google-map image of the location sent. Everyone writes it in their diary.
  4. On the day of the event, several people flake on grounds of being knackered/more inclined to Netflix.
  5. People make their way to the restaurant individually and eat. Afterwards they may go home, or go drinking.

In Korea, this is typically what happens:

  1. If you are lucky, someone will inform you up to half an hour before you leave for the night that you are going for dinner.
  2. If you had plans, you now have no plans. The notion of having something ‘better to do’ than show your dedication to the work team is inconceivable.
  3. Everyone hangs about until someone who somehow knows what is going on says ‘let’s go’. You are then ushered out of the door in the direction of a restaurant. This may be located anything from a few doors away to several miles’ drive into the mountains.
  4. Once arrived, everyone shifts around uneasily, sussing out where to sit (tip: furthest from the door = most honourable position. Therefore move as near to the door as possible for maximum Humblepoints). After a while the person with the highest status announces that the meal is beginning, makes everyone get really drunk, then announces that the meal has finished.
  5. Everyone leaves together with the group with whom they came. If you are a man, you may go drinking with the men. If you are a woman, you may go home.

Let me know your thoughts, and if you think this is a fair representation - comments always welcome!
Wanderings and Ramblings of an ESL teacher currently based in a tiny mountain town near the North Korean border.


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