Intrusion: A coda, or 'Hui Shiks for the Uninitiated'
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- A date is agreed upon and a Google-map image of the location sent. Everyone writes it in their diary.
- On the day of the event, several people flake on grounds of being knackered/more inclined to Netflix.
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.