Monday, June 9, 2014

The background meaning of Hangover MV - Psy's new single with Snoop Dogg

Youtube star Psy is back with Snoop Dogg.
As Psy did in his megahit Gangnam style and follow-up Gentleman, the direction of music video of Hangover is deliberately low-end style.

The music video is shot in Korea and it depicts how Koreans drink, get drunk, and get hangover hangover hangover hangover...
As the scenes are full of very Korean stuff, they may need some background knowledge to understand the hidden meaning.

I may be wrong, since I did not direct the music video. Yet as a Korean person, I can guide you what is so funny about it.

Here we go.

 Scene 1. Psy is making a bomb shot domino.
Bomb shot is a mixture of glass of beer and a shot of Soju or whiskey, and Koreans love bomb shot as it expedite you get drunk.

 Scene 2. Psy is drinking a hangover remedy. It's a kind of OTC medicine, and Korean people just love it.  The scene is taken place in a convenient store, and Psy is eating a cup noodle and Snoop Dogg with a triangle shaped kimbap, a Korean style Onigiri.  Unlike Americans eat pizza for hangover, Koreans gulp hot soup.

Scene 3. Koreans go to public sauna for hangover. They sweat and have a sound sleep to get sober.

Scene 4. Some Koreans drink more alcohol to get over hangover.  The green bottle is called Soju, and it is one of the most loved liquor in Korea.  It is very affordable and is higher than 18% alcohol, which means get drunk!

 Scene 5. Koreans love to go to Singing Room, Korean style karaoke. They love to sing, and sometimes guys go there to get wasted with other ladies. These ladies are not the same as street girls, but definitely know how to rejuvenate the mood for guys.

 Scene 6. It's taken place at the Wolmi Island nearby Seoul. This place famous for some of the joy rides. One is the rollercoaster viking, and the other is Disco Pang Pang.

Scene 7. This is the famous and notorious Disco Pang Pang. This wafer like coaster spins round and round with hip hop. The ride itself can be fun, but the real fun part is how DJ controls the ride with music with his dirty words. Think of a standing comedy show, and the comedian pick a table to amuse the rest.

Scene 8. At Korean billiards, you have to order Jajangmyun, which is a Korean style Chinese food. Why? You just have to.

 Scene 9. Again Soju! This is like Vodka for Russian, and Beer for Badgers. Snoop Dogg and Psy does some fancy, handy work to open Soju. This series of ceremony takes place for nothing, just like a habit. But they had to do this when the brewery filter was imperfect in the past, and some unwanted debris were inside the liquor.

Scene 10. Psy and Snoopy Dogg is having a Love Shot. This is to demonstrate friendship and love between two persons. It doesn't matter if they are the same sex or opposite.

There are also some lyrics written in Korean, too.

Body shit miss
DAE CHE ODIL YES (대체 어딜 예쓰 / Where the hell, yes?)
QUIKORI MOCHA GETSU (꾀꼬리 못 찾겠어 / Can never find)

Eeny Meeny Miny Moe
Catch a lday by the toe
AN YEPUMYUN (안 예쁘면 / If she does not look pretty)
(예뻐 보일 때 까지, 빠라삐리뽀 / DRINK, until she looks pretty)

BADU SIYO (받으시오 / Let me pour you a drink.)

Hope this helps you understand the background of Hangover.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Korea, The Country of Kim, Lee, and Park

When you think of Korean names, the most common three names you can think about are Kim, Lee, and Park.  It is very weird that only three surnames takes up almost half of whole Korean population.  I don't know if any other country in the world have similar surname rates.

According to Korea National Statistics Office (KOSTAT), in year 2000, Kim(21.6%), Lee(14.8%), Park(8.5%) takes up about 45% of total Korean population.  There are around 250 surnames in Korea, but no one really knows the exact reason why the three surnames take up so much portion.  Yet there are several assumptions why the situation has happened.

First, the slaves from Chosun Dynasty got their first surnames inherited from their masters.  In Chosun Dynasty, which is the last kingdom of Korean history, the royal surname was Lee(이, 李).  Kim(김, 金) was the next authoritative, powerful royal family surname.  As the dynasty fell, the slavery system also was collapsed, and the masters granted their surnames to the former-slaves.  Think of the slaves in the US got their names from their masters after the Civil War.

Second, the common people purchased the royal names with money.  At the end of Chosun Dynasty the social status system was on the verge of collapse.  Some of the poor royal family could not afford to have slaves, and they are not respected.  Some wealthy merchants had more power over the poor royal families.  These wealthy common people even purchased the royal family's surname and made fake family tree as if they were born to be royal families.  As the number of royal people increased, the Kim's and Lee's population also increased.

Third, the surname Park(박, 朴) is from Shila Dynasty, it is one of the oldest surnames of Korea.  As the Shila Dynasty lasted for 1000 years, the descendents of Park spread out everywhere in Korea.  Even though not as popular as Kim's and Lee's, Park's were also another common royal family surname in Korea.

Anyway, there is no clear reason why the three surnames are most popular surnames in Korea.  Yet the three assumptions above might be the reasons why there are so many Kim, Lee, and Park.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The meaning of friends is special in Korea

The definition of a friend is an acquaintance or a favored companion.  This is in English definition, and the definition can be varied in each cultural background.  Here we are going to learn about Korean definition of friends.

In Korean, friends is called ChinGoo(친구).  This word can be used as a very casual, light relationship, yet sometimes can be used as a very serious relationship as well.  So, how's the two usages are used in everyday life?

 <Picture 1 : Calligraphy of ChinGoo>

The Korean word ChinGoo itself means an 'old friend'.  In other words, you have to know the person for a long period of time, and maintain a good friendship.  This is the usage for serious relationship.

What makes the meaning of friends in Korea special is the casual, light relationship.  In this case, the usage of ChinGoo is only depends on the biological age.  For instance, if two persons are born in the same year, they are friends.  Even if they meet for the first time, if their ages are the same, they are friends.  Moreover, sometimes they use this term for the people they have not ever met before.  Rather extraordinary?  Yet this is how Koreans use the term ChinGoo in everyday life.

Since the term and age are correlational, it is very, very hard to be friends in different age groups.  Even only one year difference in age makes almost impossible for people to be friends.  It is rather peculiar that the newly-met people in same age group can easily be friends, yet long-known people in different age group cannot be friends.

This excessibe emphasis of caring about age is originated from Confucianism.  In Confucianism, age and social status are very important.  The young have to respect the elder, and the elder should take care of the young in the teach of Confucious.  The weird truth is Confucianism is from China, and Chinese people do not care about age as much as Koreans do.

Anyway, age is very sensitive issue amongst Koreans.  Even foreigners who have lived in Korea, and made friends with Koreans care much about age.  These foreigners, including the Western people, consider the term ChinGoo exactly the same as other Koreans do, even between themselves.  So, if you meet a Korean for the first time, and hear that 'We're friends.', do not be alarmed.  It means nothing more than you and the person are born in the same year.  Of course, you actually can make an old friend with the person in the long run.

* Source of Picture