Korean Dream Factories

One of the most amazing things I discovered from Korea, is that Koreans sell their dreams. They do. If you have a really great dream, especially if it’s about pigs, more pigs the better, you can wake up and sell that dream to the highest bidder. I am not kidding, ask a Korean. They respect dreams so much, they sell them.

I know you’re thinking, what’s to stop someone from waking up every morning, declaring they’ve had a dream of a billion pigs falling from the sky, but, they don’t. I considered getting into the business of dreams, till I realized my lack of fluency with the Korean language would kill the dreams on the tip of my tongue. How could I describe them? All I know in Korean is: left, right, straight, stop, how much, too much, it’s clean, it’s dirty, and two beers please. That’s it. Limiting every relationship.

We are defined by our language. Had my Korean been better, I would have become the Dream King of Korea. I would have opened dream sweatshops, getting employees to dream around the clock, wake up every half hour and report that they had dreamed of pigs. There’s definitely a market there, and I suppose, simple Korean honesty has stopped anyone from opening dream drive-thrus.

Koreans love to sing. The most popular night out involves drinking in the singing-rooms. They go into these private booths with a tv, karaoke machine and full bar service and sing and drink their hearts out. They’ve created a nation of singers, it’s beautiful, though, when they sing in English, they don’t always get the full meaning of the song. My favorite time came in a piano bar in Seoul. A guy’s at the piano, singing, ‘Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me,’ and I guess he only knew the George Michael live version, cause, when he gets to the part in the middle of the song, the guy goes, (in thick Korean accent) “Ladies and gentleman, Mr. Elton John!”  And of course, nobody came on stage. He just shouted the words, like George Michael.

I taught English in Korea for two years. We had a lot of fun in the class. I tried to be a cool teacher. I taught: “Nothing worth learning can be taught in a classroom.” Then in brackets I wrote: (You didn’t learn this here.)

Probably the biggest laugh in the class came thanks to Mr. Kim. Mr. Kim was always confusing his opposites, saying things like, “I will see you yesterday!” He was in an adult evening class. I was a new teacher, so, I just did my best to be entertaining, cause I didn’t know what the hell to teach. We talked about sex a lot, cause, those who can’t, teach. Mr. Kim would always call his wife his, “Sexual opponent.” I’d correct, “No, no, Mr. Kim, she’s your sexual partner, sexual partner. I mean, you’re not competing, are you?” 

Mr. Kim smiles devilishly. “Oh, yes, teacher. And I am always winner!”


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