Occidentalism
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Morality for gangsters

April 13th, 2006 . by Matt

gangsters
Gangsters – usually not funny

Last night I went out for dinner with a group of Korean and Australian friends. We went to a popular Korean restaurant in Sydney, and ate Korean BBQ, along with drinking copious amounts of soju. Drinking together is one of the few things to cross all cultural divides – wait, I take that back – dont offer Saudi Arabians or other muslims a drink.

After we were well and truly tanked I went outside the restaurant with my 형 (Korean older brother) so he could smoke (no smoking in all restaurants in Sydney). While outside we noticed that there was some sort of dispute between Korean men that had spilled outside from the restaurant, involving a woman. The men and the woman were in their early 40s. There were other men there too, trying to break up the coming fight. Sure enough, one of the men attacked and there was punching and kicking. My Korean friend and I approached closer so we could here what was being said.

Basically what happened was that one of the fighters was the womans husband (he attacked first), and she had an affair with the other man, who is a gangster. The husband was of course very angry, because while they were all drinking together, he was able to correctly percieve his wife and the gangster were having an affair. They brawled a couple of times while other friends of the two brawlers tried to keep them apart.

After they were separated (but still in the same vicinity), the gangster was using his mobile phone to call his followers. He told them to bring men and knives. He said that he wanted to beat the womans husband for opposing him. After that, my Korean friend and I crossed the street because we could see it could get very bad.

I commented to that even though that guy is a gangster, he should reflect on his own bad actions (나쁜 행위에 대해서 반성해야지), not try to take ‘revenge’ on the husband for objecting to the break up of his family. My Korean friend was surprised by my comment, saying that my idea is typical of Korean thinking.

I think it is one thing for a gangster to engage in criminal behavior, and another to be so intolerably arrogant that he thinks he can resent and try to stab a husband for reacting in a way that is completely natural and understandable. This gangster is totally devoid of any human feelings (인정 人情) at all.

At the end, the husband was led away by his friends, and the woman stayed with the gangster. Go figure.


29 Responses to “Morality for gangsters”

  1. comment number 1 by: dogbert

    The lure of the bad boy.

    Matt, what would have happened had you alerted the police to the situation?

  2. comment number 2 by: Malaclypse

    While my knowledge of gangsters is pretty much limited to watching The Sopranos, this is what I think.

    Of course what the gangster did is immoral, but that’s not really the point. In fact, maybe the gangster feels that way too- maybe he doesn’t even want to do what he did.

    But, he probably feels as though he has no choice- he has to be seen as tough. Even if he thinks that the right thing to do would be to let the guy go and cool off, this might be perceived as “weakness” by some fellow gangsters, and that could come back to haunt him in the future.

  3. comment number 3 by: Matt

    Of course what the gangster did is immoral, but that’s not really the point. In fact, maybe the gangster feels that way too- maybe he doesn’t even want to do what he did.

    But, he probably feels as though he has no choice- he has to be seen as tough. Even if he thinks that the right thing to do would be to let the guy go and cool off, this might be perceived as “weakness” by some fellow gangsters, and that could come back to haunt him in the future.

    There were no other gangsters there to see it. He actually wanted to go after the other guy even after the brawl had finished.

  4. comment number 4 by: nou

    I think it is one thing for a gangster to engage in criminal behavior, and another to be so intolerably arrogant that he thinks he can resent and try to stab a husband for reacting in a way that is completely natural and understandable. This gangster is totally devoid of any human feelings (인정 人情) at all.

    i don’t think 인정 goes with this situation. It is rather that he doesn’t know 수치 羞恥(shame). Although he must feel shame from committing adultery, he accuses the betrayed husband.

    if the gangster had been beating the husband ruthlessly, you could say he’s devoid of 인정. 인정 is not simply human feelings as i said you before. It is human feeling concerning sympathy or compassion.

    by the way you can’t expect anything from those gangsters. it is shameful that korean film makers keep making gangster movies without any insight. they don’t deserve the screen quota.

  5. comment number 5 by: nou

    oops, you pointed out the fact that he wants to stab the husband. then your usage of the word is correct. i was too preoccupied with the gangster’s shamelessness.

  6. comment number 6 by: Sambek_ZX

    I thought “Du Sa Bu Il Chae” was a funny movie. That said, I agree with Nou that Korean cinema has a strange fixation on glamorizing gangsters. But, perhaps that trend is shifting. “Nabbun Namja” (Bad Guy) looks more realistic in its portrayal of gangsters, who are really social outcasts rather than entrepreneurs with a twist as portrayed in movies like “Number 3”.

  7. comment number 7 by: Matt

    I thought “Du Sa Bu Il Chae” was a funny movie.

    Du Sa Bu Il Chae is my favorite Korean movie, and very funny. It was a big contrast to what I saw, which is why I posted that picture.

  8. comment number 8 by: polysics

    korean pride yo!!!

  9. comment number 9 by: BananaBoi

    korean pride yo!!!

    Korean Shame is more like it. Korean Adultery Laws aside, If that korean gangster tried to pick up my girl, I would of split his head open with a couple of C1 bottles period.

  10. comment number 10 by: Bacca

    korean pride yo!!!

    WTF? I witnessed this fiasco with Matt and I would have been embarrassed to be corean…shame shame shame

  11. comment number 11 by: polysics

    dae han min guk!!dae han min guk!!dae han min guk!!

    come on, a real korean would take it like a man, and respect his fellow kkangpae boss. so disrespectfull of him to talk back to his boss like that. who does he think he is…..

    koreanpride!!!!

  12. comment number 12 by: polysics

    whatever, that woman wasnt worth it anyways.. I bet she steps on kittens.

  13. comment number 13 by: Katz

    Korean and Australian friends

    Isn’t it ironic that these Koreans are your friends? You mean false friends?

  14. comment number 14 by: BananaBoi

    Korean and Australian friends

    Isn’t it ironic that these Koreans are your friends? You mean false friends?

    Katz, what are you trying to say? Are you implying that Australians and Koreans cannot be friends and share a bottle of soju together? Your comments baffles me and is rather pathetic at best.

  15. comment number 15 by: polysics

    Aussies and koreans can be friends. but you should know that its the older generation that brainwashes us to think that we cannot fully trust non koreans. we can be close to them, but we should constantly look over our shoulders…. as long as we are able to have a mind of our own, and make our own decisions, and generaly tell our parents to shut the f*ck up with the old school mindset. then we can all get along.

    did anyone catch lost last week.. that episode so was boring.

  16. comment number 16 by: polysics

    katz just happends to be one of the koreans who cannot think for themself. therefor setting the trend for his future ingorant inbred generation.

  17. comment number 17 by: nou

    i guess he meant Matt has so anti Korean stance that he would not have any korean friend.

  18. comment number 18 by: Katz

    Matt doesn’t have any right to be anti-Korean. Whatever happened to him when he was there he very well knows it was well deserved.

  19. comment number 19 by: Matt

    Matt doesn’t have any right to be anti-Korean. Whatever happened to him when he was there he very well knows it was well deserved.

    Happened to me where? In Korea? I had a nice time in Korea (I was a tourist), and I think I would visit again.

  20. comment number 20 by: empraptor

    Matt doesn’t have any right to be anti-Korean. Whatever happened to him when he was there he very well knows it was well deserved.

    Rights. I don’t know about rights.

    I don’t know if he’s anti-Korean either. I think he has a talent for saying the things that would most irritate Koreans.

    What motivation he has for saying such things, I guess only he would know.

    Or maybe he doesn’t know himself. I certainly don’t know everything that make me tick.

  21. comment number 21 by: tomato

    Well, I wouldn’t blame Matt for this. It is the trouble with you guys just bouncing back into your faces. I wonder why Koreans keep on fabricating history and keep hating Japan? So much hate is destroying international relations.

  22. comment number 22 by: empraptor

    Tomato –

    Where in my comment do you sense hate?

    What did I say about Japan?

    I don’t see where you are coming from.

    Please read more carefully next time.

  23. comment number 23 by: BananaBoi

    Matt doesn’t have any right to be anti-Korean. Whatever happened to him when he was there he very well knows it was well deserved.

    Katz, are you Muslim? Why doesn’t Matt have the “right” to post what he believes in on his own website?? Some of us still values our freedom of expression very seriously. We welcome your constructive criticism not senseless garbage you’ve been spewing.

  24. comment number 24 by: polysics

    # tomato Says:
    April 15th, 2006 at 9:31 pm

    Well, I wouldn’t blame Matt for this. It is the trouble with you guys just bouncing back into your faces. I wonder why Koreans keep on fabricating history and keep hating Japan? So much hate is destroying international relations.

    Wanna go out for coffee sometime?

  25. comment number 25 by: Mika

    empraptor, are you Korean? You seem to take it personal when someone criticises Koreans.

  26. comment number 26 by: empraptor

    Mika –

    empraptor, are you Korean? You seem to take it personal when someone criticises Koreans.

    Ha. I like your sense of humor.

    That is, assuming you are joking.

    Where do you see me taking things personally for criticism of Koreans in general?

    People may criticize me personally, as you seem to be doing. At which point I will take their criticism personally, especially when they are unjustified and irrational.

    If you are curious about my ethnicity, read my very first comment on Occidentalism.

    Or just take note that I am ethnically Korean.

    I find it interesing that you would ask for my ethinicity. You must have come to a conclusion about my ethnicity even before you asked. I can’t fathom why you would go out of the way just to have me answer.

  27. comment number 27 by: Mika

    Where do you see me taking things personally for criticism of Koreans in general?

    Tomato was obviously talking about Koreans hating Japan, so I didn’t understand why you immediately reacted to his/her comment like that.

  28. comment number 28 by: empraptor

    Mika –

    As for my reply to tomato, I resented his broad generalization – that Koreans fabricate history and hate Japan.

    By asking him to read my comment again, I intended to provide him a counterexample in myself.

    Also, seeing as how I had posted a comment directly before him, I felt he was taking issue with my comment. He must have been thinking of another comment, though.

    I see your reason for saying what you did. Tomato did make remarks about Koreans. And I did take it personally.

  29. comment number 29 by: hardyandtiny

    Gangsters or not, why bother? She’s a piece of shit. You just walk away and never, NEVER listen or talk to her again.