By Konrad Kostecki
So here I am in Australia after almost 10 years in Korea. I am planning to be here
“Did you pack this bag yourself?,” was “Yes,” with a note of sarcasm.
The power drunk trollop proceeded to chastise me about my sense of humour and with a sadistic pleasure went through my wallet, pulling out receipts, looking through the photos on my digital camera and really pissing me off. To top it off, she ran a drug detector swab around my bag, hoping to find residue of some illegal substance. Needless to say, she did not find a single molecule of whatever she was after. Welcome to the police state, I thought. With this experience in mind, I was bracing myself for I’m-scum-cause-I-am-living-in-Korea like treatment but thankfully the reality fell short of my expectations.
I am staying at home with my folks at the moment. It is good to see them again and I gotta say that they seem to be in a relatively good form. I ventured out of the house to see what is different, what is new. My gut told me that this place was going to differ greatly from Korea…No shit Sherlock! A short trip to the Safeway supermarket confirmed my suspicion unequivocally. In place of the made up hotties in high heels were haggard women sporting
But on a more serious note, Korea is a bit of an anomaly in this world, as far as the emphasis on appearance goes. Most Korean girls do not dream of leaving the house without a good layer of makeup and while this can be described as shallow by the burn-your-bras-feminist-brigade, it sure as hell is pleasant to look at from a male perspective. Let me say this and I will make no apologies: I am attracted to
But on a more serious note. There is an interesting passage in Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics where he talks about contemptible behaviour. He strays from his train of thought regarding what constitutes a bad moral state and delves into the idea that “Not only the vices of the soul are voluntary, physical defects too, if voluntarily incurred are culpable” [p. 63, Nichomachean Ethics, Penguin, 2004]. According to this line of reasoning, if obesity, not to mention a horrible taste in clothes, is voluntarily incurred, it can and is subject to scorn. Aristotle, you rock man! I bet that besides young men, you also liked an attractive example of the opposite sex. So there we go. Before you start calling me shallow and a prick, take heed of Aristotle’s words.
He spent his early childhood climbing trees, playing cowboys and Indians and running amok with other misfit kids around the concrete jungles of his town. In 1987 he was abruptly uprooted from his surroundings by his parents and taken to Italy where he lived for almost two years in a refugee camp in Ostia, just outside of Rome. There he attended the remaining years of elementary school where he learned to speak Italian. After the stint in Italy, his fate took him to Australian shores where he continued his education and mischief. After graduating university and driven by ennui and lack of ideas as to what to do with his life, he came to South Korea to teach. He now is back home continuing his education.