The Tragedy of the (Rock) Commons

P070729004I love live concerts. There’s something about the experience that cannot be replicated in studio recordings. Maybe it’s the unpredictability of the performances, or the energy of the crowd, or the booming drums that you have to be there to feel. But the thing is, it’s hard to go to all or even a significant number of the concerts you might want to go to. Concert tickets, especially in Korea, are pretty expensive, plus you might not have the time. That’s why I’ve always liked the concept of the rock festival. A musical smorgasbord with enough artists that you wanted to hear so you get your money’s worth, plus if you’re lucky a couple of pleasant discoveries. But for the longest time, Korean rock fans had to glance longingly across the sea at neighboring Japan and its Fuji Rock Festival or Summer Sonic and their world class acts, because Korea didn’t have a proper rock festival to its name. Sure, there were local music festivals with Korean bands, but those didn’t quite capture the excitement of a Glastonbury or Woodstock. They wished that one day, Korea might have rock festivals whose stages would be graced by the hottest bands in the world. And they got their wish. Unfortunately, as the saying goes, be careful what you wish for. Continue reading

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Those words do not mean what you think they mean

As a result of Korea’s obsession with English fluency, a lot of Koreans speak English that sounds almost like that of native speakers. However, you will find that in conversations with these Koreans, there are some words that can’t be Korean but you cannot fully comprehend. Because they can’t possibly mean what you think they mean. And you would be right. These words are loanwords from other languages, usually English, whose meanings have been transformed due to years of usage in a different cultural context. But since Koreans, like most users of loanwords, are unaware of the discrepancies in the meanings of the same word, the usage of these words often leads to misunderstandings. Usually hilarious, but still, wouldn’t it be better if you understood what they were talking about? So here are five commonly used Korean loanwords and what they mean in Korean.

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