Monday, January 05, 2009

오빠와 아저씨의 차이점

In the last 60 years, Korea has seen itself transformed rapidly from a agriculture-based society to an industry-based society and to its current information-based society. In each society, a generation of Korean men with a common set of social behaviour is nurtured. 할하버지 belong to the agriculture generation (농경시대), 아저씨 the industry generation (산업시대) and 오빠 the information generation (정보시대). By just observing the social behaviour of Korean men, you can more or less guess the generation they belong to. Here are the differences between 오빠, 아저씨 and 할하버지 which I learned in class:

1. When doing Blues dancing, 오빠 will hold their partner's waist, 아저씨 will raise their left hand and 할하버지 will step on the foot of their partner.

2. In front of a public bathhouse's mirror, 오빠 will flex their chest muscles, 아저씨 will flex their stomach muscles and 할하버지 will pluck their nose hairs.

3. During a hot day, 오빠 will unbutton the topmost button of their shirt, 아저씨 will roll up their trousers and 할하버지 will take off their shirt.

4. Inside a noraebang, 오빠 will start their search from the back of the song book (new song list is at the back), 아저씨 will start from the front and 할하버지 will request others to search for them.

5. When it comes to handphone, 오빠 have the latest model, multi-functions handphone which is compact enough to be placed inside pocket. 아저씨 have old model, simple functions handphone which is big and best hung at their waist. 할하버지 have no handphone.

6. When a woman wearing tank-top approaches, 오빠 will look at her directly from the front. 아저씨 will walk past her and then turn around to gaze at her. 할하버지 will go "tsk tsk tsk....."

7. After drinking, 오빠 will collect money from everyone, 아저씨 will compete to pay for one another and 할하버지 will just sit one side and pick their teeth.

8. In a restaurant, when a wet towel is given, 오빠 will wipe their hand with it, 아저씨 will wipe their face with it and 할하버지 will blow their nose into it.

9. In a restaurant, 오빠 will call the waitress '아가씨', 아저씨 will call her '언니', and 할하버지 will call her '임자'.

10. 오빠 will know many fine restaurants that have good ambience. 아저씨 will know many restaurants that serve good food. 할하버지 will know many restaurants run by widow.

11. 오빠 go to a salon not just for hair-cutting. 아저씨 go to a salon just for hair-cutting. 할하버지 go to salon to dye their hairs.

12. When someone shout out '오빠', 오빠 will remain silent. 아저씨 will become happy. 할하버지 will tick off the person who is trying to mock them.

13. 오빠 will call a belt '벨트'. 아저씨 will call it '혁대'. 할하버지 will call it '허리띠'. (I didn't know that for a long time, our teacher was teaching us to speak like 할하버지.)

14. 오빠 will patronise Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Western restuarants. 아저씨 will mainly patronise Korean restaurants. In particular, they will prefer Korean restaurants that sell meat like 삼겹살 or 갈비.

15. 오빠's interest revolves around music, movie, performace and cultural-related stuff. 아저씨's interest revolves mainly around places with good scenery, restaurants that serve delicious food and famous 찜질방.

16. 오빠 talk about interesting things or events that happened around them. 아저씨 talk about their past as well as problems related to their daily life.

17. 오빠 carry mainly credit cards. 아저씨 carry cards and lot of cash with them.

The differences while funny are not meant to be laughed about, though honestly, I was quite amused when I was first introduced to the differences. To think slightly deeper, each generation has its own socially-accepted code of conducts and behaviours and they may seem outrageous from a different generation of people. Generation gap, as a term, existed because people tend to see differences rather commonalities. If only everyone, regardless of age, can have respect for one another, then all differences will be breached. 그렇게 하는 수 밖에는 달리 방법이 없어요.


  1. i use “허리띠” too leh! omg.. must change!!

    original time stamp: January 6, 2009 1:47 pm

  2. ya better change :D

    original time stamp: January 6, 2009 9:16 pm