Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Koreans are smoking...

And I don't mean smoking hot, unless we're talking about Son Yeh Jin, of course.

One of the most widely disseminated stereotypes about Asians by other Asians is that all Koreans smoke. Korean smokers can often be spotted as lead characters in Korean cinema or huddled together for warmth outside undergraduate residence buildings in the frigid, subzero days of winter.

I had a non-smoking Korean friend once share with me with this interesting piece of information: Apparently, many Koreans import their cigarettes from Korea. These lighter Korean cigarettes contain less nicotine, allowing Koreans to feed their habit all the more heavily.

The problem with that, I noted, is that nicotine isn't exactly the most harmful substance in cigarettes. Sure, it may be responsible for their addictive properties, but it's the 4000 other chemicals that do you in in the end.

In fact, "light" cigarettes where the nicotine content is reduced or filters are applied to dilute the smoke may be in fact more harmful than regular cigarettes, since smokers will smoke more or inhale more deeply to compensate.

But onwards to my amusing anecdote...

One Saturday morning in undergrad, I rolled out of bed at approximately 2 PM, forcing myself to trek over to the cafeteria before the 3 PM end of brunch. Along the way, I ran into a Korean acquaintance of mine who was in my program. We exchanged cordial greetings, and then he proceeded to ask me where I was headed.

"I'm going to eat," I replied. "I just woke up."

"At 2 o'clock?" he asked incredulously.

At this point, I wasn't sure what was so surprising about my answer. Was it that shameful to wake up on a Saturday afternoon and flop out of bed for brunch?

"Well... yes," I answered. "I haven't eaten yet."

"Oh..." he replied. "...Do you smoke up often?"

No. I abso-friggen-lutely do not. But it says something about your priorities when you confuse "woke up" for "smoke up."


tammy said...

I noticed that quite a few koreans smoke. And if they don't smoke, then they're usually found heavily involved in church.

A lot of koreans also breakdance too. It's a way of life i suppose.

tammy said...


not saying that smoking koreans don't go to church... but usually, it's either or.

Joyce said...

Don't forget about their weekly get-togethers in common rooms! -__-;;;