Monday, 26 October 2009

I laugh with you

I've been watching this Korean variety show on TV for the past couple of weeks. In fact, I've been following it pretty diligently. I think it's been on three nights each week. But, here's the insane part - I don't know the name of the show. In fact, even if I did, I'm sure it would have some complicated Korean title, and I'd forget it after the second word.

What I know of the show is this: currently there's six famous Korean celebrities from various dramas and comedy sketch shows participating in it. They're made to perform a series of tasks that range from taking conversational English tests, to going out to the country and farming for a day.

But... it's all in Korean.

Still, when it's on, I can't seem to turn the TV off. I find myself laughing when the audience laughs, and sometimes even understanding what the actors are saying... despite not knowing a lick of Korean.

A friend and I were chatting over dinner a couple of weeks ago, about how we seem to catch on to the k-pop songs so quickly, despite not knowing what they're singing about. She said it's because they're so repetitive and catchy. I think this is true, but I also think it's because we're getting used to the language on some subliminal level. We may not be fluent in it, or even speak it, but on some strange level, it's what's normal to us right now.

A few students asked me to play Lady GaGa's "Pokerface" in class the other day, and I was taken aback by the English-ness of the song. Bizarre? Yes.

Another reason for watching this variety show with such fascination is because of this man:

This is Kim Seong-min -- a Korean actor and overall celebrity. The only reason I know his name is because my girls at school conducted an intensive search on their Naver search engine, for me. I told them I thought a Korean man was handsome. That's all it took. I didn't even have a picture of him.

I didn't know his name when I first wanted to figure out who he was. So my class, full of intermediate grade eight girls, got to work.

"Teacher, where did you see him?"

"I saw him on Sunday night. A KBS variety show."

They pulled up a bunch of images of random actors who were hot on the tube that night. None of them were him.

"Teacher, what's the name of the show?"

"I don't know. I know there's six male celebrities on it."

Another load of images populated the screen. Still, none of them were him. After the circle of girls surrounding the computer grew larger, and the bickering of who this mystery man could be grew by a whole octave, another girl asked me the final two questions.

"Teacher, he is on Korean drama?"

"Yes. I don't know which one."

"OK, teacher, is this man on it?" she asked, as she pointed to the photo of a random comedian who was also on the show.


Ten seconds later, Mr. Kim Seong-min took over my desktop.

My reaction?


My girls' reaction?


I think she meant "at you," though.

Still, this could have been a lesson plan in and of itself. It's difficult getting my girls to speak when talking about lessons from their textbook. But send them on a mission involving k-pop or TV shows, and boy, does their vocabulary ever grow!


Photo courtesy of Google Images


  1. Re: K-pop

    You're so lucky... I can't even get into ENGLISH language pop, let alone K-pop. (I'm more of a rock music guy, and apparently rock music is kind of frowned upon at my school. :( )

  2. hahaha too funny Simi! i'm sure I could learn some korean if we were talking about hot female celebs! :)


  3. OH my god, I'm dying laughing !!!!!


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