I found this photo from one of my twitter friends today. These two ajummas put their mobile phone on the triport and watching TV through DMB (Digital Multimedia Broadcasting) while they’re travelling in the subway in Seoul. They share the earphones as well.
I already wrote about how the subway is important for Seoulite’s daily life in my Master’s thesis that is called ‘Mobile Bang (2010)’. The subway shouldn’t be considered as just a sort of public transport. Rather it means a lot more for people in Seoul or South Korea. I call it as a Mobile Bang (room in English) and commuters do various things in the subway especially through uaing their smartphones while they’re travelling.
We’re now having very hot and humid days in South Korea (35c/70-80 % humidity). People want to find any place where they can avoid hot and humid weather. The subway could be one of those places I think. So I really love this photo and want to share these Smart Ajummas in Mobile Bang with you.
Thank you for my friend (from twitter) who allowed me to use this photo for this blog.
I can hear so many ajummas call other middle-aged women as ‘Ajumma’. For example, middle-aged women customers (ajummas) call other middle-aged women sellers, “Ajumma! How much is this?”. But when seller ajummas call customer ajummas, “Ajumma! Try some our Kimchi!”, customer ajummas feel uncomfortable. (I experienced so many times these situations when I went to market to buy something) In fact, the seller ajummas never call customer ajummas as ‘Ajumma’. Never!
This is irony because ajummas call other ajummas as an ajumma but those ajummas don’t want to be called as an ajumma by others include ajummas.
As I mentioned how the first-birthday party (Dol Jan-chi) is important in Korea, most of parents (especially mothers) prepare the birthday party table with all their hearts for their birthday baby and the guests. At the birthday party, the party host (parents) share their baby’s growing diary during last 1 year through showing photos and a video. Furthermore, various interactive activities about their baby between the guests and the host such as quiz bring the guests to enjoy the baby’s first-birthday party better. Yes, this is a predictable baby’s first-birthday party even though you never experience it in Korea. (because birthday party is birthday party!)
But, one thing that I would like to introduce to you today is, there is an online first-birthday party in Korea today! The online first-birthday party (Online Dol Jan-chi) is literally means a birthday party for a baby who became 1 year old in an online space such as blog and social media. This online first-birthday party is now the trend among young Korean mums. Once they have the offline first-birthday party, then they celebrate their babies’ first-birthday party in online spaces (e.g. their blogs). For the offline birthday party, the guests are mostly their family members, colleagues and anyone who are very close to the baby’s parents. However, our mums and ajummas are now smart Ajummas (or smart mums)! They frequently cross the online and offline spaces through using the Internet connection and digital mobile devices such as smartphones in their everyday lives. These smart mums and ajummas enrich their networks wider and enjoy daily lives better through having unconstrained and borderless communication with their contacts in both online and offline spaces. Thus, the online first-birthday party (online Dol Jan-chi) is held for mums’ contacts whom are mostly ‘blog neighbours’. (blog neighbours= bloggers become neighbours through communicating in blog space, it is similar to follower or friends)
On online first-birthday party day, the host informs the date and time for the party through a blog post or a message. The party goes usually for 24 hours or few days. Then what the guests do or how do they enjoy the online party? It is very simple. The guests visit the blog and then they will watch a video or photos of baby’s growing diary for last one year. And usually there is a special event for the guests such as a quiz or leaving message for a baby on the blog. Once they write answers for the quiz or left birthday messages for the baby on the blog, the host (parents) pick some guests randomly to give lucky gifts. (Lucky gifts for the online first-birthday party are various such as a mobile voucher (Starbucks drink voucher), baby goods, cosmetics, movie tickets and etc.) The guests for this online first-birthday party are mostly ‘mums’ or ‘ajummas’ today, so the lucky gifts are prepared for especially for mums.
Here is a beautiful example of online first-birthday party (online Dol Jan-chi) on Naver blog, <jjorang’s>. On her blog, you will see what the online first-birthday party is.
Online first-birthday party (online Dol Jan-chi) will be proliferating continuously with the use of digital mobile technology is pervasive in our everyday lives, especially mums and ajummas in Korea. I think this (online first-birthday party [online Dol Jan-chi] could be explained as the digital remediation. However, it should be developed continuously. In other words,this kind of Korean traditional culture should be recreated and developed more to establish the unique Korean culture in online space rather than repeating the same thing (e.g.birthday party/online birthday party) by only changing the spaces (online or offline). Then we will have distinct traditional Korean culture that exist in online and offline (or in between online and offline). These two culture that are in different spaces develop their characters differently (because of the difference of spaces) but still, they were derived from the same root.
I’m not sure whether I can write about the topic of ‘plastic surgery’ in this blog or not. But I think plastic surgery could be categorised as a part of ‘beauty’ or ‘beauty industry’ in Korea (and many other countries) so I can concern about this issue in this blog. Well, plastic surgery is a very common thing for most Koreans (not every Koreans I have to say) in these days. There are various types of plastic surgery that help people to be satisfied with their appearances and sometimes inner sides,too. As they change or (I can say) upgrade their appliances through plastic surgery, people are able to have more confidences than before (especially, people who are not happy with their appearances). Of course there is side effect of plastic surgery but one thing we surely know that plastic surgery is a sort of popular culture in Korea now.
Before I wrote this blog entry today, I did research how ajummas concern about plastic surgery in Korea. Well, I still need to do a lot more and deeper research about the relationship between ajummas and plastic surgery, but one thing I found that many of ajummas are interested in doing plastic surgery and many of them also already experienced of having plastic surgery as well. And (I need to do more research about this but at this stage but) I found that the purposes of doing plastic surgery and preferred body part (or face part) are quite different according to different age group. For example, married middle aged women (it didn’t specify the actual age range in its report) wanted to do liposuction surgery (especially for reducing abdominal fat) the most according to the report. (http://bntnews.hankyung.com/apps/news?popup=0&nid=05&c1=05&c2=05&c3=00&nkey=201103291205063&mode=sub_view)
In addition, there are apps for plastic surgery as well. I just found some of them and need to research more about this ‘beauty app’ asap. Here is an example of plastic surgery app that is called, ‘App Miin’. App is for application and Miin means a beauty in Korean. So it means application beauty. Users are able to try virtual plastic surgery through using this app and they can make estimate for the plastic surgery in the future as well.
I take a profound interest in the things that are related to beauty industry, women and digital media. Thus I keep thinking about the research that I will do for the next. (another research idea is in my mind, too)
Music credit: Peppertones, ‘For all dancers’ (less than 5 seconds, looping)
I just played with the keynote to create a live photo video for this blog. All the videos are made with (include Digital Ppal-let-ter project) photos and keynote. This looping live photo video reminds me a rhizome movie (by Adrian Miles) that we’ve learnt at RMIT almost 10 years ago. I’m thinking to create short video clips (like this) through using keynote, live photo and maybe photo collage.
(Click the image to read the news article about Yakult Ajumma by The Wall Street Journal)
The Wall Street Journal reported about Korean Yakult Ajumma (delivery women they described) and their mobile yakult cart. It is so exciting to read about our Yakult Ajumma in the wall street journal! I’ve already written about them in my blog, ‘Smart Yakult Ajumma(25/01/2016)‘.
I’ve already posted this video of Digital Ppal-let-ter project that is a part of my research project. For this video, I used two trot songs as a background music. When I chose these trot songs as bg music, I thought that using this kind of songs for my video should enhance people to get inspired for better understanding about Korean culture. Well, we have K-Pop (idols, girl groups, etc.) but for me, these songs are inadequate to support my video project that is about Ajummas who are women in Korea. I consider choosing songs and I finally found one song that is about ajummas. The song called, Ajumma by Jinah Tae has very simple lyrics but it encourages ajummas to keep enjoying their lives as ajummas in Korea. Also, there’re not enough (maybe this song is the only song about Ajummas with positive lyrics as far as I know) songs about ajummas. I’ve changed songs for the video several times and I discussed carefully about choosing music with my supervisors all the time. Finally, I put that song for my video and I believed and still believe that the song supports the story (or research) of the video. Moreover, it enhances people (audiences) to somewhat better understand Korean ajummas’ culture. But, some people criticised the usage of this song for the video about ajummas. They thought this song (trot songs) is cheesy and it could remind audiences about stereotypes of ajummas. In other words, the trot songs are cheesy and not classy songs. So the purpose of choosing the cheesy trot song for the video is because ‘I (a researcher)’ look down upon Ajummas.
Okay, I accept those feedback or criticism from others. But, let me talk about this again. The problem is not about a song in this video, I think. The problem is ourselves. I know how women in Korea were persecuted under patriarchal society for ages so Korean women had to receive unfair treatment only because we were women. One of Korean female group, ajummas, they were also treated, showed, described and accepted negatively. For many reasons, being ajummas and calling as ajummas is not pleasant. But, in my experiences, we (women) disdain ajummas, being ajummas and living as ajummas so many times and cases. In the case of using that trot song for the video, I never assume that trot songs are for ajummas and ajummas have no interest of listening pop songs, hiphop or electronic music. My mum loves listening to classical music and one of my friend enjoys listening to trot musics. I don’t generalise any thing between different generations. Of course, there are preferences of something between different generations, but I always think I shouldn’t generalise people only because their age differences.
If they (people who criticised me of using trot songs for this video) think the usage of trot songs for this video is because I have a prejudice against ajummas, then I want to say them to break your biased perspective about ajummas first. It will take time to change but I want to keep writing that calling as ajummas and being ajummas are not that unpleasant thing what some people detest to be ajummas.
In the previous blog post, I talked about a tragedy in Gang Nam Station, Seoul. A young college woman was stabbed to death in a crazy murderer attack. This murder thought women always ignored him so he planned to kill ‘any’ women on that day.
Yes, this is heinous crime and now we (Koreans) are at a loss what to do. There was a heated debate about the right of women in Korea for a long time but after this crazy incident, the debate about ‘living as women in Korea’ brings related hot arguments among people, especially in various social media such as Facebook and Twitter.
A Yeo-hyeom phenomenon is an example. Yeo-hyeom is a new coined Korean word and it means an attitude that someone (mostly (some sort of)men) hates women abnormally without obvious reason/ or someone hates women abnormally because women are women.
Of course, I cannot generalise ‘every men’ in Korea have Yeo-hyeom mind to women, some of men in Korea, I hope. But the one obvious thing is there is a debate about this phenomenon (Yeo-hyeom) between men and women. For me, as a women who lives in Korea, I was also furious when I read this crazy incident and I understand why there is a continuous argument about this tragedy what ‘men’ did to ‘women’. I know it should not be a dichotomous fight between ‘men’ and ‘women’. But, what do you think? This murderer killed that young women only because he hates women. Then? This means that that young women shouldn’t be killed by that psycho if she wasn’t a woman.
In other words, it could be any women. It could be me, my friends, my neighbours anyone who are women in Korea. That’s why this phenomenon brought us to think deeply about the issue of ‘Yeo-hyeom’ in Korea and we (women) now decided to fight with them (maybe men? or any one/any society who hates women without obvious reason. Women shouldn’t be received unfair only because we are women.
Why do we have to worry about going to public toilet? Why do we have to worry about being killed by anyone on the street? Why?
I don’t want to generalise that ‘all men has Yeohyeom’.But one thing is obvious that this society wants women to be ‘womanly-women’. And people (both men and women, not everyone) in Korea pointed to ‘not enough womanly-woman’. There are gender stereotypes in every culture and Korean society also have ‘stereotypes about women’. I think we (women) should deny these ‘stereotypes about women’ that decided by ‘others’. At the same time, we (women) should also deny the ‘stereotypes about women’ that were inherent in ourselves, too.
I mentioned before, there are so many special days in May in Korea. Yes, you can tell what I’m talking about when you read my posts in May. They are all about special days!
Today is Buddha’s Birthday so my family went to the Bongeunsa Temple near my house. My family is catholic but we go to the temple on special day like today. I saw so many ajummas to wish and pray for their family.
I will write more ajumma-related blog post next week. Enjoy Buddha’s birthday!
전에도 말했다시피, 한국의 5월은 날씨도 너무 아름답지만 특별한 날들이 참 많다. 어린이날 어버이날 부처님오신날 스승의 날 등등! 오늘은 바로 부처님 오신날! 그래서 부모님과 함께 집근처 봉은사에 갔었다. 우리집은 가톨릭 신자지만 이런 날에는 절에 가서 구경도 하고 한다. 종교가 다르다고 남의 종교가 틀린건 아니니까, 그리고 모든 종교는 다 연결되어 있다고 생각도 든다. 결국 착하게 남을 도우며 성실하게 잘 살기위해 종교를 갖는것 아니겠는가? (종교적인 부분은 매우 예민하니까 이쯤에서 그만)
오늘도 봉은사에서 많은 아줌마들을 봤다. 기도를 드리고 돌탑을 쌓아두고 등을달고 초에 불을 붙이고…이는 모두 그들의 가족들의 안녕을 위한 것이리라 생각이 든다. 우리의 모든 어머니들 즉 우리의 모든 아줌마들이 그렇게 가족을 위해 또 오늘도 살아간다.
아줌마들 모두 화이팅! 그리고 다음주에는 아줌마에 대한 포스팅을 곧 올리겠다! 즐거운 연휴 보내시길!
I tried to make Ajumma dolls before I made a Digital Ppal-let-ter video. Now, I’m thinking to do something very exciting and fun project for Ajummas. I can’t say the clear idea for this new project yet but one thing I can say for now is that this project will be enjoyable for everyone (not too serious or academic project). Through this blog, I will keep posting articles about ajummas (from academic research to miscellaneous stories) and at the same time I will upload the new project for ajummas as well.
As you can see the captured photo above, Jamie Oliver mentioned about Ajumma (he typed as ajoomma). Yes, ajummas are strong and at the same time lovely women. I’m so glad to read his comment about ajumma. They are part of our culture, I think.