Tuesday, 19 October 2010


... about how my faith in humanity was restored and why I love Korea.

Because I do, genuinely.

Today I went to fix my new cellphone number. I couldn't manage with it, cause apparently they have no prepaid cells available on the spot, but I had funny adventures.

I went to SK Telecom shop and heard a very well accented "Hi". A good looking bit panicked young man was watching me and waiting until I say something.

- I want to get the cheapest prepaid phone you have.

- Impossible. - oh, I already thought it was impossible because of my ARN is until Deecember only.
- Why?

Then I had seen him opening google translate, typing something in Korean and the screen had shown:
- We don't have now. Sorry.
- Onjae isoyo? When will you have ? ( less gramatically correct but he seemed to understand me well).
- Monday.
- Olmayeyo? How much?
This time it was calculator in use.
- Handy phony 29000, chargy 20 000 KRW.
- ??? - nomu pisayo. Expensive! Why that?
- Chergy 20 000.
- Arossoyo. I see.
And I start taking money from my wallet.
- Aniyo, on monday. Come. Pay.
Broken english was just enough for me to understand what he was saying. My broken Korean spared him from typing each time on the screen. One thing came to my mind though.
- How will you know it's me? Why don't you write it down somewhere?
I had written him down my landline and a word Monday on yellow sticker.
- Ah, arossoyo. Kinchanayo. - heard I in response.
- Nanyn 월요일 come. I will come on monday.
- See you on Monday.
How friendly place in the world is this country. In Poland there are global policies and global solutions and here every branch of the bank and every branch of any telecom has policies adjusted to local community of customers and their needs. The closest telecom shop to Ajou makes no fuzz about anything, no formalities, even if it's staff does not speak english at all and uses google translate instaed. I think two dimensions make it prevailing the way it does. Asians do not complain that much and are not that poshy as customers. I am not that poshy as a traveller as well. In Poland some sophisticated Briton would maybe make a big fuzz about the level of the service, especially in Warsaw's white collar district. A personnel without good command of english would be fired. Here, noone cares... and I love it.

As I was walking down my local food and service street close to Ajou, walking back home, I decided to have a cup of nice coffee.

- Hojilnot isoyo? - asked I gently in haha Coffee shop.
- Anyohaseyo, oh, haizeelnoty obsoyo. Myanamnidah. We don't have hazelnut coffee now, sorry.

I saw a very nice guy in his 40's with genuine smile saying sorry to a customer with his entire self, and he ran away from the shop somewhere as I was waiting for machiato he offered to make with a discount.

My machiato was ready when I saw a guy rushing back in with a bunch of mandarines, giving me two of them said:
- Mashilke tyseyo - bon apetite.

And he said something which in my instinct translation sounded like " Have a nice day".

Not much was needed to make me even more happy today.

Now, eating my mandarine.
The photo comes from flog.pl.


  1. Hi Agnieszka,

    I like your straightforwardness in this post. I can understand your amusement about the way Koreans are. I also went to Ajou and something similar happened to me: I went to fix my cellphone to LG (nearby Lotteria at the end of Ajou St.). The girl who attends there was so nice, all the time used her limited English to communicate with us, sometimes she used the translator, other times she called one of our Korean friends in order to let us now about some technical problem hard to explain. The most amazing thing was giving my fixed cellphone back even when I haven't the money at that moment (I was passing by and asked if it was ready), she told me, give it to me tomorrow.
    Trust is the foundation of business and I think they achieved quite good.

    Regards from Peru.


  2. Hi Cynthia,
    thank you for your comment :)
    When did you stay at Ajou?

    Yes, they trust a lot here and I am more and more amazed, so often surprised and taked by my whole heart with their ways... have to go now, midterm week on and the conference tomorrow.

    Regards from Suwon :)

  3. Travelling in East Asia is very rewarding in this sense. People are almost everywhere very genuine and will help you as much as possible :). Customer service maybe a bit better in West but I feel the Service you get in East Asia leaves you with a fuzzy warm happy feeling inside you, which is missing in west!! I travelled China for a year... and can totally relate to your post - Prachi

  4. Saphira OMG :) Now when I have sent this link to my Dear Friend, I had seen a comment. Yes I love them, I miss them every single day :) Yes it fulfills one with happy feeling for long time ahead :)


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