I've been really careful about what I say out loud with regards to the US military in Korea, or elsewhere for that manner. At this point my frustration, irritation, and disgust isn't even based on opinions on US foreign policy or international politics, but simply the ignorance and vile behavior I've observed, and now experienced, here.
On Saturday I went to a couple hip-hop clubs in Pusan. Though I had fun, danced a bit, and talked to some random interesting people, the evening was also tainted by GI's breaking curfew and acting like idiots.
While waiting in line for the hwajongshil(otherwise known as the bathroom) a guy strikes up conversation with me. After a couple minutes he tells me he's from Philadelphia. A South Philly boy, 15th and Wolf. I was delighted to be so far away from my hometown and find someone from the same city. Then we get around to talking about what high schools we went to and as soon as I told him I went to Central, his entire attitude changed and he responded with "Oh, you're one of those people" and then gave me the well-it-was-nice-talking-to-you-buh-bye. WTF?!? I guess I was too smart or something for him to continue the conversation.
Whatever. Then they started playing some J5 and I made my way to the dance floor and found a nice little spot amongst the crowd. Some big dude with a southern accent comes over and asks me if he can dance with me, to which I reply "Maybe. Are you in the military?" He told me he was visiting family and then started popping every stupid thing he could come up with, and slowly exposing himself as a GI.
As I remember it went something like this:
"Do you think Irish people are racist? This girl behind me keeps bumping into me."
My response: (I look over and see a white girl with blonde hair. I quickly ask myself, how does he know that she's Irish, then realize that he doesn't) I think there are prejudice people in every culture and ignorance regardless of race.
"I'm all real. Always tell the truth."
My response: Oh, yeah? The first question I asked you was if you're in the military and you lied.
"Well, I gotta watch my back. I don't know if you're the police out here to get guys breaking curfew. But if you were going to arrest me, I'd willingly go, as long as there were handcuffs involved."
My response: I gotta go.
Okay so these two were annoying, but I wasn't going to let them mess with my good time. My outfit was cute. Brand new jeans, strappy heels that weren't hurting my feet, and a black sheer top with a deep V-shaped neckline. We went to the next place. I'm walking past the bar and someone's got their hand on my butt. Not just that I walked too close to someone and their hand grazed my body mistakenly, but a full reach out and grab--a perfect example of "I got 5 on it." I was enraged.
I turn around WHACKED this huge guy with my my patent leather black clutch. He was shocked. So was I. I couldn't beleive I reacted violently. I immediately felt that I had endangered myself while I was aware that he deserved it. He stood there with his crew of dudes, all with their ever so attractive GI haircuts, and glared back at me. As he said "WHAT?!" I remembered standing helplessly just last week as a woman was beaten in front of me, in the street, by a man, with 20 or so people standing around. I remembered Denise telling me that it's something that just happens here and that she no longer lets it bother her. She just accepts that she can't do anything about it. Did he expect me to turn around and ask him to dance with me? Ask him back to my hotel? This is supposed to be okay? I'm supposed to walk on, act like nothing happened, accept what had happened? So I screamed at him "Don't fucking touch my ass!" and stomped off.
UNACCEPTABLE. I'm so disappointed that a huge portion of the foreign population is made up of these jerks that act stupid. I'm really dirty about the fact that idiots help to form an image about (brave and honorable) Americans and represent where I'm from. Gross.