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∙ Current position: Academy of Finland Postdoctoral Researcher, Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Helsinki
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Sunday, December 12, 2004

Grandfather Kwon

Welcome all the visitors from Oranckay's and Marmot's sites. Seems that making a series of posts on this old gentleman and his views on the topics of women and sex, money in Korea, and Korea among the nations would be appropriate. So look forward for some new stuff soon.

Have been trying to find a suitable pattern to fit the story of Mr Kwôn (or Grandfather Kwôn) into my dissertation. The data I have on him is so different from the others, so it can easily appear as incongruent with the rest, but on the other hand his case is so interesting that it'd be a pity to leave him out. Ok, it takes some pondering how to use the following kind narration for a thesis on contemporary keepers of small neighborhood businesses (of which Grandfather Kwôn was one at the time of my research):
Now he gets back to his favorite subject. He tells about a time when there were a lot of hungry people. "Women were selling their body, and military police had a lot of money at that time. We used to spend time in yogwans. It was better to pick an ordinary-looking girl than a pretty girl (I don't get the reason why). Military police had access to cars and we could take the girls for a ride anywhere… bought meals and bought clothes… Because I had seen porno tapes I knew how to satisfy a woman… could make it last for 30-40 minutes… the longer it takes the more a woman likes it." I could give a perfect service, sŏbisŭ manjŏm. "But that's why I have gotten old so quickly."
Next he tells about the time which was probably when he had a cinema, or was it the time when he had the adult film showings, or was it the time when he had the taxi company. [Note: he had them simultaneously] …we lived well at that time… the women in the area were after me, "let's try it once with him". I was like a star, "oppa, chŏmsim sa chuŏ...". He tells that he met a Danish nurse during the Korean war. She wanted to learn Korean from him. He took her for a ride with a car, which he was able to do since he was a military police. He knew all the techniques well because he had seen all the tapes. [At least now his memory or imagination goes clearly wrong or makes a huge 10 years time leap…] They went to a temple, and stayed there for the night, in the only guest room of the temple. She was astonished that an eastern man can be so strong.
Fortunately, Mr Kwôn's life story as he told it also makes an interesting case of an entrepreneurial career in the contemporary history of Korea: military police (kind of entrepreneurship as well), taxi company, movie theater, inn (yôgwan), pool hall, tailor shop of big proportions ("at best 100 people got their salary from me", "Na Hun-a was my customer"), and finally a laundry at the outskirts of town.

It's time to write a letter to Grandfather Kwôn, ask if he has been well and wish him good health.

Update 2.
The next posting: Grandfather Kwon: family, marriage

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Comments to note "Grandfather Kwon" (Comments to posts older than 14 days are moderated)

<Blogger jodi> said on 16.12.04 : 

that is a fricken' hilarious post! thanks for sharing it! :)

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