Hey guys, how’s life going on your side? It’s Glasses-Kun here~
It’s the first of August here, and I thought this would be a nice time to do some reflection. So here we go~
*Warning. If you don’t want to read some heavy stuff and just want to find more about translation, just keep scrolling to the bottom.*
I’ve encountered numerous people who were like,”Oh cool, you are a Korean!” through my international school, church, part-time jobs and etc. But to be frank, I didn’t really get why some individuals make it sound as if I should feel happy to be a Korean.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m fine with the fact that I am a Korean. And to a certain extent, I can see why some foreigners might think being a Korean is pretty cool. In the last several years, Korean culture has been attracting lots of interest worldwide. Korea’s beautiful girl K-pop groups(Ex.Girl Generation, Red Velvet, Bae Suzy are great. Sorry, I digress), handsome K-pop boy groups(Ex.BTS.), foods, entertainments(Ex.Running Man), movies(Ex.Train to Busan) and more.
But while Korea has its charms, it also has its flaws. As someone who suffered from these shortcomings during childhood, I can’t help but have slight aversion to moments when someone speaks of Korea as if it’s a paradise.
The main drawbacks in Korea that I’ve experienced myself are Korea’s education system and bullying that happens inside it. Korea’s education system seems to determine a student’s value and future(no exaggeration here) through his/her academic scores. As a result, this kind of environment causes the children and parents to place academics above everything. Youth? Romance? Friendship? Sport? Pfft, kids, just put them aside for now; if you don’t study, you will have no job and no future. This is what I was told when I was in my kindergarten.
When I was in the 2nd year of my elementary school, I was already daily studying until 1am. Morning to afternoon would be spent at my school, and the rest of my time until about 8-9pm would be spent at academic institutions. Occasionally, when I managed to come home early, I would have my dinner with my grandparents and watch TV. Fictional works(western movies, Japanese+Korean animations) had provided me escapism, which helped me and my friends to hold onto our sanity. If it weren’t for them, we would probably have broken down……..
(But these challenging experiences helped me grow. You will see how by the end of this post).
In addition to Korea’s rigorous education even for elementary schools, there was severe bullying going around. Now that I look back on it, I can see that the bullies were also the system’s victims who were struggling to find lifestyles that could show them a way out of their hellholes. They were picking on others and using the sense of superiority as escapism from reality. But back then, as a target of bullying, I didn’t see it like this. Heck, I was just an elementary school kid. It would be weird if I saw the perpetrators in such understanding light.
I had three of my middle school senpais hitting my head once in a while during breaks for absolutely no reason. They would shout “Wahhhh, embrace my chicken style.” and ‘peck’ my head with their hands.
Along with her friend, my first love ruined and vandalized the notebook I had received from my grandfather as a gift. When I was erasing the hating messages they left on my notebook in the class, my teacher confiscated it. Afterward, I never saw the notebook again. Rip my first love experience.
My second crush treated me as a dog(or a horse once in awhile. Or a slave once in awhile. Not in a BDSM manner though. For better or worse). She literally made me get on my fours, sat on me and told me to move. Some perverts out there might find this kind of stuff hot, but trust me, it sure wasn’t fun back then.
I wasn’t the only victim. I can still remember when the ‘cool’ kids bullied a chubby girl during our lunchtime to a point, where she ended up simultaneously crying and vomiting. Everyone just went outside while making fun of her and her puke stench, and I was driven by the peer pressure to leave as well. I just left her there, until the teacher came. I just watched her being helped by my teacher, as I stood behind my classmates. That was when I first came to experience self-contempt.
I think it was in my second year of my elementary school, when I first witnessed discrimination. In terms of academics, I was in the upper 20% so I received alright treatment. But people, who did not excel in academics, weren’t seen very highly. I just wanted everyone to get along, but not everyone had the same idea. That was when I first came to feel that Korea’s education system had to change. But no matter how long I waited, it didn’t happen. Along with my friends and classmate, I waited for somebody to bring the change and save me. But no matter how long I waited, it didn’t happen.
Although I might sound sour about these past experiences, I am actually quite grateful. These overall experience not only disciplined me, but helped me experience my typical teenagers’ cynical phase at a pretty young age. Looking back, I’m glad it happened early, as it helped me mature quickly and gave me the opportunity to reach out my hands to my friends who have started to experience the phase recently. These difficult moments shaped me into a person who I am now today—someone who desires to help people, reduce bullying and, most importantly, bring interesting changes/improvements to the education system.
Education system hasn’t changed for a long time. And this is not because people in the ministry of education are lazy. Not only does innovating new education system require significant amount of time, effort and money, but it incurs high opportunity cost. The nation’s finance could have been spent on the healthcare, public infrastructure, subsidy for job training sessions, unemployment benefits and others.
Certainly, our education system is not perfect. However, it works for the majority. Given numerous factors to consider, a compromise for the minority is inevitable. That’s why for many years to come, the rate of change in our education system will be very slow. However, it’s still a change.
And I dream/hope to contribute in accelerating this change.
If I may be specific, I want to integrate gamification and technology(VR and AR) into our education system. Just like the AR education system illustrated in a light novel called Baka To Test( Not SAO, thank you very much). Baka To Test is a fictional work that played an extremely crucial role in broadening my perspective regarding academics. After I left Korea to study in Singapore, many people at my international school told me that academic is not everything. And I would respond by saying, “Don’t worry. I know what you mean.” But this novel is what made me truly understand that academic is not everything. It taught me the beauty of people, their different talents besides academics, friendship, love and kindness. My past-self probably would have scoffed at my current-self for feeling such powerful connection to a work of fiction on an emotional level. However, for me, what mattered was that this work gave my perspective of the world colors. (Shame that animes and mangas—two interesting mediums of storytelling—are met with strong prejudice by many people.)
With the cost of technology as it is now, I’m not sure how many years it will take for the education system I have in my mind to be feasible, affordable and accessible to people worldwide. However, I won’t give up. So that individuals’ different talents can be acknowledged. So that the problems of equality and inequality can be ameliorated. So that this kind of thing happens less.
My dream might not work out the way I expected. Heck, it might not even be fulfilled. Even if it did, it might not be initially successful/efficient and cause inconvenience to others. My sincere apology if that were to happen. But it is the selfish goal I have for now andhope to share this dream with more people in the future. I wish to see my dream being materialized in reality one day, so I can introduce more flexibility, creative+critical thinking and, most importantly, colors of life to only academic oriented systems in Asian countries, such as Korea—my home country.
While it may sound as if I’m trashtalking Korea’s education system, I actually have a high level of respect for it and its students. I am not going to lie. Korea produces excellent students. At least academic-wise. Just a few weeks before my final IB exam in my last year of high school, I visited Korea to see my grandparents, whose bodies were gradually becoming frail. While I wanted to cherish my time with them, I still had to do some past papers…cuz my final exam was coming up. Then, my cousin showed up, saw a vector question on my High Level Math Paper and just solved it. Some of you might be like,”Yeah, anyone can do that.”
But what if I told you that he can’t even read English? He just saw the numbers, guessed the question’s content and solved it.
But I wouldn’t want any little kid to undergo what my cousin or I had to go through, just for the sake of good academics. Scores stop mattering after schools, but characteristics+skills developed, experiences gained during childhood and lessons from them do not disappear. They continue to play significant parts of who you are and your future. And that’s why I can’t easily approve of how Korea’s education system arbitrarily makes the decisions for its children and sacrifice their youth aspects for high score numbers.
That’s why until recently, I didn’t really feel proud, happy or whatsoever about being a Korean. But helping thousands of people worldwide by translating mangas from Korean to English and getting their support ameliorated the disregard I’ve been holding towards a Korean part of me—A part of my identity. If I weren’t a Korean, I probably would not have been able to pull off my translation projects. Sure, I might not be the only one in the world who is capable of doing it. Sure, HnG chapters are being done by Mangazuki now, and Mangakalot is slowly switching my chapters with Mangazuki’s chapters. Sure, I might be spending my valuable time to translate some ‘silly’ fictional words, as some adults would possibly say. However, this overall experience helped me find self-acceptance.I came to like myself more. And that’s all that matters to me. I still have a long way ahead of me in life, and liking myself is a prerequisite to make the journey fun and exciting.
That’s why I would like to say, “Please give new stuffs a try.” Regardless of how trivial or simple it might appear, you will never know what you will get out of it until you try it. It could help you learn more about yourself and maybe even develop your appreciation for yourself.
And with that, Chapter 1 of Glasses-Kun’s monologue ends here today.
I am going to take a break from this blog for a while. I have fulfilled and gained everything I wanted to do and experience through this blog.
As I said before, I created this blog two years ago just for the sake of creating a blog. And for two years, I really didn’t do much. Until the mid of this June, as you can see from the stat below. That’s when Glasses-Kun was born. For Kashii arc and HnG. Also for the sake of other writings I had planned in my mind.
*June 2017 : 8748 views *July 2017: 111,149 views+84577 visitors.
*Apparently, in one month, I beat the number of views that Light Novel Translations of Henneko and Aldnoah Zero Extra Novel got in their peak years, so I guess I can take empty/shallow pride in that. Thank you everyone. I did lose to Oregairu though, but I’m glad I did. I wouldn’t want an eechi manga romance to lose to Oregairu; the light novel version of that work is a masterpiece. More refined version of a classic novel Catcher of the Rye.
However, now that I’ve completed them all in July, I think I will return to reality for a while.
That is, until I find a new goal or something I want to do again with the blog Dreamer. So I thought I would leave a poll for translation request until I return. I won’t translate H-Manhwa or Domestic No Kanojo(which already has a translation group) though; I’m just saying this since they were the popular answers from the previous translation request page. You can request anything, but anything similar to the works mentioned below would be greatly appreciated. If you comment the series’s name and why you like it below, I would prob be more motivated to pick it up.
Romance: Horimiya, Love Lab, Bokura wa minna kawaisou
Dark: Prison Lab, Real Account, kamisama no iutoori
Slice of Life: Oregairu, Barakamon, Grand Blue, Assassination classroom and Onanie Master Kurosawa
I am not sure when chapter 2 of Glasses-Kun’s monologue will start again, but I will still be lurking in the shadow of this community somewhere. I will continue to be translating Prison Lab for Mangazuki and also Real Account Later on anyway, so you will know Glasses-Kun is still alive out there.
Well then, thank you for spending your valuable time to read Glasses-Kun’s finale monologue in Chapter 1. For those who’ve been following me from the beginning or a while ago, thank you very much for your kind support. I would not have been able to come this far, if it weren’t for your support. I really appreciate it. With the satisfaction of having been able to provide happiness for such large number of people, I think I can finish the chapter 1 with no regret. I will probably lose 99.9% of my readers during this break, but oh well. As a certain blonde Alchemist would say, “Human kind cannot obtain anything without first giving something in return. To obtain, something of equal value must be lost.” If you get the reference, you have one less masterpiece to watch. Now, I think I’m going to get back to a game I got as a gift from one of my readers and finish it. Again, thank you for everything!
Glasses-Kun: I wish you a nice day.
*Glasses flaps its wings and flies off to find another human to wear*
A Casual Korean Guy in Singapore: Sayonara, Glasses.
Two Interesting/Cool Bloggers I Met During This Journey And Would Recommend:
–Shokamoka the Saekano Powerhouse. If you want to learn more about what happens after where S2 left off, check out his website.
Check out my other reflections here:
Final Note: I do not hate Korea. While I do have some tough memories, I also have fond memories from my past in Korea. Old childhood friends too. Just clarifying.
#Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter so that you guys can know when I upload the translated version and also know more about what’s going on. I will prob be less active from now on though.
#If you guys enjoy the translation, please leave a comment/support below or on MyAnimeList(Tell me what series you are following if possible). Any support would be greatly appreciated. If you also mention where the support is coming from in the world, that would be pretty cool.