Friday has come around again, and that usually means a story about the orphan children I work with. However, today I want to take the opportunity to tell you about something I got to do last weekend.
There are a lot of foreigners in Korea. Many are English teachers. But there are also lots of migrant workers and students from all over the world. When Koreans meet a foreigner who can speak Korean, even something as elementary as 안녕하세요?, they are really impressed. Part of the reason in that the westerners who stick out the most here don’t often bother to learn a lot of Korean. If you come to Korea, and start a conversation with a taxi driver, a shop clerk, or a waitress, you are bound to get complimented with “와! 우리말 되게 잘 하시네요!” (Wow! You really speak Korean so well!)
Korean-speaking foreigners are something of a novelty here, so there are some TV shows that feature foreigners doing all kinds of things in Korean . The Lunar New Year is approaching, and apparently every year, they have a game show for foreigners - played entirely in Korean. This year, I managed to get a space on the show!
Now, among English teachers, I am pretty proud of my Korean level. But I was up against a completely different league in this game show. Out of 100 competitors there were perhaps 6 from English speaking countries. Everyone else was here as a full time studen from China, Japan, Vietnam, Malaysia.. They are really really good.
Anyway, the game show was “도전 걸든벨,” Golden Bell is a quiz show. Each contestant has a whiteboard, and they write an answer to the question. If you get it wrong, you’re out. The last person surviving has to answer a few additional questions. If they get that far, the will “ring the golden bell” and in our case, come home with about $4,000.
The whole experience was really loads of fun. I’ll tell you right now that I didn’t win - and I’m not even sure I’ll make it on the broadcast. The game took several hours, and only 50 minutes will be shown on TV, so…you do the math. When you get a question wrong, the announcer might come over and interview you. I’d love the chance to do the interview over again, cause I really made a lot of mistakes… but see if you can pick up something from a recent KClass lesson.
When they asked the question, the showed a picture on the screen, and asked us to write the name of the animation. Now, I really don’t know anything about Korean animation, so I knew I was cooked. I just wrote down the silliest answer I could think of: 마시마로. The picture was actually more like this.
Anyway, he came over to me, and asked what I wrote and why. I responded with “저는 한국 애니메이션대하서 아무 것도 모라요.” (Check Intermediate lesson 4) Then I fumbled through the rest of the interview, even managing to sing this song!
After lunch we got to play a second round, but I got out on the first question! Too bad.. cause those questions were a bit easier than the first round! All in all, I think I could have answered about 60-70% of them right, had I not been eliminated so early!
It was a great day, and I really had to practice my listening skills, because no one was giving directions in English!