Are you Korean?
I never expected to have someone else asking me; “한국사람이에요?” (are you Korean?), especially from a Korean. But, even till now I could not find in which side that those people look on me and think that I’m Korean, but there were two Koreans said so.
1. She was ten-years old daughter of Indonesian-Korean mix-marriage couple. Once I called her name and ask the same question as Korean always do, “몇 살이니?” (how old are you?), she was very surprised> Instead of answering me, she asked me back, “한국사람이에요?” (are you Korean?). I startled for few seconds and ask her back, “왜? 내가 한국 사람 같아? (why do you think so?”) ; and she said: “how you pronounce the words just exactly like a Korean.”
OK…that might be reasonable. Because I heard a lot from people about being good in pronouncing any foreign language. Please don’t misunderstood the case that I am the only who is doing good. I cannot deny that Indonesians are gifted to speak foreign language in its right way without go abroad if they learn the language by not focusing only on grammar but how natives say their words in given condition.
So, back to the story of ten-years old Korean young lady. I think I have experienced how the simplest mind-set in human’s life which can be found on what children said. Maybe that’s why people like kids. They judge you less subjective. Just like what the young-girl did to me. She didn’t look at my appearance which much more look like Southeast Asian people and my hijab which characterized me as a muslim but she just simply thinks that if you say the same language as Korean and you are good at it as Korean does, then it means that you are Korean.
2. An middle-aged man has mistakenly see me as a Korean. He is bus driver of 5516 Green Bus. I said “안녕하세요” as I entered the bus and the driver-just like other middle age Korean-surprised. I never see that the 5516 bus has ever full of passenger. Well, that bus usually less passenger in the afternoon. I was the only passenger at the time and needed to transfer to another bus car. The driver let me waited inside the bus because it was raining and I think he knew that I didn’t bring my umbrella. I didn’t say anything besides ‘안녕하세요’, but suddenly the driver asked me whether I am Korean or not? I asked him why did he think so and he just said that I do look like a Korean. WOW!!! that amazed me a lot.
Later I realized there is something unique in the way those Koreans define the meaning of being a Korean. If you can speak Korean well, respect their culture, praise what is good about them, work hard like they do, and obey the law, you are then a Korean.