A Canadian writer teaches English and finds out what it's like to be a foreigner.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Totalitarianism

"Total" is a word that Korean marketing hinges on.

"Shoes & Shoes: Total Shoes Shop."

"Total Fashion."

"Total Well Being."

It stands to reason that if you are selling something in the highly competitive realm of Korean commerce, you might as well market yourself with the finality of the bottom line.

"There is nothing about this shop that doesn't involve shoes. We take our shit seriously."

"Free lunch, final wisdom, total coverage... why not?" In the words of Raoul Duke.

In any case, the word has taken hold in the popular English domain and it springs up in surprising places.

Tonight I walked into my last class only to see the kids crowded around something or other.

As I got closer and parted the mob, I saw it was a plastic tray with about 4 leaky paint tubes.

"What's this?" I asked.

"I don't know..." they said.

I think I saw the paints floating around the same classroom earlier in the day, so they must have been abandoned and left to bleed out.

The mingling of the painty carnage was what had the kids interested.

Ugly punctures in three of the tubes had leaked a chunky white like cottage cheese, and purple with a runny moat of red. The remaining glitter paint was unmolested.

It looked like a Care Bear's bowel movement, and I wasn't alone in my estimation.

"Teacher!" one student said, catching my brain wave, "Dung!"

"Total Dung!"

1 comment:

Shane Patenaude said...

The word that seems to dominate businesses around my neighborhood, besides 'chicken', is 'OK'. Everything is OK. OK Zone (PCbang), OK health (pharmacy, etc.

It's time to open an eatery called the 'Totally OK Chicken'.