Modest resolutions for 2004

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Modest resolutions for 2004

With a new year here, you need to have answers ready when people ask what you’ll do in 2004 to make yourself or the world better.
The president of the country, perhaps, is vowing to stop putting his foot in his mouth. A lawmaker is promising to stop taking truckloads of jaebol money. A college grad is vowing to get a job that just isn’t there. A columnist is trying to stop referring to himself in the third person.
The resolution question came up the other night at the always congenial bar Always Homme, on Itaewon’s Gay Hill. The owner, Seo Young-sik, put on a wicked grin when asked what his vow was.
“I will go to Tibet,” he said. “I want to go there to try the, er, food. I’ve tasted food from almost every country, but not Tibet. Not yet.”
Mr. Seo then assumed a meditative thumb-to-forefinger gesture, and added that he also needed to cleanse and purify his body, mind and soul, and that Tibet seemed the ideal place.
Kim Moon-kang, the head bartender, vowed to take better care of his skin in 2004, though he seemed by all appearances epidermally flawless.
“I’m going to visit the skin clinic, and keep going until my skin is as clear and beautiful as Kim Jae-won’s or Ahn Jung-hwan’s,” he said, referring to the actor and the soccer star who serve as cheek-to-cheek spokesmen for the men’s beauty product Colour Lotion.
Mr. Kim’s assistant behind the bar, Hong Seong-min, had a resolution that came out more like a wish. “I will find a boyfriend and start a romantic relationship,” he said. “And I want us to be able to wear matching couple things, like couple shirts and couple rings.”
Mr. Hong acknowledged that his resolution depended more on society changing than on him changing.
Song Kyung-suk, a regular at Always Homme, weighed in with a more common vow. “I need to start going to the gym every day,” he said. He insisted that he didn’t need to add any muscle or drop any kilos; he just needed to improve his endurance. “I’m getting a little older, so I’m starting to worry about my physical condition,” he explained.
Another patron, who goes by the name “Roy,” said he was determined to further his career as a fashion photographer. “I’m going to work and work until I succeed,” he said.
Besides this columnist (oops), the only foreigner in the bar was a Canadian named Douglas. He vowed to be more responsible. “I need to return the Harry Potter book I borrowed from a co-worker two years ago,” he said.
Breathing on one hand and motioning to the snack bowl with the other, Douglas added one more wish for 2004. “I want these bars to stop putting out squid fries, and start putting out, like, Beer Nuts,” he said. “Munch on those shrimp fries and no one will kiss you.”
The columnist has also resolved to stop inventing imaginary characters like Douglas.


by Mike Ferrin
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