[LETTERS TO THE EDITOR]Ajummas need mannersWhen an "ajumma" shoves past Hur Aram, she sees a "bold woman who has grown strong in the face of years of hardship and sacrifice."
When an ajumma cuts in front of people in lines, Ms. Hur says that this is a necessary survival step "only different in degree from nursing one's child through the night lest the fever worsens."
In "Behind the Rudeness is Pure Ajumma Love" (Thursday, Dec. 9), Ms. Hur offers a tired excuse for a pattern of uncivility ― not only limited to ajummas ― too prevalent in Korea these days.
She writes that a tough past, family sacrifice, love for the family and an ultra-competitive society allow them the right to act boorishly.
Gee, an ajumma sneaks in front of me in a bank line or barrels in through the subway doors (both which have happened often during my nine years in Korea).
I see a woman too impatient to wait for the teller to serve her or someone who simply wants to sit in an empty seat before anyone else can get it.
So, if devotion to one's family and a hard past excuse boorish behaviour, then I myself will begin bursting through subway doors (I'm 6'1", 225 pounds) and racing to an empty seat.
If passengers complain, I will stand up and loudly proclaim that I love my family and I had a difficult life ― driving a taxi seven days a week for six months after high school.
This, I will explain, qualifies me to behave uncouthly, at least, according to Ms. Hur.
The passengers will smile, nod understandingly and get back to their handphones.
After all, they know rudeness is acceptable in Korea as long as one is the product of a "tragic past" and possesses a "can-do spirit." I possess both of these characteristics.
by Mark Dake