24 September 2007

starting sentences with "dude, ..."

they say everyone has a physical double somewhere on earth. is this mine?

while chatting online tonight with random korean guy #531, he told me that i looked like 이웃집 토토로 (hangul) (see above). most of us half-breeds are achingly familiar with this conversation. although i'm still mildly curious to find out how someone's life experiences translate into what they see (do i look asian? white? mexican?), please note that this is a game many of us tolerate rather than enjoy.

in korea, where there is no such thing as latinos, pacific islanders or filipino men, i'm usually japanese - definitely foreign, yet in close proximity. when koreans learn that i'm part-them, they often say that i resemble the american model-turned-actor, daniel henney. other halfies here get the same thing. of course, i don't look anything like him. the best part is hearing this from people who have yet to see me. in this "one-blood nation", all us mixed-bloods are bound to look the same... except for the half-black ones, of course.

all said, for the most part i enjoy how my pheotype plays out here. contrary to what the creepy fetishizing stalker at eun mee's performance said, i did not move to korea to be fetishized. rather, i've found that for the most part, i'm inconspicuous to the people i try to avoid (foreigners and expats who assume i'm korean) and an unobtrusive curiosity to many of the locals, at least one of whom thinks i look like a grey and white friendly forest spirit.

for example, i had lunch with a few white and japanese classmates a few weeks back and saw what the baegin (white people) are always complaining about - the other patrons were staring at us. on the other hand, i'm rarely approached by strangers who start their sentences with, "dude, ...".

since race (perceived as well as pedigree) is always changing, i am committed to making subtle and overt changes and seeing what happens. for example, i dyed my very dark brown hair black 2 weeks back and last week i was asked for directions by two korean ladies who thought i was a bonafide hanguk saram. one of them even stuck around as i tarzaned her where to go. i was touched. coincidence?


Jon said...

dude -- thought you might appreciate this pic. i don't know why, but it has 'magenta' written all over it.

matt said...

thanks, dude, but she spells it "majenta... 'n shambles". i don't see the connection, but it's good to know someone has formed some kind of persona for that wayward hussy... lawd knows daddy hasn't.