There are always pros and cons to every big decision in life…and if you are a level-headed (ish) kind of person like me, it is best to think things over before jumping into something big. Like moving abroad for example, you do your research and find some other people’s thoughts on the place – they might mention that the country is rich in culture and historic tradition (oooh, interesting!), but also add that there is some negative bias from the older generation against foreigners (oooh, who cares?)…but nowhere in my research of South Korea did I find any reference to the horrific craze among Korean children that is, the “dong-chim” (똥침)…
The English translation is “poop-needle”. Which I’m sure sounds funny, it’s all fun and games when it’s just a phrase on a blog. But when you experience it first hand it is rather shocking, to say the very least. Picture this…you’re standing in a classroom, you’re doing pretty well so far; you woke up to an amusing Will Ferrell video which started things off positively, you then had a decent breakfast and someone complimented your hair despite you doing nothing different with it…you’re feeling good, feeling great, then BOOM. You are struck by a dong-chim. You fall to the floor. You weep uncontrollably. Your life as you know it, will never be the same ever again. Such is the fate of many foreigners who come to Korea and there doesn’t seem to be any kind of support network.
Sorry, I should explain. A “dong-chim” is when a person puts their hands together, much like the imaginary gun you may have played with when you were a child…so you have four fingers together in what makes for quite a sturdy piece of equipment. You then proceed to go up to an unsuspecting victim and ram said piece of equipment up their anal cavity.
From experience, the more bizarre the squawk you get from your victim, the funnier it is.
The first time it happened I greeted the child with something along the lines of “WHAT THE FUCK?!” Which was, I would say, a rather rational reaction. But I hadn’t been warned of this trend, so I thought perhaps it was an accident – maybe, just maybe, the child had meant to tap me on the shoulder, but hadn’t been able to reach? I don’t know. After a few occasions it became clear that the poop-needle was indeed a thing, and was no accident.
So to anyone considering coming to South Korea to teach, be warned. Wear five pairs of underpants and make it your number one rule on your first day of class that poop-needles are outlawed, and that you will not be responsible for your actions should they be brought to school.
I wonder if the craze will spread to the rest of the world…for the sake of my friends and family, I hope not. It has got a little out of control over here, the other day I saw a family taking a photo next to a large Spiderman cut out…I thought “aww how lovely, what a sw-“, but then I saw that even Spiderman, crouching down in his red and blue spandex, wasn’t safe from the horror of the poop-needle. Say what you want about the Green Goblin, but he would never pull that trick.
Anyway, I am working on setting up a poop-needle support group, to those afflicted foreigners; just know you are not alone.
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