One of the things I always admired about Korean society, and that of other Asian societies as well, is the necessity to respect your elders. The elderly seem to be well taken care of, especially by family members. This phenomenon stems from old Confucian ideals and is deeply entrenched in Korean society today. The elderly are seen as wise and are treated with respect…as they should be. However, I think some of this has created an unseen outcome in Korea’s elderly today. I think this effects mostly the older women and I should just note that this doesn’t mean everyone, just most of them. At its most innocent, I have older women giving me advice on how to care for Maya. How I should have covered her up more, or how our stroller isn’t good for her posture. Talking with my mom about this, I found out that it stems mostly from a feeling of responsibility towards the younger generation. This I don’t mind at all. However, at its most vicious, I have experienced older ajummas pushing me aside on the subways or cutting in front of me in lines (and I am not talking about just an innocent bump or a simple slip in). They literally push you or your belongings aside to get by or get in somewhere first. Here was an incident that happened to me about a week ago as I was heading to work. On Tuesday and Thursday mornings I use the subway station’s elevators because I have Maya in a stroller along with a bag full of lesson materials for my Day Care center job. I rounded the corner to head up to the elevator on the ground level. As I looked ahead of me I noticed  the elevator door was still open (they take forever to close…I think to give enough time for the handicapped and old) with a few older ladies inside. There was an extremely old woman walking ahead of me with a cane. So I sped up my pace to catch this elevator. As I got there, the lady with the cane had just gotten in and was standing there. I hesitated and decided that I could just wait for the next elevator since this one looked a little full. As I was standing there, one of the ladies in the back motioned for me to come in since there was enough room. Taking her heed, I began to push Maya forward when WHACK! the little old lady with the cane slammed her cane to the ground and growled a resounding NO! NO ROOM. I stopped in my tracks and the elevator door closed in front of me. 

Having quite a few of these experiences so far in Seoul has led me to be a tad bit weary whenever I see a pack of ajummas coming down the street.