Coming back from Seoul on the bus yesterday, I saw something that shocked me to the core. I sat in the last row in the back of the bus. In front of me there was a man and in front of him there was a woman sleeping. 5 minutes after the bus took off, the man took out his camera-phone. At first I thought he was taking some self-photos (everyone takes like a million pictures of themselves with their camera phones here). I looked on his camera and I finally figured out he was taking an “aerial” picture of the girl in front of him’s legs (she was wear mini-shorts). He must have had his phone modified to take pictures without the shutter sound. I tried to cough and kick his seat, but I was too taken aback to really do anything. Once he saved the picture, he waited a few minutes then he moved back one row of seats, across from me. I was revolted. This Korean man was in his 30s and you’d never suspect him.
Then, as I started thinking about this, I started feeling disgusted with myself. I felt like his accomplice since I didn’t stop him.
When I got off the bus I talked about it with my foreigner friends and we pointed out that since I’m not Korean and I can’t really explain that happened, if I did anything after the fact, it would have come off as a crazy foreigner harassing a Korean.Yet another moment when I wished I could speak Korean.
The same thing happened to my friend’s friend’s. Luckily she caught the guy and deleted all the photos on his phone. Turns out the offender had a girlfriend.
What infuriated me the most was thinking about such a situation happening to my friends or, worst, my students.
I know it’s not unique to Korea, but there are many stories of voyeurism or lewd acts in public floating around here. Perhaps I’m just not conscious of their existence in Canada, but that’s one thing I certainly won’t miss about this country.