I could have sworn that I left the deep south eight months ago. In fact, I thought that I had moved to the opposite side of the planet. Apparently I was wrong – I must be back in the Bible Belt. Where else would I be approached regularly by pushy evangelists handing out religious pamphlets and threatening me with eternal damnation?
Jesus may have been a country boy, but God is apparently a Japanese anime character.
The woman who chased me down me in the subway and shoved this pamphlet in my hand was one of many Korean evangelists who hang around the subways waiting for unsuspecting waygook (foreign) marks. Disguised as friendly old ladies, or friendly high school students, they grab your attention by introducing themselves in English, and then pounce with a thirty-second conversion pitch. Every time a Korean speaks to me in public, I am nervous that they are going to talk about “God the Mother” or “Jejus”. Either way, it is terribly uncomfortable being preached to in Konglish.
Fortunately, I’m getting better at seeing them coming. Most Koreans are frightened by the prospect of speaking to westerners in English. The ones who stroll right up and confidently say hello are often evangelists. Although I applaud their courage, I abhor the uncomfortable feeling I get when they say “do you believe the God?” or “God the Mother loving you.” Every time, I’m torn between the urge to correct their English and the desire to run away. Usually, I choose to run away.
Until next time.