A middle-aged Korean man abused two females on the subway telling them to “go back to your country” on Saturday night.
Kate Meldrom, an ESL teacher from North America, was on the subway metro line to Itaewon when she suggested to her friend they start eating tomatoes as snacks “like Koreans do” when a man approached them.
“He got up and walked towards us and since neither of us speak Korean fluently we just awkwardly looked at him. My friend felt uncomfortable and laughed and this pissed him off. So he walked towards us and picked up her things and went to throw them but she told him to stop in the little Korean she knows.”
At this point Kate’s friend starts filming the man who goes back to his “priority seat” and picks up his hiking pole.
The priority seat, or noyakja seat, is for the elderly, handicapped, pregnant women.
As he approaches the girls he points it at them, bouncing it in his hand in a threatening manner.
“Go back your home; go back your country,” the man yells as he is within a striking distance. “Go back your country,” he repeats before putting the pole by his side and walking back to his seat.
Kate said that four Korean men then assisted them.
Korean Daniel Lee said that based on the man’s attire he had been hiking.
“Looks like he’s one of those guys that went up a mountain, drank white rice wine, and came back down intoxicated. Why older Korean men do this is beyond me even to this day,” Lee said.
A Korean-American expat, Mike Slazenger, said that he had been kicked and told to stop speaking English in one incident but refused to generalize about Koreans.
“For all the people here who keep making these generalizations about all Koreans being racist, please give it a rest. This guy doesn’t represent all Koreans, just like the white people in America who have told me to go back to China/Japan, never Korea, do not represent all white Americans,” he said.
Kate said she really likes living in South Korea and is happy there.
“Besides the occasional racist comments, which most of the time we don’t understand, everyone is nice to us. The fact that those four Korean men helped us is proof of that. We are not generalizing that all Koreans are racist.”