Remember when I tried to explain the glory of the Ajumma? They’re a pretty distinguished class of people. The most interesting thing is observing their dress–it’s often a combination of customary Korean clothes and modern styles, in a way only an ajumma can get away with. They do everything, from run schools (my last principal was an ajumma, though a very nice one and I miss her) to sell vegetables on the sidewalk.
One thing most of them share: an expectation for respect. Confucianism and whatnot. Or so we’re told. That and, like I’ve said, they’ve lived through quite a lot.
There was a subway fight a while back involving an ajumma and a young girl that was sparked because of something to do with the young girl disrespecting the older woman. Actually, the story is unclear–I first heard the girl used the wrong honorific to apologize for accidentally getting some mud on the woman (in Korean, the verb ending changes depending on how much higher up in hierarchy the person you’re addressing is, or strangers vs. acquaintances and friends: I use different verb endings when talking to my students vs. my coteachers vs. my principal vs. the checkout person at the supermarket, for example). The video was criticized because it was put on the internet without the faces of the people involved being mottled or disguised in any way. Views of privacy and whatnot.
To view that video, click on these lovely words. (Can’t figure out how to embed it, sorry.)
In the meantime, observe this one, as well. Skip to around the 40-second mark.