OF CCTV and money

They say money doesn’t buy you happiness. While I agree, money does buy you things that make you happy, which is essentially the same thing.

The month of November left me broke. It also happens to be perhaps the most epic month yet. The spur of the moment trip plane ticket to Japan (I got my Taiwan refund today!), then the spur of the moment exo concert, then the Melon Music Awards and the Day6 concert (which I never wrote about–but it actually rivals Dream Concert. A rookie k-rock group in a tiny venue and when we went outside they were all just standing there and I high fived all them and said sugohessoyo!), and my Christmas tree and Thanksgiving Costco dinner, I’ve literally literally been living off of banana milk and frosted flakes for the past week.

But I was paid today. Praise bless hallelujah I can drink fancy hot chocos again.

I have some plans for this money–but those plans are still hypothetical so let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Instead–let’s talk about a funny Korea thing.

In Korea–Big Brother, or CCTV,  is ALWAYS watching. There are security cameras in every classroom livestreaming to the director’s office and Avalon HQ. I know this because my ex-Director frequently mentioned things going on in my classroom that she couldn’t have known if she wasn’t sitting there watching me.

And when I got a random phone call one day back in Imae from HQ giving me a teaching report. They had watched my class and had some praise and suggestions.

Thanks for the heads up.

For the most part, they warn you. Like when you’re going into the bathroom. Or just walking down the hallway. Or going into the 7/11.


thanks for the warning?

On the one hand it’s nice–it’s thanks to Mr. CCTV that I could prove a student broke my toe and that I was, in fact, circling the pages correctly despite what I’d been accused of. Korean criminal control is very efficient–yes it was this particular drunk ahjussi who threw his soju bottle in the wrong trash bin–it’s on camera.


the eye of Sauron even has a phone number

But it can also be quite terrifying. My one friend has a Director who literally sits and watches the CCTVs when she has free time. If a student is acting up she’ll get on the loud speaker, which goes through the entire school not just one classroom, and say “Ji-Soo anjachuseyo!” and the kids just stare at Ji-Soo, who just got struck by the voice of God, until he sits down. While kids in the other classrooms all snicker wondering who, or which,  Ji-Soo it is.

Not that I would do anything to bring suspicion just…you know…as an American I have government issues. But it’s something that I’ve adjusted to. The beetle eye is always there.


the children have arrived beware

The CCTV thing has affected a lot of individual behavior. While I can’t prove this, I have a theory that CCTV is the reason Korean fangirls think that you can take pictures of whoever and wherever, despite how against the rules it is. Someone is always recording you…so why can’t you record other people? And with camera phones, it’s become even more of a problem. You can take a camera out of your pocket and snipe whoever. And because of Korean fashion that includes extremely short skirts, there has been an issue in the past of pervs taking pictures up girl’s skirts while walking up subway stairs.

Smartphone companies have have helped solve this effectively by making it impossible to turn off the clicky sound when your phone takes a picture. I bought my iPhone in Korea, and whenever I take a picture, even with the sound turned off, it makes a loud ‘chikeu’ noise. Having headphones in doesn’t even work.  It’s really inconvenient when all you want to do is snipe a picture of a CCTV sign, or even just a screenshot of a tumblr post when you’re in the office. Everyone knows you just took a picture of something. And everyone wonders.

Trust me, there would have been a lot more pictures of people doing funny things in public without the chikeu. Not pervy things–just funny things like couple outfits and Konglish. It’s very effective.

I hate it.

Anyway. Now that I have money I can do more than stare at the wall musing about CCTV.

Time to go spend money on happy things.



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