So you see, I’m an Indonesian. I don’t live in South Korea. I’ve never been there. And I have no plan to go to Korea. I don’t take Korean classes. I don’t know any Korean personally.
But still, I use Korean every day to chat on my Facebook page, to tweet to my favorite Korean artists and to read their tweets, to watch dramas, to read Korean entertainment news, to leave comments on YouTube and Facebook in Korean, to listen to Super Junior’s podcasts, to watch KBS World, and to translate Korean rap songs for myself to enjoy. I am happy.
But one day, on my Facebook page, comes this person, out of nowhere, telling me that it’s impossible to master Korean without living in the country. There’s no way you can do it, so he says. The language is too complex, even though it’s similar to Japanese, you can never communicate in Korean if you don’t live here (so he lives in South Korea). Do you think you can master Korean by using Google Translate? Just stop learning. You’re wasting your time. Your effort is futile.
At first, I thought I was dealing with an internet troll with too much time on his hands. But when I think about it, I actually don’t know, whether or not he was a troll.
He might sincerely believe what he says. And all he did was telling me about his belief. There’s nothing malicious about it.
And then I realize something.
Other people’s beliefs have got nothing to do with me.
I also don’t need for that person -a complete stranger- to change his belief so that I can be happy. He can believe anything he wants. He can believe I will never ever master Korean because I don’t live in Korea. I don’t mind. His permission is not necessary for me to learn Korean and be good at it.
I will just keep learning and playing and having a good time with Korean, possibly for the rest of my life. Just like what I do with English and Japanese.
I quietly ban him from my Facebook page. Not because I hate him, I don’t. I’m not angry, either. But I don’t think we would be beneficial to each other. He doesn’t trust me, because I don ‘t live in Korea, so he doesn’t like my updates. And even though I don’t mind his telling me his belief, I just don’t feel like replying and defending myself each time, either. ###
There’s a slang word for “internet trolls” in Korean, it’s 악플러 (ak-peul-leo).
Ak 악 is “bad” (悪). Peulleo 플러 is from “reply”. So 악플러 literally means “bad replies”.