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Comments: 196 • Responses: 67  • Date: 

mlp-r34-clopper41 karma

What is your opinion of US military people? did you work with any, and if so, how were they?

In your opinion, would a large part of the tension between north and south end if the US took its forces out of korea, or would the north just invade again?

Addprofile55 karma

I will express my overall opinion towards the U.S military. Too be extremely personal, I envy the U.S military in a way that it really guarantees individual/family benefits. Sadly, the welfare for Korean soldiers, or any under-ranked army personnel in Korea are not very great in my opinion. I may be complaining, but I was not very satisfied with my army life. (Then again, I am simply complaining.)

I personally never got to work with U.S military people. However, nearby my base, there was a mountain base which I was told that the U.S military were placed. I never received further detailed information about it.

In terms of the tension, I cannot really provide you with a single answer, so I will just jot down my opinion if you do not mind. As a citizen of a country who is receiving help from the U.S, I have recently realized how important self-defense is. If you look at Korean history, South Korea did receive a lot of help-from the U.S. Having the U.S as an ally is certainly great, but a good degree of independent force must be achieved by South Korea in order to be self-standing. Too integrate the subject of N-S tension, the North are actually invading South Korea on a more smaller scale. I cannot imagine what would happen if U.S withdraws since my political insight is not the greatest. Yet, I have not heard of any anti-nuke technology being strongly developed within South Korea.

Hope this helps.

VerbingNoun317 karma

Too integrate the subject of N-S tension, the North are actually invading South Korea on a more smaller scale.

I haven't heard about this. Do you have any more information on this subject?

Addprofile21 karma

I believe I mentioned in one of my replies. You might get some results if you search the following:

연평도 포격사건 - Yunpyung Island 천안함 폭침 - Cheon-An Ship.

Well, if the movies are true, I could be riding a bus with a North Korea Spy. Just saying :).

To make your inquiry even more fun, in South Korean politics, the left wing is often times known as the more radical, socialistic side. In this case, the socialistic side can very well be tied in to North Korea. I do not possess an accurate knowledge of politics, so let's just leave it here.

DanDierdorf34 karma

Is there still a minimum height requirement to serve there? Also, how loud are those propaganda speakers anyway?

Addprofile72 karma

I am not entirely sure too be honest with you. I can give you a rough number (Under 150cm), but do not count my words for it.

As of propaganda speakers, I have never actually got to see the speakers. Rather, I have heard about floating balloons to fulfill the very same purpose which the speakers are trying to fulfill. Mini-sized handbills were often mentioned as well.

Something that might interest you, is that in the DMZ, North Korea purposely places a well-being village where the South Korea Army can see. The purpose of this is to make the South Koreans believe that the North Korea is in a very well-being state.

Hope this make sense.

A_fiestygreenbeaver_27 karma

What are some important precautions you take whilst on duty near the DMZ?

Addprofile49 karma

[deleted]

arsenal318512 karma

American movies are filled with spies infiltrating insanely secured regions. Is there any suspicion of this, and can you tell us what measures were put in place for you?

SushiStalker9 karma

NK builds tunnels through which they send agents, and matériel, probably.

Addprofile11 karma

There is a tunnel which is now used as a tourism spot. It is called the No.2 tunnel.

Addprofile9 karma

Occasionally, we were told to fill out questionnaires, and perform those personality tests. Any abnormal results, you talk with yo officers!

joelsiegfried24 karma

what do you personally think about the situation in north korea and their military in general? have you ever seen something bad from the north korean side? how were the north korean soldiers in the DMZ acting (were they friendly to the tourists (as an act of propaganda?)). thank you for your answers :)

Addprofile41 karma

[deleted]

l33tbanana9 karma

As a Korean citizen, the information which the Korean media brings is probably equivalent to what the rest of the world brings as well. I think the difference is the analysis.

So how, in general, do South Koreans view Kim Jong Un? Is he depicted as a heinous dictator that is an embarrassment to his country and all that stuff in South Korea as well? Is pro-North Korea or pro-Kimmy propaganda common at all ?

Addprofile8 karma

Again, such pro-North debate really occurs on the political realm of South Korea. The left wing is often considered as being radical, and sometimes, pro-north. Now, I must say that it would be very foolish for one to be public and outspoken about being pro-North. Nonetheless, such issues do rise to the surface.

I hope this helps .

TreephantBOA16 karma

Did you talk with the North Koreans on their watch or make any gestures of good or ill while on duty?

Addprofile30 karma

I never directly interacted with them, but I can give you a couple episodes.

In terms of gestures, I could hear numerous sounds of cannons and gunfire. I believe they were practices.

Sneakymist15 karma

Were you anxious in any way while stationed next to the DMZ? Was the general mood of soldiers stationed there very tense, or was it fairly relaxed?

Specifically, did the land mine incident significantly affect things around the DMZ?

Addprofile29 karma

Mixed attitude. I was fairly tense at first, but my overall experience tells me that soldiers do tend to get relaxed after a certain while. This, however, does not mean that they were snorlax relaxed. They were able to move quick when necessary.

Addprofile18 karma

Also, do know that I am speaking behalf of my experience, so do not consider my experiences as a true representation of the Korean Army as a whole.

Thank you.

BongWaterRamen14 karma

"Snorlax relaxed" Laughed at this part. Great AMA though, very interesting.

Addprofile13 karma

Thank you! I am glad that earned your interest!

mott_the_tuple3 karma

What was the high tech defensive equipment?

Addprofile8 karma

(Edit) I removed comment.

lightemup844 karma

This is extremely interesting but the security sensitivity nature of this post really worries me. I was a soldier too and wary about giving out too many OPSEC (operational security) details. 좀 더 신중하세요 ;

Addprofile3 karma

감사합니다. 말씀하신대로 했어요.

Addprofile10 karma

Also, I have not received any current news about the effect which the land mines had brought to the DMZ. My guess is that each base received precautions and notifications from upper-bases. I, however, was already discharged after the land mine incident. (I am assuming that you are referring to the incident where the two soldiers had gotten their feet cut off. Correct me if I am wrong.)

HobbesCalvinandLocke12 karma

What do you think about KATUSAs? Jealous that they had it easier? Look at them as rich kids who bought their way out of a "real" enlistment? Obviously your English is money, so was there some reason why you weren't one?

Addprofile22 karma

Nice one. If I remember correctly, I got too drunk and missed the Katusa application date. Yea go me.

Since you mentioned 'having it easy', the stress and anxiety which the soldiers get in the GOP/GP may be overwhelming to a point where it may make some believe that KATUSA duties are 'easier'. I was never a KATUSA, so all I can give you is my vague opinion. I don't know how it goes down in the KATUSA, but there might be a possible unseen conflict between the U.S and Korean soldiers. I do not know exactly how the distributions of supplies occur, but there could be some discrepancies in that field as well. I really cannot say what is a 'real' enlistment and what is not a 'real' enlistment.

I try to take my military experiences extremely personal. The endurance which I developed alone really made my overall experience quite valuable. I lost one of my family members during the service (Yes, I missed his death), so I give myself some credit for pulling through. In all honesty, I find it quite futile to discuss about who had it tough and who had it easy. Each individual has their own story. From a more realistic point of view, simply having to sacrifice the 21+ months for the country can be considered as not 'easy' since not every country in this world requires young, ambitious males to give up their precious 2 years.

Thanks.

faceoftheuniverse7 karma

I'm a second generation Korean American woman. I can't imagine how I'd feel if my brother and male friends one day had to leave civilian life to finish 군대 (South Korea's mandatory military service, for non-Korean speaking Redditors).

What do you think of the mandatory military service, in particular that 1) it applies only to men and 2) there seems to be an exception given to professional athletes? Are there any ongoing discussions about repealing it?

Thank you for your service and thanks in advance for your response!

Addprofile8 karma

반갑습니다! 좋은 질문을 해 주셨어요. 최대한 성의껏 대답해드릴게요.

At one point, I did not enjoy having to give up my 2 years like it is nothing. Now that you ask, however, I think Korea has come up with the best methods to meet the needs that are created by the cold war between North Korea and South Korea. For example, if it was mandated for young women to go to the Army, that would cost a lot of money. I mean think about it. Men and women do have different biological needs, and the Korea's military department having to spend more money to meet the needs of female soldiers, I do not think it is happening. (Bras, tampons, sexual concerns) Hence, I can understand while conscription can be hurtful, it is one of the best ways to deal with the cold war. (I think I was extra positive with this answer. I am usually not like this.)

You also mentioned about exceptions towards certain people. I personally believe that there is a lot of 'under-the-table' work that happens, but let's not go there since I am just being a conspiracy theorist. Anyways, I know that the exceptions that were given to TV stars and celebrities have been gradually decreasing due to illegal acts of trying to avoid service. Now, athletes, can be a little different. If my information is correct, a good athlete can't just earn the exception. From my knowledge, exceptions are given when the athletes have provided a renowned result on behalf of the country. So, world cup, olympics, and any other national sports event would be part of this. On the other hand, a soccer player achieving player of the year in English Premier league will not earn him an exception. (I am not entirely sure, so if you have time, do your own research.) I do not know anything about the attempts of repealing this. Honestly, it is like the two sides of a coin. I cannot give you a decisive answer on it.

Thanks for the question. Even for a brief moment, I got to think a lot towards the subject.

대한민국!

Twelvey5 karma

Who is your favorite KPOP group and why is it Sistar?

Addprofile10 karma

I must admit, any pretty female groups do look nice to me. Bora is nice. :)

Nutbusters4 karma

Thanks for taking the time to do this AMA! Were there any occasions where tensions were high between both sides and it felt like shit could jump off at any minute? Did you witness any shots fired or fights between guards?

Addprofile11 karma

Within the area of my duty, I have not seen any incidents with my bare eyes. I remember a time where I heard at least 50 rounds of cannons being fired. Wherever those shots were being fired from, I was hoping those cannonballs were not hitting my home. I know this sounds corny, but sometimes, I do fear about shit breaking down in the Korean peninsula.

If you are willing to do some research, you will learn about the following incidents that really resembles of shit hitting the fan. I will just write in Korean if that helps. 연평도 포격사건. - Yeonpyung Island 천안함 폭침. - Cheon-An Ship.

put_the_punny_down4 karma

[deleted]

Addprofile7 karma

I have yet to see it my friend. If you do not mind, can you tell me what your thoughts were? I would love to have a discussion about it :)

put_the_punny_down2 karma

[deleted]

Addprofile1 karma

Thank you!

i_getitin3 karma

Given the negative stereotypes that Korean society has with North Korean defectors who undergo many struggles in attempting to integrate to S.Korea, do you think younger generations will be more accepting of North Koreans and sympathetic to their ordeal and circumstances?

Addprofile10 karma

Very great question. I do not have a firm answer at the moment, so I will just spill the beans if you do not mind.

I will identify a couple factors that might help you with your critical thinking as well.

In terms of modernization, North Korea is far away from being alike to South Korea. Picture this: in South Korea, most, if not many teenagers are blessed(or cursed hehe) enough to own their cellphones. Although I have never been to North Korea myself, let's assume that North Korea does not have such luxury, let's call it. With this in mind, imagine the perspectives which younger generations of South and North Korea will develop. Further more, media censorship in South Korea and North Korea are very different. South Korea has certainly been being affected by westernization, whereas North Korea is rather slow on such terms. If I were to give you my pessimistic answers, I must say that I think the youngsters will not give any serious fucks towards North Korea. As funny as this sounds, let me tell you how I felt in the Korean Army. I really did not care about all the political stuff that was happening around. All that was on my mind was to get my 637 day duty out of the way and live the life which I was living before getting enlisted in the army. This was me from 2012 to 2014. I cannot tell you too much about the current Korean education, but I can only wonder how the current youngsters will think about North Korea.

I hope this brings some insight to your question. Thank you.

brazilianbunny2 karma

What is the most popular kpop group in the army?

Addprofile25 karma

Let me be real with you. Any group with female ass and tits.

SavingMyWit2 karma

Were you more afraid of all out war with the North, or that your fan would kill you while you slept?

Addprofile2 karma

Both, actually. I was just glad that the fan was not directly above my head when I slept. XD

12iskYourLife2 karma

Does the show 진짜 사나이 portray exactly how training is when you were in service?

Thanks for doing this AMA!

Addprofile8 karma

Do you listen to hip-hop? Check out the song called 90210 by Wale. In the song, there is a verse that says: 'Reality shows ain't real'

Now, what 진짜 사나이 depicts may truly represent what the duties entail. 진짜 사나이, however, fails to portray the ugliness that lies between the young men who are trying to play boss and servant within the realm of ranks. I mean, have you ever seen an episode of 진짜 사나이 where there are curse words being beeped out?

Training is done in a constant basis. When I was enlisted, I did 5 weeks of basic training, and 2 weeks of extra training, then began my actual duty in my base. Training usually includes basic physical training, marching(I tore my meniscus), shooting, and many others.

asianrower1 karma

When you tore your meniscus, did they make you train?

Also, do you mind if I ask what types of medical conditions do people have to have in order to be exempted? I heard shoulder dislocation and flat feet usually get you exempted.

Addprofile1 karma

I barely received training after tearing my meniscus.

I am not entirely sure, but I think it has become more strict.

Wasabi-beans2 karma

Is the korean military surveying this AMA?

Like, right now?

... Are you answering on behalf of the South Korean military?

Oh and your english is tops, how'd it get so good?

Addprofile2 karma

I am doing this because I am bored as fuck and wanted to do something different. I hope Reddit is secure enough to protect me. Besides, I do not think I am spilling a whole of beans anyways. I am strictly doing this for my joy, and for your joy as well :)

Thanks for the compliment. I actually go to school in the U.S

rwat12 karma

Will there be US troops in reunified Korea? How would reunified Korea take China's security interest into account?

Addprofile2 karma

This question is beyond my knowledge. Sorry :(

fitterr2 karma

I've heard about suicide among the army's lower ranks happening and then being covered up, and that this happens repeatedly/regularly. True?

Addprofile1 karma

To a certain extent, yes. A lot of behind the back, and under the table stuff happens. When such incidents leak out, the human-rights organizations repeatedly ask the government to enhance the rights of the soldiers. In my opinion, the field which you have mentioned needs a whole lot of improvement. Trying to look good on the outside while letting the insides kill you is what the army is doing.

Longboarding-Is-Life1 karma

How do you feel about the North Korean soldiers? Do see them more as enemies or feel bad for them for living under a brutal dictatorship?

Addprofile1 karma

Latter. I find myself complaining with the most stupid shit, and next thing you know, the North Koreans are being soldiers for 10+ years. I really need to learn how to be thankful for the things that I have.

COACHREEVES1 karma

If this cold war were to get hot, and North Korea were to push south conventionally, like start shelling, launching missiles, sending what planes could make it, maybe seize some Southern territory, etc. is your sense that the South would push to finish the North once and for all or would they accept whatever punches were delivered (like the possibility of nuclear or raining missiles and shells for days/months) or would the civilian population push for another armistice?

Addprofile1 karma

I don't have a firm idea, but wouldn't it depend on the other nations that would be involved in your hypothetical circumstances? It would be interesting to see how Japan, China, and even Russia's stances will turn out to be when the pot gets hot.

Not_Blitzcrank1 karma

I am an American born Korean person. According to Korean laws, I am a Korean citizen because both of my parents were Korean citizens at the time (they are now American citizens). Therefore, whenever I go to Korea more than the 90 day period, I risk being taken at the airport to serve the mandatory army period for Korean males.

Have you encountered anyone in that situation before?

Addprofile1 karma

Now, do you have a Korean passport or an American passport? Korea does allow dual citizenship until the age of 18 or something if I am correct. I have never heard of such a case!

ConvictedSexOffender1 karma

How do you feel about the fact that men are required to serve and women aren't?

Addprofile1 karma

Neutral. Yes, it sucks that I have to sacrifice my 21 months. Then again, I find it extremely non-applicable nor practical for the government to require women to serve. I would rather wish that the money spent towards sending women to the military be spent on enhancing education. In fact, you can see that men going to the military is more than a mere service.

Neyr_71 karma

Apart from obvious things like family and friends, new media and so on, what were some of the odd things you found yourself missing during your service?

Addprofile2 karma

Odd? Just having my own time I guess. Individuality. I couldn't be me. Other things? Sexual desire. :)

Dendalen1 karma

What's the atmosphere like in the South Korean army? Is it always tense or more relaxed?

Addprofile1 karma

I just copied and pasted my reply above. Hope you don't mind.

Mixed attitude. I was fairly tense at first, but my overall experience tells me that soldiers do tend to get relaxed after a certain while. This, however, does not mean that they were snorlax relaxed. They were able to move quick when necessary.

Pokabou1 karma

What was the overall mood during times of higher tension? Also, do you think that Korea will ever be united again?

Addprofile1 karma

I have not been in the army during a period of high tension, so I cannot really answer that question.

Will Korea ever be united? If we were to make a comparison between Korea and Germany, I must say that the two are in a very different circumstance. The biggest difference, in my opinion, is the external influences that are being induced in the Korean peninsula are bigger then ever. Politics man..

henrysmith787301 karma

Do the majority of the S. Korean people believe that the North is an actual threat or just talk by the older generation?

Addprofile1 karma

Mixed, I'd say. It seems like South Korea has learned how to be cool with it and aware of it at the same time.

Pokabou1 karma

Do you think NK will survive the next 20 years, and if the NK regime collapses, How do you think it would affect the armed forces?

Addprofile1 karma

I do not know if I am speaking the truth, but I heard that if we do win the war, we would have to serve 10 years in the military for 'rebuilding phase'. Anybody care to put an insight on this?

saladdresser1 karma

I know someone recently discharged from Korean military service who's informed me of the poor morale in the lower ranks + the vast range of demographics forced to serve, from nearly destitute to wealthy. Considering this, the poor presentation of American troops stationed in Korea as of late, and the recent scandal about inadequate bulletproof vests used in the DMZ, how do you feel about the Korean military's ability to deploy and respond to emergency situations along the border?

You can PM me if you don't want to publicly discuss this.

Addprofile1 karma

Just from what I have witnessed, the equipment in the Korean Army are not always in the best condition. The DMZ area, however, is more gifted in a sense that it is considered as a priority area, thus receiving better support overall.

Then again, like you have mentioned, it all comes down to the morale. I think we have an okay ability. If I were to put in my 2 cents, the Korean Army should be more generous towards direct communication. This meaning, soldiers should be trained to report directly to the higher-ranked HQ, and the officers within those higher-ranked officers should develop a more active attitude towards what is happening in the front line.

Does this help?

saladdresser1 karma

From what you've just said, I'd like to branch this off into two questions: a) are those who attend the ROK military academies generally from the upper or lower classes? b) you say that the DMZ-stationed troops are generally better equipped than the rest of the ROK forces. But in what ways can troops stationed there be considered superior to their reserve and usual regular army counterparts? Or are DMZ troops considered cannon fodder?

The reason for the first question is I want to know whether there is a pattern of respect or disrespect between commissioned and non-commissioned soldiers in the ROK not due to rank, but rather because of how wealthy they are and who their parents are.

The reason for the second question is I know of some countries where the most elite formations (tank divisions, military police units, presidential guards) are stationed at the capital, and border troops are specialised, but not exactly top tier.

Addprofile1 karma

a) Military academy students are like the spades of aces. Even I can tell the differences between regular John Does, ROTC, and military Academies. In terms of their classes, I can't tell ya. I didn't have the balls to ask them about their background.

b) Let me correct myself. While I cannot give you a specific information about the equipment, I can say the welfare aspect of DMZ soldiers were better. Food, snacks, hot water, free internet, ETC.

AllYoYens1 karma

My roommate served his mandatory service too.

He told me about how terrible it was. The hazing, abuse and general monotony of basic military life.

He also told me about fishing out dead North Koreans who tried to escape via water. (He was in the navy) Did you ever encounter anyone trying to escape? I realize most try escaping through China obviously and not the DMZ

Addprofile1 karma

I did get to hear about a story from a person who had the experience. For confidentiality purposes, I cannot be too specific, but a part of his story included him hiding in the mountains of Vietnam.

cheerileelee1 karma

What is your opinion of Korea's negative birthrate and the growing amount of koreans who immigrate to other countries like the USA or marry foreigners? Especially now that China is #1 economy in the world and no longer has 1 child per family birth limit?

Addprofile1 karma

Well, the question I would ask myself is, do we love being Korean? What is it that makes the people, including myself, study abroad rather than to stay in Korea? Why do we choose to live in other countries? Is South Korea not sufficient enough for Koreans?

fresh11342061 karma

Has there ever been a time that you felt like yourself or your teammates were in danger? Or, what situation has stressed you out the most?

Addprofile4 karma

I remember one time, the area was extremely foggy. In this case, the cameras within our operation field practically becomes useless. What happens here, then, is that nearly every possible bodies must gear up and occupy the outposts to compensate for the lack of visibility. I remember one time, we stood out for nearly 12-14 hours. This was quite scary, actually. You literally can't see shit, and you are tired as fuck.

In terms of personal stress, my father had passed away during my service, so that was certainly my personal stress factor.

Pointless-World1 karma

What you guys will do if Kimmy launch a nuke in anger ?

Addprofile11 karma

Honestly, I really hope I do not have to see Hiroshima/Nagasaki repeating on this Earth. I would be helpless, I suppose. What would you do? :)

Throwawayhonestjay1 karma

Wha part of Korea are you from? What are your plans now that your army requirement has been fulfilled? I'm assuming you haven't gone to nicer with yet, do you have plans to go? From living in Korea for three years it's uncommon to not pursue further education, especially for someone with quite good English like yourself.

Addprofile2 karma

I am going to school in the United States, actually. If you wish to know further, I can personally message you.

Thank you.

ocarina_vendor1 karma

I was told that the armistice that halted the Korean war never actually ended the war. That said, do you see any peaceful way to actually end the war, and reunify the North and South? Also, do citizens of South Korea have any pejorative (not-so-nice) ways that they refer to Kim Jong Un? (I'm partial to Sexy Moon-Face, but that's just me...)

Addprofile4 karma

You are right. We are still at a cold-war. It is a sad reality, but a reality nonetheless.

I am not Zhuge Liang, so I cannot really tell you about the ways of peacefully ending the war. Again, I will just do some scribbling.

My personal opinion is that it will take a great degree of changes within the education. When I mean education, I am not talking about the knowledge. I am talking about the reforms that will change the roots of human behavior which was created by the modern day's democratic-capitalism. I say this because the crooked democracy is a very effective way for certain people to keep their money. By all means I am not saying being rich is bad, but since you asked about N-S unification, one of the major issues will be wealth distribution. If I were told to pay more taxes in order to compensate for my new ex-north Korean friends, will I happily pay taxes? Better yet, how can we effectively create a generation which is not hesitant to give to the poor?

I am quite sure Korea's web communities (counterparts of Reddit) do create such ways of referring to KJU, but I simply never got into actually looking those up.

iwazaruu-1 karma

I am not Zhuge Liang

This guy's Chinese, how do you know him?

Addprofile6 karma

Romance of Three kingdoms :) Koreans love to read this.

invertedearth1 karma

Did you see much wildlife, and did you guys ever have one of the legendary wild pig roasts?

Addprofile4 karma

It is funny that you ask. Although we could never roast the pigs, within my DMZ area, wild boars were often spotted. One of my comrades told me a story about them having to run away from the boars. They were huge, according to their words.

The DMZ itself, is very nature friendly. In fact, not just the DMZ, but my FEBA was located in a very rural area. Lot of bugs, fresh air, clear sky with great stars. While the duties were harsh, the army experience did allow me to appreciate nature as well.

Mate91 karma

Now that you've been discharged, if you got the chance to go back in time and NOT serve in the army, would you still do it?

Addprofile3 karma

I always think of this. I am cracking up as you ask. Quite honestly, I probably would not do it, but I cannot neglect the personal growth which I was able to achieve through my army experience. It is a love-hate relationship. :p

StraightCashHomie1011 karma

Are you in favor of an unified Korea or a split North and South Korea where there is peace between the two? Generally, how does the population as a whole feel?

Addprofile1 karma

I might have to research for some survey results regarding your question. It would be nice to not worry about the possible nuclear warfare. Then again, a greedy side of me is worrying about the financial changes that I must face when the nation is trying to stabilize the economy.

Did this help?

Jkami1 karma

What was it like working with the US military?

Addprofile2 karma

I have never had the experience. It would have been neat to do so. I really wanted to translate!

AgentEmbey1 karma

Have you ever been to Camp Hovey?

Addprofile1 karma

I have not. Could you please teach this student? :)

FarwellRob1 karma

In America military service isn't required, but I believe it is in South Korea.

Do you agree with the idea of everyone having to serve, or do you believe that people should be able to choose to serve or not?

Thank you for doing this. Your answers have been really neat!

Addprofile5 karma

Now, do note that the Korean peninsula is currently in a cold war. Even though I did not enjoy having to sacrifice my 2 years, I think it was the Korean government's best ways of trying to best cope with the situation. Korea needs to keep the military running, and the military cannot just rely on voluntary men for it to fully operate. Therefore, what South Korea decides to do is create a conscription system where the men are required to serve for about 2 years.

Now, I know this may sound bad, but what I have been told is that North Koreans are required to serve for 10 years.

Hmm..

mrbojangles9511 karma

Do you personally see this "conflict" coming to an end anytime soon? Or do you think that this is something that will be the norm for the rest of your life?

Addprofile3 karma

My opinion is that the lifestyles of the two Koreas are so different. Honestly, I am not really concerned about the unification. I am more curious to see what will happen after the unification. It is like White Americans and Black Americans trying to be one.

fitterr1 karma

Also, what rank are you in taekwondo?

Addprofile3 karma

I did achieve blackbelt, but I quit after that. So, essentially, Zero.

kingofvodka1 karma

Hi there, thanks for doing this. I did my thesis on NK so it's kind of cool to hear from someone who's been up close. There's a lot I could ask you, but there's one thing I've been curious about for a while:

How different is the Korean spoken in North Korea to the Korean spoken in the South?

Addprofile2 karma

The language itself is no different. In other words, I can fully converse with the people. The only difference which I notice upon stumbling in to videos is the tone, sometimes accent, words, and the way of speaking as well. To give you a heads up, the presence of North Korea's leaders do play a lot of role in shaping the language of North Korea.

I would love to hear your opinion on this. On what occasion did you do a thesis on NK?

kingofvodka1 karma

Would you say it's kind of analogous to UK and US English?

I did my thesis on Entrepreneurship in the North, most notably the black markets. Both the regular citizens, and the enterprising shit the Kim regime gets up to. Really interesting actually.

Addprofile1 karma

UK-U.S English is not a bad analogy. I think your analogy would suffice.

Wow. Any information you can possibly share?

nyuphir1 karma

What kind of food do you eat on a daily basis?

Alot 콩나물? Spam? Bap and kimchi?

Addprofile1 karma

Damn! How do you know so well! All of the above! In terms of army diet, it gets very repetitive. The combinations would get repetitive, and the monthly rotations of the meals are fairly easy to identify as well.

funkinthetrunk1 karma

In your opinion, what is the threat level to people living in Seoul? On a scale of 1 - 10?

Because as a civilian living here, it feels like -10

Addprofile2 karma

1 and 10. While the threats are there, it seems to me that certain people either have no consciousness towards the situation, or learned how to be inured to the situation.

funkinthetrunk1 karma

It just seems like nobody in a position of power in South Korea behaves like there's a threat at all. Until they need to use fear to push a policy or look tough. Otherwise they just keep building and building and promoting consumerism. Not the behavior of a country who is threatened with annihilation

Addprofile2 karma

Maybe NK is just an illusion created by the Illuminati. :)

selery1 karma

Did you or anyone you knew there have girlfriends/significant others during your service? What was communication with them like? Were such people made fun of?

When my Korean (now ex) boyfriend of two years had to leave for his service, his military buddies didn't believe he really had an American girlfriend waiting for him because I told him not to show people the few embarrassing pictures I'd given him. But eventually I let him and later I understood why it was a big deal. With very few women around, guys would jump at opportunities they had no interest in like going to church, just because they could see civilian women there.

I liked hearing about his experiences even though he found most of it boring. But it was just too hard to contact each other and eventually we broke up. I was madly in love with him but in retrospect we were not a good match, so I guess I have the Korean military to thank for cutting it short!

Edit: wordiness

Addprofile2 karma

Haha. This is very cute. I actually had a close friend who was exactly in the situation just like you. He had an American girlfriend and they ended up breaking up. Anyways, to your questions...

In terms of communication, soldiers are allowed to use the computer, so facebook was certainly a means of communication. I used the phone to communicate with my friends in the States a few times as well.

Now, were they made fun of? Well, let me be honest with you. I was so jealous! Having a girlfriend waiting on the other side, not everybody gets to experience it! I would see the letters that some people receive from their significant others. If you allow me to go a level deeper, there is still a vague tendency of Koreans identifying Americans as superior. So, if a Korean soldier is dating an American women, oh boy! Of course, interpersonal relationships cannot be defined by such generalizations. Nonetheless, I was somewhat jealous. :)

selery1 karma

Haha, he told me people were jealous but I figured it was flattery. He did seem to appreciate me a lot more once he went to the military... In his case, for the first couple of months his computer time was limited. He would call me like once a week for a short while. There was also some official military online system for sending messages to soldiers (Did you have that? Maybe that was only for the base camp period) and I didn't know much Korean so I didn't realize I had to put a password on my letter to him if I wanted only him to see it. So my broken Korean and mushy English letter was completely open to the public! His uncle read it!

You must have lived in the States for a long time, no? My ex's English is still not as good as yours even after living in the US from age 15 and having tons of American friends!

Addprofile1 karma

Online messages would be the base camp, yes. You do know a lot. I did start studying abroad since 2007, but I started learning English when I was way younger.

Islander17761 karma

2 questions. I'm American but have lots of Korean friends. Any advice you have for them when they do their service?

Also I happen to be a Japanese American. Whats your opinion of recent Japan-Korea relations?

Great AMA and thanks in advance!

Addprofile2 karma

I will be real with you my friend. The only advice that I would give, literally, is don't kill yourself.

Japan and Korea, huh? Well, last summer, I went to Osaka with my friend, so that was nice. Let's get to the point. Yes, the two nations often put themselves in a sticky situation. From sports to events to the most stupid shit. When you mention recent relations, I think Japan's recent legislation of enabling them to exert forces beyond themselves(Correct me if I am wrong) is a big change. Now, while I do not think Japan will directly attack Korea with their force, the more relevant issues in the hand is perhaps the comfort woman situation. Let me just tell you that my prediction within this circumstance is that Japan will win this game of the comfort-women case. I know it may seem crazy of me saying this, but it is all politics. Japan will try their best to drag the case as long as possible until the voices of the comfort women have become quiet enough. A part of me sometimes wishes that Korea and Japan to be friends without being too concerned over a historical incidence. Then again, we are talking about universal human rights, so it is simply nonsense for me to say this and that about the comfort women issue. Gladly, singers and actors of both Korea and Japan seem to be an sturdy bridge that holds the two country together. At least the connections are there through the entertainment business, which is great. I just hope that the general population are not biased by the politics between the two nations. I believe it is possible for us to put politics on one side and still interact as an equal human being. As I say this, I always have trouble treating others as an equal human being. Nevertheless, I wish to grow into a nicer person.

I just scribbled, but hope this helps. What are your opinions? :)

Islander17761 karma

My opinions? I think Japan should take responsibility for all the war crimes that were carried out by Imperial Japan. South Korea and Japan should be allies as North Korea is a threat to Japan too. Japan is still trying to get back a few citizens that were kidnapped by North Korea. I am not a typical Japanese person though since I'm half American and plan to serve the US Army. I like Japan though, studying in Kyoto right now actually : ) You're going to the US right? Have fun!

Addprofile2 karma

That is awesome! Yes, it is always challenging to find a good balance between politics and humanism. Yes, I am currently studying in the U.S. May the best be with you!

alud70 karma

Thanks for doing this! What will you do for a career once you get out of the military?

Addprofile1 karma

I want to either travel, or be a teacher. Or do both. What does your career look like?