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Seunghwan Seo - Seoul, South Korea - Life-story interview (Global Lives Project, 2013)

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Hello. My name is Seunghwan Seo. I am thirty years old in Korean age, and 29 years old in western age. Currently in a company called "Anyman." I am working in an assistant manager position. Well, I hope you enjoy it. What I am in charge of is...operation management but because we are currently short staffed -- I mean busy, there are many occasions where I get out there myself. Anything that can happen in your daily life. We provide the convenience for it so... Yeah. We provide it. So, our company is called "Anyman." Everything that can happen in your daily life... So I mean, even things like eating and sleeping, things that are hard to do, or require help, or just...If you're lonely, whenever you need us you just need to call. We...Do all of those things. Of course only legal things. We do [almost] everything. We receive a financial substance called money for that, but the customers would receive in return... What shall I call it? What shall I call it. Ah...I can't think of the word. But anyway, yeah. Even if I knew, like, what should I say? First off, the funniest thing while doing this work was, well I had [a] fun [situation]... The customers, well, they're very afraid of bugs. We just need to catch those bugs, I can just catch them [easily]. But the person in the situation feels like their life is threatened. They can't even look at it. So those types of things are funny. And we (cough) excuse me. We give piggy backs to physically disabled people, too. All the while, the disabled person...He's 180 cm tall, too and weighs about 80 kg! Plus his legs are paralyzed so he's extremely heavy. Walking up four levels of stairs with him on my back... We do that a lot too. But that kind of thing makes you feel good. There are things like that. A lot of different things. Um...We had to remove a dead cat. There are bad things, and good things. Was the dead cat too much? Yes, I normally get up between 12 pm and 2 pm. I get up and wash, eat, and get to work here [Anyman] and work. Then after I work - I'm done at 4 am and I go home. Oh, so here: I do the daily favors at "Anyman," work for 12 hours with these tasks, and when I'm done I come home and wash up, and fall asleep right away. I was born in a place called Boeun, Chungcheongbukdo. Currently I live in Yangjae dong, Seocho gu, Seoul. From when I was born. I have been living here for about 28 years. What I like, my hobby, is listening to music. I really like listening to music. I like riding motor bikes. Things like getting the wind blown on me... So I think that's how I started this job. When you ride a motorcycle the - It's hot these days right? It's hot and when you ride a motorcycle the wind blows on you

and then it cools down, right? That cool feeling...That freshness? Yeah, I like that kind of stuff, I like it. And even now, to be honest, I always listen to music when I'm riding. I only plug my earphone into one ear and work while I enjoy it and while I listen to music. In my family, I have my mother, and I have one younger brother. Our mother is currently - normally she should be living with us but right now our grandmother, our mom's side's grandmother is kind of, not well. So she's in the countryside a lot. And myself and my brother are living in Yangjae-Dong. When I was young, um, I can't really remember that well but usually we would go to our countryside, where I was born. We would go there a lot. And from there we'd - How should I say it? We played with nature, should I say? Or should I say played in nature? Anyway, we ran around like that. And mostly grew up in this wild, playful kind of way. And in my teenage years, there were some depressing things... There were a few things happening at the same time so I was kind of...sidetracked a bit too. And at that time I kind of tried some bad things. When I was little, I would do bad things, but now I am an adult so I can't. Maybe because I did a lot of bad things [before], so now I could become a [responsible] adult. So not only have I stopped doing those things, I now feel grateful for everything. So I am trying to work harder. Yes, the worst period of my life until now was probably during my teens. Then, in middle school about the age of 15, my mother and father got divorced because they had lost everything [assets] from my father's gambling. So because of that, they got a divorce. So my family, my mother, was now raising me in a difficult situation. And maybe, a month or so later, there was a fire in our home. The fire was very big, and seriously all the electric appliances melted down and everything! Honestly, like, there wasn't a thing left. So now, currently, there are only two things left from then. I have two photos of when we were young, my brother and I. That's my mother's treasure right now. So I think since that accident I felt lost. If something is impossible, there is nothing I can do... I felt exhausted. I think I had this kind of mentality. On the contrary, the happiest time of my life? I never thought about it in particular... Right now... this moment, I think.. I think I'm always happy, even when I work because I'm doing something I enjoy doing so I feel happy, it's fun. And time is passing really fast, too. So, I think right now would probably be the happiest time. I... when my mother was... that time in my teenage years... uh... she got a divorce and there was a fire right, and I rebelled a lot. But I... (cough) At that time... my mother... I... found her smoking in the bathroom. I saw her smoke — My mother usually doesn't smoke. Next time... I'm sorry. She was always a bright person, but she was crying... and smoking. I was going to go... pee... and I think... anyway I was going to use the bathroom — I opened the door and my mother was surprised and put out the cigarette. When I saw that... I asked, Mother, what's wrong? While she raised us she wasn't educated on anything so she's basically dealing with everything physicially. Like cleaning jobs... She's sick a lot but she doesn't... buy medicine, she would rather save that to give us more of whatever. She said all this through tears at that time. That moment... I realized 'Ah, I shouldn't be here like this.' I changed my mindset and even quit school when I was 17. So I quit high school, when I was 17, by the end, So I saw that in winter, made up my mind and when I was 18 I think it was April? I passed the qualification exam (an exam for those without the usual education requirements). Yeah, so from then on I was working so that I wouldn't need my mothers help-- so that I could take the pressure off her... I think that's how it went. Yeah as I live on there's one quote that I always keep in my heart. I try my best to live up to that quote. The quote I keep is... "I determine my own worth." So for example, I work hard, right now, at this company called "Anyman," work really hard so that "Anyman" expands greater and greater, then my value would rise up as much as I have been working hard, together... with the company. In contrast, if I work, kind of, making mistakes many times and going in late... if there are only negative things then I am dropping my own value, right? So for me, rather than have other people judge me I want to be able to judge myself. So because I always want to raise my value/worth I have the quote "you determine your own worth" as my life motto. Because that's my motto in life, I was giving that example. I determine my own worth, whatever it is. Something useful for everyone in the world...? Family love? Then... I suppose... things would improve more. The person who's influenced me the most in my life, is probably my mother. Yes, what's truly amazing about her is that during middle school, after she divorced, by herself... she raised us going through many hardships. Seeing that She couldn't spend what she wanted or wear what she wanted but still she raised us into what we are today... I'm thankful, really she's an amazing character. I'm the type of person who works really hard. But I think I may have learned that from my mother. Whatever work, always do it diligently... so no matter what I work on, whether it's a promotion I usually receive lots of praise. From my mother, I think I've learned those types of good things. So even now I'm always thankful and worried. Our... family relationships are really good. So- we protect and care for each other...? Currently... we meet very often. We also contact one another often. About once a month... about once a month... we meet 1 to 2 weeks My relationship with my younger brother? Our relationship, When we were young.. rather than having fought I pestered him a lot, I pestered him but Now, 20 years old... after my brother turned 20 years old Because I'm sorry about the past I take care of him more Right now we're really... we really take care of one another Our relationship is really good I think we're even closer than close friends.. It's not my... my and my brother's goal It's actually our family's goal First, we want to save a decent amount of money A store, we want to start out with a small store but We want to set up a store, my brother is very good at cooking.. He even has two? cooking certificates So he's good at cooking My brother would take care of the kitchen, If there are deliveries I would do them Our mother would work at the counter and do serving... That's our family's goal for now. And with my brother... Actually, I mentioned my brother and I have a friendly relationship My friends also think of my younger brother as a friend. We're really all very close. So, whether we're going somewhere- whether we go out to drink, we all go together No matter what happens, we all go together... Of course.. if my brother is dating- If a couple say they're going out for a date, then we step out but As often as we can, we do everything together If we go on vacation, we all go together. My dream.. My dream is to live happily with my family, it's my own goal but But, it's not only my goal but my brother also thinks that way, my mother too.. Each of our dreams are the same Our family... to live happily is the dream for each of us. I don't know about other countries but in Korea family is very important and close The ultimate dream is.. for normal people to have our family live happily... to have our family live well This kind of dream is what I'm living with I'm.. what was that? The little store... the reason I mentioned it was Through strength That... our mother has aged so she can't do anything Rather than doing nothing During her pastime she can do this and find happiness Also, since it's work done as a family, we can do it with more happiness. My brother also, he can also put his skills to use Through that we can tie our family together We receive more the harder we work, as well as profit, We can become stronger? and see one another more often... So I would rather... since I want those things I think that has become my dream. It was my dream that has become my family's dream. Our country is.. it may not only be our country. But, One can feel it but... People who have nothing, so poor people and those who have little help the needy. From what I've witnessed until now I think it's like that. So I went through a fire and... went through a bad adolescence but At that time... the people around me who lived pretty comfortably acted like they didn't know me. However, those with their own work... well, those who were having a hard time surviving themselves they stretched out their hands to help me. Seeing that now... I also- I also thought I should act that way too. After that, since others live under difficult circumstances Others- You're how much or you're... You know they decide their worth? I really disliked that. So To get out of that standard That person- no matter how hard I work, I can't escape that person's decided price. Because of this, Now I've changed that way of thinking. I'm not someone defined by others but I decided to define myself so now I realized that and now I live with that thought inside me. I- while surfing the web a friend of mine said he couldn't eat any food. He said he couldn't eat but, that friend... What to say, just He wasn't just begging but really There are things that he does but Somehow that didn't work so that one day he was starving One meal... it seemed he was in a situation where he couldn't even get one meal So he asked for help So... I... I have the principle that one has to at least eat well I at the time helped him and.. He was a person who wasn't well-off... well I can't determine whether he was living well or not. But, in fact, what I saw was He was in trouble... He said he was having a hard time so That I... I believed I was to help him as much as I can... yes. I don't have any religion at the moment. But previously... I was Christian. I was Christian but... I disliked that. That... Ever since I was young I went around really well. For example, now that ... If a pastor was to visit Now all the awards are set up and.. but If that is the paster... God's... he's a person simply passing on God's words But the ... does he have to have authority? That... I can see that he's abusing his power And just ... Anyway, even though not all may be like that I was quite disappointed in that. After To us... the Bible itself since it's to be interpreted on it's own The ... Biblical? Opinion? Should it be called opinion I think that's why more unexpected conflicts arose. So... because of that I'm... It's not certainly established and, It's not for sure and... and While believing in God now and rather than doing something I'd rather spend that time more on myself Because of the thought that it would be better if my family was a lot happier, I stopped believing... Thinking about it now... that... religion It's not always a bad thing but It's my own thinking but, Being religious is very difficult for me, living in society is tiresome, I want to release something You know it's always the same. The people you see... Whether it's your husband... or your child You can only see the people you see and even if you want to depend on others You can't rely on others you know? So that... the presence of a God through faith That's... one's... should I say backup Because of that it seems like people do that There will be a rebirth and well There could be hell too. However, I'm... I don't think there's anything like that.. As you know, after South Korea and North Korea started a war It's really very.. a country with difficulty right? But... from that time on, a new village was made and now Continuing to gradually gradually gradually gradually do it Now it's risen to a global powerhouse you know? So when we look at our country's poeple All work is done with passion... Then, patriotism becomes very strong. Because the country is very strong If we see how far it's grown... It seems that it will grow much greater in the future... it seems like that but, The one concern is... Since our country is so well united If we start a bad path, we will go with great unity so... A big deal could happen If we proceed in the right direction like we are now we might become a global powerhouse I noticed something strange ... The thing that made me feel like I changed a little may have been 2 years ago. I... don't know where exactly I was but As I said earlier... you know, my motto? I saw it in a book... after I saw it. I stood still thinking about myself for a while but I thought that until that time, my worth had dropped a lot. After seeing that I think I changed a little, after folding that book... I don't remember the book exactly.

Video Details

Duration: 21 minutes and 14 seconds
Country: South Korea
Language: Korean
Producer: Samuel J. Queen
Director: Samuel J. Queen
Views: 182
Posted by: globallives on Sep 9, 2013

Life-story interview with Global Lives Project's Lives in Transit participant, Seunghwan Seo in Seoul, South Korea.

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