The U.S military base in South Korea has done away with curfew for some 28,000 plus troops recently. As expected, this news is talk of the town. The curfew lift went into effect June 17th, just a few days ago. The curfew is going to be lifted for 3 months to see how things work out for the troops. Or, according to how Kyle Rempfer puts it, “ . . . to see if troops can behave.”
Someone visiting South Korea definitely should not miss out on the nightlife. Considering I’m back here in Daegu, you can bet I’m out here enjoying myself when I can. In light of this recent news regarding the curfew lift, when I sit back and think about my experiences in Korea in relation to the military there were two areas I did not want to be too associated with them: dating and clubbing. I’m not the only one that shares this sentiment, either. Focusing on the latter point, Haley Britzky’s article opens highlighting that the lift is happening to see if troops “can be trusted not to act like wild animals in the streets of Pyeongtaek.” These stereotypes, while unfortunate, hold too much truth for them to go unaddressed- hence the curfew in the first place.
As a civilian, and being brutally honest, the military does get rowdy in the clubs sometimes. I must also mention I saw the longest bar fight ever in a popular Hip Hop club called Julliard’s. Those involved? You guessed it- military guys. Because of the bad rap the military has, many people don’t go to certain clubs until after military people leave for curfew. Such is the case with Julliard’s
Needless to say, when I was here 2 years ago, I was one of those people- hanging out at other places until I knew for sure the coast was clear. Now considering that this was the first curfew-free Saturday, my fiancé and I decided to go out downtown to the club. And not just any club, we went to a special place where every bartender knows his name. Julliard’s. And here was our opinion of how the night went.
Now sure, there were a few moments where I was thinking to myself ‘this thing is not lasting 3 months.’ BUT there were only two times I felt like this and in retrospect, both of these times the issues were minute. When it comes to military rowdiness in hip hop clubs, there is something worth mentioning that I don’t think people but much thought into. Our people (melanted folk), are passionate in ways about music that they (other cultures) do not understand when expressed. They look at us when a certain song comes on and think we are being overly viscous and aggressive. I don’t know about ya’ll but I’ve been out when Meek Mill’s Dreams and Nightmares has come on, and you would think something is about to go down the way we take to the music. When you don’t have genuine ties to our culture and struggle (or not emotionally moved to the music on a deep level) if you are round when certain songs come on, you’re going to be shook.
I can see this being an issue in places like South Korea because they really aren’t expressive like how we are. They play our music in clubs because they know it is going to attract a crowd, but they don’t take into account that we enjoy and feel music in ways they don’t understand. So this is something I think Korean business owners have to take into account, especially if they are catering to foreign crowds, especially now that military curfew has been lifted.
Do I think the curfew lift should be permanent despite past situation and current hiccups? Yes.
Will they be sure to be on their best behavior as to not resurrect memories of the terrible wrongs of past troops and change stereotypes?
Only time will tell.
Check out the video to this blog below!