Southeast Asia vs. South Korea

August 18, 2009

Hi guys. Well I just came back from two weeks in Southeast Asia (Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, but mostly Thailand), and I was thinking about how everything compares. One would argue that this is an apples oranges deal, and it is, in many ways. But what’s a little subjective comparison between countries? Besides it’s 6 am in San Diego right now and I’m finding it hard to sleep because of jetlag.

Round 1, Fight! : Skyscrapers

210px-63buildinginseoulkorea DSCF3598

The 63 Building (Seoul) vs. The Petronus Towers (Kuala Lumpur)

Okay, so I love the 63 Building. A lot. Whenever I would take the  bus into Seoul I would always look for it, and I’ve been up there a bunch of times (I think one time for every season). On a good day, it’s a gleaming gold block of awesome on the Han. But, c’mon, Let’s be serious here. THE PETRONUS TOWERS. I think this was the first time I turned a corner and looked at a building and was like, “HOLY SHIT.” And the 63 Building – doesn’t look good at night, no glow. The Petronus Towers are all glow. And well, tallness. The Petronus Towers are the second tallest buildings in the world (I haven’t seen Taipei 101, but anyway) and the 63 Building isn’t even 63 floors! It’s “60 floors and 3 basements.” When I found that out I felt like I had been lied to. Betrayed, even.

Besides, The Petronus Towers has a Top Shop inside of it. What’s the 63 Building got? An aquarium and some paintings. Whatevs. Also I would like to note that Southeast Asia, with its golden Buddhist stupas, Muslim mosques, and colonial remnants offers a little more in terms of, well, architectural surprise. Korea, with its Park Chung-hee era gray blocks with large glass windows, not so much. Though Korea does know how to do an inside right.

Winner: Malaysia

Round 2: Pop Music

You may have heard of this thing called the Korean Wave across Asia. It means that Korea exports pop music, movies, dramas all over, including Thailand. I visited Jan’s classroom and was immediately interrogated on which was my favorite member of Big Bang, if I knew Super Junior, and watched as a bunch of kids charaded the “Nobody” song. However, Thailand does have one thing on its side, which is variation. Thailand has rock groups. Actual real ones, that talk about social issues and stuff.

Apparently this video talks about the fetishism of Western products by Thai people, ironically made in Thai factories.

But anyway, this category is pop music. And Thai pop music seems strangely familiar.

Even though the guy in this video is cute, I do like SNSD better. I got off the plane listening to that “Gee” song. (but you know, I still believe 2ne1 > SNSD).

Winner: South Korea

Round Three: Ancient Ruins

Admittedly, a bit of a bias topic. I just wanted to share how awesome Angkor Wat was. Huge trees! Growing out of ruins! In the jungle!

I could do without dozens of mosquito bites and the possibility of malaria though.


Winner: Cambodia

Don’t get me wrong, Korea has its benefits. It’s expansive subway system, cleanliness, toilets that flush, and other modern comforts. Southeast Asia was a blast, but I don’t know if I could ever live there. Also, you may have heard the rumor that I’m coming back to Korea. I will neither confirm or deny that at this point. We’ll see. But you know, the fall is the best time of year there.


One comment

  1. hi. I stumble upon your blog while searching for information on Hongdae. Actually I’m from Malaysia. I have been to Seoul but not 63 building. I’m happy that you like our Petronas twin tower building! maybe I should check out 63 building when I go to Seoul next time…

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