가위 바위 보 – Gawi bawi bo!

Rock, paper, scissors seems to be something of a national pastime in Korea. I am yet to make it through a lesson at school without hearing the kids hollering ‘gawi bawi bo‘ at the tops of their voices! Whatever the dispute may be, there is nothing that a quick round of rock, paper, scissors can’t resolve.

And it would appear that the obsession with the game isn’t limited to the classroom. I was waiting for Nath outside Homeplus the other night and a couple were standing opposite me, a few years older than us, having the mother of all arguments. I mean pointing, shouting, storming off, the whole works. Unfortunately my Korean doesn’t stretch to translating hysterical girlfriends – I can just about order a beer – so I have no idea what they were actually arguing about, but it seemed like more than just where to go for dinner. The next thing I hear is them chanting rock, paper, scissors! Seriously! Two adults resolving a row through a playground game! Where does it stop? Is this how business negotiations work here? Middle aged politicians bickering in parliament? A pair of ajummas squabbling over a subway seat?

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