I don’t think that I have come across a more subdued and *given-up already* Korean atmosphere for the World Cup than that of this year’s (at least online, of course, I am sure once the games start properly there will be seas of red t-shirts out in full force). Even scanning the comments that follow the provocatively titled article, “Capello (the manager of the Russian team) says there’s no need to know the Korean players names” the 자포자기한 comments go like “예리하긴..He(Capello)’s very sharp”.. Even the potential fodder to light the fire against the Russians (i.e. figure skating medal controversy at Sochi) doesn’t seem to be enough to stoke any flames. It’s not entirely a bad thing, I think sports nationalism has had its day in most places.
So Korea has a weaker team than usual (or maybe not? The combination of fresh young blood playing in Germany like 손흥민, 구자철 and the mid-gen dragons in the UK like 기성용 and 이청용 should be interesting, but the friendlies leading up to the WC were mainly disappointing) – And without knowing anything about Korean football, it looks like the worries have been mainly over the generation change (the glory days of the Park et al. are over with the retiring of the experienced veterans) and also Hong Myungbo insisting on using the remaining players from the previous generation (e.g.박주영) who might not be so great either in form or ability, by some tenuous loyalty issues -giving rise to a internet slang word 최종 “엔트으리” = 의리 + 엔트리.
Another internet slang word which I was laughing at this morning is 까방권. 까임+방지+권리 the right not to be dissed- it applies to some sportspeople and celebrities (especially those who have served their time at the army) who have somehow achieved a close-to-deity status and an immunity from possible internet lynching by their personality and achievement.
I actually came across it scanning this linked article in the yahoo.jp today, and was initially puzzled by it, because it could have been 가방권, the way it was written in Japanese カバン権。 Even when the writer(a third gen zainichi) was trying to explain ”カイム” 가이무, it took me more than a second to realize that he meant “까임” – “까다” – a slang to criticize – kind of like “diss” in English language.
So basically, the Japanese article was saying that Koreans are very down and not very confident going into the World Cup, and the 까방권 – “a right not to be dissed” which used to apply to Hong has all but disappeared when he insisted on including 박주영, despite his lack of match play time/condition.
Hong has generally a good image in Korea and abroad, and his players always swear by his manly charisma and 의리. Let’s see if the Korean team does enough to retain his 까방권.