What Are You Saying?
Yes, this isn’t a blatant translation. I changed every word and phrase to make sense in English. Even if it doesn’t sound as ‘native’ as we would like it to say, there is no other way than translating what the author was trying to convey… Unfortunately.
Also, please remember that those are my thoughts on those topics and are not representative of the whole scene/community/whatnot. So without further ado:
The size of a man’s mouth can be a useful measure for his social rank within a group – i.e., how high up the pecking order he is – or for his persuasive abilities – whether he can convince others of his point of view. The bigger the mouth, the higher the social order he is, and the more likely he will change other people’s minds about something.
Take politicians, for example. Their ability to convince others with their rhetoric during election campaigns is reflected in how big they’d managed to make their mouths appear through years of practice. However, when it comes to esports, it seems like Korean gamers can’t afford such a conspicuous display of one’s abilities or status because having a large mouth means having many opportunities for mistakes that will shame one’s family name.
There aren’t any valuable statistics on this but judging by our daily lives in Korea, we’ll dare say that Koreans tend to be skittish when criticized or implicated in any wrongdoing. We are a society that is deeply ashamed of ourselves, and our actions always reflect on our family name.
Our parents have drilled into us the importance of upholding the good name of our ancestors, and anything that might sully it – no matter how minor – is not taken lightly. This is especially true in the case of boys, who are traditionally seen as the breadwinners of their families.
Because of this societal norm, we see so few high-profile Korean pro gamers. By “high-profile,” we mean those players who have garnered international attention by winning tournaments or making spectacular plays.
Those who make outrageous statements in interviews or post pictures on social media get people talking. For the most part, these players tend to be from other countries. Players like Faker, Coldzera, s1mple, and flush have all become household names in their respective regions not just because they are skilled at the game but also because they’ve shown that they aren’t afraid to express themselves in public.
In Korea, making a rude gesture at an opposing team or calling them out for lousy play will get you labeled as “impertinent” within the community. The word has been passed down here from generation to generation. It carries heavy rudeness due to its association with past Korean rulers known for being oppressive towards their subjects.
It’s why modern-day Korean gamers are highly wary about how other people perceive them because they know that anyone can become a target of public shaming if they step out of line even slightly. And this fear that one might say something wrong leads to further mistakes and perpetuates the cycle until all we see is players who praise each other like close friends and swear on streams that they’re no longer rivals.
We’re not saying that this is a bad thing, per se. We quite enjoy the polite and respectful behavior of Korean gamers. We think it would be interesting to see more high-profile Korean players who are unafraid to express themselves in public, even if it means making mistakes from time to time.
They don’t have to be as bold as some of the international players we mentioned earlier but simply showing that they aren’t afraid to speak their minds would go a long way in breaking the current cycle of blandness that plagues the Korean scene.