For the past month I have been giving some English tuition to my professor's daughter. Her English skills are quite good for an average Korean high school student cos she goes to a special language high school. So I try to give her more lessons on conversation. Although it's not a language exchange, but it's somewhat like a cultural exchange session when she tells me stories about Korean stuff and I tell her Malaysian ones.
That day I was curious about why Koreans like to wear white so much. When I first arrived here in spring I was shocked to see almost all the university students wearing white Converse or Nike or Adidas sneakers. White canvas Converse are the worst cos it feels like I'm reliving my primary-middle-high school nightmare in which I had to do the weekly routine of scrubbing my white canvas shoes and slicking white paint on to cover the gray stubborn stains that wouldn't come off. Nevertheless I still bought a pair of white canvas Converse sneakers here... just so I could fit in. In summer, people like to wear white shirts too. The best thing is...... for "red" or auspicious events (喜事) like wedding, New Year, we Chinese usually give out red packets. It is a taboo for us to give out white packets cos they symbolize unfortunate events (白事) like passing away, etc. But for auspicious events like wedding and New Year, the Koreans give out money in white color envelopes! God forbid that a Korean does such a faux pas in a Malaysian Chinese auspicious event!! :-S
Anyway, my student told me that Koreans pride in the colour white cos they are known historically as "the race clothed in white" or 白衣民族. Like when you see those period Korean dramas the men like to wear white swaths of cloth with a black top hat. Those are usually high ranking officials or scholars. I can imagine all the washing that their wives/mothers have to go through to keep the costumes dazzling white....... :-S
Hence, I feel like this is The Land of People Who Like To Wash Stuff (빨래 좋아하는 민족) cos apart from washing their white clothes, the other obvious thing that needs washing is the dozens of small dishes used to hold all the side food.................