Korean Boys Live Forever

The Preface

picture credit @hanmigook

What a fat whale I am, Hanmi thought to himself as he rolled out of bed and looked at himself in the mirror.

Hanmi didn’t have any particular features that made him aesthetically competitive, sure some say he might be good looking or that his legs are bit thicker than usual, but too everyone else he’s just a normal Korean boy. Albeit, other’s would not call him a boy at all, since Hanmi had all the parts of a fully fledged man. And it was this particular morning, I believe it was a Thursday morning, that Hanmi decided to take his first selfie. As a virtual photographic virgin, he rolled out of bed complete with bed hair and a raging boner, and thought to himself for whatever reason that then and there was the perfect time to snap a quickie. Yes I agree, there are some Freudian forces at play, after all a boy turned man feels like he has something to prove, and I guess dicks are the easiest tools to use, especially in the morning.

With his bloated face, as per usual of all Asians who consume any sort of instant noodles (Samyang with the yellow package is his favorite brand), Hanmi glared at the imperfections of his body. His legs like soondae, his skin itching with crispy flakes, his hair like the slippery seaweed that his mom makes for his birthday. What a body to have, what a body to take a picture of. With a tilt of his head and focusing his phone with auto-focus (redundant I know), the selfie was taken. There was a film of MSG still glazed on his teeth, so Hanmi decided a slight smirk would have to do.

Now a selfie is no ordinary picture, I know it’s hard to believe when selfies are taken with practically everything. Selfies with food, selfies of food on fancy tables, selfies with random pieces of seemingly significant pop art, selfies with boobs, selfies with dicks, selfies with other people taking selfies. A selfie is a process, cerebral gymnastics that bounce the consciousness through x-ray machines and multiple layers of self-awareness. Where each level of security scrutinizes our bodies as malleable objects, cultural artifacts that are constructed and fantasized like filthy exotic animals. Selfies capture the person we all want to be, in Hanmi’s case, a Korean man. Or more specifically a bonafide sexual icon oozing with manliness and man things.

Now there is this Korean boy who woke up in a Hilton hotel (they say that it was four stars, but Hanmi begs to differ) in Pleasanton, California. Upon waking up, the Korean boy finds a particularly circle mirror and starts to look at his reflection. Being distracted by his bubbling blubber, the Korean boy decides to acknowledge his lack of any muscle definition by taking a selfie. A selfie of his reflection staring at himself in the circle mirror. He sucks his gut in, his reflection does the same. He sticks his tongue out, his reflection inevitably follows. He opens his eyes wide to prove that he does in fact have pupils, his reflection hardly reciprocates. Now Hanmi knows that he is in fact that Korean boy, the Korean boy that takes a selfie of himself looking at his reflection. There is a Korean boy looking at a Korean boy looking at a Korean boy. An infinite line of Korean boys looking at each other, criticizing every curve and line of his one body.

How lonely he must be to take pleasure in his ugliness. No matter what direction he forced his hair to fall or what angle he placed the camera, Hanmi couldn’t change what he thought about himself. No matter how many replications, repetitions of reflections, revisions upon revisions upon revisions, all Hanmi had in the end was himself. The infinite line of boys became his world. In that hotel room on a Thursday morning, Hanmi found himself surrounded by nobody but himself. I guess this is how Korean boys life forever, they take selfies and with just one click a world is created. When Hanmi uploads this selfie to Instagram, the world will see a Korean boy taking a selfie in his pajamas in a hotel room in Pleasanton. As simple as that. 
But what if I told you that this wasn’t a hotel room at all, that maybe it was a friend’s house. That the photo could have been taken in the afternoon rather than the morning, but claiming that the day has just begun could justify his unsettled appearance. What if I told you his name was not even Hanmi? Do you still trust the boy? Do you trust me?

What if I told that I was Hanmi, and thought speaking in the third person would gain your trust and acceptance as fellow internet purveyors. Would that change our relationship? I hope not, I feel like we have something special, right? All Hanmi wants is a friend. That’s it. Do you empathize? If not, what kind of selfie does Hanmi have to take in order for you to care? To care about anything? You don’t have to trust the sneaky bastard, he just wants your attention. Do I have it? Don’t worry you can trust me, I’m not Hanmi, I’m just the narrator of this auspicious story.

This photo was edited with the popular photo editing and social media platform, VSCO cam. The filter that Hanmi used was the C1 filter, which increases the level of saturation and cools the overall temperature of the photo. A popular filter to evoke a sense of modernity, an aesthetic of loneliness that all millennials seem to be pathetically addicted to. The walls were actually a vague brown, but Hanmi thought a deep aqua blue would draw in more readers. It’s all propaganda. Selfies comprise the political literature that regimes of Korean boys use to create their empires and brainwash other hungry kids to yearn for things that don’t even exist. I’m sure you don’t trust Hanmi anymore, I understand, I don’t. You should never trust Korean boys.

But before any of you online conspirators come up with any conclusions, yes Hanmi was in fact in a hotel room in Pleasanton. It’s debatable whether or not he is a man, but that’s besides the point. It was never about penises or trust, it’s always been about attention. That’s where the power lies, having someone's full undivided attention. Being the object of someone’s gaze has always been Hanmi’s goal. Sure he has friends, but why have friends when you fans. It’s a full and very strategic circle — selfie, propaganda, attention, power. Don’t feel bad for Hanmi because he’s from a broken home, don’t say hi because he’s always been talked to, don’t feed him food because he’s hungry. Because deep down inside, Hanmi is planning to rule the world. 
For this reason, I have grown to despise Hanmi. Hanmi is despicable. Hanmi is the fat whale he claims to be. I never chose this story, I was forced against my will. There are a million other stories out there — Oh why couldn’t I have been given a redemption narrative with beautiful characters! But no, God in all his desperate humor gave me this goddamn Korean boy. Hell it’s time I take things into my own hands, it’s my turn to write this story. It’s a shame that Korean boys live forever, it will give me plenty of time to destroy him. So I guess I’ll be here for a while, perfect. I need time to outwit this boy, to out write, to out fantasize. I can do it, after all I’m the omnipotent narrator, what can’t I do. He has no idea what kind of story I can create, I’m ready. Long live Hanmi. Love live the Korean boys of the internet.

Follow Hanmi on Instagram and Tumblr