The Honesty of Koreans

I have a head for numbers and my memory for random facts, numbers and useless titbits of pub ammo is pretty good if I do say so myself.
However, I’ve also a unique ability to misplace valuable items when I’m least expecting it.

No more so than on buses.

In New Zealand, I bought a chunky new pair of winter gloves merely one hour before stepping off the bus in the midst of a phone call and then turning to watch the bus ride off with my gloves sitting on my seat. I liked the gloves so much I bought them again a few days later. The 2nd pair lasted a few days before I subconsciously decided to set them free on another bus to oblivion.

I can’t quite hold on to this, it seems to insist on sitting beside me on bus journeys in this country

In Korea, buses are an everyday occurrence and apparently I’ve upgraded my skills and now only leave really valuable items on the bus.

Three times. That’s how many times I’ve lost my wallet in the past year, plus an extra time for my bank card, which I casually set on the seat next to me after paying on before becoming entranced by my phone and then eventually strolling away from it some 20-30 minutes later.

That’s how it happens everytime and yet I’m still doing it, still testing the honesty of Korean people.

So far they have faithfully held my wallet at the depot awaiting my arrival to collect every time. Just like when they waited for me to pick up my mobile phone that time when I thought it’d be a great idea to run an experiment on New Year’s Eve.
Alas, despite my efforts, I have been reunited with my belongings on every occasion, finding them unscathed, in one piece with every dollar and dime accounted for.

The last time I pulled the trick on myself, I didn’t even panic. Cursing slightly less than the occasion when I had to trail my bag 500 yards down the street in the stifling humidity to retrieve my wallet from it’s final destination, I merely rolled up to the depot this time and smiled as I walked through the door, knowing full well it would be waiting for me.

The old geezer behind the desk had a laugh as we went through the now-familiar routine of him pretending I’m not as good-looking as the photo on ID card suggests.
Handing me the wallet back, he jokingly called me “ba-bo”, which I like to believe means, “he of great patience”.

I need this alarm in my head whenever my wallet is not in my pocket.


Unfortunately it doesn’t mean that but they do say ignorance is bliss.



This modern money-saving technique of distancing myself from my wallet isn’t easy to implement, and one thing is for sure, the people of Korea will not let me get rid of my valuables too easily. I’ll keep on trying, but for now, it looks like I’ve quite a challenge ahead of me.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Ha. I taught Koreans while I lived in Sydney and they were pretty decent characters. I actually saw a woman drop her purse the other day as she was getting off the metro here in Seville, I managed to pick it up, shout ‘oi’ and throw it at her as the doors were closing…guess it just depends on who you bump into!


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