If you read my post about taxi drivers, you know that I have a grudge against the overbearing ajusshis that purport to be of service. I had always thought the ajusshis were picking on me because I was a gyopo, but it turns out that taxi ajusshis are liable to lecture anyone -- foreigners and Koreans alike.
My Korean teacher told me that she is often being lectured by taxi drivers. One evening she caught a cab around 2 AM, and the driver scolded her for going home so late. He also barked at her, "Who were those guys you were with? What kind of young woman runs around late at night like that?"
She responded [in Korean], "Ajusshi, even my mother doesn't say anything to me. She knows that I am coming home late...I would like to ride in silence, please. Thank you." Then she promptly popped in her earphones.
The Taiwanese woman in my Korean class also had a stressful experience. She needed to get to the Taiwanese embassy to take care of some important paperwork. That's when the taxi driver, whose brother-in-law is Chinese, launched into a diatribe on how she should just acknowledge that she is Chinese and go to the Chinese embassy. My classmate tried to explain in her limited Korean that yes, she was ethnically Chinese, but she HAD TO GO TO THE TAIWANESE EMBASSY. The Chinese embassy simply would not be able to process her paperwork. The driver was immediately rankled, thinking that my classmate was making a socio-political statement. The woman was just trying to get her visa, for goodness sake.
I can certainly empathize with my teacher and my classmate. I don't wish anyone to encounter such a confrontation during a simple taxi rider. At the same time, it makes me feel a little better to know that the taxi ajusshis are non-discriminatory when it comes to their lectures.
I understand that driving around Seoul for hours on end can take it's toll on your mental and physical healthy, and I understand that many, if not most, taxi drivers are not so exasperating.
I still wish though, that Seoul taxi ajusshis wouldn't feel so responsible for my enlightenment.