The South African Girl Who Captured Korea

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Just saw this on a daum cafe & thought I’d post…

With her clumsy Korean and bubbly personality, a 23-year-old women from the southern tip of Africa has become the darling of Korea. Bronwyn Mullen is the offbeat beauty on KBS TV’s variety program “Global Talk Show” and one of the main reasons why so many viewers tune in.

She came to Korea two years ago as an exchange student from the University of Kwazulu Natal in South Africa, where she majors in media studies. Asked why, she exclaims, “So many Koreans ask me that question! I had to choose between Malaysia, Japan and Korea. I’d already been to Malaysia, I’d already studied Japanese, but I hadn’t been to Korea. I wanted to come to Korea.” Curiosity, then.

She traveled halfway around the world, and the early days were tough. Mullen had a cold throughout the winter. “It snows a lot in Korea. It hardly snows in my country. Korea is very cold. I have asthma and I got sick here.” The polluted air in Seoul seems to have made her asthma worse. Even now she takes her drugs every day to get by. Still, every day is an adventure. “Korean food is so different, and I meet new people every day. I feel like I’m a baby all over again.” She has of course visited tourist spots like Gyeongju and Busan, and went to Gangwon Province just for fun. At one time, she drank soju — Korea’s traditional liquor — with her friends almost every day. After one semester, she put on almost 8 kg. “I had a lot of ramyeon, soju and samgyeopsal (Korean-style fresh bacon). I got chubby. My belly got big. So I only ate dwenjang jjigye (Korean miso soup) and vegetables. Then I got slim again,” she says, pointing at her thin waist.

Even for outgoing Bronwyn, going on TV was not an easy decision. “My Korean is stupid, though I’m not. But I’m on TV, so I worried.” While she prevaricated, her friends at school submitted the application for her, and in the end she decided to go. Why? “It’s a part-time job. I feel bad for my mom, you know.” She has been feeling sorry for her parents because of the costly tuition so she decided to appear on the show. “Korea is very expensive,” Mullen sighs. There have been some awkward moments while she was on the show. As the “Global Talk Show” moved its airing time further into the night, panelists were sometimes thrown by intimate questions like asking about the quality of sanitary napkins. “I don’t say anything when such topics come up. I just don’t know what to say,” she admits. Korea’s office workers, men in particular, are another object! of fascination for her. “They drink too much. They sing too much. Their wives, sons and daughters suffer. Why don’t they go home?”

Does Bronwyn have a boyfriend? Suddenly blushing, she rolls her eyes, saying she needs some time to answer that question. Finally she says, “Yes. I do. He is Korean” “Love is private,” Mullen adds, smiling shyly. After the interview, she asked one last favor. “I have dark circles around my eyes, but you don’t know that because I have make-up on. So please be careful when you take my picture!”


Filed under Globalization, Interesting..., Korea life, Random thoughts

3 responses to “The South African Girl Who Captured Korea

  1. Moosa Lawrence Gill

    Dear Friend.
    I was trying to get e-mail of any foreigner who participates global talk show on kbs and i found this blog.I would be thankful to you if u would tell me the e-mail actualy i want them to speak about us,i mean foreigners who r working in korea and facing real problems..We are living a hard life and have 100000 bad experiences with koreans..May be they can talk about our problems and can convey our message to koreans through Global talk show.
    Would be thenkful to you.

  2. Sorry Moosa, but I don’t know of any direct emails. You may be able to find it on their site. Korean media are pretty good about publicizing their email addresses. You could even email entertainment reports on the English newspapers as well for leads. Good luck!

  3. Jinsu

    I have watched many video clips of KBS’ Misuda on Youtube and become a fan of the show. I must say it is a very interesting show to say the least. I suppose many Koreans are watching the show out of their curiosities and fascinations over non-Korean ladies speaking Korean so well but I do see this show holds a tremendous potential in bridging the cultural gaps between Korea and the rest of world and promote friendships and better understandings between them. Bronwyn is one of my favorite ladies on the show. She is indeed the darling of SK and just delightful to listen to her funny Korean every time. I want to hear more of the in-depth story of Bronwyn’s life in SK. I hope you will write more for me and other fans. Thanks

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