Going All The Way…to Hong Kong?!

jung-il-woo-cha-su-yeon-vita500-commerical-정일우-차수연-비타500-광고-captureEstimated reading time: 2 minutes. Actors: Cha Su-yeon and Jung Il-woo. Source: Paranzui

How could I miss this? Probably the first Korean commercial ever to feature a woman literally moving up and down on top of her boyfriend?

Much more interesting though, is what is written and said. For not only does the background text read “You need Vitamin C for love too!” (사랑에도 비타민C가 필요하다!) for instance, but, like Chris explains at Dead Girl:

Boyfriend is trying to airplane girlfriend but he’s having trouble maintaining, if you know what I mean, and so he downs a bottle of 비타500. Immediately invigorated, dude now has no problem keeping her up, and at the end he asks her, “Where shall we go?” She replies, “Hong Kong!”, which I now know is a pretty popular euphemism here in Korea for an orgasm, its origins being the affluent image of Hong Kong that was held in the collective consciousness of Korea until not too long ago. So ladies, next time your man asks where you wanna go, demand he take you to Hong Kong, and don’t let him stop till you get there.

Noble sentiments indeed.

Although the slang was new to me, I did quickly learn when I arrived in Korea that the English equivalent of “coming” was “going” in Korean, so going somewhere does make some sense. Nine years later though, the Korean (and Japanese) for that seems to have been completely Anglicized. Which is a pity, as this phrase is possibly unique to the Korean language, and a genuine surprise to hear in a primetime television commercial.

What other surprises like this ad might be out there? If just a little bit of Korean ability completely transforms our understanding of otherwise innocuous-appearing cultural products, perhaps we should keep an open mind about how sexually conservative Korean society in general really is. Why do gatekeepers present it as such to overseas audiences, when it clearly is a lot more nuanced than that?

If you reside in South Korea, you can donate via wire transfer: Turnbull James Edward (Kookmin Bank/국민은행, 563401-01-214324)

5 thoughts on “Going All The Way…to Hong Kong?!

  1. I remember this! There was a little bit of controversy, if I recall correctly (it was a while ago so I may be fuzzy on the details). Jung Il-woo had to defend himself when the Internet dust-up occurred, because apparently even HE wasn’t aware of the suggestiveness of the wording. He explained that he had interpreted the “Let’s go to Hong Kong” line perfectly innocently, which may suggest that the sly undertones, while present, may not be so obvious even to Korean natives. (Then again, perhaps he was covering his ass retroactively, although I can kind of believe that Jung had been unaware of the innuendo.)


  2. I thought so! I’d have been more surprised if there hadn’t had been any controversy, although I’m still embarrassed at how it completely flew me by at the time (no pun intended).

    I’m not so sure that Jung (or any other actor in that role) would have been unaware of the innuendo though, as shouting “Where shall we go? Hong Kong” doesn’t really make any sense without it. But regardless, I’m more curious as to why he got targeted for criticism and not Cha Su-yeon, because as we’ve both written about many times, it seems to be female stars that get most of the flack for moving out of their “sexual modesty zones” so to speak. And there she is, brazenly demanding that Jung perform better….the hussy!


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