Back to serious topics for TL;DRs. Woohoo! This one is a subject that we’ve avoided for a long time, but I think we had enough to say about the subject now so that we could make a video about it, even though, we know, it’s impossible to talk about everything at once. Hopefully we could talk about it more here and in the comments :D

A few things we didn’t talk about in the video:

Though we’re more understanding about plastic surgery, and the blunt practicality of plastic surgery here in Seoul, we’re starting to wonder where we would draw the line, if we would draw one at all. It feels as if plastic surgery is a bit TOO accepted here, you know? Here’s something that surprised us and still surprises us to this day: plastic surgery is often given as gifts for good grades in school. Aced that exam? Here’s some double eyelid surgery for you! Passed the top of your class? You deserve a jaw shaving! While, yes, we know that getting these surgeries will give people in Korea better opportunities in the work force, it just feels like it’s too early to give to students. Too early! The idea iss being planted in them from a young age that specific looks are unacceptable, and something about it just reeks of innocence being lost. No? Am I romanticizing things a bit?

This is why we were a bit upset at Minzy getting a nose job. Don’t get us wrong: she has all the right to do whatever she wants to her body, and we’re not trying to deprive her of that right. We just don’t like how it all went down. YG denied that she had surgery at first, and said something along the lines of “oh noez she didn’t get surgery she just got older and byutifuller!” Minzy afterwards contradicted that and said that, yes, she got a nose job, but only because she suffers from rhinitis or something.

Now, I don’t know what her real motives are. I feel like the rhinitis excuse is BS. I googled if rhinoplasty will affect rhinitis, and online doctors said that it won’t, but it’s the freaking internet so it could be all lies. Hell, I’m a certifieded doctor as well! Believe me! Point is, I don’t believe her reason, and I feel like maybe other people don’t believe it as well. But that’s not what irks me. We just really thought that Minzy looked great before. Absolutely freaking adorable! There wasn’t anything wrong with her nose at all. She looked really lovely, and it felt like, for once, here was a major idol that embraced how she looked and didn’t cave into the pressure to change her appearance. Here was someone who could be a positive role model for high school girls with image issues. But…not anymore. Her nose looks nothing like what it was before, and she got it changed because she didn’t like the way it looked, which is telling other people with similar noses that theirs don’t look good, either. Again, Minzy has all the right in the world to do what she pleases with her body, and hers isn’t the job to be Korea’s self-esteem compass; I just don’t really like the circumstances around the surgery nor the message this instance sends.

Another thing we wanted to talk about in this post is getting plastic surgery in Korea as a foreigner. We’ve heard a few terrible things which have, in turn, scared the bajesus out of us. Namely, how do you, as a foreigner, place your trust in a surgeon? How do you prevent doctor swapping when you’re unconscious, for example? For those of you who don’t know, Doctor Swapping is the instance in which you would pay for surgery from, say, a great doctor with a fantastic reputation, but as soon as you’re unconscious they put in a different, lesser qualified doctor. Or what about companies that offer translation services for you as a medical tourist, and they recommend good clinics for you, but that’s at times only because they have a relationship with that clinic that’ll charge you double what they normally charge, for which the translator will get a cut of that cheque. Even in the forums that you read online, people are hired to post comments and give positive reviews. Fabricated online sentiments aren’t uncommon here.
Plastic surgery is big business in South Korea, and lots of money exchanges hands, and – unfortunately – business ethics when dealing with foreigners aren’t really the highest priority.


I don’t know. Those are some things to keep in mind, I guess. If you’re more interested in the topic, a friend of ours runs a good site on Plastic Surgery in Korea. He knows a lot more about the subject than we do, and has a bunch of good articles there if you want to look into it more.

Yeah! That’s it for this week’s serious TL;DR topic. Let us know what you think in the comment section below. We know this is a sensitive issue, and we really hope we didn’t offend too many people! Ah! Otherwise, if you like TL;DRs like this, make sure you click on this fancy pants button here. It’ll cure your rhinitis! I’m a doctor and I know!

  1. I am Korean, and what I am worried about plastic surgery in Korea is that the average age of recipients is too low. Teenage girls are very sensitive about looks, I believe they have rather poor judgement on what looks good and what looks bad. They are easily affected by KPOP idols and media, haven’t found their own style yet, and very superficial due to immaturity I guess. Surgeons and clinics are taking advantage of this and targeting these vulnerable young girls.

    I had my eye lid surgery when I was 20 (in Korean age, so that’s right after graduation of high school) and I absolutely regret this. It’s similar feeling to when you look back your old photos and feel embarrassed about your fashion style or hair. What seemed pretty/or cool before is just too tacky and uncool. That’s what I feel about my eye shape. It’s not ugly, I don’t feel horrible about this look but I do think my original eye shape (which is typical ‘Asian eye’) would’ve been so much better. I can’t undo it, such a shame.

    I do think some plastic procedures are in fact positive, such as skin procedures, teeth jobs, or hair treatments. Cause with these jobs it only gets better – smoother skin, even teeth, thicker hair.. And it’s great to be able to easily find these clinics. But the procedures that really changes your.. shape could be regretful. I wish young girls think about this before they do anything.

  2. Now, whenever I see the vline jaw or the doll like eyes in kdramas and kpop, it makes me pretty uncomfortable.

  3. Uh guys, plastic surgery actually means the same thing here. No really, I’m serious! I know this video is a few months old and you may never see this, but I really wanted to mention this because I feel like it’s a shame to leave you uninformed about it.
    Think about the term “brain plasticity” what does that mean? It’s synonymous with brain malleability, and that’s not a mistake. In fact the whole reason why ‘plastic’ the substance was called plastic is *because* it’s so incredibly malleable. It gained the confrontation of ‘fake’ and all those other things long after with the rise in popularity of the substance named for it’s moldable nature.
    However plastic surgery was a term coined before plastic became popular, and the popularity and subsequent ascription of all those negative connotations to ‘plastic’ is actually fluke that had side effects for ‘plastic’ surgery.
    So there you go, in fact our surgery initially was named in equivalence to ‘morph surgery’, and in theory, if we were being careful and specific with our understanding of language, still is.

  4. I just remembered what video I watched that I wanted to share. Although it is a dove commercial, it still sends a good message.


  5. Minzy had been suffering from rhinitis, on the hospital, they told her its because of her crooked nose, she was sopoustu get surgery for a perfect recovery. Then her mother sugestet that if she will have an operation then why she will not take a plastic surgery. Thats why she have it.

  6. Simon and Martina, I have a question! What does it mean to eat tofu as soon as you get out of jail? Is it some kind of purification ritual or they just really miss the tofu? jajaja I’m really curious about it!

  7. Rhinitis is the same excuse Ashlee Simpson and Ashley Tisdale used a few years ago when they got nose jobs. So that they can sing better. On one hand I get it, but I wish they would have also said something like “and I kind of wanted to get a prettier nose”. Because if you were really cool with your nose, you would find away to work around the rhinitis. Doing breathing exercises and stuff.
    But yeah, I agree with the Minzy thing. If YG had just been like “Yes, she did. She can’t breathe well.” But lying about it first just creates that culture of you have to be naturally pretty, because heaven forbid you do something that would make you happier with your appearance.

  8. The problem is people in korea is that people are way too obsessed with being pretty. When I meet my mum ‘s korean ahjumma friends, they all say to me and my sister, “Oh, you’re so pretty.” We’re not even thaat pretty, and even so, it annoys that that’s the first thing that comes to their minds when they meet us. It’s just sad how obsessed korean people are with beauty. And how high schoolers can get plastic surgery? That’s totally sick – I can’t believe people my age would actually go that far.

  9. Just wondering… you mentioned something about getting your moles removed, do you remember the name of the clinic where you got it ? I am planning to go to korea soon and I actually need to get mine removed because I had my braces taken off and they’re starting to become crooked again because of that “unwanted” mole

  10. Here’s a list of JCI certified hospitals and clinics in South Korea. http://www.healthcareabroad.com/korea-south/plastic-surgery

  11. Can you guys please talk about how kpop is accepted in Korean with males and females? Like in the US a lot of kids or teens who are males get bullied for liking pop. Is it the same in Korea?

  12. For Martina and Simon: Since having moved from Canada to South Korea have you guys ever been hit on by Korean’s? Have you guys received many compliments for your looks?

  13. For Martina and Simon: Since having moved from Canada to South Korea have you guys ever been hit on by Korean’s? Have you guys received many compliments for your looks?

  14. This is what they call pretty (even if you have done PS)

  15. Ideal beauty standards are ridiculous to ang mohs like EYK

    For the Nose: it must be sharp and pointed
    Eyes: Almond shaped and double eyelids
    Skin:white (or glow in the dark white)
    Body:fuck this shit lol just be as skinny as a pair of chopsticks

  16. I have a question I want to ask kpop fans. Is there a place like Spotify that is for kpop? Or a place that has a lot of kpop? I have Spotify but it doesn’t have very many Korean artists that I listen to on there. Is there a site that I can find that is free?

  17. I have chronic hyperplastic rhino-sinusitis (it’s pretty similar to what Minzy claims she had) and my doctor said, surgery is really just as a last resort (mind, it is a goddamn pain in the ass, I have to rinse my sinuses multiple times a day with a saltwater solution), however, a colleague of mine had the surgery done and though it is not necessary to change the appearance of the nose for the surgery, they will repeatedly ask whether you want any changes to your nose, probably to save you from having to go through another surgery if you did want to change something. So, yeah, that’s pretty much the deal with the whole rhinitis thing

  18. What do koreans think about homeschoolers? I have a friend over there who didn’t understand what it meant. Do other koreans never hear about? Also, I was considering about attending a college there, would my homeschooled background affect it at all? Thanks.

  19. HAd to pause and laugh..essence releaser? Really Simon? BWAHAHAHA! I find my favorite looking female celebrities are the ones with unusual faces. Hyorin from Sistar, Ha Ji-won, Han Groo. They’re not beautiful in the typical manner and have very different features from the ideal. But to compensate, they also have incredible bodies. Those faces that are all the same are scary and a little confusing when you’re learning names for your favorite groups…

  20. Considering the prevalence and popularity of plastic surgery in Korea, I find it completely mind boggling how some fans can be utterly delusional about their favorite idols looks being “natural” or otherwise. People seem to create arguments for completely contradictory ideas… For example, blepharoplasty/”double eyelid surgery” really isn’t a big deal; it’s like make-up VS. *fill in the name blank* never had any surgery, he/she just lost a lot of weight!! If plastic surgery ISN’T a big deal, then why does it matter if a certain K-Pop idol has had a procedure done or not? So long as they are adults and making their own informed decision, it shouldn’t be a big deal in a culture where plastic surgery is so common.

  21. in your next tldr can you please talk about sasaengs? i’ve heard some bad stuff about them but how bad could they be?

  22. The trouble with saying only specific looks are okay is the slippery slope to fascist, race-based concentration camps that promises.

  23. Okay, so this question may never make it to a TL;DR but I still have to ask, and I’ll probably be a pest about it ^_^ but I was wondering… are there hardware/gardening stores commonly found in Korea? From the little I gather about their culture, I’m guessing DIY home-improvement isn’t a big thing… what about gardening and stuff?

    This question popped into my mind when I saw your instagram video about grocery shopping in Canada actually… I was thinking, what if I wanted to live in Korea and wanted to some of the stuff that couldn’t be easily found, even if it was indoors or something. Is that popular at all?

    When I move out of my parents’ I feel like I could live comfortably in a one-bedroom or studio apartment (“western sizes”, since Asian tolerance for smaller apartments is higer haha) with it being filled with plants.

    Thanks! ^_^

  24. Hi there. I’d also like the name of a recommended place to get mole removal. I looked at the link EYK provided but it’s all for places in the U.S. Simon, Martina pretty please.

  25. Hey there, first time commenting here. I have a topic that I was hoping you might cover some time in the future: corporal punishment in school. The reason is that I was in school until I think 1st grade (I think I came to America in 1979 – oh god I’m old!) and my memory of Korea is pretty hazy but I remember 2 things really well. I remember everything I ate (more food segments please!) and all the punishment I received in school. Remember, I didn’t even get that far in the school system – 1st grade people. I remember the rulers to the hand, having to hold buckets in the hallway and being slapped open handed on the cheek. I don’t remember what I did to get the punishment but there you have it. Both my parents were teachers in Korea. My mom was a music teacher in the countryside and she was a little thing that looked like she weighed 90lbs soaking wet so I don’t think she did much beating. But then, she was always deadly with those laser side eyes so maybe she didn’t need it. She did however tell me that she witnessed male teacher beating the crap out of male students with just about anything they could get their hands on and it always horrified her. Didn’t want to ask my Dad because I didn’t want to think that way about him… I love the fact that Korean Movies like “Attack the Gas Station” tells people to assume a particular position during a stick up and they all seem to know these positions because they’re popular stress positions used by the school system. How have things changed in the school system in the now? Have they moved onto just being verbally abusive and physical abuse is frowned upon? Another side item: Is Parent’s Night at school still a time where they bribed teachers with gifts to favors their kids? Just curious.


    ok. so when you are born in Korea you are considered 1 year already.

    including the NEW YEARS and BIRTHDAYS, I think it is +2 years per year.

    so like if a child were born they are already 1 year. on 1990

    +1 on a birthday(the next year)=2 years old 1991

    +1 on a new years=3years old 1993

    (!warning!:all of what I am saying is a educated guess)

    EX:T.O.P: he is actually 26 years old in western time(in 2013), but the plus one from the day he was born gave him the age of 27 in Korea. but right now on new years he turns 28 because of the +1 from his day or birth and +1 from new years.

    oh I will use Taeyang as a example too

    ok so he is now 27 years one year younger then TOP(28)

    his birthday passed so you -1 year(26)

    and in western time, thanks to the Korean way. ”when a baby is born they are already one year old ”so you -1 from the s]age again(26-1)which =25

    and see how Taeyang and TOPs ages connect made with the same theory

    Taeyang will always stay younger then TOP will

    TAEYANG and TOP ages in Korea:27 and 28

    TAEYANG and TOP ages in the western part:25 and 26

    see how they are only 1 year apart from each other by subtracting the +one year form birth and the +1 year from new years


    high five me!

  27. I realise this may be a serious topic but I can only focus on ‘Swamp-Donkey’. I can’t wait to use this as an insult :DDD

  28. This video was very informative, but I don’t like the way you guys expressed your disapproval of plastic surgery.
    You say that, when two people who have both gotten plastic surgery have a child, he/she would be a “swamp donkey.” But then you proceed to say that he/she would probably get plastic surgery in the future, “continuing this awful life-cycle.”
    So, if he/she stays natural, he/she gets insulted for his/her appearance.
    If he/she gets plastic surgery, he/she is criticized for it.
    Unless you’re born attractive, there’s no way you can really win.
    I’m not saying plastic surgery is a good thing, but a society that doesn’t reprimand less attractive people for trying to improve their appearance through surgery (in this case, South Korea) sounds a lot better to me than a society that claims to accept all kinds of people despite their appearance, but dislikes people who are born ugly, either because they’re unattractive (having chosen not to have surgery) or fake (having chosen to have surgery).
    It seems really hypocritical and unfair, especially since most other aspects of western culture usually try to promote fairness.

  29. Well done. Beautifully articulated.

  30. Hey lads, been watching the videos through the holidays and still don’t have a hint about the following:
    How environmentally concerned/green is South Korea? Do you e.g. separate your garbage, save water, collect paper, etc.?

  31. Let’s say that im korean high school girl with a darker skin and I don’t really have the Korea beauty look. Am I gonna get bully or being ignore by my schoolmates ? I know they were like really care about looks but is it serious ? Can I ‘survive’ or even make friends ? Or plastic surgery is the only choice for me. I’ve heard about Korean high school girl suicides is it related to how do they look or what ?
    d(0_0)b Am I asking too much questions ? Mianheyo, kunggumheseoyo.
    Sorry for the bad English, it’s my second language.

  32. I had heard a lot about the contraversal topic about plastic sugery in south Korea and how it was affecting young girls self esteem
    and that of body image without really looking up the topic but knowing that quite a few kpop stars were getting it done both male and female shocking that rate of beauty standards apply so much too both men and women

  33. Hi Simon and Martina,

    Your videos are great and you are inspiring many of us to plan a trip to South Korea! I think most of us that love watching EYK plan to one day visit Korea.

    Could you please do a segment on budgeting for a 7 day trip to Korea?

    For example… Just some ballpark figures, how much ₩ per day, for each scenario
    Scenario 1: Live luxuriously. Nice hotels, fine dining
    Scenario 2: Explorer. Traditional Hanoks, Street food and some fine dining
    Scenario 3: Cheap and nasty! Tell me the cheapest 7 days I can spend in Korea

    I know this is a broad topic. Perhaps you could focus purely on the food aspect as I am finding this difficult to budget for. Or maybe you could tell us about expenses that tourists aren’t aware of? The best ways to save your money in Korea and still explore? etc. etc.

    Reveal to me how expensive a week in Korea is.

    Keep up the great work,

    • Super cheap. If you’re traveling w/someone scope out a room on airbnb. Not sure I’d be willing to do this solo…safety is important too. Pick something that’s close to a metro stop for cheap travel. Even cheaper. … If you have friends in S Korea, you might line up free room for a week if you pick up their classes while they are on vacation. (Word of warning: You are not legally allowed to teach in Korea unless you have an E2 visa. … But you would not be the first nor the last person to do this.)

  34. What are you thoughts and feelings on SHINee’s Jonghyun openly supporting the LGTB movement how is korea reacting do you think changes are starting in korea concerning LGTB? do you think he will be getting a lot of back lash?

  35. How do people feel about cursing in Korea? How is it received publicly compared to North America? Is there any significant difference?

  36. I’ve never heard of doctor swapping. That’s scary as hell.

  37. Please take down the photos of the girl on the first and third photo on the 6:32 mark… :( They were used without her permission and has been mis-labeled as someone who has done plastic surgery [and she hasn’t!].

    • Who is she? Honestly, it’s really hard for me to believe that she is natural…unless she did a ton of photoshop. Also, didn’t she post them online ie for public viewing? Posting your pics on instagram is a double edged sword – you get compliments but you also get criticisms.

      • but that doesnt mean you can put it up on a video where a lot of ppl watch and think that it is a true fact. and i do know her, she has never done any plastic surgery, and yes it is true she does photoshop but she does not do it a lot that much as u will think her as 성괴. and it is against the law to take someone’s picture without permission

  38. What kind of things will kill you in Korea? In the US there are rattlesnakes, brown recluse spiders, crocodiles and alligators, tornadoes, hurricanes, dust storms and blizzards. What do you have to be wary of there?

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