What Exactly is ′Umchinah′ Supposed to Mean?

The words ′umchinah′ or ′umchinttal′ aren′t listed in the Korean dictionary, or any dictionary in the world. The terms are used to refer to people who are those perfect sons and daughters of you′re mother′s friends that you′re always compared to; those sons and daughters that always pop up when your mother says, "My friend′s son got the best grades in the school, but what about you?" or "My friend′s daughter can speak five languages, how many can you speak?"

Umchinahs and umchinttals aren′t supposed to refer to those people who simply have rich parents. They originally refer to those objects of envy, those figures that seem to be good at everything. They get high grades and boast a considerable amount of skill in their hobbies or jobs.

The umchinahs and umchinttals in the time of the 1st generation idols were different from the current ones. They weren′t simply refered to by these terms because their parents were rich. The most well-known umchinah of the first generation was the group UN′s Kim Jeong Hoon. He was smart enough to get into Seoul National University′s Dental School, and proved he had brains again after his debut when he solved a difficult math problem on a Japanese variety show.

The soccer player Park Ji Sung is another famous umchinah. He doesn′t come from a rich background and he′s not objectively handsome, but he′s a prominent soccer player running as a part of the Premiere League with his skills. He′s seemingly made up of talent and nothing else.

The present day umchinahs and umchinttals, however, are called by these terms for reasons different from the past ones. Many are entering the umchinah and umchinttal ranks just because their parents are rich.

The most recent ′umchinahs′ and ′umchinttals′, ZE:A′s Park Hyung Sik, A Pink′s Hong Yoo Kyung and singer Kim Jong Wook, all became umchinahs and umchinttals after their parents′ wealth or jobs were revealed to the public. Even before these singers could gather attention for their prowess as singers, they first gathered interest for their backgrounds.

On this a rep from ZE:A′s agency told enews on July 27, "[Park] Hyung Sik is also very pressured about the reveal. It′s not even that his father′s wealth was revealed; it was the wealth of the company his father works for, but Hyung Sik is still being introduced like he′s the son of a great millionaire. He′s very confused about the situation."

The rep added, "Hyung Sik was always careful around questions like that, and he was always worried he would do harm to his parents. He wishes to be remembered more for his good music and talent."

Another source from A Pink′s agency also said, "Hong Yoo Kyung is very pressured at the spotlight trained on such parts of her life. She′s very careful about being seen as the daughter of a rich family. She wishes more attention to be paid to her music or her future activities rather than the other parts she doesn′t want."

Celebrities are actually feeling more pressured at being given the unfitting title of umchinah or umchinttal. Some say that they′re confused on since when umchinah and umchinttal started being used for those who are simply rich. Others also say that they wish the stars′ other merits aren′t overshadowed by a simple title given by the public.

Photo credit: Kim Byung Kwan, Hea Jung Min, Manchester United

Reporter : Choi, EunHwa (choieh@cj.net)
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