Ajae, the new middle-aged man [2016/12/14 10:41]

Brian Bae, 40, recently wrote on his Facebook wall, “I can’t believe it’s the 20th anniversary of the launch of Diablo -- yet more evidence that I’ve become an ajae.” Diablo is a popular role-playing video game that he used to play when he was a college student.

Now he is the father of two children and holds a senior position at his company.

A few years ago, he might have been called “ajeossi,” a nickname for middle-aged men in Korea, but his youthful fashion style and undying passion for games made it difficult for that epithet to fit. Instead, people call men like Bae “ajae.”

Ajae was originally considered a less-respectful title than ajeossi. It is said to be an abbreviated form of “ajaebi,” a dialect of ajeossi that refers to male siblings and cousins of a father. The word, alongside “ajumma,” meaning middle-aged women, was often used as a caricature of the stereotypical rudeness of middle-aged men.

But the negative meaning of ajae has faded, according to a recent survey.

A report by NH Investment & Securities last month showed that 41 percent of the respondents now associate ajae with something positive -- 27.2 percent said kindness, 9.4 percent stability and 5.2 percent hard-working.

It’s not only the image that has changed. Ajae has become a social phenomenon. Ajae jokes, usually involving simple wordplay, used to fall on deaf ears with younger people, but have now become somewhat of a fad.
출처: 주니어 영자신문 주니어헤럴드(junior.heraldm.com)