Words That Only Pinoy in Korea Can Understand

1. EPS

One of the most common questions of a Filipino to a fellow Filipino in South Korea is “EPS ka?”. If you are not familiar with EPS, you would definitely be puzzled by the question.

EPS is actually not a word but an abbreviation. It stands for “Employment Permit System”. But the abbreviation EPS became extraordinary adjective for Filipinos in South Korea. It translates to “Factory Worker” because every pinoy who works in a manufacturing industry in Korea must go through the “Employment Permit System” to get a working visa. So instead of asking “Factory Worker ka?”, Filipinos would tend to ask “EPS ka?” most of the time. It does not makes sense if you will literally take the meaning of the abbreviation, but as time goes by, people keep using it, and it became acceptable replacement. You can interchangeably use “Factory Worker” and “EPS”.

2. Sincere

Everyone knows what sincere means. As an adjective, it means genuine feeling. In Korea, Filipinos have different meaning of SINCERE. If you are sincere worker, that means you genuinely worked for one company all throughout your 4 years and 10 months stay in South Korea. As a reward, you can be granted a Sincere Worker status by your boss, which means you can go back to Korea and work in the same company without going through the whole process of examination again. So if people in Korea say that you are SINCERE, it does not exactly mean that you have a genuine feeling, it simply means that you remain faithful in one company for your whole tenure in South Korea.

3. Artista

We refer them as Actors and Actresses, but in Korea, Filipinos have different meaning of Artista. Basically, they are undocumented aliens in the country. Filipinos in Korea who work without legal working visa are called artista. Others call them “Polpop” which is a Korean word which means illegal.

4. Mig Mig

Just when you think it’s a friendly slang word, think again. Mig Mig simply means immigration, they are the agency responsible for cracking down illegal aliens. Mig Mig is a code name used by Filipinos to warn the Artistas about their operation. They can be anywhere, watching, waiting and inspecting every foreigner they meet for the alien registration card. If you can’t show anything, then I guess you’re in trouble.

5. Release

Release means to let go. In Korea, in conveys the same meaning, but only pertaining to work related issue. Release is a term used by Filipinos in South Korea if they want to resign in the company they’re working. By resign I mean, quitting the work and find another company as a replacement. There’s a lot of process to get released by the company, you cannot just simply decide to quit and leave because you need the approval of your boss. If there’s no approval, either you stay and rot in the same company or you go home. Release is a word you often hear from factory workers who are sick with their boss or the company they’re working with.