Friday, April 18, 2014

Park Chung-hee, Songwriter

Go check out Roboseyo's post on the 1972 Shin Joong-hyun song 아름다운강산 (Beautiful Rivers and Mountains). Beyond discussing Shin and the song (and linking to the various versions of it, including the psychedelic wonder of the 1972 original and Kim Jung-mi's version from a year later) he also let me know that the writer of 나의조국 ('My Country') was Park Chung-hee. I actually have an LP of that same name by the 'National Chorus Choir' which was released in March 1977, and the songs on it are all godawful (as I figured it would be - but seeing the song titles like 'Song of the Minjok' and 'Saemaeul Song,' along with lyrics and a picturesque enough cover, made me want to buy it).


(Interesting that there are song titles in English.)

Here's what 'My Country' sounds like - just to give you an idea of what Park Chung-hee wanted people to listen to:



The song was written in late 1976, as this December 11, 1976 Maeil Gyeongje article relates:
President Park songwriter of 'My Country'

It has been revealed that the lyricist and composer of the song 'My Country,' which has been played widely on radio and TV, is President Park Chung-hee.

This was revealed on December 10 by an official who knew this fact while returning in a car to Seoul after attending a Saemaeul leader convention in Daejeon.

The official explained that on a weekend at the beginning of October, President Park personally wrote the lyrics and composed the song 'My Country' and after that when it got into general circulation via TV President Park "instructed [them] to let the lyricist and composer be anonymous, and as of yet the lyricist and composer have not been revealed."
As it turns out, releasing the song and officially claiming credit for it later was how Park did things. As this June 30, 1972 Kyunghyang Sinmun article, titled "President Park songwriter of 'Saemaeul Song,'" reveals, the Saemaeul Song was written in early May 1972 (two years after the start of the Saemaeul Movement) by the president, and the original recording featured piano played by a high school student. Park, however, had not wanted it known upon its release that he had written it, so "the writer of the song that people across the country loved to sing was hidden, but the fact was spread from mouth to mouth" until it was officially announced by the Blue House on June 30 that he had indeed written it.

This very lengthy report gives a ton of information about the Saemaeul Movement, as well as a translation of the lyrics. Here's the song itself:



Saemaul Song
Written and composed by Park Chung-hee

1. Dawn bell rings, new dawn breaks
Let me get you up, for building Saemaul

Refrain:
My village a good place for living
Let us build with our hands

2. With thatched roofs replaced, with village roads widened
Let us create green, tending it carefully
(Refrain)

3. By helping each other, by working with sweat
Endeavoring for income boost, let us create a rich village
(Refrain)

4. We all strongly, working while fighting
Fighting while working, let us build a new father land
(Refrain)
The funny thing is, while 'let me get you up' isn't how I'd translate it, it's more true to how things turned out, at least according to what a former Peace Corps Volunteer told me. Apparently the Saemaeul Song was played at dawn every morning through an outdoor speaker near his house, so the song did actually 'get you up,' or wake you up, at least. To paraphrase him, 'I don't know how many times I thought about going out and cutting that damned speaker wire.'

The style of the music, the fact that it was played every morning for citizens to wake up to, and the lyrics should give some idea of the culture clash at work between the youth culture of the day and the culture the authoritarian government wished to cram down its citizens' throats (or in their ears), a clash that ended in 1976 with the arrests of dozens of musicians, artists, and film directors. 'My Country' is essentially a victory cheer by President Park, and a reiteration of his vision for a counterculture-free society. But I can't help but notice how similar it is to North Korean music I've heard.

I'd thought of doing a long post about music from the 60s and 70s, but Rob gave me the (great) idea of doing a series of smaller posts. So up next will be a look at Shin Jung-hyun's first album from the late 1950s.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Bits and pieces

A few articles in the Joongang Ilbo yesterday looked at how 'the system' is failing children (and single mothers) in various ways. First is an article with lots of adoption-related statistics:
Over the past decade, the number of children living in foster care has doubled, from 7,565 in 2003 to 14,384 in 2012. In most cases, children were cared for by grandparents (67.9 percent) or relatives (25.6 percent), and children living with another family accounted for just 6.5 percent.[...]

The ultimate goal of the foster home system is to send children back to their birth parents. However, only 12.9 percent came back to live with their birth parents in 2012, down from 19 percent in 2006. Most children living with foster families stay with them until they’re legally adults and sometimes even later.[...]

Though the number of domestic adoptions grew continuously until 2011 to 1,548, it abruptly dropped the following year to 1,125.[...]

In 2012, of more than 2,000 babies adopted in and out of Korea, 92.7 percent were born to single mothers.[...]

Many child care advocates insist that’s precisely why the government should establish a system in which single parents can raise their children without giving them up. According to research conducted in 2011 by the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family, 46 percent of unwed mothers had debts averaging around 13 million won ($12,514), with an average monthly income of about 785,000 won.[...]

Right now, the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family provides 150,000 won to unwed mothers 24 or under. But out of a total of 360,000 mothers, just 2,005 receive benefits.
Next is an article about the lenient sentences received by two stepmothers who beat their stepdaughters to death.
A court in Daegu sentenced one woman, surnamed Lim, to 10 years in prison for beating her 8-year-old stepdaughter so hard at their home in Chilgok, North Gyeongsang, that she died of an intestinal rupture. Lim then intimidated the victim’s 12-year-old sister into taking the blame.[...]

In the second case, an Ulsan court handed out a 15-year jail sentence to a stepmother who beat her 8-year-old stepdaughter so hard last October that 16 of her 24 ribs were broken. Some of them pierced her lungs, and she died from her wounds.
The first word that pops into my head is 'scum.'In the first case, ten years does not seem enough, especially with the added factor of intimidating the sister into taking the blame.

Another article looks at criticism of a private high school in Jinju after two fifteen-year-old students died less than two weeks apart in separate instances of violence at the school.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Article about drug arrest of Korean national states "Drug crimes by native speaking teachers are never ending"

On April 3, Daejeon City Journal followed up their article from a day earlier about this drug bust with this article by reporter Shin Yu-jin. And the first paragraph isn't badly written due to my translation; it's faithful to the original, which used 등 a few too many times:
No inquiry made into native speaking instructor who taught students while on drugs

Criminal record inquiry only confirmed whether there were sex crimes

Since it was recently exposed that people such as native speaking instructors who teach children in places such as hagwons or schools taught children while high on drugs such as methamphetamine, it's been pointed out that the preparation of countermeasures is urgent.

In particular, since criminal record checks mean to filter such criminals out beforehand are limited only to sex crimes, people have loudly expressed that they should be expanded to include crimes such as drugs as well.
It then goes on to retell the story of A, the Thai tour guide who brought and sold the meth to B, the problem with whom was that he was a native speaking instructor who taught students. It continues:
Besides this, it was disclosed that nine other people including acquaintances bought the meth from B and used it, and among these was a hagwon instructor who, like B, taught children.

In addition, before these two hagwon instructors were arrested, they worked in places like hagwons and an investigation confirmed that they were criminals with records involving five and fourteen charges, respectively, including drug crimes.

Prior to this, last month as well an English instructor of United States nationality was booked without detention for smuggling drugs. Drug crimes by native speaking teachers are never ending.

In fact, if we look at the status of native speaking assistant English teacher crime, between 2009 and August 2013, twenty five committed crimes, with drug crimes making up most (8), as compared to six drunk driving charges, three assault charges, and two theft charges.

The reason for such a high drug crime rate is that the criminal record inquiry for hagwon instructors who teach children or teens only confirms whether there are sex crimes.

An official from the West Daejeon Education Office said, "In the case of hagwon instructors, one month before they are hired they receive a physical examination at a designated hospital where they are also checked for drugs, but after they are hired they can use drugs." "Foreigners have criminal record checks from their home countries, but in connection to the child and youth law the criminal record check only inquires into sex crimes."

In regard to this, one parent asked, "What would happen if they committed other crimes when teaching children while high on drugs?" "There should be, without a doubt, inquiries into not only sex crimes, but also drugs."
I have a hard time believing drug crimes for foreign instructors are not looked at by immigration, but have no idea how the Ministry of Education operates; there's nothing about only sex crimes being looked at in the 2011 Hagwon Law revision. At any rate, Koreans are not subject to the the part of the law dealing with 'foreign instructors,' though the subjects of the most current arrests are Korean citizens (the second 'hagwon instructor' mentioned above is neither described as 'foreign' or as an 'English instructor,' and you can be sure he/she would be described so if they were).

More fun is the fact that we're dealing with Korean nationals being arrested, but the reporter can declare "Drug crimes by native speaking teachers are never ending." Even better is the fact that he/she quotes from statistics about crime by public school foreign teachers* and then declares that "The reason for such a high drug crime rate is that the criminal record inquiry for hagwon instructors who teach children or teens only confirms whether there are sex crimes." Brilliant. I actually had trouble translating that sentence because it took a minute to realize it was actually saying something that stupid.


* Statistics which reveals a drug arrest rate about average for foreigners in Korea (which is not that much higher than the Korean rate, of course).

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Arrest of Korean citizen native speaking instructor exposes loopholes in criminal record check system

At least one 'native speaking teacher' was arrested for smuggling and taking meth last week. Newsis, which published an article that likely has the most information, reports:
Arrests for taking and transporting meth include native speaking English instructor

[The Daejeon regional police drug investigation unit held a briefing on April second about 11 people including a native speaking English instructor from Gyeonggi-do arrested for taking and smuggling methamphetamine.]

Police caught a group of offenders, including a native speaking English instructor who taught middle and high school students, for the illegal smuggling, selling and taking of methamphetamine.

On April 2 the Daejeon regional police drug investigation unit arrested five people including native speaking English instructor Mr. Choi (39) for bringing methamphetamine from overseas and selling and taking it, in contravention of the drug control law, and booked without detention six people including Mr. Kim (50) who only took the drug.

According to police, Mr. Choi is suspected of meeting a Thai tour guide in the vicinity of Incheon Airport on January 14 at 8:00 in the morning and buying a gram of meth from him for 400,000 won and both taking it and reselling it.

The police investigation found that because Mr. Choi knew that tour guides have simplified customs procedures, he wanted to exploit this and coaxed A, who he had known for some time, into bringing Thai-made meth into the country.

In particular, Mr. Choi immigrated to the United States as a child and became a permanent resident (his nationality is South Korean), but in 2005, he was deported for domestic violence and after that came to our country and taught students as a native speaking instructor in the Bundang and Suji areas of Gyeonggi-do for several years.

Police also disclosed that in 2006 he was sentenced to and served two years in prison for involvement in the crime of manufacturing drugs.

When Choi was arrested at dawn on February 26 he was high on methamphetamine and he said that the hallucinogenic effects of one dose of methamphetamine lasts about five days.

Police explained that Choi taught at three hagwons and 7 private lessons, and they cannot rule out the possibility that he taught middle and high school students while high.

(Police show off confiscated disposable syringes.)

The criminal background check hagwon that must be undergone by instructors teaching young people only confirms whether or not there are sex crimes, and Choi, with his drug-related criminal activity, was not filtered out.
We've seen cases like this before where Korean nationals deported from the US come back to Korea and teach English, and are described as 'native speaking instructors.' Of course, it's often seen that Korean Americans can have a hard time being considered native speakers, unless of course they commit crimes, in which their 'native speaking instructor' status will be included in headlines.

While the title of the KBS report about this is fairly tame ('Hagwon native speaking instructor turned out to be a drug criminal'), News Y's report is suitably sensational: 'Native speaking hagwon instructor with criminal record for drugs teaches class while high.' One has to appreciate how we go from the assertion that police "cannot rule out the possibility that he taught middle and high school students while high" to the headline above. Local media tend to highlight the identity of the teacher:

Daejeon Ilbo: 'Native speaking instructor habitually takes meth'

Daejeon City Journal: 'Native speaking instructor who teaches students [there's another kind?] takes meth'

Mind you, Chungcheong Today's article wins the most points in this regard, both with its title - 'Drug-taking native speaking instructor spouts nonsense ("shalla shalla") at the lectern' - and its opening sentence:
There is shock after it was disclosed that a native speaking instructor who was released after serving time in prison for being involved in drug production recently taught young students while high on methamphetamine.
Anyway, the overseas criminal record check requirements called for in the 2011 revision of the Hagwon Law apply only to 'foreign instructors', who are defined as "non-citizens of the Republic of Korea who [...] are responsible for instruction in a hagwon." There clearly is a loophole here for Koreans who have lived abroad and are considered 'native speakers.' The public school system, as far as I know, requires overseas criminal record checks from even Korean nationals, but clearly the Hagwon Law does not call for that, despite there being several cases where this kind of thing has happened. Of course, the problem is that even local drug arrests didn't seem to matter for a Korean national teaching in a hagwon, and, unsurprisingly, there are calls to change this.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Christopher Paul Neil faces new charges in Canada

After returning to Canada upon serving five years in a Thai prison, being detained by police, being released with restrictions, and then pleading guilty to breaching those conditions in October of last year, Christopher Paul Neil was arrested in British Columbia on March 28:
Authorities in British Columbia have laid 10 new charges against convicted sex offender Christopher Paul Neil after conducting investigations into his activities over the past 10 years in Vancouver, Maple Ridge and Cambodia.[...]

Neil faces one count each of production of child porn and possession of child pornography relating to incidents that allegedly occurred in 2007 in Maple Ridge.

He also faces two counts of sexual touching and two counts of invitation to sexual touching stemming from alleged incidents in 2003 in Cambodia.[...]

The Criminal Code gives Canadian authorities the power to investigate and prosecute certain offences, such as child pornography and the victimization of children, committed by Canadian citizens in other countries. 
According to the Richmond Review [cache], on October 16, 2013 he "pled guilty to possessing a computer capable of connecting to the Internet on Aug. 1, 2013 at or near the city of Vancouver, which is a breach of one of his recognizance conditions." In January it was reported [cache] that evidence of child pornography had been found on his computer and that he would undergo a psychiatric assessment:
During an investigation launched after Vancouver Police received information Neil was in possession of electronics capable of accessing the Internet, Neil's cell phone, e-book reader and laptop were seized. After a thorough examination of his laptop, investigators found evidence he downloaded software that enabled computer folders to be completely hidden from view, and password protected. Several file names were found, including a half dozen with names suggestive of child pornography. Other files contained images of young boys having sex. His cell phone also contained images of young women, between the ages of 10 and 15.
What's interesting is that in October 2012, a BC court decided that Neil would be monitored for 18 months. One wonders if these charges coming at this time are related to that, or just a coincidence, especially considering the man is an obvious candidate for re-offending.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Writing about 'prejudice against intermarriage'... in 1988 and 1998

One wonders what sparked off the writing of this April 1, 1988 column in the Korea Times (click to enlarge):


There are some fun arguments there, such as saying that marriage to foreigners shows that Korea is "becoming an international, advanced nation," and that marrying a westerner will lead Korean women to get "the best one can out of life." It's also good to know about the possibility of "healthy, tan colored, highly intelligent offspring." My, how sensitivities when it comes to writing about race have changed in 26 years.

Reading his description of the qualities Korean women possess reminded me a little of the way they were written about in this book from 1950, though he doesn't go quite as far as to describe them as "the earthly reflection of heavenly feminine beauty."

His description of such attitudes being due to "unproductive relationships between U.N. soldiers and Korean women" in the 1950s gets close to truth, but it was, in fact, such relationships which had occurred constantly ever since that time which tended to raise the ire of Koreans. As Bruce Cumings described it in this book, "the social construction [by American men] of every Korean female as a potential object of pleasure for Americans" as "the most important aspect of the whole relationship and the primary memory of Korea for generations of young American men who have served there." For those who were witness to that aspect of the relationship, the memory remained as well.

This New York Times article from 1998 describes attitudes as being quite similar:
Interracial relationships are a sensitive issue in many countries, but particularly so in South Korea. Such romances offer a window into the society, for they touch some of the most sensitive nerves in the Korean psyche -- relating to national identity, to attitudes toward foreigners and to ideals about the purity of women.

"I'd like to settle down with my girlfriend, and I wonder if her family would ever accept me," mused Frank A. Dressler, a 36-year-old American who has been going out with a Korean woman in Seoul for two years. "Her family still doesn't know I exist."

To be sure, the family did once get an inkling, and the reaction was not promising. The parents locked the girlfriend in the home for 10 days, telling her to call in sick at her job. Then they alternated interrogations with lectures.

"They said, 'There will be no mixing blood in our family,'" recalled the woman, who insisted that she not be identified. They warned her that any romance with a foreigner would not only ruin her own marriage prospects but would also make it more difficult for her brother and sister to marry. [...]

The sensitivities have become more visible in part because South Korea has the American troops and in part because thousands of other young Westerners have come here, often working as English teachers. Most of them are young, single and male, unfamiliar with South Korean customs and thrilled to be surrounded by what they perceive as throngs of gorgeous and eligible young women.
It's interesting to see that English teachers got a mention, but then even a year earlier they had been written about in the Kukmin Ilbo by current Democratic Party leader Kim Han-gil, who said that "the reason white men really like Korea is to chase after Korean women," and argued that "[t]he seriousness of the problem with unqualified white English instructors, however, is that they are personally penetrating each home of our society's middle class under the pretext of English conversation study."

Mind you, even in 1998, it's stated that things are improving:
"It used to be pretty bad -- I'd get things thrown at me if I were dancing with a Korean girl," said Peter Keusgen, a 29-year-old Australian stock analyst who has spent most of the last six years in South Korea. "Coming from that low base, Korea's come a long way. People are much more accepting now."
No doubt there have been far more changes in attitudes in the 16 years since that article was written as compared to the ten years between it and the Korea Times column.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Traffic Jams

From the Korea Times, January 10, 1988:


Now we've gone from foreigners complaining about traffic jams in Seoul to locals complaining about foreigners (or foreign film production crews, at any rate) creating traffic jams in Seoul. I guess that's progress?

At least some people have a sense of humour about it... especially the one about Iron Man being ripped off at Yongsan Electronics Market.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Keep it in the family!

At the Korea Herald, columnist Kim Ji-hyun asks, "Dear Lufthansa, are you racist?" She then immediately answers her own question with "Probably not, but this was the question that first popped into my mind when I heard about a bunch of unfortunate [Korean] reporters who missed their Lufthansa flight out of Europe a few days ago." The reporters "mistook the time of their flight ― they had confused the boarding time and the time the plane actually took off ― and had to buy tickets for another flight out of the country the following day." She first criticizes them for their lack of intelligence, but then goes on to surmise that the staff were unhelpful to this "boisterous group of loud and probably less-than-attractive Asian reporters (compared to their blond, long-legged European counterparts anyway)" because the staff were racist. Though she imagines the Korean reporters were "making a lot of noise, I’m sure, as Asians usually seem to do when they get together abroad" and calls them "boisterous," the reason the staff were unhelpful was not because of their (assumed) annoying behaviour, but because they were "less-than-attractive Asian reporters."

I could only think to myself when I read this, "Projecting much?" She finishes with this:
All in all, it was the Korean reporters who made a mess of things, since everything started when they mistook their flight time. But when you think about Korean Air and Asiana, and the pains they take to be nice to patrons, one can’t help but think, why fly anything else?
Indeed. Best to keep it in the family.


[Hat tip to Patrick.]

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Putting the wrong people in charge

Well, this is certainly an interesting story about the head of the Korean Association of Hagwon (hat tip to Scott Burgeson - see his comment here):
Police are investigating allegations that Pagoda Education Group President Park Kyung-sil plotted to kill a relative of her estranged husband Go In-kyung.[...]

According to investigators, in August last year Park allegedly paid her driver to kill one of Go’s relatives who had frequently advised him on business matters.

However, the driver did not carry out the murder; and he has been questioned by police several times.[...]

Lee Jung-hwan, Park’s lawyer, denied the allegations, claiming that his client gave the driver the money to find and hire a new legal representative for business matters.

“We explained to the police that she would not be immediately available because of the upcoming election for the Korea Association of Hagwon (KAH),” Lee said.

“It also overlaps with the schedule for another legal case.”

In this case, police are investigating claims that last year Park gave 1 billion won ($926,354) to a middleman identified as Seo to allegedly bribe officers investigating her for embezzlement and breach of duty.

However, on Jan. 6 she was found guilty of the charges by Seoul Central District Court and sentenced to 18 months in prison suspended for two years.[...]

Park has led the Korea Association of Hagwon (private learning institutes), which has more than 50,000 private institutions under its wing, since 2011.
Sounds like the kind of person you want as the national figurehead of owners of businesses that care for children (but hey, hagwon owners have to evade taxes too, right?).

Speaking of putting the wrong person in charge, the Joongang Ilbo reports on the fustercluck that the Namdaemun restoration has turned out to be.
Authorities investigating the faulty restoration of Sungnyemun, or Namdaemun Gate, said yesterday that they will further investigate Sin Eung-soo, the chief carpenter for the restoration process, over allegations he spirited away lumber donated by the public for the reconstruction of the country’s No. 1 national treasure.

Authorities estimated that the value of the stolen lumber was approximately 42 million won ($39,020).

The police raided Sin’s lumber mill in January on suspicions he supplied substandard wood for the restoration. The gate reopened last May after a five-year restoration, but some of the work was found to be rushed and substandard.

The police also suspect the 71-year-old carpenter purloined four Geumgang pine trees that were provided in 2008 by the Cultural Heritage Administration (CHA) for the reconstruction of Gwanghwamun, the main gate of the Gyeongbok Palace, under Sin’s supervision. Geumgang pine trees are praised for their resilience, straightness and density. The estimated value of the four pine trees is about 60 million won.
Both of these stories are surprising, and yet not really that surprising, at the same time.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Viewers of 'Realities of unfit foreign instructors' outraged

The 2005 English Spectrum Incident

Part 1: English Spectrum and 'Ask The Playboy'
Part 2: The Kimchiland where it’s easy to sleep with women and make money
Part 3: English Spectrum shuts down as Anti-English Spectrum is created
Part 4: How to hunt foreign women
Part 5: Did the foreigners who denigrated Korean women throw a secret party?
Part 6: The 'Ask The Playboy' sexy costume party
Part 7: Stir over ‘lewd party’ involving foreigners and Korean women
Part 8: The 2003 post that tarred foreign English teachers as child molesters
Part 9: Netizens shocked by foreign instructor site introducing how to harass Korean children
Part 10: 'Recruit a Yankee strike force!'
Part 11: The Daum signature campaign: 'Let's kick out low quality foreign instructors!'
Part 12: Movement to expel foreign teachers who denigrated Korean women
Part 13: "Middle school girls will do anything"
Part 14: Netizens propose 'Yankee counter strike force'
Part 15: Segye Ilbo interview with the women from the party, part 1
Part 16: Segye Ilbo interview with the women from the party, part 2
Part 17: Web messages draw Koreans’ wrath
Part 18: Thai female laborers and white English instructors
Part 19: KBS Morning Newstime: 'I can also suffer from the two faces of the internet'
Part 20: AES: Grandfather Dangun is wailing in his grave!
Part 21: 'Regret' over the scandal caused by confessions of foreign instructors
Part 22: "Korean men have no excuse"
Part 23: "Unfit foreign instructors should be a 'social issue'"
Part 24: Growing dispute over foreign English instructor qualifications
Part 25: 'Clamor' at foreigner English education site
Part 26: Foreign instructor: "I want to apologize"
Part 27: No putting brakes on 'Internet human rights violations'
Part 28: "They branded us as whores, yanggongju and pimps," part 1
Part 29: "They branded us as whores, yanggongju and pimps," part 2
Part 30: Don't Imagine
Part 31: Anti-English Spectrum founder's statement
Part 32: 'Foreign instructor' takes third place
Part 33: Art From Outsider's Point of View
Part 34: U.S. Embassy warns Americans of threats near colleges
Part 35: Internet real name system debated
Part 36: Dirty Korean women who have brought shame to the country?
Part 37: Invasion of Privacy Degrades Korean Women Twice Over
Part 38: 60 unqualified native speaking instructors hired for English instruction
Part 39: The rising tide of unqualified foreign instructors
Part 40: Warrant for Canadian English instructor who molested hagwon owner
Part 41: MBC Sisa Magazine 2580: "Korea is a paradise"
Part 42: Foreign instructor: "In two years I slept with 20 Korean women."
Part 43: Viewers shocked by shameless acts of unqualified foreign instructors.
Part 44: Warrant for the arrest of a man in his 30s for breaking into home of foreign instructors
Part 45: [Cultural criticism] Hongdae club day lewd party incident
Part 46: Unqualified English instructors seen as major problem here
Part 47: Investigation of the realities of 'foreign instructors' methods for luring Korean women'
Part 48: Broadcast announcement: 'For foreign instructors, is Korea a paradise for women?'
Part 49: To white English instructors, the Republic of Korea is a paradise
Part 50: "If they're white, it's okay?" Lots of English instructor frauds...
 
Part 51: A new message from Anti English Spectrum
Part 52:
SBS, 'Is Korea their paradise? Blond hair blue eyes' part 1
Part 53: SBS, 'Is Korea their paradise? Blond hair blue eyes' part 2 
Part 54: SBS, 'Is Korea their paradise? Blond hair blue eyes' part 3
Part 55: Viewers of 'Realities of unfit foreign instructors' outraged

On February 19, the morning after the SBS report on foreign instructors was broadcast, Star News published the following article:
Viewers of 'Realities of unfit foreign instructors' outraged

"I was so infuriated after watching yesterday's program that I couldn't sleep."

After watching the SBS current affairs program 'I want to know that's report on unfit, white foreign instructors working in Korea, viewers' anger exploded.

After the broadcast, comment after comment was left at the 'I Want to Know That' viewers' internet bulletin board saying things like "Why did this broadcast take so long to come out?" and "I'm frightened to send my children to an academy."

The "I Want to Know That" report from the 19th, entitled "Is Korea their Paradise? Report on the Real Conditions of Blond-haired, Blue-eyed Teachers," reported on the problem of white foreign instructors who teach conversation in Korea and habitually commit various illegal acts.

The broadcast that day looked at the problem of white foreign instructors who fraudulently teach English to children and openly call Korea 'a place where it's easy to sleep with the women' or 'a place where it's easy to make money.' It also introduced extreme examples such as raping students or enjoying drugs.

As well, it also pointed out the pathetic social conditions in which our children are put into the care of foreign instructors who haven't had their qualifications properly verified and where the relevant authorities use a double standard in treating foreigners or illegal sojourners depending on their nationality or race.

Viewers who saw the program rushed to leave comments at the program's bulletin board expressing surprise and anger such as, "I'd heard many rumours related to this before, but I didn't know it was this bad." From right after the broadcast finished to right now at 10am on the 20th, over 1,200 comments have already been left.

They were surprised at the remarks of hagwon officials who considered appearance first and ability last when choosing instructors, and reflected on the racism and English first-ism within ourselves. Voices also called for related authorities to strengthen the crackdowns on illegal sojourner foreign instructors and to establish criteria for foreign instructor qualifications.

Meanwhile, they cheered on Peter Park, a Korean American whose story was introduced in which he came to Korea after thinking that he'd like to do something significant in his home country but, despite having qualifications found it difficult to get hired on account of his race and saw unqualified white instructors take the places of decent instructors.  On the bulletin board viewers shared information about finding a job and asked for help from him in learning English directly from him.

However, there were also many viewers concerned about the side effects of this broadcast. Already on the viewer's bulletin board were dozens of comments denouncing women as 'Yanggongju,' generating debate. Viewers also worried greatly about the possibility of the fallout affecting hardworking foreign instructors.
Somehow I doubt many were 'worried greatly about the possibility of the fallout affecting hardworking foreign instructors.' Needless to say, the broadcast did its job as a piece of sensationalized propaganda, and even more people would watch the show via SBS's Video On Demand service as the angry response by viewers became known.

Monday, March 24, 2014

A look at 2013 drug arrests in Korea and some statistics on foreigners

News 1 reported on March 17 that a 31-year-old Korean American English instructor had been booked without detention in Seoul for using bitcoin on January 6 to pay $480 for 126 ecstacy pills from an overseas drug selling site with plans to sell them. Prosecutors also found that he'd taken a pill at a concert at Jamsil Stadium last June with a Mr. Park, as well as one at a water park in Yongin in October.

Speaking of drug arrests, in the past I've posted about Supreme Prosecutor's Office reports on annual drug arrests, such as in 2011 and 2012. The Office publishes statistics monthly here; the year end report for 2013 is here.

The total number of arrests for 2013 was 9,764, up 5.5% from 9,255 in 2012. Worth noting is that the number of those booked with detention (ie held in prison until trial) was 2,040 in 2012 and 2,062 in 2013.

The number of foreigners arrested for drugs in 2013 rose 6.1% from 359 in 2012 to 381. Compare the figure of 381 to arrest figures since 2001:


Here is a breakdown of arrests by nationality:

2013:

USA, 121
China, 105,
Philippines, 25
Russia, 21
Thailand, 17
Uzbekistan, 16
Vietnam, 15
Canada, 12
Kazakhstan, 7
Australia, 6
Japan, Germany, UK, 4 each
Sri Lanka, Indonesia, 3 each
Spain, Taiwan, Myanmar, 2 each
Egypt, Yemen, Brazil, Bangladesh, Cameroon, Jordon, Iran, Romania, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, Nigeria, New Zealand, 1 each


2012:

USA, 121
China, 97,
Vietnam, 28
Canada, 18
Thailand, 17
Uzbekistan, 17
Russia, 13
Sri Lanka, 7
UK, Taiwan, 5 each
Egypt, Philippines, 3 each
Netherlands, France, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, 2 each
Spain, Singapore, Burkina Faso, Australia, Japan, Pakistan, Poland, Nigeria, New Zealand, Germany, Liberia, Mexico, Moldova, 1 each


2011:

China, 104
US, 81
Vietnam, 33
Canada, 19
Nigeria, 12
Russia, 9
Thailand, 8
Japan, South Africa, 3 each
Taiwan, Germany, Brazil, UK, Iran, 2 each
New Zealand, Romania, Surinam, Spain, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Ireland, Uzbekistan, Israel, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Australia, 1 each


According to immigration statistics, the foreign population of Korea was 1,395,077 at the end of 2011, 1,445,103 at the end of 2012, and 1,576,034 at the end of 2013 (note the increase of 130,000 foreigners in 2013). According to the 2010 census, the population of Korea was 48,580,000, and 590,000 of these were foreigners, so if we make calculations out of 47,991000 Koreans, here are comparative arrest figures for Korean nationals and foreigners in Korea over the past three years:

2011: Korean nationals, 18.5 arrests per 100,000, foreigners, 21.1 arrests per 100,000.
2012: Korean nationals, 18.5 arrests per 100,000, foreigners, 24.8 arrests per 100,000.
2013: Korean nationals, 20.1 arrests per 100,000, foreigners, 24.1 arrests per 100,000.


There really aren't large discrepancies when you make these comparisons, but that didn't stop the Ministry of Justice in 2011 2012 from expanding the drug tests for E-2 visas to non-professional Employment (E-9), ship crew employment (E-10), or Working Visit (H-2) visas - about half a million people.

And speaking of immigration statistics, the number of people on E-2 visas continues to drop, from 22,541 in 2011 to 21,603 in 2012 to 20,030 at the end of last year.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

SBS, 'Is Korea their paradise? Blond hair blue eyes' part 3

The 2005 English Spectrum Incident

Part 1: English Spectrum and 'Ask The Playboy'
Part 2: The Kimchiland where it’s easy to sleep with women and make money
Part 3: English Spectrum shuts down as Anti-English Spectrum is created
Part 4: How to hunt foreign women
Part 5: Did the foreigners who denigrated Korean women throw a secret party?
Part 6: The 'Ask The Playboy' sexy costume party
Part 7: Stir over ‘lewd party’ involving foreigners and Korean women
Part 8: The 2003 post that tarred foreign English teachers as child molesters
Part 9: Netizens shocked by foreign instructor site introducing how to harass Korean children
Part 10: 'Recruit a Yankee strike force!'
Part 11: The Daum signature campaign: 'Let's kick out low quality foreign instructors!'
Part 12: Movement to expel foreign teachers who denigrated Korean women
Part 13: "Middle school girls will do anything"
Part 14: Netizens propose 'Yankee counter strike force'
Part 15: Segye Ilbo interview with the women from the party, part 1
Part 16: Segye Ilbo interview with the women from the party, part 2
Part 17: Web messages draw Koreans’ wrath
Part 18: Thai female laborers and white English instructors
Part 19: KBS Morning Newstime: 'I can also suffer from the two faces of the internet'
Part 20: AES: Grandfather Dangun is wailing in his grave!
Part 21: 'Regret' over the scandal caused by confessions of foreign instructors
Part 22: "Korean men have no excuse"
Part 23: "Unfit foreign instructors should be a 'social issue'"
Part 24: Growing dispute over foreign English instructor qualifications
Part 25: 'Clamor' at foreigner English education site
Part 26: Foreign instructor: "I want to apologize"
Part 27: No putting brakes on 'Internet human rights violations'
Part 28: "They branded us as whores, yanggongju and pimps," part 1
Part 29: "They branded us as whores, yanggongju and pimps," part 2
Part 30: Don't Imagine
Part 31: Anti-English Spectrum founder's statement
Part 32: 'Foreign instructor' takes third place
Part 33: Art From Outsider's Point of View
Part 34: U.S. Embassy warns Americans of threats near colleges
Part 35: Internet real name system debated
Part 36: Dirty Korean women who have brought shame to the country?
Part 37: Invasion of Privacy Degrades Korean Women Twice Over
Part 38: 60 unqualified native speaking instructors hired for English instruction
Part 39: The rising tide of unqualified foreign instructors
Part 40: Warrant for Canadian English instructor who molested hagwon owner
Part 41: MBC Sisa Magazine 2580: "Korea is a paradise"
Part 42: Foreign instructor: "In two years I slept with 20 Korean women."
Part 43: Viewers shocked by shameless acts of unqualified foreign instructors.
Part 44: Warrant for the arrest of a man in his 30s for breaking into home of foreign instructors
Part 45: [Cultural criticism] Hongdae club day lewd party incident
Part 46: Unqualified English instructors seen as major problem here
Part 47: Investigation of the realities of 'foreign instructors' methods for luring Korean women'
Part 48: Broadcast announcement: 'For foreign instructors, is Korea a paradise for women?'
Part 49: To white English instructors, the Republic of Korea is a paradise
Part 50: "If they're white, it's okay?" Lots of English instructor frauds...
 
Part 51: A new message from Anti English Spectrum
Part 52:
SBS, 'Is Korea their paradise? Blond hair blue eyes' part 1
Part 53: SBS, 'Is Korea their paradise? Blond hair blue eyes' part 2 
Part 54: SBS, 'Is Korea their paradise? Blond hair blue eyes' part 3

In the last two posts, I looked at the first two thirds of the February 19, 2005 broadcast of the SBS 'investigative news program' 그것이 알고싶다 (I want to know that)'s episode about English Teachers, titled "Is Korea their Paradise? Report on the Real Conditions of Blond-haired, Blue-eyed Teachers." The show can be downloaded in a rar archive here (in four parts - 1, 2, 3, 4 - download them all and click on the first part to extract the file).

In the first third, we were shown how white English teachers are unqualified and only interested in partying with alcohol or drugs and having sex with Korean women, including their underage students. Next we were told more negative stories about white, male English teachers, how they can cheat the system with fake diplomas, and how the hagwon industry, education office, and immigration office overlook this.

From there, host Jang Jin-yeong introduces the next section, in which we will be shown how lightly white foreign teachers get off in comparison to how southeast Asians are treated in regard to enforcement of immigration law. Thanks to Ami for help with transcription and translation.

In Incheon's southeast factory district, immigration police arrest a foreign worker.


The camera then records an altercation in which workers complain that a worker was hit; police say they had to grab him since he ran away, that he wasn't hurt, they just grabbed his clothes. The arrested worker is then shown without his face being masked and when asked says he's Filipino [I guess Filipinos have no right to privacy, SBS?] It's pointed out that he's bleeding, as can be seen below:


Police say he tried to escape and take him away. We see what seem to be immigration police say angrily that they didn't slap handcuffs on a person with proper ID, nor that they hurt his arm.

The worker asks if anyone can speak English and says he wasn't trying to escape, he just didn't have his ID with him. They argue about this, and people we assume to be migrant workers say police put people in handcuffs even if they do have proper ID. When asked if they're put in handcuffs even if they don't resist, they answer, yes. Police say it's for the safety of the arrested person and their own safety.

The worker says, "I was running from immigration because they came in my factory, because I was scared."
A witness, a middle-aged woman, says the police were swearing and were saying 'you bastard, what country are you from?'
A few more quick interviews make clear the point that police are unnecessarily rough with foreign workers who they arrest.

Pyo Chang-won, former Gyeonggi Police foreign affairs chief, now Police academy professor, is interviewed and says that equipment like handcuffs and batons should only be used on important criminals sentenced to death or life imprisonment, or criminals caught in the act. If a foreigner in our country who has legal sojourner status is slapped in handcuffs for no reason it is a violation of the foreigner's human rights as well as a clear violation of the law.

We met someone else who has suffered this, a Pakistani worker named Mari.


In the late morning he was driving down the street with a friend to meet another friend when there was a crackdown. He was confined for ten days in a center. According to the Korean translation, "There were only Indonesians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis in the center. There were no Americans or Canadians." [He doesn't appear to actually say that last sentence, but SBS needs to beat the audience over the head.]

We then return to Pyo Chang-won, the Police academy professor, who talks about the true threat to Korea:


"In fact, if we're concerned about national evils, foreigners who work illegally in hagwons teaching foreign languages are more harmful. Because they have no qualifications, they can't properly educate [their students]. Because of them the outflow of foreign currency is far greater. Foreigners come in on tourist visas and work in hagwons, but these foreigners are almost never caught or cracked down on. If there is a problem, hagwon students can make a report and they can be caught, but I've never seen one put in handcuffs or forcefully taken to the police station before. We can expect that their embassies would immediately issue a protest to our government and make diplomatic waves and create difficulties for our trade goods entering that country."



Next the camera crew visits the house of a foreign couple - 'Jane,' a Canadian English instructor, and 'Igor,' an illegal factory worker. The interview begins with Jane offering some tea and saying, "I think our skin actually looks really nice together." Introduced as an English instructor and factory worker, mentions are made of the "very different set of standards for English teachers" Koreans have compared to migrant workers. Jane relates the following story:
The immigration officers busted into my classroom and I'm standing there with some chalk, and the students are like, "Ahhhh!"  My boss ended up cutting a deal with immigration and we were allowed to teach again. [Cut] I have good friends who have gotten in trouble with immigration before and generally what they do is just leave the country and come back the next day - no problem.
The narrator then tells us, "But it's different for her husband."
Every day I feel scared and I don’t know if today when the factory finishes or at dinner time I might not come home. If I’m really scared I don’t ride the bus, I take a taxi. When I’ll be caught we don’t know.

Why [Koreans] think like this, I don't know. When I talk with friends, they say we have bad luck because we come from poor countries.
Their story ends with them walking down the street in Itaewon and this comment by Jane:
In Korea there’s kind of a hierarchy of value, that the white, English speaking foreigner has the highest value, and then the white, non-English speaking foreigner has a lesser value, and so on and so on, until you get to the developing countries with people with brown skin and they’re at the bottom of the list.
As I've mentioned before, despite disguising their faces and voices, I immediately recognized them to be my friends Nancy and Kabir, who were involved in the migrant workers' movement at the time. As Nancy told me,
Kabir and I were sort of "tricked" into doing that show. According to Kabir, he was approached by SBS, who said they were doing a show about migrant workers in Korea, and Kabir, being at that time being a bit of a media hound trying to get more exposure on the issue of migrant worker rights, readily said yes, without asking me. When he did ask me (after he had said yes to SBS), I looked into the program and based on what people told me about it, I said no. By that time we had found out that they would be interviewing English teachers, which made me even more nervous as the English Spectrum fallout was then in full swing.

Kabir still thought that it was going to be about migrant workers, and didn't understand that the show was likely going to be a big fat sensationalistic crappy yellow dump on English teachers, which was my fear. Soon after, I arrived home from work one night to find an SBS crew in my apartment. Reluctantly, I agreed to do the show and offered the crew some tea.

I didn't like the reporter. Some of the questions she asked: "How do you feel when you are with a brown man and people stare at you on the subway?" "How does your family feel about you being married to a poor brown man?"

I remember talking a lot about how the illegality of doing privates outside of one's contract encourages the "unqualified" teacher market and that Korea being so rabidly "English crazy" made it next to impossible to ensure that foreign teachers met minimal standards. Not sure if that made the final cut. All I really knew at the time was that I didn't trust the producer/journalist one little bit as they seemed opportunistic, insincere, and slimy.
The part about Korea being rabidly "English crazy" did not make the final cut, though part of the conversation about their different coloured skin did, and is mentioned at the beginning of the interview.


After the interview with Jane and Igor, and her description of the 'hierarchy of value,' the host then shows us what is meant to be a disturbing statistic – of 22,826 'illegal' foreigners arrested in 2004, only 123, or 0.5%, were foreign instructors.


Lee Min-hui, the immigration chief, is interviewed next, and relates that last year [2004], among 400,000 foreigners, were 180,000 illegal foreigners, and it is those foreigners that they intensively focus on catching. In January and February of 2005 they caught 61 illegal foreigners - the same number they caught over a six month period in 2004. He then says they are focusing on foreign instructors who are teaching illegally.

The host stresses the need for strengthened enforcement of laws for illegal native speaking instructors, and spends four minutes telling the story of a woman who met her foreign instructor husband at a hagwon eight years earlier.

In an interview, she says that when he first came he was on a tourist visa, had no money, and just came to travel. He heard from other foreign instructors that it was easy to become an English teacher and began working illegally. He taught at universities and large companies and earned lots of money. He had no university degree. They married, and for eight years she gave him emotional and material support but he wondered how he should live in Korea. She knew all of this but felt really settled down with him.
Host:  However, once their lives stabilized, he started to cheat on her.

Woman: "It's upsetting, very upsetting."


Host:  She was regretting her past choices. The groundless admiration she held for white people had kept her from seeing things clearly.

Woman: I can’t deny that at first, I had a favorable impression of him – he was a white person who was from a different culture [from mine]. But now I really feel that I was used as a stepping stone to his success for 10 years, and once he reached a place where he didn’t need me, I was abandoned.

Host:  She eventually sued him for adultery, but expressed dejection because she felt her husband would not be punished.

Woman: The ambassador came.

SBS: The ambassador came?

Woman: He personally came and basically said that this law doesn’t exist anymore, so I should just let him go, and this was his way of protecting their citizens. They let him go without detention even though he’s a foreigner and can leave the country any time, and he goes to work every day as if nothing’s happened...

Host:  With memories of her painful experience fresh on her mind, she insists that the culture of treating people well just because they are white and can speak English needs to be changed.

Woman: "Now it's like our society has become a place where white people can come and earn money so easily and enjoy pleasures. Korean society in itself... Those people all know. If they go to Korea, it’s a paradise where they can have anything. It's something to look down on Korean society for."
The host then states that "We also met a person who has suffered from racial discrimination in Korea."

Peter Park: 'I'm an American – a Korean American. I went there when I was six. I've lived there for almost twenty years. [He came to Korea five years ago, but did not find it easy to become an English instructor.] They needed an instructor urgently, but I didn’t meet them in an office, but on the subway. I got a phone number, they said, hurry and come soon, it’s urgent. As soon as they saw me they said no. It was like I just deflated.'

The email he got reads: "I think your teaching experience is good and you're a qualified teacher, but you are so familiar because your appearance is similar with us, Korean. They want a teacher who looks like a Caucasian. So I think we have to send a teacher like that."

They then show his degree in business administration from the University of Guam and his transcripts.

Over the phone they say, okay, looks good, but then they ask if he's a Korean American and he says yes, they say, "Sorry, we’re looking for a white person." And that's it. They hired an illegal teacher from New Zealand. White kids used to call me 'chink.' [Visibly moved, he recalls and imitates what they said to him] "Hey, you fricken' chink! You motherfucking chink!"


He explains that in the US, if they really belittle people with contempt, it’s good. Over there, if you immigrated later, they can be very mean. Then to come to Korea and face the same treatment even though he’s not different, he’s Korean - it’s frustrating and upsetting and has brought him to tears.

They go to his house to talk more. He's been teaching English over the phone, and says students mistake him for a white person. He feels bad – he says he's never done anything wrong, but has to lie, and feels bad for this. Isn’t someone who reveals it confidently and honestly a better person?

He’s on the phone for 12 to 20 hours (a week, presumably). He earns 300,000 to 500,000 a month.


The narrator then reiterates his story – a Korean who faced discrimination in the US now faces it in Korea, and though he’s American he can’t get a good job like white people can. We’re then shown photos of this good, proper Korean’s home life – his graduation and wedding photos, his wife and child as they play together wholesomely. This is no one night stand with a misguided Korean harlot or a marriage that ends with the money grubbing white man cheating and leaving her – this is a wholesome Korean family – and just to make that point clear, the final shot of the report is a freeze frame of the family walking hand in hand in the park.


This helps to reiterate the assault upon the wholesome Korean family unit - and the national 'family' - that these white foreigners represent.

The host then reiterates the main points of the show ("White teacher... bad") and it ends with the phone number to report foreigners illegally working (or illegally being hired) and the phone number of the National Intelligence Service (which would likely welcome a break from investigating the current administration’s political opponents).


And so it ends.

To summarize its message, white male English teachers think that Korean women are easy and even try to sleep with their underage students, which is dramatized to help enrage viewers. Stories are presented which show that many work illegally in Korea, don’t work hard, and just want to party and go to Hongdae to pick up girls or try to sleep with university students. Interviews paint a picture of unqualified teachers who have criminal records and do drugs, and another dramatization depicts a foreign teacher doing drugs and drinking with underage students, and even sleeping with one; he’s eventually arrested. It's suggested that many teachers use fake diplomas to con their way into jobs, but it’s too difficult for Koreans to verify these diplomas, so many ignorant people teach English. As well, education offices don’t have the manpower to crack down on foreign teachers, and an immigration office tells us that in the previous year, "There really weren't many white people caught." This stands in opposition to how non-white foreign workers are treated, with tens of thousands of them arrested every year, often roughly. While white teachers are paid well, foreign workers are not, and while illegal foreign workers live in fear of the police, illegal teachers do not. The inclusion of the white male teacher who married a Korean woman, used her as "a stepping stone to success" and then cheated on her and abandoned her mystified at least one blogger when the show was broadcast, but this story is meant to stand in comparison to the Korean American teacher who was discriminated against in the US for being Korean, and who is now discriminated against in his mother country because he isn’t white. While he is portrayed as a good family man, he can barely make ends meet, while the bad white teacher who was also married cheated on his wife while he raked in the cash. Both the abandoned wife and Korean American are symbols of Koreans victimized by a preference for English and white people, for whom Korea is "a paradise where they can have anything.: And the abandoned wife makes clear one of the main points of this episode: "It's something to look down on Korean society for," a point hammered home by the host, who says "the culture of treating people well just because they are white and can speak English needs to be changed."

While the show makes valid points about the lack of a qualification screening system for foreign teachers and the unconditional preference for white teachers, the sensational way in which it went about it – constantly couching it in racial terms, portraying (literally, by dramatizing it) white males as evil child molesters, rapists, and adulterers, leaves something to be desired. Mind you, as a piece of propaganda, it did its job skilfully, and resulted in a huge, angry response online, which will make up the final portion of this series.

[Unfortunately, the final posts might take awhile...]