Thursday, November 20, 2014

RAS walking tour of Jeong-dong this Sunday

This Sunday, November 23, I'll be leading a walking tour for the Royal Asiatic Society of Jeong-dong, which became the neighbourhood for Westerners after Korea opened to the west in the 1880s through to the end of the colonial period. I've written about the history of this area before (here and here), and will be looking at lots of turn of the century Western architecture and connecting these buildings to stories of Korea's modern history. From the RAS website:
On this excursion we will meet in front of Deoksugung Palace from where we will explore the Jeong-dong's rich early modern history. After a visit to the Anglican church we will take in a view of the neighbourhood from above before heading to the Seoul Museum of Art, which is housed in the colonial era-built former Korean Supreme Court building.To learn about the missionary influence upon the neighborhood, we will visit the Baejae Hakdang, a missionary-run boys' school which educated many of Korea's future elite, now restored as a museum; the Jeong-dong First Methodist Church; and Ewha Girl's High School, the first school for girls in Korea, and also the site of one of Korea's earliest foreign-run hotels, the Songtag Hotel. From there we will visit the restored Jungmyeongjeon Hall, which was built as a royal library but is best known for being the place where the Eulsa Treaty, which the Japanese used to deprive Korea of its diplomatic sovereignty, was signed in 1905. Other stops will include the remains of the former Russian Legation and the beautiful colonial home where independence activist Kim Ku was assassinated in 1949.

The cost of the tour is W20,000 for members and W25,000 for non-members. The excursion will set off from Daehanmun, the front gate of Deoksugung Palace, (subway line number 1, dark blue line, or 2, green line, City Hall Station #132, exit 2) at 1:00 pm.
Feel free to join us!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Native speaking instructor crime prevention education


It turns out the Gyeongsangnamdo Police Agency already carried out the same crime prevention education for about 370 native speaking public school teachers on October 23.

[Original Post]

This was published in The Gyeongnam Domin Ilbo on November 17:
Gyeongsangnamdo Police Agency carried out crime prevention education for native speaking instructors. At Jindong Elementary School in Changwon on the 13th Sergeant Kim Jong-hwa of the Agency’s foreign affairs section spoke to around 50 elementary, middle and high school native speaking instructors in English and explained, on a case by case basis, how crimes arise due to cultural differences.
This sounds like a good idea, but isn't there a better name than "native speaking instructor crime prevention education"?

Monday, November 10, 2014

"The truth and falsity of native speaking instructors"

On November 1, the Segye Ilbo published the following article at its website:
[Kim Hyun-ju's everyday talk talk] Do you know 'Quincy Black'?
The truth and falsity of native speaking instructors

The foreign English instructor who spread a video of sex with a Korean high school girl known in online communities and social networking services as 'Quincy Black' was sentenced to jail. According to police, English instructor C (29, American) was arrested and prosecuted for videoing sex with A (then 15), who he met on the internet, in his lodgings at the education center he worked at and distributing the video.

C used three cameras that he had installed in his lodgings in advance as well as a handheld camera to record the sexual activity from various angles and afterwards saved the file on his computer and a memory stick.

He had entered Korea in May of 2009 on an E2 conversation instruction visa and worked as an English instructor at an education center in Daejeon before leaving for China in October of 2010. After this he was put on Interpol's wanted list and last October he was arrested by police in Armenia.

Immediately after being informed of his arrest, the Ministry of Justice began the extradition process and he was extradited to Korea in January of this year.

Incidents due to cultural differences occur repeatedly

Recently universities which have hired native speaking instructors to take charge of foreign language education, such as English conversation, have had deep worries. It's not just the difficulties that come with looking for dozens of native speaking instructors to hire each semester, it's also that it's not easy to strictly screen their qualifications. As well, the fact is that every year incidents caused by cultural differences occur repeatedly.

According to a business in the relevant industry, native speaking instructors are hired in the short term for one semester, or in the longer term on a one-year contract in the position of 'instructor.' Because the contract should be for one year, there are also not a few instructors who suddenly return to their home countries in the middle of the semester or who finish teaching and then from the next day leave for a vacation. Because of this there are almost no native speaking teachers who give their students time to appeal their marks or consult with them.

'August 3, 10:00 - My sex toy.'

Not only this, but disputes over qualifications are endless. At a university in Busan an English instructor who entered the country on a tourist visa was caught teaching. At that time, following the disturbance, the local immigration office carried out an investigation into local universities.

As well, it's not just university instructors, but there was also an incident involving a native speaking instructor affiliated with a hagwon who was booked without detention by police for chasing after women and videoing them, focusing on their legs and buttocks. Videoing in public places such as subways, over a period of two weeks he took a staggering 306 videos of the lower halves of women's bodies.

An expert pointed out that, "Because English conversation instructors who teach in hagwons could also apply to work at universities at any time, there is a need for a management system to verify their qualifications."

◆ Verifying native speaking teacher's morality isn't easy

Despite such disputes over qualifications that are occurring both in and out of universities, for universities a personnel management system that can verify their qualifications and guarantee the quality of education is almost non-existent. Most universities hire by placing ads on native speaking instructor hiring websites or through introductions from friends. Depending on the situation, they will try to scout people who have a good reputation in area elementary or middle schools or hagwons. At that time, more than experience, 'verification of qualifications' such as the instructor's morality or job performance is given more weight.

An official from a national university outside Seoul said, "By choosing people with a good reputation among foreigners who are already teaching in another place, you can reduce the risk." "Choose someone with at least a Bachelors Degree and TESOL (English teacher certificate)." He added, "To prevent scandalous incidents with female students, choose female instructors."

However universities are frustrated because they have no other method than to use a passport in place of a background check into native speaking instructors' degree, qualifications or criminal record. It's no different with instructors who have been confirmed to have taught at schools or hagwons. This is because there is no way to confirm via their passport whether they have committed crimes in their home country.

◆ Things to consider when hiring native speaking instructors

Representatives of regular schools or hagwons perceive two categories of foreign instructors. There are those whose priority is earning money to travel, and a great many of the foreign instructors outside Seoul belong in this category. It is hard to find instructors who find teaching meaningful, as well as those with ability to teach.

To young people from Canada and the US, particularly those without jobs, Korea is a very attractive country.  With the rapid increase in English hagwons and the sharp rise in demand for native speaking instructors, the knowledge that they can easily earn money while lacking qualifications has spread.

A representative from the business advised, "You must look at things like what qualifications they have, what their character is like, and what their attitude toward work is." "What and how they teach is good to inquire after as well."

Reporter Kim Hyun-ju
If you think this article is written by someone who needed to fill some space online who dug up a four-month-old story ('Quincy Black' being sentenced to prison) and decided to write a 'foreign teachers are bad' article based on her own faulty knowledge and tried to hide this by citing unnamed sources, you're probably right. Just how lazy was our author? She couldn't even spell 'Quincy Black's name correctly in the title, writing '흑퀀시' (instead of heuk [black] kuinsi, the headline says heuk kwonsi), which is just plain lazy. Plus, she writes in the third-last paragraph that "Representatives of regular schools or hagwons perceive two categories of foreign instructors," but then only describes one such category. She also writes some howlers, such as saying that universities scout talent from area elementary schools and hagwons, or that "universities are frustrated because they have no other method than to use a passport in place of a background check." She also, in that sentence (in the original article), mistranslates 여권 as 'visa' rather than passport.

The final photo is recycled from a July 9, 2006 Segye Ilbo article written by a reader (who lived not far from me, and who claimed native speaking teachers usually make 4-5 million won per month) titled "It’s urgent that measures be prepared for unqualified native speaking English teachers." I have no idea where the other photos come from, but judging from the collection of either screen shots from the videos or photos from his room seen in the photo below, they may not be from 'Quincy Black's videos at all. (The photo is from the Daejeon city journal, and shows Daejeon Dong-gu council's probe into the videos in November 2010.)

It's 'nice' to see that the 'foreign English teachers are a problem' trope is still an attractive one for journalists in a hurry.

(Thanks to Ami for help with the translation.)

Friday, November 07, 2014

BBC: Irish woman not hired as teacher due to "alcoholism nature of your kind"

Currently the second most shared and seventh most read story at BBC News is "'Irish alcoholism nature' reason for job rejection for Irish teacher in South Korea":
The teacher had emailed the application when a job was advertised on listings website Craigslist in September.

She told the agency that she had been teaching English for over three years, in Barcelona, Oxford and Abu Dhabi as well as South Korea.

Last week, she received a reply that said: "I am sorry to inform you that my client does not hire Irish people due to the alcoholism nature of your kind".

Ms Mulrennan said she did not know who the recruiter was as their details were not listed on the site.
She's since found a job and has laughed it off, saying, "I still love the country and being in Seoul." She also said, "A friend saw it and encouraged me to post it online as it might go viral." And so it has. The article notes that "The 26-year-old told the BBC that she could not believe the email was real at first." One hopes the BBC has done its due diligence here, because it's almost a little too perfect; but then sometimes these things happen (I remember the first hagwon owner I worked for complaining about the lack of housekeeping of former teachers, saying they were "like animals" (though not one of them had a housewife like he did to keep their domiciles spotless)). If the email is real, well, being the center of attention and being ridiculed is just what it deserves.

(Hat tip to Ryan.)

Monday, November 03, 2014

"Canadian teacher facing nightmare in South Korea"

This is a disturbing story - a Canadian teacher who was sexually assaulted was successful in taking the case to court, but the perpetrator - known to police for being accused in a number of other attacks - was set free when the verdict was overturned on appeal, and he is now taking her to court for defamation. More information can be found in the article as well as in the online fundraising page her friends set up to help her with legal costs.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Lecture tonight on the importance of the Koryǒ Dynasty in understanding modern Korea

Tonight Edward J. Shultz, former dean of the School of Pacific and Asian Studies at the University of Hawaii will be giving a lecture for the Royal Asiatic Society titled "Koryǒ and Korea Today":
For many the Koryǒ kingdom (918-1392) remains a somewhat mystical era in Korea’s distant past which elicits little interest other than an occasional reference to celadon vases or the famed Koreana tripitaka. This discussion will focus on Koryǒ and its significance for Korea today. Far from being a distant outpost of the 12th century world, Koryǒ was very much a part of mainstream global history. It was a society that early on embraced merit as an avenue for advancement, it led the world in printing technology, it demanded that its historians be free from outside influences, it grappled with issues of nationalism and internationalism, it pursued a foreign policy based on hard realism, it openly borrowed from other cultures, taking only what it needed. It developed a clear identity of being Korean, it produced a number of artistic masterpieces of world renown, and all this was made even richer by its embracement of a pluralist posture that allowed competing ideologies and points of view to exist side by side. In this respect Koryǒ was very modern. By not knowing, studying, or appreciating Koryǒ, one is not only missing one of the great stories of Korea’s past, but one is ill prepared to understand Korea today.
For more information see here. The lecture will be held at 7:30 pm tonight (Tuesday) in the Residents' Lounge on the 2nd floor of the Somerset Palace in Seoul, which is behind Jogyesa Temple, and is 7,000 won for non-members and free for members.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Giving a presentation on the history of English teachers in Korea this Saturday

This Saturday, October 25, at 4pm, I will be giving a presentation titled ‘From Explorers and Missionaries to Vagabonds and Potential Criminals: Two Hundred Years of Teaching English in Korea’ for the 10 Magazine Book Club at the Seoul Global Cultural Center in Myeong-dong. The hour-long presentation will be followed by a question and answer period. Admission is 5,000 won, but is free for Members of RAS-KB and KOTESOL as well as SMOE teachers. For more information see the event page on Facebook, which also includes a map.

In the presentation I'll look at the first encounters with English explorers, early attempts by the Korean government to hire English teachers in the 1880s, missionary schools, experiences of WWII Australian and British POWs held in Seoul, post Korean-war attempts by the Korean government to establish an English teaching program, the Peace Corps experience teaching English, the language boom of the 1980s and the early days of hagwon English teachers, and the expansion of this in the 1990s and 2000s, as well as the reactions against this (in 1984 and 2005) and the reasons why English teachers quickly became negatively portrayed in the media and by politicians. The cast of characters will include future independence fighters and presidents, journalists, soldiers, smugglers, a former US state senator and many others. Feel free to join us!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Walking tour of Yangcheon Hyanggyo and Gaehwasan October 26

Next Sunday, October 26, I'll be leading a walk around the area of Yangcheon Hyanggyo Station and Gaehwasan Station for the Royal Asiatic Society. The former location was the seat of Yangcheon Hyeon, or district, during the Joseon period and still sports the only remaining Hyanggyo, or Confucian Shrine, in Seoul, as well as a number of other historic landmarks. We will also visit a museum to the innovative Joseon Era landscape painter Jeong Seon (1676–1759), and look at paintings of the area that he made in the mid-1700s. I've mentioned the area before (here and here), and this post at Seoul Suburban covers many of the spots we'll visit.

(Yangcheon District in the 1870s)

From there we will take the subway to Banghwa Station to explore Mt. Gaehwasan. After passing through a park with a number of 400-year-old zelkova and gingko trees, we'll head up the mountain to see the numerous, beautifully carved tombs, flanked by stone statues, of the Pungsan Shim clan, who for several generations served the Joseon kings and were memorialized for their meritorious deeds – one of which was taking part in the overthrow of the notorious king, Yonsan-gun.

We will also go to Yaksasa Temple and see a statue of the Buddha and a three-story stone pagoda which date back to the Goryeo Era.

We'll see an even larger such statue dating from the early Joseon period outside Mitasa Temple, on the other side of the mountain. The statue was found buried in the 1930s, when the temple was rebuilt. Both temples were destroyed during the Korean War, but the pagoda and statues survived.

Next to Mitasa is the Memorial to the Loyal Dead, which was erected to remember the 1,100 soldiers of the Korean 1st Army Division who died defending Mt. Gaehwasan - which overlooks Gimpo Airport - during the opening of the Korean War, which will provide an opportunity to learn more about the fighting which took place on the mountain during the war, as well as its military importance in the present. I'll also touch on the importance of the area during the Imjin War.

Being a mountain, of course, there will be lots of opportunities to take in views of the Han River and surrounding area and enjoy what nature has to offer.

If you feel like joining us, please do! The cost of the tour is W20,000 for RAS members and W25,000 for non-members. The excursion will set off next Sunday, October 26, at 1:00 pm from exit 3 of Yangcheon Hyanggyo Station (양천향교) #906 (subway line number 9). For more information, see here.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Lecture on the history of Korea's shipbuilding industry tonight

Tonight, Tuesday September 30, Peter Bartholomew will be giving a lecture titled "How Korea became the world's most important shipbuilding .nation" for the Royal Asiatic Society:
This lecture will describe the amazing development, from almost “zero,” of Korea’s shipbuilding industry and how it developed into the most efficient, advanced and competitive shipbuilding nation in the world. This development is largely overlooked by most observers of Korean economy, but is an exceptional example of how creativity combined with government support and strong work ethic can achieve remarkable results.

Up to the mid 1970’s Korea’s shipbuilding consisted of one medium class yard in Pusan producing small ocean going cargo ships and numerous small yards building fishing boats and coastal ferries, all using techniques reliant on cheap labour and very basic equipment, ending up with ships and boats of very low quality and questionable safety!

Korean Government central planning, creativity of the corporations involved and the input of state-of-the-art European shipbuilding techniques then leap-frogged Korea’s shipbuilding forward to become the world’s leading shipbuilding country is less than 20 years in all aspects: technology, quality, reliable delivery, size / scale and price competitiveness.

The speaker, Peter Bartholomew, has lived in Korea for 47 years and starting working in shipbuilding & shipping industries from the early 1970’s. He was integrally involved with shipbuilding developments of the Hyundai~Ulsan, Daewoo~Okpo and STX~Jinhae shipyards and thus able to provide truly "insider" insights into this remarkable success story.
I'm definitely looking forward to this lecture, since I know Peter (and know him to be a great storyteller), but haven't ever heard him talk much about this aspect of his life. The lecture will be held at 7:30 pm tonight (Tuesday) in the Residents' Lounge on the 2nd floor of the Somerset Palace in Seoul, which is behind Jogyesa Temple, and is 7,000 won for non-members and free for members. More information can be found here.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Being wary of foreign men - since 1876!

(Photos from here and here.)

As covered over at the Marmot's Hole, the Donga Ilbo published an article warning women to be wary of foreigners offering them drinks. As the headline and subheadline put it: "Beware of foreign men who offer you drinks in clubs," and "A rise in sex crimes abusing 'curiosity about the exotic.'" The article offers examples of what is purported to be a trend of foreigners sexually assaulting women in clubs, especially by drugging them. A favourite quote:
In Konkuk University police science professor Lee Ung-hyeok's analysis, "Women who see foreigners who appear in overseas movies and develop romantic ideas about foreigners or a curiosity about the exotic may let their guard down easily, putting them in great danger of being exposed to sex crimes."
Hmmm. It would appear, as the Donga Ilbo reported in 1984, "Koreans have a weakness for foreigners." More than the trope of the well-treated white male, this article is more the latest in a series of articles and TV programs from over the years warning Korean women about the dangers of foreign, particularly white, men. It should be noted that the photos accompanying the online article either feature file photos of drugs (scourge of the white man) or statistics showing how many repeat offenders who've committed one of the four great crimes haven't yet been found (nothing about foreigners at all). The other photos, meanwhile, are... interesting:

That's right: Little girls being victimized. Not grown women, but little girls with teddy bears who must be protected from from big bad foreign wolves. I was reminded of a display I saw at the Korean Literature Museum in Incheon back in April about the comfort women, in this case comic strips showing their victimization:

Papers can be (and have been) written about the role of the suffering, sexually exploited, female as the symbol of the nation victimized by the 20th century. While the photos in the Donga Ilbo article were likely not chosen with much care, it's still an interesting juxtaposition.

Of course, warning against the dangers posed by (male) Westerners in Korea has quite a pedigree. For example, Choe Ik-hyeon opposed King Gojong's plans to negotiate what would be known as the Ganghwa Treaty with the Japanese in early 1876 and (as translated in this book) wrote that "Although they call themselves Japanese, they are really Western bandits," and he feared that Korea would be "defiled" and "reduced to the level of wild animals" by their presence, which would be allowed by the treaty and would permit them to "build dwellings and reside within our borders." Due to the agreement, he said, the Korean government would have "no grounds to stop them," and so they would be able to "plunder our property and violate women at will, and no one will be able to restrain them.[...] There will be countless cases of this nature."

In 1946 a book written by the wife of an American officer serving in the US Military Government in Korea described the "warnings," "beatings" and "scorn" that awaited Korean women seen with foreign men, and stated that at least 52 babies were born from unions that occurred during the first 3 months of the US occupation. A look at articles from Stars and Stripes (and other sources) from 1948 and 1949 looking at relations between Korean women and US soldiers uncover a distinct dislike for these relations in some quarters. Ann Chai-hong [안재홍], a member of the government and future presidential candidate, said "the fact that there are too many Korean women married to foreigners shows their adoration of the foreigners," and that these women "had better keep their self-respect since we cannot prohibit their marriages." A secretary working for the US military received a pamphlet warning that "any one of you who shows the following scandalous actions beware that you will be insulted right in front of public."

Moving ahead a few decades (past a catastrophic war which led to bases and camp towns filled with prostitutes dotted across the peninsula, most obviously in Itaewon), in July of 1984, a lengthy Kyunghyang Sinmun article on foreigners in Itaewon looks at shopping, nightlife, foreigner only clubs, population stats, illegal overstayers, foreign crime, vagabonds who teach English, and shook its finger at girls who pay for everything for foreign men and who have 'no self respect.' The next year, after a Le Monde article on young French men teaching languages in Seoul - one of whom married a Korean women (gasp!) - led to a media uproar and new visa regulations for foreign teachers (as well as a TV show in which a French teacher  is beaten in an alley), the film Queen Bee depicted foreigners in Itaewon as rapists...

...who force others to watch...

... but one of the foreigners is murdered in revenge, so it all works out well enough.

In 1988 fear of contact between foreigners and Korean women during the Olympics led to a great deal of hand wringing and calls for HIV testing all visitors; unable to do this, as this post explains,
the government focused its efforts on discouraging sex between Koreans and foreigners. A special police force was to be set up to stand guard at tourist hotels throughout the city in order to prevent foreign guests from entering with Korean sex workers, and even pornographic magazines were removed from hotel bookstores. Olympic hostesses acting as interpreters and assistants for foreign delegates were warned not to have sex with them or risk contracting AIDS. On the eve of the Olympics, the city of Seoul distributed pamphlets to “all households in the city” which stated that "It's a horrible disease that cannot be stopped by any method except preventative measures," warned citizens to take every precaution against it, mentioned that the first diagnosed AIDS case in Korea was an American, and stressed the high number of AIDS cases overseas. 
Another result of the Olympics was heightened anti-Americanism due to US media coverage and highlighted cases of disrespectful male athletes (particularly in Itaewon). Soon the media began to focus on GI crime, with the 1995 subway incident - caused by a young Korean man taking offense at a GI touching his wife's behind on the subway - becoming one focal point of anti-US protests and calls for SOFA to be changed. The incident was reported with headlines like "Sexual harassment by drunken U.S. soldiers on subway; group assault of passenger who protested," and "U.S. army molesters are barbarians," an early example of an article based entirely on netizen opinion, Below is part of a now-faded anti-American mural painted onto the pavement of a traffic roundabout at Chung-ang University in 1999. Note that the woman being dragged by her hair by the GI is wearing a hanbok, pointing to it likely being somewhat symbolic as well of America dominating Korea geopolitically, in addition to it depicting sexual victimization:

Moving into the late 1990s and early 2000s, foreign English teachers began to appear in Korea in greater numbers, and their dalliances with the local ladies were not always appreciated, as the New York Times noted. Rep. Kim Han-gil (very recently leader of the opposition) wrote in a column in 1997 (after discussing a Korean American Playboy model who was "proud of herself for being found sexy by tall white men who speak English well") that it was a 'big deal' that foreign teachers were "personally penetrating each home of our society's middle class under the pretext of English conversation study," especially since "the reason white men really like Korea is to chase after Korean women."

The rest of the media, and society, caught up with Rep. Kim in 2005 during the English Spectrum Incident, after photos of a 'sexy costume party' involving foreign teachers and Korean women became the focus of netizen and media attention (and resulted in the founding of Anti-English Spectrum), causing enough of a furor that the US embassy warned its citizens of "potential threats" in the Hongdae area, and an SBS report made foreign teachers look like drug-using child molesters.

Hongdae was soon painted as a 'haven of desire,' full of temptation for one night stands with foreigners, with the Herald Gyeongje lamenting that "The clubs in front of the Hongik University, known as the birthplace of Korea’s indie culture, are transforming in a foreigner's 'paradise for hunting women.'" The Chosun Ilbo complained about "Rumors about Hongdae by Foreigners [as a] 'Street of pleasures,'" calling it "a bitter distortion" (and featuring one of my favourite cartoons).

"The Girls of Hongdae..."

Anti-English Spectrum teamed up with several media outlets to smear foreign teachers, such as Break News in 2006 (resulting in articles such as "Affairs with High School Students, Spreading Nude Photos on the Internet", as well as another titled "Tracking [down] blacklisted foreign teachers suspected of having AIDS," which links foreign teachers to AIDS for the first time, calls for HIV tests for E-2 visa holders, and is cited in petitions to the Ministry of Justice by AES members. Following up on the AIDS link, they would get the Chosun Ilbo in mid-2007 to publish articles such as "From molestation to AIDS threats - Shocking perversion of some English teachers; Beware the 'Ugly White Teacher.'" [in the Sports Chosun] and "White English Teacher Threatens Korean Woman with AIDS."[in Korean and English].

On TV, a 2007 episode of Pandora's Box (which thanks AES for providing tips) made some fun claims:

"Illegal foreign instructors are violating Korean women!!!"

Anti-English Spectrum's success in getting HIV and drug testing included in new E-2 visa regulations in late 2007 led to a year of relative quiet, but in the summer of 2009 things really began to pick up again, with five negative articles about foreign teachers published at with some help from AES (Korea Beat translated them all: 1 2 3 4 5 ) which featured this lovely quote from AES leader Lee Eun-ung:

"Foreign instructors of low character frequently toss women away without compunction after attaining their goal of meeting them for money and sexual relations, so many of the women have their lives ruined by abortion or, of course, sexually transmitted diseases."

KBS followed up with lengthy news report titled "'Out of Control Foreign English Teacher' Teaches Class while High and Commits Sexual Molestation," another AES-influenced report (which truly is awesome!). By 2010 a former member of AES would contribute to a New Daily article which painted Itaewon as a 'Paradise for losers', but by early 2011 AES would cease to exist following the exit of its leader, Lee Eun-ung, making it clear he'd pretty much single-handedly run a campaign in the media and through petitioning lawmakers to get articles demonizing (white, male) foreign teachers published and get E-2 regulations passed, That he was so successful probably says a lot of unpleasant things about how acceptable such demonization of westerners is, to say noting of the acceptability of misogyny directed toward their Korean partners.

That AES wasn't needed for this was made clear by MBC's May, 2012 broadcast of a xenophobic "news" report warning Korean women of the dangers of relationships with white males. When confronted about anger among foreigners about this, MBC retorted by suggesting that these people have a guilty conscience, among other things. (On the other hand, the responses of some foreigners weren't exactly helpful either.)

Not to be outdone by this, in July 2012 NoCut News published 12 articles criticizing first a foreign instructor who allegedly secretly videoed sex with Korean women, and then, with its series, "The Reality and Twisted Values of Some White Men," white men and foreign instructors in general:

Part A: Foreign instructor lives a double life… Caught red-handed with dozens of ‘Hidden Camera Sex’ tapes
Part B: Yongsan police begin investigation of 'Foreign instructor who secretly filmed sex'
Part C: 'Foreign instructor who secretly filmed sex' 'expelled' from his university

"The Reality and Twisted Values of Some White Men" Series:
Part 1: 'Chris who appeared on Superstar K'... inquiring into what happened [Korean]
Part 2: Internet awash with 'ways to seduce Korean women'
Part 3: What is the reason elementary school native speaking instructors get their hands on drugs?
Part 4: 'Korean women are beautiful, have a drink with me" - the night streets of Itaewon (scroll down)
Part 5: 'Unqualified foreign instructors' can't help but abound.
Part 6: "Charged with a crime, but whatever"... If they look white, it's OK?
Part 7: A foreign English instructor: "Secretly recorded sex? That's really disgusting."
Part 8: After the 'hidden camera sex' report... victim hurt again through 'comment terror'
Part 9: The 'Hidden camera sex video' could spread... anxious police, idle university

A month or so later Ilyo Sisa published a report titled "'Tips for targeting Korean women' spread by foreign English instructor spreads quickly." It featured the helpful subtitle "Treat them as 'sex toys' and throw them away when they're finished," and rehashes (or 'reinvents') scandals going all they way back to 2005 as if they happened yesterday.

Last year, after the Korean Institute of Criminology incorrectly calculated crime statistics, JTBC looked at foreign crime on one of its TV shows:

Part 1: Incorrect statistics portray Americans and Canadians as more prone to criminality
Part 2: Yonhap reports on the KIC foreign crime study
Part 3: Joongang Ilbo: "Get a Korean woman pregnant": Shock over manual for foreign men
Part 4: JTBC's "We are Detectives" looks at foreign crime using the KIC report

Part 5: JTBC's "We are Detectives" looks at xenophobia and foreign crime
Part 6: For JTBC, consensual sex between white men and Korean women is a "sex crime"

That last link features this clip from Youtube:

And this pretty much brings us up to date. It's nice to see the Donga Ilbo has contributed to the greater good of keeping the race pure this season, and we probably won't have to wait long to see the next installment.

(Thanks to Ben and Ami.)

Friday, October 10, 2014

Seoul Station Overpass to be opened to pedestrians Sunday afternoon

It was reported a few weeks ago that Seoul is planning to close the Seoul Station Overpass and turn it into a park, influenced by High Line Park in New York City (itself influenced by Promenade plantée in Paris). The Wall Street Journal Blog compares it to Lee Myung-bak's Cheonggyecheon Restoration as a possible 'pre-run-for-the-presidency project' by Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon.

According to Kojects and Korea Bizwire, this Sunday, October 12, the overpass will be closed to traffic and opened to pedestrians from 12pm to 4pm, much as Ahyeon Overpass was back in February before it was torn down.

As well, the Westin Chosun Hotel is celebrating its 100th anniversary with an exhibition titled 'Memory, History & Heritage' in the Presidential Suite (room 1808) until Sunday October 12, and is open from 10am to 5pm. (Hat tip to Hamel.)

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Screening of Lee Man-hee's 1975 film 'Road to Sampo' this Saturday

This Saturday, October 4, at 3pm, the Royal Asiatic Society Cinema Club and Seoul Film Society will have a free screening of the 1975 Lee Man-hee film "Road to Sampo" (삼포 가는 길) with English subtitles at Seoul Global Center's Haechi Hall in Myeongdong. As it's described here,
Adapted from Hwang Seok-young's novel, A Road to Sampo is the final and posthumous work of director Lee Man-hee. Young construction worker Young-dal (Baek Il-seop) meets a middle-aged man named Jeong (Kim Jin-kyu), who is on his way back to his hometown after serving time in prison and wandering from one construction site to another. It has been ten years since Jeong has seen his hometown of Sampo. Young-dal and Jeong meet Baek-hwa (Moon Suk), a runaway bar hostess [...] and the group travels to the train station, each reminiscing about his or her past as they go.
This road movie, one of the very few in Korea's earlier film history, was the last film by Lee Man-hee, who died during its post-production. I'll be giving an introduction to the film and short story and looking at the struggles the director went through to make it, and the film will be followed by a discussion of the film for those wishing to take part.

Those wishing to read the short story the film is based on by Hwang Seok-young can download a pdf here (or if it's not cooperating, search for "The Road to Samp'o" at the Korea Journal's site.

Directions to Seoul Global Center's Haechi Hall can be found here, and more information about the film is here, and the screening, here.