Monday, September 26, 2016

Dr. Haysmer and the apple thief: The "barbaric American incident" of 1926


Dr. Haysmer and the apple thief: The "barbaric American incident" of 1926 

Part 1: Clyde Haysmer, Kim Myeong-seop, and the response in Korea

It's unfortunate that Robert Neff's article in the Korea Times last week has a title that does little to reflect the importance of the story it tells. When it comes to bitter memories of Westerners in Korea, the tale of Dr. Haysmer (erroneously spelled 'Haysmeir' in contemporary news articles) and how, as a missionary, he punished a twelve-year-old boy from stealing apples from the mission orchard stands above the rest. It's best remembered in North Korea, where it became the basis of one its most xenophobic, anti-American, and influential novellas. I first heard of the case by reading Donald Clark's Living Dangerously in Korea: The Western Experience, 1900-1950. I turned up photos related to the story years ago and thought I'd write a quick post including them, but some crowd sourcing of information on Facebook led me to dig further, and I found that the event is far more fascinating than I realized, both for how it was used by different groups for their own agendas at the time, and for how pertinent the story is today.

What follows is based on English-language sources (like the New York Times, Japan Times, Japan ChronicleNorth China Herald, Seventh Day Adventist materials and genealogical information from Ancestry.com) and a quick reading of some of the Korean sources (from the Donga Ilbo, Chosun Ilbo, and Maeil Sinbo). A more sustained look at the numerous Korean sources would turn up much more information, as would access to the Seoul Press, which I sadly lack (except for quotations from it in the Chronicle). A number of sources here were provided by Jacco Zwetsloot; they are marked with a ***.

Clyde Albert Haysmer was born in Kingston, Jamaica, on December 6, 1897 to Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) missionaries Albert James Haysmer and Dora Wellman Haysmer, who were originally from Michigan. Dora's father, Elam Van Densen was also an elder in the same church and a missionary. Albert and Dora had started their missionary work in Jamaica in 1893, accompanied by their son, Elam Dolphus, who was seven years older than Clyde. The family would, by 1904, be assigned to Barbados. Both Clyde and his brother would eventually be trained as doctors. An SDA newsletters in 1913 notes under the title "Southern Training School" that "Clyde Haysmer writes from Lowell, Michigan that he is doing work this summer with the Fireside Correspondence School at Washington, D. C." By 1917 his father had become an elder and president of the West Indian Union Conference. In late 1918 his elder brother, Elam, died during the influenza pandemic. Clyde is later found crossing into B.C. in July 1920, two weeks ahead of that year's Alberta Conference Association of Seventh-day Adventists in Calgary, which was announced by his father in the previous month's Advent Review and Sabbath Herald magazine. It was likely here that he met his wife. The July 27, 1979 issue of the Atlantic Union Gleaner described her early life:
Ida Louise Hanson was born to Charles and Helen Hanson at Selbey, South Dakota, on March 4, 1892. The family moved to Alberta and Ida attended school at Lacombe and later at Walla Walla, Washington. She graduated from the nurses course at the Portland, Oregon, Sanitarium in 1920. A year was spent nursing in the Alberta Sanitarium and as school nurse at the Hutchinson Theological Seminary in Minnesota. In 1922 she returned to Alberta and was united in marriage to Dr. C.A. Haysmer. 
It adds that they spent a year at the Portland Sanitarium. A later issue of Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, from July 9, 1925, announced that on March 20 "Dr. and Mrs. C. A. Haysmer went forward for medical missionary work in Korea. Dr. Haysmer is a graduate of our medical college, and had spent a short time practising at the Portland (Oreg.) Sanitarium, and now takes charge of the Soonan Dispensary in Korea." This was also commented on in the March 31, 1925 issue of Western Canadian Tidings:
It was a pleasure to welcome Dr. and Mrs. C. A. Haysmer in the office for a few minutes Thursday, the 19th. They left for Rest Haven prior to joining the "Empress of Australia" at Victoria on Friday, the 20th. Dr. and Mrs. Haysmer were connected for a number of years with our sanitarium in Alberta and lately with the Portland Sanitarium. They accepted a call to Korea recently and will take charge of the medical dispensary at Seoul. Our prayers go with these faithful workers and others as they leave the shores of the homeland from month to month.
They sailed for Korea March 20, 1925, and the May 1925 issue of the SDA publication Far Eastern Division Outlook*** reported that "Dr. and Mrs. C. A. Haysmer are now in attendance at the Language School in Seoul, preparatory to service in the Soonan Hospital Dispensary." As the same magazine*** reported two months later:
Dr. and Mrs. C.A. Haysmer are now in attendance at their second term of language school study in Seoul, Chosen. It is their plan to open the hospital-dispensary at Soonan soon after the beginning of the new year.

During the recent session of the Chosen Union plans were laid for developing as rapidly as possible a strong training center at Soonan for medical missionary evangelists. To this end a nurse's training class will be formed and operated in collaboration with the Chosen Union Training School.
It would appear that they arrived in Sunan, just north of Pyongyang (and the location of its current airport) earlier than the beginning of the new year, for Korean newspapers would report that his deed which would live in infamy took place that summer. As Robert writes:
On July 15, while walking through the orchard, he encountered 12-year-old Kim Myoung-sup, a Korean boy living in the neighborhood. Haysmeir later claimed the boy was stealing apples but Korean newspapers reported the boy was merely in the orchard without permission and ran because he was afraid of the American missionary.

What followed next was a horrendous act that marred not only the image of missionaries in Korea but also the face of the young boy.

According to Ransford S. Miller, the American Consul-General in Seoul, after Haysmeir caught the boy, he summoned the boy's mother, Yoon, to the orchard. She begged Haysmeir not to summon the Japanese authorities, and he agreed not to but was insistent that the boy had to be taught a lesson. He had one of the nurses bring him some caustic soda (acid) and then used it to write 'dojeok' (thief) on the boy's cheeks. He then proceeded to lecture the boy for over an hour and cautioned the crying boy to never steal again.
In his article, Robert lays out some of the differing accounts of what happened. Many accounts say he used silver nitrate on the boy's face(one I found said it was 'silver acetic acid'); this is dealt with in more detail below. What seems clear is that the word 'thief' was still visible on his skin a year later and that he later was forced to leave school. The issue lay dormant for almost a year until the Chosun Ilbo reported on it - extensively - on June 28, 1926; the Donga Ilbo followed two days later, and the incident quickly became a cause célèbre. On July 1 both the Chosun Ilbo and Donga Ilbo referred to the event as the "barbaric American incident." On July 4 the Donga Ilbo published this photo of Kim Myeong-seop; it's hard to make out the scarring:


As Robert notes,
According to DongA Ilbo, just after midnight on July 1, 1926, Haysmeir went to the boy's house and tried to negotiate a settlement with his mother. She suggested that she would consider the matter closed for a sum of 10,000 yen ($5,000) but Haysmeir refused and countered with an offer of 420 yen as compensation and 200 yen for treatment for a total of 620 yen ($310). Eventually Haysmeir did pay the 620 yen and offered an apology in the newspapers[.]
Of course, the newspapers were having a field day. As a Reuters report put it, "A wave of indignation is sweeping Korea." Referring to the Seoul Student Federation, this Donga Ilbo article's headlines give a sense of the outrage being cultivated in Korea by the press:
Student organizations stirred to action...in regard to barbaric American incident
Prepare to send a written appeal to worldwide Seventh-Day Adventist Church
Facts of the insult to the minjok come out: Haysmer threatened the victim's mother, "Pay me 5 won or I'll write 'thief'"
The story told by Kim Myeong-seop [the victim] who arrived in Seoul
There were calls for monetary support to treat Kim, who had arrived in Seoul for treatment on July 5. Two days later the Donga Ilbo reported that the Gaesong Youth Federation had met July 5 and that one of its resolutions that day was to send a warning to the “barbaric American, Haysmer.” Within days reports were coming in from around Korea of such actions in places like Mokpo or Masan ("Masan youths roused, excessively aggrieved over the Haysmer incident"). As is described in Donald Clark's Living Dangerously in Korea, "Civic groups joined in. The Bar Association passed a resolution demanding the doctor's deportation. 'We don't like to be experimented on like animals,' wrote a Korean in a letter to the editor of the Seoul Press."

Many called for expulsion or legal punishment, and the Japanese authorities soon obliged on the latter request. A handful of articles, originating from Chinese newpapers, suggested that the incident was dug up by the Japanese to encourage anti-American and anti-missionary feeling. For example, the China Weekly Review of August 14 argued that "the Japanese press and police dug up the affair and a great sensation was made of the action of the American missionary in 'lynching' the Korean boy." However, the chronology of newspaper reports suggests otherwise. The first reports in the Korean papers were in late June; the first articles in the Government General-controlled Maeil Sinbo didn't appear until July 4.

Korean groups displayed a great deal of anger, conveyed by the Korean press. One reason that they could express this may be that the "barbaric enemy" in this case was an American rather than a Japanese. In fact, the abstract for a paper (in Korean) titled "Korean National Cooperative Front and Anti-Christian Movements in 1920s - Focused on Haysmer's Event," by Kang, Myung Sook says of the post-Samil nationalist movement:
To establish a strong movement the Seoul Group made the issue [of] Haysmer's Event in 1926 which happened in 1925. Koreans considered Japanese' brutalities as Haysmer's brutalities. Through the criticizing of Haysmer's Event, Koreans [criticized] Japanese' exploitation and suppression.
The idea of this bitter criticism of an American missionary being a surrogate for criticism of Japan has merit, I think. While the Maeil Sinbo would, once it joined in, certainly encourage the Koreans in criticizing American "barbarity," it became apparent that this could also be used against the Japanese. On July 11, the Chosun Ilbo reported that a "second Haysmer incident" had occurred in Masan, where a Japanese person beat a Korean child. On August 27 the Japan Times would report another "second Haysmer case" which took place in Pusan, when a Mrs. Iihara was arrested for pouring coal tar over a Korean girl who stole melons from her orchard. It goes to show how the Korean-owned newspapers would make use of openings given to them by the Japanese authorities.

On July 22, the Japan Chronicle published a statement made to the Japan Advertiser by Baron Atsushi Akaike, a member of the Peers and former Chief of the Metropolitan Police Board, which provided more details on the case:
Unfortunately the report about the branding of the Korean boy 12 years old by a certain Dr. Haysmeir is true. I had hoped with vain hope that it was the usual sort of Japanese newspaper talk, gaining weight in travelling. Plain facts are now before us, so I think it is better to inform the public of the bare truths and let justice have its way than to attempt concealing it and thereby deepening suspicion.

"The facts are simple. Kim En Sop, the young boy, stole a few apples and was caught by Dr. Haysmeir, chief of the local hospital and missionary. Dr. Haysmeir sent for his mother. When she arrived he demanded a damage of Y5 a sum impossibly large for her means. When it was manifest that she could not pay it, he instructed the nurse to bring shosangin [초산은 ] (translated in Japanese-English Dictionary as nitrate of silver, caustic silver or lunar caustic) and wrote the inscription on the boy's face. Accused, thereupon, wrote the syllables in to eunman on the left cheek of the boy with nitrate of silver and the latter chyok on the right cheek, and baked the syllables in the sun for about half an hour before the boy was allowed to go home. The doctor also told the boy to come and weed the grass in his garden for a week in lieu of payment of damage, but the boy never returned.

The drug used for the inscription has since corroded part of the outer layer of Kim's cheek, and though he was cured of the injury in four or five days, pigmentary deposit of blood due to inflammatory hyperemia still remains on the outer layer of the skin. It is expected that proper medical treatment of some six months' duration will be required to remove the traces. As to the reason why the affair, which took place last September, had not come to the notice of the local police until recently, Mr. Akai, Chief Public Procurator in Heijo Local Court, is represented as stating in a press interview that Kim, from remorse at his own misdeed, had kept it secret, and that the discovery was due to his having been brought to a hospital for treatment by Min (mentioned in the writ of indictment) who met Kim at the market on the 11th of the Fifth Moon and saw the disgraceful marks on his cheeks.
A statement regarding the investigation's findings by SDA Mission superintendent Edward J. Urhquart appeared days later in (most likely) the Japan Advertiser, which was then quoted in part by the Japan Times on July 23:
The mother was told that this time something must be done by way of teaching the boy the seriousness of his offence. Whereupon the doctor made the mother two propositions: (A) That the mother pay two yen and have written on the boy's face with silver nitrate two Korean characters meaning 'thief,' or (B) That this boy be taken to the police station. (It was explained to the mother that the marks from the silver nitrate would be carried for about two weeks.)

The mother, hearing this proposition, of her own volition chose the mark of thief on the boy's face rather than a visit to the police station. The doctor, therefore, wrote the two characters upon the boy's face and he was liberated. (Now I wish to make it plain that there was no attempt at torture, nor was the boy driven to tears at any time during the proceedings. The act was done at the request of the mother, in preference, of course, to a visit to the police.)
The Seventh Day Adventists' General Conference Committee Minutes for 1926 reveal in more detail how the General Conference Committee responded to these events on July 14, 1926:
Special meeting was called to give consideration to an Associated Press report, stating that one of our doctors in Korea had branded the word "thief" on the face of a Korean boy caught stealing apples from the mission yard.

Not having any information other than that contained in the newspapers, it was decided to request J L Shaw to call at the State Department in Washington, to ascertain whether the matter had been reported to them.
A few hours later, they got a response:
KOREAN INCIDENT:
J L Shaw reported the result of his visit to the State Department. The Department had not received a report on the branding of the Korean boy, but on request of Elder Shaw at once cabled for information.

After some study as to what should be done, it was decided to ask I H Evans to cable Korea, to ascertain facts relative to the charges against Dr Haysmer referred to in the newspapers.

Further, that the chairman be asked to issue a statement to the Associated Press to the effect that we utterly repudiate any mistreatment of any race by a missionary, and that we only await confirmation by the State Department of the reports, and our own official channels, before taking action in the matter.
Adjourned.
W A SPICER, Chairman.
B E BEDDOE, Secretary.
Regarding the suggested public statement, on July 16 the Japan Times reported that the Foreign Mission Board of the Seventh Day Adventists was investigating the case, and that the board's chairman stated that the Board "disapproves and dissociates itself utterly from any mistreatment of any person by any missionary." Two days later, on July 16, the matter was brought up again by the General Conference Committee:
KOREAN INCIDENT:
Report was received from the Department of State relative to the situation in Korea, as follows:

"Reply received from the American Embassy, Tokyo, to request through the Department of State of the General Conference, Seventh-day Adventists, Takoma Park, concerning the alleged branding of a Korean boy by Dr Haysmer, missionary at Chosen:

"'According to a statement which was issued by the Governor General at Chosen, Korea, which has been substantially confirmed by the president of the Mission Board as received on July 15, from Miller, Dr. Haysmer last September branded the word "thief" with chloric acid which was said to have been silver nitrate according to the mission superintendent The markings failed to disappear, as was expected. There followed agitation, started by Koreans and Japanese, after a solatium was given to the family of the boy. Proceedings against Dr Haysmer were instituted on July 12, according to the American Embassy."

Also the following cable was received from E J Urquhart, the superintendent of the Chosen Mission:

"July 15,1926 Heinanjunan.
“Adventist, Evans.
" Newspaper reports exaggerated. Public opinion adverse. Trial soon. Following Shanghai advice, Haysmer dismissed. Outcome uncertain."

In view of this word received by cable, stating that the missionary in Korea who had marked the word "thief" on the face of a Korean boy has, on the advice of the Far Eastern Division, been dismissed, it was--
VOTED, That we approve of the prompt action taken by our board in the Far East in dismissing the missionary.
Adjourned.
W A SPICER, Chairman.
B E BEDDOE, Secretary.
On July 18 it was reported that Haysmer had been "dismissed from the denomination." He was not kicked out of the SDA; rather, he had been stripped of his position as a missionary. The July 29, 1926 issue of the SDA's Advent Review and Sabbath Herald contains this report about the incident by General Conference Committee chairman W.A. Spicer; you can see how some of the information was edited for public consumption:
SAD NEWS FROM KOREA
WHEN newspaper dispatches reported the marking of a Korean schoolboy's face by one of our missionaries as a punishment for stealing, many wrote us for information. Our people, naturally, hoped for denial of the report. Such have doubtless seen in the press our statements, first of disapproval and repudiation of any mistreatment of any one by a missionary, and later the announcement that our Far Eastern Division committee had taken action.

On seeing the press reports, we felt assurance that the division office in Shanghai would take steps to ascertain the facts and act in the matter. As given out by us a week ago to the press, the following Cable was received in Washington from Elder E. J. Urquhart, of the Korean Union:

"Following Shanghai advice, Haysmer dismissed. Trial soon. Outcome uncertain." On receipt of the cable, our board in Washington took action, voting, "That we approve of the prompt action taken by our board in the Far East in dismissing the missionary."

Meantime the State Department in Washington had been making inquiry at our request, their information confirming the fact that the doctor had marked the boy's face with a solution, "said by the mission superintendent to have been silver nitrate." We learn also that when, "contrary to expectations, markings did not disappear," the doctor paid a monetary consideration to the boy's family. We know from the press dispatches that he also advertised his apologies in the Korean press. But the act of a thoughtless moment could not be recalled. Though the missionary would gladly have spent his life in ministry to the sick and needy in that hospital dispensary, some other must do this service. We hope a man may quickly be found to fill the gap in this emergency. The Far East committee is no doubt already making call to this end.

We may well be thankful that in every great mission division we have these division conference committees, made up of responsible and experienced men, ready on the ground to give counsel and to act in every emergency.
W. A. SPICER,
President General Conference.
The August 4, 1926 issue of the  Atlantic Union Gleaner offered this commentary on Haysmer and his dismissal:
ENCOURAGING EDITORIAL

The members in our field will take courage from the following editorial copied from the Spokane "Chronicle".

Cruelty is not Religion 

"The Seventh-day Adventist church should have commendation of every denomination maintaining missions abroad for its dismissal of the missionary charged with branding the cheeks of a Korean boy for stealing apples.

"Missionaries in the foreign fields are supposed to typify American ideals of religion. A single act such as that charged against the discharged missionary misrepresents America in foreign countries and discounts the sincere efforts of all missionaries.

News Item Copied from same Paper 
"Branding Cost Him Job" 

"Washington, July 17 (A. P.)— Dr. C. A. Haysmer, the Seventhday Adventist missionary charged with branding the cheeks of the Korean boy for stealing apples, has been dismissed by the Far Eastern organization of the denomination, Adventist headquarters here announced today. The mission board here approved the dismissal."

While every Seventh-day Adventist blushes with shame when he thinks of the foolish mistake of Dr. C. A. Haysmer, yet we must not let this episode deter us from courageously meeting the public and asking them to support our foreign missions program.

No reasonable man will cast reflections on the integrity and honesty of the denomination because one of its 9000 workers committed an unpardonable crime. We can yet turn this dark experience into a mighty victory for our Harvest Ingathering work by assuring our friends that the high standards of our denomination do not countenance cruelty or oppression of any kind, and the prompt dismissal of Dr. C. A. Haysmer testifies to that fact.
F. D. Wells.
For Haysmer, being dismissed was likely the least of his problems. The New York Times reported that on July 13 that he had been "formally charged with inflicting bodily injury by the Heijo [Pyongyang] Procurator General." His trial was to take place at the end of that month in Pyongyang, though luckily for the doctor, as Baron Akaike, revealed, "It is telephoned from Heijo that Dr. Haysmeir will not be held in custody pending trial of the case."

The trial began July 29 and much was made of his court appearance in Pyongyang. The Donga Ilbo published this photo of Haysmer:


The Maeil Sinbo published this photo of him in court:


A slightly clearer version is here***:


The Japan Chronicle reported on the trial:
PROCEEDINGS IN PUBLIC COURT.
The Seoul Press produces a long account of the proceedings at Heijo Local Court on the 29th ult. when Dr. C. A. Haysmeir appeared to answer a charge of inflicting bodily injury on a Korean boy. Mr. Justice Aramaki presided and Mr. Mitsui, for the defence. Long before the court was opened at 9 a.m. large numbers of Koreans, despite the wet weather, assembled at the gate, all eager to get admission tickets, which were restricted to 100 owing to the limited accommodation. Dr. Haysmeir appeared in lounge suit.

After all usual preliminaries were gone through, Public Procurator Shimmnaru explained why action was brought against the doctor, and examination of him by the Court followed with English interpretation by Mr. N. Kondo. The accused admitted the facts set forth in the speech of the Public Procurator, and expressed his regret that the inscription on Kim's cheeks had not yet vanished now that nearly one year had elapsed since he wrote the syllables meaning thief with nitrate of silver with the intention of chastising the youthful delinquent, and thinking that the inscription would disappear in a fortnight or so. In answer to a question by the Court the accused also stated that were apples stolen so frequently as was done by the Korean boy he would have punished an American boy in the same way.

The Public Procurator then delivered another speech in the course of which he said that as the accused admitted the charge his offence was quite evident. A question in doubt, however, was that the accused wrote the syllables to chyok on the Korean boy's cheeks really believing that they would vanish in a fortnight. At any rate, the act of the accused was cruel and repulsive, especially when the fact was taken into consideration that he was a medical missionary of the religion propagating the text of universal love. It would be no very great exaggeration to say that by making such an ignominious inscription on the cheeks of the Korean boy, the accused morally killed him, and for his act deserved severe punishment. At the same time the Public Procurator acknowledged that the bodily injury caused by the act was not serious and brought home the fact that the accused was now penitent, having paid damages to the victim. The majesty of law, however, must be upheld, and the Procurator asked the Court to sentence the accused to three months' penal servitude by virtue of Art. 204 of the Penal Code.

Mr. Mitsui, counsel for the defence, pointed out that the crime of bodily injury presupposed an unlawful attack, but in the present case the accused acted after obtaining the consent of the mother of the boy, so that the act of his client did not constitute the crime of bodily injury. Could his act be well termed violence, then it required a suit by the party concerned for the Court to take it up - a thing omitted by the party interested. Mr. Mitsui insisted on the acquittal of his client as not guilty. The Court reserved judgment till August 5th.
A Japan Chronicle report describes the outcome of the trial:
Judgement was delivered on Dr. Haysmeir, in the Pyongyang District Court, Korea, on the morning of the 5th instant, when he was sentenced to three months imprisonment with postponement of execution of sentence for two years. Dr. Haysmeir is reported in a Japanese dispatch to have shown relief at this sentence.
On August 7, the Maeil Sinbo reported that the prosecution considered the fact that the sentence was suspended to be unfair and filed an appeal, meaning that Dr. Haysmer's ordeal was not yet over. On August 26, the Chronicle reported that "The Procurator's appeal in the Haysmeir case is to be heard by the Heijo [Pyongyang] Court of Cassation on the 26th" of August. The Maeil Sinbo later reported that on September 2 the Pyongyang Court of Cassation gave him the same result as the first trial – "two months in prison [sic] suspended for two years." This was declared by the prosecution to be unfair and immediately appealed yet again, meaning the next trial would be in Seoul. The Maeil Sinbo was nice enough to include a photo with this report - said to be of the apple tree in question, with Haysmer's house behind:


Meanwhile, the summary of the SDA's General Conference Committee meeting of October 14, 1925 makes clearer why the General Conference Committee dismissed him:
DR C A HAYSMER:
A petition had been received from a number of brethren in Korea, requesting that Dr. C A Haysmer be allowed to remain in the Korean field. The situation was carefully reviewed, and it was—
VOTED, That answer be sent to the dispensary workers at Soonan expressing our appreciation of their sentiments so kindly expressed, but replying that in view of the unfortunate incident and the world-wide publicity given to it, and the possibility that agitators at any time might easily make use of the case to promote their own ends and to oppose the cause of missions, we feel that the best interests of our brother and the best interests of the cause in general will be served by retirement now from the field.
Meanwhile, the Maeil Sinbo reported that the appeal, held at the high court in Seoul, began on November 5, and was dismissed on November 18. As the Chronicle reported,
HAYSMEIR CASE. PROCURATOR'S APPEAL DISMISSED.
In the Seoul High Court of Justice Judgement was delivered on Mr. Hays- Their, the American missionary doctor, of Junan, Heian- nando, Korea, yesterday morning at 11 o'clock. The procuratorial appeal was dismissed, and Dr. Haysmeir was sentenced to three months Penal servitude with postponement of the sentence for two years, the same as in Courts of First and Second Instance. This judgement is final.
On November 26 the Donga Ilbo reported that Haysmer would leave Korea within a week. He and his wife appear on the passenger list for the Protesilaus, which had sailed from Yokohama and arrived in Vancouver December 22, 1926. It notes that he had $150 with him and that his passage was paid by "Korea Union Mission, SDA." A later SDA publication shows that "Prof. and Mrs. A. R. Tucker, of Washington, [went] to Korea" in August of 1927 - perhaps they replaced him.

Ida Haysmer's obituary in the July 27, 1979 issue of the Atlantic Union Gleaner described her life after her marriage to Clyde Haysmer:
Later, after spending a year at the Portland Sanitarium and a short term in the mission field, they connected with the New England Sanitarium and Hospital in Stoneham, Massachusetts, in 1927. Except for three interludes during which Dr. Haysmer took further surgical training, they were connected with that institution until 1964. During much of this time Mrs. Haysmer served in various nursing capacities.

After a year of travel, Yucca Valley, California, was chosen as the best location, both for climate and to carry on surgical practice. Owing to their increasing years, it was thought best to be near relatives; so in 1977 a move was made to Alhambra, California, to be near their niece and nephew.

Mrs. Haysmer's health deteriorated and she died in the White Memorial Hospital at 7:00 a.m. October 28, 1978. A memorial service was held in Yucca Valley and interment was in the family plot in Stoneham, Massachusetts.
If this narrative seemed to gloss over their time in Korea, describing it as only "a short term in the mission field," it may be because the obituary was written by Clyde Haysmer himself. This omission may give a hint as to his feelings about the incident half a century later. His appearances on passenger lists traveling to and from England in the late 1920s and late 1930s may point to the "interludes" when he undertook "further surgical training." Four years after writing this obituary, he died in Alabama in November 1983.

While this would appear to be the end of the story, it went well beyond Korea, and in the summer and fall of 1926, as legal action was taken against Dr. Haysmer, Japanese-controlled newspapers and foreign-run newspapers would battle over interpretations of the incident, as we will see in part two.

Bits and Pieces

Over at the Grand Narrative, James posted about a newspaper cartoon from the 1930s which reveals how certain attitudes toward women have persisted.

At Zen Kimchi, Joe posted an interesting chapter from an unpublished book about marketing Korean food abroad - it's well worth reading.

And on the music side of things, Mark Russell's guest appearance on Shawn Despres's radio show is worth a listen if you're a fan of classic Korean rock (or 90s Korean indie rock).

As reported a couple weeks ago, the Korean government is asking you to help it fight inaccuracies about Korea:
On Sept. 1, the Korean Culture and Information Service (KOCIS), part of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, launched the Facts:Korea website, a new website designed to help correct inaccurate information that is out there about Korea.

The site receives and deals with reports about inaccurate statements or errors made online about Korea, as well as incorrect statements or statistics used by smartphone apps. Through this website, people from around the world will be able to report false statements made about Korea, anywhere and at any time.

Inaccurate information about Korea covers all sorts of incorrect facts that might exist in content produced outside Korea. For example, the national Taegeukgi flag might be upside down, or Korea's traditional Hanbok attire might be mistranslated into English as "kimono." Once, South Korea was even referred to as being in Southeast Asia.
That last sentence is certainly not an indignant response to a geographical mistake, as perhaps made clearer by this sentence:
“We will continue to work to make right any misinformation about Korea, so as to improve the national image,” said KOCIS Director Kim Kabsoo.
The site can be found here (or "download the app directly to your smartphone"), but to make a report you need to download lots of active x junk, as is par for the course on any government website.

Perhaps someone will report as misinformation this article, titled "The boozy, narcissistic culture shock of working in South Korea," which is about the book "Seoul Man" by Frank Ahrens, who lived in Seoul for three years working as director of global p.r. for Hyundai. The book jacket urges readers to "Take a wild ride into the formal-by-day, crazy-by-night Asian business world" (oh, those wacky Asians!) and chapter titles like "At Work: Alien Planet." To be fair, these may reflect the choices of the publisher rather than the author. The article, in between highlighting the drinking and plastic surgery in Korea, describes a few scenes from the book:
Ahrens tried to bust through the culture, including throwing a party at his house with people from work and others. But his employees viewed it as an obligation. They spoke to no one there but their fellow co-workers, and spent the night serving drinks to their superiors.

When Ahrens asked his team leader about this, the reply was, “Sir, we don’t go to parties where we don’t know everyone.” Ahrens said that parties in America were often for meeting people but was told that Koreans “make their friends for life in school.”

“How do you make friends as an adult?” Ahrens asked.

“We don’t,” was the reply.
This is likely more about 'telling foreigners what we want them to think about Korea'; some men seem to have no trouble making friends after high school (sarcasm off). Still, the author's anecdotes about the culture of hierarchy at work can be amusing:
Ahrens got a taste of this extreme hierarchy while representing the company at a car show.

The chairman of Hyundai dropped by, throwing employees into a panic. When he decided to walk the convention floor, Confucian custom declared that his top aides follow along behind him. But it also meant that their top aides had to follow them — leading to a ridiculous trail of people that left onlookers stunned.

“I climbed to the second floor of our booth,” writes Ahrens. “There was the chairman making his way through a parting motor-show crowd, at least 20 dark-suited men following, some taking notes. The effect was that of a long, black eel snaking its way through a crowd of startled media.”
On the topic of foreigners working in Korea, Gi-Wook Shin and Rennie J. Moon's article, "A way to bridge aging societies," points out the need for foreign workers in the Japanese and Korean economies as their populations age. But there are problems...
Maria, a Guatemalan professional, decided to leave South Korea after working for six years in the overseas marketing department of a large Korean corporation. "Some Koreans complain that foreigners leave after a few years, but we leave because we're never included in the first place. Korean companies pay a lot to bring foreigners here. And then they don't even ask these people about their opinion."[...]

In South Korea, with a shorter history of foreign student intake, a Study-Work framework has yet to emerge. While 64.3% of South Korean companies say they need and want to hire foreign students, only a very small portion of foreign students work in South Korean companies after graduation, perhaps as low as 1%. South Korea's immigration laws for foreign students have eased slightly in recent years, but there is an urgent need to develop solid, institutionalized support for responding to the substantial demand by foreign students who wish to find employment after their studies.
One of the recommendations the article makes is that "Universities and corporations should establish diversity offices, as seen in the U.S. and elsewhere, to promote a culture of tolerance and non-discrimination." A problem with this is that various kinds of discrimination are built into the hiring process for many companies, as this study reveals:
Among undisclosed qualifications at companies, age was most often cited at 44.8 percent (multiple responses were possible). 33 was the average age limit for men imposed by firms, whereas it was 31 for women.

Second in rank was gender (31.9 percent), with companies typically maintaining a male to female ratio of 67 – 33.

Other qualifications not revealed to applicants included place of residence (29.3 percent), college major (25 percent), certificates and licenses (23.3 percent), marital status (18.5 percent), educational background (15.9 percent), internship or job experience (15.9 percent), military service status (13.8 percent), and religion (7.3 percent).

What was most significant on the survey, however, was that 89.2 percent of the companies said they had rejected candidates because they did not fit their confidential standards.
And these are just for Korean applicants.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Article in the Diplomat about stigma against HIV/AIDS in Korea

Update:

Another worthwhile article on this topic by John Power can be found here.

Original Post:

Last week The Diplomat published an article by Dave Hazzan subtitled "Stigmas against homosexuality and HIV/AIDS combine to keep patients isolated."
Widely assumed to be a “gay disease,” even by some of the country’s most influential doctors, AIDS patients are often disowned by family, thrown out of hospitals, and refused vital care. Many foreign residents face mandatory HIV testing, and are deported if found to be HIV-positive – despite government assurances to the UN that such tests ended years ago. Koreans have little understanding of the disease, and in a recent survey most said it would be difficult to get along with a neighbor who is HIV+.

“It isn’t hard to find a doctor, because Korea is a top country for medical treatment,” says Son Moonsoo, the president of the organization Korean People Living with HIV/AIDS (KNP+). “Korea has plenty of medicine and medical practitioners. But it’s only for healthy HIV patients. For people have developed into full-blown AIDS, who need to stay in [a long-term facility] there is nowhere for them to stay.”

Further, patients who need non-AIDS related procedures – treatment for a broken hip, or even a dental cleaning – are routinely refused care when they reveal their HIV+ status.
The article rightly paints a dire picture of discrimination and human rights violations for Koreans who are HIV+ or who have full blown AIDS. The ROK also continues to portray itself to UNAIDS as a nation that does not test foreigners (as of 2015), which is certainly not true. It also acknowledged but otherwise ignored the UN CERD ruling on HIV testing for foreign teachers - let no one say that ROK does not also attempt to defend its sovereignty as vigorously as its brethren state to the north!

This paragraph struck me as being somewhat misleading, however:
AIDS being viewed as a foreign evil is most obvious with the mandatory testing of certain foreigners in Korea. During the 1988 Seoul Olympics, activists held demonstrations to demand HIV testing of all foreign visitors, and the press erupted in a sexual panic, urging Koreans not to have sexual relations with foreigners. But no testing was required. It was only in 2007 that foreign English teachers in Korea were required to undergo mandatory HIV testing. 
This makes it seem as if there was no testing of foreigners until 2007, but as pointed out here, testing for what would become the E-6 visa began in 1989, while the Ministry of Labor decided that migrant workers under the Industrial Trainee System were to be tested for HIV immediately upon entering the country on August 9, 1994.

The article also makes the claim that "Not a single foreign teacher had been identified as HIV+ in Korean history," but this is not true, as this article from 2009 about native speaking teachers working in Gyeonggi-do reveals:
On October 1 [2008], during the hiring process, a female teacher at a middle school in Gapyeong was found to have caught HIV from her husband while in another country and was deported 9 days later.

Earlier this year, two native speakers at a middle school in Icheon and a middle school in Paju had their employment canceled when they tested positive for HIV during their health check.
As for the assertion that mandatory HIV tests "Tellingly...are not required of ethnic Koreans," I don't think that's necessarily true. While gyopos on F-4 visas are not subject to E-2 visa rules for HIV tests mandated by immigration, nor were HIV tests included in the 2011 amendment to the hagwon law which required drug tests for those on any visa working as native speaking instructors in language hagwons, public schools may mandate tests for anyone (including Korean citizens) working as a native speaking teacher, while those gyopos who do not have F-4 visas would be subject to the tests under the E-2 visa. What the public school tests reveal, in their requirement to test anyone - even Korean citizens - working as a native speaking teacher for drugs and HIV, is the belief that to speak English fluently one must have come into contact with actual native speakers enough to have possibly been "contaminated" by them, with women in particular being suspect since they may have learned "body language" from foreign males as well (and thus need to be tested). All of this goes to show that there is also a cultural component along with the racial component of Korean xenophobia regarding Westerners.

As for the idea that the HIV tests were introduced for foreign teachers for the purpose of "stigmatizing foreigners, especially men, who date Korean women, something that can offend the racial sensitivities of some more conservative Koreans," it should be pointed out that "conservative" in this case refers to social conservatism, and not political conservatism. On Anti English Spectrum's site is an html file documenting a very long chat between AES members two days after AES was established (in January 2005) in which they discuss how to proceed. I've read only a little of it, but near the beginning one member says that the solution to their problems would be reunification, which reflects the zeitgeist of the time but also suggests a more left-leaning political disposition. Many of AES's slogans reflected those of left-nationalists who led the anti-American charge in the late 1980s and 1990s. On the other hand, the source of those slogans, and the idea that the decadent culture of the west had to be held at bay lest it corrupt Korea, goes back much further, and was championed by none other than Park Chung-hee throughout his rule. In the 1980s HIV / AIDS became the perfect metaphor for western corruption, decadence, and moral failure, which may help to explain the endurance of the stigma decades later.

Monday, September 19, 2016

RAS tour of 'Peace Corps in Korea' exhibit this Wednesday

This Wednesday evening the Royal Asiatic Society will lead a visit to the Special Exhibition at the National Museum of Korean Contemporary History commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the U.S. Peace Corps in Korea.


Please join us this Wednesday at 7PM in the lobby of the National Museum of Korean Contemporary History (see map below for directions) to take us back 50 years in time, to when the Peace Corps volunteers arrived to help in the aftermath of the Korean War. In the first part of the visit, you will go through the special exhibition hall to see over 340 items, documents, and video materials. The exhibit will proceed in the following order:

PROLOGUE: Foreigners help Korea
PART 1: The Peace Corps in Korea
PART 2: Their Activities
PART 3: The Friendship Lives On

The second part of the visit will be lead by Friends of Korea (Peace Corps) Vice President Suzanne Crowder-Han and other former Peace Corps volunteers, who will tell us about their experiences. Suzanne Crowder-Han is also RASKB's current vice-president and has been living in Korea since her arrival here as a Peace Corps volunteer. We will end with questions from the audience.

Refreshments will be served. Please send us a short email [to royalasiatickorea@gmail.com] indicating how many of you will be joining us for an approximate head count.
If not for the Pacific Ocean being in the way I'd love to attend this, both to see the exhibit and because Suzanne is a great storyteller and has lots of great stories from that time. Below is a map to the museum:


As well, the Korea Herald's recent interview with David Lassiter, a former PCV, is worth reading.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

"Let's not use foreign actors": Controversy spreads over SBS's 'I Want to Know That' report

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
Part 56: Foreign instructor: "Korea is a cash and women dispenser."
Part 57: Frustration with low-standard foreign instructors: "Korea's pride damaged"
Part 58: Netizen anger over 'foreign instructor' broadcast
Part 61: A country where foreign English instructors play
Part 62: "Let's not use foreign actors": Controversy spreads over SBS's 'I Want to Know That' report 

On February 22, 2005, Herald SaengSaeng News reported on a new controversy surrounding the SBS broadcast:
"Let's not use foreign actors": Controversy spreads over SBS's 'I Want to Know That' report



Controversy is spreading over SBS's "I Want to Know That" report.

After the report on the 19th, "Is Korea their paradise? A report on the real conditions of blonde-haired, blue-eyed foreign instructors," which focused on the facts of some foreign instructors' illegal and immoral acts, the realities of unfit foreign instructors are heating up the internet and amid this assertions are being made that foreigners who appear on Korean TV should not be used.

During the broadcast one illegal foreign instructor said in an interview "I'm a foreign instructor and I also have been on TV programs," and after this statement came out, posts appeared viewers' message board which went as far as saying that Korean terrestrial broadcasts should refrain from [allowing] appearances by foreign stand-in actors.

"It's said that most foreign actors appearing on TV are illegal sojourners."

"At the very least shouldn't it be confirmed if they are illegal sojourners? They say that an investigation is pending but that all viewers can see those low quality people opening acting on TV is in itself disappointing."

"Let's blow the whistle on TV production crews that hire illegal sojourners."

"If almost all foreign actors are illegal sojourners, their fees have no taxes taken from them. [So] we regularly have more tax taken."

"Do we really need to use foreign actors?"

"Korean actors shouldn't wear wigs and act."

"Broadcasters shouldn't protect illegals."

"Depending on your view, isn't foreigners' exaggerated acting on the stage even stranger? The sight of young actors forced to dress up from young people to the elderly seems to be funnier."

"In what country's case if it's not English is it Korean? If you want to do it properly, in Japan's case hire Japanese and do it in Japanese, in the Arab case you hire Arabs and ask them to speak Arabic." There is an outpouring of such posts by agitated netizens.

On the other hand, prudent responses were also brought up, such as, "Hurry and investigate so misunderstandings regarding law-abiding foreign actors can be swept away" and "I would like for other foreign actors not to suffer harm because of people who are illegal foreign instructors."

A foreign actor who appears on MBC's "Mysterious TV Surprise," shared a message expressing their feelings on the show's message board: "One bad person or a rumor says all the actors are bad or "Surprise" can't be made badly. It's regrettable for the broadcast. And to those who support us we sincerely thank you."

Meanwhile, the production team for "Surprise" also disclosed their position regarding the 'Foreign actor interview.' They pointed out that "We too are confused as we didn't know beforehand there would be an interview with a foreign actor on "I Want To Know That." The foreign actors on "Surprise" were hired through a legal procedure and strict selection via a legal agency."

Seo Byeong-gi, Multiculturalism Special Reporter
It's interesting to see all the different corners of society affected by the English Spectrum incident and the SBS broadcast. I don't think this internet kerfuffle had much of an effect on the hiring of foreign actors, however. This is the last contemporary article about the English Spectrum incident which appeared in the Korean media, though there is one more text by Anti English Spectrum to deal with before this series can be (finally!) wrapped up.

Monday, September 12, 2016

A country where foreign English instructors play

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
Part 56: Foreign instructor: "Korea is a cash and women dispenser."
Part 57: Frustration with low-standard foreign instructors: "Korea's pride damaged"
Part 58: Netizen anger over 'foreign instructor' broadcast
Part 61: A country where foreign English instructors play

On February 21 a column appeared in the Hanguk Ilbo about the SBS broadcast:
[Window] A country where foreign English instructors play

After a television broadcaster showed frank images of foreign English instructors fooling around with Korean women, the internet was teeming with the anger of netizens. What's worse, this went as far as calling for attacks on foreigners. In the worst cases a combination of excessive sadaejuui and it's exact opposite, xenophobia, had arrived. In the (neo) Nazi's xenophobia there is no sadaejuui. In Korea, xenophobia and sadaejuui are two sides of the same coin. From this point of view, at the very least it is worse psychologically.

The actions of the foreign instructors and Korean women are abhorrent but are we indeed to rebuke them alone? Korean women who give their bodies to Western men who suddenly appear before them only [presents us with] a self-portrait generated by our society. This is because the responsible authorities don't even think of cracking down on unqualified foreign instructors who sleep with 50 women in one year while making money illegally.

These social conditions are the inevitable result of a government and ruling class with deep-rooted sadaejuui imposing English upon all citizens. The mindsets of women who admire Western men and offer their bodies to them and government officials who kill indigenous culture because they admire Western culture are fundamentally the same. Young women who are avid to seduce Western men in nightclubs and old officials who try to win favor with and kowtow to Western businessmen are no different.

When, all over the country, the entire minjok [race/nation] is selling out as if devoted to a religion and, without confidence or pride, throwing away what we have and adopting other's things, who indeed can throw a stone at the foreign instructor who does his best to earn and enjoy money and the Korean women drunk on the sweetness of blonde hair? Indeed, if the ruling class had resisted together, could Japan have taken over Joseon? Even if they did take over [after resisting], they couldn't have treated us with such contempt.

When the pro-Japanese gave away our country they said it was, after all, the way of the world and that this was the only path we could take to live. Now it's the age of globalization and it's said the only way to live is to go along with this, so how is the logic of businessmen, management and intellectuals, who now make English scores the standard for everything, any different? Now, rather than say convicting pro-Japanese of crimes was a mistake, or that Japanese imperialism modernized [Korea], this logic and the logic that Globalization can bring us strength are not unconnected.

Let's come to our senses. If we look down on ourselves others will look down on us too. If we intend not to attack foreigners, we must first gain pride ourselves. Only people who love themselves can be loved by others.

Hangeul Culture Alliance Representative Kim Yeong-myeong,
While the comparisons between the sadaejuui of the present - the Korean government and ruling class following American-led neoliberal globalization - and that of the past - when some Korean elites hitched their wagons to Japan's rising star - are likely meant to shock and anger, in considering Korea's position in the international system then and now, they are essentially correct. Kim argues against Korea selling out its identity in a globalizing world, which is fair enough. But that's not all he argues.

One eyebrow-raiser is his argument that because Korean xenophobia involves sadaejuui, or sucking up to great powers, it is, "at the very least," psychologically worse than Nazi xenophobia, which resulted merely in killing millions of people in industrialized death factories. But then attitudes in Korea towards the Nazis have, from time to time, betrayed a lack of concern for their atrocities (enough to open Hitler-themed bars, say, or to use Nazi imagery in TV commercials) or a willingness to play them down in favour of portraying Koreans as uniquely victimized by the Japanese.

As well, while he eventually seems to take the blame away from teachers and women themselves and blames the system they're a part of, he makes it clear he thinks that the "actions of the foreign instructors and Korean women are abhorrent" and refers repeatedly to "foreign English instructors fooling around with Korean women," "Korean women who give their bodies to Western men who suddenly appear before them," the "mindsets of women who admire Western men and offer their bodies to them," the "young women who are avid to seduce Western men in nightclubs," and - my favourite - "Korean women drunk on the sweetness of blonde hair," suggesting a certain preoccupation on the writer's part. Reading Vincent Brandt's A Korean Village Between Farm and Sea, his 1971 book based on his anthropological fieldwork in a Korean seaside village in Chungcheongnam-do in 1966, gives some insight into this preoccupation:
"It seemed to me that in addition to the matter of etiquette and reputation there was an element of distrust involved, fear that a girl or woman's natural lust might get out of hand. Whenever I encountered a woman alone and stopped to talk - on a path, when visiting a house, or if she was working in the fields - a man would join us, sometimes a little breathless from running down the beach or across the paddy field dikes. He would usually proceed diplomatically to disengage me from the conversation, and the woman would leave." [Page 134]
One could say that columns like the one above (or the entire English Spectrum incident) were part of an media-led attempt to "disengage" foreign teachers from their conversations with Korean women by shaming the women, and reminds me of Scott Burgeson's comment that the eventual drug and HIV tests for foreign teachers were "institutionalized cock-blocking."

While it might seem admirable, despite mentions of Korean women "giving" or "offering their bodies" to Western men, that Kim gives Korean women some agency (the "young women who are avid to seduce Western men in nightclubs" seem to be doing the seducing), this is likely written so as to make them even more culpable for their "abhorrent" actions and thus worthy of punishment. Thus, when he writes that "The mindsets of women who admire Western men and offer their bodies to them and government officials who kill indigenous culture because they admire Western culture are fundamentally the same," this is likely meant more as an insult to the government officials.

What I found interesting is how much this all reminds me of the discourse surrounding the study of English and foreign English teachers during the French foreign language teacher scandal of 1984. As an August 25, 1984 Kyunghyang Shinmun article (from a column titled 'Our Language') titled "Sickening Face" described it,
A Parisian dishwasher living in Lyon ended up flying to Korea. Because he was a French person who spoke French well, he was invited to work as a hagwon instructor.

A maiden from a distinguished rich family enamored with the foreigner’s exotic outward charm married the Parisian dishwasher, and this made him a rich man overnight.

Indeed such a thing was reported in a Le Monde article a few days ago. Other Parisian dishwashers, shoe shiners, and car washers are calling en masse the Korean embassy in France. In the end, Parisians are flocking like a cloud [to Korea].
On August 24, 1984, after first bringing the scandal of French foreign teachers living the easy life as language teachers in Korea, as reported by Le Monde, to the public's attention, expanding it into a look at 'fraud' teachers, and painting a picture of a Korea about to be deluged by unqualified young French men, the Joongang Ilbo offered an editorial titled "Foreigners and Foreign Languages," which worried about the effect of these foreigners on Korea:
Ultimately there’s a worry that when learning conversation students will imitate that country’s vulgar culture, vulgar living language, and vulgar values.[...] Also, for this reason it could come to pass that our citizens' image of their level of culture will fall and will offset the effectiveness of gaining foreign language learning.
On August 21, 1984, a column in the Donga Ilbo titled "Jibberish," provided its own commentary on the subject of unqualified foreign language teachers and how well white people were treated in Korea, returning to the story they had reported two months earlier (titled "Koreans have a weakness for Foreigners") of an American who lived for free in Korea for over a year, partly due to misuse of lost credit cards, and partly due to the generosity of Korean women:
At the end of his confession, he said “There are hundreds of foreigners like me, and Koreans are exceptionally friendly to foreigners, especially white ones.” As a joke, he said, "If you go to the United States, even beggars speak English well,” but if the power of foreign language extends this far, it would be difficult to stop people from reflecting bitterly on this [worship of foreign languages] as a great sickness. It’s difficult to tell whether the foreign language boom is a bad thing in itself, or whether [the choice of] a marriage [partner], as a personal matter, can be judged as right or wrong, or whether being [overly] kind to foreigners is something to be criticized. Before any of this can be considered, however, one must stand up and have some self respect.
Or as Mr. Kim ended the column translated above,
Let's come to our senses. If we look down on ourselves others will look down on us too. If we intend not to attack foreigners, we must first gain pride ourselves. Only people who love themselves can be loved by others.
Considering Korea's history - involving colonization, division, and war - and its place in various regional and international systems over the past hundred (or thousand) years, attaining national pride is fraught with complications. Kim complains of "the logic of businessmen, management and intellectuals, who now make English scores the standard for everything," and while this is indeed a problem, it's also nothing new; during the Joseon dynasty the path to success was passing the civil service exam which required mastery of classical Chinese. But back then only a small minority of men had the opportunity to pursue such education; now a majority of the population is forced to study English at some point. Beyond the cocktail of xenophobia, negative nationalism, and misogyny I've highlighted throughout this series, the effect of making "English scores the standard for everything" upon Korean society, especially less than ten years after the "IMF" crisis, is important to remember when placing the English Spectrum incident in its social context.

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

TV Program Warms Up Foreign Teacher Controversy

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
Part 56: Foreign instructor: "Korea is a cash and women dispenser."
Part 57: Frustration with low-standard foreign instructors: "Korea's pride damaged"
Part 58: Netizen anger over 'foreign instructor' broadcast
Part 59: Video On Demand service for "I Want to Know That" temporarily suspended
Part 60: TV Program Warms Up Foreign Teacher Controversy

On February 21, the English-language site of the Chosun Ilbo reported on the fallout of the SBS program:
TV Program Warms Up Foreign Teacher Controversy

Foreign teachers are once again the talk of the Internet. Saturday's edition of the SBS investigative program "I Want to Know That" reports English teachers in Korea engaging in sex with underage local girls, offering drugs to students and faking qualifications.

English teachers have been under the spotlight since one posted demeaning comments about Korean women on the web early this year and risque pictures from a mixed party were released. There have been calls to expel all English teachers from the peninsula.

The report, entitled "Is Korea their Paradise? Report on the Real Conditions of Blond-haired, Blue-eyed Teachers," reveals that teachers at some language schools engage in sexual relations with middle and high school students and offer their students marijuana. It says some teachers use fake academic records to get jobs with local private language schools, universities and businesses. The show includes fresh explosive comments by foreign teachers like, "I think only 5 percent of foreign English teachers in Korea are qualified," "Korean women are the easiest women to get into bed," and "I think of Korea as a big cash machine."

Immediately after the broadcast, the bulletin board on the program's website was flooded with over 1,000 furious posts. "I was so infuriated after the broadcast that I couldn't sleep," one read. "I'm frightened to send my children to an English academy," read another. "Foreign language institutes must do some soul-searching," said a user giving their name as Han Seon-yeong. "We must quickly deport all those low-quality foreign English teachers who try to pick up girls near Hongik University or Apgujeong."

The extreme nature of some of the attacks has led to concerns for the safety of foreign residents in Korea. "After watching the broadcast, I began to look differently at the native English speaker who teaches in the elementary school where I work and the Korean English teacher who works in the same classroom," a user giving her name as Yun Eun-hwa said. "I wonder if because of people like me, Koreans married to foreigners or those who have to work with foreigners might be afraid to go out in the street now." And indeed, user Im Mi-mi, who says she is married to a foreigner, said, "Since the show aired on Saturday, I've been afraid to go out... It's absolute nonsense that I should now look like a whore just because I live with a foreigner."

The fallout of the broadcast has hit private institutes where foreign English teachers work. When critical posts began flooding the bulletin board of a famous language institute, the school on Sunday placed a notice on its website telling visitors that the broadcast had nothing to do with their establishment. SBS confirmed the program was not about the private school in question and suspended VOD service of the program on its website.

(Kim Jae-eun, 2ruth@chosun.com)
This article was translated at the Chosun's English-language site but I included it here just to be complete. The final sentence makes it sound like the reason for the suspension of VOD service was the complaint from the hagwon, though it's never entirely confirmed. A better reason to have suspended VOD service would have been the final sentence of the preceding paragraph, by the woman married to a foreigner: "Since the show aired on Saturday, I've been afraid to go out... It's absolute nonsense that I should now look like a whore just because I live with a foreigner." But if one of the main lessons the broadcast tries to impart is 'We must reconsider our racial preference for white people,' then one of the main, if unspoken, targets of that lesson were the misguided women dating foreign men - a concern shared by Anti-English Spectrum users, who provided some of the 'tips' for the show to report on.