It was nice to finally get some snow today that stuck around (for most of the day, at least).
The kids were certainly having fun today...
4 hours ago
which pass for public opinion in a land where no such thing exists can be found only in Seoul - Isabella Bird Bishop, 1898
The concentration of fine dust particles smaller than 10 micrometers in diameter, or PM10, increased to more than three times normal levels Wednesday, with Gyeonggi Province recording the highest figure of 268 micrograms per cubic meter. [...]Here are a couple of photos I took yesterday morning:
The concentration raises the fine dust alert level to “very bad,” the highest level considered by the research center. A scale of zero to 30 is “good,” 31 to 80 “normal,” 81 to 120 “slightly bad,” 121 to 200 “bad” and 201 to 301 “very bad.”
Elementary and middle school native speaking teacher smuggles in raw materials for, produces and takes new kind of drugAs always, NoCut News - the (Christian) news outlet that produces the most negative stories about foreign teachers (after Yonhap and YTN combined) - doesn't disappoint, what with (most likely made-up) quotes like "from now on the provinces are no longer a drug-safe zone." I also chuckled heartily at the assertion that "cases of native speaking teachers, whose identities cannot be accurately confirmed, taking drugs [is] increas[ing]."
New kind of drug with powerful hallucinogenic effects easily produced... "From now on the provinces are no longer a drug-safe zone."
Dimethyltryptamine smuggled through ordinary international mail. (Photo provided by Changwon Prosecutors' Office)
A native speaking teacher working at elementary and middle schools was caught by prosecutors for smuggling a large amount of a plant that is a raw material for a new kind of drug and taking it.
The special unit of the Changwon Prosecutors' Office arrested A, a 24 year old British native speaking teacher working at an elementary and middle school in Changnyeong-gun, Gyeongsangnam-do, for smuggling 1075 grams of the plant from which the psychotropic drug DMT is made, and for keeping and taking it in his home.
At the beginning of November, A ordered 1075 grams of the plant from which the psychotropic drug DMT is made from a seller in the Netherlands via the internet, paying $134 US for it, and it was caught being smuggled via international mail at Incheon International Airport on November 12.
He is also being charged with keeping at his home and taking drugs like DMT, LSD, marijuana, and 5-APB.
As drugs with strong hallucinogenic effects, dimethyltryptamine and LSD are classified as psychotropic drugs under item 1, article 3 of the Drug Control Law. In particular, LSD is known to have a hallucinogenic effect 100 times stronger than Cocaine and 300 times stronger than methamphetamine. As well, 5-APB is a new kind of drug that has recently been used in Europe.
A, who started working as an elementary and middle school native speaking teacher in May, graduated as an English major from a prestigious school in the UK but stated that he became absorbed in religion and took drugs to commune with god in a hallucinogenic state.
In particular, A processed the raw material plant for DMT into the finished product himself. Prosecutors are looking into the crimes he committed while taking drugs over this long period of time.
As prosecutors have seen a significant number of cases in which the raw materials for drugs have been bought over the internet and smuggled into Korea using international air mail for production and use here, they are planning to expand their investigation.
Prosecutors are paying attention to the fact that this new kind of drug which was seized for the first time in Korea, was not found in a large city or in the capital,
One prosecution official said, "Since the kind of drug we seized could get hundreds of people high at the same time, from now on the provinces are no longer a drug-safe zone."
As cases of native speaking teachers, whose identities cannot be accurately confirmed, taking drugs increase, educational authorities need to take caution, and the Prosecutor's Office plans to sternly punish drug smuggling in cooperation with customs and airport authorities.
But, amid a pending U.N. committee ruling on whether the policy constitutes racial discrimination, an unclear picture of the current status and future of testing has emerged across government and educational bodies.Do read the entire thing. It's nice to get some confirmation that re-testing is being scrapped in some locales, and it's certainly interesting that immigration wrote that HIV testing "was still in place, after earlier claiming the ministry had no such requirement." I guess the left hand doesn't know what the right is doing. Earlier confusion over re-testing was reported on in this 2010 Korea Herald article.
A press officer at the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education on Thursday told The Korea Herald that all local education offices had scrapped retesting for contract renewal as of this year.
“Because of problems of fairness between Korean and foreign teachers and discrimination that arose, some education offices did not require testing for contract renewal,” said Kwak Yoon-cheol. “Accordingly, this year all education offices decided to end testing for contract renewal.”
He said, however, that foreign teachers were still required by immigration to submit test results after their initial entry into Korea. The Korea Herald communicated with several native English teachers who said they had been retested recently, in some cases just weeks previously. [...]
A Justice Ministry spokesman confirmed on Monday that one-time testing for immigration purposes was still in place, after earlier claiming the ministry had no such requirement.
An official with Korea Immigration Service, a division of the Justice Ministry, however, also said there had been no change in policy.
“We have not changed any of our policies on HIV testing,” Lee You-jin, a member of the residence and visa division of KIS, said via email on Nov. 19. [...]
In the past, the Justice and Education Ministries have taken different positions on the issue, specifically on the need for in-country retesting.
An official at the National Institute for International Education, the division of the Education Ministry that runs the EPIK NET program, told The Korea Herald in 2010 that it supported enshrining retesting as official policy. At the time the organization cited parental concerns and the results of two surveys showing strong public support for testing as rationale for its stance. It is not clear whether those surveys referred to one-time or multiple testing.
But an NIIED official, speaking on condition of anonymity, last week declined to confirm if this was still the organization’s position.
“We let each educational office know about the current regulations of the Ministry of Justice,” said the official. “So when we have annual meetings, if there are questions or issues we just give them information about current regulations and they are the ones who should decide, considering the regulations and other factors in their areas.”
"Patience, sir": 200 years of foreigners teaching English in KoreaAnyone can attend the symposium, with pre-registration costing 10,000 won for members and 15,000 won for non-members, and on-site registration costing 15,000 won for members and 20,000 won for non-members. The turkey dinner costs 25,000 and everyone must pre-register for it.
From the first-recorded English lesson in 1816 to Lee Myung-bak's promises of a "native speaker in every school," English has played many different roles in Korea's history, from its use in Korean attempts to preserve its sovereignty and Japanese efforts to present Korea as a 'failed state' at the turn of the last century to the radical expansion of the study of English as a foreign language over the past twenty years. This presentation will look at the experiences of those teaching the language, including missionaries, Peace Corps Volunteers, 'beeper cowboys' and even World War II prisoners of war. At the same time, while the Korean government has perceived mastery of English as necessary for Korea to compete in a globalized world, it has also shown distrust of the culture attached to the language, a wariness which stretches back to the days of the Joseon Dynasty, and manifestations of both the desire to learn the language and the distrust of the accompanying culture - and the teachers who embody it - will also be examined.
Hotels, retailers and restaurants on the resort island of Bali are rejecting Korean customers due to some who flout regulations to make the most of their stay, according to South Korean TV network SBS.There's a discussion thread about it here that was pointed out to me (read it if you dare; it consists of lots of 'Koreans deserve it because they do it in Korea too' kinds of comments). This isn't the only place that has shown annoyance with Korean tourists, as Scott Burgeson noted in Fukuoka a few years ago; on a similar topic, he posted a chat with a woman who worked as a receptionist at a Korean-run karaoke club in Jakarta almost 9 years ago.
Korean tourists are reportedly finding new and creative methods of vacationing on the cheap at the Indonesian vacation destination, which is frustrating local business owners to no end.
Since the Emperor Kangxi (r. 1662-1722), Joseon's diplomats used to visit the Catholic churches in Beijing and to be welcomed by the missionaries. The missionaries used to show exotic paintings, icons and other objects in the churches and even give the visitors presents brought from Europe. Joseon diplomats year by year wanted more exotic goods and experiences at the churches, so visiting Catholic churches in Beijing became the diplomats' conventional practice. Our country's custom seemed like arrogance, exaggeration and maliciousness, and the diplomats from Joseon often neither behaved politely nor paid back for the presents they received. Moreover, their followers were often uneducated, smoked and spat inside the churches, and touched things without allowance, which made the missionaries, who liked cleanliness, angry.The article goes on to describe how things had changed over 40 years: "Whereas Lee Gi-ji was welcomed by the missionaries without any advance notice of his visit, the visitors from Joseon in Hong's days were not allowed to enter the church even when they asked to see the church."
Recently, the Western missionaries became to dislike visitors from Joseon more than before. The missionaries refused to do the Joseon visitors a favor. They did not treat the visitors with heart.