Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Flirtatious waitresses, racist drunks, and internet mobs

Update:
Korea Beat translated two articles about the racism case.


Extra! Korea has two interesting news stories. In the first, from the Korea Herald, the Incheon prosecutor's office has indicted 31-year-old Mr. Park for insulting an Indian professor who works at SungKongHoe University by calling him "dirty and smelly." Apparently Mr. Park's 'but I was drunk' and 'he started it' excuses didn't impress the prosecution.
Gonggam, which provided the professor with legal support, stressed that the case would act as a major marking point in the legal history in Korea.

"Though the court's official decision is yet to be made, it is epochal that the prosecution officially regarded such racially discriminative remarks as subjects of criminal punishment," said a Gonggam lawyer. "The case, in the very least, will arouse social awareness on the chronic practice of racism in Korean society and encourage people to speak up about their experiences."

Based upon this initiative case, the Korean society should make further efforts to clear its system of deeply rooted racial practices, he also said.

Hussein also filed a petition to the National Human Rights Commission last month, demanding that Park and the related police officials address their racially discriminative attitudes.
I have to say, I'm becoming rather fond of Gonggam, who were also involved with the Heo case (stopping the deportation of an HIV-positive foreigner) and are involved with the Andrea Vandom case (opposing HIV testing for E-2 visa-holders).

The second story is also about racism, in this case North Korean fears of miscegenation:
North Korea has closed ten restaurants in Southeast Asia because waitresses working there got too involved with customers, a Hong Kong-based magazine said yesterday.

Yazhou Zhoukan said North Korean waitresses were heavily chastised from their country’s leadership for flirting with South Korean and Japanese customers. Certain waitresses even got romantically involved with tourists or overseas representatives.

Over the past few months, the North has closed 10 restaurants specializing in North Korean cuisine in Thailand, Cambodia and Laos. The establishments sold traditional North Korean food such as Pyongyang cold noodles to earn dollars for the communist country.

The magazine said North Korean authorities recalled and punished the waitresses in question for “tarnishing” their country’s image. Since certain waitresses worked illegally after their visas expired and immigration crackdowns in the three Southeast Asian countries grew tougher, the North decided to close the restaurants temporarily.

If this is true, I really hope none of them came back pregnant, as North Korea's 'free abortions for possible race-traitors' program has to be one of the worst examples of socialized health care out there.

Also interesting at Extra! Korea is a two part story of an ideologically impure element being exposed, undergoing a self-criticism session, being told to commit suicide, and being forced to resign from the entertainment industry for 'tarnishing' the country's image... in South Korea.

Note to North Korea: If you give people a large enough dose of nationalist education and give them access to an internet which, while open to the world, is structurally designed to focus inwards, the task of keeping the populace ideologically pure will be taken care of by the people themselves. It's no accident that the incident which opened a discourse on 'trial by internet' of norm-violators in both the U.S. and Korea was the Dog poop girl four years ago.

4 comments:

Bob said...

Insightful. Thanks.

Helen said...

Many Koreans are against 'Prohibition law of racial discrimination' on 전병헌(민주당)‘s blog. they seem to get so angry with the notice legislation. What do you think about this phenomenon?

matt said...

Helen, do you think this article gives a good summary of the arguments for and against the prohibition of racial discrimination law?

Helen said...

네thanks for the link.It was a good summary for me.^^ As for the illegal foreign workers problem, I wonder if deportation is the only way to solve this problem. I think it's not that simple..