An Open Letter to the F**king Naysayers
3 hours ago
On September 27, 1984, another episode was to be broadcast about illegal foreign teachers, but was canceled:
"Richard, a young American in his twenties, ends up staying in Korea working as a teacher at an English hagwon after entering the country on a tourist visa. Hwa-suk, who dreams of marrying a foreigner, learns English conversation from Richard and late one night on his way to her house he is murdered in an alley. Trying to pinpoint a suspect, the investigation team learns the fact that at the time of the murder Hwa-suk's ex-boyfriend Seok-gi was waiting for her at a nearby tea house."
"Seoul Wind" was about the social problem that has recently come to light of the illegal employment of unqualified foreigners on temporary stays, and featured French youth ‘Pierre’, who is attacked in a dark alley at night after entering Korea on a tourist visa, conning his way into working as a French language teacher in a private school, and becoming part of a love triangle between a female university student who blindly follows him, and her boyfriend.So, one show features the beating of a foreign teacher, the other the murder of an English teacher. There don't seem to be any happy endings. Note that 1983 episode was broadcast less than a month after a bill was passed 'banning' foreigners from working in hagwons (as translated in the second half of this post), much as the later (unaired) episode was to come out a week after the new laws banning foreigners from teaching private lessons were announced.
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."Some comments didn't get translated above, such as "Let's attack foreigners living in Korea."
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.
[W]e really can’t help but worry whether Korea will become a “paradise for criminals from English speaking nations.”This from a JoongAng Ilbo editorial:
The insecurity of school parents concerning native speaker teachers and instructors is growing by the day. This is because the teachers’ shameless crimes are growing. […] There must be even more crimes that have yet to be revealed. It’s time to hurry and formulate measures.The justice ministry soon revealed that new measures were on the way (originally translated here):
No more illegal native speaking conversation teachersProblem solved, I guess. And no one needed to be attacked. Still, a few months later, in April 2008, the first episode of soft-porn late night TV show Sexy Mong Returns was given this description:
- The verification of native speaking conversation teachers’ qualifications and management of their residence here will be strengthened to [...] eradicate illegal activity by native speaking conversation instructors, who have caused social problems such as unqualified teach[ing], taking drugs, and sex crimes. [...] To prevent illegal conversation teaching and illegal activity by conversation instructors such as drug use and molestation, a concerted crackdown on illegal conversation teaching will be continuously and systematically implemented, and foreigners who are caught will be deported. At the same time, steps will be taken to regulate the entry of foreign teachers into the country [...] in order to prevent native speaking conversation instructors who arouse public criticism through their drug taking, molestation, and alcoholism from living in Korea.
It is expected the unease of citizens caused by unqualified conversation instructors will be largely resolved by the Ministry of Justice's recent measures regarding conversation teachers. These measures will make it possible to block illegal conversation teachers who acquire visas using forged documents, drug users and those with criminal records from entering Korea and will stop unqualified conversation instructors who have entered the country without visas from teaching conversation illegally.
The first episode of “Sexy Mong Returns,” a four-part series to run every Wednesday and Thursday starting from April 23, is already drawing attention as its deals with an episode involving sexual assault by foreign English teachers, something that has been a social issue for some time.
Writer-director Kim Ji-woon’s controversial latest, the Lee Byung-hun, Choi Min-sik tandem, “I Saw the Devil” -- set for an Aug. 12 release -- has been scoring high in the buzz meter among local audiences not to mention attracting plenty of media attention since it was recently given a limited release judgment due to its excessive screen violence. “I Saw the Devil” is currently being trimmed for a third submission to the KMRB.I'll be curious to see what Kim comes up with this time, after all the hype of The Good, The Bad, The Weird.
"Gwangwhamun was blocked and neglected, and the flow of our national spirit was choked off," he said, adding, "We incessantly endeavored and struggled for the country's independence."Obviously he (or his speechwriter) thinks that destroying the old Government General Building was a good idea, as it was the first step in unchoking the geomantic axis of energy flowing between Seoul's major mountains that determined where Gyeongbokgung was built when the city was founded. It seems a bit much to call the lines of energy on which the capital of the Joseon dynsasty was built the "national spirit," but then I'm no speechwriter. An article from a week or so ago looked at some of the controversies surrounding Gwanghwamun's restoration (such as whether the sign should be in Hangeul or Hanja) but had some errors, such as saying that "it had been destroyed by the Japanese" 300 years ago (actually, most of the palaces were destroyed by angry mobs of Koreans who burned slave registers, among other things, after the royal family fled north before the Japanese troops arrived). It also says that
During the Japanese colonial era (1910-1945), the Japanese moved Gwanghwamun to the east side of the palace to give the new General Government Building a clear view down Sejongno in 1927. In fact, the Japanese tried to destroy the gate outright, but Korean intellectuals successfully petitioned for its preservation.I can't find it at the moment, but Andrei Lankov wrote an article years ago about how Gwanghwamun was preserved due to the actions of a Japanese academic. Today's article tries to push hard the idea that restoring Gwanghwamun is related to Korea suffering at the hands of the Japanese.
People from younger generations such as Moon Sang-seon, 38, were perhaps less emotionally affected, but feel Japan has to do more to make up for its past militarism. The recent apology by Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan didn't fully atone for its wrongdoings, he said.It then manages to connect comfort women to Gwanghwamun as well. Nifty stunt, that. What I don't really get is why Japan is being talked about (yes, I know, it's independence day, when Koreans celebrate the anniversary of the day their country was magically liberated from Japanese rule - no mention of the terms "allied forces," "island hopping," "firebombing" or "Hiroshima" today, please). The last time the gate was destroyed was in 1951, during a war started by North Korea, not Japan.
A 39-year-old Aurora man is facing charges after he was spotted driving the wrong way down Hwy. 401 early Friday.
Police say several witnesses reported seeing a Toyota RAV4 driving east on the westbound 401 near Trafalgar Rd. around 3 a.m.
Soon after, an officer heading west in the westbound lanes tried to stop the vehicle as it neared Dixie Rd., but had to perform a last-minute evasive manoeuvre to avoid colliding head-on with the SUV as it passed, said OPP Const. Graham Williamson.
About five kilometres down the highway, near Hwy. 427, officers on the eastbound 401 were able to grab the driver’s attention across the median with their cruiser’s blaring sirens and flashing lights.
The driver pulled over – almost 25 kilometres from where he was first spotted – and was promptly arrested, Williamson said.
While wrong-way drivers are “a very common call” for police, “most people realize what they’ve done and quickly correct themselves. Occasionally there’s one who gets stopped and fortunately in this instance there were no injuries or collisions,” Williamson said.
Il Kyoung Kim is charged with dangerous driving, refusing to comply with a breathalyzer demand and impaired driving.
He is due to appear Sept. 27 in a Brampton court.
"It was incredibly dangerous," OPP Const. Graham Williamson said. "The potential for disaster was there at every moment."I'll say. There is always pretty heavy traffic on that highway, even in the middle of the night.
In Gyeonggi, students who were to receive corporal punishment will instead receive “knowledge and virtue-based punishments,” such as writing book reports, completing community service projects or doing extra assignments.They're also to be phased out in Seoul Schools as well, but no concrete steps have been taken in this direction. This is interesting:
Examination of students' belongings without prior notice, regulation of hair length, verbal abuse and school violence will be prohibited. The teacher’s duty to monitor students' dress code and conduct of behavior at school gates will be removed. Measures will be taken to raise awareness of student rights and student councils will be given greater autonomy.Regulation of students' appearances has been relaxing for some time now, but not everywhere. A Korean friend of mine who teaches at a private high school in Gangseo-gu told me his school has become more strict over the past year due to the pronouncements of his principal, who has hired a roving band of enforcers who, instead of checking students at the gate, enter classrooms - while a class is in progress - and check students' hair and clothes, cutting their hair on the spot if it is deemed too long. He's pretty pissed about this, wondering if they're "living under yusin" (the name of Park Chung-hee's dictatorial constitution under which he ruled from 1972-79) again. One wonders this would change if Seoul adopts these measures, or if it will mostly continue with business as usual (with the hope that students won't be videoing any 'lapses').
In "Changssi wa na" (The change of the name and me), originally published in the Maeil Sinbo on Apr. 20, 1940, Yi wrote: "The state allowed Koreans to experience 'Japan and Korea as a single body (naisen ittai).' The ones who should lead this movement are indeed Koreans. What else can we desire for other than our becoming not different from those in the naichi [Japan]. [p.421]Beongcheon Yu's Han Yong-un & Yi Kwang-su: Two Pioneers of Modern Korean Literature, also quotes from Yi's writings about changing his name in 1940:
Now we are all subjects of the Japanese empire. It would seem most natural to have Japanese sounding names rather than Chinese sounding ones. Determined to be Japanese, I have adopted Kayama for my family name and Koro for my personal name, my wife and children following suit. All this, I believe, is part of my loyalty. [p. 98]Later that year, he went even further:
At last I have reached this conviction: The Koreans must forget that they are Koreans; they must become Japanese in flesh and blood, to the bone; and this is our only way of perpetual preservation. Under the new system, Korean writers and intellectuals have a threefold objective to pursue: Firstly they must have themselves Japanized; secondly they must devote themselves to have all other Koreans Japanized; and thirdly they must be warriors uplifting Japanese culture and spreading it the world over. Here lies the future of Korean culture for which the Koreans will have to bring about the gradual dissolution of their national sentiment and tradition. And this gradual dissolution we call the Japanese-Korean unity. [p. 98]This was written before the beginning of the Pacific War in December 1941, when the Japanese organized associations like the Rokki Renmei (Green Flag Alliance) and drafted formerly nationalist writers like Yi Kwang-su, Choe Nam-seon, Yu Chin-o, Yun Chi-ho, Helen Kim into propagating Japanese imperialist ideology and justification for the Pacific War. More than others, Yi threw himself totally into collaboration and wrote novels in praise of Japan’s war efforts in China, as well as other collaborationist literature which depicting the positive relationship between Korean and Japanese characters (in tune with the naisen ittai campaign) As is noted here, "Yi Kwang-su’s “pro-Japanese” novels, written in a combination of Korean and Japanese or entirely in Japanese, reveal a sense of deep anxiety about the Japanese accepting Koreans as their equals, and make Japanese characters “apologize” to the Korean characters for their practices of ethnic discrimination."
Yi Kwang-su was in his non-fiction writings promoting a Japanese style of living: “We must work vigorously towards the goal of reconstructing ourselves in our everyday lives as imperial subjects. The new spiritual system will only come to be completed in as much as it manifests itself in everyday life”.He wasn't always so certain, however.
One ought to “keep one's back straight,” “children should remain silent,” and meals should be treated as “important events and at the same time as rituals.” Yi remarks that “at meal times, it is the Japanese spirit to first make an offering to the gods and Emperor and then eat.” He argues that this is due to the fact that “every grain, every drop of liquid is thought to be changed into something given by the gods and His Majesty the Emperor, and at the same time one should think of the hardships endured by one's ancestors and brethren and give thanks, expressing true feelings of appreciation.”
This ritual of kyūjō yōhai, in which one turns to face Japan – or more precisely, the emperor in the Imperial Palace – and bows, began in tandem with the Third Chosŏn Educational Act (1938), which had been amended by Minami Jirō, the Governor General in Korea, and which was enforced with a siren in the cities that rang out at 7:00 am every morning. Yi Kwang-su describes it as follows:The last paragraph helps to show how invasive the Japanese state was in the lives of Koreans (at least those living in urban areas). As the 1940s wore on, everyone on the street car passing the entrance to the Shinto shrine in Seoul had to bow as they passed it, and at least one member of the neighbourhood association had to visit the shrine daily. In an essay in which he emphasizes individual responsibility toward the nation-state, Yi makes clear how the central the state was in the lives of the emperor's subjects:
"I first opened my eyes at 6:00 in the morning. The 6:00 a.m. siren rang. It was the siren that told all Japanese nationals (Nihon kokumin) to get out of bed. Nothing like this had happened before. We were free to choose when to sleep and when to get up. From now on, the fatherland (sokoku) told all nationals (kokumin) to get up at 6:00 am. If we didn't do it, the great work being carried out by the state (kokka) would be difficult. I finally opened my eyes at 6:30 in the morning. I couldn't hear the 6:00 a.m. siren anymore. I got to sleep late because I was working on my manuscript last night. The manuscript is also something for the state, but that still no excuse to oversleep. As I was told by the mother's association (mama-kai), I read a book after cleaning. Another siren rang out. “What do you think it's for?” Since I still haven't gotten used to this type of national life (kokumin seikatsu), I didn't realize that it was the 7:00 am siren for worshiping the Imperial Palace from afar. When you hear that siren, the whole family, even servants, immediately clean up and stand in place, worshiping with all their hearts. [...] Yesterday, at the Great Chosŏn Fairgrounds, I heard the noon siren and thought to set my watch, but I forgot to offer a silent prayer. I'm still not that good at national life. I suppose you've probably got to really try for years before you learn how to live like this."
In other words, if you eat the grain of the nation-state, you should work for the nation-state. In the new order, there will be nothing like your own body, your own property, or your own son. Everything will belong to the nation. The way of thinking which says – this is mine, so I will do with it what I like – is inexcusable, it is individualism, liberalism, and it is incompatible with the ideology of the new Japanist value system (Nihonshugi shintaisei shiso).Reading this, it may start to explain the poverty of liberalism in post-liberation Korea (both north and south). It's also worth examining a passage from Yi Kwang-su on the concept of “Japan and Korea as one body” (naisen ittai):
Until now, “Japan and Korea as one body” meant throwing away that which is Korean and learning from that which is Japanese. This in the first place means cultivating the spirit of loyalty towards the Imperial Household. The feelings of Japanese people towards the Imperial Household are truly unique, and it will require a great amount of study for Koreans to approach this level. It is not the same thing as what we used to call “loyalty to the ruler and love of country” (chūkun aikoku).Having written so much in service of the Korean nation, and then so much in service of the Japanese state/emperor, one may be curious as to why he 'betrayed' the nation. Over the years, Yi offered different reasons. One turning point for Yi was, according to Yu, the arrest of his mentor and surrogate father Ahn Chang-ho in Shanghai in 1932, and Ahn's imprisonment in Korea from 1934-36. As I noted in the last post, in February 1922, Yi had organized the Suyang Tong'uhoe, a version of the Heongsadan (Society for the Fostering of Activisists) founded by An Chang-ho in LA in 1913. By the mid 1930s, the Suyang Tong'uhoe was one of the last nationalist groups still openly operating (as it had been organized as a non-political group), but it was under increasing pressure by the Japanese government. Yi met Ahn to discuss its future in 1937 (after Ahn's release from prison), but both were arrested when the key members of the Suyang Tong'uhoe were rounded up that year. Yi and Ahn were released due to ill health, but Ahn died in 1938. Some of Yi's biographers have pointed to Ahn's last words (which were passed on to Yi) which reportedly were, "Chunwon [Yi's pen name], save our comrades!" It was after this that Yi began to cooperate with the Japanese authorities.
The feeling of loyalty of Japanese people cannot be explained merely with the Chinese character “loyalty” (chū, 忠), but rather resembles the loyalty of the Jews to Yahweh. Japanese people think of all good fortune bestowed on them as something that stems from the Emperor. One's land belongs to the Emperor, one's household belongs to the Emperor, one's children belong to the Emperor, one's body and life belong to the Emperor. Because your body belongs to the Emperor, if the Emperor calls upon you, you happily give up your life. The Emperor is a living god. This is an entirely different relation from that found in China or Europe between the ruler and subject.
Yi’s awakening to the insight that life is the most fundamental good directly affected his decision with regard to the Suyang Tong’uhoe case. In one of his essays, he remarks:The main idea he put forward at that time was that saving lives was more importance than loyalty to the nation, and in his essay "Repentance for Korean Literature," (1940), he wrote that, "What I feel deeply remorseful for, looking back on a lifelong creation of literary works, is the underlying attitude to life which I clung to, this being the concept of the nation."
For what reason did I pose as pro-Japanese? [...] The reason is, in short, to save my compatriots from suppression even though I had to make sacrifices and even though I could save only a few […]. I simply felt an affinity to the Buddhist imperative that if you can save even one living being in exchange for your life, you must consider yourself fortunate.
In his postcolonial text Na-ǔi kobaek [My Confession], Yi gives a detailed explanation of the story behind his overt collaboration. In this text, he emphasizes how important the self-cultivation movement was and how the movement shared a common destiny with the Korean nation. Therefore, if the organization had been dissolved and its leading members had met their deaths, the Tong’uhoe undertaking would have ceased to be. It would have meant that the life of the nation had come to an end. For the survival of the nation, Yi felt responsible for the rescue of the Tong’uhoe’s leaders.This is somewhat different from what he argued in texts he wrote under colonization, in which "he made it clear that the self-cultivation movement was no more than a superficial remedy for the Koreans". Yu quotes Yi stating elsewhere that he was actually a closet nationalist the entire time:
Great master wonhyo was serialized in the maeil sinbo while I was collaborating with the Japanese. In this novel I, as far as their censors permitted, presented a drama of our traditional spirit, glories, patriotism, and national consciousness to my fellow Koreans who were forced to shout ‘Banzai!’ for and pledge allegiance to the Japanese Emperor. Whatever I had written since Heartless, be it the Tragic History of King Tanjong, Yi Sun-sin, Rebirth, or A Woman’s Life, was just a cover for nationalism. [p. 137]Jung-shim Lee's essay goes on to suggests other possible reasons for his change of heart:
Another account in Na-ŭi kobaek might furnish us with a different explanation for Yi’s actions. Apparently, although it is impossible to verify, there was a death list drawn up by the Japanese imperial authorities which contained the names of 30,000 to 38,000 national leaders and members of the elite. The rumour of the existence of this list made Yi Kwangsu realize that such a massacre would be the most catastrophic thing a nation might befall next to the entire nation’s collapse. Yi judged that in the case of such a national emergency, non-cooperation might provoke a vengeful massacre. Therefore, he volunteered to collaborate with the Japanese in order to prevent the nation being eliminated before independence was even achieved. By doing so, he sacrificed his reputation as a national leader.What Yi truly believed will likely never be known. He was arrested after liberation, eventually released, and then arrested by the communists during their rule of Seoul in 1950. They dragged him to North Korea, where was never heard from again. As Agnes Kim notes in I Married a Korean, after the war, "His daughter...came to America for the New York Herald Tribune's Youth Symposium and appeared several times on television with young people of other nations. [p. 153]"
Scholars are still obsessed with explaining how someone so seemingly nationalistic turned into a collaborator. [...] Another motive behind research on Mujeong and Yi Kwangsu's other writings from the 1910s seems to be the hope of finding evidence that his nationalism was not genuine, in the period when he was apparently a 'true' nationalist; such evidence would discredit him and end the controversy once and for all." [p .249]Now if we read this -
At last I have reached this conviction: The Koreans must forget that they are Koreans; they must become Japanese in flesh and blood, to the bone; and this is our only way of perpetual preservation.[emphasis added]- it could be argued that this supports the idea that he was afraid of the Korean nation being destroyed, and that he collaborated because he felt it was the only way for himself - and the Korean nation - to survive, at least in some form.
Firstly they must have themselves Japanized; secondly they must devote themselves to have all other Koreans Japanized; and thirdly they must be warriors uplifting Japanese culture and spreading it the world over.Replace 'Japan' with 'Korea' and perhaps you'll suddenly have visions of the Dokdo riders or full-page ads for Dokdo or the East Sea in the Washington Post or of students studying in the U.S. coming to school with 'Dokdo' shaved into their hair (a lot of Dokdo there, but then it seems that Dokdo has also come to symbolize the nation in a manner similar to Baekdusan). This may also sound familiar:
In other words, if you eat the grain of the nation-state, you should work for the nation-state. In the new order, there will be nothing like your own body, your own property, or your own son. Everything will belong to the nation. The way of thinking which says – this is mine, so I will do with it what I like – is inexcusable, it is individualism, liberalism, and it is incompatible with the ideology of the new Japanist value system.While this was written in 1940, Yi had been moving in this direction for some time, as noted in Shin Gi-wook's Ethnic Nationalism in Korea. 'In "Basic Morality of Old Koreans", published [in 1932], he lashed out at individualism and liberalism calling for we-ism (uri juui), group-ism (danche juui), and totalitarianism (jeonche juui). This departed from his earlier view that championed western individualism and free will, which he now charged with destroying Korea’s tradition of we-ism and group-ism,' and called for restoring collectivism based on the "communal spirit of villages of old Joseon."'[p. 48, 69]
The founder of the "citizen's group", Mr. Lee (40) is an English teacher who received a TESOL certificate/diploma in Canada. During a two day interview he explained in detail the truth about Itaewon. Contacting him after a long time, I asked him what the situation was like in Itaewon, and he answered, "Still the same."It now reads:
Jasminhyang,” who was active in the “citizen’s group” in the past under that ID, is an English teacher who received a TESOL certificate/diploma in Canada. During a two day interview he explained in detail the truth about Itaewon. He said he left the group in 2007. Contacting him after a long time, I asked him what the situation was like in Itaewon, and he answered, "Still the same."Jasminhyang was indeed a prominent poster at the site for its first few years. I looked over at AES's website and there was a post by Lee Eun-ung (ID 'm2') saying he had not been interviewed by the article followed by another post (first result here):
New Daily article… Who is the person impersonating a cafe manager?In the comments 'm2' also notes that members who were only concerned with foreigners' dating, the foreign crime problem and club problem separated from the group in 2007.
Don’t believe it!
A few months ago at a meeting of ranking members we discussed the fear that someone might impersonate m2. Now this has really happened. It’s a shock.
Jeon Gyeong-ung and New Daily have made a mistake.
The manager in the article is not m2.
None of our cafe managers have TESOL certification or are English teachers.
This is a lie.
Currently our cafe does not comment on activities related to foreigners’ dating and entertainment activities or foreign crime and club culture.
According to police, an America citizen, a native English teacher at a private language institute, is accused of sexually assaulting a Korean barmaid in a public restroom of a building in Dunsan-dong, Daejeon, at 3 a.m. Saturday.Oddly enough, this has only been reported by two news outlets - the Korea Times and Newsis (once as an article and once as part of a news roundup). The Korean media hasn't really bothered reporting on this. The Newsis article notes that the teacher was a 24 year-old American named 'A', and that the police will report him to 'relevant agencies.' One assumes this will mean not just the workplace, but also immigration. Otherwise, if the compensation system is used instead of prosecuting and the offense is not recorded, it would seem people would be able to continue working in places like schools with unblemished records.
Police said the victim didn’t want the investigation to go further in exchange for compensation from the American. Under the law, police investigations into a rape case can only continue with the victim’s approval, meaning that the probe must be halted.
But police will inform the American’s workplace of the case to hold the offender accountable for his crime.