The main feature of the structure is the way that it dichotomizes Koreans and Japanese - us and them, victim and offender, good and bad. These categories appear exclusive and independent, but are mutually defined by one another. Through blaming, the existence of an enemy is made visible, and this in turn helps to define the collective identity of "Korean." Within this dichotomy, however, Korean identity is built only upon victimhood.*Yonhap published the following story on Monday in the wake of the story of the Canadian teacher who was busted for the 'new kind' of drug - hashish.
Some 'poor native speaking instructors' in the Ulsan area hurt its reputationOnce again, Korea is victimized by foreigners, in this case instructors (or teachers - they can't seem to keep that terminology straight). It's good to see government-funded Yonhap reinforcing the xenophobic, victimized aspects of the Korean identity by reminding people of the harm caused by these fat, poorly dressed foreigners who do not understand that the term 'optional' (in regard to after school classes) means anything but (like the 'democratic' in 'DPRK'). One wonders if, by yelling at the students, the teachers were merely trying to be heard over the din.
Problems caused by some native speaking instructors who work in Ulsan area elementary and middle schools are hurting the reputation of Ulsan Metropolitan Office of Education.
At the end of last month, Ulsan MOE received a letter of resignation from S(35), a middle school native speaking instructor who was arrested and charged for smoking cannabis resin (AKA hashish) by the Busan prosecutor's office on the 7th,
S had 29 grams of hash sent to his school from Canada and is suspected of smoking it twice by the Taewha River in Ulsan.
Last year and in 2009, twelve (3+9) native speaking teachers did not have their contracts renewed and were expelled by the office of education for poor teaching methods and having a poor attitude towards their service.
Native speaking instructors renew their one year contracts after being reviewed.
The instructors who were expelled often yelled at students, argued with their co-teachers or dressed poorly.
As well, the office of education said some were too fat and visited the hospital often, so classes progressed poorly, and some refused to teach after school classes.
An official at the office of education said, "There are 180 native speaking instructors working at elementary and middle schools (119 and 61 respectively) in the Ulsan area and most have outstanding experience and carry out high level classes." "However because of some instructors, the image of Ulsan and of course the excellent instructors is being damaged."
"I don't think you'd even hear a nuke if the north dropped one on you!"
(Kyunghyang Shimun, June 11, 2007)
(Kyunghyang Shimun, June 11, 2007)
I love the assertion that "because of some instructors, the image of Ulsan and of course the excellent instructors is being damaged." Yes, I'm sure most casual observers (who think about Ulsan regularly (don't you?)) were willing to give a city that is mostly chemical plant industrial sprawl the benefit of the doubt until they read about the 5% of foreign teachers who didn't have their contracts renewed for being fat and lazy ("That's the last straw - we're going to Haeundae this summer instead!").
While I'm sure things have improved since this July 19, 1970 Stars and Stripes article was written, it gives some idea of Ulsan's past:
Ills Traced To SmogThis event appears to have inspired a story in Cho Se-hui's The Dwarf, in which the city of Ungang (a barely veiled Incheon) suffers a similar incident.
SEOUL — The Ulsan city health center released a report, to local press sources Thursday charging that an almost epidemic rash of headaches and nausea caused by air pollution has hit that highly-industrialized city 185 miles southeast of Seoul.
The center reportedly said a low-pressure weather front had caused toxic sulfur monoxide fumes to hang over the city for several hours Thursday, causing residents of the city's three most crowded districts to complain of severe headaches and vomiting.
According to the Health and Social Affairs Ministry in Seoul, the 10 major plants of the Ulsan industrial complex, just two miles from heart of the city, caused almost $500,000 in pollution damage this year, as well as adversely affecting the community's health.
As for the Yonhap article, one wonders what editorial decision led to its creation...
* From "Re-membering the Korean Military Comfort Women: Nationalism, Sexuality, and Silencing," in Dangerous Women: Gender & Korean Nationalism