Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Kimchiland where it’s easy to sleep with women and make money

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.

At 7:30 am on January 11, 2005, the Joongang Ilbo published an online version of the article that the paper had published that morning. Many thanks to Robert Koehler for blogging about this at the time and allowing me to make use of the translations from his posts.
Controversy over foreign English instructor site denigrating Korean women

The Kimchiland where it’s easy to sleep with women and make money.”

“There is nothing good about Korea except that it’s easy to sleep with the women and make money.”

These are some of the comments posted on English Spectrum, a site used by foreign English instructors who have come to Korea. In particular, some of the comments sexually demeaning Korean women are causing controversy.

'Ask The Playboy,' a forum hosted at the site, contains information on how to seduce and sleep with Korean women, and on average there are 5-6 posts every day.

In this forum, sexually open slang is used to describe genitals and sex acts and portray Korean women in a sensational and distorted manner, while Korea has been described as 'Kimchiland.' The site is often used by foreigners looking for jobs in Korea, and is the largest among established foreign instructor job search sites in our country.

Foreigner P posted sarcastic remarks in the forum like, "We're treated like kings by Korean girls who want to learn English and enjoy free sex" and "My place is below a barber shop and it smells weird." Foreigner T wrote, "Because Korean women can't live without a mirror and have such princess complexes, you have to watch what you say." "To block their hot stares, I wear sunglasses on the subway." Comments have been posted denigrating Koreans as 'drunks.'

The site has comments like "Get close to (Korean women) by teaching them English" and "First get them hot and then don't answer the phone," as well as photos of Korean women wearing short skirts. This has led netizens, unable to hide their anger, to post comments protesting this at the site.

The netizen 'tansan' posted that this was "degrading Korean women into sexual playthings” and "this can instill prejudices into foreigners who don't know Korea well." However, David, an American who has been teaching English at a hagwon for three years, said "Most foreigners working in Korea are known to be modest and polite to Koreans," "I'm afraid that the crude behavior of some foreigners who lack common sense will cause good foreigners to be misunderstood."

Reporters Song Hae-yong, Park Seong-u
Three hours after the Joongang Ilbo article was posted, Dalian, in the first of many articles it would publish on the topic, summarized the Joongang Ilbo article and added an interview with an English teacher at the end.
Controversy over foreign English instructors denigrating Korean women


Foreign instructor T, who came to Korea ten years ago from Canada as an English instructor and is married a Korean woman, pointed out that, "That some young foreign instructors are denigrating Korean women is a problem, but Korea's social climate is also a problem." "Women who openly approach foreign instructors to learn English are also a problem."

This instructor said, "Sometimes when I meet friends I'll see some female Korean university students carrying on in the same way like they're joking around," and was concerned that "This could have an adverse effect on the majority of foreign instructors who have a good image of Koreans."
Dailian, an internet news service which had started on April 1, 2004, would use this scandal to get noticed.

An hour later, just before noon, the Hanguk Ilbo posted an article which opened by describing the Joongang Ilbo article:
"Korea is a country where you can easily sleep with women"


In response to this, netizens are unable to hide their anger, posting that this is "degrading Korean women into sexual playthings.” In particular, they pointed out that “sex hunting” by foreign English instructors had reached a serious level, and advised women to be careful of foreign English teachers who try approach them using English as bait.

On the other hand, some netizens also pointed out that "There are also problems with Korean women who unconditionally hang off of foreigners who speak English well."

One Netizen wrote, "U.S. soldiers refer to Hongdae's 'Club Day’ as 'Fucking Day.'" "It's because all they have to do is go and they can (have sex) with any women they want.” He also said, “I heard from one Australian who came to Korea as an exchange student that he had sex with over 300 Korean women in less than a year." "He might have just been exaggerating, but I worry that Korean women might appear like they have sex just to pass the time."

Meanwhile, the site in question was flooded with netizens trying to connect to it after the [Joongang Ilbo] article went up on portal sites like Naver and Empas, and could not be accessed from the morning of the 11th.
With titles like "Controversy over foreign English instructor site denigrating Korean women" and "Korea is a country where you can easily sleep with women," it's not hard to see how these articles drew attention. By the morning of January 12, English Spectrum would be 'temporarily closed,' due to this attention, while a new 'anti' cafe at Naver would be opened by netizens to combat English Spectrum and the 'low quality' foreign English teachers who posted there.


Unknown said...

I read your post well.
I was really upset to see this.
Even though, I don't have foreign friends, I don't know some foreign instructors think like that.
But, This is not their fault.
I think Korea has severe social problem recently. People easily meet, love and sleep.
They think that just like play not only man but also woman. Some of my friends tease me, "you are so stuffy~ ". They usually go to the club every Friday night. At there, They dance with stranger,and drink heavily. After that they sleep.
This is very very bad problem. Am I stuffy? I think we have to take responsibility and treat others sincerely. It is not trend clearly.
Any way, I worry that Koreans would have an negative impression about foreign instructors who have a good image.

Pedro said...

Bong Hyeong,

I'm glad you understand that not all foreigners are like that. This was a group of bad people who felt too comfortable on the internet. I can assure you that most foreigners in Korea are good people who love this country and respect Korean culture. Even I am shocked at what I'm reading here.

Anyway, thank you for understanding. I hope you are well.