2 reasons you should cancel your Korea Herald subscription and sign up to the International Herald Tribune instead:
1. Installment 34 in the "Korean Wave, Even Where it Doesn't Exist" series: "No Wave, just a Korean breeze in Poland". . . didn't show up on the KH Online until a few days after it was published, it seems, placing it behind the "special members only access" filter, so that I can't bring its text onto my blog and mock it (which I've decided will be an ongoing series here, until the hallyu self-congratulation-in-the-dark stops Today's self-aggrandizement: Mongolia!).
2. Taking any damn opportunity to toss in a swipe at Foreign English Teachers in Korea. The last paragraph of this article brings English Teachers into a story that has nothing, absolutely nothing to do with foreign English teachers. Adding wanton swipes at scapegoats and easy targets does not qualify as journalism. Propaganda, maybe. Offensive, definitely. Garbage, dear readers. Just garbage.
Go ahead and read it: reprinted here, because the KHOnline doesn't allow me to link to its articles. It's pretty short.
Quite a story, too -- the way the news is presented it sounds like all 21 were banned in one day: were they on a tour together, trolling the underage sex shops of Asia? Were they all wearing "Pedophile Sex Tour" nametags handed out by their tour company when they got caught by immigration? Were there obscene pictures painted on the side of their tour-bus?
Korea Herald's write-up (author not given) on American pervs getting blocked from entering Korea:
(my emphasis added)
Korea bans entry of 21 American pedophiles
Korea Thursday banned the entry of over 20 Americans convicted of sex crimes against minors as part of global efforts to crack down on pedophiles, the Ministry of Justice was quoted as saying by Yonhap News Agency.
The unprecedented entry ban on foreign pedophiles came after the ministry received profiles of the 21 Americans from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, it said.
"The information from the United States referred to those who have been convicted of assaulting or having sex with minors under 14 in the U.S. and have since traveled to Asia, particularly Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, the Philippines and Korea," said Park Young-joon, a prosecutor in charge of immigration regulations at the ministry.
Under its immigration law, the Korean government can ban the entry of foreigners when they are deemed to be prone to violating social order and disrupting customs in the country.
The move comes as the Korean government has been relaxing visa rules for foreign English teachers to meet the growing demand for native English speakers. But the loosening of rules has prompted concerns that some foreign teachers may be unqualified or involved in illegal activities.
I'm glad they were blocked and banned from entry. What a sordid lot.
But, were they applying to be English teachers? Because if not, by hauling English teachers into this article in the last paragraph, the Herald is taking a chance to stoke flames and race-bait, plying on anti-foreign sentiment and slinging some mud on English teachers, just because there's a lot of mud nearby to be slung.
Korea Times is guilty of this too. It seems like they're unable to write an article about Foreign English teachers in Korea without including the words "drug" "pedophile" "sex" "marijuana" or "unqualified".
When Cho SeungHui went on his killing spree at Virginia Tech, the last line of the article in the New York Times was not "Cho Seung-hui is from Korea; some Americans have noticed that Koreatowns are growing in nearly every American city." Just to foment suspicion of all Koreans, because of the actions of a few. There were no articles anywhere in the mainstream American media like this, after Korean Park Hanse got caught molesting American kids.
I'm getting really f***ing tired of this kind of piss-poor, racist, yellow journalism.
(PS: I'm typing this as my coworker is waiting on hold, phoning California to find out more information about the apostille he needs to have his criminal background check verified by Korean Immigration, due to TIGHTENING visa requirements for English teachers.)
Update: The Joongang Daily has made the link between these pedophiles and English teachers, too, but at least tried to connect it with the topic at hand. They did name-drop accused pedophile/former English teacher Christopher Paul Neil's name, but omitted the fact he was Canadian -- because that's inconvenient to their apparent purpose of stirring up fear and suspicion of American illegal teachers. They also made factual errors about the length of stay for Americans on a tourist visa (they say 90 days, it says 30 here).
Notable quotes from Joongang:
“U.S. citizens are eligible to stay in Korea for up to 90 days without a visa, and some work illegally as English teachers once they arrive as tourists,” Jin said.
“There was a case of a pedophile wanted by Interpol who had worked as an English teacher in Korea before being arrested in Thailand. Since parents are very concerned about such situations, we decided to ban the 21 Americans,” Jin said.
Jin was referring to last year’s arrest of Christopher Paul Neil by Thai authorities after an intensive manhunt. Last October, the 32-year-old suspect, named as Interpol’s most-wanted pedophile, was apprehended shortly after he fled Korea.
Neil was accused of sexually abusing more than a dozen boys in three countries, not including Korea, and putting pictures of the assaults on the Internet with his face blurred.
Although five of the blacklisted 21 had visited Korea as tourists, they had not worked as English teachers, according to Jin.
By Ser Myo-ja Staff Reporter [email@example.com]
Repeat: they had not worked as English teachers -- so why the connection, other than good, old-fashioned, xenophobic muckraking?
From the Korea Times, which did better than its rivals, brushing on the connection in a way that has some credibility, without bringing up names (Chris Neil) or situations (relaxing immigration laws, which is a half-truth at best) that qualify as scare-mongering:
"We have frequently detected the arrival of native English speakers on tourist visas who illegally teach at language institutes. Some of them have even molested Korean children,'' Park [Young-joon, a prosecutor] said. "It was not possible to sort out foreigners likely to commit sex crimes against children in Korea due to a lack of information. Thanks to the list, however, American sex offenders will be denied access to Korean kids,'' Park said.1. "Some of them have molested Korean children"? Care to provide a reference for that? To my knowledge, no foreign English teacher has ever been convicted of that charge (and given the way the media here blows up over any transgression by a foreign English teacher, and the fact I have ears, and can read, I would have heard of it. 2. "Lack of information"? Isn't that what the criminal background check system is for?
(Update: for the sake of full disclosure: Matt, from popular gusts, provided a link to one incidence of foreign teacher sex-crimes on the comment board. However, given the behaviour of Korea's own teachers, and the sheer number of foreign teachers in Korea, it remains one-sided and unfair to slur all English teachers by drawing connections where there are none. See bottom for more.
Update again: Also, LiveWithPassion has given us a wealth of links on my comment board, but all the articles are in Korean, so I can't vouch for them, but they're there.)
Fact is, Korea, no matter how many safeguards you set up, a Christopher Neil is eventually going to sneak through them, just like a Cho Seunghui or a Park Hanse is going to sneak through America's safeguards. Yeah, screen the incoming people. Do your best. Set up the criminal background check: I don't even have a problem with that. I'll jump through the hoops because I want to be here. I like it here (except when I read tripe like this).
But don't make people afraid of things they don't need to fear, by making specious connections, by painting an entire population by the acts of a deviant few whose acts are just as disgusting (probably more) to all the honest, hard-working, moral English teachers in Korea, as they are to the concerned mothers and the old men who give me dirty looks on the subway, because to them, my white-skin means I must be an uncertified, illegally working, pot-smoking pedophile, too, like that guy s/he read about in the paper.
(Update 2: thanks, Brian, for the link)
(Update 3: thanks, also, ROK Drop, for the link.)
(See bottom for more link: this guy mentions, also in the context of foreign teachers being slurred, all the sexual abuse by Korean teachers on students: skip to the paragraph that begins "Stop the bullshit argument that the root of the problem is cultural and foreigners have no sexual mores.")
(Also: Gusts of Popular Opinion's "History of Scapegoating English Teachers")
(Also: Brian from Jeollanam-do "Boycott Korea?" Gathers other such similar information.)