Thursday, May 28, 2009

Me, in The Korea Herald, on Swine Flu

Go read what I said about the swine flu in The Korea Herald.


Brian said...


Excellent work.

Andrew Van Wey said...

Great article Rob! You hit the nail on the head.



Pinky said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ZenKimchi said...

Good one.

kushibo said...

The first side-effect is bad for Koreans. If Koreans read an article saying "Foreign Teachers Epicenter of New Flu Cases," from a news source they trust, there is a chance that they will decide, "Well, I don't spend time around foreigners, so I'm fine." That false sense of security might cause some to neglect safety precautions recommended by the World Health Organization to prevent disease transmission.

Rob, the Korean media is describing each cases in detail (read the news links listed here).

The one-third or so that have not been English teachers have been described in detail: Koreans of whatever age, usually coming back from abroad. These groups have been focused on in the public information as people who need to be careful upon returning.

The Korean media is NOT saying this is just foreigners. That is a K-blog notion that does not stand up when one looks at the reports on the actual H1N1 cases.

Roboseyo said...

If Avalon is an isolated case, we're fine, and Avalon are just dicks...but it remains to be seen if Avalon's asshattery is just the tip of the spear, so I remain nervous, and I think my concerns and reservations still stand.

Last time xenophobia and public hysteria combined, we got an ill-conceived and extra-legal set of E-2 visa regulations. (Christopher Paul Neill) I hope you can understand how this is a bit of a sore spot, when English teachers are the subject of fears again.

I'd like to give the Korean people more credit than that: that's why I used language like "there is a chance" and "might", because there are plenty of level-headed Koreans out there, but I've also seen the hysterical Koreans' worst fears carry the public discourse over the cold, rational logical ones before (cf the beef riots, CPN). If the Korean media is telling people to wash their hands a lot and stay home if they feel sick, we're good. If the media's saying to avoid foreigners, I get nervous.

I hope it doesn't happen, and I'd like to give Koreans the benefit of the doubt, and heck, if you read my blog you know I'm not one to pass knee-jerk judgment on all Koreans to make myself feel better, but Avalon makes me nervous. Not enough to quite say "ha! I called it!" yet, but enough to continue watching carefully.

kushibo said...

Rob, you're throwing in issues (Neil, the E2 regs, Avalon) that themselves would require considerable analysis, but none of them go to the heart of what I'm saying: Your article makes the underlying assumption that Koreans will not typically read about all the cases of Koreans being infected, and that is simply not the case.

Most any Korean in Korea who follows this story enough to know about the group of teachers quarantined would also have read about the infected Koreans, whose age and mode of transmission are pretty clearly stated. The danger, if there is any, is not that people will think "Oh, I don't know any foreigners, so I'm okay," but that they will think, "Oh, I don't know anyone who has come back from abroad, so I'm okay."

kushibo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roboseyo said...

for the record, Kushibo, I'm satisfied that this article is not flying off the handlebars or anysuch thing -- if the Korean media's reporting is similar, we're doing fine, and I can say with satisfiction that the Kimchi Moms and Avalon might be nuts, but it's not because of the media.

kushibo said...

I blogged about Korea Herald article that I think reflects the focus on Korean carriers that I've seen in the Korean press.