Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Greetings, Korea Herald Readers.

Soundtrack: hit play and start reading.

Hi there. I'm Rob. I write a blog. (this is the other blog I contribute to)

If you're a Korea Herald reader, you may have found your way here by way of the URL at the bottom of my article, "News firms of questionable quality abound". This article was a response to these two articles, which basically accused English teachers of being unfit, unprofessional, vulgar, and sex-crazed. The Pressian Article- "We are Vampires" (the original Korean) The Yonhap News article (the original Korean). Here is the original blog post I wrote about Yonhap: it's stated a little more strongly than what I put in The Herald. Here's an article in the Korea Times about the same Yonhap piece. (Yay Jason Lim)

If you are annoyed that foreigners are criticizing Korea's media, then ask yourself why we have to do it: why aren't KOREANS holding their journalists to a higher degree of accountability? If you're here to tell me Koreans ARE, great! Good for you! Keep fighting the good fight, and don't give up! Get your friends to join in. If you're here to tell me it's only the right-wing papers that do it, or only the left-wing papers that attack English papers, check out the links below: they go right across the political spectrum. (p.s.: why do newspapers all have positions on the political spectrum? isn't that weird to other people, too?)

The article I wrote is about the ugly pattern of racist journalism promoting stereotypes of English teachers: often they are stereotypes based on rumors, with no statistical proof. For some actual statistics on foreigner crime, check pages 16 and 20 in the report embedded on this page.

If you don't believe what I say about the Korean media's anti-English teacher bias, check out a more in-depth look at the way Korea's media has been systematically dragging down the reputation of English teachers in this post at a friend's blog: "A History of Scapegoating English Teachers"
and also pages 9-13 of the report here.

If you're annoyed that I named your news outlet (those would be The Chosun, the Joongang, the Hankooki), here are the links to articles where your news outlets treated English teachers in an unbalanced or sensationalist way.

This article talks about the Joongang daily's reporting on the playboy party: http://news.naver.com/main/read.nhn?mode=LPOD&mid=sec&sid1=001&sid2=119&oid=044&aid=0000048618
and this article talks about how Joongang's coverage of the playboy party was biased and selective:
This one does too.

here's the hangooki on unqualified English teachers

I'd recommend linking Matt's blog post, "A brief history of scapegoating English Teachers," which gathers most of these sources in one place. http://populargusts.blogspot.com/2007/09/brief-history-of-scapegoating-english.html

"Beware the Ugly White English Teacher" http://sports.chosun.com/news/ntype2.htm?ut=1&name=/news/life/200705/20070528/75827008.htm

English Joongang Daily: connects English teachers to a group of pedophiles who never tried to become English teachers, and many of whom had never even visited Korea. http://joongangdaily.joins.com/article/view.asp?aid=2889573

If you really, really agree with me, and want to help hold the Korean Media to a higher standard, check out this brand-new site created to do exactly that, and contact this guy about how you can help contribute to the site. It's a worthwhile project that needs people power to become all that it could be.

I know that not every Korean is a racist. I'm not stupid. I also know that not every Korean journalist is a racist. As I said: I'm not stupid. I also know that English teachers are not all angels in white, living like monks in Korea. (Not stupid, remember?) however, I wish news outlets were responsible and balanced in the way they reported minorities, especially when those reports DO cause our lives to be more difficult. I've been told to my face by students that after Christopher Paul Neil's arrest, they didn't trust Canadians for a while. To my face. I do not like being held responsible for the actions of other people who share nothing with me except the country of birth, and if I AM to be associated with my birth country, I wish it would be for the positives and the high water marks, not the low points. Associate Canada with socialized health care, Tommy Douglas, Terry Fox, Wayne Gretzky and Michael Oondaatje, not Robert William Pickton and Clifford Olsen and Christopher Paul Neil, in the same way I'm sure you'd rather I thought of King Sejong, Shin Saimdang and Yi Sunshin than Kim Jong-il, Cho Seung-hee, Park Han-se, and Woo Bum-kon when I think of Korea.

And honestly, though I don't know why my motivation should matter, I write this stuff because I care about Korea, and I'd like to see Korea become a better place. Not out of some kind of smug, colonial arrogance, but because my Korean friends are just as frustrated as I am that Korea isn't always what it wished it could be, and writing about the gap between what Korea is and what Korea wants to be, is the beginning step to closing that gap. If I didn't care about Korea, I'd drink more, finish my contract, pack my bags, say "I'm tired of this shit. Fuck it." and leave. And a lot of people do, but telling me to go home isn't helpful.

To know more about why I, and other expats complain about Korea, I recommend this series: Why do Expats (in Korea) Complain So Much?

And to see how I really feel about Korea, I recommend the links in the sidebar to the right.

Thanks for stopping by!