Some Foreigners Bash Korea Unjustly, Unfairly

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http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/special/2008/01/177_17342.html

By David Thiessen
Contributing Writer
I have been involved with Korea and Koreans for a very long time. And over the years I have noticed that many people make criticizing Korea a national sport with the majority of the comments unfair, unjust and untrue.

It seems that when foreigners enter these shores all the lessons of their youth seem to take flight and they return to their unschooled attitudes and opinions, lambaste everything there is about Korea, though much of what they criticize takes place in the Western world as well.

Also, I find that foreigners seem to think that they are perfect or superior to the East which, to them, gives them the right to treat Koreans in an insulting manner while expecting to be treated like kings and queens in return.

It is not difficult to find examples of this, as one only needs to frequent the numerous Western bars and other hangouts or peruse the many foreigner Web sites that exist to provide the Westerner a place to go and meet others.

It seems that anonymity breeds false bravado as I have read and challenged many such negative comments from those posters who would not say such things if their identities were known.

No country is perfect, no one is perfect and though there is room for constructive criticism, humiliating Koreans in public is not one aspect of that part of life.

I find that the Westerner feels that the West is the best despite its own corruption, its own racism and its own slanting of policy to gain benefits for its corporations.

The last people to speak about how bad the Koreans are, are those from Western countries as their track record is as bad, if not worse, than those who were born and reside in the East. This does not mean we can only sit there and kiss butt ― no, for that is as wrong as unjustified and unwarranted criticism.

Foreigners seem to forget that bad treatment garners bad treatment thus much of the negative response they get from Koreans is a result of previous foreigners who have come before and have taken advantage of what generosity they were granted during their tenure here and from the direct actions from each foreigner, who is here now, toward their Korean employers, co-workers and Korea itself.

Foreigners only have themselves to blame for much of what transpires during their sojourn in this country, we are not blameless and the fault does not lie with the Korean nation only.

Take a hard look at your own actions, look at your attitude and behavior through an outsider’s eye and see if you are happy with what you see.

I know I am not perfect here and make my share of mistakes and I say this out of experience, as I have had to adjust as well.

It helps to remember some scripture when faced with the easy task of criticizing others: “ye who are without sin, cast the first stone” and “remove the beam from your own eye first so you can see clearly to remove the toothpick from your neighbor’s eye” (slight paraphrase)

It is not right to publicly embarrass or humiliate a nation through forums that are accessed by the population, many of whom are innocent of the charges laid. Such actions only make life more difficult for foreigners and not easier.

Koreans have the right to determine the rules for their own country and foreigners need to learn to deal with problems the right way and draw the officials attention to difficulties through the proper methods and a public forum is not such an avenue.

The writer an English teacher in Icheon, Gyeonggi Province. He can be reached at jigufli@fastmail.fm.

29 Comments

Filed under Advice, Business practices, Communications, Expat, Globalization, Interesting reads, Interesting..., Korea life, News, Opinions, Unfortunate

29 responses to “Some Foreigners Bash Korea Unjustly, Unfairly

  1. James Smith

    Lumping all foreigners into one category is no less stereotypical than lumping all Koreans into one category.
    I’ve lived abroad in Japan before living in Korea — I integrated into Japan exceptionally well, and would have stayed there if not for the glorious NOVA collapse.
    I am constantly looking for good things about Korea, and I do find them — but I find a hell of a lot of negative stuff, too. I was lied to on several different levels in my contract, from how far my home was away from the school to how many hours a day I’m expected to work — and what my duties were. My diploma is being held hostage by my boss “just in case”; like somehow a piece of paper holds the power of life and death over me. Instead, I simply see it as a grave insult; a slap in the face to the honor and integrity with which I have lived my life up until this point.
    Being forced to shave my goatee because there are at least some crazier Koreans out there who make the leap from any facial hair to full beard, from full beard to Muslim, from Muslim to terrorist — and this was the reason I was forced to cut it off.
    How about being told to convert to Christianity? Then punished for refusing, and treated as a pariah for being atheist. Oh, not all Koreans do that. Just the 80% who are practicing Christians but aren’t even 100% sure that Jesus was a historical figure. I particularly enjoy the Monday morning quiz, for them to test to see if I’ve been drinking over the weekend — despite never having had a drop in my life.

    Blaming me for not having a whole lot of love for a country that has at least two cable channels devoted to a game that is 12 years old, and holds me in even lower regard for being who I am — that is to say, not Korean — is more than a little ridiculous. I’d have to suggest that your kimchi diet must have sizzled some of your reasoning faculties. Grab a hamburger and come back to the fold. Better yet, join me in my glorious plans for Koreatlantis.

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  3. me myself and I

    I have just been sitting down thinking about these things when I saw your comments. I have been coming and going from Korea for a very long time and each time I find different experiences. I have also experienced many other countries for long periods of time. I, like James, find Korea to be fairly and uinfairly treated.

    Firstly, Korea has and probably always will feel the way they do about foreigners. They do not like them here and would prefer Koreans to do the job that we do. They are not as sweet and friendly as they seem, as we find out through dodgy contracts, people not getting paid, amongst others. I also find that they think that they are kind and generous, but when was the last time you asked and received help from a Korean. They either do not know your answer or choose not to give it. They avoid helping almost at any cost, and when they are friendly and generous, it is only because they want something in return, like going to their place to speak English with their children.
    In the same regard, if you go to most other nations and stand on the street with a map looking lost, you are almost guaranteed to have someone want to help you, if not walk you all the way and have a chat while you’re at it. Koreans, would rather stand and stare, like they haven’t seen a foreigner before.

    We can also talk about the international financing of Korean companies that have gone bankrupt, where a foreing investor will buy them out, build them back up to be successful and once they hit they start running again, the Korean backstab their helpers and take them to court for tax evasion or foreign investment fraud (unlike they do for Koreans that are corrupt).

    We can also talk about eh sexual assault cases that were blamed on foreign teacherss in Korea, but in actual fact they were committed by Koreans. The same goes for the mistreatment of the US military because of one or two problems many years ago .. talk about holding a grudge.

    They take things to the extreme, want us to come here but ridicule us for being here. In regards to David’s comments about us bagging them first, it has nothing to do with this. Who started what is as bad as how you described the foreigners in the first place. And if you actually read more about this situation, then you will find that most of my comments were written by some Koreans thenselves. I have just thought along the same lines.

    I understand that there will not be sanity between the Koreans and the foreigners that live here, but if you ask me, which you probably wouldn’t, they want us here to do baby sitting (because teaching is almost not allowed in many schools) and to show our white faces to the masses, then stop their bloody whinging.

    I am at the stage now that I do not want to see Korea or talk to Koreans again, because they always have an agenda. I am sick of hearing about the bad US military and the poor quality of teachers here. If you don’t like these things, suffer without it and pull your own wight for a while. WHat would they think if the US poulled out and the teachers told them to shove it?

    Where would they be?

    Probably unified again, but not a domestic economy.

    Good luck and good riddence………….

    Just to also add something for James – did you realise that the majority of Koreans now are Athiests. The next popular being Christian followed by Buddhism. So asking you to go Christian is going against the masses. Set up your own picket line and stand in Seoul with the other with more time than sence and stay there for three months holding candles and calling for blood. Start that revolution.

    Have I stirred up anything yet?

  4. tino

    This David guy is delusional. He used to work for a school called Nammun High School in the city of Yangju, Gyeonggi province. I was his replacement. The first day I arrived at the school, when I went to shake his hand, as is customary in almost every country on the globe, he did not even attempt to respond. Instead, he turned his back and ignored my greeting.

    it appears that while at this high school, i found a certain book that David had “published.” it turns out, that what he had actually done was compiled a pamphlet of others’ material and directly plagiarized it. That is, he had taken content from other sources and placed it in his book. So, in fact, he did not publish a book, instead he took some excerpts here and there and compiled them into a pamphlet with his name on it. and he didn’t even reference those other sources!

    In addition to his sociopathic behaviour, he apparantly is a fraud as well. allow me to expound. according to this said book and the teaching staff at Nammun High school, David received a Ph.D. from an online university in South Africa. He required everyone to call him Dr. Thiessen. Yet, he never submitted his doctorate to the school to verify his claim. That is to say, if he were a doctor, that means more pay at a public school because one is paid according to certain criteria: experience, education, family members, etc. in other words, he would have been paid more if he had submitted this “doctorate.” so why didn’t he submit it? i don’t know, maybe because he is a complete liar, fraud, phony, charlatan. oh yeah, later the ministry of labour confirmed of Korea confirmed that his claim was false.

    Moreover, David is a hyper-religious nutjob. all the teachers at Nammun told me how he loved Jesus and even would tell the students about it. And, if you read his articles in the Korea Times, you will certainly see I am not mistaken.

    Recently, there was an article about education reform in Korea written by this pretender. He stated that the only reform korea needed was to follow god’s plan. the last time I checked, even in the opinion’s section, NEWSpapers are about NEWS. injecting religion in a newspaper is similar to proselytization, is it not?

    Another quirky contradiction this quack upholds is that he will not, absolutely will not eat korean food. this again can be confirmed by the teaching staff at Nammun High school. the only thing he did eat was pizza and hamburgers, hence his obesity.

    so, David, Dr. Hypocrite, religious right-wing, snobbish, douchebag, before you start preaching from your not so white horse, why don’t you do the following:

    1. learn how to write
    2. stop professing jesus is the saviour (god is dead, Nietzsche)
    3. eat some kimchi, it tastes good
    4. lose some weight, maybe you will regain your capacity to think
    5. if you write about god, do it in a religious magazine, not a newspaper
    6. learn how to shake people’s hand. it is called polite
    7. get a degree from a real university
    8. crawl back to the slime infested hole from which you left.

    sincerely,

    your newest literary rival

    p.s. i am going to send some pretty interesting information i gathered at Nammun High school to the korea times to ensure that you no longer, as you modestly put it, “contribute” content.

    all my claims can be verified by contacting the following school district:
    http://www.nammun.hs.kr/
    031-863-6125

  5. dr. david th.

    i do not know why ‘tino’ is writing lies about me especially when he does not use his real name. he did not say one true word about me and has manufactured situations to fit his evil behavior and one has to wonder why he is printing such drivel around the internet WHEN I HAVE DONE NOTHING WRONG TO HIM.
    i even vacated the apartment early so he could move in without hassle, but he seems to want to hide the good he received just so he can bash another person with nothing but lies.

    he doesn’t even know me so why is he making such accusations when he has no idea nor clue as to any reason anything was done. there is no reason for him to be bad mouthing me.

    there is something mentally wrong with ‘tino’ for him to make such wild stories and accusations against someone who only saw him for 5 seconds. it is a sad commentary on ‘tino’s’ life if he needs to waste time libeling people in public for no reason other than that he was fired from nammun for lying, stealing, and other immoral and illegal activities.

    the school filled me in on him after they got rid of him as they wanted me to come back and work there. so if i was so bad, why would the school want me back? there are a lot of sick people on the internet and ‘tino’ is one of them.

  6. dr. david th.

    p.s. it should be noted thati met this person for 5 seconds ALMOST 2 YEARs AGO. obviously he is on some deranged rampage for whatever reason andjust decided to target me because i wouldn’t shake his hand.

    not much of a reason to attack someonewith nothing but lies.

  7. retmil

    Amazing “dr” Thiessen…what is it they say about first impressions? Oh, that they are usually right and they are long lasting. Sorta explains why 5 seconds two years ago stayed w/ Tino….you piece of lying, psychopathic crap.

  8. dr. david th.

    well that tells you how wrong first impressions can be and how easily fooled some people are

  9. Frank

    We know you. We have read all about you at KT. While I do not get involved in the squabbles, I hope the others get you removed quickly.

  10. dr. david th.

    you don’t know me, you just read the lies spread by those who do not know me. doesn’t say much about you.

  11. foolfinder

    Well,DOCTOR (chuckle), it’s strange that tino would leave the school’s contact info if he was as bad as you make him out to be. No, where there’s smoke, there’s fire, and I suspect you are flaming . I just read several of your KT posts (there are thousands of them–do you have a life?), and you definitely have a screw loose. Maybe you should hook up with another doctor-the kind the dispenses psychiatric services.

  12. Francis

    So because Neitzsche said God is dead, that make it true? wow thank you Neitzsche, oh wait, you’re dead.

  13. Francis

    I agree with everything else though in tino’s the first response post.

  14. KAW

    To these white foreigners who criticize Korea and Koreans:

    If you’re not happy in Korea, get the hell out and go back to your country. We know you didn’t amount to anything in your respective countries, so what makes you think you will be respected in Korea? If you were a loser then obviously you will be a loser in a different country. Your attitude is what makes you so hated from all over the world. No one is forcing you to stay. I’m glad to hear you will be avoiding Koreans since it’s always the whites that constantly strikes up stupid conversation with me anyways. Talking to these stupid whites annoys the hell out of me. As an Asian woman, I find white guys obsession with Asian women thoroughly disgusting and revolting. No one and I mean no one thinks whites are superior other than you stupid whiteys. Have you stopped and think why people disrespect you? It’s because you act like you’re better when you’re perceived as inferior. Just because you don’t get treated with respect you’re frustrated and start bashing Korea and Koreans. LOL

    Go ahead and pull your military out of Korea. I guarantee it won’t happen since it means thousands of GIs with NO JOBS!!! Hell, as an “American”, I don’t want to pay tax to support the weak military anyway. I’m tired of hearing these dumbed down whiteys making comments about how Korea needs U.S. military and threaten to pull the military out. ROFLMAO. As if you have the power to do so?!? You have been neglected in your own country. No one gives a crap about what you think. (That includes Koreans) Do all of Koreans a favor and go back to your country. Koreans don’t need fat losers criticizing the beautiful country and its people.

    It’s pathetic that due to these majority of losers, the good Americans fall into the same basket. If you’re a respectable person, Koreans will treat you with respect. I know many white Americans who loved Korea and thought they were treated with respect. These people would be treated with same respect in any country since they’re respectable people. So, stop b1tching and start adjusting your attitude, or just go back to your country and be disrespected there also. LOL

  15. Tom

    I agree 100% there are many anti korean foreigners who come to Korea mostly because of the $$$$ they expect to be treated like kings but when they leave Korea they only talk garbage about korea…They are losers and they belong in their countries.

  16. A Westerner

    Wow it is so interesting to see all of this animosity between foreigners and koreans on here.

    Let me introduce myself…

    I am a western male who has lived in Asia for the most part of the last 9 years.

    I started out here as an English teacher, teaching in Taiwan. While I was there I progressed to head foreign teacher at the school I was working at. The parents of the kids, who didn’t approve of me and my methods of teaching at first, had tears in their eyes as I was leaving the country as they had just seen their kids (my students) perform a twenty minute play in perfect english when 3 years earlier they could barely string a sentence together. It is now 4 years later and I am still in contact with my those students.

    Now when I moved to Asia, yes it was mainly to make money as I had a lot of debt to pay off and here was my best option but it was also to do something different and it took a lot of courage to come over here by myself. Now, I was never obsessed with asian girls before I came here but merely a man obsessed with girls as most men are in there twenties.

    So partying and girls were a big part of my life and yes I dated Chinese, Indonesian, Japanese and also white girls. I didn’t date Asian women because I am a sicko with an infatuation for asian woman. It is because I was a white man in an asian culture and if a girl is beautiful, she’s beautiful not matter what the race, and the environment I was in was asian..

    Nowadays I live in Indonesia, where I have started a successful hotel, I did return home for one year to work in mining which I made most of the capital to start the business. We employ 15 staff and turn over 2-300,000 USD per annum so. So I am now a foreign investor into an the asian economy. I have moved on somewhat since the days of Taiwan but the reason I am in this forum is because I am here in Korea to visit my wife’s family for the next few months. Three years ago I met my wife while she was on holidays in Bali, we fell in love but that’s another story. My wife is Korean, but she has spent time living abroad in Italy, Canada and Hungary. I am not here to work, I am here to be with my wife. So not every foreigner you see here just picked up a girl from the bar across the rd and if he did, what would the problem if he was living here teaching you children to speak english, doing business or protecting your country as a soldier in the army.

    I can understand points here made by foreigners, I had the same issues living in Taiwan eg. Them wanting to be your best friend ( to learn English ), Jealousy if your talking to a girl, or worse holding their hand and the Anti Social behaviors on the street ( which they Taiwanese would also do to each other also). However I did have a few great Taiwanese friends, some who had lived abroad. I find as in any culture the people who have travelled are more wise and less close minded.

    Now my point with all of this is not all foreigners are here disrespecting Koreans and some of them may be your future bosses, so before you generalize to all foreigners you meet on the street or in a bar, think that this person may only be here to visit his wife’s family or he may be investing into your country or better still, he may be teaching your children and fellow koreans the most important language in international business, which in turn will give them a greater future with more opportunities.

    The west have invested so much time wealth and knowledge into the east and sometimes it gets forgotten in an instant because of narrow minded thinking and forgetting about good things we have done in the past. A fact.. Australia is giving 452 million dollars worth of Aid to Indonesia over 2009-10 because it wants to help lower poverty levels in the country, are they asking for anything in return? When the tsunami happened who was the first people to help? same with the recent earthquake in Padang! If there were a nationwide disaster like a tsunami in Korea, I guarantee western people would be the first to come to the rescue, even when China is next door.

    Now a few years back there were some really bad floods in the USA it was worldwide news, did any asian countries come to the rescue?

    The point here is the west does a lot for the east with investment which boosts the economies and we also contribute a lot of aid, we move out of our comfort zones to come here to work and make money but it is for a good reason. It’s not like we are coming over to work in the 7 11 and take a job from an unskilled korean. It’s to teach you and your children the no.1 universal language of business which gives them a future and if Korea was like Singapore or Hong Kong you would have enough english speaking teachers to support this internally but it hasn’t quite got to that stage yet and maybe it would get a whole lot closer if it embraced the good things about western ideals and culture.

    So in the future, please don’t generalize and disrespect every foreigner you see on the street, you should appreciate what we have done and what we are doing and welcome us which will benefit your country in the long run.

    If you want your country to progress, embrace foreign interaction like we do in the west. Look at our countries for example – Australia and America which allow so much immigration and opportunity for Koreans and many other Asian people who choose to live in our countries. Our values are created to treat all races as one regardless of the color of their skin. These should be universal values practiced by all countries.

    Peace Love and Happiness to you all
    A Westerner

    • Hey,
      As an immigrant in the United States, I can say that “Americans” do no necessarily “embrace diversity.” I’m not here to bash on the United States because I love this country with all my heart, I consider it my country, and I have mostly been treated great by the people around me, but I’m not going to lie, I have experienced some form of discrimination:people making fun of my accent, people saying things about a specific group, telling me to go back to my country, etc. Embracing diversity is not easy. Racism and people’s inability to “embrace” foreigners happen everywhere. Yes, maybe it’s more common in places like Korea where is highly a homogenous society and it is not used to foreigners. But you have to keep in mind that the United States has a 200 plus years of immigration history and it still struggling, and Korea, so far, has very little experience in dealing with immigrants. And from my personal experience, when people go to another country they want the country to adapt to them because it’s more comfortable, and this , of course, it’s not easy for locals to accept (people don’t like change). Sometimes as a foreigner you have no choice than to deal with people’s ignorance and try to educate them to the best of your ability.

  17. A Westerner

    I just found this great article By Lee Ji-young which I think is appropriate for both westerners and Koreans reading this thread..

    

After my article entitled, “Living in Korea,” was published in The Korea Times on April 19, I have been getting a lot of responses from foreigners.

Most of them showed me their appreciation of how it helped them understand Korean society and people in general.

What surprised me was that I didn’t receive any responses from Koreans. My previous article might have sounded a little harsh with criticism of people’s attitudes. 

However, everything I wrote was true based on experiences and general opinion and I tried to give constructive criticism that Korean people should keep in mind. 

In the end, I didn’t forget to mention all the great things about living in Korea.

Each country has both good and bad points: America is wealthy, but the cost of health care is extremely high; Canada is beautiful, but winters are very cold in most areas; Japan has a strong economy, but the cost of living there is very high. 

Korea might have its share of problems, but it also has many wonderful things about it. I like living in this country and do not want to live anywhere else.

This time, I would like to write about the attitudes that foreigners should have in Korea. We all know the old saying, “When in Rome, do as Romans do.” What this proverb basically means is when you are in another country you should follow their customs and regulations. 

In addition, what you do and say can have a big impact on impressions of not only yourself but also on other people in your country.

It always impresses me when I see foreigners trying to learn about Korean culture and language. I appreciate their efforts and interests in learning about another country they are living in.

Even knowing the very basics makes a huge difference. It not only makes it easier for them to go around and do things, but also local people will appreciate their efforts.

I am not saying that all foreigners living here should be able to speak Korean. My point is that it is very important for them to respect Korean culture during their stay here. It is also important to understand why people act in certain ways and their way of thinking.

When I was traveling in another country, I was a little offended when most people there didn’t know anything about Korea. Soon I found out their schools did not teach them about a lot of things outside of their country. The problem was not their attitudes, but their educational system and curriculum.

For those who think many Koreans are racists, I would like them to think of it this way: The way people think is largely developed by their upbringing and what they have seen and heard.

Koreans are not used to seeing people of different ethnic backgrounds therefore it is natural for them to have prejudice against people from outside of the country. It comes from lack of diversity and your understanding will be highly appreciated.

As a person who has been associated with a lot of foreigners here, I would like to give some valuable tips to these three groups: Foreign tourists, English teachers and businesspeople.

For those who are traveling here from abroad, I would like to tell them Korea is famous for its beautiful nature and has many tourist attractions across the country. Seoul is a highly populated city and there is a lot of traffic. 

However, it is a very attractive city and I suggest you explore all the great places and things the travel brochures recommend, which you will never forget.

This message goes out to English teachers: English is very important to a lot of people in Korea. They depend on you and teaching is one of the most rewarding things you could ever do in your whole life. 

Learning about Korean culture and society will help you tremendously with your teaching and it will help your students as well. I have so much respect for all those teachers that come here from half way around the world. For the benefit of your students, I hope you do the best you can to help them learn the English language. They will really appreciate it!

Here is an important message for businesspeople: Korea is now one of the largest economies in the world. It is constantly growing and will continue to grow. A lot of multinational companies here are doing very well. There is a huge demand for imported products in almost every industry in this country.

Learning about Korean people and culture is very important in business in general. Wal-mart came to Korea and their business closed down. The reason was that they didn’t try hard to adapt to Korean people’s preferences and market trends. What works in America doesn’t always work in another country.

People in every country have both good and bad qualities. When I was living abroad, I met all kinds of people who didn’t treat me with respect and only cared about money. However, I tried not to be judgmental and did not turn against everyone. It paid off and I was able to blend in well with a lot of good people there.

Looking back, living in another country was a big challenge, but it was also a great experience. I wouldn’t trade it for anything else in the world. It gave me a new perspective on life and people.

It also made me recognize all the wonderful qualities of Koreans that people in other countries do not possess. A lot of foreigners here told me they were impressed with Koreans’ hospitality and their commitment to work.

My advice for Koreans is they need to be global-minded and should never judge anyone based on looks, ethnic backgrounds or stereotypes. They also have to be courteous when driving, using cell phones and standing in lines. A little courtesy goes a long way.

For those who are living here away from your home country, I hope you make the most of your stay here and have a lot of great experiences in Korea!

The writer is an English instructor in Seoul. She can be reached at stkate27@gmail.com.

  18. A Westerner

    some more positive stuff about Foreigners and westerners integrating in Korea

  19. A Westerner

    a good foreigner

  20. Easterner

    Easterners too have a superiority complex. Especially East Asian Countries like, China, Japan, Korea and Mongolia. Easterners believe that Eastern culture (race) is superior to Western culture. They will not be outspoken about it, but it is widely shared in East Asian cultures. Other parts in Asia like Southeast, South and West Asia don’t have these feelings.

  21. Korean I AM

    I find that the arguments with Koreans and Foreigners are both correct as well as false. Many foreigners come to Korea and at the instance of some ignorant racial discrimination they go to public forums and fixes their thinking into bashing Korea. However, I, as a Korean-American have faced considerable racial prejudices in the U.S. During my summer jobs I have often been relegated to the most demeaning jobs while those with the same pay and position title often had it quite easy often at times because they weren’t minority. In addition, during my school years, school teacher during parent conference automatically assumed my parents didn’t know English and probably came to the U.S. through some illegal means. However, that doesn’t excuse me to go on public forum or airways decrying the whole nation as stereotypical racist idiots. Racism has existed in the U.S. as much as Korea. However, many of these minority groups have undertaken steps to reach out and educate the American public and also learn to incorporate what acts, customs, and manners are deemed unoffending and appropriate in the U.S.

    I do not see this occurring among most foreigners in Korea. Often they live in a largely socially segregated circles where after work hours foreigners seek other foreigners to comingle. In addition, they make no amends to reach out and educate the local community in Korea, but instead choose to label Korea as a hell-hole which I guarantee you is not the way to improve cross cultural understanding.

    Let’s be honest all foreign English teacher in Korea. Most of you make it sound like you are undergoing a grand mission of serving the Korean community, but in reality most of you couldn’t find a job back home with your qualification or wanted to find some graduate school-boasting unique experience, so the only place that you could find a job with minimal qualification, namely speaking English, is Korea. If you say, otherwise, then let me ask you how come you don’t go teach English in undeveloped countries or in undeveloped urban neighborhoods back home in the U.S.?

    So, instead of bashing Korea on public forums and out partying and enjoying the scenery and tourist attraction of Korea, why don’t you all go out and do some cultural awareness activity during your free time and reach out to the local community. Then your complaints would have much more credibility.

    Many people say that U.S. is the land of opportunity but that only holds true if hard work is done just like most other democratic countries. Many Korean-Americans before the KA community became developed have often sacrificed their lives and worked 3 or 4 low-paying jobs saving their money while 1.5/2nd generation kids gritted their teeths and study hard to get the most out of their educations. Yet, Americans flaunt that it’s America that helped them. I wonder had early Korean-American not work as hard as before will able to achieve the same success they have today.

    Indeed I find many foreigners automatically assuming what manners, customs, or depicted behaviors is considered appropriate. The same can be applied on the business front. One example is the failure of Detroit that most Americans blame on East Asian price competitiveness alone. In fact, creating products suited only to American taste whether it be gas guzzling bulky cars or that automatically East Asian countries will prefer the steering wheels on left side of the vehicle have led to unpopularity downfall of Detroit.

  22. Tina

    I think the problems are the assumptions made by many Koreans about english teachers. They assume foreigners cannot get jobs in their own countries but that is not always the case, some just feel they could make more money or want experience a country. Some people could not afford to travel to Korea for vacations. Koreans also tend to assume that foreigners are more likely to do drugs or be involved in crime, but this just is not true. I remember the outcry after some pictures of a Halloween with foreigners and Korean women got on the internet. Those women were not really dressed any diffrently than many Korean women at clubs all over Seoul not to mention the outfits some Korean celebrities wear. The truth is that many Koreans are afraid of mixing blood, having a child with a foreigner is shameful in Korea. There is no excuse for the behaviour of some Koreans, just because places like America also have issues does not mean it is alright that Koreans treat foreigners like lesser human beings. The issue is that schools, the media and legislation all uphold racist views. At the very least in America, as far as i know, the law decrees and uphold racism laws. Until the government insists on educations and informing the public on the truth about foreigners nothing will change. The issue of women in Korea is also a problem. I’m not sure how many posters are women but women in general in Korea are not treated as equally as men. Even in the west there is sexism but again laws are in place and often put into effect. There is NO comparison, women in the West have much more freedom and equality. If anyone denies this, i would ask them to read a bit about Korean history and the Family Law in Korea. It is strange that North Korea has more laws regarding female equality than the “advanced” south. Many Korean men assume foreign women are “easy” and will sleep with them but this is not always the case. Sexism in the workplace is also common and women have no one to turn to for help.
    This being said not all Koreans behave in this way. Many Korean, in particular those who have lived abroad, are much more understanding and reasonable. This is why education is so important. If Koreans just learned more about foreigners all this fear would go away. Some foreigners are also to blame as they do not adapt well and do not understand the culture. However, as it stands many educated foreigners who speak Korean and applied Korean customs have been treated badly. Many have been refused service or have been haressed before ever speaking a word or doing anything but walking down the street or into a restaurant. The instances of racism are too widespread and frequent to call this a cultrual adaptation problem. No where in any place in the West have i seen Koreans treated as badly as some of the treatment several people i know have.
    Lastly the argument of “if you don’t like it go home” is over used so i would like to address it. People should be able to travel and work in a developped country without being discriminated against. People travel to make a better life and teaching in Korea can pay better then some teaching jobs in other countries. There are over 2 million South Koreans living outside Korea, most of them left for economic reasons but no one subjects them to racism and if they are subjected to racism there are laws in place to help them find justice. It was only after protesting and demanding rights that immigrants in countries all over the world were granted equal rights, but that was several decades ago. The fact that foreigners cannot fight and have no rights makes people feel like Korea is “behind” the west in terms of equality. The truth is i do not want to see a repeat of the civil rights movement or riots occur in South Korea before foreigners are given equal treatment. The truth is that unless something changes soon foreigners and locals will clash and i doubt it will be bloodless. History has shown us this. Both parties need to do whatever it takes to avoid that and start making changes.

    • Rancid thee Timer Killer

      If you a woamn from the west and I am a western guy and we meet at a bar I can molest you without fear of police – this is cause you are white and therefore a slut and the cops think you are a slot and I am just a playboy with a loose woman – of corse I would never harm anyone – not eeven Paris Hilton if she was in a Korean bar in Itaewon- however you as a woman and a western woman are a slut.
      Woman can not smoke in Korea but western girls do – more prrof you are bad-
      It is above ideas like this that make it hard for a girl in Korea

      On the other hand guys like me can not get a lot of dates with hawt korean chicks cause only the crzy sex fiend ones will. THe good normal / nice girls do not want to be seen as playboy playthings- ok there are a few exceptions those are some of the few sweet but conserative ladies who have been overseas…

      Anyhow I am just here for ther cash I do not like koreans – I do not like Brits either though ans Brit kids will stab you wehre as koreans wont… unless of course you are a western girl in a taxi and the taxi man wants to take a stab and a western dirty girl- yes good luck in cabs white girls….

  23. uhm

    @ a westerner = “So in the future, please don’t generalize and disrespect every foreigner you see on the street, you should appreciate what we have done and what we are doing and welcome us which will benefit your country in the long run.”

    A lot not all.. but a lot of “white people” (usually american males) come to korea to say they are teaching english.. when really they don’t give a fck about the students/or teaching.. but are there for the $$$$ and to spend that $$$ on booze .. and think they can get any girl if they asked her out on the street because they are “white”.. tsk tsk..

  24. me

    Paragraphs are your friend. Please use them.

  25. Rancid thee Timer Killer

    I think you are all spiteful and seem angry- If you meet a guy from the usa and you r from the usa u beta Frickin shake my hand – not to do so is always a slight – on the other hand it is unkind to call persons fat and crazy and say they is a plagirist … sayin he a plagirist is deformation if it aint true ! it it was true get a copy of the book to someone he stole words from otherwise u just pointing finger to say he a cheater

    I think Korea is dumb I think America is dumb I am a Misgionist All men is evil I only trust 4 year old korean girls – ok sometime I trust real old men and women too- I can tell by lookin in their eyes they love me and love the usa for saving them…

    and of those many are scared of me though quite a few have given me kisses at the direction of their Mums. I think you all need to caalm down and see that korea is dumb but so is america – I howeva is smart so shut you poop tooter adn

    RESPECT MY ATHORATAh!

  26. There are idiots and back stabbers around the world. In Korea no exceptions.

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