Part 1: English Spectrum and 'Ask The Playboy'
Part 2: The Kimchiland where it’s easy to sleep with women and make money
Part 3: English Spectrum shuts down as Anti-English Spectrum is created
Part 4: How to hunt foreign women
Part 5: Did the foreigners who denigrated Korean women throw a secret party?
Part 6: The 'Ask The Playboy' sexy costume party
Part 7: Stir over ‘lewd party’ involving foreigners and Korean women
Part 8: The 2003 post that tarred foreign English teachers as child molesters
Part 9: Netizens shocked by foreign instructor site introducing how to harass Korean children
Part 10: 'Recruit a Yankee strike force!'
Part 11: The Daum signature campaign: 'Let's kick out low quality foreign instructors!'
Part 12: Movement to expel foreign teachers who denigrated Korean women
Part 13: "Middle school girls will do anything"
Part 14: Netizens propose 'Yankee counter strike force'
Part 15: Segye Ilbo interview with the women from the party, part 1
Part 16: Segye Ilbo interview with the women from the party, part 2
Part 17: Web messages draw Koreans’ wrath
Part 18: Thai female laborers and white English instructors
Part 19: KBS Morning Newstime: 'I can also suffer from the two faces of the internet'
Part 20: AES: Grandfather Dangun is wailing in his grave!
Part 21: 'Regret' over the scandal caused by confessions of foreign instructors
Part 22: "Korean men have no excuse"
Part 23: "Unfit foreign instructors should be a 'social issue'"
Part 24: Growing dispute over foreign English instructor qualifications
Part 25: 'Clamor' at foreigner English education site
Part 26: Foreign instructor: "I want to apologize"
Part 27: No putting brakes on 'Internet human rights violations'
Part 28: "They branded us as whores, yanggongju and pimps," part 1
Part 29: "They branded us as whores, yanggongju and pimps," part 2
Part 30: Don't Imagine
Part 31: Anti-English Spectrum founder's statement
Part 32: 'Foreign instructor' takes third place
Part 33: Art From Outsider's Point of View
Part 34: U.S. Embassy warns Americans of threats near colleges
Part 35: Internet real name system debated
Part 36: Dirty Korean women who have brought shame to the country?
Part 37: Invasion of Privacy Degrades Korean Women Twice Over
Part 38: 60 unqualified native speaking instructors hired for English instruction
Part 39: The rising tide of unqualified foreign instructors
Part 40: Warrant for Canadian English instructor who molested hagwon owner
Part 41: MBC Sisa Magazine 2580: "Korea is a paradise"
Part 42: Foreign instructor: "In two years I slept with 20 Korean women."
Part 43: Viewers shocked by shameless acts of unqualified foreign instructors.
Part 44: Warrant for the arrest of a man in his 30s for breaking into home of foreign instructors
Part 45: [Cultural criticism] Hongdae club day lewd party incident
Part 46: Unqualified English instructors seen as major problem here
Part 47: Investigation of the realities of 'foreign instructors' methods for luring Korean women'
Part 48: Broadcast announcement: 'For foreign instructors, is Korea a paradise for women?'
Part 49: To white English instructors, the Republic of Korea is a paradise
Part 50: "If they're white, it's okay?" Lots of English instructor frauds...
Part 51: A new message from Anti English Spectrum
Part 52: SBS, 'Is Korea their paradise? Blond hair blue eyes' part 1
Part 53: SBS, 'Is Korea their paradise? Blond hair blue eyes' part 2
Part 54: SBS, 'Is Korea their paradise? Blond hair blue eyes' part 3
Part 55: Viewers of 'Realities of unfit foreign instructors' outraged
Part 56: Foreign instructor: "Korea is a cash and women dispenser."
Part 57: Frustration with low-standard foreign instructors: "Korea's pride damaged"
Part 58: Netizen anger over 'foreign instructor' broadcast
Part 59: Video On Demand service for "I Want to Know That" temporarily suspended
Part 60: TV Program Warms Up Foreign Teacher Controversy
Part 60: TV Program Warms Up Foreign Teacher Controversy
Part 61: A country where foreign English instructors play
On February 21 a column appeared in the Hanguk Ilbo about the SBS broadcast:
[Window] A country where foreign English instructors playWhile the comparisons between the sadaejuui of the present - the Korean government and ruling class following American-led neoliberal globalization - and that of the past - when some Korean elites hitched their wagons to Japan's rising star - are likely meant to shock and anger, in considering Korea's position in the international system then and now, they are essentially correct. Kim argues against Korea selling out its identity in a globalizing world, which is fair enough. But that's not all he argues.
After a television broadcaster showed frank images of foreign English instructors fooling around with Korean women, the internet was teeming with the anger of netizens. What's worse, this went as far as calling for attacks on foreigners. In the worst cases a combination of excessive sadaejuui and it's exact opposite, xenophobia, had arrived. In the (neo) Nazi's xenophobia there is no sadaejuui. In Korea, xenophobia and sadaejuui are two sides of the same coin. From this point of view, at the very least it is worse psychologically.
The actions of the foreign instructors and Korean women are abhorrent but are we indeed to rebuke them alone? Korean women who give their bodies to Western men who suddenly appear before them only [presents us with] a self-portrait generated by our society. This is because the responsible authorities don't even think of cracking down on unqualified foreign instructors who sleep with 50 women in one year while making money illegally.
These social conditions are the inevitable result of a government and ruling class with deep-rooted sadaejuui imposing English upon all citizens. The mindsets of women who admire Western men and offer their bodies to them and government officials who kill indigenous culture because they admire Western culture are fundamentally the same. Young women who are avid to seduce Western men in nightclubs and old officials who try to win favor with and kowtow to Western businessmen are no different.
When, all over the country, the entire minjok [race/nation] is selling out as if devoted to a religion and, without confidence or pride, throwing away what we have and adopting other's things, who indeed can throw a stone at the foreign instructor who does his best to earn and enjoy money and the Korean women drunk on the sweetness of blonde hair? Indeed, if the ruling class had resisted together, could Japan have taken over Joseon? Even if they did take over [after resisting], they couldn't have treated us with such contempt.
When the pro-Japanese gave away our country they said it was, after all, the way of the world and that this was the only path we could take to live. Now it's the age of globalization and it's said the only way to live is to go along with this, so how is the logic of businessmen, management and intellectuals, who now make English scores the standard for everything, any different? Now, rather than say convicting pro-Japanese of crimes was a mistake, or that Japanese imperialism modernized [Korea], this logic and the logic that Globalization can bring us strength are not unconnected.
Let's come to our senses. If we look down on ourselves others will look down on us too. If we intend not to attack foreigners, we must first gain pride ourselves. Only people who love themselves can be loved by others.
Hangeul Culture Alliance Representative Kim Yeong-myeong,
One eyebrow-raiser is his argument that because Korean xenophobia involves sadaejuui, or sucking up to great powers, it is, "at the very least," psychologically worse than Nazi xenophobia, which resulted merely in killing millions of people in industrialized death factories. But then attitudes in Korea towards the Nazis have, from time to time, betrayed a lack of concern for their atrocities (enough to open Hitler-themed bars, say, or to use Nazi imagery in TV commercials) or a willingness to play them down in favour of portraying Koreans as uniquely victimized by the Japanese.
As well, while he eventually seems to take the blame away from teachers and women themselves and blames the system they're a part of, he makes it clear he thinks that the "actions of the foreign instructors and Korean women are abhorrent" and refers repeatedly to "foreign English instructors fooling around with Korean women," "Korean women who give their bodies to Western men who suddenly appear before them," the "mindsets of women who admire Western men and offer their bodies to them," the "young women who are avid to seduce Western men in nightclubs," and - my favourite - "Korean women drunk on the sweetness of blonde hair," suggesting a certain preoccupation on the writer's part. Reading Vincent Brandt's A Korean Village Between Farm and Sea, his 1971 book based on his anthropological fieldwork in a Korean seaside village in Chungcheongnam-do in 1966, gives some insight into this preoccupation:
"It seemed to me that in addition to the matter of etiquette and reputation there was an element of distrust involved, fear that a girl or woman's natural lust might get out of hand. Whenever I encountered a woman alone and stopped to talk - on a path, when visiting a house, or if she was working in the fields - a man would join us, sometimes a little breathless from running down the beach or across the paddy field dikes. He would usually proceed diplomatically to disengage me from the conversation, and the woman would leave." [Page 134]One could say that columns like the one above (or the entire English Spectrum incident) were part of an media-led attempt to "disengage" foreign teachers from their conversations with Korean women by shaming the women, and reminds me of Scott Burgeson's comment that the eventual drug and HIV tests for foreign teachers were "institutionalized cock-blocking."
While it might seem admirable, despite mentions of Korean women "giving" or "offering their bodies" to Western men, that Kim gives Korean women some agency (the "young women who are avid to seduce Western men in nightclubs" seem to be doing the seducing), this is likely written so as to make them even more culpable for their "abhorrent" actions and thus worthy of punishment. Thus, when he writes that "The mindsets of women who admire Western men and offer their bodies to them and government officials who kill indigenous culture because they admire Western culture are fundamentally the same," this is likely meant more as an insult to the government officials.
What I found interesting is how much this all reminds me of the discourse surrounding the study of English and foreign English teachers during the French foreign language teacher scandal of 1984. As an August 25, 1984 Kyunghyang Shinmun article (from a column titled 'Our Language') titled "Sickening Face" described it,
A Parisian dishwasher living in Lyon ended up flying to Korea. Because he was a French person who spoke French well, he was invited to work as a hagwon instructor.On August 24, 1984, after first bringing the scandal of French foreign teachers living the easy life as language teachers in Korea, as reported by Le Monde, to the public's attention, expanding it into a look at 'fraud' teachers, and painting a picture of a Korea about to be deluged by unqualified young French men, the Joongang Ilbo offered an editorial titled "Foreigners and Foreign Languages," which worried about the effect of these foreigners on Korea:
A maiden from a distinguished rich family enamored with the foreigner’s exotic outward charm married the Parisian dishwasher, and this made him a rich man overnight.
Indeed such a thing was reported in a Le Monde article a few days ago. Other Parisian dishwashers, shoe shiners, and car washers are calling en masse the Korean embassy in France. In the end, Parisians are flocking like a cloud [to Korea].
Ultimately there’s a worry that when learning conversation students will imitate that country’s vulgar culture, vulgar living language, and vulgar values.[...] Also, for this reason it could come to pass that our citizens' image of their level of culture will fall and will offset the effectiveness of gaining foreign language learning.On August 21, 1984, a column in the Donga Ilbo titled "Jibberish," provided its own commentary on the subject of unqualified foreign language teachers and how well white people were treated in Korea, returning to the story they had reported two months earlier (titled "Koreans have a weakness for Foreigners") of an American who lived for free in Korea for over a year, partly due to misuse of lost credit cards, and partly due to the generosity of Korean women:
At the end of his confession, he said “There are hundreds of foreigners like me, and Koreans are exceptionally friendly to foreigners, especially white ones.” As a joke, he said, "If you go to the United States, even beggars speak English well,” but if the power of foreign language extends this far, it would be difficult to stop people from reflecting bitterly on this [worship of foreign languages] as a great sickness. It’s difficult to tell whether the foreign language boom is a bad thing in itself, or whether [the choice of] a marriage [partner], as a personal matter, can be judged as right or wrong, or whether being [overly] kind to foreigners is something to be criticized. Before any of this can be considered, however, one must stand up and have some self respect.Or as Mr. Kim ended the column translated above,
Let's come to our senses. If we look down on ourselves others will look down on us too. If we intend not to attack foreigners, we must first gain pride ourselves. Only people who love themselves can be loved by others.Considering Korea's history - involving colonization, division, and war - and its place in various regional and international systems over the past hundred (or thousand) years, attaining national pride is fraught with complications. Kim complains of "the logic of businessmen, management and intellectuals, who now make English scores the standard for everything," and while this is indeed a problem, it's also nothing new; during the Joseon dynasty the path to success was passing the civil service exam which required mastery of classical Chinese. But back then only a small minority of men had the opportunity to pursue such education; now a majority of the population is forced to study English at some point. Beyond the cocktail of xenophobia, negative nationalism, and misogyny I've highlighted throughout this series, the effect of making "English scores the standard for everything" upon Korean society, especially less than ten years after the "IMF" crisis, is important to remember when placing the English Spectrum incident in its social context.