Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Ugly foreigners' retaliatory driving and building climbing

The Korea Times published a column yesterday titled "Ugly Foreigners":
A video went viral over the weekend, showing an Italian person stopping his car in the middle of the road, getting out and while shaking his fist, spewed what sounded as obscenities. The scene was captured in the "black box" camera of the car behind him. The woman in that car was quoted by a cable channel as saying, "He cursed at me but I didn't get out for the fear that he would physically harm me."

The man, a resident in Korea, was outraged when he was honked at when cut in on the Olympic Expressway near the Seongsu Bridge at around 3 p.m. Sunday. He was booked without physical detention for endangerment by a sudden change of lanes. The police sent the case to prosecutors with a recommendation for indictment.[...]

They may hope that they will be given the benefit of extenuating circumstances for not promptly keeping abreast with a law change, introduced last month, which has strengthened penalties significantly after a number of road rage cases involving Koreans.
Good to hear such laws have been passed. This SBS report documented two more foreigners misbehaving on the road, asking "Just because you live in Korea, does it mean you have to emulate even our rough driving culture?" [Hat tip to Robert Koehler.]

Did they learn it in Seoul? Foreigner retaliatory driving.

Best not to copy such behavior, though, since the result might be this:



It was pointed out that the Korea Times columnist who wrote "Ugly Foreigners" (Foolsdie!) also wrote a column called "Ugly Koreans," which perhaps leads one to cancel out the other. However, the column opens with this: "The situation facing Koreans in the Philippines may be aptly compared to 'ugly Koreans in the land of outlaws.'" The article portrays the Philippines as violent, dangerous and corrupt; the mistake these Korean citizens who get murdered there (more than in any other country outside Korea) have made was to move to such a dangerous place; only brief mention is made that "the tendency among some Koreans to look down on people from Southeast Asia may have also been in play."

For an actual look at 'ugly Koreans,' perhaps try here:
The Korea Communications Standards Commission warned the nation's No.1 portal website Naver to use"voluntary restraint" after it posted video links to the drama entitled "Lily Fever," according to Hankook Ilbo, Monday. The mandate came after netizens reported the drama's bold portrayal of homosexuality.

The watchdog was cited as saying homosexual love scenes in the drama "incited sexual curiosity and tempted viewers to imitate the acts in practice" thus "violating social orders in terms of ethical values."
Isn't the suicide rate high enough already?

As for misbehaving foreigners, this photo appeared the other day of 'daredevils' Vitaliy Raskalov and Vadim Makhorov at the top of Lotte Tower, on its way to reaching a height of 555 meters and 123 floors (it would already be considered South Korea’s tallest building if not for the powers that be not counting buildings unless they're finished - thanks a lot, Pyongyang's Ryugyong Hotel!).

The Korea Herald published an article titled "Daredevils unwelcome in Korea":
After the 20-year-old Raskalov updated his Instagram account with a photo of his feet precariously atop Seoul’s Lotte World Tower, Sunday, the Korean public responded with fierce criticism of his “reckless” and “irresponsible” behavior. [...] Users left lengthy tirades under Raskalov’s photo in Korean, admonishing the adventurer for what they saw as unwarranted entry into private property, which could have resulted in disastrous accidents.

One Korean user with Instagram handle “heuum_” called Raskalov “an unarmed IS soldier” in the sense that he poses a threat to the safety of innocent people around him. “He’s being a nuisance in a foreign country. Safety is the utmost principle at a construction site. He is thoughtless to be doing this without safety measures,” heuum_ said. [...]

Lotte World Tower authorities had been wary of Raskalov and Makhorov entering its premises ever since it was reported the two were traveling in Korea. Roughly 400 security agents had been stationed around the construction site.
Well, that's embarrassing, then. As the Korea Times notes, the site even had posters up telling them they were banned from the building. How that didn't work, I've no idea. On the bright side, at least they weren't leaving graffiti.

Monday, March 28, 2016

When it comes to E-2 visa-holders, women now outnumber men

In my previous post I looked at immigration statistics for E-2s from 1993 to present, as depicted in this graph:


Year end immigration statistics can be found here. Actually, the 2004 figure above, of 11,344, is incorrect. The correct figure is 10,862, meaning that E-2 numbers plateaued (and even decreased slightly) from 2002 to 2004.

Here are the figures from 1993 to 2015 broken down by gender:

Year - Total  (Male / Female)

1993 - 1,136  (775 / 351)
1994 - 2,241  (1,471 / 770)
1995 - 4,230  (2,593 / 1,637)
1996 - 7,473  (4,413 / 3,060)
1997 - 7,607  (4,567 / 3,040)
1998 - 4,927  (3,231 / 1,696)
1999 - 5,009  (3,334 / 1,675)
2000 - 6,414  (4,091 / 2,323)
2001 - 8,388  (5,289 / 3,099)
2002 - 10,864  (6,672 / 4,192)
2003 - 10,822  (6,714 / 4,108)
2004 - 10,862  (6,636 / 4,226)
2005 - 12,439  (7,502 / 4,937)
2006 - 15,001  (8,992 / 6,009)
2007 - 17,721  (10,399 / 7,322)
2008 - 19,771  (11,223 / 8,548)
2009 - 22,642  (12,739 / 9,903)
2010 - 23,317  (12,905 / 10,430)
2011 - 22,541  (12,375 / 10,166)
2012 - 21,603  (11,382 / 10,221)
2013 - 20,030  (10,509 / 9,521)
2014 - 17,949  (9,074 / 8,875)
2015 - 16,144  (7,883 / 8,261)

Here are these figures depicted in a graph:


What you notice is that not only have the number of female teachers decreased far more slowly that male teachers (in fact, in 2012, male teachers decreased by almost 1,000, while female teachers increased by 55), but in 2015, for the first time, female teachers outnumbered male teachers on E-2 visas.

Considering ads by the ministry of education in different locals (such as Seoul or Daegu, the source of images below), and the fact that female teachers are highlighted, it's perhaps not that surprising.









Private education companies have leaned in this direction as well:



"English that you learn while enjoying yourself."


"More fun than an American drama! More exciting than a (Western) pop song!"

Recruiters Job and Consulting (whose ads I've looked at before: 123) also primarily used stock images of blue-eyed women in its advertisements:



The media has in the past portrayed male teachers (and soldiers) as potential predators, while portraying female teachers as sex objects (and so more desirable), as I looked at in depth here. Whether that is influencing this demographic shift I have no idea, but it may have influenced the choice of women in the PR/advertising images above. In terms of numbers, as public school hiring has dropped over the past 5 years (along with hagwon hiring as well), the number of male teachers has dropped by 5,000, while the number of female teachers have dropped by only 2,100. Whatever the reason for this, it's interesting to see the a gender balance that has been in place since the 1980s (especially so, back then, when most teachers either came from a military background or discovered Korea while they were travelling around Asia) change the way it has.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Immigration statistics showing E-2 numbers from 1993

I recently was looking through the immigration website and found E-2 statistics from the 1990s I hadn't come across before. This gives us a much better idea of how the numbers changed over the years.

The E-2 visa first appeared in 1993. Prior to that teachers were grouped in with other categories in an employment (취업) visa, or the (9-11) visa which was described in the legislation requiring foreign teachers to have work visas in 1984. Here's how E-2 visa numbers have changed over 22 years:

1993 - 1,136
1994 - 2,241
1995 - 4,230
1996 - 7,473
1997 - 7,607
1998 - 4,927
1999 - 5,009
2000 - 6,414
2001 - 8,388
2002 - 10,864
2003 - 10,822
2004 - 11,344
2005 - 12,439
2006 - 15,001
2007 - 17,721
2008 - 19,771
2009 - 22,642
2010 - 23,317
2011 - 22,541
2012 - 21,603
2013 - 20,030
2014 - 17,949
2015 - 16,144

E-2 numbers are now below 2007 figures. Here's a graph to help visualize the numbers:


Note though that after the "IMF crisis" hit in late 1997 many teachers would have left before the 1997 stats would have been recorded December 31, so there would have been quite a few more people working as teachers before the crisis began. One way to try to guess is to gauge the differences between people on E-2 visas at the end of the year and the number of people recorded as entering the country on that visa during the year. Since English teachers tended to travel outside the country, the latter number has always been larger than the former. What I did was see how much bigger that latter number was:

1993 - 1,136 E-2 visa-holders at year’s end; 1,959 entered the country , or 1.72 times more.
1994 - 2,241 E-2 visa-holders at year’s end; 4,277 entered the country , or 1.91 times more.
1995 - 4,230 E-2 visa-holders at year’s end; 7,695 entered the country , or 1.82 times more.
1996 - 7473 E-2 visa-holders at year’s end; 13,787 entered the country , or 1.84 times more.

Over these four years the number of E-2 visa holders is outpaced by number of people entering the country on that visa by an average of 1.82 Now let’s look at 1997:

1997 - 7,607 E-2 visa-holders at year’s end; 16,192 entered the country , or 2.12 times more.

Now if we multiply 7,607 visa holders by the average over the past four years, 1.82, we get 13,845. Subtract this from 16,192 and we get 2,347. Divide this by 1.82 and we get 1,290.
Add that projected number to 7,607 and we get 8,897 (an increase of 1,533 teachers over the previous year).

Worth noting, though, is that the 1994 E-2 numbers were 1.97 times that of 1993; the 1995 E-2 numbers were 1.89 times that of 1994; and the 1996 E-2 numbers were 1.77 times that of 1995. The projected number of 8,897 for 1997 is only 1.19 times that of 1996. It’s possible, then, that the number was quite a bit higher, so assuming for 9,000 teachers before the currency crisis hit is likely not too outrageous a projection. It’s possible a saturation point was reached then and the numbers didn’t increase as much; a similar thing happened in 2003 and 2004, which I remember well as I was looking for a job at the time and finding one that gave decent compensation and hours wasn’t easy. But considering the growth of the previous four years, it might be more apt to compare it to the heady years of 2005 to 2009, years of growth helped to a great degree by public school hiring, which initially began in 1995.

So, let's increase the numbers in 1997 to 9000:


Also interesting is looking at these stats with public school native speaking teachers highlighted (based on stats from here, here, and here):


But perhaps even more interesting is removing the public school teachers:

(That should say 'Hagwon E-2 holders.')

While the total number of E-2s peaked in 2010 (actually, by month, February 2011), the number of hagwon-employed E-2s peaked in 2008. This may be because the school programs (like cheaper or free summer or winter camps) were cutting into hagwon bottom lines, as I saw in the neighbourhood I lived in, or because more teachers went into the schools leaving hagwon jobs unfilled. The latter is unlikely however, considering the number of Americans who moved into teaching jobs here after the financial crisis in the US in 2008.

(Keep in mind while most public school NSETs were on E-2 visas, not all were - some were on F-4 gyopo visas - but I've treated the graphs above as if they were all E-2 because its not possible to know otherwise.)

Lastly, here are the numbers for total number of foreigners in Korea over the last 6 years - it should surpass 2 million soon:

2010 - 1,261,415
2011 - 1,395,077
2012 - 1,445,103
2013 - 1,576,034
2014 - 1,797,618
2015 - 1,899,519

Monday, March 14, 2016

White Day!

Men check out the candy selection at L Dept. Store on White Day, 1993 (from here).

Today is White Day (well, it's the 14th in the US), and I was made to think of it during a presentation in which a classmate spoke on this post about Valentine's Day and White Day's origins (note that it gives only the origin of the former; one assumes the author didn't want to draw attention to the Japanese origin of the latter). Also mentioned in the presentation was the list (similar to this one) of "__days" which occur on the 14th of each month in Korea, though I don't think anything beyond white and black day exists outside of such internet posts.

The first mention of White Day that turns up in the Naver News Library is this Hankyoreh editorial from February 14, 1989, titled "Behind chocolate hides a cunning business ploy," which concludes by saying that companies conjuring up White Day to make kids pay twice is improper.

It's mentioned twice in 1991 in a column the Maeil Gyeongje published written by people describing their married life. This one describes how the writer's husband forgot her birthday and said he'd celebrate it on the lunar calendar, and seemed to forget again but eventually surprised her with roses. She notes that he always gave her presents before that, even on "white day, a day he criticized as one made by merchants in order to sell candy."

The most interesting reference I found in 1991 was this one in the Kyunghyang Shinmun on March 11 titled "日(일),야광女子(여자)속옷판매 화이트데이 선물용: [In] Japan, glow-in-the-dark women's underwear sold as white day present." As the article puts it, "For the coming 14th (white day), a women's underwear company in Japan plans to sell 400,000 pairs of glow-in-the-dark panties to Japanese men wanting a present that their lover will never forget."

 New word for the day: 야광 - glow in the dark.

Jack London's photos all online

Quite some time ago I posted about photos taken by Jack London of Korea in 1904 during his time covering the Russo-Japanese War, which were published in the book 'Jack London, Photographer' (that link also has links to my unfinished series about Jack London, Robert Dunn, and Frederick McKenzie's adventures while trying to cover the war as the only foreign correspondents who initially managed to slip past Japanese attempts to control information).

I was contacted last year by someone cataloging his photos at the Huntington Library, who mentioned that, in addition to his own photography, London had bought a large number of photos while in Korea, and that these would all be online by the end of the year. This only came to mind recently, and they can now be found here. It's easy enough to browse and download photos, but they're not as well organized as they could be. The photos are scans of photos pasted into photo albums, but the search I linked to lists hits for random photos, not entire photo albums. At any rate, they do have annotations making clear whether the photo was taken by London or purchased, unlike the photos listed at this Korean blog (at the bottom of each post are links to other parts in the 8-part blog series). It seems most of the photos there London purchased; at any rate, they are at least very easy to browse. Here are a few from the Huntington Library site:

London in what is listed as Changgyeonggung Palace. 

Robert Dunn in the same location. 

I believe this was in Incheon. 

Women doing laundry outside city wall (the French legation is visible, top right). 

Namdaemun Market. 

Uiju. 

Apparently the last photo London took as he left Busan to return home.

There are lots of gems in the collection, so it's well worth checking out. (It also includes photos of the urban poor in London, the San Francisco earthquake, south Pacific islands, etc.)