Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Intensive Classes

Summer or Winter Intensive classes. Vacation classes. The Vacation program. What they are called depends on the hagwon you work at. For the most part though they are they same no matter what hagwon you work at. A waste of time.

My 1st hagwon called them Intensives. That was an apt term because they were very intensive. We had few breaks and lots of classes. In 20 days I worked 200 hours. The overtime was nice but the stress wasn't fun. But that is how it affected me not the kids and their parents.

It was a waste of their time and their parents money for the most part. A students level for our conversation classes were based on how they did on a grammar test. Some teachers were given grammar books, the day classes started, and told to use them to teach a conversation class. The books did not suit the level of the students.

Mind you many of the students didn't suit the conversation level they were put in. Most of them knew their grammar but couldn't hold a conversation. Some of the classes had 20 students and they were of many different levels of ability. All of these factors combined to make classes that most of the students didn't get much out of. This didn't matter as long as bodies were in the room and money was coming in.

The 2nd hagwon I was at, the hell hole known as Ivy School, was similar to the 1st when it came to intensive classes. They were disorganized a lot of the time. Mixed up levels. Horrible books.

For one "high level" class I was given a dictation book with 28 units to do in 20 days. The students were to be given a paragraph writing assignment for homework every class along with vocabulary tests every class. Most of the students had never written a paragraph before. Every unit must be taught so they would have to do some of the units as homework. That entire class was a waste of time. While I believe the students learned a little I don't think it was worth the time or money that was invested.

The only up side of Ivy Schools intensives was that they weren't as intense for us as my 1st hagwon's were. Unfortunately for the students and their parents wallets all that mattered to the owners was getting the bodies in the class and the money in the bank.

I once talked with Mr. Kim about the amount of work and the quality. He said it didn't matter. As long as the parents saw all the work the students had to do they would be happy. Scarily enough that did seem to be true. Parents were happiest when the kids were buried with work. Or at least they didn't complain. It didn't seem to matter that they weren't get much out it education wise.

I worked a summer camp at a local university to get the money to go home after the BS with Ivy School. I went in expecting ... well ... the same sort of insanity that took place at hagwons during their intensives. I couldn't have been more off. The woman in charge KNEW her job. Everything was well organized, proper books for students levels, the students had the proper English ability for the level they were put in. When I pointed out that one of the books I was to use had 30 units but we only had 20 days I expected to be told to teach it all. I was pleasantly surprised when I was told to pick out the stuff that is important and go with that. I had a great time teaching that camp and the kids did to. They had fun AND they learned.

My last hagwon never really had intensives. Not as I learned to expect them from previous hagwons. We had vacation classes but for the most part the teachers had a hand in picking the books and setting the curriculum. And it was anything but intensive as each teacher only had 2 extra classes. Since I have left it and a new owner has taken over that does seem to be changing. (I still talk to my friends there.) They are going to be having a VERY intensive summer.

Unfortunately for those working in hagwons my last hagwon isn't the norm in Korea. Based on what I have experienced and heard from others the insane way my 1st hagwon and Ivy school ran the classes is the norm. Instead of having a vacation students are herded into a program where they don't really learn a lot. It is all about getting the bodies in the class and cash in the owners wallet.

Monday, June 28, 2010

What is your story?

I realize that not everyone wants to write a blog. However, many people have their own story to tell. Do you have a hagwon from hell story? Would you like it told to others? Feel free to email me your story and I will post it for you. It can be under your name, a pen name, or anonymous.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Mook of the Week

These photos are from a while ago. Stig and I were having lunch at a noodle restaurant. When we saw one .... two ... three mooks.

First this mook in pajamas with an IV in him was walking up and down the street. Not on the sidewalk mind you. On the street. Sometimes in the middle of the road. At times he would carry the IV in one hand while other times he laid it on his head. He had come out of the building across the street from our restaurant which has a "hospital" in it.

For those who haven't lived in Korea, or haven't learned yet, any place a doctor is at is called a hospital by Koreans. It can be one doctor, a clinic, or an actual hospital. They call all of them the hospital. It can be confusing for those who know the proper English terms.

Then along comes a she-mook in an SUV. She parks in front of the entrance to an underground parking lot.

Then we notice the pajama IV mook is heading to the SUV. It turns out she was coming to meet him. And what do we see? What the kimchi is that? She has a BABY strapped to her back! She is driving an SUV like a fucking moron ... errr mook ... and has a BABY between her and the driver's seat! What the fu ... errr kimchi?!?!? I have seen this stupidity with Korean's in the back seat (which is bloody horrible on its own) but not in the front! Accidents are common in Korea, because they drive like mooks. One idiot rear ends her, or she rear ends someone, and the kid is screwed. Bloody mooks!

Then along comes a stupid old bat driving a car. She sees that the she-mook has the best parking spot on the street so she has to try and out mook her. She uses the sidewalk to park on and leaves the ass end of her car blocking the entrance to an underground parking lot. What the kimchi?!? Is it a mook convention? A contest to see who is the biggest mook?

Now the 1st mook is in a quandry. A car wants out of the underground parking lot she is blocking. She has to move her SUV. What to do? What to do? She moved about 3 meters to block ANOTHER underground parking lot entrance. Once that car is out ... she backs up and blocks that entrance again. What a bizzy ditch!

Nopw the Pajamma IV mook saunters back up to the SUV with his IV bag on his head. He is meeting mommy moron. She gets out, still blocking the other entrance, and gives him the kid. He heads off into the building he came out of. Kid in his arms, IV bag on his head, IV tube within reach of the kid. She gets back into the SUV and drives off.

All in all the Mook Family Kim blocked the road and parking lots for 15+ minutes.

Then Granny Moron comes back to her car. She realizes that she still has to out-mook the Mook family to win the Stupidity Sweepstakes. So she backs out into the street and sits there blocking traffic for a good 5 minutes. And it wasn't blocking an empty road the whole time. Someone had the bad luck of having to sit behind this mook for a few minutes.

Sorry Granny but you still lose. A dumb bitch driving an SUV with a kid strapped to her back trumps just about any stupidity you could pull.

This street is now referred to as Mook Alley.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

What the ... plagarism?!?

Once again a Korean pop star has made the news for ripping off a western stars music. Lee HyoRi was in trouble in 2006 for plagarising a Britney spears song. Now she, or rather the seven member songwriters’ group Bahnus Vacuum, is in trouble for ripping off various artists on SIX of teh songs on her new album.

Plagariasm is extremely wide spread in South Korea. It isn't restricted to just the academic arena. As the article shows it is rampant in the music industry. You can also see it business names or logos and even The Korean Times. From my 9+ years experience it seems to be an accepted fact of life in Korea.

I remember one of my old co-workers talking about her favourite student. He was accepted to a University in Japan. He almost got expelled because his first assignment was plagiarised. He was lucky and got let off with a warning. Back home he would have gotten and F and if it wasn't the first time he would have been expelled. Koreans just don't seem to take copyright or plagiarism seriously. When they go out in the world they tend to get a rude awakening.

The final statement in the article shows just how ignorant many Koreans are of their own laws, . Composer Park Deok-sang said “Plagiarism is a matter related to an individual composer’s conscience. There should be laws or systems to define what is plagiarism,”.

There ARE laws to define it you moron. There are dictionaries to define it. As the article mentions just before that moronic statement was made people who have had their work plagiarised can take their complaints to the Korean Copyright Commission or to court. Those convicted can receive up to 5 years in prison and a maximum fine of 50 Million Won. There ARE laws and definitions in place. As with a lot of other laws they are ones that many Koreans simply choose to ignore.

And there dear Brutus lies the rub. Koreans know they commit plagiarism and violate copyrights. Many feign ignorance but even the "outside world" knows how often it happens in South Korea. Why do you think Iron Man 2 opened in South Korea so early? Hopefully South Koreans get their act together and stop plagiarising ... but I won't hold my breathe.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Ivy English School - YongAm-Dong Cheongju Part 7

Lessons Learned.

I did learn some valuable lessons from the Ivy School meltdown and the fuckery that ensued.

1) 90-95% of Hagwon owners rip you off one way or another. It may be something minor like not paying into the pension plan (by law they have to). It may be cheating you by charging double the income tax rate and pocketing the extra.

My 1st boss was a pretty good one BUT she was charging me 6% income. My first 2 years with Ivy school I was charged that. The 3rd year Mr. Kim made a big show of lowering it to 5%. Based on my wages and that there was no Pension or Hational Health Plan deducted it should have been 3-3.3%.

I can't count the number of people I met who praised their Hagwon by saying "They pay me on time!" That is pathetic. If that is the best thing you can say about your job something is wrong. It should go without saying that you are paid on time.

2) Contracts mean jack shit in Korea. Directors will change the terms at a whim. At one point, even though we were supposed to get 5 vacation days summer and 5 winter, around a weekend, the Kim’s were going to give ONE. THAT caused all the foreign teachers to threaten to quit. As it stood we never got the 5 and a weekend. After the 1st year they would give us 3 and a weekend and promise to make up the other days.

That was reinforced at the seminar that all Hagwon teachers had to attend in 2010. The seminar was put on for the Korean government and one of the things they said was that “The contract inKorea is a starting part not an ending one.” Which means they are not worth the paper they are printed on and subject to the whim of your Director.

3) No matter how good things are if/when they get bad the Hagwon will turn on you QUICKLY if they see it as being good for them. The fact you have been loyal for years and work hard means nothing if they can bring someone in who knows little about the system and works for less.

4) If you give in to their demands ONCE, even out of kindness because it isn’t a big deal, they will ALWAYS expect you to do what they want when they want. As soon as you say no you are a bad teacher. They will either make an example of you, get rid of you, or both.

5) No matter how much you have right on your side if it comes down to your word vs a Koreans most Koreans will NOT believe you. Even if they know you well and trust you. You just don’t count as much as a Korean.

6) You can’t always count on your foreign co-workers in times of trouble. Most of the time they will be more worried about themselves and how things will affect them. I have been prepared to quit in the past when co-workers were being treated like shit for no good reason. When the shit hit the fan at Ivy school the 4 out of 6 foreign teachers who weren’t being screwed over wouldn’t even tell the Kim’s they were wrong to treat us the way they were. I didn’t expect them to quit … but they just gave lip service and hoped they wouldn’t be fucked over when it came time for them to leave.

Some people actually delude themselves that the Hagwon owners won’t turn on them. One of my ex-Ivy co-workers would go on about how the Kim’s liked her so she had nothing to worry about. Until they didn’t like her because she said no. And that ended up happening to her.

I remember one idiot who worked illegally at a Hagwon. 1 teacher had finished his contract and was never coming back because of the assholes in charge screwing them over. Another one pulled a runner. The third one pulled a runner. The fourth one, working illegally, convinced himself that he was safe working there because they needed him and would have to treat him well. Of course they ended up screwing him over too.

It boggles the mind how these people can see the bullshit going on but still convince themselves that it won’t happen to them.

This lack of backing each other up is one reason why Hagwons get away with the bull shit they pull.

7) As your final month wraps up many hagwon owners make what I call “The Big Cash Grab!”Ivy School did it to MOST of their foreign teachers and not ONE of them told those left behind.

Basically, they don’t finish paying you until your last day. For most foreign teachers that means they are leaving Korea in a day or two. Then you find out at the end of the day that there are aLOT of dodgy deductions from your pay leaving them with a lot less money than they expected. Surprise bill charges. Not getting the deposit money back. Little things like that. Since they are leaving they have no real recourse.

As I said, this happened to just about EVERY Ivy School foreign teacher. Some of who stayed in touch with their old co-workers yet NEVER told them what happened. In one case, it was a couple, they BOTH had the FULL cost of the bills deducted from their last pay even though they shared an apartment. I had actually recruited them and it wasn’t until I told them of my problems leaving Ivy that they told me how they were screwed over.

8) Pay your own bills! Get a pay stub! Document EVERYTHING!

My first school deducted my bills from my pay. I figured it was standard practice in Korea. So when my 2nd school did it I just accepted it. That was stupid! It just opens the door for you to be screwed over. As I ended up being.

Make them give you a pay stub showing deductions. No matter how honest you think they are or how much you trust them you HAVE TO get this and keep it in case you need it. I trusted the Kims the first 2 years .. and there were some signs I was being screwed around with … so I didn’t care. In the 3rd year they REFUSED to give me a pay stub. They refused it to almost all the teachers.

One of the Irish teachers went and demanded a pay stub. After a lot of complaining they agreed to give ONLY her a pay stub as long as she didn’t tell any of the other teachers. And she didn’t. It was until my BS with Ivy came out that she mentioned it. Like I said, no wonder they KNOW they can screw us around, we don’t help each other.

When it came down to deciding what I could do about Ivy School screwing me over I had NO paperwork. Which meant I couldn’t prove a lot, just what my bank statements showed. It would be my word against a Koreans and I already covered that in #5

9) If you get screwed over and stay or come back be careful of the chip on your shoulder. I came back with a big one on mine. I was working for a good boss but kept expecting him to screw me over. While it is good to be wary I was ready for a fight over anything. That isn’t healthy. Luckily, I got over it. For the most part, it still colours my view of hagwon owners.

I would apologize for the length of this tale but it could easily have been longer. ;)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Mook Of The Week

This week's mook is representative of a vast majority of the Korean population - the ajussis/ajummas who collect used cardboard.

These wastes of space clog the road, interfering with traffic, and very nearly (as far as I know) causing as many accidents as they possibly can.

Typically, these mooks are beyond old. They are just so wizened and dried up and wrinkled and bent over with age, they make Abraham Simpson look like a spring chicken. But there they are, dragging or pushing a load of all the cardboard in the world. Your natural desire to sympathize with them and wish their lot in life was better is mitigated, however, by the fact that they are usually dragging/pushing their load down the middle of the street when a perfectly fine sidewalk is RIGHT OVER THERE!

It used to be that I would see these mooks once in a while, just after making a turn so I have to brake sharply, but lately it's been every day, and I'm getting just a little sick and tired of swerving around these elderly speed bumps.

And their carts! They're these rickety old contraptions cobbled together from bicycle tires, scrap plywood, and odd bits of metal welded together into a framework. The technology for these things hasn't changed in over 50 years, I swear.

Or maybe they are using the same cart, handed down from father mook to his mook of a son.

I remember when I used to walk to work that I would pass one of these things padlocked to a lamp-post, waiting for whatever mook owned it to come and start to work. The mook had padlocks on both wheels, and I remember thinking, "Those locks are worth more than the cart The cart is there to make sure no-one steals the locks!"

The scabby old bat in the photo is pushing a load of cardboard down the road opposite the deck at Dunkin' Donuts where Flint and I used to hang out. I still go there, but it's just not the same.

Anyway, you (you complete and utter waste of skin) are a mook!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Ivy English School - YongAm-Dong Cheongju Part 6

Even after all of that the Kim’s were still trying to screw me over.

As soon as they found out I was looking for work in Cheongju they basically blacklisted me through the Hagwon Association. Before that I was looking in Daejeon and they actually gave me a good recommendation. However, as one recruiter told me, Mr. Kim did not want me “working in HIS city.” They would tell other Hagwon owners I was a bad teacher and a horrible person. Of course they took the Kim’s word for it and I was having no luck finding work. Which just made me want to go back to cheongju even more.

Then I found out my 1st boss was now recruiting. I contacted her and told her the problem I was having finding work in Cheongju. She said she would look into it. What this meant is that she would call Mr. Kim and talk with him. They met, he told her a bunch of lies. She then talked to me and I told her my side. I also told her that Park had been involved and could tell her how much of what Mr. Kim said was BS. Park had worked for her when I did. He backed up what I said. Now she knew, because a Korean confirmed what I said, that Mr. Kim lied to her. She wanted to get me a job in cheongju, and did, to piss him off. She found me one of those rare honest Hagwon owners. Best boss I ever had.

That summer I had to renew my passport. I talked to the pharmacist in YongAm-dong and asked him to be a reference. He knew me for 3+ years. I used to work beside his pharmacy. He had no problem doing it.

Unfortunately, he signed his name too big to be accepted by the passport people. A couple of the letters went just outside the box. Two weeks later I had to go back and get him to sign it again. It should have been no problem.

Yet it was a problem. All of a sudden he had no English. This is a guy you could have conversations with. He went on in Korean, the gyst of it being he had mentioned to Mr. Kim that he was a reference for me. Mr. kim told him he shouldn’t, I am a bad person. So he wasn’t interested in being a reference anymore. I asked him if he was serious. In perfect English he said “This is not my problem.” And ripped up the paper. I vented some language at him and left.

It took a lot for me not to go up to Ivy School and throw Mr. Kim out the window. It is bad enough the piece of shit tried to prevent me from getting work. The asshole was now trying to fuck with renewing my passport.

I found out that they had opened a second school, an SLP franchise. Which was kind of strange/stupid because they were then competing with themselves and the other schools in the area.

An old co-worker texted me one day to let me know Ivy School was closing. They were bleeding students. Which was no surprise considering how the Kim’s ran the school. They tried re-opening as “Ivy School Reborn.” That didn’t work and it closed for good. Couldn’t happen to more deserving assholes. They still have the SLP franchise in YongAm-Dong though.

So, if you are looking for work and see an ad for SLP in YongAm-Dong, Choengju, or a recruiter mentions it, run do not walk away. They are scum of the Nth degree.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Ivy English School - YongAm-Dong Cheongju Part 5

Monday came and went with no money being put in my account. After calling Mr. Kim he said he would put it in Tuesday. On Tuesday he did put it in, minus 610,000 won. Of the 1,100,000 Won he still owed me he tried to claim my final months bills amounted to 610,000 Won. That was so much BS.

Every month he deducted between 200,000 to 300,000 Won for taxes and bills. I was making 2,100,000 Won a month, and he was putting between 1,800,000 and 1,900,000 in the bank after deductions. Said deductions were to include my monthly bills. There is no way they jumped from that to 610,000 Won in the span of 30 days.

(IF you are considering working in Korea, or already work here, PAY YOUR OWN BILLS. This is one way the Hagwon owners WILL screw you over!)

When I called him about this he acted shocked that I would challenge his credibility. He actually tried to tell me that I owed 100,000 won for my phone bill. I used a calling card so no international calls should ever appear on my phone, only local. And I always used my cell phone for local calls.

Then he said the 100,000 was for the last 10 months, 10,000 won a month. At which point I brought up the monthly deductions. He played dumb and kept trying to say I owed for the yearly amount. He said the same thing about the gas bill, electric bill, cable bill (although cable was supposed to be provided by the school in my contract), any bill he could think of. He was telling me I owed the YEARLY amount and not the monthly.

I told him I wanted to see copies of the bills and to have a breakdown of the costs emailed to me the next day. He said the school was closed for vacation so he couldn't see me until August 1st. Coincidentally, I was in YongamDong on Wednesday July 27th. Not only had I seen 2 Ivy School buses with students in them. While eating at the MacDonald's beside the school I saw several students coming and going back into Ivy School. So much for the school being closed.

I also found out from another teacher that the income tax rate is 3.3% not the 5% the Kim’s had been deducting for the last 10 months, or the 6% they were deducting for 2 years. That means for the last 10 months he has taken out 105000 Won a month when it should only have been 69300. 35700 Won a month MORE than he should have. 357000 Won over the last 10 months. For the 2 years prioer to that he was taking out 120000 when he should have taken 66000. 54000 a month more than he should have, 1296000 more than he should have over 2 years. If this is right he stole 1653000 Won from me over 2 years 10 months.

On Thursday July 29th a Korean friend, Park, called Mr. Kim on my behalf, but without my knowledge. According to him, Mr. Kim said the reason I was fired is that I didn't prepare for my classes. Interesting considering what he told me about no one wanting to work with me, kids not wanting to be my students, etc etc. Now it is because I didn't prepare for classes. It was just another line of BS in a long line that he has spewed out. Park went on to say he thought Mr. Kim would give me airfare home now. I doubted it.

On August 1st I went in to talk to Mr. Kim. As expected, Park's phone call only made him angry. He made a big show of telling me he is a busy man, and he had to take a lot of time this morning to get copies of my utility bills. Mind you I asked him the day he fired me, about 2 weeks BEFORE I was due to be paid, to have all of these so EVERYTHING could be taken care of on the last day. Which he didn't do.

He STILL didn't understand that I wasn't disputing the yearly costs. My problem was that he was charging me for the FULL year instead of the last month when, because of what I was told when I started working at IVY school, that the bills would be taken out of my monthly pay. I have no doubt my telephone bill was 100,000 for 10 months. 10,000 a month. I have a problem with him telling me I never paid any all year when it looks like money was taken.

So, he had these bills, and a document HE wrote up showing their totals, and how much he took off for income tax (105,000) a month plus maintenance fee of 20,000 a month plus another water/electrical fee from the apt of 15,000 a month. Which meant he was taking 135,000 a month off but most months show 200-300,000 was held back.

He still didn't understand what I was saying, and had NO copies of the deposits he had made to my account. Which means I was going by what was in my bank book and memory. I asked if I could have copies of the bills and the paper he wrote and he said no because I might show them to someone.

What makes this whole stupid notion of the teachers paying their bills in bulk when they leave is that I HAVEN'T left for almost 3 years. When I re-signed in 2003 there was no lump sum taken off for bills. When I re-signed last year there was no lump sum taken off for bills. Which would mean I haven't paid utilities UNTIL then. Mr. Kim is too much of a "businessman" to have let that happen. Especially with the gouging they had been doing with people the last year.

It was a waste of time to even go and talk to him. I left him with a hearty go fuck yourself.

The summer camp was GREAT. It helped improve my mood a bit. At least until I found out we should have been paid 800,000 Won more but the President of the English department decided to pad his own pockets. Hagwons, Public Schools, Universities. The thieves are everywhere in Korea.

And the Kim's weren't done with me yet.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Ivy English School - YongAm-Dong Cheongju Part 4

So, I was now head teacher and things were getting beyond pear shaped faster than you would believe. I was at the 6th month mark of the contract and trying to decide what to do. Should I say fuck it and quit or go for the bonus. As far as I knew the Kim's still paid the bonus. As far as I knew.

I decided to stick it out to the end of the contract. Hindsight is 20/20 and I feel stupid for doing that now. At the time it seemed like a safe move to make. It was the wrong decision.

They were making big schedule changes. The school would be open until 10PM instead of 8:30. They needed a teacher to do the late classes. If you did the late classes you wouldn't have kindergarten. No one wanted it. In the end I was given it, the life of the head teacher. Of course the Kim`s soon showed how good their word was. They gave me kindergarten classes on top of it. This was the start of why I would be a bad teacher. I started saying no.

The Kim`s wanted Saturday classes with a foreign teacher. None of us wanted to work Saturday. Our contracts said we worked Monday to Friday. No weekends. I ended up agreeing to do it until the new teacher arrived (1 month) and they agreed to pay me extra money for it. Everyone seemed happy with the arrangement.

About a week after Spock was called in and told he was a bad teacher I was called in. It was a Saturday, just after I finished my classes. I was told that .... I was a bad teacher. Three Korean teachers complained about me. I had better become a good teacher or else. Mrs. Kim couldn`t tell me any details of what made me a bad teacher. I was just a bad teacher. This was 2 months after the 6 month mark.

As Spock did, I talked to the Korean teachers. They all said they never complained about me. Which is about what I expected anyway. A couple of weeks later one of the Koreans and I were talking over coffee. She told me that Mrs. Kim was talking to her, bragging about how she told me none of the Korean teachers wanted to work with me even though none complained. The Kim`s wanted me to quit. You know, if the stupid fuckers had asked me to leave at the 6 month mark I would have. Instead they waited. Now I was determined to try and finish my contract to spite them. Yeah, being stubborn can be stupid.

On the night of Wednesday July 6th 2005 I was told the Director's husband wanted to see me after my last class. He started off by telling me that I am a bad teacher. Due to me being a bad teacher he wanted me to quit, or I would be fired. I was TOLD my last day would be July 25th, which is not even 30 days notice. He cited the fact that I am not a good teacher and that NO Korean teacher wants to work with me, and now added that most kids do not want me as their teacher. This was news to me.

I asked him to explain what he meant. Why did no Korean teacher want to work with me? None had complained to me. Why did students not want me as their teacher? There had been no complaints before. All he would say is that I must know why. My reply was that I didn't know why, so please tell me. He made the same strange statement and followed up by saying that if I don't know why there is a big problem.

Also, I complain too much. I did figure out where that came from. Late Wednesday morning we had a staff meeting and they introduced a new lesson plan scheme. All of the foreign teachers thought it was a bad idea. After the meeting they all told me that quite strongly. I talked to the person in charge of it, a Korean teacher, Kevin. 4 hours later I was told to quit or be fired. As head teacher I am supposed to bring the concerns and complaints of other foreign teachers to the Kim's attention. Because I do that, I complain too much.

I asked if I would get a ticket home at least. He told me no, all I would get is my final pay. No severance (I was only 10 weeks away from completing my contract.) and no ticket home. Because I am a bad teacher they have to go through the expense of getting someone here early. So I don't deserve a ticket home. I wouldn't even get the 30 days notice required by law.

I told him I wasn't going to quit, so he could fire me. He told me to think about it and talk to him the next day. The next day he was either not around, or too busy to talk.

I was also informed that Spock was being fired. As I mentioned in Part 3 they had to backtrack on that one. The morons only had one teacher coming not two and couldn't handle losing two at the same time.

The next day, through a backchannel warning, we were told that if there was any sort of cooperation by the foreign teachers to show support for us both of the teachers being fired would be immediately let go with no pay at all. I say backchannel because it went from office manager to Spock's wife to him to us. They needn't have bothered, the people I worked with would never have done that. They were quick to pay lip service but were more worried about how they would be treated than standing up for their co-workers.

On July 8th I finally got Mr. Kim to sit down and talk with me. I told him I was not quiting, so I understand he is firing me and not giving me 30 days notice. He acknowledged that, and also reconfirmed that I would not be given a ticket home, or severance. Then he told me that he wanted me to be done the 21st not the 25th.

I told him I wanted my firing in writing. Also, I gave him the blank Letter of Release forms I obtained and told him that I wanted it as soon as possible. He seemed puzzled by it and asked what it was and what it was for. I explained again that it was a letter of release and that I cannot get another job in Korea while I have a signed contract with him unless I have one. Further, since the only money I will have because he is refusing to pay my ticket home or severance is my final pay I may not have enough money to get home. So, I may have to find a job that starts ASAP. Or I may come back in September after some time home.

At this point he asked me if I wanted to stay until August 25th. I pointed out that he was firing me because no one wanted to work with me and I am a bad teacher. Add to that the way I have been treated in the last few weeks. With that cloud hanging over it would be hard to stay, PLUS the fact he would STILL be firing me then with no ticket home or severance, this time a month away from the completion date of my contract. It would be better to just be fired now.

On the afternoon of July 18th 2005 I had to talk with Mr. Kim again. Since I was being fired with no ticket home or severance pay I had been trying to get a summer camp job with a local University. If I got the job I would have to do a VISA run on the 21st, and have a training session on the 23rd. I still didn't have the Letter of Release I requested, which complicated matters.

Now Mr. Kim tells me that I HAVE to work the Thursday and Friday. Nothing else is acceptable to him. It doesn't matter what the new job will need. He has once again arbitrarily changed the end date. I told him that is too bad ... for him. I needed the job to be able to get home and if I had to leave on the 21st too bad for him.

I told him that IF I could get the camp put on my E2 VISA and he didn't cancel it, I would be able to work until the date he wanted. He agreed and everything went through Immigration. I had to keep my mouth shut though or he could fuck it up before I started. Knowing what a slimey prick Mr. James Kim is I thought the odds were good he would try and fuck it up anyway.

The last day came and I checked my bank account before the end of the day. He had only put half my pay in. When i confronted him he promised the other money would be put in Monday. Since it was late I didn't have much choice. As with most dealings with hagwon owners, you weren't left with much choice if you wanted to see any of your money.

Even though I was finished with Ivy School and the assholes who ran it this wouldn't be the end of their trying to screw me over.

Ivy English School - YongAm-Dong Cheongju Part 3

As the third contract started the Kim's attitude towards the head teacher started changing too. The head teacher, let's call him Spock, had been with Ivy school for years. If memory serves me well 5 years at that point. He enjoyed working there and did a good job as head teacher. Considering the job mainly consisted of telling us what the Kim's felt we needed to know it wasn't THAT hard.

I think the change really started when Mr. Kim got me to talk with Jack. Since it is something the head teacher should be doing I talked with Spock about it. He was a little put off because it was something he felt he should have done as head teacher. He let the Kim's know this. That was probably his first mistake as head teacher.

When I was re-signing Mr. Kim let me know that they (the Kim's) wanted me to be head teacher. I told them we had one and he was doing a good job. Then the standard trash talk started. "He looks too tired. " which became "We don't think he wants it anymore."

Of course, I told Spock all about it. He is a friend and I felt he should know. He was surprised because he hadn't said anything to the Kim's about not liking the position. as we talked I found out why THEY didn't want him as head teacher anymore. first was his displeasure when the Kim's bypassed him. Then there was him saying No when they asked him to work Saturdays. Our contracts actually said we did not work weekends.

Saying "No" means one thing to most Hagwon owners. YOU are a bad teacher. If you don't do everything they say without question you are a bad teacher. If you have the temerity to say no then you are a REALLY bad teacher. Their view of Spock changed after he said no once. It was probably the ONLY time in 5 years working for them he said no. But it only takes once with assholes like them. Now the fix was in on the part of the Kim's to get rid of Spock.

They started to undermine him as head teacher every chance they had. Whether it was trash talking about him as HT to the foreign teachers or ignoring him as HT all the while trying to convince me to take the position. Like I said, he is my friend, so I always kept him apprised of what was going on. He said if they wanted me as HT he didn't care. It isn't like he could force them to keep him. (The position brought an extra 100K won.)

I didn't want the job. I have seen what happens to HT's. They become the whipping boy for the Director when things go wrong with the teachers.

It came to the point where they let him go as HT and told me either I take it or we have no HT. I talked with him and the other foreigners. They said take it. Better to have someone in the position than no one. I warned the Kim's that if they gave me the position I was not going to just be a rubber stamp for them. I would be representing the foreign teachers to them. They said they had no problem with that. In fact they wanted me to bring the concerns of the FT's to them. This would come back to haunt me. (What can I say, they lie like we breath.)

Spock's sister-in-law was our office manager. even though she knew what was going on she never once warned him. Instead she took the opportunity to start trashing me. When Spock was let go as HT she told him I campaigned to get his job. Keep in mind up until now I the Grace incident I considered her a friend. This shit happened a couple of month's after the BS with Grace. I didn't consider Ronnie an enemy, but I did think she was a mouthy bitch. She was a great teacher but not a good person. I kept my opinions to myself until I started to find out that she was trashing me like this with my friend AND his family. The stupid cunt didn't realize that, unlike her, I let him know EVERYTHING that was going on with the Kim's. But I digress.

A few months later Spock signed a new contract with the Kim's. Mr. Kim told him that he should try finding a new job for next year. Strange thing to say when re-signing someone.

Spock's wife was pregnant and having the baby. As head teacher I made sure everything was in place so Spock could have the day off. His classes were covered. It was not an easy birth and his wife could have died. She required some surgery to survive. So, I made sure he would have the next day off to be with her.

I was on my way home when Mr. Kim called me. He was angry because Spock would not be at work the next day. I explained what happened with his wife and that he needed to be with her. I also explained that none of the teachers minded and his classes were covered. He was still irate. He was in Libya when his wife gave birth and couldn't be there. well Spock's situation was different. He gave in, in the end. Or so I thought. Spock ended up coming to work the afternoon of the next day. Mr. Kim had called him and told him he should. God only knows what he said to Ronnie that was relayed. It isn't like the pig eyed sack of shit would back up her brother-in-law.

A couple of months later, on a Friday night, I had a call from Spock. He wanted to meet and talk. As he was leaving work for the night he was called into the Director's office. Mr. Kim informed him that he was a bad teacher. The Korean teachers didn't want to work with him anymore. The students didn't like him. He had better start being a good teacher or else. Spock was flabbergasted. He said what teachers? Mr. Kim then said 3 of them, not the initial all, complained about him and didn't want to work with him. Spock managed to get their names. One of them he had NEVER co-teachered with! It was just more bull shit.

On the following Tuesday I was called into the office. Spock doesn't look happy! Tell him he needs to look happy or else he will be fired. What the kimchi? I said of course he isn't happy after what you told him Saturday. That doesn't matter. If he doesn't look happy we will get rid of him.

Now think of his situation, would YOU look happy? In the teachers room he was quiet and didn't really smile. But he is also a professional, unlike most Hagwon owners. When he was outside of the teachers room he forced himself to smile and pretend to be happy.

Basically all of this bull shit from the Kim's was aimed at getting him to quit. He had been with them the longest and was making the most money. The school was doing well, but had lost some students and the competition had increased in the area. They wanted to get rid of him, and me, in order to get new teachers. Ones with no experience that they could pay less money and cheat more easily.

They ended up firing me and Spock at the same time, for no real reason. Then they realized they had shot themselves in the foot. They only had one replacement teacher coming. So they told Spock they would "let" him stay until mid August. THEN he was fired. Spock had a job with EPIK lined up that started late august, so he stayed. Considering he had a wife and newborn to support I don't blame him.

For over five years he worked there and did a great job. They paid back that loyalty by trying to drive him to quit and then firing him when he wouldn't.

As an aside, the Kim's later opened up an SLP franchise in YongAm-Dong. Ivy School started bleeding students. They closed it and re-opened it as |Ivy School reborn." It ended up closing for good but they STILL run the SLP in YongAm-Dong.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Ivy English School - YongAm-Dong Cheongju Part 2

So, the tone for the next year was set before the year even began. Some more fuckery would happen before I had to renew my VISA. It didn't affect me per se but it helped increase the bad taste in my mouth.

After the way they treated my friend and some of the smaller things I saw I couldn't in good conscience recruit anyone to work at the school. The Kim's used a recruiter in Ireland and hired an Irish woman (well, another Irish woman) named, let's say, Grace. (Our school was mainly a mix of Canadians and Irish with a token American thrown in. 3 male 3 female foreign teachers.) The head teacher and I went to the bus terminal with the Kim's to meet her.

As soon as she opened her mouth and said hello we (head teacher and I) looked at each other. We knew there was going to be trouble with the Kim's and Grace. She had a strong Irish accent. I always felt that it is good for the kids to be exposed to different English accents. It will help their listening and understanding in the long run. Especially considering that British English is the world standard not american English. But I digress.

I didn't learn this until months later but Grace did not have a good introduction to the Kim's. She came in early the next day to meet with them. I would later learn that they berated her a bit for her accent. Basically making it seem like she hid it from them. What happened is Mr. Kim, whose English is not that good, was the one to talk to "interview" her on the phone. The interview consisted of "When can you come? and knowing Mr. Kim maybe "You are pretty." because he saw her photo and is a bit of a perv. Mr. Kim was never know for his listening ability either. but of course, they blamed Grace.

Grace was ordered to take a tape machine home along with some phonics tapes. She was ordered to practice the phonics to "improve" her accent. She did as ordered.

This wouldn't be Grace's last problem. There would be problems with the high level kindergarten class, or to use their pretentious title the Honours Class. Basically it was kindy kids who had lived abroad or who had good English. Of course the Kim's would throw some students who didn't belong in the class in to please the parents. (The Kim's were all about pleasing the parents to get the money and not as concerned with actually teaching the kids. Which isn't how they were the first year plus I worked there. Over time greed set in.)

There was one girl in the class who just wouldn't shut up. Whether it was English or Korean, her turn to talk or someone else's, she just couldn't keep her mouth shut. In frustration one class during her second week Grace said "What do I have to do to keep you quiet take out your tongue?" The fuckery began that night.

The kid thought it was funny. She repeated it to her mother. Her mother didn't think it was funny. She called the school and told the Kim's that the teacher threatened to cut her daughter's tongue out. (The parents are just as good at exaggeration and hyperbole as the Hagwon owners.) The Kim's freaked. They started yelling at the office manager Ronnie to get Grace into their office. Grace had already finished for the day though. She had actually, as she always did up until then, said good bye to the boss when she left.

Now they are running around like chickens with their heads cut off nattering in Korean. Finally, after about 15 minutes of this, they asked me if I knew where Grace was. I told them she finished and went home. Don't you remember her saying good bye? (Like I said ... not a good listener.) They went back into the office with Ronnie and were still there when I left.

You would think the story would continue the next day wouldn't you? Or at Grace's apartment? You would be wrong. They just aren't that professional.

There was a good bye party that night for the teacher Grace was replacing. At 11PM super bitch, I mean Ronnie, showed up at the party. She went right to Grace and started in on her. (Ronnie's English was pretty good.) Right in front of everyone, at a good bye party for a friend, she starts yelling and screaming at Grace. No fucking class. No fucking professionalism. Grace tried to explain herself and what happened but of course it didn't matter. Whatever the parent said was true and whatever Grace said was lies. After ruining the party Ronnie left, as did Grace.

The next day she was called right into the Director's office where both Kim's and Ronnie were waiting. They once again raked her over the coals. She was to apologize to the student in front of the class and the parents. (Once they realized the parents wouldn't understand the apology they forgot about it. Mind you that took a while.) They took away all of her high level classes and had her teaching the lowest ability students, and the worst classes.

This is what the Kim's were like. Pander to the parents. If there is a problem never get the foreign teachers side of it. It is automatically the foreign teachers fault. Oh, and blow things out of proportion. The office manager wasn't much better.

Grace finished out her year. But she never forgot how shitty she was treated from the start. Nor did I. She was GREAT with the kids. Even the problem ones.

The way it was handled did affect my thinking on renewing my VISA. I had given my word and I would do it. however, I wasn't going to remind them of when it was up for renewal. If it lapsed because of them that would be their fault and problem. If it lapsed I would not renew it.

3 days before it would have expired Mr. Kim remembered it was running out. So, I stupidly renewed it and started my 3rd contract and what would be a hellish 10 months.

HUFS OeDae Language School (OeDae Academy) in Hwaseong/Dongtan

I am posting this for a friend.


Please post this blacklist review of HUFS OeDae Language School (OeDae Academy) in Hwaseong/Dongtan . In an attempt to help other teachers know what they may be getting into if they sign there.

Stay away from HUFS OeDae Language School (OeDae Academy) in Hwaseong/Dongtan!!!

The school was shut down by the Korean Ministry of Education for employing a Korean English teacher with no degree. Then they reopened as the same school (changing the name from OeDae of Dongtan to OeDae of Hwaseong; aka Korean Foreign Language University OeDae Academy).

They put the business ownership in the owner's wife's brother's name (a common loophole in Korean law that allows the hagwon owners to steal money from their ESL teachers). The other foreign teacher and I were advised of our contracts being terminated on the final day of May due to the closure of the school. They said we had to sign a new 12 month contract. They refused to honor the contract even though it is still the same owner (via his wife's brother's name on the paperwork), same students, same school. The school refused to pay the contract completion bonus of one month's pay. I was in my 10th month of the contract (1 month 19 day remaining). They also refused to pay my return airfare back to the USA.

They did this to the other western teacher from England as well (who was in the 8th month of his contract). Basically they are stealing about $5000 from me(1 month pay + bonus pay + airfare home) and also from the other teacher. We presume they are doing this to pay the fine imposed on them by the Korean Ministry of Education, basically having the western teachers pay the owner's fine (owner's English names are David and Windy - husband and wife).

Luckily, I have an F2 visa and can make up most of that by contracting out to companies. Unfortunately the other teacher is E2, and will have to swallow the loss. I should have left there once I got my F2 visa, but I believed in honoring my contract.

Other teachers there have had problems as well. There has not been one foreign ESL teacher complete a year contract at the school and they have high turnover of their Korean teachers. The owners also attempt to renegotiate contracts.

***Warning*** The owners of this school have no honor nor integrity. They are dishonest and will cheat you and steal from you for their own benefit. ***WARNING***

Friday, June 18, 2010

Ivy English School - YongAm-Dong Cheongju Part 1

I started working for a school called Ivy English school. It was in Yong-Am Dong, Cheongju and run by a couple James and Victory (Yes, not Victoria) Kim. He had some people skills and bad English. She had better English and no people skills.

At first it was a great place to work. They were very good to their foreign teachers. mind you they had a HORRIBLE reputation for the way they treated their Korean teachers. At one point before I started they fired them all and hired new ones.

I liked the place and trusted them enough that I actually did recruiting for them. Everything was fine until the start of my 3rd contract. There were signs things were starting to go pear shaped and I even noticed some of them. But I gave my word I would re-sign for a 3rd year (I can hear you laughing at that) so even though I had misgivings I re-signed. I should have resigned.

My started opening wide with the way they treated a friend of mine they hired. Let's call him Jack. They hired him after having seen him. They knew he had a beard. They knew he had a Korean girlfriend who lived in Jonju and would move to Cheongju. There were no problems.

At least there were no problems until it came time for him to start. The night before I am leaving for a month home Mr. Kim calls me and tells me I need to get my friend to shave off his beard. All the teachers are afraid of him. (At this point ONE teacher had seen him and didn't care. This is a tactic most of the bad Hagwon owners use. They get one complaint and bump the number up. Or have no complaint but just want something changed or to make you feel bad. most Hagwon owners are greedy assholes.) I told him he needed to talk to Jack and not me.

I had picked my ticket home up at the airport as I was on my way home. For some reason, even though there was time to get it in advance, that is how Mr. Kim set it up. Then I found out that instead of a month home I was returning after 3 weeks. I called Mr. Kim when I got home and asked him what the hell was going on. He gave me a line of BS and went on about misunderstanding. (In Korea misunderstanding is usually a code word for "Oh I lied to you and you caught me!") He said the date couldn't be changed. The airline said it could be for $200. I decided to suck it up and just go home when the ticket was set for.

After getting back lots of shit started hitting the fan.

First, I found out the REAL reason for my return date. The start of a new semester. The Kim's wanted all the teachers there when it started. If they had told me that I could have gone home earlier.

Then there was Jack. I was back a day before I had to start working. I popped in to find out what was new and say hi to jack. He looked like he was dieing. Pale as a ghost. Shaking. Sweating. This in the teachers room surrounded by 4 other foreigners and 6 Korean teachers. None of whom told him there was a DOCTOR ON THE FIRST FLOOR! The Kim's actually refused to let him go home sick!

I told him to go to the doctor and go home. I would talk to the Kim's and teach his schedule for the day. Mr. Kim actually started giving me grief because I will be too tired. Well Jack was too fucking sick to teach. All of the Korean teachers had good English. The office manager, a right loud mouthed bitch of a Korean named Ronnie, not only knew about the doctor below she knew of another one with excellent English.

The next day, as I was leaving, Mr. Kim asked to talk to me. He wanted me to talk with Jack about a list of things he is doing wrong. I started off by telling Mr. Kim that I am not the head teacher and THAT is who should be talking to Jack about that stuff not me. He insisted I should because I am Jack's friend. It is the Korean way according to Mr. Kim.

Then he went over the list of "problems". For the most part they were a pile of chicken shit. Jack has started sitting down too much in class. (He is fucking sick. Hell MOST of the teachers sat down while teaching.) He takes his cell phone to class. (So did most teachers because we have no clocks. He wasn't using it for anything but a clock.) He is chewing gum. (Jack figured nicotine gum was better than smoking around the students.) He is slouching and it scares the kids. He actually had the balls to say Jack shouldn't visit his girlfriend in Jeonju because he may be too tired on Mondays. There were about 30 stupid things he listed. Then he ended with the REAL reason for this bull shit. he wanted Jack to shave his beard.

I told him that if I told Jack 10% of what he said Jack would quit. Hell, I would if it was me. Plus I had known Jack back home for YEARS, and know his temper. Mr. Kim deluded himself that nothing bad would come of it.

In the morning, it was a Friday, before class Jack and I met for coffee. I told him about 10% of the BS. Didn't mention the girlfriend. Jack was understanding, that is he knew this wasn't coming from me. He went up and told Mr. Kim he was giving his months notice of quiting. Mr. Kim told him he couldn't quit. So he told Mr. Kim to fuck off and said that because of that this was his last day. Before the afternoon classes he went to immigration for a chat and got the papers to lodge a complaint with the labour office. Mr. Kim stupidly tried to confront him again and then quickly backed off. Which is goo0d for him because the last Director that got in Jack's face got smacked into a wall several times.

My gut told me to quit or at least not renew when my VISA expired in a month. But I had given my word. I still hadn't realized that meant so little to many Koreans.

More bull shit was yet to come.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Argentina 4 South Korea 1

The way the 1st half ended Arg 2 SK 1, it looked like Korea MIGHT have a chance. They didn`t. They were destroyed 4-1.

The game has two thoughts running through my head.

First, how long until the death and bomb threats and internet attacks start. With the sub-question will they be against Argentinians, the officials (and their countries), Park Chu-Young, the vuvuzelas (or however those horns are spelled) and South Africa, or some combination of the four? If past World Cup experience bears out they will at least be going after Argentina in some way.

Second, how hard are the nutizens going to come down on Park Chu-Young for scoring the won goal putting Argentina up 1-0.

It is kind of sad when you have such low expectations of people. Low expectations that are based on the reality of the depths of stupidity that are reached because many Koreans are poor losers.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

End of the line for the KRD Express.

The station is empty. Only the movement of leaflets blown about by the wind can be seen. You have reached the end of the line. The KRD express is no more.

Korean Rum Diary has removed the comments and seems to have shut the site down for some reason. I haven't emailed and asked because I figure if he wanted to say why he would have said it on his site.

I am going to miss his posts. Hopefully he will still be around the net.

Good luck in your future endeavours KRD!

Monday, June 14, 2010

School (and recruiter) names.

Some of the names Koreans give their schools make me laugh. They are so stupid. They must be to impress parents because they sure as hell don't impress foreigners, at least not in a good way. In fact, some of them make Koreans look stupid.

Toss English ... whether you are from North America or the U.K. this name is stupid for several reasons. As someone from NA Toss English would mean throw it away. Like garbage. In the U.K. it has a whole other meaning. A blowjob. I wonder if their teachers are all called Tossers. I can see the first day of work.

Mr Kim. "Welcome Toss English. You teach good to children. We all good Tossers!"

English MouMou ... I have been told by students MouMou is Chinese for nothing. Which would mean for an English school they have a Chinese name AND the name says English Nothing. Bravo!

English Brain Food. Brain food?

CSI. Right, come to Korea and teach Crime Scene Investigation in English to elementary school kids.

CIA. I have to admit it looked cool on the Alien Card. Made for a good ice breaker. However, it looks as stupid as CSI. When students ask what it stands for we were never told. Among the teachers it stood for Cunts and Inconsiderate Assholes.

What is next? NCIS? Criminal Minds English Institute? Dr. House English Time?

Even recruiters take some of the stupidest names I have seen. Once again, it doesn't make them look good to foreigners. It makes them look like idiots.

Case in point a recruiter I saw on the web called Chosun Ilbo Delicious English Co. Ltd. What the kimchi?!?!? Delicious English?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

South Korea 2 Greece 0

South Korea had a great game! They shut out Greece while scoring 2 goals. From some of the scoring chances they had it could have been 5-0. Greece only had one really good chance on goal.

Lee Jung-Soo scored the first goal for South Korea 7 minutes into the game. Park Ji-Sung scored at rghe 52nd minute with a brillaint solo effort.

South Korea is the first team to win a game in this World Cup. Greece has still NEVER scored a World Cup goal.

Oh pilsung Korea!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Mook of the Week

Welcome to the latest installment of Mook of the Week.

I saw these mooks one day while waiting for Stig to show up for lunch. At least one of them worked in the shop near them. He is a nice enough guy. I have dealt with him in the shop a few times. However, he is a mook as his behaviour here shows.

Now, I understand some, ok MANY, shops put stuff out on the sidewalk. In this case turning what is a 3-4 person sidewalk into a 1 person sidewalk. That on its own is annoying. But these guys take it to the next level. And unlike Stallone in that crappy movie "Get Carter" there IS a next level. Putting chairs out on the street and sitting there.

They seemed oblivious to the traffic that had to swerve partially into the 2nd lane to go around them. I have seen them sitting out on the road many times. Sometimes their chairs were halfway out into the lane. If someone beeps their horn or says something they start doing the mook dance, shaking their fists, and yelling "shebal sekis" at the "offender". After all, they are mooks and can't understand that THEY are in the wrong.

So, a 3-4 person sidewalk is turned into 1 lane as is a two lane street because these guys want to sit down and talk while keeping an eye on the stuff they have blocking the sidewalk. A street that can get very busy at times because Home Plus is across the way.

Sometimes, in the evening, you can see them sitting there drinking soju, makkeoli, or dongdongju. Mooking about as if they owned the world.

These are prime examples of mooks.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

What the ... apologist?!?!?!?

I was talking about Korea with a friend today and I mentioned apologists. so he asked me what exactly an apologist is.

Easy definition is that an apologist is someone who is always defending something. Be it a country, person. institution, etc. But it means a little more, at least when talking about Korean apologists. These are people that feel they have to defend against any slight, whether real or perceived, no matter how minor or major. They will pursue this defense even when it goes against the reality of the situation.

There is actually a way to pick out apologists. There is usually a pattern to how they comment. Some ways obvious and others more subtle.

The most obvious way is to try and deny the reality of what you said. This can take different forms. Some may try to just ramble on (In person we would say they try to shout you down like some of the Anti-Obama wing nuts during the election.) It doesn't matter what you said. All is well. Nothing to see. Move along. All is well.

Others try a more insulting tact and try to deny the validity of your experience. I once wrote on another site about some bad experiences I had in Korea. Some apologist had to chime in and say "Well that never happened to me and I haven't seen it happen so I don't believe it happens." Well, he is welcome to go through life with his head stuck up his ass. Eventually he will get run over.

Or they will try to diminish your experience. One person wrote about a number of idiots he ran into just getting to the bus at Incheon airport. An adjosshi staring and pointing. Someone hawking up a loogie nnear him. Comments that people made in Korean thinking he couldn't understand. In comes an apologist who starts go on that he was exaggerating. The OP must have lumped a few separate incidents together to try and get sympathy.

By denying or diminishing your experience they hope to make it seem unbelievable, or that you are just a whiner.

Then you have the more subtle way some apologists act.

Some will try to obfuscate the issue. If you complain about, lets say cartoons in the Korean media, they will find a way to poo poo it. Oh the cartoons you are talking about were written by a Frenchman in Thailand not Koreans. Of course this would assume that you were only talking about one cartoonist. Furthermore, even if you were ONLY talking about those cartoons the fact a Frenchman in Thailand drew them doesn't negate the fact they were approved by an editor of a Korean paper and appeared in them. By bringing up someone from another nationality drawing them, and doing it in another country, it is supposed to cloud the issue. Excuse things. At the same time it may ignore major factors that would hurt their argument, such as not talking about 1 cartoon or cartoonist or the fact the papers allowed the cartoons to be used. It is all about deflecting the focus of the blame away from Korea and Koreans.

And lest we forget that grand method of obfuscation ... comparing what you complain about in Korea with other countries. "This happens in America!" Completely forgetting that we are in KOREA and not the other country. Why pay attention to facts if it hurts your argument?

Mind you even when they use this they can be wrong. Case in point bad drivers. when complaining about it in Korea apologists whined "There are bad drivers in Canada too!" Never said they weren't but I wasn't in Canada being bothered by bad drivers. And if I use the illogic of the apologists there are NO bad drivers in Canada! I have been home for 3 weeks and change. I haven't seen a bad driver ergo there are no bad drivers in Canada. Great lack of logic isn't it?

Then you have the way some apologists will make comments implying you have ulterior motives for making a negative comment about Korea, whether real or perceived. For example saying something like:

"It was a left-versus-right issue, most certainly, and there are plenty of Koreans who share your anger. If that really is anger and not just some convenient issue with which to bash Koreans in general when it's convenient for you."

They subtlely impugn your reasons for making your comment while trying to make it seem as though they aren't attacking you. Are you really angry or just using it to bash Korea? Thereby calling your motives into question and trying to devalue your comments or experience. They don't have the balls to come out and make a direct accusation. They rely on innuendo instead.

The biggest failure of the apologists is that they just can't understand that someone can like something (a country, a brand, etc) and still complain about it. That just doesn't compute with them. So they do what they can to try and silence you or make insinuations about you. In their desire to fully support it they ignore the bad and feel the need to attack anyone they perceive as speaking ill of it. That is an apologist.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

What the .. ship?!?!?

I previously wrote asking where all the protests over the Cheonan sinking were. I was, and am still, willing to say there could have been some that just weren't picked up by the media. With that in mind, I started looking for evidence of protests.

Lo and behold there WERE protests reported in the media! Protests in South Korea in SUPPORT of North Korea! What the kimchi?!?!?There was a small counter rally nearby that was briefly mentioned. That was it. Looking at the protests over the accidental death of the 2 middle school girls in 2002 or the US beef riots it makes you shake your head and wonder just how low the Koreans can go.

To top this off what do I see on the news today? South Koreans protesting the Israeli attack on the "aid ship". What the kimchi? You knuckle heads won't say boo over North Korea sinking the Cheonan and murdering South Koreans but you will get out in the street for that?

It is at times like this that I think South Korea DESERVES North Korea as a neighbour. And the next time North Korea does something to the South, and you KNOW they will, the South has no one to blame but themselves.

Friday, June 4, 2010

What the delusion 2?!?!?

I thought Koreans had their head in the arses in my post on the sinking of the Cheonan. They just want to deny reality. They don't want to admit that North Korea is the enemy. North Korea has attacked them pretty much yearly in one way or another. They either excuse it away or pretend the bad behviour hasn't happened. I knew it was bad but I didn't know it was THIS bad.

I was reading an article on ROK Drop about the new outdoor exhibit at the War Museum in Seoul. It is a replica of the naval ship sunk by the North Koreans in 2002. Six sailors were murdered by the North in that attack. Eighteen others were wounded. Nice gesture of remembrance.

Then I followed a link to an article on how South Korea, especially the government, is FORGETTING the West Sea naval Battle of 2002.

This tragedy of the murdered sailors was bad enough for those left behind, but to make matters worse for the victims and their families, the South Korean government did everything possible to keep the grieving families quiet because they did not want to upset the Sunshine Policy with North Korea. So while politicians in the Korean government encouraged anti-Americanism in the aftermath of the US Army armored vehicle accident that killed two Korean school girls earlier in June 2002, the Korean government in turn did nothing to address the premeditated murder of six ROK sailors by the North Koreans.

The government even told the families to be quiet about the incident and sent no flag officers to attend a memorial ceremony or even offer any condolescences. USFK however did send representatives to the ceremony and USFK Commander General LaPorte offered the families his condolescences.

You need to read the full article. It left me pretty disgusted with how the survivors were treated, and the dead. Koreans need to get their heads out of their asses and see what reality is like. The one blood one people line is so much bull shit. North Korea has and will kill South Koreans. Putting on blinders makes wonder if the South deserves a rude awakening or not.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Mook of the Week

I don't know anyone who has lived in South Korea and NOT seen someone pissing publicly. Some try to conceal it a bit but most don't.

One night Stig and I were sitting out front of a convenience store near my apartment. We were enjoying some beer and a good cigar. There is a seafood restaurant at the top of the street. During the summer they have outside tables as well as inside.

Two mooks strolled down about halfway to where we were sitting. (Across the street from us.) They then proceeded to whip out their tallywhackers and hose down the alleyway/entrance to an apartment building.

All we could do was shake our heads in disgust. I didn't have my camera out or I would have taken a picture of them. Just in case I got the camera out.

Lo and behold a while later another mook shambled down the street from the restaurant. He didn't bother with the alley/entrance. He just pissed on the curb in view of everyone. He looked a little surprised when the flash went off. After the shock dare I say he was a little ... pissed off? Better than being pissed on.

What really marks this idiot as a mook is the location of ... a bathroom. There is a bathroom in the restaurant. The mook actually had to go FURTHER out of his way to piss on the street. What the kimchi?

It is hard to think of "The Strangest" pissing encounter I have had, or rather seen. There have been so many over the years. A guy standing in the door of a restaurant pissing out onto the sidewalk. A guy dropping his drawers and pissing on a phone pole in front of a store. A woman (from the same restaurant the guy stood in the doorway of but on a different day) whipping her kids panties off, hauling her dress up and holding her against a telephone pole to piss. A woman letting her kid piss against a power box in front of a dunkin donuts while the sidewalk was crowded. Ah, the restaurant people ... I should mention there was a bathroom they could have used.

Ok ... the strangest public pissing I have seen has got to be this incident. I was waiting for a taxi to come by and 2 women were walking down the sidewalk. Picture this. You and a friend are walking down a sidewalk. To your left a foreigner is at the road side trying to hail a cab. To your right, partially on the sidewalk, an adjosshi has his pants and underwear around his ankles proudly pissing away. Who would you stare at and make comments about? Of course for the Koreans it was the foreigner. Which, as I have said a few times previously, makes me wonder JUST how commonplace public urination is if seeing a foreigner is less common and evokes more of a reaction. Two sets of mooks for one that night.