Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Shit Foreigners say ... about Korean BS.

"I can't believe MBC would air this."

"I am surprised to see them (MBC) air this."

I know I have talked about this already but I think it bears repeating. Lately I have been reading posts and comments on various sites discussing the latest racist BS to come out of MBC and I encountered several comments like those.

I am surprised that people (foreigners) who purport to live in South Korea are surprised by the drek MBC put out. Have they lived in a fucking bubble their whole time there? Do I have to steal Bill Maher's life Inside the Bubble schtick to talk about these people?

I lived there for 10 years and racist crap like this came as NO surprise. The year before I left there was similar crap painting all expat's teaching English as evil drug using rapists who are there to corrupt Koreans and screw around. There was the CYJ English ad claiming most foreigners have aids, many are gay, they want our women.

For people to be actually surprised about this they have to have been living in a bubble. Talk about it made the rounds on expat websites. I even heard about it from Korean co-workers. You had to have your head buried in the sand pretty deep not to hear something about it.

Then you have the people who start rambling on that "Not all Korean's think that way." Of course not all of them do. But a LOT of them do. I would be willing to bet my own money that it is a majority of them.

If the whole Mad Cow bugaboo showed us anything it is that Koreans are extremely susceptible to what the media, or authority figures, tell them. Even when it flies in the face of reality.

I can remember butting heads with students, both adult and younger, over things they believed that denied reality. One episode that sticks out most in my head is how vehement many were that there are only 6 continents. It didn't matter how much proof you showed them that there are 7 continents they REFUSED to believe it. Why? A Korean teacher taught them that there were only 6. I was just a foreign teacher and therefore not as reliable. When I talked with some Korean co-workers about it they held the same belief for the same reason.

That is just the reality of life in Korea. Hopefully it will change over time but I wouldn't hold my breath while waiting.


  1. The story that, uh, "Bald Flint" put up about Koreans embracing Creationism recently supports what you have said, as well.
    I had the same arguments as you did. During my efforts to educate my students, I always asked them to think about what they were saying and not just "listen and repeat."
    It's like a pebble in a pond. The ripples may touch something, some day.

  2. What got me with my adult students is many would lament the fact they were never taught to think outside the box but they would never encourage their kids to do it.

    I found out that AnonyJohn is a creationist. That explains a lot. :)

  3. Haha. I've actually never run into that one before. Which continent do Koreans not believe in?

  4. Ah yes, Bill Maher is a good source of templates for blogging. To be fair to foreigners who can't believe that type of thing, I think there is a new cycle of newbies out there who are reading the blogs and stuff, and they may have never been exposed to this type of thing.

    Question: How does one get taught to think outside of the box? I think that the opposite happens, teaching is done for people to try to get the right answer. What surprises me about the Korean education system when I speak with adults is really how little people actually know. This is a country that is a leader in high school science test scores, but you ask an adult how many days it takes the moon to go around the sun, and you get blank stares. (I use this example because Koreans might culturally be predisposed to knowledge about the moon since they use a lunar calendar for important events.)

    It's surprising because I always hear stories about the normal practice of staying at high school from 7-10 and then paying money to stay in a quiet room from 10:30-2 to do more studying, and then you realize that for all of the studying, the person that you are talking to has no clue about anything.

  5. 3gyubsal:

    There is a lot of truth to what you said, some of the people making the comments may be new and haven't experienced the "news" bs yet. Some of the posters I read though had been in South Korea for several years and when I left 2 years ago those KBS and SBS "news" stories were still airing.

    As soon as I posted using outside the box I wondered if it was the right term to use. It was one I chose, and not what the parents actually said. I thought it encapsulated what they said and meant best.

    The parents complained that their kids were just taught to regurgitate what the teacher said. They were great with route learning but were never taught to question anything.

    I think back to the difficulty of ordering anything but Americano (black) or Original (cream and sugar) coffee. Inside the box there are only two choices. If you wanted something different, like my coffee with no sugar, they have trouble understanding. Even when it is presented and explained in Korean. There were times when I actually gave up after 5+ minutes because they just could not understand that I wanted something different than the 2 options they provided.

    I think you learn to think outside the box by being able to question things and look for different options. Not just what you were told is the way things are.