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Jeff C. - 2005-03-27

March 22, 2005


Canadian English teachers are among the main targets after a TV show painted a picture of foreigners in South Korea as an assortment of high-school dropouts, losers, drug peddlers and pedophiles.
A homegrown campaign urging foreigners to leave South Korea has prompted warnings for western visitors to stay away from certain parts of Seoul.

The Seoul Times reported that demonstrations against foreigners are planned and an online petition to keep foreigners out of South Korea has already received thousands of signatures.

The US embassy, the paper said, has warned American citizens to stay away from certain parts of Seoul.

Many foreigners are worried, some have already left, the paper said.

The Canadian Embassy in Seoul on its website said that it is concerned at the rate of sexual assault against foreigners.

The use of public transport after dark may be safer than using taxis when travelling alone, it states.

The embassy website also advises that strikes and demonstrations frequently occur in Seoul on short notice.

Canadians are reminded that political, labour, and student demonstrations and marches can become confrontational or violent. Canadians should exercise caution, avoid areas where demonstrations are being held and avoid confrontations with protestors.

A major flashpoint for the anti-western sentiment in South Korea is a website set up to help Western English teachers find jobs.

Featured on the site was a forum dedicated to Seouls social life which also organised parties where Westerners and local girls drank, danced and flirted.

Koreans got wind of the site, hacked it, and brought it down.

The Seoul Times said that a local Yahoo-style portal named Daum has also set up a petition to rid South Korea of low-grade Westerners.

Demonstrations are planned and activists are encouraged to confront Western men who are seen with Korean women.

The Yonhap News Agency said that TV station SBS recently aired a program painting a picture of foreign teachers in South Korea as an assortment of high-school dropouts, losers, drug peddlers and pedophiles.

The shows high ratings cashed in on the negative sentiment sparked by a foreign-administered Web site that pulled the plug after incensing the nation by allowing a step-by-step guide to bedding local women on its bulletin board posted by a foreign English teacher.

Korean students at a Hagwon
Since the early-1990s, a wave of hagwon or English schools have sprung up all over South Korea offering conversational English tuition to students, bored housewives and professionals.

According to the South Korean Ministry of Education and Human Resources, there are 5,138 foreign language institutes and 6,410 foreign teachers, including hundreds of Canadians in the country.

Because the English-language institutes frequently only require a native tongue there is a high degree of latitude in terms of quality.

In some quarters, the system provides excellent immersion teaching. In others, it lays itself open for abuse, says English-language instructor Nathan Millard from Britain, according to Yonhap.

Hagwon class in session
It is ridiculous that someone who knows nothing of Korea, knows nothing about teaching and has only a degree can walk into a job teaching a foreign language So this is a problem in Korea, but it is a problem that Korea has created for itself, said the teacher based in Ilsan, a satellite city of the capital.

Korean media said the feeding frenzy for English has spun off a lucrative black market where people who skipped college can earn up to C$60 an hour for reading the days news in their native language.

Were not teachers. Were entertainers, said Ray Jordan, a Canadian finance student who worked for an illegal outfit in 2003 that sends teachers to home-classes in suburban areas.

We do the same thing every lesson chanting and picture cards. Sometimes we circle round to the same kids and go through exactly the same routine. The kids even remember us.

Like many, he was wooed into Koreas teaching market by the offer of free international flights, C$2,422-plus a month, free apartment and the taste of a new culture, said the Korean news report.

Foreigners celebrate Saint Patrick's Day in Itaewon, Seoul's night district
My hagwon falsified teachers resumes, saying they were from prestigious schools like Berkeley, said a Korean-Canadian woman employed in the affluent district of Daichi-dong in southern Seoul two years ago.

The Seoul Times said in an increasingly nationalistic South Korea, civic groups, local government, and on and off-line communities react fast to any perceived sleight on their nation.

When incidents like this happen, hordes of angry young netizens get to work, calling for boycotts, backlashes and action, the paper said.


Messages In This Thread
English teachers in Korea face wrath of an angry nation - ESL discussion -- Jeff C. -- 2005-03-27
That's what 'Native Speakers' asked for! - ESL discussion -- Chunping Wu -- 2005-03-28
Foreigners: the good, the bad, and the ugly - ESL discussion -- Mic -- 2005-03-28
Are you serious? Police interview? - ESL discussion -- Beatrix -- 2005-04-15
Certificate is one, a qualification is the other. - ESL discussion -- Chunping Wu -- 2005-04-01
Ready to leave? - ESL discussion -- Mike B. -- 2005-03-28
Good teachers are always welcomed . - ESL discussion -- Chunping Wu -- 2005-03-28
I like it.... - ESL discussion -- Mic -- 2005-03-28
Korea easy to live in?? - ESL discussion -- Sarah -- 2005-04-06
Korea, a good place - ESL discussion -- Chris -- 2005-04-13
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