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What one thing would you change about Korea?
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Austin



Joined: 23 May 2003
Location: In the kitchen

PostPosted: Sun Oct 12, 2003 9:16 am    Post subject: Obvious... Reply with quote

I think you are missing the point, so I will attempt to better explain...

Foreigners that come to Korea for long-term stays are required to apply for and be issued a visa to legally reside in this country. In other words, if the government does not want to allow you into Korea, they can deny you a visa and entry.

Is that simple enough?

If you obtain a visa, your status as a guest is temporary.

I do not know about you, but when I host a party and a couple of the guests act up, I ask them to settle down. If they do not, I ask them to leave. Moreover, if I go to an invite and I do not enjoy it, I do not stick around. I leave.

How is visiting Korea any different?

In the many countries that I have traveled, I spent more time in the countries that I enjoyed and very little time in the countries that I did not.

Is not that rational and reasonable?

I am not sure what citizens of Korea have to do with this thread, but you asked the question.

Citizens of Korea can actively lobby for change in their country through many means, though I question the impact a few people can make. Whether they like the country they were born in is irrelevant, because they are not guests here! However, we are.

I am not stating that your question is "dumb," but the answer is obvious. Guests of Korea should be treated differently, because they are not citizens. The Koreans are not guests.

If you were a member of a family and you did not like your home, you would be stuck until you could move out on your own. However, if you were a guest, you would be expected to leave.

If I had not have thought you were kidding with your post, I would have answered you earlier.

One other thing to consider...

Have you ever noticed the many D.D.D. workers that are happy to be here, whether legally or not? Have you noticed how successful they are at learning the language?

Korea is a much better place with those people here, as they truly contribute to Korea's economy in a positive way. Moreover, they are thankful to have the opportunity to live here, and it shows by how they live.
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Gladiator



Joined: 23 May 2003
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Sun Oct 12, 2003 5:57 pm    Post subject: What one thing would you change about Korea? Reply with quote

If either the Fairy or Genie could be summoned by rubbing some rusty old lamp washed up on the banks of the Han River the conversation would go like this:

Genie: "Congratulations I will grant you one change relating to Korea. Name it and it shall be done!"

Me: Right, get rid of the odious custom of plying people with drink until they are sick and/or develop liver scirosis under the primitive, ritualistic, shamanistic notion that downing five bottles of soju somehow "binds" people together. Utterly destroy the notion that men should drink excessively and dangerously to prove their masculinity and that refusing alcohol is offending a host's hospitality. Please also annihilate the barbaric idea of alcohol providing a trust foundation upon which all relationships must stand. Cut this particular cancer out of Korean society O Genie and I will eternally be your grateful subject.
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posco's trumpet



Joined: 20 Apr 2003
Location: Beneath the Underdog

PostPosted: Sun Oct 12, 2003 5:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote



Last edited by posco's trumpet on Sat Dec 06, 2003 8:44 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Austin



Joined: 23 May 2003
Location: In the kitchen

PostPosted: Sun Oct 12, 2003 6:44 pm    Post subject: Not on your terms... Reply with quote

I hate to burst your bubble, but you are not setting the agenda.

I answered your questions to the best of my ability.

If I did not believe in what I originally stated, I would not have suggested it.

The question was what one thing would you change about Korea, and I gave two. Unlike you, I am not naive enough to think that either will ever come to true, so it is a moot point and a moot thread. Pressing the issue is pointless.

I do believe that any place on earth would be better if the people that resided there were positive, happy, and able to function in that environment (that answer applies to foreigners and Koreans alike, if you are incapable of discerning that fact).

Foreigners, guests, etc. are legally different and distinct from citizens of any country, and accordingly, they are treated differently. Whether you think that is just or not is irrelevant, because it is a reality. Therefore, whether Koreans want to remain in their country or not, is an entirely separate issue. Foreigners are not entitled to the same rights as citizens here, and citizens have other avenues to pursue to remedy their concerns about their country.

In other words, Koreans can go wherever they like, so long as they are financially and legally able.

Your questions are asking for something that I seldom give, as answers are rarely a simple Y/N.

I trust you can figure it out from the above.

As far as the D.D.D., I was not talking about my impressions from walking past people on the street, but from my firsthand exposure to these people. You assumed too much on that one.

As for them positively contributing to the economy here, that is a very real, tangible, and quantifiable thing to measure. If they do not perform, they are bounced. However, the same can not be said for people "teaching" English, as the majority of students will never use their language skills outside of the classroom, and the majority of "teachers" are not measured by their effectiveness/production but on being able to satisfy and please the system. Moreover, the government has their own way of measuring the above, and their methods show the same claim that I have made (their numbers just reinforced what many have long believed to be true).


Last edited by Austin on Sun Oct 12, 2003 7:01 pm; edited 1 time in total
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some waygug-in



Joined: 25 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Sun Oct 12, 2003 6:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Austin. What about answering my questions?

Where do you teach? Who do you teach? How long have you been here?

Simple enough?
Cheers
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desultude



Joined: 15 Jan 2003
Location: Dangling my toes in the Persian Gulf

PostPosted: Sun Oct 12, 2003 7:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Posco's Trumpet said:

Quote:
Seriously -- why should I bother to learn Korean? I have yet to encounter anyone who can produce evidence of how learning Korean has substantively (economically) improved their lives.


You must not know anyone doing translation work- it is quite lucrative.

I am working on my Korean, but I doubt that I will become good enough for translation work anytime soon. I do pronounce my student's names better, can order food, negotiate prices at the market, and get the taxi driver to take me to the right place. Its not making me rich, but it is sure helping me live easier here.

I'm not sure why the responses to Austin's postings are so vitriolic, a lot of what he says has merit. Read a history book on Korea, pay attention to U.S. foriegn policy in general- the U.S. presence here is not magnanimous. Were are guests in someone else's nation- look at the attitude most people in the U.S. have towards people who do not learn English immediately when they immigrate to the States. I am afraid I see a lot of hypocracy here- we should behave here the same way that we expect others to behave in our homes and our home nations.

I do understand that some people get stuck here with bad contracts, but I don't believe that you would have to stay if you never intended to return. If you just want to get out of a bad contract, but want to return to Korea to work in the future, you have grounds to complain about your job, but not the whole nation.

One thing I know, when and if I start being really unhappy here, I will leave as soon as possible. When you hate a place, you don't just make yourself miserable, you radiate it to everyone around you.
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Ilsanman



Joined: 15 Aug 2003
Location: Bucheon, Korea

PostPosted: Sun Oct 12, 2003 7:57 pm    Post subject: yes Reply with quote

If I had 1 wish..I would say

Please smite all people in this country who push people without care, people who spit logies on the ground, making a horrible noise, people who knowingly smoke in non smoking sections and make no effort not to puff smoke on their non smoking neighbour, and people who litter on the ground without even attempting to be clandestine about it, proving that they are total hypocrites, especially when they claim they love their country.

If it happened......

poof!!!

every man and ajumma in Korea disappears, as well as a small share of expats and younger women.
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posco's trumpet



Joined: 20 Apr 2003
Location: Beneath the Underdog

PostPosted: Sun Oct 12, 2003 8:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote



Last edited by posco's trumpet on Sat Dec 06, 2003 8:45 pm; edited 1 time in total
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posco's trumpet



Joined: 20 Apr 2003
Location: Beneath the Underdog

PostPosted: Sun Oct 12, 2003 8:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote



Last edited by posco's trumpet on Sat Dec 06, 2003 8:45 pm; edited 1 time in total
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William Beckerson
Guest




PostPosted: Sun Oct 12, 2003 9:23 pm    Post subject: Re: Obvious...(that Austin is the Artful Dodger incarnate) Reply with quote

Austin wrote:

I do not know about you, but when I host a party and a couple of the guests act up, I ask them to settle down. If they do not, I ask them to leave. Moreover, if I go to an invite and I do not enjoy it, I do not stick around. I leave.

How is visiting Korea any different?

You're not paying your guests to come to your party, and then lying to them about what's going to happen there, are you?

Quote:
If I had not have thought you were kidding with your post, I would have answered you earlier.

The artful dodger leaps out of the way again. Huzzah!
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William Beckerson
Guest




PostPosted: Sun Oct 12, 2003 9:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

some waygug-in wrote:
Hey Austin. What about answering my questions?

Where do you teach? Who do you teach? How long have you been here?

Simple enough?
Cheers


Austin has the amazing ability to not see posts he doesnt want to see. It keeps him from having to consider the possibilty that the sun doesnt shine from his neither regions.
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Austin



Joined: 23 May 2003
Location: In the kitchen

PostPosted: Sun Oct 12, 2003 10:31 pm    Post subject: Later... Reply with quote

William,

People have different ways of looking at life and living in this world, and I do not pretend to understand nor appreciate every person that populates this planet. Therefore, I tend to associate with and keep company with people that I like and share similar interests.

Is that really such a surprise? I would not expect anything different from any other person, so why do you expect that of me?

It is not that I completely avoid interacting with foreigners in Korea. However, in the many years that I have been here, I have enjoyed my time with Koreans more than I have enjoyed my time with other foreigners. My experience belongs only to me, as I am sure there are others that would state the opposite. None of which really matters, so I am curious why you care about the people that I associate with in Korea.

Again, as we live, hopefully, we learn. Though past experiences are not always indicative of what our futures are going to hold, I tend to minimize my exposure to negative situations by drawing some basic conclusions about those around me (right or wrong). As I stated previously, since I have had better, more fulfilling experiences with Koreans as a whole, I tend to prefer to keep company with them.

Why is that such an issue with you? Are telling me that people should associate with people they prefer not to be around?

I am not hiding from anything or anyone by my choices, as you have implied. After all, what are we? Are you claiming that people are "real" when they are out and about for a night on the town? The more time you spend with people you like and enjoy the more relaxed and comfortable many become. Moreover, people present themselves the way they want to be viewed by others. Who is to say what is "real" and what is not upon your first impression?

For example, I have rarely been out with a foreigner who has attempted to "shout" for the entire bill. However, most Koreans I go out with are very reciprocal in their actions. Since I am a very generous person, I tend to be taken advantage of my self-centered, oblivious foreigners, but Koreans are very considerate to my nature. My Korean colleagues are always bringing treats into the office for everyone to share and I do the same. However, I have never met a foreigner or had a foreign colleague that has ever brought treats in for the staff. Moreover, when I go out with Koreans, the night is usually fun and positive. However, a night on the town with other foreigners is almost certain to be full of Korea bashing, complaints about money, and an unhealthy dose of negativity.

Sorry, but if I have the option, I am going to lean toward a night out with Koreans (though there are a couple of exception like "Merrilee").

I have no problem admitting that you know nothing about me, as I know nothing about you. However, it is interesting that you would think that I take some kind of pleasure in writing the way that I do. I know my tone is condescending, as I do not agree with much of what is posted here, but it is not meant to "belittle," "insult," etc., for the reasons you stated in your post. The feelings that others may foster within themselves from reading my posts is beyond my control, so I do not concern myself with it. Instead, my focus is on presenting a different side to life in Korea, apart from the typical mundane mantra of so many others here.

As for my two quotes on helping others, you misunderstood, as they were two different circumstances. When I said that I help those around me, I was referring to those that are close to me, personally and professionally. I was not referring to complete strangers. The second quote was referring to "other foreigners," not friends or colleagues of mine, so the are not contradictions in and of themselves.

This site is not a "real" environment, and as such, there is nothing to adapt to in the first place. People post, read, and respond freely. No member is required to be honest, truthful, kind, considerate, etc., so if we do not like something we can simply avoid it. If people get offended by reading the newspaper and are incapable of putting it into a workable perspective for themselves, I would suggest that they stop reading articles by that author. Asking the author to change is ludicrous.

Bottom line, the majority of the material that gets posted here is completely useless, because people's personal anecdotes are only relevant to them and their unique experiences. Just because some poster had a bad experience at one school, does not mean that a different person is going to have the same or similar experience. That is why I do not tell people what to do or not to do (this is where having varying perspectives is useful)! They need to decide for themselves what is going to work for them and what is not, as the dynamics are all different and different people act and get treated very differently everywhere in the world. In short, the blacklists are bogus, because they only apply to those specific people!

This site is useful, however, when it comes to facts and factual information. Like how to get from A to B, how to obtain C, and where to find D. The rest is just a distraction for many of us to keep our brains in check, though I am not certain if it is working for everyone!


Last edited by Austin on Mon Oct 13, 2003 4:49 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Austin



Joined: 23 May 2003
Location: In the kitchen

PostPosted: Sun Oct 12, 2003 10:32 pm    Post subject: By the way... Reply with quote

I answered the post about my experience in a PM.
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marktoronto



Joined: 02 Jun 2003
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2003 12:04 am    Post subject: egos Reply with quote

I think everyone caught up in this discussion have egos that are not allowing them to back down from their arguments even though they are obviously smart enough to see both sides.
There are a ton of things I would change about this country, but there are also a ton of things I would change about Canada also. If you hate it that much here, then leave.
The other day I was completely lost in Namsan park. An eldery couple noticed I was looking around with a puzzled look on my face and asked if they could help. Not only did they show me where to go on a map, but they took me to their car which was parked nearby and drove me! This would NEVER happen in Toronto. So yes, it bothers me when people push their way onto the subway or cut infront of me in line, but that's what makes this place South Korea and I love it because it's different.
So back to my point. Everyone is right and no one is wrong with their arguments. So shut the *beep* up and move on, these arguments are going nowhere.
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The Bobster



Joined: 15 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2003 4:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You ever notice how threads that involve Austin tend to be about Austin, at least sooner or later? I don't entirely blame him for this - he's got a few supporters, but the people who want to shout him down tend to be people who seem to wait around precisely for him to come by so they can go to work on him ...

I'm going to call into question just one thing he has written here, howerver.

Quote:
This site is not a "real" environment, and as such, there is nothing to adapt to in the first place. People post, read, and respond freely. No member is required to be honest, truthful, kind, considerate, etc., so if we do not like something we can simply avoid it.


Dave's ESL Cafe is not quite on the level of anonymous chatrooms where people continually sign in with different names. We take a name, and we regiter it so no one else can use it, and people start to get to know each other that way - true, some people have more than one name and they have various reasons for wanting to use other than the same one all the time, but such is the nature of this place that this is not encouraged.

Why? Because most of us are here because we want this onscreen identity to be something that is consistent and known to others. Our personalities come through in what we communicate to each other, and also how we do so - friendships develop this way (or they do not), animosities come forward and rivalries as well, and we find that we admire some people and hold others in disdain ... in short, many of the things you see here are things that happen in a community of people who get to know each other and react with that knowledge on an individual basis.

It's something that has been happening on this site, Austin, not through anyone's plan, but because a trend has developed with a certain number of people here who want it that way.

Yes, you are right, people are free to tell lies about themselves and also to be rude and insulting (until the mods decide a line has been crossed, that is) but there is a price paid for this, and the price is that people will begin to look for and notice inconsistencies and search out reasons to discount the validity of anything such people might care to say in the future.

But you are not not exactly correct in your belief that "there is nothing to adapt to." Others have pointed out many times that a condescending, insulting and borderline-abusive tone does nothing to win people to your point of view - and if winning people to your point of view is not your goal then you seem to wasting both your time and that of others here as well ... therefore, why bother?

Quote:
william beckerson :
some waygug-in wrote :
Quote:
Hey Austin. What about answering my questions?

Where do you teach? Who do you teach? How long have you been here?

Simple enough?
Cheers



Austin has the amazing ability to not see posts he doesnt want to see. It keeps him from having to consider the possibilty that the sun doesnt shine from his neither regions


A few weeks ago a thread was started in which people were encouraged to give personal detals about themselves, and it was later locked up by moderators who felt it was a bit risky and that a lot of posters here might not realize the chances they might be taking by doing that. Objections were raised on another thread that it was purely optional and no one was being forced to put themselves in danger ...

And yet, I see two posters on this thread demanding who seem to be doing precisely that, i.e., attempting to impel another user to tell things about himself beyond what he has chosen to reveal. It also, by the way, beyond the scope of anything they themselves have chosen to reveal about their own personal life, at least in this particular discussion.

I'd like to suggest that this is uncool, and I'd like to discourage people from demanding "credentials" of other users which they themselves are not willing to provide. What we tell about ourselves is purely voluntary and it needs to stay that way - it appears that Austin provided such details to someone in pm and that is probably the best way to do so.

Gladiator :
Quote:
Genie: "Congratulations I will grant you one change relating to Korea. Name it and it shall be done!"


My wish would be to eliminate the yealy contract system for employees, and that applies not only to expats but to Koreans as well. The yearly severance bonus is tied in with this and I'd gladly sacrifice that if I were free to look around for another school that might treat me better without all the legal hassles - a friend of mine a few years ago did an MNR and ended up in Vietnam where there is no such thing and he liked it sooooo much better.

The severance bonus becomes less and less attractive the closer you look at it by the way. How many of us have spent the last 4 months of a contract white-knuckling it in a situation that changed and became much worse than when we first started out, only to get that free month's worth of salary at the end? How many of us have seen our employers suddenly start to give us crappy schedules at about that time, also because the bosses are not in the mood to rehire experienced teachers and give them a raise, and therefore seek to discourage us from wanting to resign?

Think about it, all you really need is a salary increase of 8.5% over what you would otherwise make to compensate for the loss of that bonus, and to me that is easily made up for by the freedom of mobility that would be afforded by being able to go across town or across the street ot another school ...
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