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Will I clash with Korean culture?
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Steelrails



Joined: 12 Mar 2009
Location: Earth, Solar System

PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 3:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ewlandon wrote:
Steelrails wrote:
Some of the issues and responses make rantings of the Muslim Brotherhood seem reasoned.

I seriously wonder if we haven't been drinking the crazy chemicals in our water back home.

"Armed Subway Guards" "Alpha Females" "Face Smashing" "Culture Shock of Cats"

Those aren't issues for discussing immigration, those are rock band names. That would be a pretty kick-azz concert. "Dude, Culture Shock of Cats is up next!"

I thought Dave's was starting to get to me for a bit, then I saw this thread...



Cats play an important part of many peoples lives. They are probably a bigger part of your life than you even know.

Did you know that cats and humans have identical regions in the brain responsible for emotions. Cat's and humans brains are more closely related than humans and dogs.


Uhm, I'm not really attacking the point that's being made, just how people are making it. It's like Alex Jones talking about gun control (a sensible issue) and throwing out terms like "Suicide Mass Murder Pills".

Sometimes people refer to NETs as economic refugees or think of themselves as immigrants or some such. I have a feeling that most refugees and immigrants around the world are more concerned with housing and employment than "Culture Shock of Cats"- just goes to show what a bizzarro and privileged world we live in.
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Captain Corea



Joined: 28 Feb 2005
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 4:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Privateer wrote:
fustiancorduroy wrote:
I'm always curious about people who say "learning Korean greatly changed my perspectives of the country for the worse." Maybe they speak and understand Korean much better than I do, because when I'm out in public (not too often since I got a car), I've never really heard people saying negative things about me, that I could tell. Maybe these people are more prone to looking for things to criticize about Korea and her people. Or maybe it's because I'm a big man -- 6'4" and over 250 pounds -- who looks, from a Korean's perspective, pretty well into his 30s.


Totally agree with that, but then I'm 6'4" and 220 pounds myself, and now over 40 too.

You're less likely to get bullied when you're male, you're big, and also if you're older. Just goes to show the bullies are cowards, don't it?


It always hints towards the social hierarchy here - older male
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Zyzyfer



Joined: 29 Jan 2003
Location: who, what, where, when, why, how?

PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 4:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Steelrails wrote:
Uhm, I'm not really attacking the point that's being made, just how people are making it. It's like Alex Jones talking about gun control (a sensible issue) and throwing out terms like "Suicide Mass Murder Pills".

Sometimes people refer to NETs as economic refugees or think of themselves as immigrants or some such. I have a feeling that most refugees and immigrants around the world are more concerned with housing and employment than "Culture Shock of Cats"- just goes to show what a bizzarro and privileged world we live in.


You have failed at joke detection. -1 Internets.
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Steelrails



Joined: 12 Mar 2009
Location: Earth, Solar System

PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 5:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zyzyfer wrote:
Steelrails wrote:
Uhm, I'm not really attacking the point that's being made, just how people are making it. It's like Alex Jones talking about gun control (a sensible issue) and throwing out terms like "Suicide Mass Murder Pills".

Sometimes people refer to NETs as economic refugees or think of themselves as immigrants or some such. I have a feeling that most refugees and immigrants around the world are more concerned with housing and employment than "Culture Shock of Cats"- just goes to show what a bizzarro and privileged world we live in.


You have failed at joke detection. -1 Internets.


I really wish Dave's had a soundboard so I could play some sort of "fail" sound for my post....
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coratheexplorer



Joined: 16 Feb 2012

PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 6:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Steelrails wrote:
Some of the issues and responses make rantings of the Muslim Brotherhood seem reasoned.


The Muslim Brotherhood makes some very good points at times.
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coratheexplorer



Joined: 16 Feb 2012

PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 6:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

....

Last edited by coratheexplorer on Sun Jan 27, 2013 2:11 pm; edited 1 time in total
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earthquakez



Joined: 10 Nov 2010

PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 3:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

abright1dea wrote:
thanks for all the responses. To clear things up, I don't see why having a strong sense of self and identifying and prioritizing personal boundaries (as the example I gave- not willingly handing over money to some taxi driver who knew he was overcharging his passengers) makes me an "alpha female" or "combative" or whatever was said a few responses ago.

The only thing I absoModEditlutely refuse to put up with is sexual harassment by a boss. it's happened to me before and it was just really disgusting and awful. Any pearls of wisdom for this subject? Look for a female boss, perhaps?

I do have some questions- when you say, "dress well" does that just mean look nice? Since living in Europe I've stepped it up, as in, no sweatshirts or workout pants day-to-day. I typically wear jeans, sandals or boots and a top with a cardigan. It's not fancy but it looks put together. I wear a lot of dresses and skirts when the weather allows. I don't want to spend a ton of money on my wardrobe, so will this suffice?

Also, as I haven't started looking for a job yet I figure it wouldn't hurt to ask. I've read a few threads complaining about not being able to find jobs- I'm a blonde, athletic built American female with a BA in a non-English or teaching major. My boyfriend is an attractive, brunette, athletic male also with a non-English or education degree. We are both in our early 20's and NOT looking for couples positions. Please tell me we'll be able to find jobs pretty easily in Busan?


I think you're worrying too much about some of the posts here.

Unless you're an a...licker or of Korean ethnicity, most foreigners here 'clash' with Korean culture in ways minor or major. The trick is to not let the major differences be aired out in your workplace or in actions that cross boundaries.

I've known independent, individual foreign women who've done alright in Korea. They found some attitudes damn well idiotic - like double standards on dress.

As one of them who worked down in Jeollanam told me, Korean women teachers wear short skirts with no stockings so anybody can see up their skirt on the many staircases in the school and the students can see something during class if the teacher reaches up or bends over. Yet when she wore a long, slightly see thru skirt with stockings and t shirt tucked into her skirt pulled down so no hint of underwear could be seen, students and teachers alike made a big thing out of it. In other Korean workplaces everywhere, foreign teachers' light summer blouses have been accused of being 'underwear'.

At one hagwon I worked at, the Korean teachers were all female and all wore short shorts at one time or another, and skirts with high heels where the skirts were minis and the high heels were too high. To be honest this outfit looked no different from those worn by the prostitutes who were picked up at my officetel in a van to go off somewhere.

The overwhelming majority of Korean complaints about foreign female teachers' dress is just sniping and in some cases jealousy for the foreigners' ability to be outside the petty, spiteful domino heirarchy that even young Koreans set up when their amongst themselves.

I met an older female foreign teacher who had few problems working for some time in Korea. She didn't have the comfort of a long term partner or the benefits of an F visa.

Her attitude was that she was passing through as the E-2 visa is only one year at a time, she can't do other work that she's good at on the E-2 visa, and goodwill/generosity towards Koreans couldn't change the fact that Koreans are continually told in their education and society that they only owe anything to each other, and unmarried foreign women are very low on the totem pole.

So she didn't care about the negatives that much, why should she when Koreans wanted her to over-extend her adaptation to Korean culture while telling her she was only there for a limited time and would never play any genuine role there no matter how much she did as she is not Korean. That's the best attitude - they keep telling us we don't belong except to teach and then get out so keep your perspective. We being the foreigners with no status as we are not married to Koreans - and even then it's the luck of the draw.

Don't care so much about what Koreans think because honestly in general their confused logic undermines much of what they see as credibility and their own 'superiority'. Enjoy your teaching, talk more to decent Koreans and remember that much of their passive-aggressive behaviour is based on deep discontent with their own lives.
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earthquakez



Joined: 10 Nov 2010

PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 4:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kyosuro wrote:
I agree with Dodge 7. I am a white female and have lived and taught in Korean universities for the last four years. Last year I studied Korean language enough to be able to generally understand what a majority of Koreans around me are saying, and when the comprehension started clicking in my brain I was shocked by how much petty, disrespectful gossip there is in Korea. Every Korean doesn't speak like that, but as Dodge 7 explained, kind people won't stick up for you or tell rude people to be quiet. Everyone just looks the other way and hopes it won't come near them. Koreans are terrified of becoming victims of bullying.

If you stand up for yourself and refuse to be treated badly, then it is possible that a spiteful Korean will take your photo and put it on the Korean internet along with descriptions of how "bad" of a person you are, and then it will spread all over the city where you live, and a campaign of bullying will begin. It happened to me. Koreans think of themselves as one group, and non-Koreans are outside that group and therefore not worthy of the same respect. Also, if a Korean says that a foreigner in Korea did something "bad", a majority of Koreans will automatically believe it, and those who don't will be too scared to go against the majority, so they will be silent.


Damn, that's bad, sorry to hear it. I'm a Brit male and while I get tired of the jealousy directed foreign men's way if we just talk to a Korean female and all the nasty pseudo journalism whipping up aggression against male foreigners teaching English, I think the females have it much harder.

Could you give us a bit more detail of what happened to you without giving your identity away? That was shocking but I'm not surprised as I stayed in a city south of Seoul last year for a holiday, got to know a nice female foreign teacher (friendship only!) over coffee in a cafe we both went to regularly.

She's a warmhearted person who made the mistake of helping (including financially) an unstable younger Korean co-worker. Those who honestly understand the way Koreans prioritise each other under nearly every circumstance will realise that there was no loyalty to her because she wasn't Korean.

Bottom line was when the co-worker decided being Korean was more important than being loyal to the foreigner who helped her when fellow Koreans didn't care less about her, she treated her like garbage. This was done publicly at work. No apologies, no thank you for the money, the support, the listening to the Korean co-worker's family problems.

Nasty freeloaders exist everywhere but in Korea it's coloured by Koreans bonding together and justifying it. Korean co-workers who speak good English and have lived abroad often are just as bad. That particular Korean sounds a real piece of work, an example of why native speaking English teachers need to keep their distance from Korean co workers. Let them do you favours, after all you are the guest here.
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Moondoggy



Joined: 07 Jun 2011

PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 9:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kyosuro wrote:
I agree with Dodge 7. I am a white female and have lived and taught in Korean universities for the last four years. Last year I studied Korean language enough to be able to generally understand what a majority of Koreans around me are saying, and when the comprehension started clicking in my brain I was shocked by how much petty, disrespectful gossip there is in Korea. Every Korean doesn't speak like that, but as Dodge 7 explained, kind people won't stick up for you or tell rude people to be quiet. Everyone just looks the other way and hopes it won't come near them. Koreans are terrified of becoming victims of bullying.

If you stand up for yourself and refuse to be treated badly, then it is possible that a spiteful Korean will take your photo and put it on the Korean internet along with descriptions of how "bad" of a person you are, and then it will spread all over the city where you live, and a campaign of bullying will begin. It happened to me. Koreans think of themselves as one group, and non-Koreans are outside that group and therefore not worthy of the same respect. Also, if a Korean says that a foreigner in Korea did something "bad", a majority of Koreans will automatically believe it, and those who don't will be too scared to go against the majority, so they will be silent.


You're full of BS. You're the one that has problems not the koreans.
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Konglishman



Joined: 14 Sep 2007
Location: Nanjing

PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 10:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Moondoggy wrote:
kyosuro wrote:
I agree with Dodge 7. I am a white female and have lived and taught in Korean universities for the last four years. Last year I studied Korean language enough to be able to generally understand what a majority of Koreans around me are saying, and when the comprehension started clicking in my brain I was shocked by how much petty, disrespectful gossip there is in Korea. Every Korean doesn't speak like that, but as Dodge 7 explained, kind people won't stick up for you or tell rude people to be quiet. Everyone just looks the other way and hopes it won't come near them. Koreans are terrified of becoming victims of bullying.

If you stand up for yourself and refuse to be treated badly, then it is possible that a spiteful Korean will take your photo and put it on the Korean internet along with descriptions of how "bad" of a person you are, and then it will spread all over the city where you live, and a campaign of bullying will begin. It happened to me. Koreans think of themselves as one group, and non-Koreans are outside that group and therefore not worthy of the same respect. Also, if a Korean says that a foreigner in Korea did something "bad", a majority of Koreans will automatically believe it, and those who don't will be too scared to go against the majority, so they will be silent.


You're full of BS. You're the one that has problems not the koreans.


Again, you don't live in Korea. Sorry, if your rosy exchange student memories don't match up with the experiences of those who have worked in Korea for years taking them well beyond the honeymoon period (unlike you).
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crescent



Joined: 15 Jan 2003
Location: yes.

PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 11:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Moondoggy wrote:
You're full of BS. You're the one that has problems not the koreans.

You're either really dense, or you have never set foot in the country.
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byrddogs



Joined: 19 Jun 2009
Location: Shanghai

PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 11:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

crescent wrote:
Moondoggy wrote:
You're full of BS. You're the one that has problems not the koreans.

You're either really dense, or you have never set foot in the country.


My bet would be really dense (as in rode the short bus).
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Steelrails



Joined: 12 Mar 2009
Location: Earth, Solar System

PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 11:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
and all the nasty pseudo journalism whipping up aggression against male foreigners teaching English,


This is just an anecdote, but I can count on a Ninja Turtle hand that anything related to the media and foreign teachers has entered into any conversation I've had with Koreans.

On the other hand, I'd need an abacus to calculate how often amongst foreigners the media and its powers over the Korean populace have been brought up as we sit unmolested and unaccused, spending our private tutoring money on beer, which some ajumma cheerfully serves with a plate of free dried squid.

I've been accosted over US foreign policy, guns in the news, Dokdo, Girls & Tanks, Psy, Obama, Soccer, and more. Some of it has been bigoted and ignorant. Many times it has been xenophobic.

But I think the FTA with the USA registers more here than some article from 2008 about English teachers.
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byrddogs



Joined: 19 Jun 2009
Location: Shanghai

PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 11:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Steelrails wrote:
Quote:
and all the nasty pseudo journalism whipping up aggression against male foreigners teaching English,


This is just an anecdote, but I can count on a Ninja Turtle hand that anything related to the media and foreign teachers has entered into any conversation I've had with Koreans.

On the other hand, I'd need an abacus to calculate how often amongst foreigners the media and its powers over the Korean populace have been brought up as we sit unmolested and unaccused, spending our private tutoring money on beer, which some ajumma cheerfully serves with a plate of free dried squid.

I've been accosted over US foreign policy, guns in the news, Dokdo, Girls & Tanks, Psy, Obama, Soccer, and more. Some of it has been bigoted and ignorant. Many times it has been xenophobic.

But I think the FTA with the USA registers more here than some article from 2008 about English teachers.


Where is the yawn emoticon? Btw, the wife just bought a rather nice abacus with English directions for my dad when we go home to visit in a couple of days. Maybe I can send you one.
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kyosuro



Joined: 11 Jul 2009

PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2013 1:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Could you give us a bit more detail of what happened to you without giving your identity away?


I had been taking intensive Korean classes at a hagwon for 10 months, and when I realized that I didn't want to understand what people were saying anymore I quit. Never imagining what would happen, I told my teacher and the owner very honestly that it was because I had been receiving quite a bit of unkind treatment, despite my efforts to be friendly and speak in Korean. I think someone working at the hagwon feared that I might spread bad publicity and posted something to the effect of, "Be kind to foreigners, especially this one", because the next day in my conversation class all of my students were acting over the top friendly to me and each other. After class on the way home, which is a rather long commute, I noticed strangers recognizing me, smiling at me and occasionally waving. I knew then that I had become known.

From there on only Koreans know how my story was spun and who was doing it (I've rubbed more than several people the wrong way here), but it changed constantly. Every day each of my classes behaved differently: sometimes laughing, sometimes silent and downcast, sometimes glaring at me, and the behavior was not normal, based on my past teaching experience. I asked my Korean "friends" and the secretary at my office for help in finding what was on the internet, but every one of them gave me the blank face (when Koreans lie, their faces stop moving) and repeatedly denied any knowledge of what was happening. Desperate for some kind of information, I gave a writing assignment to my freshmen classes that told them to answer questions about gossip, mostly general, but one specifically about me. Three students admitted that I was on the internet.

The worst of it came the day after I texted with a Korean male homosexual acquaintance. He speaks very good English and works in publishing. We had gone out once together a couple of months before (as friends--I am a straight female), and that night he had told me a number of things I hadn't known: how he has to hide his homosexuality from most people, how several of his female bosses have mistreated or sexually harassed him, how vicious Korean netizens can be, how he thought I should write a book in Korean about my relationships with Korean men because no English speaker ever writes anything in Korea except English books, and, how I should never completely trust a Korean. He said I may think Koreans are my good friends, but they can turn against me. At the time I didn't worry about it, but I should have. The last time we texted I was incredibly frustrated with all of the denial I was getting from my "friends" and remarked on the strength of nationalism in Korea. It seems he decided to fan it to the maximum, because the next day the insults started flying wherever I went.

Cyberbullying in Korea, at least to a foreigner like myself who doesn't read the Korean internet, goes like this: post pictures of the foreigner, decide on an insulting name or phrase to accompany the photos, and spread both around the city via smartphone. Koreans who choose to join in will then speak/shout the insult whenever they see the foreigner, who will hear it everywhere she goes, far, far too often for it to be a misunderstanding.

I've pondered on the fact that an adult population is actually behaving this way in 2012-2013.
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