Silver Linings: Making the most out of the MBC imbroglio

EXPAT LIFE, Featured, Korean Life Add comments

Words by R.M. Adamson, toon by Lee Scott

By R.M. Adamson

There is, I think, some value in speaking the truth about what you feel, even if others disagree–even if they disagree enough to want to hurt you because of it. More often than not, these are precisely the things that need to be said, the things that others most need to hear, even if they often would rather not.

It’s not the same as to say that you should proselytize your opinions, and coercion ought never be employed. As expatriates we often run headlong into problems that often stem from culturally-based conflicts, I often find that if I see, hear or experience something that irritates me or makes me angry, taking a little time to reflect on it is the best thing. Just because something finds its basis in some cultural pattern or norm doesn’t prevent it from being inefficient, irrational or even cruel, though it always helps to try to understand the underlying root causes of what is going on – oh, and sometimes I even change my mind, though most often I find better reasons than I had before. The times when I change my mind turn out to be the times for which I feel most grateful. Arguments and even bitter conflicts can help us change and grow, if we are willing to use them that way.

But there are other times when we feel that remaining silent and neglecting to lodge a reaction is, possibly, the worst way to react. At such times, we are falling down if we shut up and let things pass. Recently, something has come up that has brought nearly everyone to this point of having to speak up.

For the past week or so there there’s been another Topic of the Moment, the thing everyone is talking about over here right now–which, come to think, is the same topic as it was the last five times there was one, the one about xenophobic and racist attitudes Korean people express about foreigners. The latest instance is a video segment on one of the premiere broadcasting stations, MBC, that talks about foreigners involved in relationships with Korean women.

It is racist. Yes, most certainly. It targets expatriate men, especially American men, and presents them as some kind of danger to Korean society, especially to Korean women, depicting foreign males as sexual predators who target vulnerable young women and then make them pregnant or infect them with sexual diseases. Just as bad, it demeans Korean women by implying that they are easy to fool and unable to make rational choices–it speaks from a paternalistic frame of mind that a modern country ought to have moved beyond by now.

It’s nothing new, though, and I’m generally not interested in saying one more time what has been said and is currently being said again by, well, almost everyone. A couple of other bloggers have put links up on their pages that point to all the other places it is being discussed. ForeignerJoy has a post up in her sibling blog Expat Abundance, and Scroozle’s Sanctuary has a slightly larger compendium. Even the most comprehensive such list will be almost immediately incomplete as someone else chimes in … as I am doing now. (Busan Hap’s Bobby McGill put an amusing spin on it here.)

*
I’ll try not to repeat much of what others have said, but it’s going to be hard because this kind of thing pops up every few months, it seems.

First off, the segment lasts less than five minutes–a lot of commercial breaks take up longer swatches of program time–and so far, none of my own adult students or Korean friends appear to be aware of it. I have a strong feeling that if some expatriates had not snagged it and stuck it up on Youtube, no one would care. I don’t think Korean people at large are aware of anything controversial here.

In my experience, the views depicted in this video are very much minority opinions among Korean people, certainly among those I come in contact with myself. Most people here do not hate and fear the foreigners in their midst. Some, perhaps. Most, no. That is, again, my own experience based on the Korean people I have come to know over the years. Your own mileage may vary, of course.

As one blogger has pointed out, things are getting better. The good news is that at least this time we are not getting painted as junkies and pedophiles. Not this time, though I suppose there is a limit to how many lies can be jammed into four and a half minutes of video.

Is there any truth at all to the aspersions and innuendo? Among the thousands of expatriates living and working here there are bound to be some who are callous toward young Korean women that they meet in the fleshpots and drinking holes that foreigners frequent, who see them as convenient avenues for sexual adventures, and there are probably some who decide a plane ticket out of the country represents a simple solution to getting a local girl pregnant. A large percentage of people coming to Korea to teach are young and male and just out of university, and find that it’s not impossible to continue the same lifestyle here as they had enjoyed in college. This is a fact, and we expats ought to be able to acknowledge the presence of such people among us–BUT the percentage of such people still represents a small minority, likely the same small percentage as the number of Koreans who harbor such xenophobic distrust as borders on true hate. And while it’s not hard to find foreigners who at least would appear to fit such an image (because the parts of the city that attract them are well-known), it’s not so easy to point a camera at those of us who are committed to our students or to our jobs, contribute to the neighborhood via volunteer work and the like, and then go home in the evening to rest and recharge for another shot at the same the next day.

The primary lie contained in this video is that it purports to describe ALL western males living and working here, and counts as nonexistent the thousands of us engaged in long-term relationships and marriages (with children) and who see Korea as our home, whether temporary or permanent, who see ourselves as, yes, a part of the society we are living in. Among the foreigners expressing anger right now, it is this omission that seems to be producing the most bile.

By R.M. Adamson

*
Korea has slowly been becoming a better place to live as a foreigner as the country opens up and tries to make an impact on the global stage, but the apprehension felt toward those not part of the Han culture persists among many here, and the root causes of the xenophobia remain complex and go back not just decades, but centuries. In recent history, it concerns the abuses endured during the half-century of Japanese hegemony and colonialism, and a Cold War era that put the country under the protective umbrella of the U.S., which tolerated and to some extent supported the brutal dictators who ruled by fiat until the late 80s. The sense of being overshadowed and controlled by outside countries would inevitably bring about a sense of weakness, and shame at being weak, and at times a fatalistic helplessness in the face of history.

The compensatory response ought not to surprise us much: hysterical nationalism around certain issues regarding Japan such as the territorial dispute over Dokdo, irrational and violent street protests about the Free Trade Agreement with America, and the occasional animosity and ill will toward those of us who have made the choice to come here to live and work as seen in this video.

And it’s possible that there remains something primal and deeply disturbing to some Koreans about Korean women mingling, having sexual experiences and even raising families with foreigners, thus endangering the notion of “purity” enjoyed by Koreans in their conceptions of themselves as a people–it’s more than possible, and certainly a viable consideration, especially among some more traditionally-minded people. Seemingly unrelated aspects of history such as the plight of the “comfort women” who were used as sexual slaves by the Japanese military during the war and the period of massive numbers of children put up for adoptions almost certainly contribute to an underlying sense of shame at not having been able to keep and protect the weakest members of Korean society, the women and children who provide a conduit for the bloodline.

The normal human response to shame is resentment and anger, then a desire to strike out at those who brought those emotions into being. At a certain point it becomes a rarely-spoken and largely unacknowledged hinge upon which many interpretations of events find a common center, and feeds divisive and prejudicial attitudes even without conscious awareness on the part of those people who make a welcome place for them in their psyches, and then disseminate them by means of various mass media.

*
We might guess, after seeing the video, that the producers of this segment deliberately set out to incite hatred toward minority groups in Korea, but as described above, the worldview that produces this kind of “journalism” comes from a place so deeply embedded that even after the fact and in the face direct critical response, it isn’t seen for what it is. In a piece written by Paul Kerry for the Korea Herald, members of the production team seemed surprised at the resulting brouhaha.

The lead writer for the show, made by external production company Pan Entertainment, said that she did not consider the content to be controversial, and claimed it was an accurate representation of the situation.

“Our report is based on the facts that we found as we were covering the story and it strictly reported on the present situation. We have made it clear that it only reflected the few,” she said.

Click to enlarge (By Lee Scott).

In truth, it’s difficult to watch the video without concluding that the intent is a blanket generalization and condemnation of all foreign males in Korea.

MBC’s only response to criticism coming from expatriates surrounding this video segment has been to say that the video was outsourced, coming from people not on their own staff, though for most observers this does not absolve the company from responsibility for airing it. In 2005, MBC came under criticism for coverage of Dr. Hwang’s fraudulent stem-cell research, and a few years later came under fire again over a multi-segment PD Notebook series (“Urgent Reporting! Is U.S. Beef Safe from Mad Cow Disease?”) that included large numbers of deliberate falsifications and misleading translations of video clips. Large numbers of the news staff of this network have been on strike in recent months due to perceptions that the management has shown excessive favoritism toward the conservative ruling party. The shoddy quality of the journalism from MBC has been consistent, it seems, and this latest incident is simply more, not different.

Is there anything good that might come out of this? Perhaps the best outcome will involve a rallying of expats in the direction of promoting positive images to provide a counterbalance. I suspect that some among us who possess skills in video are working on a rebuttal that would show the other point of view–will MBC air such a thing? Groove Magazine has called for submissions of photos for a collage showing mixed couples, including children, and the Facebook page alluded to earlier is trying to organize–wait, no, not a protest march, but rather a picnic, a public event hopefully covered by the media with mixed couples and their kids, all in one place and not a threat to anyone. Despite the implied negativity in name chosen for it (“Fight Against MBC Korea”) that page currently shows nearly 8,000 members and has also been serving as a central hub to distribute information about places foreigners can go to volunteer at orphanages, unwed mother support networks, language programs for disadvantaged youth, animal shelters and even the local branch of Habitat for Humanity.

These are not bad things, obviously, quite the opposite, and when we think of how angry responses usually get channeled–into disruptive rhetoric and divisiveness–I’m more than a little thrilled to witness positive intentions behind what I’m seeing right now.

_________________________________________________

R.M. Adamson lives in Seoul. He sometimes makes repairs at Bobster’s House His last piece for 3WM was “Geishas and Gamma Rays: Expat Bloggers in Japan Recount the Tohuko Quake and Tsunami.”

43 Responses to “Silver Linings: Making the most out of the MBC imbroglio”

  1. john Says:

    how can we criticize mbc for portraying expats as sex fiends when we do it ourselves? take a look at eslcafe, david willis’s ‘dog farm’, countless idiot blogs, and the actions and speech of any number of foreigners out on the streets of seoul, daegu or busan!

    am i saying they’re right, that foreigners are all perverts? no. of course not. but the idiots are loudest and they give us a bad name. people jump to point out koreans abroad but at least they do what they do quietly. i can’t blame korean media for thinking we’re ruining their country because so many act like they are.

  2. Brett G Says:

    This will roll on by just like everything else. There will always be the few idiots who cavort and carry on as Don Juans over here. Go to Hongdae or the Won on any given weekend with a camera and you could film a lot worse than this video. And the rest of the regular ppl can do nothing about this because it’s not illegal. Sure have a picnic and a parade and a photo collection. Just be ready for the next guy off the plane who thinks he’s god’s gift to Korean women.

  3. Allison Turner Says:

    The biggest problem that many teachers have with this recent MBC hit piece is that the “foreign teachers” in the video are supposed to have given a Korean woman HIV. So many of the current E2 teachers have had to get diplomas apostilled, FBI and other police checks apostilled, AND physicals, including HIV checks; that for any Korean TV broadcast to claim that foreign teachers are passing along HIV is just maddening. Don’t they know that, as of this day, we are the ONLY ones in Korea who are required to get HIV checks? Even “entertainers” don’t get HIV checks. It’s just enfuriating that the “foreign teachers have HIV” card has been played even with all of the checks. When will it end?

  4. Allison Turner Says:

    I just want to add, in case anyone is confused, that in the video it is strongly implied that the “evil foreigners” are English teachers because they talk about trading English lessons for sex.

  5. Aaron P. Says:

    To think that this does not represent at least a significant portion of the population is naive. Also, I grow tired of the “centuries of persecution” excuse made for Korea. Sure, they have a history of oppression but when was the last time they were occupied? There is a very small number of people who are still alive to remember the Korean War or Japanese rule. Those that are usually tend to be open minded (about the West at least). It’s often the 60 years and under crowd who have chips on their shoulders when they weren’t around to experience threats from other countries. These are the same people who will defiantly ignore any and all problems in Korea and blame other countries. AIDS? All foreigners. Drunkedness? Only foreigners are drunks. Sex? Koreans always wait until marriage. These sentiments are still around and they still crop up anytime some Korean guy wants to fight the first white/back face he sees, when Korean cops turn the other way when foreign girls are raped, or when the Korean education systems finds it acceptable for their children to harass non-Korean classmates.

  6. JR Says:

    Hear, hear, Allison–infuriating indeed. But it won’t matter how many test are taken, passed and officially stamped. As Flaubert said, “There is no truth. There is only perception.” The perception of the clowns who hit the Hongdae and Shinchon and Itaewon clubs is what stands out and what gets the attention of the population at large. All it takes is one picture or clip of that to feed the stereotypical and xenophobic dogs that wait slightly sleeping in the Korean psyche.

    @Aaron–it’s naive to think that history doesn’t affect the national mind, young and old. Those stories build a citizen from an early age onward and shape the psyche far beyond whether it was lived or not. A country has a narrative and along with that so do the people and they identify with it. Foreigners are (and in my opinion will always be) outsiders in Korea. South Koreans are the second most nationalistic people in the world–the first are North Koreans (to borrow a phrase from B.R. Myers). Ever heard of “jung”? Fact is history plays a tacit part in the mind of all Koreans. All they have to do is look around. If you think the elderly are so open-minded, I suggest poling them with the question: would you want your grandson or daughter to date or marry a foreigner?

    Fact is this MBC piece is an amatuerish, high school production by a few fools but I have no doubt that it received more than a few chinchas behind closed doors.

  7. Zombie Horse Says:

    This is the dead horse that keeps on kicking and getting kicked. There will be more and more of these foreign gigilos working their magic as the universities lure them in to fluff up the “international” programs. The AIDS nonsense is just a way for MBC to use scare tactics and scandal to get views/publicity (it feeds the old school viewers). This stuff sure isn’t going away any time soon. Perhaps SBS is next.

  8. Allison Turner Says:

    The Facebook group has been a good read but, as usual, it’s been weighed down by the usual apologist trolls that seem to find homes on many of the teacher boards, like Dave’s ESL. Also, the same old apologist bloggers have made their usual lazy effort to “calm everyone down” and make sure nothing substantive comes of this all the while posting links to their blogs. When will the expat community in Korea realize that the bloggers who claim to be “leaders” in the expat community are only trying to drum up links for their blogs? The only reason those bloggers pretend to care about this issue, like so many others before, is because those bloggers want to make some pocket change off a few posts.

  9. Eds Says:

    Hey Allison, we aren’t claiming to be a leader and no change is filling these pockets. Care because you care or move on is our motto. Also, as Mizaru always says, “we do the work so you can blog (or update your FB page).” Editors

  10. Aaron P. Says:

    JR – The elderly members of the community protested against the general public protesting US beef. Maybe they wouldn’t be too keen on the idea of having a foreign daughter-in-law or son-in-law but at least they know that other countries are their allies.

    If you were to talk to the younger generation, they will have very little to say about Japanese occupation or anything that happened over 30 years ago. More often than not, they’ll talk about the Dokdo rocks or US beef, very recent developments. Sure, this goes all the way back to past centuries of warfare but the current generations seem to want to find new reasons to hate non-Koreans. It’s this constant victim mentality they use to vindicate their hatred. Not that they would have an excuse to hate modern day Westerners because the Japanese military did something bad to their ancestors.

    And yes, I realize they will likely continue to see me as an outsider. I don’t mind that too much. I do mind, however, when they accuse me of being an HIV-riddled rapist and so should you.

    The argument here seems to be, “Sure, most Koreans are hateful and violent but let’s just sit back and let them continue to be hateful and violent.” I’d rather not have hate and violence inflicted upon me. Maybe I’m strange for thinking this way.

  11. AgentS Says:

    Never was a fan of MBC. Between the PD Notebook controversy and the blackface performances, a broadcast like this is par for the course.

    Maybe if the network hired someone to filter their broadcasts before airing, they wouldn’t have to apologize so much.

  12. AgentS Says:

    If I see the MBC journalist protesters around Seoul, I am definitely buying them a beer.

  13. More from MBC Foriegner-Gate Says:

    [...] but not least, R.M. Adamson posted a very good post on the whole mess at Three Wise Monkeys—be sure to read it in its [...]

  14. Bobby McGill Says:

    Good stuff. Scapegoating is usually the reserve of politicians in an election year. Eventually, I hope, the producer of this travesty of “journalism” will speak as to the motivations for making such a piece.

    For some good reading on nationalism in Korea, I recommend this 2006 piece which still remains relevant.

    http://tinyurl.com/d3y4u7k

    Editor: The long form URL was interfering with the page layout. We’ve converted it.

  15. Allison Turner Says:

    9- I wasn’t talking about this page. If I was I would have said it. But if you’ve read the Facebook group since it started kicking last weekend, you would see many posts by the usual suspects- a food blogger, a “teacher”, one who loves tourism, and a couple others who sang the same old song of “We know all of the answers” and “Don’t do anything” but “Don’t forget to check out my blog entry and here’s the link.” If those bloggers cared about the issue, and weren’t there only to get some hits on their blogs, then they would have posted without the usual smugness and without the links to their blogs.

  16. Allison Turner Says:

    The posters on the Facebook page that are quietly making a difference are the ones posting pictures of their interracial families along with stories about their relationships. Think about how much courage that requires in Korea.

  17. coffeewriter Says:

    I have to agree with the sentiment expressed against the apologist stance taken by many regarding this issue. The program was vitriolic to the extreme and has, predictably, stirred up anti-foreigner sentiment in blogs across the country.

    If a Western country’s media had published similar content about Asians being dirty, disease-infested sex maniacs out to kill (with HIV), impregnate or abandon poor defenceless white women, I think we can all imagine the response. And I’m talking about the response of the citizens of such imagined country – be it the US, England, Australia or any of the other countries that supply labour to Korea.

    It’s not okay. And it’s certainly not excusable based on some historical context. It’s racist, harmful and bigoted. And it deserves a massive negative response.

  18. Robert Says:

    When will the expat community in Korea realize that the bloggers who claim to be “leaders” in the expat community are only trying to drum up links for their blogs? 
    Just out of curiosity, who are these bloggers “who claim to be ‘leaders’ in the expat community” about whom you speak?

  19. Mack Says:

    @Coffeewriter This isn’t the West. Did you figure that out yet? You can’t use that as some kind of premise or comparison or you’re done from the get-go. Why is it that people always do that, comparing this place to their home country (which is probably just as bigoted behind closed doors)? What makes people think that Koreans actually want their country to become multicultural? Sure, “visit Korea,” come for the Expo or the Nuke Summit or whatever big event or site but, then, please, go home. Seriously, think about it.

    And, yes, Allison, you do have to take all those tests and jump through the bamboo hoops because it’s their country with their rules, whether they pass the logic test or fit into your square–they are not trying to make things “easy” for you. You want to work or live in Korea? Live with it.

  20. Aaron P. Says:

    Mack, you are not looking at the big picture. First and foremost, tourists have been attacked here in Korea. The 13 year old boy who was beaten to death in a sauna in 2007 was here on vacation. Athletes who came here during the Olympics were also chased down the street.

    Certainly, Korea wants to be a part of the world, otherwise, they would not have these summits, or export their dramas, or bring foreigners in to teach. If they want to be a part of the world, shouldn’t the burden be on them to be at least a little tolerant of the people they invite over?

    You also fail to understand that there are multicultural families over here. This *is* their home and they are being victimized here. Would you tell them to “live with it” as well?

  21. Aaron P. Says:

    And again, is it too much to ask for nonviolence? Should we “live with it” the next time we are attacked on the street or raped?

  22. J P Says:

    As harsh as it may be I agree with Mack. Spot on. You want to live here, deal. Foreigners, especially philandering young men, are a spit in the bucket in Korea and, foreigners, as a whole are something like 2% of the population. Good luck with the campaign. What ever happened to that Hussain guy who was pushing for antidiscrimination legislation in the National Assembly? Seems like he dropped of the face of the earth or at least the peninsula. Anyone hear a peep about the good work the Korean lawmakers are doing to get that through? No, too busy with welfare for all and apple boxes in everyone’s trunk like a chicken in everyone’s pot. This thing will blow over and people will go back to their digital devices and their own story until someone else ruffles a foreigner feather (saints preserve us) then the whining will start again.

  23. Random linkages « Bobster’s House Says:

    [...] written for before. I offered to show it to him and he said he wanted to put it up over there. And there it is. [...]

  24. Stan Says:

    Your age shows through in this piece Mr. Adamson. Sagacious work. And a damn funny toon; watch out for pseudo students and wannabe journos. Anyone see those silly-ass T-shirts the FB group is pressing? That’ll surely work.

  25. Jen Says:

    How stupid does it get? The video is so inane and absurd that it doesn’t even deserve a response. There is no serious journalism, no statistics, no real source (some blurred girl and a guy in a coffee shop and a woman who says she doesn’t know what they’re talking about). It’s laughable and looks like a skit some of these “womanizers” would whip up on a late night in their studio apartment while eating pizza and drinking Cass and soju. It’s amusing to watch all the ado. MBC is a shell of itself and this idiotic show attests to that. Otherwise, anyone who knows anything can see that this is hack work. They should have at least mentioned the English Spectrum party and thrown a few of those images in.

  26. Allison Turner Says:

    The bloggers who too often take over the discussions involving the issues, like this one, are paid employees of the Korean government, either part time or full time. That includes the #1 food critic, (who is paid by the Korean government to promote Korean food and what else?), the “tourist”, (who has recently had a book published), the “teachers”, those who love “K-pop”, and other bloggers. Does this matter? Yes, they are on the payroll of the Korean government, either part-time, or full-time, and it creates a major conflict of interest when it comes to issues involving foreigners in Korea, ESPECIALLY INVOLVING TEACHERS, who are unrepresented since Brian Deutch left Korea. All too often they apologize for the actions of Korea involving foreigners, especially teachers, and they too often claim that Korea is a perfect place to live, for foreigners. Do you believe that’s true? Do you believe that foreigners are treated fairly in South Korea?

  27. roboseyo Says:

    @Allison

    Your comments here are lucid and passionate.

    I think you should start a blog that provides the voice you seem to believe is missing from these discussions.

    I’d link to it, and I think most of my bloggy friends whom you’ve disparaged would read, and maybe link to it too, if your writing maintains this level of clarity and passion.

  28. Expats Protest in Response to MBC Video, Netizens React - koreaBANG Says:

    [...] so, rather than go over the same ground again, check out some of what our fellow Korean blogs were saying at the time. A blog post about it in the Wall Street Journal also cropped up this week, as did [...]

  29. Robert Says:

    The bloggers who too often take over the discussions involving the issues, like this one, are paid employees of the Korean government, either part time or full time. That includes the #1 food critic, (who is paid by the Korean government to promote Korean food and what else?), the “tourist”, (who has recently had a book published), the “teachers”, those who love “K-pop”, and other bloggers. Does this matter? Yes, they are on the payroll of the Korean government, either part-time, or full-time, and it creates a major conflict of interest when it comes to issues involving foreigners in Korea, ESPECIALLY INVOLVING TEACHERS, who are unrepresented since Brian Deutch left Korea.

    Not to mention all the teachers working for public schools and universities, who are ENTIRELY on the payroll of the Korean government. Can’t trust a word they say. As my grandaddy used to say, never trust anyone who ain’t a hagwon teacher.

  30. RokDoc Says:

    Sure, Robert, great comparison. Teachers who teach at public schools are not given an agenda and paid for their work publicizing “sparkling Korea.” A false analogy for sure. Find me some teachers who feel they need to pimp for Korea because they are getting paid to teach Korean kids in public schools (we all know how ebullient those teachers are).

    @Roboseyo Your “bloggy friends”? How honored Allison surely would be to be linked to by whomever these “disparaged” yet important individuals are.

  31. wetcasements Says:

    “I’d link to it, and I think most of my bloggy friends whom you’ve disparaged would read, and maybe link to it too, if your writing maintains this level of clarity and passion.”

    Yeesh. Condescend much?

    “Not to mention all the teachers working for public schools and universities, who are ENTIRELY on the payroll of the Korean government.”

    Even more stupid. Teachers aren’t advocates for Korean food, tourism, and general national image. I certainly don’t think the more prominent K-bloggers are “in the bag” 100% of the time, but they definitely have conflicts of interest. And for someone to point this out and then get a pat on the head from Robosoyo about how she should get her own blog and maybe, just maybe, get to be a part of the club some day is kind of disgusting.

  32. Jang Says:

    Good one RocDoc,
    It seems Robert is inept at comparisons. And Roboseyo seems to be a sidekick, everything is beautiful in S. Korea la la la la la. Do they work for Arirang TV? Why don’t we hear bloggers talk about how any attempts at making things better(one step forward) takes an about-face(two steps back) more times than you can shake a stick at, what’s the score? The bloggers certainly don’t keep it, we’re just suppose to believe them because they’re the know it all deciders of all expats. S.Korea is grand forever and ever la la la la la
    아리랑 (Arirang) – Korean Folk Song
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gkM_LXUCMeA&feature=related

  33. Robert Says:

    Sure, Robert, great comparison. Teachers who teach at public schools are not given an agenda and paid for their work publicizing “sparkling Korea.”

    Perhaps not, but their employment is ultimately contingent on remaining in the good graces of the Ministry of Education and local departments of education, two agenda-laden institutions. Not to mention many would look at English teacher complaining and see only self-interest—just a concerned party trying to protect their rice bowls. I’m just saying if you want to cast doubt on the sincerity of posts on private blogs (or online forum, for that matter) based on what said individuals do for a living, there are plenty of interests (and conflicts of interest) to go around.

  34. ZenKimchi Says:

    I find being the target of a raving conspiracy theory (again) a badge of honor. Especially considering that members of the guv’mint lock me out and ignore me for many projects because I’m one of their biggest critics in promoting Korean food. Coming out with a book in Korean this month that basically kicks them in the ballsack.

  35. Cabby fined for refusing to pick up foreigners Says:

    [...] This must be one of those “one-step forward” things. [...]

  36. ZeTruth Says:

    Well Robert gets money by selling Korea, and you wonder why he’s biased ?
    Wake up guys

  37. ZenKimchi Says:

    Yes, speak truth to… power?

  38. MBC’s “Shocking Truth” Is Another Black Mark « Infidelworld Says:

    [...] relieved I can begin this opinion with this cri de coeur, because frankly I’m tired of having my feelings exploited in this country. I choose to [...]

  39. Ken C Says:

    Very well-balanced piece of writing, Bobster.

  40. RokDoc Says:

    Now the “Zenkimchi” master chimes in with his usual BS–more marketing. Just keep pasting together weak reviews about Korean food and rambling on the Pee-cast.

    @Robert–your capitulation is appreciated.

  41. Brendon Carr Says:

    And people wonder why I detest English teachers.

  42. Lawton Hogan Says:

    @Aaron P
    “The argument here seems to be, ‘Sure, most Koreans are hateful and violent but let’s just sit back and let them continue to be hateful and violent.’ I’d rather not have hate and violence inflicted upon me. Maybe I’m strange for thinking this way.”
    The way this is phrased, the only interpretation I can take from it is that you think that most Koreans are hateful and violent. Is this correct? If so, I’d invite you to come to Korea for a visit, as you have clearly never been here before. I have lived here for 4 years, and have never once been the victim of any violence from a Korean person, nor have any of the considerable number of friends I have here.

    This is not to say, of course, that violence against a foreigner has NEVER happened in Korea. It has, but it is rare. Nor is it to say that xenophobia is not a very real and serious problem in Korea. It is. But if you’re going to claim that MOST Koreans are hateful and violent, you’d better cite some sources, and a lot of them, to back up your claim.

    @Mack
    So would you suggest that a country may abuse and misrepresent a portion of its population and that those people who are being abused or misrepresented don’t have a right to fight back? Do you think this is merely some silly western ideal that other countries have no obligations to follow? The issue here in Korea is that the country has clearly made a conscious decision to move in an international direction, but a not-insignificant portion of the population still harbors deeply xenophobic ideas that are a threat to the people they are inviting into the country. Fair treatment and ethical journalism are not “squares” into which westerners are trying to force Koreans. They are ideas that Korea also holds but to which, in many cases, it is failing to adhere.

  43. 3WM Indie Media is back… More Bananas to Peel! | アてにしの 絵 Says:

    [...] Silver Linings: Making the most out of the MBC imbroglio http://thethreewisemonkeys.com/2012/06/05/silver-linings-making-the-most-out-of-the-mbc-imbroglio/ [...]

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