Friday, June 4, 2010

Friday links (election, netizen anger, sex, EPIK survey, Indian English, weddings, unprofessional interviews, 등).

Because I don't want to make a million different posts.

* The elections held on June 2nd are of course over, and the Korea Times has a list of winners. Jeollanam-do had the second-highest voter turnout, behind Gangwon province.

* The Korea Times has also been spending a lot of time focused on sex, as noted by The Chosun Bimbo and many others who have emailed me. Here's what's going on in the world on June 3rd:

Clearly there's a corner of the office that gets paid to look at porn all day and use their bad English to turn their hobby into copy.

* Today we learned that Hustler lingerie is coming to Korea. The website's here and is not safe for work. Not to be confused with, which is safe for work and sells the much more popular shorts+tights combination.

* Eat Your Kimchi, a blog and YouTube channel run by a pair of teachers in Bucheon, is one of the most positive, and most popular, institutions in the English-language expat community. Nonetheless they upset some netizens with their latest video poking fun at excessively noisy election campaigns.

* A lot of people are satisfied with EPIK, according to a poll conducted on the Strange Lands blog.

* Recently came across the blog Just Another Indian in Korea, which has tried to determine why Indians speak better English than Koreans and said, in response to one of my comments over there about English education in Korea, that Koreans work hard but Indians work smart. It will be interesting to read more on the topic, given the news that EPIK will be bringing in 12 Indian English teachers next semester.

* The Baekje Cultural Festival is now known as the Baekje World Culture Festival, (세계대백제전) picking up the trend of adding "International" or "World" to festivals to seem cosmopolitan. What's the point of trying to "globalize" a festival that few Koreans know or care about? The Baekje Cultural Festival was one of dozens of festivals cancelled last year because of swine flu. Buyeo, which also boasts the World Samulnori Festival---how the hell do you have a "World" samulnori festival?---is a pleasant county, though, very historical and very underrated, and is worth a visit this fall. Here are some pictures and words from my trip in December.

* Kimchi Icecream takes a long look at garish Korean wedding hall culture. Some discussion on my May 9th post as well.

* A Dave's ESL Cafe poster asks "Has anyone experienced a professional interview in Korea?" Guess.

* The JoongAng Daily, which consistently has the best features out of any English-language newspaper in Korea, asks who will be the fried chicken champ this World Cup. My favorites were: (3) Mom's Touch, (2) Nene Chicken, and (1) Dasarang. I've heard a lot of good things about Kyochon, but the last couple times I've had it it was like charcoal. The intersection between pop music and fried chicken in Korea is an interesting phenomenon, but consistent with using celebrities to market pretty much everything through Asian poses and goofy faces. I see that Dasarang has decided, in line with the norm, to employ a girlgroup to promote its product.


7Ø7 said...

Anyone care to do an in depth look at the elections?

David said...

What would you say if a Chinese guy (Chinese citizen) came up to one of our candidate in the US and spoke to him in Chinese to stop the music?

Puffin Watch said...

If it weren't for that each article is translated, one might think a disgruntled ex-employee just hardcoded the world news tab to just displays RSS copy with a sex tag and no one has noticed at the KT or no one has figured out his coding.

Then again, maybe there's a service that just clips all the wire copy and translates it.

Brian said...

David, that's a fair point. Actually, I don't think a foreigner---or a citizen for that matter---would be permitted close enough to a candidate in the US to pose such a question.

707, I don't. The English-language papers and the people with the Seoul bureaus will do a better job that most if not all English-language blogs, and I won't participate in armchair political science about stuff I know very little about. As I've said, I don't live in Korea anymore and there's little time to follow all the goings-on.

Puffin Watch, maybe they do have it hooked up in such a way. You'll notice the "English" isn't very good, so maybe they just plunked an intern or a secretary on the computer, had him or her do a quickie translation for the tabloid stuff, and posted it.

As I said before (I think), English-language newspapers weren't available in Jeollanam-do unless by subscription, so I never actually read one offline. Does anyone who does get the paper version know if those horribly "translated" articles actually make the paper, or are just online?

Jason said...

On the 'professional interview' issue, I actually have experienced ONE. It was for the national university of education, and it lasted two and a half hours. The Korean English professor actually opened my transcripts in front of me and we talked a bit about what I studied (English language and literature). We also talked about my 'philosophy of teaching' and how I think English should be taught, etc. It was an awesome experience, and one that I imagine almost never happens in Korea.

Compared to other universities I've applied to that send a contract with their email reply to my application email, or universities where I went for an 'interview' that was a 'hi, okay you're white and have the right accent, you're hired, can you start next week?'....yeah.

99% of the 'interview' stories I've heard from people say it's simply a check the person is sober, white, and has the 'right' accent and attitude....other than that it has nothing to do with figuring out if they're qualified, etc.

Eat Your Kimchi said...

Brian - Thanks for the mighty kind words.

David - Out of context, I'd think it would be weird, but I wouldn't think anything of it, just that it's weird. In the context of the rest of the video, I'd think that Chinese guy is absolutely hilarious, especially if he was singing and dancing as well. The last thing I'd think is that he's rude.

Some of the comments we've received are just horrible. Supposedly, I'm a freeloading, intolerant white supremacist donkey with AIDS who needs to get out of the country because I don't respect it enough. Someone actually told me that he wants to meet up and fight. Seriously. And I'm huge, by the way.

I would never say anything like that to the Chinese guy, and I doubt anyone else here would, either.

indianinkorea said...

Brian, I was wondering why am I getting so much traffic from your blog? Thanks for sharing.

thebobster said...

I liked the video (and linked to it myself, embedded actually) and I didn't interpret it as snide or even a little condescending. I saw it as Simon making fun of himself to an equal degree - "Hey, look at me, I'm a foreigner and I'm speaking English to Korean local politicians and expecting them to understand me and to suddenly stop doing what every other candidate is doing just because my apartment is over there."

I could be wrong, but it looked like all the trucks Simon talked to were promoting the GNP - is it possible the people leaving negative comments on the Youtube page were conservatives? (In my country right-wingers are the least likely to be able to appreciate a joke ...)

In other news, a couple of months ago, a Bongo truck was polluting the soundscape of my otherwise quiet neighborhood, exhorting all and sundry to experience the joys of their gogomas, yangpas and their etceteras. As I walked by on the way to the saetak, I looked at the driver behind the wheel, and held my index finger vertically in front of my mouth. Shh.

He turned off the speaker. I swear he did! All these years, I never thought to try just asking - of course, as I got halfway down the hill ... he turned it on again.

Oh. Well.

Jason said...

For David and the netizens, I think that the complaints are extremely out of context. I find it funny that most of my Korean friends and co-workers are annoyed by the music too. This sentiment is so annoying that certain cities have regulated the times that they can play their music and dance.

The worst part of this is that the attacks are directed at a couple that are a ray of sunshine in Korea. Their blog overflows with positivity and shows just how hard-working their are. It is unfortunate that people draw line at nationality. Korean citizens can complain about the noise but foreign residents can't.

As for the Chinese Guy comment... strange. So does that mean if my neighbor is play music very loud I can't ask him to turn it down... because I am not Korean?

Basically, what I am saying is that the video was made in a kind-hearted spirit and that is that. The negative feedback is uncalled for especially when the media here is full off the same style of humour.

The Central Scrutinizer said...

The Korea Times linked to a website showing partially nude women selling panties that say "Barely Legal" across the ass??

It's a national outrage!! Oh, what's that? They're foreign women -- never mind.

Brian said...

By this point I should be used to it, but I still chuckle when I scan Korean news sites and every time there is a woman in lingerie or a bikini in public, it's a white woman. The Grand Narrative blog has written that this is because of the stigma and stereotypes associated with underwear models, but still, the objectification of white people in Korea is really remarkable.

By the way, "Kim Kardashian wants a bigger ass," according to the Times.

Kate said...

I truly do not understand the backlash for the Eatyourkimchi election video. Like you said, they probably have the most positive, pro-Korean web presence I've come across. One person said that they made fools of the politicians. I disagree since the focus of the video was on their campaign tactics and not on the candidates themselves. Besides, one could argue that those politicians made fools of themselves by wandering into someone's video when they had no idea what the content would be.

3gyupsal said...

That was a good video. I wish I could edit video and get the resolution so clear like that.

I understand how annoying that can be. While I never had anything as obnoxious as election trucks outside of my apartment, I do have some neighbors who run a late night gambling ring that attracts some ruffians who like to yell at their wives for loosing their money at one in the morning.

Nicholas said...

Being foreign and joking about Korea/Koreans is no laughing matter.

Some will recall the backlash in the Korean press after Meg Ryan joked on the Letterman show in '97 about being dressed up in aviator's goggles and a nun's habit for the "Sexy Mild" commercials she did in a "strange country" (never mentioned by name).

Then there's the Busan Nine.

According to a Korea Herald article, "English Teachers Cross the Line," from December 16, 2006 (which of course has been pulled from online - all the good ones disappear):

"Busan police on Monday launched a weeklong crackdown on Babo-palooza! - a comedy show staged by English teachers - with organizers and performers brought in for questioning at police headquarters.

"They obtained their visas as English teachers and are banned from making money through other means," the spokesperson said.

"Foreigners also have to go through certain procedures to stage performances in Korea but they did not do so. Urine tests were conducted due to reports of drug use before and after the show but all came back clean."

The investigation comes following an undercover operation in which police officers, who had been observing members of the comedy troupe for some time, attended Babo-palooza! at Neoreun Small Theater, Gwangalli Beach, Busan.

Staged over two nights before full houses of foreigners and Koreans in early December, the performers delivered a series of sketches taking a lighthearted look at life in Korea. The group's brand of satirical humor was well received by audience members but the 'Immigration' sketch - featuring an English teacher being interviewed by a panel of Immigration Bureau officials and lampooning Korean cultural issues including kimchi, Dokdo and 'fan death' - may have drawn the ire of police."

And don't forget about Breen's attempt at satire: criminal defamation charges.

arvinsign said...

Great HD video. My opinion is that there's nothing wrong with it. Its probably the oversensitivity of some people that led to lots of negative feedback. This can be viewed on so many perspectives, but still i dont find it really offensive.

The Central Scrutinizer said...


OMG, I didn't realize that it was the actual title of the article! Kim Kardashian wants a bigger ass.

Of course the Korean translation they supply is tamer: "카다시안: '내 아바타 엉덩이 더 크게 만들어줘'" ("Kardashian: 'I want to make the butt on my avatar bigger'").

jay said...

I would never hold any public forum even joking about good ol' K-land. Thats just dumb. We know they generally have no sense of humor, and esp with anything western as satire. Slapstick or nothing at all.

The Indians learning English vs the K-guys is interesting, but one point is Indian was colonized for what, 250 years? Western culture is very much embedded in India, and it co-exists with Indian culture quite well, of course with Indian cultures being predominant. Also, with the call centers and such, there are alot of reasons to try to learn English, if so desired. Here, 90% of the time, its for a test, here in Korea, with the only foreigners being on cd/tape/recorded. A few will go overseas for any real length of time. Its more and more nowadays.
The list could go on..

Also, India is a big tourist spot and has been for many years. The food, music, the Taj Mahal and such is world famous. Its also NOT a manufacturing country, but a sub continent. Alot of people, alot of variety, and they dont share the border with the only communist state left on earth, etc. Which means alot of people visit and interact/marry with/etc the locals. Here, its only been a few years.

ok, ive said enough maybe, but you get my point i hope.

3gyupsal said...

India shares a boarder with China, which is a communist country. It's not as insane as North Korea, but it is still communist.

Puffin Watch said...

If I recall the Busan 9 avoided any kind of legal sanctions or deportation but every last one of them who applied for another year on their E2 visas mysteriously had them denied.

anastacia said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.