Picture this scene, if you will:
‘It all started with a Halloween party at a bar in 2004. Most everyone was wearing a risque costume; the women were showing a lot of skin.
Many foreign English teachers attended. When the photographs made their way to the internet, the English teachers were blamed. Critics objected to the revealing costumes, worn by both foreigners and locals, saying they undermined Korean women.
At around the same time, news reports were circulating in Korea about foreign English teachers getting involved in drugs and sexual crimes, stirring up concern among parents and the public.’
Jiyeon Lee reports thus in the Global Post on an apparent upswing in animosity toward foreign English teachers, which has led to the formation of the Citizens of Right Education, a group (now of 17,000 members) that has apparently taken it upon itself to rid the country of foreign, unqualified English teachers.
Don’t say you haven’t been warned!
Read more here.
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It’s disgraceful that such an organisation could exist anywhere, let alone get the support from the establishment (being quoted seriously by newspapers etc), but there is a real risk of overexaggerating the impact of these kinds of things. The vast majority of teachers in Korea will not experience any impact at all on their day to day lives due to anti-foreigner feeling and instead will live a strangely privileged life for a 23 year old graduate in anything with probably no teaching qualifications or experience at all.
Just wonder what made them want to teach there in the first place… not exactly Shangri La…
Good point Alex, 17,000 sounds like a lot but it’s hardly a fully blown witch hunt.
bobs12, I have to admit the country would never be my preference, but it takes all sorts…
It’s an emotional culture. And these photos sparked some emotion. You have to watch your back. Most people don’t realize this till they get here.
Could see something similar happening to non-white foreigners in another country I know well. But it would be more a case of institutionalised xenophobia and just needing a point to focus it on. I reckon they could get a good few thousand in a week or so.