Monday, June 26, 2006

Expat bloggers with frog-in-the-well syndrome?

The K-blogosphere is all aflutter with predictions of how Korean netizens angry over supposedly bad calls are going to sully Korea's reputation in world sport.

Not gonna happen. Not when 300 English fans being arrested for clashing with German police ahead of England's latest World Cup match (geez, couldn't they wait until they lost or something?) are headlining the news in Korea's stead:
Trouble flared after England fans, many of whom had been drinking in pubs and bars all day, began exchanging insults with German fans who were in a square in the city centre to watch Germany's match against Sweden on giant TV screens.

An AFP photographer at the scene said riot police conducted baton charges and used pepper spray to disperse thousands of German fans.

When both sets of fans began throwing bottles and tables from pubs and bars police, some of them on horseback, created a barrier to separate the two groups.

You see, the childish annoyance of Korean netizens just can't compete with real-world violence. Unless people shouting "Tae~han~min-guk!" start trashing the place and physically assaulting fans from other countries, no one is going to pay much attention to these outbursts. Instead, I'm guessing that if the Korean team is remembered for anything, it will be that its fans cleaned up after themselves in Leipzig.

By the bye, Korean network television is showing the rest of the World Cup. At this very moment, some network is showing the England-vs-Ecuador game (it's a scoreless tie so far).

Which means that this was a pretty silly thing to say. Maybe it was meant tongue-in-cheek, but this is the kind of thing that a lot of the expat bloggers really believe. Why let reality get in the way of a stereotype of Korea as xenophobic and entirely self-absorbed?

I'll be so glad when the World Cup is finally over.

FOLLOW-UP MEA CULPA:
The ever-scatological Party Pooper has taken issue with this post, making a post of his own (
"Blog Award Nominations") revolving around this post. In particular, he thinks I have unfairly dissed Lost Nomad:

I understand there is some sort of Blog awards thing going on again. I don't know what the categories are, but if they include "Most Desperate for Attention and Recognition" then I would like to nominate this one and this one: The self-titled 'lightning rods' of the Korea blogosphere.

Not sure which I'd vote for, but this cheap shot here at the Nomad has me leaning towards the former. He's been to Nomad's blog enough to know how the Nomad intended his comment on Marmot's post to be read. Lumping the Nomad in with his cherished stereotypes of expats in Korea is just ignorant.


I don't think half of the comments this guy makes on other people's blogs (and he certainly makes a lot of them) are really about adding to the issue so much as he just really needs to know that he's being paid attention to.

But then maybe it's just me.

Okay, fair enough. I wasn't targetting Lost Nomad with a cheap shot, but I can see now how that might not be clear.

The cheap shot was, as I mentioned in Party Pooper's comment section, directed at those who read something like what Lost Nomad wrote — whether it was tongue-in-cheek or not — and think that it's serious, and then run with it. Then the bitching becomes not about what has really happened, but what people wrongfully think has happened or what they think would happen.

The Nomad seems to me, both from his blog and from private correspondence, to be a good guy. Sorry if I offended him in any way. And it's nice to know where I stand with Party Pooper. I'm almost proud of the growing list of people in the K-blogosphere who loathe me so much.

And for the record, Party Pooper, it's more than a bit tenuous to assume from a reference to some commenters in the K-blogosphere that I have stereotyped expats in general as being the same way. I am an expat myself and I have helped set up and worked on a lot of projects aimed at helping expats. In all likelihood, I have a much more generous view of expats —
whether they be short-timers or long-termers, kyopo or non-kyopo, English speakers or non-English speakers — than that which you ascribe to me.
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3 comments:

  1. They always say stuff like that, then they really make it come true in their minds, even if it doesn't come true. They've already made up their minds.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I don't think half of the comments this guy makes on other people's blogs (and he certainly makes a lot of them) are really about adding to the issue so much as he just really needs to know that he's being paid attention to.

    ouch! when a guy who writes things like this says that you are a shameless attention seeker, you know you've been burned. by a black pot. calling the kettle black. you know what expression i'm talking about.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Nora, are Kevin Kim and Party Pooper the same person? I thought they were two separate people, not one person with two blogs.

    ReplyDelete

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