Monday, December 31, 2007

Ask Kushibo.

[NOTE: This post was originally scheduled to be at the top of this blog until December 31, 2010. More recent posts can be found by scrolling below.]

My sitemeter.com data shows that a lot of the 1000 or so people a week who link to my site are looking for cultural information on Korea (e.g., "When did Syngman Rhee die?" "What did the Indians bring to the first Chusok?" etc., etc.), as well as practical or historical stuff.


That got me thinking that, hey, I have a master's degree in Korean studies and a minor in Japanese studies, I've been in Seoul far longer than most foreans my age (whether they're kyopo or non-kyopo), I teach introductory courses on Korea and its cultural trappings, so why not offer a free service where I attempt to answer people's questions, point them in the direction of where they can get them answered, and/or offer my regulars (that's you!) a chance to take a stab at some of this stuff, too.

So I hereby launch "Ask Kushibo." Just ask a question in the comments section below. I've set the date on this thing as late as possible (11:59 p.m. on 12/31/2010, after which blogspot.com is apparently expected to burst into flames), so that it will always be at the top of this blog. All I ask is that people play nice and try to keep the questions as succinct as possible. Please don't make me regret this. Sphere: Related Content

106 comments:

  1. Okay.. I'll go first :D
    What do the leaders of Korea specifically want when they demand a correct understanding of history from Japan?

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm going to answer that in more detail on the recent Yasukuni thread, at which time I'll remove this answer you're now reading and include a proper link, but for now I think the Obuchi-Kim joint declaration of 1998 would point you in the right direction.

    Actually, for regulars I would prefer that they ask questions in the appropriate forum. You did ask this question elsewhere, but I didn't yet have a chance to answer it. I will. But right now I have to earn money to pay the bills so I can pretty myself up for Sonagi.

    ReplyDelete
  3. hi...
    I'd like to ask you about the academic environment of Korea nowadays. It seems you do have something in a korean university
    but in general what is the attitude of the korean universities about hiring foreign
    origin professors/lecturers?
    I mean beside the obvious linguistics.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I guess "Forean" sounds better than "off-white trash."

    ReplyDelete
  5. Harry asks:
    I'd like to ask you about the academic environment of Korea nowadays. It seems you do have something in a korean university
    but in general what is the attitude of the korean universities about hiring foreign
    origin professors/lecturers?
    I mean beside the obvious linguistics.


    The situation is generally not good, but it is improving. Most instruction is still in Korean, so in most cases, professors must lecture in Korean. That leaves most foreign-origin professors/lecturers out.

    However, there is a growing trend for universities to include more English-language lectures in their curriculum. And more significantly right now, there are a number of "graduate schools of international studies" (GSISs) at top Korean universities, where the instruction is primarily or exclusively in English.

    These provide a few opportunities for English-speaking professors, but not many. These would tend to go to people educated from well-known, top-ranked universities. And of course, a specialist, say, in Japanese Studies might very well be from Japan, for example. Ditto for Chinese studies, etc. Some may even be so bold as to hire a non-Korean for Korean studies, but that would be highly exceptional.

    Bear in mind that "connections" are a factor. Even Koreans who graduate from American, British, or Japanese universities often have trouble getting the teaching jobs they want because they don't have a Waseda, Gonzaga, or Liverpool network to rely on back in Korea.

    For now, jobs in English-related fields are the primary opportunities. This does not just mean teaching English, but also linguistics, English education (I've done some of that), and other such things.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Here's a question I have often wondered about.

    Why are so many educated Americans so sympathetic to the Japanese right-wing? While Nazi apologists are truly rare, the Japanese fascists enjoy tremendous support at home and abroad. The domestic support is not as baffling as the support from Americans.

    How do you account for the Meiji apologists being so prominent in the English-language blogging community today?

    ReplyDelete
  7. G Travan asks:
    Here's a question I have often wondered about.

    Why are so many educated Americans so sympathetic to the Japanese right-wing?


    Well, that's not really a Korea-related question. Well, indirectly, I guess.

    But before I begin, I want to point out that this is not exclusively "Americans" who are doing this. At least one prominent supporter of right-wing Japan is an Aussie, even though he likes to speak for America when it comes to minority issues and immigration.

    While Nazi apologists are truly rare, the Japanese fascists enjoy tremendous support at home and abroad.

    I'm not so sure if it's that high in either, but I see your point.

    The domestic support is not as baffling as the support from Americans.

    How do you account for the Meiji apologists being so prominent in the English-language blogging community today?


    Are you equating Meiji apologists with modern right-wing apologists? They're not quite the same, although they do overlap to a degree. A Meiji apologist would be an apologist for Japan's expansionism into Taiwan, Korea, and the Pacific. A Showa apologist would be an apologist for Japan's "excursions" into China and against the United States. I don't know if you were deliberately not referring to Showa-era Japan or if you meant the two together. Anyway, apologists for modern-day right-wing Japan would be apologists for such right-wing's views that Imperial Japan was justified in going to war against China and/or the United States, Korea and Taiwan were better off under benign Japanese colonial rule, etc. Again, I'm not sure if you are excluding that view or if you are including it (as your "right-wing" reference suggests in your first question).

    Judging by conversations I've had with such people, I think there may be a number of factors.

    First, with the shrill message of the "diplomatic war" declared by the likes of ROK President Roh Moohyun, the Korean finger-choppers (there were only two of them, but the press certainly gets a lot of mileage out of them), and the destructive behavior of the anti-Japanese demonstrators in China, the right-wing looks calm, cool, and collected as they quietly assert their viewpoint.

    In a choice between a calm voice versus an emotional response, some assume that the calm ones are the rational ones. The emotional response of the others betrays the emptiness of their argument.

    They fail to see that the aggression itself has made the victims of the aggression and their relatives so emotional, and that emotional response is compounded when excuses for or denials of the murderous behavior is sent up.

    Some others I know are attracted to apologism for the right-wing because of the appeal of being contrary. There's something intellectually thrilling to be the one saying that the United States under FDR really did goad Japan into war, for example.

    Also, the poor track record of the military-run regimes in South Korea has led to a lack of transparency about Korea's own history, and that has carried over into Korea's democratic administrations as well, and that lends a lack of credibility to claims by South Korea such that, instead of looking at each individual point or issue on its merits, its appealing to just assume that the South Korean side is essentially full of crap. And with Communist China, whose abuse of its own people rivals the terror inflicted by Imperial Japan, the situation is even more serious.

    The end result is that it's easy for some at least to follow the "we were victims" mentality and the "we were just defending ourselves" justification coming from Japan's right-wing. It's a facile conclusion, though, and so it's not all that surprising that some who subscribe to it are so unwilling to look as critically at the right-wing Japanese claims as they are of nationalistic Korean claims.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I have noticed that people studying Japanese language are quite keen to be apologists for past agression. All through my university days I had to deal with people like this in my class. Maybe they just don't want their image of Japan to be anything but rosy...

    ReplyDelete
  9. Here's a question for you Kush. I am reading a biography of 이승만 and 박정희 and I was wondering about the whole Hawaii thing with Rhee. Could you enlighten me please?

    ReplyDelete
  10. Kushibo, thank you for your response. I had always lumped the Meiji and Showa aggression together, but it is open to interpretation, certainly. I asked this question because I have only recently become aware of the sympathy towards the Japanese right among non-Japanese, and it was quite shocking to me.

    I, too, have noticed that some students of the Japanese language become enamored of Japanese hypernationalism. However, as a student of Japanese myself, I'd like to think that knowledge of Japan's culture would lead one to deplore the tremendous destruction of Japanese culture that took place after the Meiji, who wiped out all aspects of Japanese culture that didn't fit their ideology.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Agreed G, but it usually doesn't work that way unfortunately...

    ReplyDelete
  12. Kushibo, thank you for your response. I had always lumped the Meiji and Showa aggression together, but it is open to interpretation, certainly.

    Well, to be fair, there is a difference between thinking that Japan was justified in taking over Korea on the one hand, and thinking on the other hand that Japan should be re-armed as a "normal country." The latter, for example, might very well think that the subjugation of Japan's colonies was not only wrong but horrific, but that post-Imperial Japan has changed enough since World War II to be trusted as a military power again.

    I asked this question because I have only recently become aware of the sympathy towards the Japanese right among non-Japanese, and it was quite shocking to me.

    In my personal experience, it's not as common as you suggest, but I have noticed it, too. Maybe if I were living in Japan, I'd see more, but from where I sit, I haven't seen it. I'll ask relatives/friends who are/were there and see what they think.

    I, too, have noticed that some students of the Japanese language become enamored of Japanese hypernationalism.

    I forgot to add that I do think it is easy to fall for the carefully crafted and enticingly simple justifications for Imperial Japanese wrongdoing if one does not take the opportunity to see the evidence against the justifications.

    On the surface of it, for example, I think it is an attractive notion to suggest that Korea benefited from being a colony of Japan. But if one digs a little, it's easy to see that some of the premises/assertions (e.g., the direction Korean sociological indicators were going in) were wrong to begin with, and that calls the conclusions into question. For example, it was the Western missionaries, with permission of the politically beleaguered Choson administration, who had begun a network of modern hospitals prior to the Japanese takeover, yet the apologists give Japan credit for "introduc[ing] medicine in Korea."

    I do think it's not an indefensible position to suggest, as one Japanese politician got in hot water for in the 1990s, that Korea "received some benefit" from Japanese colonial rule. But that is a far crime from saying that overall it was beneficial or good for Korea.

    However, as a student of Japanese myself, I'd like to think that knowledge of Japan's culture would lead one to deplore the tremendous destruction of Japanese culture that took place after the Meiji, who wiped out all aspects of Japanese culture that didn't fit their ideology.

    When I criticize the Japanese right-wing, I am bashed for being anti-Japanese. I am not at all anti-Japanese. It is a country I have visited and spent much time in, I have familial connections to, and I deeply love. I don't want to see the right-wing take it down a path that twenty, thirty, forty years from now is going to lead it into problems like the past.

    ReplyDelete
  13. San Nakji wrote:
    Hey, you didn't answer my question!
    Whoops, sorry.

    Here's a question for you Kush.
    Then you've come to the right place.

    I am reading a biography of 이승만 and 박정희
    What's the title?

    and I was wondering about the whole Hawaii thing with Rhee. Could you enlighten me please?

    Could you be more specific with the question? I'm assuming you're asking, "Why Hawaii?" If not, please ask again.

    Prior to the Japanese takeover, Hawaii (along with California) was a destination for Korean laborers seeking to earn a buck and send it back to their families (Japanese laborers were doing the same; Korean immigration patterns often followed after Japanese immigration patterns). Consequently, a sizable Korean-American population developed in Hawaii, rivaling that of California's until the 1970s.

    Many Koreans in Hawaii were involved in the independence movement, and Rhee Syngman, during his colonial-era stay in the United States, was connected with them. When he was deposed, heading to Hawaii might have seemed a naturally logical and familiar place to go.

    Not only would the KAs there have been reasonable receptive to him, but he would have been as close as one could get to Korea while being in a major American city (not counting Guam and Saipan).

    Plus, it's warm. I'm likely going to be there (or the Bay Area) starting this fall, and on days like today, I look forward to it.

    Hawaii was also the choice of Ferdinand Marcos when he was deposed in the 1980s.

    Had Rhee not been so anti-Japanese, he might have chosen exile in Japan, as democracy activist Kim Daejung did in the 1970s.

    If Park Chunghee had succumbed to protests rather than an assassin's bullet, I have no doubt he would have chosen Japan over the United States for his exile. And the Japanese would probably have welcomed him.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Sun Yat-sen, China's "national father" as they call him, also lived in Hawaii. I remember seeing a statue of him in Honolulu. It seemed quite random until I realized that Hawaii played a critical role in the fall of the Qing dynasty. Hawaii was a very interesting place in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The native kings were still nominally in power, desperadoes and adventurers from the American mainland were flooding in, and farmers, workers, and revolutionaries from East Asia were making their homes there.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Thanks Kush. In the book I am reading. There seems to be some debate about whether he chose to stay in Hawaii or was forced to. Are you saying he was forced to?

    ReplyDelete
  16. I don't know if he was "forced" to stay there or not. By having him in Hawaii, though, the US authorities probably thought they could keep an eye on him. You can't exactly leave without the officials knowing about it.

    He was eighty-five years old by the time he was exiled; I don't think he really had any chance of making a come-back.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Dear Kushibo,

    I am a Korean Christian very confused over the Hwang case. Can you help me? Here is my question:
    Is Hwang and his Korean support a product of ignorance, mental illness, or is it an individual and collective sinfulness?

    ReplyDelete
  18. kimcheegirrl writes:
    Dear Kushibo,
    Yes, my child?

    I am a Korean Christian very confused over the Hwang case. Can you help me?
    What is the nature of your confusion? Do you feel that cloning technology is wrong to begin with?

    Here is my question:
    Is Hwang and his Korean support a product of ignorance, mental illness, or is it an individual and collective sinfulness?

    Well, I don't think Hwang and his Korean supporters are from the same source. If Dr. Hwang is, as appears to be the case at the moment, a cloning researcher of some talent (Snuppy) who was thrust into the limelight too soon and felt a lot of pressure to provide bigger and better results than before. Unfortunately, according to surveys, a lot of people would be willing to fudge their research under such pressure. Given Dr. Hwang's willingness to bask in the limelight, he may also be a pathological liar.

    His followers, though, may just be craving a cult-like figure. With its high-pressure demands and limited opportunities, Korea, like its neighbor Japan, is ripe for cult leaders looking for followers. People want to believe in something biggere than themselves. Dr. Hwang's promises combined national promise, medical miracles, and the hope of a brighter future.

    ReplyDelete
  19. This has probably been asked before, but are you the cute kid in the picture?

    ReplyDelete
  20. This has probably been asked before, but are you the cute kid in the picture?

    T'is a picture of me at a time when I had no real worries in life.

    Since then my hair has gotten significantly darker, I am much taller, but my nose is still crooked.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Dear Kushibo,

    Thanks for your response.
    My church believes Hwang was sent from God to heal the sick. So we don't disagree with cloning.
    Maybe you are saying Hwang felt pressure to succeed and many others may cheat under such pressure. Many of my friends in church feel this same pressure. I too feel this pressure in life... especially from my boyfriend. I have been tempted by him, but I did not give in because it dishonors my Lord.

    Have you ever cheated by engaging in sexual relations outside of marriage? If so, did a survey showing what others are doing and some sexual pressure cause you to give in? Did you tell yourself you are a responsible mature adult in order to do this? Sometimes I do, but I think I am fooling myself.
    My boyfriend says we are mature adults able to make our own decisions about life. But, I told him what my pastor said. He say I must conform to the word of God, but I think you say I might consider what others are doing and then decide by what seems right in my own eyes.

    I think this is what Hwang did.

    Are you saying I should become a Christian Hwang Woo-suk? I am afraid I will lose perspective and do evil.

    Please, help my thinking. Thank You.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Kush,

    Can you name nice places to go in Seoul? To eat, to sightsee, to mingle?

    ReplyDelete
  23. Sure, Baduk. But for the food and going out stuff, I think I need some more specifics about what kind of stuff you're talking about (Korean, Japanee, Chinese, Indian, Thai, Western, etc.) and whether you're on a budget. Also, with what kind of people are you trying to mingle? 20-something, 30-something, 40-something, older? And to do what (e.g., dancing, hanging out with people you already know, listening to engaging lectures, etc.)?

    ReplyDelete
  24. Want to know how the Korean journalism had its existence felt in the politics of Korea in the past. I mean, what were the roles played with or against the authorities?

    ReplyDelete
  25. You can't go past 신촌 for a great night out!

    ReplyDelete
  26. I also have a question.

    In your opinion, what are Koreans seeking in their relationships with other countries, specifically with the US? Relations between these two countries seem to be constantly strained. Also, do you think that the Korea-US alliance will be maintained in the long term, or will Korea ally with China, or find an armed neutrality stance?

    ReplyDelete
  27. hastle asks:
    Want to know how the Korean journalism had its existence felt in the politics of Korea in the past. I mean, what were the roles played with or against the authorities?

    I can't really speak from authority on this issue, but in the past the mainstream journalists did primarily serve as an instrument of public policy, but they weren't entirely under government control. Within certain parameters they could criticize the government, but if they went to far, they risked being shut down.

    So, within those limits, they did provide frank information about what was going on, both good and bad.

    This was true even during the Japanese occupation. Admiral Saito, a relatively enlightened ruler who was installed by an embarrassed Tokyo after the crushing of the Samil Movement, oversaw the establishment of several Korean-run newspapers, some of which are around today. They had some leeway, but if they went too far (like changing the Japanese flag on gold-medal marathoner Son's chest to a Korean flag or going to far in criticism of colonial government policy) they would be closed down for a while. Toward the end of the colonial period, almost all were closed down.

    During things like the Kwangju uprising, I think there were major black-outs of Kwangju-related news gathering, but I'm not sure.

    Anyway, I can't say if they were less activist than some of them are now. There were some that tried to be objective, I'm pretty sure, but others that were trying to undermine military-led authoritarianism or promote democracy, or what-not.

    Oranckay might have a better answer. I'm writing this off the top of my head and some of it might need to be retrated later. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  28. Matthew asks:
    In your opinion, what are Koreans seeking in their relationships with other countries,

    Well, with Japan, there are two schools: those that don't use Japan as a tool to whip up nationalist sentiment and those that do. The former would like Japan to not bring up things that will hearken back to the colonial past (e.g., Yasukuni visits, politicians saying the Comfort Women were prostitutes, Japanese claims on Tokto, etc.) so that the two countries can get on with the future-minded business of being friends. The former group knows that there are a lot of people in the latter group who will make noise and try to scuttle good Korea-Japan relations.

    There are a lot of people caught in the middle: they don't hate Japan just for the sake of hating Japan, but they get their emotional buttons pushed when the latter group makes a lot of noise about what Koizumi or so-and-so did this time.

    specifically with the US?Relations between these two countries seem to be constantly strained.

    Koreans in general want some respect from the United States. They're tired of being treated not just as a junior partner but as someone who is still stuck working in the mailroom. Korea is a top-dozen world economy, but the US and some of its citizens sometimes seem to treat it like it's perpetually in M*A*S*H mode.

    Most Koreans have a lot of respect for quite a few people and things from the United States. I did a study on "national image development" in English-teaching textbooks in Korea, and they're full of references to great Americans and great things in America.

    Certainly the US is the #1 choice for people to emigrate to, and #1 most desired for travel (#2 if you count Europe as one entity).

    But at the same time, it wants that respect. This dichotomy comes to a head in government-to-government issues, including trade talks, national security, and US military issues.

    For the US military, most Koreans accept -- some enthusiastically, some just grudgingly -- that their national security depends on the United States. Those who think about it further realize that it's not just the deterrent agains the North, but also the American presence keeping China and even Japan and Russia at bay.

    But for USFK they want the personnel to behave (follow the laws, don't run over people, etc.) and have a smaller footprint. For a lot of people, the "humiliation" of foreign troops in the capital has been a sore point. I do think that the USFK move to Pyongtaek is going to help resolve many of those issues.

    The problem is that there is an agenda-driven left-wing contingent of the press that is working hard to discredit their favorite whipping boys (the US, Japan, Korean conservatives, the rich, free trade, etc.), every chance they get. Their goal has been to agitate the Korean middle (who wouldn't agree with the pro-Pyongyang, anti-capitalist long-term goals of these far leftists) by selective reporting or distortion of news related to the whipping boys.

    Also, do you think that the Korea-US alliance will be maintained in the long term, or will Korea ally with China, or find an armed neutrality stance?

    It will be maintained. Koreans aspire to be like the United States, not China. Joining up with China would be a step down. Sure, many people get ticked off about this or that thing that so-and-so did, but if it came time to actually ask the US to leave, it wouldn't happen. Ever since the US left the Philippines, it was painfully obvious that the US would leave South Korea to if the South Koreans asked. No more could the leftists claim the US as an occupier.

    I often tell people not to believe the hype. The far leftists have mastered how to agitate people through the media. It's important to look at what comes out of Korean newspapers, TV, and radio with a critical eye. So many stunts are designed to make it look like this thing or that thing represents a majority, but does it really? Someone writes anti-American lyrics, people with sticks hold a rally, etc., etc. But there are a lot of Koreans, too, shaking their head and going, WTF? I know that's not a common opinion in the Korea-related blogosphere, but sometimes a more nuanced view is more accurate than a "oh, my God, look at what they're doing now" reaction.

    At any rate, a presence in South Korea is good for the US as well. It keeps a democratic ally and economic partner safe. Actually, it helps keep two others safe as well. The Pax Americana keeps things nice and quiet, and that helps keep trade--the engine that keeps America going--flowing like a spigot. A win-win peace-of-mind for the purchase price of a bit of insurance policy.

    ReplyDelete
  29. next question: what's your emailaddress?

    ReplyDelete
  30. next question: what's your emailaddress?

    I'm almost afraid to ask, but here it is: kushibo2000-at-yahoo-dot-com

    ReplyDelete

  31. For the US military, most Koreans accept -- some enthusiastically, some just grudgingly -- that their national security depends on the United States. Those who think about it further realize that it's not just the deterrent agains the North, but also the American presence keeping China and even Japan and Russia at bay.


    Kushibo, you address the political situation in Korea very well, but I think you should look at things in a larger historical context. The North Koreans are no longer the advance guard of the Warsaw Pact and China. Therefore, there is no existential threat to South Korea. In fact, I think it is absurd to imagine a Chinese invasion, or threat of invasion, against Korea. This is the kind of paranoid delusions that right-wing Americans use to justify a gargantuan war machine. As for Russia, come now, this is really too much! The Russians would be madmen to invade, especially since they would have to invade North Korea and China on their way to Seoul.

    What I am saying is that there is very little justification for a US military presence in Korea now that the Cold War is over. Americans seem to naturally see Russia and China as hostile for having their troops within their own borders. How do you think the Russians and Chinese feel, being encircled by American troops thousands of miles outside the USA? Actually, I think the US forces in Korea create more of a security threat for Korea, and that Korea would be safer relying on an alliance with the US without large numbers of troops on the ground. Whether the Koreans are willing to take responsibility for their own defense, rather than lazily relying on America is another issue, of course.


    It will be maintained. Koreans aspire to be like the United States, not China. Joining up with China would be a step down.


    Again, I think you are missing the larger historical perspective, and this time it is much more serious! The Korean worldview, culture and language can not be separated from the Chinese influences which have shaped them for thousands of years. The US period of influence must be seen as a short aberration. Americans have no interest in foreign languages generally, and little knowledge or concern for Koreans. China, on the other hand, is next door, and has many vital interests in Korea. It is only natural that China will regain some of its massive cultural and political influence.

    I don't think China's influence is a step down. Certainly in cultural terms, Chinese influence is not second-rate to any other. If China's government becomes more decent, then I think a close relationship between Korea and China is inevitable. Korea's main market will be China, and soon China, not the US, will be in a position to guarantee the peace in East Asia. This is especially true since the US is pathetically silent regarding a hypernationalist and re-militarized Japan.

    Actually, this type of thinking is all too prevalent in the US. For example, in Iraq, the US is desperate to check Iranian influence. It seems that Americans are unwilling to accept that closeby nations, with thousands of years of relations, will naturally have strong influences on each other. It reminds of the Dutch boy trying to hold back the flood by putting his finger in the dike.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Travan,

    Your last post was right on the money.

    ReplyDelete
  33. This is getting a little off the "ask Kushibo" theme and more into the soapbox speeches. I don't know if I should start a whole new post just for these comments or continue here. For now, I'll continue here, but just be warned that if it starts to get long enough that it drowns out the purpose of the "ask Kushibo" post, I may pull the plug.

    I'm a little busy this weekend, but I disagree with Sonagi that your comment, G Travan, was right on the money. The situation in Iraq is sufficiently different from the situation in East Asia that what's going wrong there does not mean the same thing is going wrong here. And more important, the success of a course of action (e.g., preventing the outbreak of war in Northeast Asia), is not a good reason to pull the plug on that course of action.

    I'll fisk your comments later. You can respond to THOSE comments, not this above (I am the god of my own blog).

    ReplyDelete
  34. fish head asked:
    Why do Koreans constantly spit?

    I've had some discussions with a few people about this over the years. Some international residents here have told me Chinese are far worse about spitting. When I've traveled to Japan, I haven't noticed that much spitting, but I don't notice it a whole lot over here, not around the people I know.

    But there are enough spitters to make you wonder what is up with that. I think a lot of it is phlegm from smoking. Also, saliva is used to put out cigarette butts (people spitting into cups). It's also common to see, if you're looking downward when you do your business, that people have spit some phlegm into the urinal you're using.

    There's a lot less spitting on the street than in the past, but it's still enough to be a gross annoyance when you're walking by. I've always thought that another thing different in Seoul is that you just encounter so many people per block in Korea, so you're going to encounter that many more spitters, crotch-scratchers, kids running out into the street, etc., etc.

    When I was growing up in California in the 1980s, kids had turned spitting—especially phlegm-filled spitting—into a sport. I won't get into the kinds of things they did, but I haven't really seen that among the kids here (nor the adults). At any rate, this may be one reason I never really developed this strong sense that Korea was a nation of spitters.

    Anyway, if Korea really does have more spitters per capita than where you're from, I'm guessing it has a lot to do with the high rate of smoking, plus a lack of thinking—among said smokers—that it's all that gross.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Could you shed some light on how England came to be known as "英國" in Chinese characters? I do know that the Mandarin pronunciation of "英" is similar to the first syllable of "England", but why that particular character? There must have been other choices amongst characters with similar pronunciations, no? Who chose it (or how did it become standardized)?

    Ditto for 獨逸, 佛語, etc.

    This isn't such a succinct question anymore, but one more thing. . . why "美" for America if one is Chinese or Korean, but "米" for the Japanese?

    Hope that this question is more in theme with what you intended for the "Ask Kushibo" forum.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Here is a rather inflamatory question, but one I have been dealing with for many years. From personal dating experience and from the women I have known, here is the question:
    Any Korea woman over thirty who is not married has some sort of problem, usually emotional. True or not true? I know it is a hard question to answer and I will get hated by people for ansking, but it just seems that most 'normal' Korean women are married before 30.

    ReplyDelete
  37. listening to soju wrote:
    Could you shed some light on how England came to be known as "英國" in Chinese characters? I do know that the Mandarin pronunciation of "英" is similar to the first syllable of "England", but why that particular character? There must have been other choices amongst characters with similar pronunciations, no? Who chose it (or how did it become standardized)?

    Whatever I have to say on this matter would be less than expert testimony. I have sent it to some people who might know, and I'll let you know what they say.

    This isn't such a succinct question anymore, but one more thing. . . why "美" for America if one is Chinese or Korean, but "米" for the Japanese?

    I have heard that the discrepancy goes back to the Imperial days shortly before Japan went to war against America. Something to do with propagandizing views against America.

    I'll find out about that, too. Maybe Darin has some thoughts.

    Hope that this question is more in theme with what you intended for the "Ask Kushibo" forum.

    It is.

    ReplyDelete
  38. I generally loathe self-promoters so I'm a little hesitant to post it, but if you're interested there was some discussion of the 美國 VS 米國 debate on my site last fall.

    http://aboutjoel.com/blog/?p=360

    It's far from a definitive answer, but some of the comments and the copy of article I found were quite helpful in understanding the issue.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Hi!
    I've linked to your blog and I found it is very interesting. I put a link to your blog in my blog.
    Bye
    http://tizianok.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  40. Dear Sir,
    I work for a public school in Kyunggi-do. The teacher before me did a midnight run and I took her place. The school said that they needed to make to contract a 10 month contract and so I wouldnt get severance pay for this contract. I now have an E2 visa. They said it was not the policy of the school for me not to get the severance pay, but Kyunggi-do's policy. My questions are thus:
    1. Is this legal?
    2. If not, where specifically can I go for redress?

    ReplyDelete
  41. Beautiful country or rice country?

    Kushibo, I heard something similar, that Japan changed the character when relations were sour during the first half of the 20th century.

    Question for Kushibo:

    As a public school teacher in the US, I'm curious to know how much my counterparts in Korea earn. The pay scale for my district is $34,000 (newbie)-66,000 (35+ years). Any idea what kind of pay scale there is for Korean elementary school teachers?

    ReplyDelete
  42. kimcheemonster wrote:
    Here is a rather inflamatory question, but one I have been dealing with for many years. From personal dating experience and from the women I have known, here is the question:
    Any Korea woman over thirty who is not married has some sort of problem, usually emotional. True or not true? I know it is a hard question to answer and I will get hated by people for ansking, but it just seems that most 'normal' Korean women are married before 30.


    I think you're right, Kimcheemonster. That is an inflammatory question.

    If you read my blog or my comments elsewhere, you have to have figured by now that I eschew generalizations, certainly those that ascribe particularly negative traits to one group of people. The reason is simple: even if something is true for most people within said group (a big and usually unsatisfied "if"), there is usually a sizable minority at least that is different from that, if not opposite.

    At the very basic level, though, you're hypothesis is correct: every Korean woman over thirty who is not married DOES indeed have some sort of problem because EVERYONE does indeed have sort of problem. Even Kushibo (I'm judgmental and emotionally distant, demand perfection from others, go through extremes of sloppiness and then ultra-cleanliness, and I drive like a bat out of hell).

    But do unmarried Korean women over thirty in particular have some sort of problem, especially emotional problems? I would say no.

    For starters, thirty is now the average age at which women get married in Korea, so you're talking not just about a large group, but a group that is darned close to being the norm.

    But maybe you mean that, well, most Korean women in fact have something wrong with them, especially emotionally. Well, I have not met most Korean women, but my general impression is that they are not all that more emotionally screwed up than other women—or men for that matter.

    Now, on the other hand, in a place where people used to feel like "an old maid" if they were twenty-five and not married, there may be constant pressure to get married, or to find someone, and this may be causing some sort of emotional problem. My ex-fiancée is now past thirty and unmarried, and she certainly has problems, primarily that she is very confused about which way she is oriented.

    I know a number of people who might seem, superficially at least, to have sort of problem because they're over thirty and unmarried, but it largely relates to the fact that they have no desire to get married or that a regular marriage is not really acceptable to them or what they want, yet this is what their parents' generation keeps telling them they need to do. That would certainly give me problems.

    I guess I would need to know what you mean by "having sort sort of problem" or having an emotional problem. I think I would also need to know where you are meeting these over-thirty unmarried women with problems and how you come to the conclusion that they have problems in the first place.

    Could it be that the type of people you encounter in the place that you encounter them might be of a certain type that—different from most other women—have particular problems? the unmarried women I meet over thirty are students/scholars, administrators, creative people, teachers, writers, etc., usually met in these academic or professional contexts, and they are no more screwed up than anyone else. Are you meeting people in "nice places" or are you meeting people somewhere else?

    Are you meeting people in meat markets, for example? Are you meeting people who are on the rebound? Are you meeting people on-line? I think I need to know more about this in order to answer.

    Also, what type of attitude are you presenting to these women? Are you being a gentleman, or are you presenting an in-your-face attitude toward women or Korea or themselves as individuals that is triggering a defensive reaction from them? In other words, Kimcheemonster, are you living up to the "monster" part of your moniker?

    I'm asking all these questions to get a more precise idea what the situation is. And rest assured, I am not asking these questions with an assumption of what the answer is.

    ReplyDelete
  43. kimcheemonster wrote:
    I work for a public school in Kyunggi-do. The teacher before me did a midnight run and I took her place. The school said that they needed to make to contract a 10 month contract and so I wouldnt get severance pay for this contract. I now have an E2 visa. They said it was not the policy of the school for me not to get the severance pay, but Kyunggi-do's policy. My questions are thus:
    1. Is this legal?


    I would have to check with this to be sure, but I believe that for visa-granting purposes, an E-2 visa cannot be obtained with less than a twelve-month contract. And if you work for some place for twelve months, you are entitled to one month's pay as severance.

    Did you get a twelve-month visa from the school? If not, how did they manage to get that past Immigration? If Immigration did in fact accept it (and I could be wrong about the twelve-month minimum, or it might have changed since I last checked), you are probably out of luck.

    I'm guessing it's possible that since your school is a government organization, it's possible that exceptions may have been made for your visa situation, but I can't be sure. I know of a case involving an E-2 with a government-run entity, where the paperwork was filed in late March for someone who would be employed until the end of the following February, but Immigration required a one-year visa from late March to late March.

    If your school has given you two contracts, one for Immigration and one just between you both, then they may end up being out of luck, legally speaking, because the one filed with the government takes precedence. You should have a copy of this. If not, ask Immigration if you can have a copy.

    2. If not, where specifically can I go for redress?

    Labor departments at the provincial level have, from what people have told me of their personal experiences, become much more receptive to legitimate complaints about schools not fulfilling contracts. If your school is trying to pull a switcheroo by saying that the twelve-month contract filed with the government is not the REAL contract, then you've got the law on your side.

    Someone needs to restart a black list.

    ReplyDelete
  44. This one should be easy for you. Can you list the major political parties of Korea, their basic political ideologies, and prominent figures from that party? It would be helpful if you could categorize the parties by drawing comparisons to US political ideologies. This would greatly help me when I read Korean political news. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  45. Kushibo, great post here! I perused some of your answers and I really like the thoroughness of your replies, caveats included. I posted a general question on another blog but since I had a few classes with you and know you might have some answers I was wondering if you could enlighten me on the vetting process in South Korea for getting history textbooks approved for use. I'm fairly familiar with the process in Japan, the companies used, the guidelines followed ( or not followed), etc. but I haven't seen much about South Korea. I am wondering specifically about the relationship between government and publishing companies and about the freedom of schools to choose ( or even edit) among the approved books. Thanks so much and keep up the good work!!

    ReplyDelete
  46. sambek, I haven't forgotten your question, but I've been a little busy. For now, chew on this:

    Hannara-dang Party (Grand National Party) = similar to moderate and right-wing Republicans, with a strong amount of support from Korea's conservative Protestants. Generally critical of the current administration's kowtowing to Pyongyang and its willingness to trash relations with Washington (and Tōkyō) in order to pander to nationalistic sentiments. They carry baggage because of their association with past military regimes (one of their chiefs is the daughter of President Park Chunghee, who is responsible for orchestrating Korea's economic rise but who also crushed political opposition).

    Uri Party (Yŏllin Uridang) = very leftist Democrats (they might include the equivalent of moderate Democrats, but most of the mod Dems would probably join the Hannara Party). The inheritors of the current president's successor's "Sunshine Policy" of engaging Pyongyang, they have taken kowtowing to a new level (a lower level, that is). Some, such as former Unification Minister Chung Dong-young, a presidential hopeful, seem to think they need to be Pyongyang's mouthpiece to the world. Some tend to think that the rich in Korea are too rich (or that they got their money through dishonest means), so occasionally they put forward policies that are meant to punish those with money, often to the detriment of Korea's economic health.

    There are other minor parties, formed by people who think the Uri Party is not leftist enough, who want representation for their region, or who are leftovers from past political parties (parties get re-aligned in attempts to fool voters into forgetting which party was who and what when and where).

    An example of the first type of fringe party is the Labor Party is essentially pro-Pyongyang, anti-corporate, anti-American, anti-Japan, anti-rich, class-conscious, and therefore anti-government); they are unofficially the political arm of the chinbo (jinbo) "progressives" who, if left in charge, would progress the country right off a cliff.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Mr. Chips wrote:
    Kushibo, great post here! I perused some of your answers and I really like the thoroughness of your replies, caveats included.

    Glad to hear it. One thing I have found to be true is that in a complex nation of 50 million people, it's hard to couch statements about the country in a simple sentence. Unfortunately, my complex and nuanced caveats are all too often taken as "kyopo apologism" when I'm simply pointing out that things in Korea are rarely as black-and-white simple as some in the Korea-related blogosphere would have us believe.

    I posted a general question on another blog but since I had a few classes with you and know you might have some answers I was wondering if you could enlighten me on the vetting process in South Korea for getting history textbooks approved for use.

    I did a term paper for a graduate course on Korean national identity being promoted and reflected in its English-teaching textbooks (e.g., the promotion of MacArthur as a national hero, teaching people to talk about Korea's "four seasons," etc.), and studied a lot of textbooks, most of which were produced under government auspices prior to the 1990s.

    There has been a change in the government approval process, something I discussed with a member of the once-outlawed leftist teachers union (Chonkyojo), which allows "alternative" texts to be accepted, but this is not guarantee they will be used.

    I have to talk with her and some others about this issue for something else sometime this month or next, so I'll let you know the results then. I'll keep your question in mind.

    In the meantime, I might set up a website where I can post that paper, along with a couple others, for people to peruse (I did one on the nature of "GI crime," which led me to conclude what I had suspected—that in terms of violent crime the actual occurrence is probably exaggerated).

    I'm fairly familiar with the process in Japan, the companies used, the guidelines followed ( or not followed), etc. but I haven't seen much about South Korea.

    Well, because Korea's textbook content is less of an international issue than Japan's (e.g., regarding issues related to World War II), there is less available in English.

    I am wondering specifically about the relationship between government and publishing companies and about the freedom of schools to choose ( or even edit) among the approved books.

    There is, I believe, significantly more than before, but that doesn't necessarily translate into diversity of materials. I have to verify this, though, and it may turn out that what I've been told is completely wrong.

    I do know that the leftist successor to Chonkyojo, knowing that their members cannot get their chosen textbooks into the schools, have published special "supplemental materials" for their member teachers to use in the classroom.

    But even some of these are less extreme than some might imagine. For example, the Korean history textbook they published does state that Korean liberation came when the Allies defeated the Japanese (I can quote it later, when I get to the office), though the situation regarding MacArthur's statue in Inchon shows that some of them seem to be reflecting more extreme views about Korea's liberation and the Korean War that followed.

    ReplyDelete
  48. Sonagi blew in with this:
    As a public school teacher in the US, I'm curious to know how much my counterparts in Korea earn. The pay scale for my district is $34,000 (newbie)-66,000 (35+ years). Any idea what kind of pay scale there is for Korean elementary school teachers?

    I asked an elementary educator I know, and she gave me this answer. According to Seoul's Department of Education (not sure of the English name, but they are 서울시교육청 in Korean) pay between 1.9 and 3.0 million per month.

    This depends on one's teaching experience and level of education. If the teacher has a master's degree and/or more than three years of teaching experience, the pay is about 2.6 million won.

    30 to 36 million would certainly not be enough to live on in Orange County, but in Korea where teachers are often in two-income homes and non-housing expenses can be much lower than in the States, this is quite adequate (although everyone would always like to make more money, of course).

    ReplyDelete
  49. Kushibo, you just raised an interesting point. In South Korea, there do appear to be many more single-income households than in North America (reflecting the general trend of women to stop working once they get married). But as there seem to be a fair number of female teachers, is teaching a major source of employment for women who choose to continue working after marriage? Or rather, do teachers make up a significant percentage of women in the workforce?

    I'm not sure that question came out right, but I think you know what I mean. Among my in-laws, there's only one woman of working age who's working, and she is indeed a public school teacher.

    ReplyDelete
  50. Thanks Kushibo, I'll be anxious to see what you find out from your Chongkyojo contact. Be sure ot let me know as well if you are able to post your paper. I'm not sure if I am really suspicious of any insidious intent by South Korea in their textbook review proces; I only think it has the tendency to reflect similar sentiments that Japanese historiography had in the late 19th early 20th century. At the university level I'm afraid the two countries have already swapped places in the historiographical (I don't think that's really a word, but) revision department.

    My familiarity with the Japanese review process goes back to editing I did for JMSDF when I lived in Japan in which they provided feedback to some of the companies for military related portions of the history books; those works were being translated into English. Apparently, a phrase by phrase translation is not what they were after but my Japanese isn't good enough to really compare.

    Anyways, another question: you have a good site or book for info on the defunct Chonkyojo?

    ReplyDelete
  51. Sewing:
    In South Korea, there do appear to be many more single-income households than in North America

    The labor force participation of Korean women (close to 50%) is not that low compared to many Western countries; lower than in Scandinavia (must be at least 3/4) or in US (60%) but a nod higher than in Germany (49%) or UK (45%). (Source: 통계로 보는 여성의 삶, 통계청 2004.) Ok, I may have sidetracked a bit since many of the Korean women included in that figure do not actually bring in an income but work without formal wages in a business.

    is teaching a major source of employment for women who choose to continue working after marriage?

    Considering that for example 70% of teachers in grammar schools (초등학교; source same as above) are women, it must be a very significant occupation in which women do not face pressure to quit when children are born. I don't have any absolute numbers at hand now so I can't tell how significant it is in the overall employment situation of women, but let's think that it's not insignificant! (My wife's niece has recently become one, by the way.)

    ReplyDelete
  52. Antti:

    Congratulations to your wife's niece.

    Maybe I should have qualified myself...I suppose this is more relevant to middle-class households, where it's possible that a family could in some cases afford to have only one person working, so that the wife can spend her days in luxury, discussing life with her friends from high school at the local cafe.

    But of course, if one walks through any market in Korea or down any street with vendors of any kind—or visits the countryside—one quickly discovers that many women—especially working-class women, I guess—do work, though as you pointed out, in many cases it may be working for the family business, rather than holding a salaried job with an employer.

    Thanks for the statistics to clear up my muddle-headed perception!

    ReplyDelete
  53. Sewing, if you are more into numbers, you can download the most recent "Women Seen through Statistics" from this link.

    ReplyDelete
  54. Kushibo,
    What the deal with Koreans being so angry about Junichiro Koizumi's annual visits to the yakizuni shine? He is paying homage to the fallen soldiers of Japan. Why would they object to this?

    ReplyDelete
  55. Kimcheemonster,
    The Japanese side of things is not as simple as the description you give of Yasukuni.

    I will write more on this later, but for now, take a look here, here, and here (toward the end) for a more thorough picture.

    ReplyDelete
  56. Thanks for the response, Kushibo, and the data, Antti.

    ReplyDelete
  57. Yes, Antti, thanks from me too...sorry for not thanking you earlier.

    ReplyDelete
  58. I was chatting yesterday with a Korean-American colleague. I told her I sometimes missed Korea, and she asked why I didn't go back there. I explained that with term limits on work visas and without a green card system, foreign nationals have no long-term security in Korea. While I was in Korea, the maximum stay on an annually renewed E-2 visa was 18 years. My colleague was surprised to learn that there is no permanent residency option for foreigners not married to Koreans.

    China now gives out green cards to eligible foreigners, and while I was in Korea, there was talk of introducing green cards. Is it now possible for a foreigner to obtain permanent residency.

    ReplyDelete
  59. While I was in Korea, the maximum stay on an annually renewed E-2 visa was 18 years.

    Immigration laws change (usually, but not always, for the better) on a regular basis. I have no idea if the situation described is still true, but...

    My colleague was surprised to learn that there is no permanent residency option for foreigners not married to Koreans.

    China now gives out green cards to eligible foreigners, and while I was in Korea, there was talk of introducing green cards. Is it now possible for a foreigner to obtain permanent residency.


    Yes, but there are two major hoops to jump through as part of the process.

    ReplyDelete
  60. Do you know what those hoops are? While I was there, the proposed criteria were 1) evidence of good citizenship, ie. no record 2) passing score on the KPT and 3) minimum 5 years of residency.

    ReplyDelete
  61. Hi Kushibo,

    What do you think about current trend (if it is trend) of Korean parents sending childrens (Elementary to middle school) to overseas for English?

    They are spending millions millions of bulks, sacrificing family value and also young ones losing their identity.

    Still Korean parents want to believe their children will learn English and get overseas expereinces.

    ReplyDelete
  62. Jimong,

    What do you know about Korean children living and studying in the US? If your only source is the media, be careful because the media can slant and exaggerate stories. I have read stories in the Korean papers about parachute kids living alone who got in trouble with drugs or gambling, about kids adopted by American families so they could obtain citizenship. Real cases like these do exist, but how common are they?

    I am a public school teacher in the US, and some of my students are Koreans on student visas. All of them live here either with their mothers or with a Korean host family. They maintain native language education at home and remain connected to Korea through satellite TV and the internet. I share with the kids the things I miss about Korea and ask them where they'd like to be next year. Most prefer here because they like American schools better than Korean schools. A couple have mixed feelings. They miss their extended family and friends and native country, but they like aspects of their lives in America, too.

    What bothers me are the visa hassles these parents face. Some parents have had to return to Korea or may have to return to Korea with their children because they are having difficulties getting the proper visas. These families are not sleeper cells for Al-Qaeda nor are they going to run off and work illegally in a restaurant somewhere.

    ReplyDelete
  63. Kushibo,
    Please answer this right away. I have a Korean family that are friends my family in America. The wife was beat up by her husband and he has threatened to kill her many times. He thinks that she has been cheating with a foreign teacher at her school. She says this is not true. She told me that he suspected she had slept woith the last foreign teacher at the school. She says this was not true, too. He even got really angry a few years ago when she met an old student of hers. He was in the 7th grade! He smashed he cell phone, punched out her car window, she was beated up and has a black eye and other bruises, and he says he will kill her. He wont let her get another phone, drive her car, or go to hopkido class after work. He insists on dropping her off and picking her up from work. She wants a divorce, but thinks that if he does not agree that she cannot get one. Also she fears if she leaves him, she killed be killed. Can she get a divorce without his ok? What should she do?! Please help, she is really in trouble!

    ReplyDelete
  64. They are both Korean and living in Korea.

    ReplyDelete
  65. Melinda,
    Because of the serious nature of the situation you describe, I don't want to speculate on the answer to your question about divorce, though off the top of my head I don't believe that is true any longer.

    I have sent a shout-out to Brendon Carr, a highly capable legal consultant here in Seoul, who would likely know the answer.

    Even if your friend were able to unilaterally get a divorce, there is the safety issue, as you mentioned.

    I strongly suggest you have her get in touch with the Seoul Women's Hotline. I once interviewed them, and I can tell you they are a knowledgeable group who have a lot of experience in advising, helping, and protecting women in that kind of situation.

    The number to their domestic violence group is 02-2263-6464. The number to contact those who help shelter the women is 02-2272-2161.

    Feel free to contact me at kushibo2000-at-yahoo-dot-com if you have any urgent questions.

    ReplyDelete
  66. kushibo wrote:
    I strongly suggest you have her get in touch with the Seoul Women's Hotline. I once interviewed them, and I can tell you they are a knowledgeable group who have a lot of experience in advising, helping, and protecting women in that kind of situation.

    the seoul women's hotline is a good idea. melinda, if you can, you should go with her, or make sure someone else she knows and trusts goes with her. you need to be there as a confidant, a protector, and even an enforcer. that's because when it actually comes to taking the plunge, a lot of women (even badly abused women) will chicken out at the last minute when they think about what a major step they're taking.

    someone needs to be there for her to be a clear head, to make sure she actually goes instead of just talking and thinking about it. go with her and reassure her and be there to hold her hand. it's a scary step she's taking.

    ReplyDelete
  67. Hey kushibo...

    I have no questions for now, but I want to thank you for visiting my site and reading my letter in KT.

    have a nice day!

    --->d.

    ReplyDelete
  68. Hey Kushibo,

    Here's a question for you. What's the best way of finding a job if you don't want to be an english teacher. I'm just about to fully qualify as an accountant and my wife and I would love to return to Korea. However, I'm not sure the best way to go about finding a suitable job. International finance recruitment websites don't have anything to do with Korea so I'm kind of at a loss. Any suggestions?

    ReplyDelete
  69. Taegu Owl wrote:
    Here's a question for you. What's the best way of finding a job if you don't want to be an english teacher. I'm just about to fully qualify as an accountant and my wife and I would love to return to Korea. However, I'm not sure the best way to go about finding a suitable job. International finance recruitment websites don't have anything to do with Korea so I'm kind of at a loss. Any suggestions?

    Well, I hope other readers can provide some suggestions, but for now I would suggest two ideas. One is to find someone who is a graduate of one of the GSISs (graduate schools of international studies) and get linked to the information coming from their career development centers. I am a graduate of Y school, and I know that stuff coming from our career development center includes accounting jobs from time to time.

    Unfortunately, the GSISs are very protective of this information, since it involves networking using their good name as currency, and places like mine actually have ways of making sure that the jobs they post don't end up being passed along.

    Um, a more legitimate conduit might be AmCham itself (the American Chamber of Commerce). I don't think they have an on-line list of members (companies and individuals), but they do publish a semi-annual book with all the members' information in it.

    It's sort of a who's who of the Korean corporate world, and one could probably do no worse that cold-calling (or cold writing letters) the companies to find out what they have available. This would give you a chance to be choosy about type of company, too.

    Some of the member companies are not that big, and they actually have trouble recruiting people. My ex worked for a Maryland-based pharmaceutical supply firm, and whenever they needed to hire people, they either had to go word-of-mouth, which often provided too few results and too inadequate applicants, or with an advertisement, which led to such a flood of applicants that they weren't able to properly discern who was suitable and who was not.

    Any other thoughts, readers?

    ReplyDelete
  70. Thanks for the intitial comments. I am actually a contemporay of yours at Y GSIS and I still get their jobs email. I find that most of the posts advertised therein are entry level ones and seem to be primarily aimed at koreans. As a sub-question to my original question, should I expect to have to provide my own key money or do most companies stump up? (I'm not looking for a Yonhee-dong palace)

    ReplyDelete
  71. 대구 아울 wrote:
    Thanks for the intitial comments. I am actually a contemporay of yours at Y GSIS and I still get their jobs email.

    Oh, that's right.

    I find that most of the posts advertised therein are entry level ones and seem to be primarily aimed at koreans.

    Indeed, they are. But that is not all of them. Were I not already gainfully employed, I would say there are about two to three jobs each month I would apply for from those listings.

    Also, even the jobs you're not interested in do in fact provide corporate information that can be useful. Such-and-such company may be posting a notice at Y GSIS for a PR intern, but if you contact them, they might also be able to tell you about the occasional accountant jobs.

    BTW, have you thought about USFK employment? Contractors may need people with your skills.

    As a sub-question to my original question, should I expect to have to provide my own key money or do most companies stump up? (I'm not looking for a Yonhee-dong palace)

    That all depends on the company. Some can be and are generous, others cannot be or simply aren't. Of the four visa sponsors or primary work places I've had, only one has given me a substantial amount of "key money."

    ReplyDelete
  72. Do you not need to be American to be a USFK contractor?? I'm english.

    ReplyDelete
  73. Do you not need to be American to be a USFK contractor?? I'm english.

    Hmm...I'm really not sure. I thought I had encountered people working for USFK who were Canadian citizens, but I'm not sure. I'll ask someone who should know (although anyone who wandered over here from Lost Nomad is welcome to answer).

    I suppose it's possible you can get employment but not SOFA status. If your wife is a ROK national, however, that won't be a big problem (you won't be able to use the P/X and commissary).

    Since you're British, though, there may be special restrictions, however, given how we've gone to war against your country twice.

    ReplyDelete
  74. Kushibo and Daeguowl,

    You can find out what restrictions there are on contracting positions for non-US citizens by contacting the legal office (Judge Advocate) on base. They have a legal assistance line you can use at 02-7918-6841. I know for certain it was possible at one time. The USFK security manager a while back was actually a female British lady and that position requires a security clearance to boot.

    Keep in mind that all jobs whether they are federal employee or contractor positions will state what nationalities are accepted for that particulr job advertisement. If you do find a job be sure to ask what status you will have in lieu of SOFA status. There is something but not sure what it entails.

    ReplyDelete
  75. Kushibo,

    I have to post a comment about your Chinese baby entry here because the use of the f-word in the post trips a pornography filter on my computer at work.

    Although you were trying to be funny, you, in fact, make an interesting connection when you talk about how changes in a species may have been perceived the way we perceive the baby with three arms. Were blue eyes once a genetic defect? I did not think a baby missing a kidney was an appropriate target for your humor. Poke fun at your fellow bloggers, politicians, entertainers, or corporations, but don't make light of a tiny infant needing serious medical care.

    ReplyDelete
  76. Sonagi,

    simply because of the nature of this particular post, I can't leave your comment here permanently, so when you get to an unfiltered computer, please feel free to repost it there, and then I will respond there (and then remove your note and this response from here).

    I do appreciate your opinion.

    ReplyDelete
  77. Kushibo,

    I cancelled my home internet service because I was using the net as a distraction from other tasks, so I'll use the internet at the local library this weekend.

    ReplyDelete
  78. Japanese people have been getting quiet, tame and obedient in the past thirty years. Nowadays you can hardly see ragical labor/student movements, violent protest demonstrations, and self-burning suicides in Japan.

    I sometimes feel envious of Korean people who seem to be more aggressive and nationalistic than Japanese people. Do you think that the Korean will also change if their society become more matured in the future?

    ReplyDelete
  79. I think this is the perfect forum to ask a question that has been bothering me pretty much ever since I first arrived at Kimpo 10 years ago. Who the hell is the Hong Kil-Dong that is used as an example when filling in all forms etc. Is it the Korean equivalent of Joe Bloggs? or is there more to it than that?

    ReplyDelete
  80. Can I ask why there is so much shit written about you in the blog world? It seems pretty unfair...

    ReplyDelete
  81. Ok, why do I have a very cryptic comment from you in an old post at my blog?
    http://butchjax.wordpress.com/2004/12/27/ss102-dialogue-archetypes/#comments

    ReplyDelete
  82. What is your perspective on Korea's English education, private and/or public?

    ReplyDelete
  83. Wow what a photo,imagine the people who lived there
    ?

    ReplyDelete
  84. You should sign up for a poker account somewhere and get Melinda to do so as well.

    ReplyDelete
  85. slb159 wrote:
    You should sign up for a poker account somewhere and get Melinda to do so as well.

    Getting involved with on-line poker is the last thing I have time for right now.

    As for Melinda, what makes you think I have any influence over what she does?

    No offense.

    ReplyDelete
  86. Sonagi wrote:
    While I was in Korea, the maximum stay on an annually renewed E-2 visa was 18 years. My colleague was surprised to learn that there is no permanent residency option for foreigners not married to Koreans.

    Sonagi, my company was working with someone in government who was trying to put together a pilot project for people such as you. Please drop me an email (ask Robert if you don't have it).

    ReplyDelete
  87. http://profiles.friendster.com/koreancelebreties

    what did u say?korea is the most cuttiest?
    I never heard about asia pacific,

    I jsut knew they havent win in international contest

    ReplyDelete
  88. Just wanted to say thanx for the comment. I have read through a few of your posts and found them to be profound.
    I have sold my car and have bought another that is 10 years newer --slowly moving up the from the very bottom of the middle class :-D

    ReplyDelete
  89. http://kushibo.blogspot.com/2009/02/atek-human-rights-abuse-solidarity.html

    싸다! 작은 사이즈는 있나요?

    ReplyDelete
  90. Jay, I think your comment ended up in the wrong post.

    I'll answer there.

    ReplyDelete
  91. i want to know what you think of insane bullshit like this

    http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/art/2009/03/146_42003.html

    ReplyDelete
  92. Okay, Shinbone, I was thinking of writing about that anyway. But first I need to make sure which part is the insane bullshit: the "Topokki" spelling or the fact that so many people love sticky rice cakes in an overcooked mouth-burning sauce?

    ReplyDelete
  93. Is that a photo of you in the blog masthead kushibo?
    Boy, do you look like an old pedophile, if you don't mind me saying.
    I'd change the photo if I were you and go for something more flattering.

    I thought you were somewhat younger, *hence the crush.
    When does the new blogowner take over?

    ReplyDelete
  94. This is Dave Shutton, Springfield Daily Shopper. Who are you? Where are you going?

    ReplyDelete
  95. hello kushibo, i have a drug related question about korea. i was living in korea for about 2.5 years before i got into a "little" trouble. in a nutshell, i got caught with a considerable amount of bud, and they tried to indict me with "internal" posession, smuggling and intent to sell. after a month and a half in jail, i was released on bail and on probation for 3.5 years. as im sure you already know, with all foreigner drug cases i was set to be deported as well. my family tried everything they could to keep me in the country, but consequently enough i was deported. its been over a year since ive been back in the states now and ive yet to get a straight answer from anyone about whether i can go back or not. now i know the minimum ban is 5 years for drug related cases, but the interesting thing is my cousins in korea ( i am an american gyopo btw) have told me that near the end of the 5 year ban, that immigration or whatever, they automatically extend the ban another 5 years and so forth, so they cycle goes on and so basically i am banned for life according to them. now i know there is an appeal process after and in some cases people are allowed to go back. but like i said i have yet to get real answer from anyone. so what id like to know is, is it realistic to think that i can go back in 4 years? also do you know of any people with similar situations as mine? any information at all will help.

    ReplyDelete
  96. Wow, that's a tough one, asthetiks86. Frankly, you're the first person I've known who tried to go back to Korea after being deported due to a drug arrest.

    I honestly don't know the answer and off the top of my head, I can't think of someone who would know, so everything I say here is speculation. I think that even Immigration itself doesn't always follow the same consistent policies, so it would be hard to get a straight answer from them.

    I know of people who have been deported and banned from re-entering for seven years but somehow ended up back in the country after three or four years, but their illegal act was fighting, not drugs. Drugs, as you are aware now, are taken very seriously.

    How much bud are we talking here? Even if it was a lot, if they let you go eventually it couldn't have been taken too seriously by ROK authorities (I mean, not enough to get you considered a dealer).

    My gut feeling is that the re-entry ban is not automatically renewed and I would imagine you can appeal. I would stay clean and have a nice spotless record to show someone at your local embassy or consulate so that in a few years you can grovel, ask for forgiveness, and give a sob story about an elderly relative back in Korea who isn't much longer for this Earth (being a 효자 is a good angle in Korea).

    What city are you in? If it's any city with a consulate other than Los Angeles, you might be able to go directly and ask. The next time I'm at the Honolulu consulate, I'll see if I can get an answer.

    Oh, and you do realize how stupid it was what you did, right? And how lucky you are you're not still in jail in Korea right now, right? Just making sure.

    ReplyDelete
  97. Before I start I'd like thank you for your timely response Kushibo, I was in a rush when I wrote this and I just realized I didnt say thanks in my previous post, so thank you.

    Well for me, I have my personal reasons and some unfinished business there, so to speak. First and foremost, all of my dad's side of the family lives in Korea and over the years I've made a lot of friends there as well that Ive come to miss dearly. Not to mention I was studying abroad as well. I was able to find a part of me that I never knew existed and at the same time discover my roots. And over the years I've grown very fond of Korea and everything about it, the culture, the people, the language. So yeah in way, I guess you could say I left my heart in Korea.

    Yes, I do realize how stupid and immature I was at the time. You don't have to tell me about it, because I live with everyday. Not a day goes by when I dont think about what I did and how much I regret doing it. Granted, it was a great learning experience and I learned a lot. It still doesnt change the fact that what happened happened.
    As stupid as it may sound, at the time I didn't realize how much trouble i had gotten myself into and what the consequences of my decision would be. I knew that the drug laws in Korea were strict and harsh, but honestly, i didnt know they had a zero tolerance policy on drugs and that it was to the extent to where I would be jailed and deported.

    I actually do live in LA and when I first got back to the states, I did go the Korean Consulate and met with the Consular in charge of these foreign affairs. From what I was told, I would be able to go back soon, but little did I know that, that was not the case. This was a matter too complicated for even him to take care of apparently. Without getting into too much of the details, my family and I have done quite a bit of research on this so I everything you've told me thus far, I already know or have heard before. I was just wondering if you could shed some light on some new information.

    Since you asked, I had roughly a QP on me, which is considered a lot in Korea. Anyways, any information, helpful tips or reminders, etc. you could share would be greatly appreciated. Thank you once again.

    ReplyDelete
  98. Ok, this question does not necessarily rely on anyone's cultural or historical education, but I need help on this one. Has anybody seen the internet news on a supposed "Hang Mioku"? According to articles (this story goes back over a year), this disfigured woman is Korean and was addicted to cosmetic surgery and now looks like a monster. I did google searches but it seems there is no site debunking this story. My argument is: First of all, that name isn't even Korean..nor does it sound Chinese or Japanese. And second, the pics they show of the lady seem to be of somebody who has a disease (like elephant man's disease), not anybody who injected too much cooking oil in her face. Can somebody help out? Kushibo? You seem to be a better internet sleuth than me.

    ReplyDelete
  99. Is this still in operation?

    I wonder if "Ask the Korean" got his idea from this corner! :)

    ReplyDelete
  100. It's still in operation in the sense that I will try to answer questions I can.

    Without any evidence other than chronology, I will not speculate that he took my idea. After all, there has also been "Ask a Mexican" and other things that sprouted up around the time I launched "Ask Kushibo."

    The last time I speculated that someone had copied my idea, it got them very upset. (And though I was joking about it being a big deal, it is pretty clear he taking my ideas and passing them off as his own, so the offense he took was a bit misplaced.)

    At any rate, I don't claim to represent any particular group, just myself, so it's sort of a different thing anyway.

    ReplyDelete
  101. Hey, you might want to update your HABO. The place from which you were banned has what I would guess would be a deserving candidate. I just don't know how he could be in country for so long with such a small nest egg; however, his school really screwed him over.

    http://www.koreasparkle.com/2009/11/help-an-expat-kenneth-hash/#more-2509

    ReplyDelete
  102. John from Taejŏn wrote:
    Hey, you might want to update your HABO. The place from which you were banned has what I would guess would be a deserving candidate. I just don't know how he could be in country for so long with such a small nest egg; however, his school really screwed him over.

    http://www.koreasparkle.com/2009/11/help-an-expat-kenneth-hash/#more-2509


    Thanks for the heads up. I'm not as enthusiastic about this one, for a number of reason. First, when I've asked (at Brian's) about some details, I got a vague "I'll check it out" and then nothing.

    I think the guy's problems are more to do with work and contracts, things that ATEK should be getting behind. A very different situation from Matt, and one that I'm not sure crosses the threshold of being worthy of a HABO post. I'll have to think about it.

    In the meantime, your comment inspired me to check up on Matt, and I'm told he's doing much better. I'm planning a follow-up post soon, after I get something from him or one of his helpers.

    Anyway, thanks for the heads-up.

    ReplyDelete

Share your thoughts, but please be kind and respectful. My mom reads this blog.