Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Teachers + gambling = you in the news

Courtesy of Korea Beat, we have the story of Korean educators getting busted for gambling. And not really high-stakes gambling either, about 1000 won per point in go-stop.

As I mentioned at KB, this is interesting because it combines two things that I’ve mentioned frequently to put all the supposedly “xenophobic” news in perspective.

First, that Korean nationals are often arrested due to anti-gambling laws. Indeed, when the Poker-8 were arrested, a lot of commenters were claiming only foreigners are caught up in anti-gambling efforts, even though I and others were citing cases that contradicted this.

Anyway, the second thing is that these arrestees are teachers. Indeed, it underscores a part of the big picture that the K-blogs tend to miss: that the media assault on foreign teachers is part of an overriding social and journalistic theme in Korean society that teachers in general in Korea (both foreign and local) have been abusing their position of trust and privilege that neo-Confucian society has accorded them.

KoreaBeat noted, by the way, that one difference in this recent news of the educators in Poryŏng (Boryeong) and that of the Poker-8, is that those Korean teachers were not arrested for drugs (actually, only two of the Poker-8 were). And that means this is as good a time as any for the hopelessly innocent Kushibo to ask what the hell this is supposed to be:


That's a screen shot from the news video of the Poker-8's arrest, something found on the premises there.

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4 comments:

  1. Allow me (the not so innocent Schplook) to enlighten you.

    Those are 'spotting' knives.

    As my background as a music student, and later a musician, put me in a good position to witness such activities, I'll pass on this valuable (so you know it when you see it) information to you.

    Using either a gas or electric range, the knives are heated until red-hot. This heat is often conducted through the metal to the handles so gloves or cloths are needed to hold them. Also, this is why knives are used rather than flat spoons - knives have thick handles that don't get hot as quickly.

    Marijuana is then made into small balls ('spots') and placed on the red-hot knife blades. The weed immediately begins to produce smoke which is then inhaled through the mouth. A funnel (such as a bottle with the bottom removed) can also be used to direct more of the smoke into the desired location.

    All this I say as a witness, you understand - not as a participant.

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  2. Well, the inference in the news clip was that this was drug-related, but when you started talking about your background as a music student, I began to imagine — nay, anticipate — that you were going to describe a legitimate use for heated knives that would be common among studious music students. I mean, if there can be tuning forks, why not spotting knives (whatever that may be)?

    But my hopes that this would be something embarrassing to pin on the media has been dashed.

    I guess there's always the hope that this was planted there by the cops, or the knife was a sentimental thing brought by one of the Poker-8 as a reminder of their fond times, 2.5 to 6 years earlier, when they say they last smoked pot.

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  3. Sorry to disappoint you - there's no legitimate use for dirty, blackened butter knives.

    I may heat up a knife a little to cut a piece from a hard bit of butter and spread it on my toast, but I'd never let it get blackened like that.

    Being a musician (in the rock, blues, and jazz fields) put me in close proximity to a lot of drug use. I saw (and heard about) a lot of stuff and I was assumed to be a user myself - I remember being asked where to find drugs:
    "Know where I can score some weed bro'?"
    "Uh... sorry, no."
    "How 'bout some trips?"

    I was even handed little 'gifts' now and then (even during performances) and began to suspect anything anyone handed me. The first time I was offered a cup of 'chai' (I had no idea what it was at the time) during a break between sets at a concert I was performing in I was very suspicious that it could include magic mushrooms or who knows what.

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  4. Schplook wrote:
    Sorry to disappoint you - there's no legitimate use for dirty, blackened butter knives.

    No disappointment, really. I am just going to shift my smug superiority from the Korean media back to the Poker-8 and their defenders who say they weren't doing anything wrong.

    Sure, it was a relatively minor thing that got them in a situation where they were tested and searched, but even in the US, where a toddler accidentally dialing 911 gets his dad in trouble for growing pot at home when the authorities arrive, this kind of probable cause is the norm.

    Being a musician (in the rock, blues, and jazz fields) put me in close proximity to a lot of drug use. I saw (and heard about) a lot of stuff and I was assumed to be a user myself

    The music industry is full of drugs? Well, that might explain my cousin the opera singer's coke habit.

    "How 'bout some trips?"

    Did they also think you were a travel agent?

    The first time I was offered a cup of 'chai' (I had no idea what it was at the time) during a break between sets at a concert I was performing in I was very suspicious that it could include magic mushrooms or who knows what.

    That's funny.

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