Thursday, 15 October 2009

Ask A Pissed Off English Teacher Who's Been in Korea Too Long

Dokdo Week #3: Special Advice Column

Dokdo Is Ours is proud to introduce a new addition to our stable of advice columnists. As always, if you have a question for "Ask an Internet Troll," "Ask a Korean Promotional Brochure," "Ask the guy who wrote the English Raps on Jewelry's CD"or "Ask a Pissed Off English Teacher Who's Been Here Too Long," you are welcome to send an e-mail to dokdoisours at gmail dot com. Serious. All letters sent so far have been answered!

Dear Pissed Off English Teacher

Hi! I'm Sandy! I'm 22, and I came to Korea to add some international experience to my application to the American Academy of Diplomacy, and work towards my life dream of working internationally as an ambassador and diplomat. I've only been here for a few months, so I'm still trying to learn more about the subtleties of intercultural communication and understanding, as well as getting used to the honorific codes in interpersonal interactions so important to Koreans. Anyway, I recently had a strange conversation with a Korean friend about a couple of islands called 'Dokdo' which are apparently part of a territorial dispute between Korea and Japan. I'm wondering if you could explain the context of this conflict for me. Also, when I asked, "What's the big deal" -- after all, it's only a couple of islands -- my Korean friend got a little agitated. In your opinion, what is the most tactful way to discuss this issue with Koreans, and is there anything I should avoid saying, or doing, while talking about Dokdo, in order to avoid another awkward situation?

Dear Sandy:

First of all, before we get into any of the points in your letter, or address your question, I'd just like to remind you, by referencing events that happened before you came to Korea, that I've been here longer than you. I was here for the beef riots. I was here for President Roh's impeachment. I was here before Chunggyecheon, I was here when Jeon Ji-hyun was still a real person, I was here for English Spectrum Gate and the Armored Vehicle Riots and the World Cup and the IMF Bailout and the Asian Financial Meltdown and I may have been the guy to offer Dangun's garlic-breath-bear Father his first post-cave mentos. I used to toss chocolate bars to the Korean kids running behind my buddy's military vehicle, back when hooker hill went uphill both ways.

Second, I want you to know that, while I've lived that long in Korea, but I still can't speak Korean, I still know more about Korea than any of the Koreans I meet (not that I have any Korean friends, but why would I want a bunch of clones on my speed-dial anyway), because I can look at Korea objectively since I didn't grow up here, which means that comparing Korea with my home country and finding it wanting is ALWAYS more valid than any Korean's view of their own country. If a Korean disagrees with me about this, it is obviously because they have been brainwashed by their Korean-only, By Nationalism-Wacky Koreans For Nationalism-Wacky Koreans racist media.

When a Korean tries to approach you about the Dokdo issue, it is only because he is racist, and attempting to discriminate against you, and oppress your natural rights, guaranteed by international conventions, by pigeonholing you into the role of cultural pariah -- that is, Dokdo Non-believer, and force you to take an AIDS test even though foreigners obey the law WAY more than ANY Korean. If you refuse to drink the Dokdo Kool-aid from the KKKorean pure-blood fetishist, they will label you "wangta" and treat you like shit, because they're confucian, and confucianism is basically an excuse Koreans use to treat everyone like shit except other Koreans who are older than them... who they only lie to, and cheat behind their backs, rather than doing it openly, like they do with white people, south-asians, people from other provinces of Korea, and people younger than themselves. This is why you will never fit into Korean society, because all Koreans are inherently racist. It's in their DNA, right next to the "I believe Kimchi cures everything" gene and the "If it's on the internet and it says bad things about America, it must be true" gene and the "thirty-million gullible brainwashed saps can't be wrong, so I'd better follow the crowd, plus, this movement has a cartoon character! Squee!" gene. All Koreans are racist. All Koreans generalize about others, ALL the time. There is no hope for Korea in the future because inherently racist societies must fail in the world scene, and Korea will never change, Korea will never open their mind and see another point of view, and Korea will never try to understand other cultures. I'd realized that by my third month in Korea, and nothing I have seen, heard, or read since then has changed my mind, and nothing ever will.

Sorry... what was your question again?

7 comments:

Korean Rum Diary said...

I always respect a good rant.

Fatman said...

You forgot to mention how kimchi stinks and Korean food sucks, preferably with a comparison to Japanese or Chinese food. We're fairly sure somebody this bitter has never found the sweet, sweet succor of skate, though. Nobody who eats that can be unhappy . . .

Muckefuck said...

Is this Nightmare Believer?

Dokdo Is Ours said...

Good guess, but inspiration was drawn from many sources.

Edward said...

A lot of Sperwer with a little bit of Brendon Carr... ;)

Anonymous said...

나는 한국인이고, 나도 한국이라는 국가와 한국 사회에 문제가 많다고 생각하지만, 이런 개쓰레기 같은 주장은 또 처음 본다. 당신이 한국에 오래 살았다는 게 당신의 편협하고 왜곡된 주장을 합리화하는 아무런 근거도 되지 못한다고. 당신은 자기 주장이 객관적인 것이라고 강변하지만, 실제로는 편견과 몰이해와 억지와 수박 겉핥기식 허접 인식으로 가득 찬 주관적인 쓰레기 편린들일 따름이야. 그런 시각으로는 100년을 살아도 한 사회를 제대로 볼 수 없는 거야. 한국인이 아니면서 한국 사회를 정확히 짚어내는 박노자와 자신을 비교해 보렴. 얼마나 자신이 왜곡과 편견으로 가득 찬 똥덩어리인가를 잘 알 수 있을테니. 그리고 한글 못 읽는다니 이것도 못 읽을테니 미안. 번역기 돌려가며, 혹은 누구에게 부탁해가며 용쓸 상상을 하니 눈물이 앞을 가린다. 당신은 딱 자신만큼 한국을 아는 거야. 한국이라는 거울을 통해서 자신을 보는 거라고. 흠집 가득한 안경으로 세상을 봐봐. 뭐가 보이겠어?

Anonymous said...

당신은 내가 쓴 코멘트를 블로그에 싣지 않을 거야. 뭐 한글이니까 실을 수 없다거나 하면서 자위하겠지. 듣고 싶은 말만 듣는 거. 그게 당신이 한국에서 살면서 해온 일이야. 보고 싶은 것만 보고, 듣고 싶은 것만 듣고. 100년을 그래봐야 자신의 주장이 편견 덩어리임을 입증하는 꼴밖에 안 되지. 불쌍하다, 정말. 이런 후진국에서 왜 사니.