Tuesday, January 26, 2010


To: Tiberious aka Sparkles, pka Eoin Forbes, Old Guy.

From: John Q. Not-So-Newbie

I'm not in the mood to mince words, so I'll cut right to the chase:

What's your problem? First of all, I'm on my second contract, so I've had plenty of time to immerse myself in Korean culture, as well as to acquire the means by which to improve life for Koreans. That may sound pompous, but the fact remains that as a foreign resident, I am in the unique position to highlight the failings of a Confucian-style culture to people eager to engage in conversation with me. That they don't always understand what I'm talking about is irrelevant, as mere exposure to members of Western society undoubtedly improves the situation at hand. To be blunt, if Koreans had no desire to embrace Western culture, then they wouldn't be studying English. Fact. Sure, not everything about our respective cultures is grand; far from it, as the venomous influence of Hollywood and Bush-era politics is reflective of all that is wrong with how the United States has exerted its will over the past six decades. Koreans across the board realize this, and if they haven't, I've informed them.

I'm not just talking about the adults, either, since children of all ages readily interact with me, which demonstrates the veracity of what I proclaim. A high five is a language all its own, and it's one I speak fluently, I might add. That may sound sappy, but I'll make no apologies, neither for my enthusiasm toward my students' burgeoning English skills, nor my daily interactions with everyday Koreans. This brings me to my second beef with you.

As a foreigner living in Korea, and one with such a deep connection to the peninsula (or so you claim), you should champion the underdogs; namely, ESL teachers who constantly find themselves on the short end of a stick held firmly within the clenched fist of their unscrupulous employers. I ask you, sir, to clarify your own experiences as a foreign laborer in Korea, because the way I see it, you've probably never encountered any sort of adversity whatsoever. Prove me wrong. Then again, even if you had endured some manner of hardship, would you even blog about it? Doubtful, which is a shame since you have the potential to effect real change in the foreign community as interpreted by Korean citizens.

Your continued, almost brazen complacence toward the suffering of your fellow expatriates is one of the many reasons why ESL teachers face hardships in Korea. There are, of course, big issues to be concerned with (institutionalized racism, sexism, etc.) and while I understand that such problems won't change overnight, there are also smaller, everyday difficulties to be tackled.  Just last week, for example, I had to pay 15,000 won for a box of oatmeal at the local Homeplus. 15,000 won for a staple food? Ridiculous, even more so due to the fact that Koreans don't realize that oatmeal is a staple food, and part of the reason for this ignorance is the direct result of people like you electing to discuss things like basketball in lieu of pertinent issues.

In short, your blog doesn't suck, but just because you know how to construct a coherent sentence doesn't mean you have to write about everything besides Korea including -but not limited to- the kitchen sink. Ultimately, I fail to see the merit in choosing to blog about something other than life in Korea. There are so many fascinating aspects to life as an expatriate, not to mention a sheer volume of interesting tales to be told. Shame on you.


Dissatisfied John

P.S. Anyone with a basic grasp of history knows that the Korean war took place far more than fifteen years ago. Epic fail!


Anonymous said...

more food blogging!

Chicken Wire, the Harbinger of Heavenly Annotation said...

Don't you worry: I could spend the next month -no, make that year- lamenting the new Pringles.