Friday, November 28, 2014

Teachers busted for growing pot, mailing self designer drug

Perhaps the 'crime prevention education' I recently posted about is needed after all. KNN (via SBS) reported on November 18 that a 43 year old American who is a 'visiting professor' who teaches English at a national university in Busan had been arrested for growing marijuana. Among many plants on his balcony were three pot plants, seen below. He's heard in the report saying, "I wasn't trying to grow marijuana."

Whoops. These things happen accidentally, I guess. The old 'he taught while high' accusation is made once again by a police officer: "Because it's come to light that he would smoke in the evening after classes finished at clubs or bars, it seems during the semester he often smoked and taught class." So he smoked after classes finished but he was high in class? Okay then.

The only other mention of this case outside KNN was NoCut News, who reported on two busts in Busan, one of a meth bust involving 42 people (23 arrested and detained), and this one. It mentions that he'd he'd brought pot back from California in 2012, started growing the plants late last year, and had been smoking the plant since March. I couldn't help but chuckle at the way NoCut News reported what police seized in these two busts: 178g of meth (worth 590,000,000 won), 0.33g of marijuana, three marijuana plants, and disposable syringes. The order might make one think the syringes were for the marijuana, while the amount of pot seized (0.33 grams) certainly isn't much to write home about. That said, growing is always going to get serious attention from the police, and likely from the media as well, though this bust really wasn't reported much. The KNN report states that the university will decide what to do with him after it receives the results of the police investigation.

In other news, as Asia Gyeongje reported on October 28, it turns out there was another foreign teacher busted for drugs, a foreign hagwon instructor arrested by Suwon prosecutor's office after Incheon customs intercepted mail which contained either blotter paper containing with the psychedelic drug 2C-C-NBOME or another package with pentedrone at the end of September (a Korean male was also arrested and it's not made clear the connection - if they each are responsible for one, or together responsible for both; one assumes the former).

In both cases it's the first time such drugs have been found by the Korea Customs Service.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

RAS walking tour of Jeong-dong this Sunday

This Sunday, November 23, I'll be leading a walking tour for the Royal Asiatic Society of Jeong-dong, which became the neighbourhood for Westerners after Korea opened to the west in the 1880s through to the end of the colonial period. I've written about the history of this area before (here and here), and will be looking at lots of turn of the century Western architecture and connecting these buildings to stories of Korea's modern history. From the RAS website:
On this excursion we will meet in front of Deoksugung Palace from where we will explore the Jeong-dong's rich early modern history. After a visit to the Anglican church we will take in a view of the neighbourhood from above before heading to the Seoul Museum of Art, which is housed in the colonial era-built former Korean Supreme Court building.To learn about the missionary influence upon the neighborhood, we will visit the Baejae Hakdang, a missionary-run boys' school which educated many of Korea's future elite, now restored as a museum; the Jeong-dong First Methodist Church; and Ewha Girl's High School, the first school for girls in Korea, and also the site of one of Korea's earliest foreign-run hotels, the Songtag Hotel. From there we will visit the restored Jungmyeongjeon Hall, which was built as a royal library but is best known for being the place where the Eulsa Treaty, which the Japanese used to deprive Korea of its diplomatic sovereignty, was signed in 1905. Other stops will include the remains of the former Russian Legation and the beautiful colonial home where independence activist Kim Ku was assassinated in 1949.

The cost of the tour is W20,000 for members and W25,000 for non-members. The excursion will set off from Daehanmun, the front gate of Deoksugung Palace, (subway line number 1, dark blue line, or 2, green line, City Hall Station #132, exit 2) at 1:00 pm.
Feel free to join us!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Native speaking instructor crime prevention education


It turns out the Gyeongsangnamdo Police Agency already carried out the same crime prevention education for about 370 native speaking public school teachers on October 23.

[Original Post]

This was published in The Gyeongnam Domin Ilbo on November 17:
Gyeongsangnamdo Police Agency carried out crime prevention education for native speaking instructors. At Jindong Elementary School in Changwon on the 13th Sergeant Kim Jong-hwa of the Agency’s foreign affairs section spoke to around 50 elementary, middle and high school native speaking instructors in English and explained, on a case by case basis, how crimes arise due to cultural differences.
This sounds like a good idea, but isn't there a better name than "native speaking instructor crime prevention education"?

Monday, November 10, 2014

"The truth and falsity of native speaking instructors"

On November 1, the Segye Ilbo published the following article at its website:
[Kim Hyun-ju's everyday talk talk] Do you know 'Quincy Black'?
The truth and falsity of native speaking instructors

The foreign English instructor who spread a video of sex with a Korean high school girl known in online communities and social networking services as 'Quincy Black' was sentenced to jail. According to police, English instructor C (29, American) was arrested and prosecuted for videoing sex with A (then 15), who he met on the internet, in his lodgings at the education center he worked at and distributing the video.

C used three cameras that he had installed in his lodgings in advance as well as a handheld camera to record the sexual activity from various angles and afterwards saved the file on his computer and a memory stick.

He had entered Korea in May of 2009 on an E2 conversation instruction visa and worked as an English instructor at an education center in Daejeon before leaving for China in October of 2010. After this he was put on Interpol's wanted list and last October he was arrested by police in Armenia.

Immediately after being informed of his arrest, the Ministry of Justice began the extradition process and he was extradited to Korea in January of this year.

Incidents due to cultural differences occur repeatedly

Recently universities which have hired native speaking instructors to take charge of foreign language education, such as English conversation, have had deep worries. It's not just the difficulties that come with looking for dozens of native speaking instructors to hire each semester, it's also that it's not easy to strictly screen their qualifications. As well, the fact is that every year incidents caused by cultural differences occur repeatedly.

According to a business in the relevant industry, native speaking instructors are hired in the short term for one semester, or in the longer term on a one-year contract in the position of 'instructor.' Because the contract should be for one year, there are also not a few instructors who suddenly return to their home countries in the middle of the semester or who finish teaching and then from the next day leave for a vacation. Because of this there are almost no native speaking teachers who give their students time to appeal their marks or consult with them.

'August 3, 10:00 - My sex toy.'

Not only this, but disputes over qualifications are endless. At a university in Busan an English instructor who entered the country on a tourist visa was caught teaching. At that time, following the disturbance, the local immigration office carried out an investigation into local universities.

As well, it's not just university instructors, but there was also an incident involving a native speaking instructor affiliated with a hagwon who was booked without detention by police for chasing after women and videoing them, focusing on their legs and buttocks. Videoing in public places such as subways, over a period of two weeks he took a staggering 306 videos of the lower halves of women's bodies.

An expert pointed out that, "Because English conversation instructors who teach in hagwons could also apply to work at universities at any time, there is a need for a management system to verify their qualifications."

◆ Verifying native speaking teacher's morality isn't easy

Despite such disputes over qualifications that are occurring both in and out of universities, for universities a personnel management system that can verify their qualifications and guarantee the quality of education is almost non-existent. Most universities hire by placing ads on native speaking instructor hiring websites or through introductions from friends. Depending on the situation, they will try to scout people who have a good reputation in area elementary or middle schools or hagwons. At that time, more than experience, 'verification of qualifications' such as the instructor's morality or job performance is given more weight.

An official from a national university outside Seoul said, "By choosing people with a good reputation among foreigners who are already teaching in another place, you can reduce the risk." "Choose someone with at least a Bachelors Degree and TESOL (English teacher certificate)." He added, "To prevent scandalous incidents with female students, choose female instructors."

However universities are frustrated because they have no other method than to use a passport in place of a background check into native speaking instructors' degree, qualifications or criminal record. It's no different with instructors who have been confirmed to have taught at schools or hagwons. This is because there is no way to confirm via their passport whether they have committed crimes in their home country.

◆ Things to consider when hiring native speaking instructors

Representatives of regular schools or hagwons perceive two categories of foreign instructors. There are those whose priority is earning money to travel, and a great many of the foreign instructors outside Seoul belong in this category. It is hard to find instructors who find teaching meaningful, as well as those with ability to teach.

To young people from Canada and the US, particularly those without jobs, Korea is a very attractive country.  With the rapid increase in English hagwons and the sharp rise in demand for native speaking instructors, the knowledge that they can easily earn money while lacking qualifications has spread.

A representative from the business advised, "You must look at things like what qualifications they have, what their character is like, and what their attitude toward work is." "What and how they teach is good to inquire after as well."

Reporter Kim Hyun-ju
If you think this article is written by someone who needed to fill some space online who dug up a four-month-old story ('Quincy Black' being sentenced to prison) and decided to write a 'foreign teachers are bad' article based on her own faulty knowledge and tried to hide this by citing unnamed sources, you're probably right. Just how lazy was our author? She couldn't even spell 'Quincy Black's name correctly in the title, writing '흑퀀시' (instead of heuk [black] kuinsi, the headline says heuk kwonsi), which is just plain lazy. Plus, she writes in the third-last paragraph that "Representatives of regular schools or hagwons perceive two categories of foreign instructors," but then only describes one such category. She also writes some howlers, such as saying that universities scout talent from area elementary schools and hagwons, or that "universities are frustrated because they have no other method than to use a passport in place of a background check." She also, in that sentence (in the original article), mistranslates 여권 as 'visa' rather than passport.

The final photo is recycled from a July 9, 2006 Segye Ilbo article written by a reader (who lived not far from me, and who claimed native speaking teachers usually make 4-5 million won per month) titled "It’s urgent that measures be prepared for unqualified native speaking English teachers." I have no idea where the other photos come from, but judging from the collection of either screen shots from the videos or photos from his room seen in the photo below, they may not be from 'Quincy Black's videos at all. (The photo is from the Daejeon city journal, and shows Daejeon Dong-gu council's probe into the videos in November 2010.)

It's 'nice' to see that the 'foreign English teachers are a problem' trope is still an attractive one for journalists in a hurry.

(Thanks to Ami for help with the translation.)

Friday, November 07, 2014

BBC: Irish woman not hired as teacher due to "alcoholism nature of your kind"

Currently the second most shared and seventh most read story at BBC News is "'Irish alcoholism nature' reason for job rejection for Irish teacher in South Korea":
The teacher had emailed the application when a job was advertised on listings website Craigslist in September.

She told the agency that she had been teaching English for over three years, in Barcelona, Oxford and Abu Dhabi as well as South Korea.

Last week, she received a reply that said: "I am sorry to inform you that my client does not hire Irish people due to the alcoholism nature of your kind".

Ms Mulrennan said she did not know who the recruiter was as their details were not listed on the site.
She's since found a job and has laughed it off, saying, "I still love the country and being in Seoul." She also said, "A friend saw it and encouraged me to post it online as it might go viral." And so it has. The article notes that "The 26-year-old told the BBC that she could not believe the email was real at first." One hopes the BBC has done its due diligence here, because it's almost a little too perfect; but then sometimes these things happen (I remember the first hagwon owner I worked for complaining about the lack of housekeeping of former teachers, saying they were "like animals" (though not one of them had a housewife like he did to keep their domiciles spotless)). If the email is real, well, being the center of attention and being ridiculed is just what it deserves.

(Hat tip to Ryan.)

Monday, November 03, 2014

"Canadian teacher facing nightmare in South Korea"

This is a disturbing story - a Canadian teacher who was sexually assaulted was successful in taking the case to court, but the perpetrator - known to police for being accused in a number of other attacks - was set free when the verdict was overturned on appeal, and he is now taking her to court for defamation. More information can be found in the article as well as in the online fundraising page her friends set up to help her with legal costs.