How have you been coping without me? I hope you managed to keep the tears to a minimum. I'm sure you've missed me more than I've missed you.
I'd like to say that I've been taking a little break because my life is simply too filled with thrills, spills and automobiles to blog, but I don't like to lie to you. Truth is, I've been working as a double agent in order to infiltrate the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education and prevent what are believed to be grandiose and underhand schemes to make their English education programme the least-effective syllabus the world has ever seen. So far, I have failed in my task.
So, what have I been doing?
Well, I've taught the dog how to shake paws. I can't get him to lie down yet so I might skip that and just move on to teaching him how to make me a fucking cheese toastie.
"Make me a fucking cheese toastie, Maroo."
Shouldn't take too long.
The Korean blogosphere, now officially the largest and most pathetic group of self-important geeks the world has ever seen (of which I do not count myself a member, by the way), has been up in arms regarding a blog called Lousy Korea. It was removed by it's author this week following a number of death threats towards her and some of her users. Lousy Korea was a tongue-in-cheek look at the frustrations one faces as an expat in this country using quite graphic and crude language in order to get it's point across. Now, the girl lived in Korea and in fact extended her contract beyond the 12-months she originally signed on for, so she can't have hated the place that much. In fact, I think she's still here. But, as anyone who has lived here for any length of time knows, irony and sarcasm are not qualities celebrated, or even understood, in the ROK.
"Teacher, teacher, it's raining and cloudy today teacher!"
"Yes, lovely day isn't it?"
"Err..teacher...it's rainy and cloudy! You crazy teacher! You crazy!!"
Korean Rum Diary posted a long, drawn out and emotional post the other day where he bemoaned the loss of free speech in Korea and reiterated over and over again that Lousy Korea should be able to write whatever she wants without receiving death threats and that Koreans are to sensitive and stu......
It went on, believe me.
But yeah, of course she has the right to write what she likes. And yeah, Koreans are nationalistic and overly proud - nice observation. But the threats were made on an Internet forum. And you know who writes on Internet forums? Virgins. And you know who writes on forums like Korean Sentry, the English-language forum for people of Korean origin to vent their frustration against the evil white man? Korean virgins.
A death threat from them is like a declaration of war by Luxembourg.
The whole thing has been blown way out of proportion and can be used, I believe, as one more indication of how fucking boring life in Korea can be. That people actually care about a stupid little blog being removed because of a stupid little death threat by a stupid little Korean is shocking to me.
Lousy Korea was shit anyway. Not racist, not offensive. Just shit.
You want to see something truly offensive and, yes, maybe even a little racist? Allow me to show you a couple of stills I've stolen from a role-play video I've had to show a class of 6th graders from the chapter Where Are You From? I desperately wanted to show you the whole clip, but I am unable to extract it from the CD. I'm absolutely gutted, because the dialogue on these videos is simply too good to be true. You'll just have to take my word for it. I'm not making a single thing up. I swear.
The role-play is based around a talent show, where 3 different characters from 3 different countries have to come on to the stage and introduce themselves to the crowd. The first contestant is Korean.
Now, as you can clearly see, the Korean woman is being represented by a plasticine white man in a Hanbok. The host of the show, on the left with the microphone, is being played by Victoria Wood circa 1994.
Contestant number 2 is American. And what is the traditional outfit of the American woman?
Yes, that's right. The Gay Cowboy. This is the interview he gives to the American Gay Cowboy Woman Thing named Ann.
"Oh, you're from America, can you swim?"
"No, but I can play basketball."
What? How are those things related?? I am now going to make a point of asking every single American that I meet whether they can swim, and if they respond by saying that they can play basketball, I'm going to say, "Well, that's completely irrelevant" and throw them in the nearest pond and stand to the side, cackling, and screaming "Your basketball ain't gonna help you now, is it Ann??"
Finally, contestant number 3 is from Uganda. According to her interview, she is on her way to visit her uncle in Japan. This picture shown below is how the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education - the office for public school education in the capital city of the Republic of Korea - chose to represent the population of Uganda.
Now, unless I am mistaken, that lady is wearing a dress made from the skin of a Cheetah. She is also without shoes. Now, forgetting for a moment that this picture is demeaning, racist and condescending in the extreme...how the fuck is this woman getting to Japan?? She's not got any shoes! Are you trying to tell me that she's gone through the tricky administrative process required to obtain a passport, but she is manufacturing her clothing from the hides of dead cats?? And why has she got a black face but white arms and legs? Is she a minstrel?
The videos on this CD are certainly doing their job well, as long as that job is to make me laugh so hard that I have to take a change of underwear to school with me. I'm just not sure that any English is being learnt.
Love, Smithy x