Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Hatred Towards Teachers in Korea

I've been following this story for years. Although I had many wonderful years in South Korea, I have to admit, I had experienced some negative sentiments myself while I lived there.

This is an interesting story from CBC's "The Current".

From the The Current website on this show:

Korea English Teachers

Dann Gaymer has been living and teaching in South Korea for three years. And like other English teachers there, he's watching his back. That's because of what some view as a growing anti-foreigner sentiment in the country... a mood that foreign teachers say is being fueled by a group known as The Anti-English Spectrum.

On its website, in flyers, and through other activities... the teachers say The Anti-English Spectrum is spreading negative, hateful information about them and they believe the group's message is gaining traction.

Now local police are investigating an anonymous death threat sent to the Association of Teachers of English in South Korea. Dann Gaymer speaks on behalf of the group and he was in Daegu, a city in Southeastern part of the country.

Korea English Teachers

We requested an interview with the Anti-English Spectrum through the group's website... we did not hear back. We heard from Younggoog Park is Minister-Counsellor of Public Affairs at the Korea Embassy in Ottawa shared his thoughts about the group.

For Andrea Vandom, the activities of the Anti-English Spectrum and the changes in her visa requirements were unacceptable. So much so - that she left her teaching job in South Korea. She has also launched a constitutional challenge against the government's visa requirements on the grounds they are discriminatory. The HIV and drug tests that are mandatory for all foreign teachers, are not required by law for Korean teachers working in private schools. Andrea Vandom was in Irvine, California.

Korea English Teachers

Of the 20,000 foreigners teaching English in South Korea, an estimated 5 thousand are Canadian. Steve Snowball was one of them. He's a Canadian who used to teach English in South Korea. His extra-curricular activities in the country landed him in jail for six weeks. We heard from him.

Ben Wagner says stories of carousing is what gives many foreign English teachers in South Korea a bad image. But he also believes that anti-foreigner sentiment runs deeper than that. Ben Wagner has lived in South Korea for 15 years... he is a law professor at the Kyung Hee University Law School. He has raised his concerns over discrimination against foreigners with the country's National Human Rights Commission. He was in Seoul, South Korea.

I found out about this story from a great website; Brian in Jeollanam-do

1 comment:

RNSANE said...

This is rather scary. Certainly, it isn't good if the behavior of non-Koreans is such that we become unwelcome but, if we are there living a normal life, assisting Koreans in learning English, to have our lives threatened while we perform our duties, is very frightening.