Month: May 2018

The Racism in Government-Funded Korean Language Course Material

Looking to Learn Korean for Free? Well, Be Prepared for Some Racism I was going through Sejong Institute’s YouTube playlist to find useful material for my Korean tutoring classes. Then I found this. Let me take you down Racist Hill. Commentary at the bottom. The trope of Jeongnam, the Korean master of condescension, ends with him looking at the two black men’s shirts and pointing out “So, you’re the older brother? You look like it”. Here, the narrative is that the black men chose to play the Black Big Brother Trope. Although Jeongnam treats the three group of foreigners in the same condescending way, it is striking how explicitly racist the script is. Let’s look at the three groups of foreigners he interacts with. First, he meets the white American soldiers. With whom he has a brief exchange. This is done in informal/non-honorific language (반말). Second, he meets the Turkish man, “Abdul”. Although Abdul has a considerably more complex script compared to the other three groups, Jeongnam condescends him by (a) Telling him to fix his …

Free Health Check-Ups for Refugees in South Korea

Refugee Health: Check Migration to Asia Peace and Samsung Medical Centre are going to provide free health check-ups for asylum seekers, those with asylum status, and those with “humanitarian stay” status. Interpreting services and a shuttle bus to and from the testing centre will be provided. The check-up’s results and referrals will be issued. Snacks and drinks will be provided following the check-up. The event is organised by Samsung Medical Centre & Migration to Asia Peace (MAP), and sponsored by Shinhan Bank.   But Who Is a Refugee? “Humanitarian stay” visas (G-1) were created to grant stay to those who do not fall under the refugee status as defined by the United Nations (being able to prove that you personally are persecuted by the state, regardless of the the state of your country). In 2015, South Korea had twice as many G-1 visa holders than F-2 visas (residency) granted to refugees. Humanitarian stay visas differ from residency visa in the following ways: Issued for 1 year; can be renewed Cannot apply for employment unless they …

Seoul City Provides “Baby Box” and Vaccination Subsidies to Single Parents

Single Mothers Benefit From New Scheme – But Not All Through an initiative of the Women & Family Policy Bureau, Seoul City will become South Korea’s first municipality to offer single mothers in financial difficulties with 1 million KRW (approx. 800 EUR / 900 USD) worth of baby materials. The “Baby Box” will contain the following items donated by manufacturers and individual funders: A stroller Feeding bottles A baby sling Clothes Formula for infants Sleeping vests However, the supply is limited, and only 100 single mothers living in the Seoul Metropolitan Area with 80% of the median income will be able to benefit from the scheme. A Wider Vaccination Coverage Expands Number of Free Vaccinations for Children from 17 to 23 However, the City Government will provide a subsidy worth 240,000 KRW (180 EUR / 220 USD) for infant vaccinations, to children living with single mothers and single fathers. The subsidy covers vaccinations outside the 17 mandatory vaccinations. The 17 mandatory vaccinations for children (via Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)  are as follows. They’re …

Korean Babies Make It Better (& Why Biblical Names Have a Korean Twist)

Image description: Two young children are seen on a still image. One is a boy holding his hand up, counting to four. One is a girl smiling into the camera. The video caption reads ” What is 3-year olds introduce themselves?” As a researcher in gender, I read and write about a lot of depressing topics. This is why I make sure to spend everyday watching one of Studio V (AKA Village Video)’s “Eye Level” videos. It’s a bunch of adorable babies being adorable, but even when watching this I can’t help myself but notice gender differences in how they act sometimes. “Baul” (바울) is the old biblical translation of Paul. In previous translations of the bible (and maybe even the current one – it’s been some time since I’ve read one), the original names were first transcribed into Chinese, then read according to the Korean pronunciation of classical Chinese characters (hanja, 한자). Another example of this is “Dain” (다인), which is a translation of David.

Goodbye, Pyongyang Time Zone

[Image description: Two clocks on the wall, side by side. One reads 11:46 (Seoul), and the other reads 11:16 (Pyongyang). Source: Yonhap Agency] Today, Pyongyang’s 30-minute difference with Seoul (and Tokyo) time zone will cease to be, as Kim Jong-Un orders North Koreans to set the time forward to match that of South Korea. “To reconcile our history” seems to be a prominent reason. However, if the Korean peninsula wants to reconcile with its history, it should actually be be Seoul changing its time 30 minutes back, considering the current Seoul time zone was implemented by the Japanese colonial government. As I’m writing this, a Dutch friend tells me: “Well, the South can’t very well do that; makes it look like Seoul is ceding to a Communist Revolution”. Basically, I’d be a jongbuk for saying this. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/may/05/time-for-change-north-korea-moves-clocks-forward-to-match-south

1989. Universal freedom of travel

[Image description: A Korean female clerk at The Korean National Airlines (1946-1962; later dissolved and incorporated into Korean Air) is seen checking in passengers in 1957.] 1989: South Koreans are granted universal freedom of travel, without having to provide any reason to the government. Prior to this, every person leaving the country had to be assessed individually. Until 1980, no civilian passports were issued. When the first passports were issued in 1989, up until 1992, all applicants had to pay for an  “Anti-Communist Training” including learning about cases of South Koreans defecting to the North, as well “security information” for a full day, and be issued a certificate for completing the programme, before they could receive their passport. A video clip by the government states the following: 관계부처와 관광공사 그리고 여행사 자체에서의 교육은 물론 여행자 자신이 여행상식과 정보, 각국의 문화, 관습 등을 보다 철저히 배우는 노력이 있어야 하겠습니다. 관광은 서로 다른 문화 간의 대화이며 흥분과 환상의 세계를 제공하는 것입니다. 그러나 국제관광은 자칫 나라의 위신과 국민 전체의 명예를 손상 시킬 수도 있기 때문에 우리는 해외여행에 앞서 …

ARTE – Tous les internets – En Corée du Sud, les femmes à l’avant garde de #MeToo

Alternative title: Sind die Südkoreanerinnen der #MeToo-Bewegung einen Schritt voraus? / Les sud-coréennes sont-elles à l’avant-garde de #MeToo?   I had the honour to speak and share my research with Ann-Marie Kornek, a journalist specialising in technology and social issues at ARTE. Covering topics such as molka (spycams used for illegal porn), Soranet (the porn hub which hosted a number of illegal activities including illegal porn), and power harassment/rape (involving 2017 presidential candidate Ahn Hee-Jung and internationally acclaimed filmmaker Kim Ki-Duk), the episode explains what has been happening in Korea in the past three years, and what has changed (and is still changing). Kudos to the team at ARTE for their research, and for going through the graphic images of molka videos. I particularly appreciate how Korean names and words are written and spoken accurately (I’ve heard my share of Kim Young-Ooon and Zamzoong). Link to video ARTE: https://info.arte.tv/fr/en-coree-du-sud-les-femmes-lavant-garde-de-metoo  Youtube: https://youtu.be/0LyicbDm6Qg Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/touslesinternets/videos/1796628110643850/?t=251 Twitter: https://twitter.com/lesinternets/status/992076098346381313