Thursday, April 9, 2009

Dear Jessica Kim

Dear Jessica Kim,
First let me thank you for writing the enlightening opinion piece in the Korean Times. I can sympathize that there is an English craze going on here in South Korea that has all the Mom's in a daze. But you kind of lost me when you started talking about my people.

They all say in unison, as if it comes from the Holy Bible, ``I heard all you need is the 'white looks' and you are good to go."
So why is Korea, the nation that even created a national day to celebrate the beauty and the history of the Korean language, seen as the place to go for those ``native speakers" who have no life goals?
In summation you are saying that the people who come to Korea to teach English are a people who are deadbeats. Well probably amongst the near millions of us English teachers here there are likely to be a few deadbeats. But we are an educated deadbeat mass! We hold Bachelor's degrees and... oh wait you want to say something?

Do we really want these ``white-looking" people to just stroll into Korea, who probably scored less than 500 out of 800 on their verbal portion of their SATs or don't even know what they SATs are, to be hailed as kings by Korean parents?
Ah I see you think we are the lowly half of the college graduates. The ones who got by stoned and dehydrated from drinking too much the night before. And since you refer to us as "Kings" I can only assume you are projecting this at the male portion of English Teachers.

Jessica, listen here if you think that living in South Korea is a piece of cake than you are wrong. Sure for most of us we get free housing and health insurance, but that doesn't mean life is a bowl of peaches, darling.

Look I can understand if you have some kind of paranoid feelings about our presence here. But please don't blame us for Korea's insane craze to institute English into the young brains of your nation. We didn't come up with the idea of having pre-kindy English hagwons or 24/7 English instruction. Oh what's that you really mean to blame the parents and not us?

...and, finally, it is their obsession that leads Korea to be looked-down-upon as a Plan B by those ``native English speakers" who miserably fail in their own lives. The parents with such wrong attitudes are to be blamed for the pandemic.

Let me first just say, honey, that choosing to pack up your life and move to an Asian country, one known for its homogeneous society and two still whacks its kids with a stick in the classroom, is not exactly the easiest choice to make. Heck we could chose to teach in Spain or Japan, societies open to the foreign man / woman.

We all need to realize that this English craze is not only pointless, but it burdens the students and their families. It ships Korea's money offshore and it pressures Korean educators to seek unqualified people who only possess the ``white looks." It leads to many indirect social problems that we have in Korea right now.
Again I agree with you that the English craze is a real crackpot here and is not as regulated as it should be. But don't think for a second that we are making it worse for this country. For one we come with our educated background, life experience and free-thinking open-mindedness that is probably a set of skills and tools this nation could use.

So please do yourself and your nation a favor. Think first before you act! It is called critical thinking skills, something us deadbeats learned in high school and college.

Joy (3.9 GPA top of her graduating class, Asian Art History Major, dating a Korean, white-looking female)


  1. Kudos~Joy! Stephannie White, MA in Ed, 3.65 GPA, 740 verbal GRE, 1210 SAT, 25 ACT; mother of son murdered in sauna, possibly for being 'white looking' during anti us beef riots.

  2. I blogged about this today too. Ridiculous column.

  3. Oh my Stefannie...your Son was murdered?! I can't find the words to express how horrible that must be... My heart goes out to you.
    Joy I don't ever think I've heard your ire raised as much as you've expressed in this post!
    Good goin' Joy! Let her have it!
    Some of the comments you quoted from the article were down right rude & intolerant!
    For next time....the colloquial expression we use is "a bowl of CHERRIES" (not peaches!).
    The peaches phrase is...
    "everything is peaches & cream" or "everything is peachy" for when things are going good!

  4. Where on earth did you come across that Joy? LOVE your response, good for you!

  5. good going with this post hun. now I need to go look it up as well. Signed: Kristen 32 ACT, East Asian Studies Major and definitely NOT a 'white-looking' deadbeat...

  6. Thanks guys! It was amazing how many offensive things she managed to get out in just one opinion peice.


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