Monday, May 11, 2009

It's Time to Clean Up Our Act

Poor Rob is like the lone soldier fighting for the truth. Apparently there has been a lot of bashing of ATEK on Dave's ESL lately. And so after reading Rob's digestion of that I had my own 2 cents to add.

Here is my own response to this dynamic situation: Including spelling and grammar issues

This is disheartening to hear. But it reflects how most of our expat sentiments are discussed and dealt with here in Korea. And that is on Dave's ESL.

Before I came to Korea I thought that as an expat we would all find ourselves as one group and keep ourselves safe. But it really didn't turn out that way. Sure I am friends with you and you help me out.

But I am talking about the expat collective.

In America, I believe, expat Koreans and Asian nationals get together within their national group to form a community. You know how there is Chinatown, Korea town..etc. Well I think it is not just because they want to sell cheap trinkets on the roadside. It is because they come together to form a community. The help each other with housing and legal issues.

I thought as an expat coming to Korea I would find a similar "community" feeling. But unfortunately it is not true. Instead I think most expats get to know certain people within their school and group and consider that as enough. They get screwed in one way or another and immediately brand their life in Korea as horrible. This affects their outlook on life and gets spilled over to small talk, which gets passed around and before you know it groups like ATEK are branded as the enemy. When in fact they are trying to be our superhero.

What also happens here is that people build up their lives here as if they are their own superhero. They survived crap and got out of on their own without anyone else's help. Now some group is coming along and it promises to be their umbrella.

Fortunately for ATEK there are still a number of expats that could benefit from their program. In fact we all could.

We just need to realize and rethink our positions here in Korea.

Whether you are married to a Korean, not a teacher or a teacher we all come from the same background. And that is that we are expats. We weren't born in this country. And so society works differently here. The outlook of this is that some of us have been mixing in well and other haven't.

If we don't group together as a whole and continue to keep ourselves distanced from one another than the problems that occur to us today are going to live on.

This isn't just about getting to know each other and sharing a few beers.

This is about understanding our role here in Korea and helping Koreans understand us, our background and our role.

We need to represent ourselves. And Dave's ESL is not going to do that for us.

Maybe even ATEK can't do everything for us. But if we ATEK's enemy than that means we have the power to make ATEK work for us. I know that sounds strange. But we have the ability to take this group and suggest what we really need and don't need.

If you look at the dynamic of ATEK it is a group that has the possibility to break the barrier between being an "alien" to being a person in this country with better rights.

So instead of us throwing shit at ATEK let's throw something more useful.

Finally I want to add that this hiatus reminds me of my disappointment in the expat community here.

I believe that we all have higher educations, learned critical thinking and how to judge life. Instead all I usually see (talking about Dave'e ESL here) are a bunch of whiners without a light at the end of the tunnel.

Let's get it together people. You are here and we are all here. It's time to get our act together!

Slap ... kick....BAM!@!!


  1. The Spelling and Grammar add authenticity!

  2. A very nice post - I especially liked the part about everyone comes individually and becomes their own superheros... To a certain extent, I felt the same way - with few resources to trust and people to help, you end up learning by the school of hard knocks. After you've found the fact you needed or whatever help you needed to get done, you felt stronger, more independent... as if you didn't need help from someone else in the first place.

    Glad you're following this one closely - I haven't directly blogged about it (yet), but have made a presence on the umpteen message boards... Take care.

  3. Thanks Chris~!

    I realized too that we form a community amongst ourselves. But as for the majority that blankets everyone that is still yet to be formed.

    I think ATEK has the right idea when it comes to creating a network of associations in every area of Korea, where one can relate work and living issues.

    We will see!


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