Astroboy's first pit rant!

So, I teach English at the number 3 university in Korea… I’ve been here for 3 1/2 years now, and am consistently rated in the top 10 English teachers (out of about 30) by my students. Whenever there is some extra work to do (paid or volunteer) I am among the first people that the English department (or, for that matter, the private English institute run by the university, the English student journal, etc.) calls, as I usually say “yes” and help out whenever I can. For example: when we write the English mid-term and final tests we require 5 volunteers; out of the 7 semesters that I have taught here, I have been on the test writing committee for 8 or 10 of the 14 tests (the only times I haven’t been on the committee were when I was too busy… once, or when all the positions have been filled before I was asked).

SO: about a year ago, the English department decided that we need to write a new text book, as the one we were using sucked big, hard donkey dick. Of course, I am asked if I will help… of course I said yes…

So, I am assigned a task: write lists of common words (that the typical freshman Korean student doesn’t know) for a variety of situations that the new book will cover. Easy! After 5 years of teaching young Koreans, I know very well which words they know/don’t know/ think they know but actually are using incorrectly. I spend 2 or 3 days pondering different lists of vocabulary words and turn my results in to the English department… during the next teacher’s meeting, our program director (a Korean woman named Dr. Lee) announces that there will be no credit given to the people working on the new textbook; it will simply be down on record as “By the PEEC (Practical English Education Committee) team”… I think this a bit odd, as only 5 people out of the entire teaching staff have anything to do with it, but whatever! I am only teaching until Astrofiancee and I get married, at which time we’ll probably move back to the US and I will go back to school to study something else… (possibly finish my physics degree, possibly get a programming degree)… my friend T is pissed, as teaching English as a second language is his lifetime career, and his work on the new book will get no credit!

T calms down after a week or so; I shrug it off as no big deal because this is NOT my career…

So, about 3 weeks ago, T gets a look at the galley sheets in our office, and notices that the writers of the book HAVE been given an aknowledgement on the title page of the book, but HIS name and MY name are NOT there! Well, T is pissed, justly, as teaching is his career, and now he can’t use this book on his resume despite the effort he put into its creation; I am slightly miffed, but realize it’s probably just a mistake, and can be corrected before the final printing of the text.

T and I discuss this, after he sends off an angry e-mail to Dr. Lee and our head teacher (who is in charge of the formulation of the new textbook)… T heads off for a vacation in Canada with his girlfriend…

A week or so later, I return home and find a couple of the other teachers proofreading the galley sheets in the common room of our dormitory. I pop in and take a quick look at the galley sheets, and mention to them that T and I were left out of the acknowledgement list. They say “Oh? Really? We’ll fix it!” They then turn to the right page and add my name and T’s name… I walk away; and later send an e-mail to T telling him that the problem has been fixed…

So, today we have a teacher’s meeting (new semester starts in a few days), and we are given the new textbook! Looks pretty good, until T and I turn to the aknowledgement page: no mention of our names!! Everyone else is credited with their work, but we have been snubbed for reasons unknown (so far)!

This means that someone, somewhere in the process has deliberately removed our names (even after the proofreading)! As far as I know, neither T or I have offended any of the higher mucky-mucks in ANY way whatsoever, so WTF??? :mad:

Conclusion: a big, juicy, vitreolic, King Kamehameha FUCK! YOU!!! to whoever did this!

[sup]I feel better now! Wow… I like the pit![/sup]

what you need to do now is buy a big gun…

Funny old world isn’t it. I taught in Japan for 2 years and of the 60 or so people who contributed to the language of the English text book from which I taught, only 2 or 3 English names were actually mentioned in the credits. I was always suspicious of this, and suspect that you have experienced the same.

If it’s any consolation (and I know it’s not - I just thought you might need someone to slap in here), it’s probably because you broke the rule about team play. Maybe someone thought that you were getting a bit too proud about the contribution you had made as an individual and that reflected badly on the team (or other native teachers who were not competent enough to contribute). Humility will get you everywhere, but pride makes enemies.

My wife is Korean and my Father-In-Law is one of those “higher ups” that knows what goes on in the rarified air “up there”. This is not unusual behaviour. Although you are not credited on the book, you can always claim credit for it (I wrote a book for some corporate financiers once that they printed and distributed to 50,000 people without my name on it). Be angry. Then let go and show “them” you’re bigger than that.

Then buy the gun.



Really, think about it.

You admit that you’re just tiding things over until your fiancee and you tie the knot, so go somewhere where your work is appreciated and credited appropriately.

bwanasimba, this is true… but as far as I know, neither T nor I did anything thing that might be interpreted as being “too pridefull”… quite the opposite, actually!

Satan, I am going to quit; probably after this next semester (but if I quit right now, the only people I’d be screwing over would be the other teachers who would have to pick up my classes, and I’m not the sort of person to do that!)… besides, while I simply walked away from jobs in the past for good reason, this doesn’t piss me off enough to do so. However, it does piss me off enough that, when they are looking for volunteers this semester for whatever extra crap they need to do they will find that I’m far too busy! After all, I must* watch “Buffy” tonight (or whatever is on TV)!

Screw em. You should know by now that there are few cultures that have their heads rammed as far up their asses as the Koreans. These people still piss in the street, for God’s Sake! And no matter how long you live there, or how well you speak the language, you will always be the foreigner. Which, truly, is just as well. Who wants to be a member of a culture that treats their women as second-class trash?

Here’s something that should make you feel a little better. When you are looking out at the faces of the students you are trying to teach, just remember: the smart ones will leave. Yup, the smart ones are the ones to get the hell out of Korea. It’s been that way since Christ was a Corporal. So what you are dealing with is a dwindling gene pool. Smart ones move the fuck out, stupid ones stay. Stupid ones have many babies, move into government and the smart children get the fuck out as soon as they can. Repeat.

Don’t get me wrong! I know a number of the Teeming Millions will think me nothing more than a racist. But, in fact, I am a realist. Go to Korea. You will see what I mean.

Watch for the urine pools on the sidewalk…

Nope! You’re a racist.

Thanks for playing.

:eek: Eusabian, explain please!! I have been in Korea long enough to realize that you MUST have some reason for your (seeming) hatred of an entire country/culture… and maybe a very good reason, indeed… but where did THAT come from?

Some of what you say is true: people DO piss in the streets here, as well as spit and blow their noses on the ground! But mostly the older, tradition-blinded generation… and keep in mind that this is a culture where people do not wear their shoes in the house! They are removed at the door… so they are not too concerned about what is on the sidewalk outside. Word of advice: if you drop your ice cream cone on the sidewalk in Korea, Do Not pick it up and eat it! Even if you brush off the “sprinkles”!

Women ARE often treated as second-class citizens (this is slowly changing), again, mostly by the older generation… and one reason why a babe like Astrofiancee would hang around with me (IE: I treat her like a person, not a thing)…

Smart people moving out/ dumb people staying is VERY debateable (may be true in some cases, may not in others)…

So share, please! Why the hatred?

sigh I knew ya’ll would assume the worst. However, this is the Pit. I can say whatever I feel. Everyone is entitled to their opinions. I am merely stating my opinion that was formed over a year in Korea.

There’s no hatred. Hate is a very strong word. I don’t say “Oh, you’re Korean so therefore I hate you.” Or, “you are black, white, brown or pink with yellow polka-dots so I have to hate you.” None of that. I’m pretty indifferent to the whole race, color issue. I am of the generation raised immediately after the civil protests of the 1960’s and my father was a college professor during the '70s, so I have had a pretty liberal upbringing. Judge people on their merits and not on the color of their skin, shape of their eyes, or the way they want to worship whatever it is they worship, that sort of thing.

When I say ‘Fuck the Koreans’, I mean pretty much that. I think their culture is quite odiferous. Grown men pissing wherever they want, talking very badly to the women-folk, driving when and where they feel like without regard to the safety to those around them. Blech.

And I have to admit, it’s mostly the Koreans. Got nothing bad to say about the Vietnamese or Russians or Israelis or whomever. The experience you discribed brought back many memories of Korea and not very many of them good.

And individually, Koreans are okay. When I said the smart ones got out, I guess that thought came from the contrast of the Koreans I have met here in America. They seem so much nicer and more hard-working, industrious and certainly cleaner then the Koreans I met in Korea. Of course, I wasn’t exactly teaching the next generation. So maybe from what you say, there is hope. But I’m still holding my breath when I pass one of those damn honey-pits.

Well enough. I certainly feel I’ve stated my opinion clearly. For all of you who think me an asshole, you are probably right. And that’s okay… I’ve learned to live with it. But please remember this: every asshole has a very important job, it keeps you from shitting on yourself.

So I’ll keep checking this thread when it surfaces just to see if anyone has come up with some really creative flames for me. But I won’t reply. You’ll have to be satified with this. I’ll be busy looking for the next thread that I can say something to get everyone’s juices flowing.

Eusabian, Lord High Contrarian

Not at all! That’s why I asked for the clarification… I for one don’t think you’re a racist! I’m guessing that you were here as part of the American military presence? If so, that might very well explain why you have such a negative view of all things Korean. Many of the US soldiers (BTW: thank you all for your service to the country I love most!) come away with a bad impression of Korea, for a variety of reasons… But it’s really not such a bad place, in general.

I don’t think Eusabian is being racist at all. For startes, he’s not complaining about a race, he’s complaining about a country. Saying you hate Koreans doesn’t make you any more of a racist than saying you hate the French.

That’s called “trolling” and it is NOT allowed on the Straight Dope Message Board. Not in the Pit, not in Great Debates, not in ANY forum. Period. Don’t do it again.

For the Straight Dope

…I thought he was joking about that…

Yeah, that registered on my sarcasm meter as well.


Whoah there boy, get down off your high horse!

I know this is the pit and pretty well anything goes, but your comments are ill-informed, based on a lack of exposure and understanding, and are in need of reply (even if I am in danger of feeding a troll).

I do not pretend to understand everything about Korean / Oriental culture, but as I mentioned before, I lived for 2 years in Japan and have been married to my Korean wife for 4 years. Also, my father-in-law is an elite Ambassador currently serving in the Middle East and with whom I have had the pleasure of many long drinking / chess playing / philosophy swapping sessions. I hope you can accept that I may have some useful insights here.

First, it is possible to see examples of where women appear to be “second rate citizens” in Korea. What is clear from your post is that you have never been part of a Korean family. When you are accepted into the inner circle of family life, you will see that the reverse is true. Korean women rule families with a proverbial rod of iron, and Astroboy14 will see this too in time. You know you have been accepted when the “public face” is permanently replaced with the “private face”. The sign I was given that I was “in”, was a year after our marriage and my father-in-law did a gigantic fart right in front of me at the dinner table. He just said “excuse me” and no-one batted an eyelid - bizarre, but there you go.

Second, you quite clearly wrote “F*** the Koreans” then continued to say “There’s no hatred.”. Er, I don’t think I’m missing the point here, but isn’t the second statement a contradiction of the first?

Third, it is clear that you are basing your judgement on a very narrow set of experiences and a set of very shallow experiences. This is sad for you, since those who come to premature judgements never find the truth. It’s also dangerous, since your comments are at best obtuse, at worst downright offensive.

Finally, it is clear that you had some bad experiences in Korea. Heck, I had bad experiences in every country I ever lived in, but I also had bad experiences in my own country too. None of them made me hate the country or the people.

Living abroad does let you see things with new eyes and to pick out what’s wrong with a society. However, what it really exposes are the faults in ourselves. What you’re missing is the real point here: it’s not the foibles of a society that are the real issue, it’s how we understand and deal with them. You have shown yourself to be spectacularly incompetent at both.

[hijack, samahani]

Je, bwanasimba, anasema kiswahili?

[ok, end of hijack]

Um… Didn’t he say he lived there?!?

How does that make his opinions ill-informed?

Bully for you that you dig the place, but you know, I love New York City and I could go on for hours about the great things about the place and will do so if called for.

Conversely, I know people who can go on for hours about the negatives of New York City.

I would not say that either of us are “ill-informed” if we lived there for a stretch. And, in fact, both people could be QUITE RIGHT! Nothing that you said in your post really conflicts with this posters take on things, it’s just that it meant different things to each of you. It’s all subjective anyway.

On top of that, you don’t know exactly WHAT his experiences are, and as such you make such sweeping claims without anything to back them up.

I think that the OP lacked tact in his first post that started this all, but when called on it, came back to show a reason and even some remorse for how he came off. But he never apologized for his opinion, one which I find no fault in having even if it’s not one that I share.

While I think Eusabian’s rant was really one-sided, none of what he said was factually incorrect, just a bit intemperate. Korea can be a maddening place to live. I spent six years of my life there and went through a serious love/hate relationship with the place.

On the one hand you have the rudeness and boorish behavior that even the Koreans themselves lament. They do piss in the street, drink until they puke all over the sidewalk, and corruption and slipshod safety standards make every day an adventure.

On the other hand, when you get to know Koreans individually and make into their “in” group, they are unfailingly generous and kind. I have been invited to eat dinner with Koreans, an extremely high honor, and have been treated like a king. Outside of the cities, Korea is a breathtakingly beautiful country, with great, if overused, national parks and ancient temples nestled in limestone grottoes. Korean traditional culture is fascinating, and I can always spend a Sunday afternoon lounging around Kyongbokkung. Korean food is positively addictive, and you can’t beat the sidewalk stands selling dokbokki and mandu for a thousand won. In additon, the Seoul Metro may be crowded, but it is fast and efficient and beats the DC Metro that I now use.

Astroboy, if you’re teaching at the number 3 university, you must be at Kodae, or Korea University, since that is usally ranked after Seoul National and Yonsei. A friend of mine taught there in 1994-1996, and he bitched about the incompentence of the English department’s Korean faculty and the abuse of teachers. Of course, as a hagwon vet (Sisa yong-o-sa ECC and ELS), I’m not unused to that myself.

Crap, I left in typos, like “incompentence” instead of “incompetence.” D’oh! Preview is my friend, preview is my friend, preview is my… I know how to spell, but I can’t type for beans.

Thanks for your reply - sorry for cross posting, but I’ve replied to your comment in the other thread.

I agree with most of what you say, but living somewhere for one year does not qualify anyone to castigate a whole nation or people (so his was the original sweeping generalisation). Nor should living there for a longer time either, for that matter.

In terms of backing things up, I hope I at least had done that by outlining my experiences and expressing the belief that mine are “deeper” into the culture than his. Believe me, I could rant too (especially about the Mother in law), but I find that by asking questions and finding out more I come to understand it better and therefore deal with it better too. If Eusabian had demonstrated understanding to back up his observations, that would have been different I guess.

Nobody should apologise for their opinion (and I agree they are subjective based on one’s personal experiences), but what I found particularly objectionable was the manner in which it was delivered. As I said in the other thread, if it was a rant like the OP, then he should have made it clear. In retrospect, I guess that was his intent, that’s why he came back to explain it a bit better.

I answered your (excellent) point about double standards in the other thread too.

I have tried to answer this honestly and seriously - look at the post count - maybe I caught the wrong tone for the pit…

I answered most of what I felt I should respond to in the other thread, but I did want to say that contrary to popular belief, post counts don’t mean shit.

There are posters here with thousands of posts who troll this newsgroup (not calling them trolls, mind you - two different things) and there are posters with a handful of posts who show good qualities.

I made a joke once about elaborate rules for me to respond to people (during a really bad time when we had major troll infestation here), but really, it’s the quality, not the quantity, that counts.