Extra! Korea

November 2, 2010

Korean Christians intruded into Buddhist temples in Myanmar too

Filed under: Buddhism, idiots, multicultural society, rapid cultural change — extrakorea @ 10:11 am

You might remember this story, which described how Korean Christians had entered Buddhist temples in Seoul and Daegu and behaved disrespectfully.

It turns out that Korean Christians had intruded into Buddhist temples in Myanmar as well.

Korean Internet users quickly revealed another online video clip in which some Christian groups sing hymns inside a temple in Myanmar while Buddhist monks are present.

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October 28, 2010

More on the Christians who held ceremonies in Buddhist temples

Filed under: Buddhism, idiots, multicultural society, religion — extrakorea @ 8:59 am

This has been mentioned before, but the Korea Times now has a more complete translation and story.

Some young Christians uploaded a video of themselves going to a Buddhist temple and being disrespectful of the premises and of the beliefs that they were built for.

The video [entitled “Conquering Bongeun Temple”] shows several students of a “Praise Academy” pledging their “mission” to get into the temple in southern Seoul, sing Christian hymns inside the sanctuary and speak out about their doctrine. The participants, whose faces were unidentifiable, said prayers out loud and criticized the temple facilities.

The clip showed one saying, “I was devastated to see the scenery of idolatry and idols. They are all useless and harmful.” Another said, “I proclaim that the place belongs to God. I believe that I was sent to reclaim God’s territory.”

[ snip ]

Rev. Choi Ji-ho, who leads AS37, the group that runs the academy, visited the leaders of the temple and the order with those who appeared in the video clip on Wednesday and apologized for their actions.

“They were given the task to sing on large roads, near Gangnam Metro Station. I don’t know why they chose the temple, but it was a terrible and offensive thing to do,” he said. “I didn’t know what they did and moreover, that they would make it so public by releasing video clips. It was ignorant and disrespectful.”

Ven. Myeongjin [who heads Bongeun Temple] said he would accept the apology for the peace and harmony among religions.

Observers said the incident is just one example of outrageous actions performed by some Protestants these days under the name of their “mission.”

Apparently, another group in Daegu has done something similar.

The clip also contains scenes of Protestants giving praise inside the temple. The group also claimed in their video that they are doing whatever they can to resist the government’s support for the Buddhist templestays program and the establishment of a Buddhist theme park.

I think that all Koreans, whether Buddhist or not, should realize that a lot of their heritage is expressed through Buddhist things like temples, statues, etc. Moreover, these are the kinds of things that foreigners come for, and if they truly value their tourism industry, they’ll think about that. The Egyptians, even though they are now Muslim, realize the value of things like the Sphinx and the pyramids, even though they are pagan artifacts.

October 27, 2010

Census Time

Filed under: expatriates, multicultural society — extrakorea @ 2:52 am

(I should have posted this earlier. It slipped my mind, and real life takes precedence over virtual life.)

Last week, a woman came to my door. She was collecting census data.  (Hopefully, she didn’t experience the trials and tribulations of Kushibo.) She spoke almost no English, but we made do with my broken Korean. After getting the information, she gave me a piece of paper. On it was a website address, www.census.go.kr, along with a nine-character code (broken down as follows: three letters, dash, four numbers, dash, two letters).  She told me to go to the website from October 22nd to 31st.  I did so, and it was relatively quick and painless.  On the left side of the screen is a toggle through which you can choose a non-Korean language.  Click “go” and then input the nine-character code where it says “The Internet Access Code.” Then you have to make up a password. The English is pretty good. I guess they went through the trouble of having it proofread by a native speaker.

So if a census worker came to your home last week, the visit to the website is not too much of an inconvenience, and could help the government and,  by extension, you.

March 19, 2010

Cambodians banned from marrying Koreans (and only Koreans)

Filed under: gender equality, multicultural society — extrakorea @ 11:14 am

The Cambodian government has at least for the time being, banned its citizens from marrying Koreans, and only Koreans. Why?

The restriction pertains only to Korea because nearly 60 percent of international marriages in Cambodia involve Korean nationals, and most of them are arranged through brokers, the official said.

Cambodia has banned marriage brokerage since 2008, allowing only “love matches.” Despite the ban, the number of Cambodian women marrying Korean men more than doubled from 551 in 2008 to 1,372 last year.

The latest measure came amid news reports in the Southeast Asian nation that a clampdown on marriage brokers in Vietnam has made neighboring Cambodia the new destination for Korean men seeking to “buy” wives. They denounced the practice of men choosing mainly poor women as wives, calling it “human trafficking.”

So if Vietnam, and now Cambodia, have clamped down on marriages with Koreans, where will unmarriageable Korean bachelors find their brides? Perhaps the Philippines. Maybe Thailand?

February 17, 2010

Filipino community leaders collect signatures to save “Little Manila”

Filed under: expatriates, multicultural society, xenophobia — extrakorea @ 12:36 pm

Zen Kimchi has a post with snippets about the latest measures to attempt to save “Little Manila” (as well as Filipino cooking).

You might recall that the “Little Manila” market is being threatened with closure, and the Filipino ambassador is getting involved in the efforts to save it. In the latest development, community leaders are starting a drive to collect signatures.

The Jongno District Office had cited complaints from residents and storeowners regarding the cleanliness, orderliness and traffic in the area, as reasons why the market should be closed.

Look at this video below. To those of you who live in South Korea, does this look especially dirty or disorderly, especially when compared to other outdoor markets? I see far worse at the little plastic tables outside my local convenience stores.

The petition also highlighted the Filipino market’s contribution to multiculturalism in Korea. While the majority of market-goers are Filipinos, there are also a number of Koreans and foreigners who are visiting the market to sample Philippine food such as barbecued meat, stir-fried noodles, fried banana and rice cakes.

“Even Koreans, who have been to the Philippines, come here to buy pancit (stir-fried noodles) or balut (duck egg),” said another Filipino vendor, who did not want to be identified.

Several vendors interviewed by The Korea Times expressed their willingness to cooperate and make improvements, in order to prevent the market’s closure or transfer.

[ snip ]

“We’re aware that there are some complaints because there are really a lot of people in the street, especially when the mass ends around 3 p.m. But it’s only a once a week market, and we’re more than willing to cooperate with any changes they want us to make,” said Wilbert, a Filipino vendor who lives in Bucheon.

Many Filipino workers from different parts of Korea travel to Seoul on Sundays just to go to church and shop at the market. The Filipino EPS Workers Association (FEWA) is one of the organizations trying to gather signatures for the petition to save the market.

FEWA President Marcy Serdena said the market has become an important part of Filipinos’ way of life in Korea.

“We go here every Sunday, even if it is far, just to go to church, buy food and meet other Filipinos. … I think they should first try to make sure the market is orderly and impose discipline among the vendors. This can be resolved through discussions, and not immediate closure,” Serdena said.

I don’t think it’s too much to ask. The question is: Is the Filipino community going to be allowed to enjoy their culture to try to cope with homesickness and culture shock, or are they only good for doing dangerous labor in factories and being baby machines for unmarriageable Korean bachelors?

Under the Times’ article, I noticed this comment by “jsburgeson” (J. Scott Burgeson):

Mayor Oh Se-hoon, if you close down Little Manila, Seoul City will lose a big part of its soul. And if you do go ahead and close it, don’t you dare use the world “multiculturalism” in any more of your city slogans.

February 11, 2010

Ambassador hopes to avert the closure of “Little Manila”

Filed under: expatriates, multicultural society, xenophobia — extrakorea @ 3:35 pm

The Philippine Ambassador to Korea, Luis Cruz, hopes to avert the closure of “Little Manila”

“Our point is both ends should meet. … There can be discussions with vendors for alternative solutions and to address the issues the Jongno residents raised. Such issues like traffic and the garbage can be addressed. The vendors can make efforts to clean the area and create some order,” he told The Korea Times in a phone interview.

For instance, Cruz suggested that vendors be provided with store carts that can make the market look cleaner and more organized. Currently, vendors at “Little Manila” usually place their products in boxes or on the sidewalks, causing congestion for pedestrians.

Cruz said embassy officials will also meet with Jongno District officials to clarify the matter and discuss alternatives solutions to the problems raised by the residents.

He also said the Filipino community leaders should talk to the vendors to work out a system to make the market more orderly. There are currently 16 vendors, selling Philippine delicacies, canned goods, noodles and magazines, clustered in the area leading to the Hyehwa Catholic Church.

The Filipinos are certainly willing to meet half-way, but what about the Koreans who complained? Since they’re so worked up about a market that only exist for six hours, one day a week, something tells me that that they’re not very open-minded or tolerant. Then what?

Cruz emphasized that the market cannot be separated from the church, since it is a way of life for many Filipinos. “It’s a place where Filipinos gather to meet other Filipinos. It’s like social networking. It’s also about Philippine culture. If people go to the Philippines, they’ll see that outside the churches, there are markets and a lively fiesta atmosphere,” Cruz added.

Maybe it’s that “lively, fiesta atmosphere” that’s really the problem. Don’t those Filipinos know that in Korea, you’re supposed to be sullen and constantly worried about the future? Those Filipinos and their joie de vivre are interfering with Korea’s high suicide rate. In Korea, you’re supposed to deprive your children of sleep by sending them to umpteen hogwons* in an effort to keep up with the Kims. It’s Korean culture to jump off a roof and turn yourself into strawberry jam on the sidewalk if you get an A minus on a high school test. Those festive Filipinos must be taught Korean culture, and be forced to be as miserable as everyone else. Maybe closing down their market will make them nice and dour.

* private education institutes

February 10, 2010

“Little Manila”? Not in our backyard, say mean people concerned citizens

Filed under: expatriates, multicultural society, xenophobia — extrakorea @ 2:00 pm

Every Sunday in Hyehwa-dong, many Filipinos gather after church services to chat, eat, and buy things from their home country in an informal market. The Jongno District Office has told them to cease and desist because of intolerance from mean people complaints from passers-by and residents.

There are about 46,000 Filipinos in Korea, forming the fifth largest ethnic group, following Chinese, Americans, Vietnamese and Japanese.

[ snip ]

“The reasons they gave up us was one, they received complaints from neighbors and pedestrians in the area; two, there were concerns about cleanliness and order; three, they want to redevelop the sidewalk and include a waterfall wall in the area; and four, they want to transfer the market to a new multicultural market,” the priest told The Korea Times over the phone.

“It’s a Philippine way of life. We go to church, then go to the market to buy provisions and meet friends. It’s an expression of Philippine culture. The national government has a policy about supporting multiculturalism in Korea, but there seems to be a contradiction with the district office’s plans. The church and the market should go together and not be separated,” he said.

Outside the church, there are usually 16 vendors selling Philippine products and cooked food. Many Filipinos living not just in Seoul, but also from the provinces, flock to the market to buy products from their home country

Parantar noted the problems raised by the district office can be addressed by the vendors at the market.

“The problems that they raised can be resolved by talking to the vendors. They are willing to cooperate. If they are concerned about the cleanliness and orderliness in the area, they can address the problems. If they want to redevelop the area again, they can integrate the Philippine market according to their plans,” Parantar said.

So they want to trample all over a migrant minority group so they can build a fountain. And if they’re concerned about “cleanliness” how about telling Koreans not to throw trash onto the street?

The district office said they have received civil petitions from the neighborhood and they have to take some measures against the Philippine market.

“There were many complaints from the pedestrians and residents. There also is a possibility of accidents as Filipinos flock out of the church after mass into car lanes,” said Lee Jong-ju of the district’s construction management division.

“A possibility of accidents”? Ever seen Koreans jaywalking right into oncoming traffic? How about delivery guys driving motorscooters right on the sidewalk? If you haven’t, you must be living in a parallel universe South Korea.

The district suggested moving to the grounds of Dongsung High School, but the school refused to participate. Another idea was shifting it to an area in front of the Catholic University of Korea campus, however, it has failed to respond to the suggestion.

Filipinos? Not in our back yard. We don’t like Filipinos It’s not convenient for us.

He added that the district will try not to use physical force. “The best way would be to transfer them to a designated area, but otherwise we are going to crack down on the market from March,” he said.

They’ll force them into a “designated area”? Somebody thinks that Filipinos in Korea should be neither seen nor heard.

December 28, 2009

White girls *heart* the Brown Eyed Girls’ Abracadabra

Filed under: multicultural society, music, rapid cultural change — extrakorea @ 2:37 am

Thanks to the awesome http://koreannewsfeeds.com/ site, I stumbled upon this video. She says that she didn’t practice very much, and that she’s nervous about her performance, so be kind, people.

Don’t worry, Miss, you’re just as good at “sexy dances” as most Korean girls. That includes Goo Ha-ra (of Kara, one of Brian’s favorites, though it was Rainbow that made me laugh till I cried).

Fast forward to 3:54 (and especially 4:13) of the video to see her mad dance skillz. (Hat Tip)

And here is a young lady singing the song with English lyrics that she wrote with help from this video. She has but one humble request:

Anyway, since this song is hard to sing, BE NICE! You can make fun of my lyrics, but don’t make fun of my singing because it makes me feel bad. 😦 And try not to be a jerk or mean for no reason and don’t be racist either! I only like nice and happy comments. ^^

Sounds reasonable to me.

Notice how both girls used Asian poses. Members of these sites will probably be very happy.

Edit/Update:

If you want to want to learn the dance (since it’s so difficult ), there’s a tutorial on YouTube:

Hmm, within hours of my posting, somebody took down all of the Goo Ha-ra videos. Looks like someone is trying to hide the embarrassing footage. Oh, well, they succeeded, as least temporarily, though someone might find it again later.

October 20, 2009

Lawmaker: “[T]he number of sexual crimes committed by [foreigners] is rapidly increasing.”

Filed under: crime, multicultural society, xenophobia — extrakorea @ 12:49 am

According to the Korea Herald and Times, a lawmaker, Representative Woo Yoon-keun has stated, “Along with the crime rate of foreigners, the number of sexual crimes committed by them is rapidly increasing,” said the lawmaker. This is despite the fact that he himself cited statistics that show that foreigners have a lower conviction rate than Koreans, 40% vs. 45%, respectively. According to him, that just means that foreigners need to be more targeted and more heavily punished.

“The government should come up with preventive measures to the increasing sex crimes committed by expatriates.”

“The police and prosecution should punish them strictly, while taking measures for prevention.”

Here’s a radical idea: How about punishment-that-fits-the-crime for all sexual offenders, regardless of whether they are Koreans or non-Koreans? Here are some articles to bring you up to speed.

–> The pace is glacial

–> Few teachers punished for sexual crimes

–> Today’s Joongang Ilbo column is about lenient sentences

–> Fury over case of 57-year-old man who got 12 years for [committing unspeakable crimes against a] child

And Gusts of Popular Feeling does an excellent job of dissecting and providing rebuttals to the misrepresented crime statistics on foreigners.

–> More on English teacher crime stats

–> [Untitled]

–> A closer look at the crime statistics for foreign English teachers

–> Foreign English teacher crime statistics released

–> How to make foreign English teachers an AIDS threat in 5 easy steps

–> An In-depth Look at Anti-English Spectrum

–> The achievements of Anti-English Spectrum

–> NHRCK update

October 7, 2009

“Misuda” panelist Vera Hohleiter responds to criticism

Filed under: celebrities, expatriates, multicultural society — extrakorea @ 12:00 pm

You might know the story of Vera Hohleiter, and if you don’t, here’s the Reader’s Digest crib notes version: She’s a German woman who became a celebrity in Korea by appearing on a talk show that features foreign women who can speak Korean. She wrote a book in Germany. A Korean student read it, and posted on her blog excerpts which, supposedly, criticized Korea. Now she’s facing accusations that she’s two-faced and hypocritical. However, now she is finally responding to these criticisms.

In the book, Hohleiter touches upon sensitive topics such as Korea’s excessive drinking culture, Korean fathers who become mere providers of money for their families, the irrational nationalism common in Korea, and the inability of many Korean men to be open with their emotions — which she uses her mostly detached boyfriend as an example throughout the book.

(emphasis mine)

The brouhaha surrounding the few excerpts would seem to actually prove the point of irrational nationalism, would it not?

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