Extra! Korea

October 4, 2009

On-job deaths and injuries of foreign workers rises

Filed under: multicultural society — extrakorea @ 10:33 am

This is sad to read, especially in light of the government’s lip service to a multicultural society. As one person astutely pointed out, the government only embraces top-down, chaebol-style multiculturalism in which foreigners know their role and place, as opposed to organic multiculturalism which grows from people negotiating at the grassroots level.

The [construction] sector has often been criticized for its lack of adherence to safety rules.

No sh*&, Sherlock.

“Kopinos” (Korean-Filipinos) Search for Korean Fathers

Filed under: multicultural society — extrakorea @ 9:56 am

In case you don’t know, “Kopinos” (also known as “Kophinos“) are children of Korean fathers and Filipina* mothers. With increased Korean tourism (some of it sex tourism) to the Philippines, there are an increasing number of abandoned Kophino children, some of whom seek their fathers.

The issue of Kopinos has become a social problem in the Philippines and viewed as a disgrace in South Korea. According to Son, there are more than 10,000 Kopinos in the Philippines, although there is no official data on their exact number.

[ snip ]

The rise in the number of Kopinos is attributed to the upsurge in the number of Koreans visiting the Philippines. Koreans are now the No. 1 tourist group in the country. In 2008, more than 611,000 Koreans visited the country. In addition, there are 115,400 Koreans who are currently living in the Philippines.

[ snip ]

[Normi] Son [of the Kopino Children Association] said the rise in the number of fatherless Kopinos was a product of the mindset of Koreans who were visiting the Philippines to enjoy life but not to get married to Filipino women. Enjoying life, of course, means hitting strip bars, paying for sex and getting temporary Filipina girlfriends.

They never think of marrying Filipino women and just enjoy their lives here, she said.

But, for some Filipino women, they consider relationships with foreigners as their ticket out of poverty. Unfortunately, this often turns out to be wishful thinking as Korean men quickly abandon the women after a night of sex or when they learn they are pregnant.

* Technically, Filipino refers to men, and Filipina refers to women.

September 16, 2009

Seoul National University seems to only give lip service to “globalization”

Filed under: education, expatriates, multicultural society — extrakorea @ 2:08 pm

Seoul National University is Korea’s most prestigious university. It has 936 international students from 65 countries. However, a lot of them seem quite dissatisfied with the university’s ability to provide help and services to them. Yavuz Selim Kacara, a 24-year-old Turk who majors in economics, has quit as president of the university’s international student association.

“Although SNU talks about globalization, the reality can’t be further from the truth. We cannot even communicate well with the only official in charge of foreign student management.”

[ snip ]

SNU President Lee Jang-moo last month visited Harvard University. Foreign students in SNU, however, think it is nothing more than propaganda.

“We have difficulties in even registering for classes as our school doesn’t offer an English Web site,” said a student from a Southeast Asian country.

A Western student complained that some departments don’t provide English classes for their compulsory courses, making it difficult for foreigners to graduate.

The university scrapped this fall semester’s “SNU Buddy” program, which was set to help foreign students acclimate themselves to Korea.

Some students from Islamic countries have requested the university to provide a prayer room, but the school rejected the proposal without any convincing reasons.

They also appealed to the school cafeterias several times for a Muslim diet but not a sign of change has been shown.

Some lecturers prove to be insensitive enough to say things derogatory about non-Korean students.

“When a lecturer was irritated with a board marker that’s not working properly, he openly said, ‘It must be made in China’,” a Chinese student said.

[ snip ]

Asked about its stance over the problems in a written inquiry by The Korea Times, SNU offered no response.

September 6, 2009

Man Indicted for Racial Discrimination Against Indian Professor

Filed under: crime, multicultural society, rapid cultural change — extrakorea @ 12:26 pm

Do you remember this incident? The man who hurled racial slurs at the Indian professor, identified only as Park, has been indicted on charges of racial discrimination. This is the first ever such case.

August 3, 2009

Human rights activists helping Indian who was victim of racial discrimination

Filed under: legal issues, multicultural society, rapid cultural change — extrakorea @ 2:12 pm

The Korea Times brings us the story of Bonojit Hussain, an Indian research professor at Sungkonghoe University. While riding a bus with a Korean female friend, he and his friend were continually harassed by a Korean man, Park, who said things like, ““What a disgusting odor! You’re dirty. … You must be an Arab. It’s dirty. F*** you! … You Arab, you Arab. … Are you Korean? Are you happy to date with a black man?”
They asked the driver to stop, and then they took Park to a police station. The police wanted them to apologize to each other, but Hussain would have none of that because he did nothing wrong. So he has filed suit, and human rights activists and NGOs are investigating.

“It was not my first time to be subject to racial abuse. I have had many similar experiences. But this time was serious,” he said.

[ snip ]

Hussain said, “Any behavior and language looking down on foreigners constitutes racial discrimination originating from an imperialist point of view, which should be eliminated.”

He urged the government to pay keen attention to the issue, as South Korea has been rapidly transforming itself into a multi-racial society.

His use of the word “imperialist” is interesting because Koreans would never, ever, think of themselves as behaving like imperialists. And being from India, Hussain would know what imperialists are like.

Filipinas are good enough for sex, but not good enough to have children with?

Thanks to this translation from Korea Beat, we have the Quote of the Week:

23-year old Rose, a Filipina who married [a Korean man] one year ago, was thrown out of her husband’s home after becoming pregnant at the beginning of this year because he does not like people from The Phillippines.

She revealed her pregnancy and asked for help, but her husband assaulted her and she received a cold reception from her in-laws.

[Rose (pseudonym)/marriage immigrant: I cried a lot. I want to go to The Pillippines. My baby with no father….]

(emphasis mine)

Did I read that right? He married a Filipina, but doesn’t like people from the Philippines? Why did he marry her? To just have sex? That seems to be the explanation, since he threw her out after she got pregnant.

It’s too barbaric to describe in words.

July 1, 2009

Mixed-heritage celebrities Insooni and Kang Soo-il

Filed under: celebrities, multicultural society, rapid cultural change — extrakorea @ 3:31 am

The Chosun Ilbo and Korea Times have articles about Insooni, a famous singer, and the Times also has one about Kang Soo-il, a soccor player. Both celebrities have Korean mothers and African-American fathers.

Among [Insooni’s] other activities is acting as an adviser to the Pearl S. Buck Foundation Korea. Having never met her African-American father, Insooni knows the hardships faced by cross-cultural children. Still, she says she holds no grudge against her father. “My father was a soldier who came to Korea to help the country. I received help from the Pearl S. Buck Foundation when I was young, from scholarships to help fund my studies to counseling when I needed advice. I believe it’s my turn to give back what I was given. I look after children of foreign nationalities and children of migrant workers.”

I’m not a big fan of Insooni’s genre of music, but I love her as a person. Here are some great quotes.

“I want to be a singer with womanly charms when I’m as old as a grandmother. My rivals are all younger than me. I think young singers can be good teachers for me as well,” she says.

That’s a great attitude to have, but I hope that doesn’t mean she’ll be attempting the “Tell Me” or “Gee” dances.

“Young singers don’t know much about the past, but it’s important to understand the basics. We have to appreciate history but we tend to forget the past too quickly. It’s like standing on sand, not knowing when the popularity will fade. We are all too focused on the latest trends and when one trend passes, everything just disappears, from the singers to the bands to the songwriters,” she said.

Spot on. Current Korean pop stars tend to be Koreans who are imitating Koreans who are imitating recently-famous Americans. There’s no awareness of history. Super Junior mimicking g.o.d. mimicking New Kids on the Block. Who are these “Commodores” you’re referring to?

She added that local reporters tend to be hasty when giving nicknames to singers, such as the “King of Ballads,” “The Queen of Dance” and even calling a young singer “sexy.”

[ snip ]

When asked what she thought of her nickname “Korea’s Madonna,” Insooni shook her head and said, “No, I’m Korea’s Insooni, and always will be.”

Good for her. More and more Koreans need to be rejecting ridiculous titles like “Korea’s Ricky Martin.”

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