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Author Topic: Mannam Volunteer Association?  (Read 80275 times)

Offline Maureen

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Mannam Volunteer Association?
« on: December 02, 2011, 10:39:20 AM »
Hi Everyone
I was wondering if anyone ever heard of this group called Mannam Volunteer Association? I met a very random person that invited me to their meeting at a local cafe.

Cheers

Offline aldritg

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Re: Mannam Volunteer Association?
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2011, 10:53:10 AM »
I have.  It's a good organization.  They offer several free classes for expats (photography, korean cooking, language) and are involved in a lot of community work.  I know specifically they volunteer at orphanages from time to time.  I'm sure they are involved in more, but I'm not in the loop about it all.  Also, for Thanksgiving they bought some turkeys and had a big potluck for all the homesick foreigners.  I'd say its a great org to get involved with if you have some free time.

Offline Rootleaf

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Re: Mannam Volunteer Association?
« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2011, 11:12:36 AM »
I checked out their Korean Independence Day event back in August, which was very well organized and a lot of fun. They seem to have a solid foundation with both Koreans and foreigners, and not just Westerners either. It's good to see more involved participation from people of a lot of the other nations that Koreans seem to overlook.

However, I was a bit put off by their political stances, which wouldn't have been a problem if they were so blatant about it. At the event there was a strained play that dramatized the unification of the North and South as all rosey and spectacular. The way they so transparently pandered to emotions kind of bothered me. From what I gathered, they tout themselves as being foreigner friendly but almost to a condescending level. Just first impressions though, and I think that they're doing good overall.

Offline leejs

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Re: Mannam Volunteer Association?
« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2011, 03:35:27 PM »
I checked out their Korean Independence Day event back in August, which was very well organized and a lot of fun. They seem to have a solid foundation with both Koreans and foreigners, and not just Westerners either. It's good to see more involved participation from people of a lot of the other nations that Koreans seem to overlook.

However, I was a bit put off by their political stances, which wouldn't have been a problem if they were so blatant about it. At the event there was a strained play that dramatized the unification of the North and South as all rosey and spectacular. The way they so transparently pandered to emotions kind of bothered me. From what I gathered, they tout themselves as being foreigner friendly but almost to a condescending level. Just first impressions though, and I think that they're doing good overall.

For an international volunteer organization I was also a bit put off by the anti-Japanese racism at their Independence Day festival. They had a place where you could get your photo taken being hanged by Japanese soldiers or in a torture-like device in a prison cage and all of it was presided over by racist Japanese stereotypes. I get that the Japanese did some horrible things in the conquered territories, but you'd think after 70 years maybe put it behind you for one day and just celebrate independence.

That being said the people in the organization seemed very nice, if a little too preachy about how great their organization was.

Offline ac3824a

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Re: Mannam Volunteer Association?
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2012, 05:57:18 PM »
I recently attended a volunteer event through Mannam.  The organization claims to have no religious ties, but I've heard rumors that it has a christian backer that may possibly be a cult.   
Anyone know if these rumors could possibly be true?  Or is it just an innocent volunteer org for foreigners?

Offline iheartharibo

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Re: Mannam Volunteer Association?
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2012, 06:12:43 PM »
I wasn't aware of any religious, political or racial issues connected to Mannam.  I did their free Korean class for 12 weeks this year and it was awesome!  They are all really nice people, very professional, friendly and well organised.  Just my two cents worth.

Offline oculisorbis

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Re: Mannam Volunteer Association?
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2012, 11:36:56 PM »

Offline colagus1

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Re: Mannam Volunteer Association?
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2012, 01:44:23 AM »
I have attended Mannam cooking classes and I am currently taking a Korean class there. I do agree that the people in Mannam seem nice and friendly. They do seem to promote unity across race and religion. However, although they are accepting of every religion, there seem to be some religiousness to them. I can't explain what I feel but it just seems religious. I will continue to participate in some of their volunteering events and Korean classes but I will not get too involved with the organization.

Offline justanotherwaygook

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Re: Mannam Volunteer Association?
« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2012, 02:21:33 AM »
I'm going to enlist a Korean speaker to investigate.   ;D
C is for cookie, that's good enough for me.

Offline hiphopopotamus

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Re: Mannam Volunteer Association?
« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2012, 10:50:27 AM »
They approached me and a waygook friend after the Daegu Marathon about a month and a half ago. The girl gave me her card and invited me to another event the following weekend in Daegu. Then she asked for my number. Smelling a possible Christian trap, I told her the card was fine and was on my way.

I am also curious about this group.

Offline ave, lucifer

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Re: Mannam Volunteer Association?
« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2012, 11:02:34 AM »
Seems it's always young, attractive girls approaching people, guess they've got they've got a marketing strategy!

Offline sw712

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Re: Mannam Volunteer Association?
« Reply #11 on: May 22, 2012, 02:50:58 PM »
I would personally steer clear.

I went to an event in Daegu a few weeks ago to "raise awareness" for countries that had experienced natural disasters. Superficially, this seemed like an excellent idea. After listening to 30 mins worth of speeches, I was still no more enlightened as to what they actually do. I was then told I must buy a t-shirt for the country I was raising awareness for (Haiti), 10,000 won. No problem. "Does the money go to charity?" I asked. "No, it goes to us for making the T-shirts".

We then had to do stretches in order to be able to walk the 10k that would apparently raise awareness. When we started walking, we were told that we must stay with the country we had chonsen to "raise awareness" for, and whenever one of us went to speak to someone from another country, we were shouted at like children and told not to leave our country. We also had to stop every 200 metres for a photo op.

When the walk did eventually come to an end (and we walked way less than the advertised 10k), we were herded into the stadium, made to stand in a <3 love heart formation (only with our own chosen country) whilst a camera panned around and filmed us saying "Haiti, we love you". Apparently this video was to be sent to the country to raise morale and awareness, personally I think that food or money would have been more effective. I'm sure impoverished Haitians really want to see overprivelliged white people telling them how much they love them.

I asked if there was a reason we were standing in a <3 formation, perhaps a camera was on the top of the stand taking aerial shots? No, I was told, no particular reason.

At this interval my friends and I had well and truly had enough and left the walk.

Overall thoughts - probably the strangest afternoon since I have lived in Korea, seemed absoloutley absurdly pointless a bunch of foreigners walking around a park to "raise awarness" - who to?? Not like we were outside an Embassy or High Commission! And not only not raising any money to help these people but lining the pockets of the organisation (I don't think the t-shirts cost 10k each). Definitley had a cult-esque feel to it if you ask me, and I wouldn't get involved with them again personally; most of it felt like an excuse to give ourselves a pat on the back for supposedly doing lots of good work and saving the world.

I'm sure their cookery and language classes are fine, but from my experience I would stay well clear.

On the plus side, however, got a nice walk in the park and got to see some cherry blossoms.

Offline CellarDoor

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Re: Mannam Volunteer Association?
« Reply #12 on: May 22, 2012, 03:43:48 PM »
http://forums.eslcafe.com/korea/viewtopic.php?p=2775475

More info on Mannam here.

That's a good discussion topic; thanks for posting the link.

A Korean "friend," who I later discovered was a member of the 신천지 personality cult (more info in that above discussion thread), invited me to the August 15 liberation day event last year, and tried to get me to sign up with Mannam several times.  A total stranger (foreigner) kept following me saying how I "looked familiar" and he seemed to remember me being a very nice person, now would I please sign up for Mannam?  The whole organization felt a little... off.  So I took some pamphlets and refused to sign anything without reading about it first.

They also had a Mannam representative give me a "gift" because I was a foreigner coming to the event (a little keychain of a traditional drum) but they refused to give my Korean friend one even when she asked directly.  It was a really strange vibe.

Now that I read that link and one of the posters mentioned the 신천지 cult, the whole bizarre scenario and weird vibe I got makes a lot more sense.  I'm sure they're nice people, but I'm put off by their methods, and ulterior motives.  I'd steer clear too.  Mannam is... something...

Offline justanotherwaygook

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Re: Mannam Volunteer Association?
« Reply #13 on: May 22, 2012, 03:49:31 PM »
How do the Mannamites find foreigners?  Do they just do it by posting on this site and elsewhere?  Or do the prowl the streets hunting foreigners?
C is for cookie, that's good enough for me.

Offline marchingocelot

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Re: Mannam Volunteer Association?
« Reply #14 on: May 22, 2012, 05:46:05 PM »
How do the Mannamites find foreigners?  Do they just do it by posting on this site and elsewhere?  Or do the prowl the streets hunting foreigners?

A gaggle of them stopped me while I was exiting the subway turnstiles in downtown Incheon (my hackles got pretty raised, as it's usually the place I get swarmed by Jehova's Witnesses or Mother of God devotees). They seemed nice enough, and I told them I'd only really be interested in their Korean language classes, and thus they have only been contacting me in Korean. Tried to get me to go to some Teachers' Day celebration, but as I was busy I'm not sure what the local Mannamites are like.
Stupid Ugly Foreigner. Read it. Guaranteed to make you laugh, make you cry, and also cure your hysterical pregnancy.

Offline peasgoodnonsuch

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Re: Mannam Volunteer Association?
« Reply #15 on: May 23, 2012, 02:42:47 PM »
Interesting stuff. So, after a little research, there's a lot about Shinchonji church. Not so much connecting with Mannam. There is this person's youtube channel for starters though:

Here's some info at why SCJ is a cult, from a biblical perspective: http://shinchonjiandthebible.blogspot.com/2010/06/message-to-most-dedicated-scj-member_02.html

The SCJ rebuttal: http://scjpeter.blogspot.com/2010/08/shinchonji-we-ask-christian-council-of.html

I tried to look for any other sources confirming the SCJ's accusations against the Christian Council of Korea, but nothing came up.

Anyway, Mannam may not be as aggressively taking people into the cult, but don't be fooled. I'm sure their ultimate motive is to win people into their "church". That said, the cult itself doesn't seem to be known for anything very scary or dangerous and if you're really sure you won't get sucked it, it probably won't do much harm to go to their classes and such!

Offline justanotherwaygook

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Re: Mannam Volunteer Association?
« Reply #16 on: May 24, 2012, 04:44:26 PM »
Upon enlisting a Korean speaker to investigate, it becomes much clearer about their religious affiliation.  While there's not much info on their interactions with foreigners, it seems like their volunteer work is to gain the membership of those receiving the charity.  And the ultimate goal of the organization is questionable.
C is for cookie, that's good enough for me.

Offline jon-anon

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Re: Mannam Volunteer Association?
« Reply #17 on: May 25, 2012, 05:42:04 PM »
I have a friend who did Mannam's language courses, and I went with her to some spectacle out in Eastern Seoul.  It was pouring rain and these Mannamites were standing sans umbrellas in this long line on either side of the roadway, smiling their damn faces off, shouting "welcome to Mannam" or something. It was eerie as all heck.  Ever since, we joke around  -- "Oh I have to miss the Korean lesson today. "   "Oh you'd better not.  Mannam doesn't like it when you miss our classes.  You don't want to anger Mannam, would you?"    Can't put a finger on it, but I definitely got a Kool-Aid-y feeling from these folks...

Offline dapto1

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Re: Mannam Volunteer Association?
« Reply #18 on: May 25, 2012, 06:01:21 PM »
One jumped out of his car to talk to me a few weeks ago. Definitely got a weird vibe.

Offline Peter72

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Re: Mannam Volunteer Association?
« Reply #19 on: August 20, 2012, 03:22:54 AM »
Oh there's no doubt Man Hee Lee, the leader of the 신천지 cult, is the man behind Mannam. Mannam's own page lists him as "honorary president", and here's a Korean news report on the links between the two:


I've asked a friend for a translation of that. And there are other news reports focusing on the cult proper. Lots of pixelated faces. Pixelated faces mean either bad news or porn and sorry, but there was no porn.

Members have admitted the connection as well. But curiously while they admit their president is the leader of a cult, they deny Mannam has anything to do with that cult. Some very interesting mental double-think gymnastics are needed to reach that conclusion.

There's really no doubt that Mannam exists to support Lee's cult. Having said that, Mannam does seem to be a cult within a cult. Members of Mannam act exactly the same way cult members do when challenged and called out on their bullshit. And all these events being offered foreigners... you can be sure the Korean members are putting in enormous hours organising everything. Perhaps one goal of Mannam is just to keep them busy to aid in further indoctrination.

I've asked a few Mannam members about Mr Lee and the smiles quickly disappear and they suddenly become rather nervous.
And if this link hasn't been posted yet, here's an account of a large Mannam event in which Lee made an appearance:
http://thethreewisemonkeys.com/2011/10/24/branding-korea-how-about-culture-shock-day-with-mannam-part-2/

And his cult is the subject of an article in Handong Global Uni's English newspaper on page 3:
http://www.handongtoday.com/erp/menu_homepage/paper/uploadfiles/volume4_issue3.pdf

"Shin-chen-ji “lures believers” by ‘sending harvesters,’ to existing churches, generally through Bible study activities. Its target is mainly college students or young adults in their twenties. As their evangelistic gargets, Shin-chen-ji excludes senior citizens, physically handicapped persons, and graduates from seminaries as well as poor people. Another characteristic of Shin-chen-ji is that it has a lot of fake names. Instead of using only one name,
more than 45 names have been used to identify their churches. In addition, more than 40 academic terms, such as names for academic institutions, seminaries, or even missionary institutions are also used to lure believers."

And Lee was in the US recently to announce his messiahship:
http://www.orangejuiceblog.com/2012/07/anyone-who-is-a-believer-will-regret-it-if-he-or-she-does-not-come-see-instructor-manhee-lee-at-the-crystal-cathedral-this-saturday/

"So, his press girl called and asked me to do a write-up here, obviously hoping the great event would get that coveted “Orange Juice Bump.”  She explained that Man Hee teaches that the world has already ended – long ago – and that we are now all in the afterlife.  She said this would make a lot more sense once I hear Man Hee explain it in person.  Then she begged me, whatever I write, to “Please treat Man Hee with respect.”

Mistake.

“I’m sorry, young lady, you called the wrong blog.  We don’t do the respect thing here.”

“Well, then, please don’t write anything about him at all.”

“Sorry.  Too late.”  Click."
End

I'm working on collecting more material at the moment (with some friends from the expats site) and should have things together by Wednesday. I operate what I think is the largest site on Korean cults, so I'm absolutely fascinated by all this stuff: www.jmscult.com

And that reminds me, the reach Mannam has is really quite staggering. I've researched other fairly large groups in the past: JMS, Dahn, Jungsando, Jungshim and it's a rare occurrence when someone I know has encountered them as well. Mannam, different story. Very different story. Sure it may be something small like a class or a concert or a gay picnic (not that there's anything wrong with that), but if their goal is to reach as many foreigners as possible, they're doing a hell of a job.

And uhm how many of their activities would you consider really "volunteering"? There do seem to be a few (at least in outward appearance, but I maintain the real purpose is self promotion) but they seem unable to do any volunteering without putting badges and T-shirts on and sticking up huge banners saying so.
http://www.mannamintl.org/volunteer-events.html

Interesting the use of English banners at an orphanage. They weren't trying to help the orphans (but that may have been an unintended side effect) they were there to get photos with orphans to put on their website to show to foreigners.
Astoundingly their own website says that they believe volunteering should be done for its own sake, not to promote yourselves. The Ministry of Peace concerns itself with war. The Ministry of Let's Not Promote Ourselves concerns itself with self promotion.

Oh one more interesting connection. All over Mannam events are banners with the slogan "When light meets light, there is victory"... what does that even mean?
www.lightmeetslight.com links directly to a site operated by Lee's "church".

And the one time in my life I met a 신천지 recruiter was 2 minutes before and 50 meters away from the meeting point for the only Mannam trip I ever went on (I was undercover). Coincidence? if so, wow what a coincidence. It wasn't a coincidence.

Last but not least, to call it a volunteer organisation is an insult to people who actually volunteer for altruistic purposes. They're really a "Let's invite foreigners to our events" organization. It's really sad to see all these young and idealistic Koreans "volunteering" for a rich cult leader, and of course some or perhaps most of them have no idea that's what they're really doing. If you want to assist in their exploitation, sign up for some Mannam events. If not,  I can think of about a million causes and individuals more worthy of their time and yours.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2012, 10:07:25 AM by Peter72 »

 

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