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  • alexrathy
  • Adventurer

    • 41

    • August 28, 2009, 01:39:22 pm
    • Suncheon
Backlash, the Anti-English Spectrum, etc.
« on: December 11, 2009, 03:21:06 pm »
Hi everyone,

I came across this link today posted by a friend and fellow English teacher in Suncheon and thought everyone might want to give it a look/listen:

http://www.cbc.ca/thecurrent/2009/200912/20091210.html

If you scroll about halfway down the page, there's a radio program from the CBC that highlights some problems foreign teachers have been having in Korea over recent years. In particular, it touches upon the questionable reasoning and motives behind forcing expats to submit to HIV and drug tests before beginning work, rising nationalistic/xenophobic attitudes and actions exhibited by some Koreans, and most alarmingly the stalking of English teachers by a group calling itself the Anti-English Spectrum. Apparently, there have been death threats/warnings for this Christmas season, as well as the promise that they will attempt to pour hydrochloric acid on any foreign teachers they see.

I do not mean to post this to cause fear or panic or create any sort of anti-Korean backlash, as my experience with Koreans thus and their attitudes toward my ethnicity and purpose here has been largely positive thus far. But it is something that is out there and I think worth knowing about, if not keeping an aware eye on.


  • Brian
  • Featured Contributor

    • 735

    • September 19, 2006, 01:07:56 pm
    • Pittsburgh / Jeollanam-do
Re: Backlash, the Anti-English Spectrum, etc.
« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2009, 07:28:37 pm »
Alex, I'm just going to add a link to the thread already here:

http://waygook.org/index.php?topic=998

The group's been around for a few years, and I think most people have at least heard of them. They got their start based on a website called "English Spectrum"---hence the name---that had content considered demeaning to Korean women, and since then even though they've tried to make themselves out as defenders of Korean education, their motives have been to keep an eye on foreigners and break up interracial relationships. 

What makes them more significant than just a group of racists is that they get favorable treatment in the Korean media and they have the ear of some politicians.  I'm not interested in shutting the group down, so far as they aren't doing anything actually illegal (threating, stalking, harassing, committing violence).  But what I hope this coverage in Western media does is finally give us an avenue to challenge the hatred and misinformation that is behind these regulations and behind the negative stereotypes people hold of NSETs.  Though people have discussed this on blogs, messageboards, and even in Korea's English papers, it's unlikely many Koreans have taken notice. 
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