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  • Frozencat99
  • The Legend

    • 2096

    • October 09, 2011, 04:31:36 pm
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Opportunities to Get Involved in Social Justice?
« on: November 27, 2011, 10:13:22 pm »
So I searched the forums for a social justice/activism topic and didn't find one, so I apologize if this is a common topic or something -- it seems as if it would be.

I'm a pretty politically active person back home and I've really found that being in South Korea has put some constraints on what I'm able to do. I'm essentially limited to signing the infrequent e-petition, or to sharing videos/links on my Facebook, so I've kind of been in a slump regarding my lack of involvement here. I am aware (or so I've been told) that it is a breach of contract to actively protest against the Korean government, which is pretty understandable in my opinion, so that isn't what this topic is geared toward. However, I've been having trouble locating any real volunteer opportunities or political campaigns [sans protesting] that aren't in Seoul or Busan.

Basically, I have a few questions for fellow Waygookers:

1) Do you have any issues that you really follow?
2) Do you know of any opportunities that are prevalent across Korea, like orphanages or something similar?
3) How has being in Korea changed your ability to follow your important issues, or to get/stay involved in social justice?

Serious note: I really, really don't want any political debates to start from this topic, or from answering number 1. Religious issues and politics are really personal things and can easily start flame wars/troll wars... please don't do that. Its against the TOS and this could be a valuable information topic for people looking to get or stay involved with volunteering/social justice.
Beware the Homosexual Industrial Complex -- http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/mon-june-17-2013/left-behind

You can leave your heterophobia behind.


Re: Opportunities to Get Involved in Social Justice?
« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2011, 09:19:43 am »
As far as I know, it's (generally) only a breach of contract for public school teachers.  Nonetheless, it is a violation of immigration regulations (assuming you're not Korean; I'm not sure about F-5 holders).  It seems that all political activity, not just protesting, is banned.

http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Immigration_Control_Act_of_South_Korea#CHAPTER_IV_SOJOURN_AND_DEPARTURE_OF_FOREIGNERS

"Article 17 (Sojourn and Activity Scope of Foreigners)
    (1) Any foreigner may sojourn in the Republic of Korea within the limit of his status of sojourn and period of sojourn.
    (2) No foreigner sojourning in the Republic of Korea shall engage in any political activity with the exception of cases as provided by this Act or other statutes[1]
    (3) If a foreigner sojourning in the Republic of Korea is engaged in any political activity, the Minister of Justice may order him in writing to suspend such activity or may take other necessary measures. "

I wouldn't mess with it.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2011, 09:21:19 am by justanotherwaygook »
C is for cookie, that's good enough for me.


  • Sara
  • Featured Contributor

    • 702

    • September 01, 2010, 08:58:35 am
    • Chungcheongbukdo
Re: Opportunities to Get Involved in Social Justice?
« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2011, 10:28:05 am »
Let's get away from political activism and talk about volunteering.

I have a few friends who volunteer to teach English at the orphanages in Mokpo, Suncheon and Gwangju. I don't live close enough to these places to visit on the regular so instead I donate money. During December the Mokpo orphanage does an event where you can "adopt a child" to buy presents for Christmas. If you'd like, I can pass on the link to the Facebook event when it becomes available. Other than that I've heard of people volunteering at animal shelters with mixed results. I'm not sure what's available in your area but I'm sure a local Korean can help you find some volunteering opportunities.


  • woman-king
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1159

    • October 18, 2010, 03:56:29 pm
    • Gyeonggi
Re: Opportunities to Get Involved in Social Justice?
« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2011, 10:31:16 am »
Wow, I'd somehow missed that ban on political activity.   :o

I am pretty sure we can do unpaid volunteer work though, right?  I know of at least one group in Seoul that exists to support the migrant Pakistani population and I've known foreigners who got involved with that.  Not activism per se but I feel like volunteering with an NGO is still within that general realm of interest.

I think there is also at least one thread on Waygook.org about volunteering in orphanages in Korea, and I have had friends get involved with North Korean refugees as well, which could be pretty interesting and certainly a unique opportunity.  I don't have any really helpful specifics though.


Re: Opportunities to Get Involved in Social Justice?
« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2011, 11:06:37 am »
Technically volunteering is even illegal without proper permission.
http://www.worldvolunteerweb.org/news-views/viewpoints/doc/volunteering-isnt-so-simple.html

That being said, I know of foreigners (on this board and Dave's) that have gotten a letter of permission from their principal and submitted it to immigration.  Then, you're good to go.
C is for cookie, that's good enough for me.


  • fwilsie
  • Veteran

    • 80

    • November 03, 2011, 03:34:20 pm
    • 창녕
Re: Opportunities to Get Involved in Social Justice?
« Reply #5 on: November 28, 2011, 02:49:50 pm »
Orphanages often have lots of opportunities to get involved. I used to volunteer, along with a friend, as a snack provider once a month. We would bring in a snack the first Saturday of the month, serve the kids, and then hang out with them for a while.

We also took on a pair as "our kids", in a way, and provided some some nice things and some regular things they needed. We would also take them out for a meal and then shopping every few months.

It's possible to get involved, but can take a bit a effort to get heavily involved. We had to go through a lot to get to do this. However, there were also larger groups that would go in and spend time with the kids from a church group that had already established themselves so any individual could join them as a one off event or for each time if they wanted.


  • Hoosier_Jedi
  • Expert Waygook

    • 859

    • April 08, 2011, 01:56:38 pm
    • Icheon
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Re: Opportunities to Get Involved in Social Justice?
« Reply #6 on: November 28, 2011, 02:49:51 pm »
Two questions.

1.
Quote
Social Justice
What does that mean?

I can't speak for the OP, but the people I've seen tossing around the term elsewhere on the net basically use "social justice" as their reason for lecturing strangers about how racist, misogynist and genreally guilty of various -isms they are.

That tends to go about as well as you'd expect.  :(


  • Frozencat99
  • The Legend

    • 2096

    • October 09, 2011, 04:31:36 pm
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Re: Opportunities to Get Involved in Social Justice?
« Reply #7 on: November 28, 2011, 03:21:38 pm »
Dodging the chastising responses, I most certainly wouldn't mind a link to any of the orphanage events you could link me to. My prinicpal is fairly connected with an orphanage in a nearby city, and we have an orphan at the school who lives at the church in town, so it'd be easy enough for me to get the formalities out of the way. @Sara specifically, please do link me when you can.

I was wary of political activism while here, at least as it pertains to Korea (I don't do participate in any of the internal politics, like getting x legalized/prohibited in Korea). Any political actvity seems fairly vague, though if it is stretched to mean any political activity worldwide, I'd be interested in how they enforce that (and about what issues they intervene with).

Social justice is about more than lecturing people and I don't really need to deal with people who are just being difficult for the sake of an argument.

Another thing of note to others: its extremely hard to not be perceived as a credit card fraud, haha. I tried donating $30 to one of the campaigns GetUp! Australia is currently running. As it turns out, using a Canadian credit card with an Ontario billing address in South Korea to donate to an Australian campaign set off a red flag  :laugh:. At least I know I'm safe.
Beware the Homosexual Industrial Complex -- http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/mon-june-17-2013/left-behind

You can leave your heterophobia behind.


  • Sara
  • Featured Contributor

    • 702

    • September 01, 2010, 08:58:35 am
    • Chungcheongbukdo
Re: Opportunities to Get Involved in Social Justice?
« Reply #8 on: November 28, 2011, 09:02:16 pm »
Busan Trap, Neuter, Release Program - www.facebook.com/events/276998255661745
This group catches feral cats and fixes or rehomes them. I wish they would do this in my town, more specifically right around my dumpster!

Mokpo Orphan Christmas Gift Drive - www.facebook.com/events/251523034906607
You can "adopt" an child for Christmas. I've participated in this program before but I'm starting to have second thoughts after I learned a bit more about the Korean orphanage system. Some of the children are indeed orphans but some of the kids are put in there like it's some sort of state run boarding school. Apparently the terrible parents pay for their children to stay there because they are too busy or can't deal with their kids. I would never blame the children for this so I'm still happy to donate my time but I will no longer be donating money.

Korean Kids and Orphanage Outreach Mission - kkoom.org
This is an organization formed to help disadvantaged children and young adults. Some of the programs include virtual English tutoring, job interview preparation and job training. 

List of Animal Organizations in Korea on ARK - http://www.animalrescuekorea.org/links/browselinks.php?c=4
This comprehensive list contains websites and some contact information.


Re: Opportunities to Get Involved in Social Justice?
« Reply #9 on: November 29, 2011, 12:58:15 am »
I don't think this counts as "social justice", but I volunteer my time to bring people together. I'm a Meetup group organizer. I plan and host various events and trips to help people meet each other. You're more than welcome to help me out whenever you want.  ;)  :D

Bringing people together has always been my, and my group's, number 1 goal; however, being an organizer has really opened my eyes to some unsettling practices of large, for-profit travel clubs/meetups geared towards foreigners. These groups and most of their trips are, to put it simply, complete rip-offs. They often have great-looking discounts on the trip's activities, but then they they overcharge you on the transportation and accommodation, by as much as 20,000 won! I know that at least one popular group has been accused of banning members for writing negative reviews of events on that group's Meetup site, exposing the real prices of events, or causing any kind of negative publicity for that group. So instead of responding to criticism and maybe taking steps to resolve issues, this group's organizers just sweeps it all under the rug so that they can make more money.

So now part of my "cause" is to warn foreigners about these groups, help people make informed decisions, and encouraging and giving advice to foreigners about traveling and enjoying Korea on their own. I really hope that my example (a foreigner organizing a large non-profit meetup/travel group) can show other foreigners that for the most part, there's really no need to pay anyone to show you around Korea. If I can do it, any foreigner can! Us non-profit organizers (I'm not the only one) are really only here to help you find other people so you don't have to go somewhere alone.

So before signing up for any organized event or trip, including the ones I organize, do your research about the venue/destination! And remember, just because a price for a certain trip would be reasonable in the West, doesn't mean it's not a rip-off in Korea. This ain't back home! (and by the way, chartered bus transportation is actually quite cheap here in Korea!)

If you ever want free advice about stuff to do in/around Seoul, traveling around Korea and/or how to get your own discounts, feel free to PM me anytime! I don't know everything about every destination in Korea, but I'm happy to share what I do know!


  • Frozencat99
  • The Legend

    • 2096

    • October 09, 2011, 04:31:36 pm
    more
Re: Opportunities to Get Involved in Social Justice?
« Reply #10 on: November 29, 2011, 07:48:34 pm »
sally, I'd certainly consider that a form of social justice. You're fighting corrupt practices and encouraging ethical ones for a needed service. I might PM you in the near future for information about tour groups, seeing as I was about to jump headfirst into a Jeju trip.
Beware the Homosexual Industrial Complex -- http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/mon-june-17-2013/left-behind

You can leave your heterophobia behind.


  • teamusa
  • Explorer

    • 5

    • March 04, 2012, 10:20:04 pm
    • South Korea
Re: Opportunities to Get Involved in Social Justice?
« Reply #11 on: May 08, 2012, 07:38:41 am »
Negotiate your contract, fight to have your classes taught the way you want.  Fight to have corn removed from pizza.  You will be a national hero one day.