Archive for the ‘English Camp’ Category

Serious issues spoiled by incoherent ranting style

July 17, 2012

Child Abuse camp as advertised on the Democratic United Party blog and protected by corrupt police soon to be exposed

By [name redacted] and translated by Surprisesaplenty

My ‘translated by’ claim above is snarky, but I am starting from the man’s Facebook claims and following other links.  His writing is … challenging.

A sample from various locations (1,2) on Facebook (these are from large groups on Facebook so I don’t think they are private utterances.  The latter link is to “Every Expat inKorea” which sounds like it should be considered a public space):

“Korean Conman with no degree is touted as professor on the Korean Democratic United party blog, that also names his business that prior to that time had been in the papers (Korean Herald) for human smuggling US citizens with fake visas to work for free in his illegal unlicensed English camps the Jeju City Office of Education yet again has filed more changes against this week.

The full truth is not in the 1000s of newspaper report about this illegal business 제주국제영어마을 – that it includes pedophile activity and stupid foreigners who profit from job ads saying they get bonus money for working their kids, which should have been a know brainier that that is against the law.”

A “know brainier” indeed.  These 100+ words  in two sentences were separated in the ellipses by a citation.  Oh, alright, here it is: As seen On KBS News and 제주가 보인다 2012.2.1.

Still, [redacted] is passionate about his claims; so much so that I had to dig in and try to understand them.

Okay, I’ve looked into the claims and they are too hot – criminally hot – for me!

At 3 Wise Monkeys is a good description of the problem.  Giving real names and identifying businesses , even if the claims made are true, is considered libel.

The Korea Herald has reported as much as it dares here.  Dare I say it, the reporting is as well done as it could be without risking exposure to libel.

A second problem with discussing [redacted]‘s problems are their variety.  3WM and the Herald discuss (1)immigration and contractual issues, but [redacted] also claims (2) sexual abuse of the students, corruption among the (3) police (The Herald article looks at this) and (4) a political party and (5) death threats he has received*.  They might all be true but if too many claims are stacked like this, why not add one more: “(6)And he cancelled Christmas!”

I feel there is something wrong here and that [redacted] has been mistreated, possibly criminally, but I am honestly afraid to write further.  Korea’s libel laws are clear.

This is a serious issue and I feel for [redacted] but at the same time I must retreat into snark again and say that if his writing is a good example of his English communication skills, I would not much want to hire him either.

* Search for information from 3WM… You can find this claim if you wish.

rats and badminton

January 1, 2012

Happy New Year, Everyone!

My post today isn’t about the New Year, but about two events that occurred this past week.  They have a surprising number of parallels.

First, on Wednesday night I played badminton for the first time in ages.  My friend Tom invited me to play.  I am a terrible badminton player (indeed, this is true for most team sports) but thought a friendly game would be fun.

It turned out I had an edge, a wonderful advantage.  Tom’s shoes just didn’t agree with the gym floor.  For whatever reason, he had almost no traction and I did.  To win a point against him, all I needed to do was to shoot to one side then the other, or anyway to shoot where he was not and he would be unable to get into position.

Sounds simple, right?  It did work a few times despite Tom’s long arms.  There were a few occasions where I did get him to the left side then forced him to run unsuccessfully to the other side chasing (shuttle)cock.

For the most part though, I just kept returning the shuttlecock to the middle of the court.  Sometimes this was because I was reaching a distant or fast shuttlecock and didn’t have time to aim.  Even when I did have time to aim, and tried to deliberately choose to angle the racket, it still somehow went to the middle.  Many times I just couldn’t avoid placing the shuttlecock right where Tom was standing.

Two nights later, I received a phone call from Tom.  He was standing at the stairwell on the third floor and saw a rat on the stairs.  He wanted my help getting rid of the rat.

He was surprised when I asked if we were going to trap and stomp on it. He advocated a more humane approach. Hey, I’ve been working on a farm all summer; killing a nuisance rat made sense to me.

His plan turned out to be much more fun and I’m glad we kinda followed it.

I collected some broom, a long-handled mop and a box to hold the rat.  I remained on the third floor while Tom went out a fire escape to the the ground floor and re-entered the building.  His plan was to climb the stairs so we could trap the rat between us and somehow get it into the box.

While Tom was gone though, the rat made a run for it down the stairs.  I closed the doors at the top of the stairwell and followed it.  At the second floor, I had a problem.  Did I search out the second floor or keep descending? Tom still had not reappeared.

Splitting the difference, I closed the doors at the stairwell and continued down.  Upon meeting Tom I explained things and looked for the rat.  On the second floor, we opened the doors, entered, then reclosed the doors.  We followed the hall to the right to the end and saw nothing.  Heading to the left, we checked under a sofa in the hallway.  I have to say Tom jumped quite amusingly when loose fabric fluttered out from under the sofa.

As we walked, the motion sensor lights turned on so we could see where we were but not far ahead.  Tom saw a shadow and had time to question if that was the rat before we saw that it was.

Tom bravely advanced with the box while I remained a distance behind him with the mop.  My job was to keep the rat from passing us in the corridor.

The rat did everything right.  In seeing that the hallway ended and there was no escape, it ran back at us, keeping to the wall.  It did not attack but did unhesitatingly try for freedom.

It passed Tom and I had to stop it.  I shoved the mop head at the rat and knocked it flying back to the end of the corridor: a perfect move!

The same thing happened again, but just as I was unable to aim that shuttlecock, I was unable to aim this rat.  I knocked it toward the wall, but centred it, right to where Tom was standing.  It struck Tom’s legs and he danced trying to get away in the narrow corridor but also place himself to drop the box.

This happened many times.  The rat escaped Tom and I knocked it back, usually into Tom’s legs.  He danced and skittered trying to keep his distance but also to slam the box down.  I was quite comfortable and the rat never got closer than a meter and a half to me.  I lined up the mop and knocked that rat back.  There was no sense of impact and I think the mop was cushioned enough that the rat wasn’t injured by being pushed back.

The whole melee lasted a minute or less, but each iteration was only a few seconds long so I’m describing ten or more repetitions.  Finally, Tom got the box on the rat, we found a second piece of cardboard to slip under and provide a floor to the trap and Tom carried out the rat some distance to release it.  While he was away, I relived the events and tried to stop laughing.

As a great ending to the story, Tom received a phone call -his phone was in his pant pocket and on vibrate- and he nearly freaked out.

I am tempted to catch a rat now and bring it back so Tom and I can play some more.

Tongdo Fantasia, Lion King and the pox

January 15, 2011

The last few days have been busy ones for me.

On Thursday, the camp I finally ended up working at took kids and teachers to Tongdo Fantasia.  I had fun and the students had more fun.  I’m not sure how much English they spoke, though.  It was cold, but not too much so and there were no lines.  The roller coaster ( the big one, not the children’s one) was plenty exciting if a little short.  I rode it perhaps five times, sometimes just standing up and seeing no one wanted my seat, then sitting down again.  Aqua Fantasia was closed, including the indoor portions but it looks like it would be fun in season.

The bad news is that my son has come down with Chicken Pox -I think a few blisters can be seen here, if you really want to look.  He was feverish before the blisters appeared but seems troublingly energetic now.  He and I fly out in one week to visit Canada so I hope he recovers quickly.


To cheer him up, we saw the Little Lion King.  He really didn’t care for it and I had trouble keeping him quiet through the last twenty minutes.  I could follow the plot but not recognize all of the animals by their costumes.

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This blog is nearly a year old and I still don’t what it’s purpose is.  When in Gangwondo, I wrote about all things Gangwondo, as well as environmental issues and tourism.  I am so new to Busan that I don’t think my opinion is valuable enough yet to pontificate upon local issues.  I enjoy discussing education and how to teach creativity in class, but again, I am not so sure that’s what I want here.

I will try to keep this blog going as it is through blogging that I have met and made some good friends here in Korea.  I will keep it going, but going where?

How do charter schools compare to hagwons?

October 20, 2010

The New York review of Books has an article about charter schools and the documentary Waiting for Supermen.

It is a long article and I have not finished reading it, but what I have read is interesting and might relate to Korea’s hagwon culture.

Briefly, the movie sings the praises of charter or private schools and blames public schools for America’s educational problems.  On the surface, this seems reasonable.  However, as the article points out, the charter schools are awash in money – at least compared to the inner-city public schools the movies uses for comparison purposes.  Indeed, the article claims the movie is pretty cagey about which public schools and which charter schools they use for comparison purposes.  The article offers the statistic of one in five charter schools achieving better scores than public schools and nearly two in five performing worse than public schools.

The movie seems a propaganda piece but the article, apparently without bias – offers a more interesting picture.

Here in Korea, my understanding is that public high schools don’t even try to cover all the material needed for the University Entrance Exam but expect that students will either go to hagwons or watch EBS (the government-run Educational TV station) to fill in the gaps.

It is probably a good sign that the US is taking a greater interest in education for its children.  I fear that the Korean model is an example of taking that interest too far and I wonder what the middle ground is.

I do intend to read the full article – and I recommend it to others – but need to prepare to drive to the in-laws tonight.  More later…


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