Grifters Gonna Grift

In a previous life I taught at a private high school back in America.  One day I got an e-mail asking me to make a “voluntary” contribution to the school’s endowment fund.  I knew right away I’d made a bad decision ever stepping foot in that place.  (Your decision to give or not give was, of course, recorded every year and openly available to, say, the people who would decide if you would be getting an annual raise, let alone be re-hired.)

A mediocre wannabe top-tier private high school is one thing, so imagine my surprise that a relatively prestigious institution like NYU does pretty much the same thing.

The logic is kind of beautiful, really — our crushing tuition is so incredibly high (over 60K/year) but instead of taking steps to alleviate that, overpaid deans are going to fleece lower paid teachers and support staff.

What the deans don’t seem to understand is that there’s nothing “voluntary” about asking your workers for donations.  Effectively you’re pressuring them into taking annual voluntary pay cuts.

We really are living in a New Gilded Age.

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Division-Tubbies

Joy Division, “Atmosphere”

This is the second best thing on the internet, ever.  (But squirrel melt sandwiches are still the greatest.)

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Spring

So South Korean baseball teams can now carry three foreigners, as opposed to two from previous years.  The four-time repeat champion squad, my beloved Samsung Lions, have two pitchers and an infielder who are foreigners — one American and two Domincans.

Baseball in South Korea is a glorious thing.

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“Get absolutely furious.”

This one’s a bit convoluted, but worth the pay-off.  When an MRA tried (and failed horribly) to give some cooking advice to his fellow He-Man Woman Haters, so they could be all self-reliant in their mom’s Cheetoh-dusted basement, Amanda Marcotte stepped up with some of her own recipes.  Hilarity ensues:

Frozen Burritos of Online Dating

Rotate your burritos and put on another 2 minutes. Return to find that she has not replied yet. Get absolutely furious. Drop your pants and start jerking off until your cock is nice and hard. Pull out your iPhone and take a picture of it, to show her what she is missing. Send it to her. Ignore your microwave beeping, because you are too busy scrolling through her pictures of her laughing with friends and convincing yourself she’s just playing a game with you. Suddenly she messages back. ‘Jesus, dude, WTF,’ it reads. Pen a 4 page manifesto explaining how women like her are the ruin of the world and they will be sorry one day when they’re alone with cats and frozen burritos. Send. Wait a few more minutes. She blocks you.”

Fish in a barrel.

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Attendance Lulz

Well, at week four it’s that time of the semester when everybody’s grandmother in the greater Daegu metropolitan area spontaneously drops dead.

Posted in Daegu, ESL, Korea, South Korea, Teaching | 1 Comment

“Cameron’s hairdresser got an M.B.E.”

Sleaford Mods, “Tiswas”

Absolutely brilliant.  The soundtrack of late capitalism.

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Classroom Grifters

Apparently, “right leaning” teachers in South Korea are pissed off that they can no longer accept bribes from parents:

“The country’s largest right-leaning education organization on Thursday denounced an order issued this week by the Seoul education authority that strictly prohibits teachers from accepting bribes from parents, otherwise known here as chonji.”

The source of anguish?  Passing the law tarnishes the very dignity of said teachers:

“The Korea Federation of Teachers’ Associations (KFTA) subsequently requested that Seoul Superintendent Cho Hee-yeon apologize for publicly regarding all educators as ‘potential perpetrators,’ arguing that teachers already attempt to foster a morally sound atmosphere.

‘Given that teachers are required to have a relatively higher level of morality, we’ve been making efforts to create a more transparent culture by establishing an ethics charter in 2005,’ KFTA Chairman Ahn Yang-ok said at a rally Thursday morning in front of the capital city’s education office. ‘The overall majority of teachers are not accepting chonji [teacher bribes] at all.’”

Something could very well be lost in translation, but it seems as if he’s saying a) some teachers still do take bribes, b) everyone knows it, and c) passing a law against said bribes is bad because it hurts the delicate fee-fees of all teachers, including the ones still taking bribes.

I have no idea how to process this.

Posted in Education, Korea, Kultur, South Korea | 1 Comment

Serious Question

Where does a Terry Pratchett-curious guy start with Discworld?

Posted in Books | 3 Comments

That’s Why They Pay Me The Big Bucks

Apparently, I might be on local Daegu teevee tomorrow.

They want to interview and/or position highly staged teaching moments with us furreners since our study abroad in US/Australia/Germany program has been mildly successful.

And by mildly successful, I mean we’ve had an 80% success rate with students applying for work visas abroad.  (Students can do mock interviews with us in preparation.)

Anyhow, need to find my Insane Clown Posse t-shirt a.s.a.p.

Posted in Daegu, ESL, Korea, Kultur, Language, South Korea, Teaching | Leave a comment

ZOMG Graffiti Punks!

Iggy Pop w/ Teddybears, “Punk Rocker”

There’s something delightfully over-the-top and utterly South Korean about this story of a few subway cars that got tagged, supposedly by foreigners:

“Another graffiti artist conjectured, ‘It is likely that foreigners who used to practice graffiti art are working as English teachers during the day and painting at night.’

No foreigner has been caught by police for defacing the trains, possibly because they have left the country quickly like the Australian group. Property damage is not a serious enough crime to try to extradite them.”

Um, even the police have stated that the culprits have already left the country.  And, um, you’re a Korean graffiti artist yourself, and you’re still saying it had to be the white devils?  Also, they could have been tourists, or they could have been teachers, but they could not have been both.

Given that Korean hip-hop is a thing, it’s adorable that so-called “experts” can’t possibly imagine an actual Korean person appropriating graffitti from their favorite sub-culture.

But it gets better:

“’It appears that the designs of our subway stations have been spread among foreign graffiti artists,’ said Kim, ‘because the graffiti is being done in certain stations such as Wangsimni Station [four times] and Geumjeong Station [three times].’”

Yes.  Next to nuclear missile silos and Dick Cheney’s secret sex dungeon, subway stations are by far the the most secretive and inscrutable places in the entire universe.

But it’s nice to have a good old fashioned foreigner panic article going around the Korean press yet again.  It’s been too long!

Posted in Korea, Kultur, South Korea, WhinyForeigner | Leave a comment