As most of you probably know, there is a portion of the online community in South Korea that loves nothing better than the chance to rant away — from behind the safety of their computer screen — against English teachers who sleep with Korean women or do drugs or are unqualified (but mostly, the ones who sleep with Korean women). For background, see The Marmot on English Spectrum-gate and Gusts of Popular Feeling on the history of scapegoating English teachers. One of the leading internet forums for these keyboard warriors is Anti-English Spectrum. Let’s look at its statement of purpose:
Until the degradation of Korean women by English Spectrum is ended, we are the voice of the common citizens of the Republic of Korea. Each and every one of us dreams of a better future and is busy working for it. One day, our anger overflowed, as we felt unendurable humiliation through reading of the debasement of Korean women by the arrogant, infamous English Spectrum. We gathered here through our seething consciences, our “active consciences”, which could not stand this. A heart which could hear of this evil work and yet be able to endure it is a heart already shriveled up and died. Bothered by this, and gathering our power together, our consciences would not allow us to overlook this tragic story as if we were looking across a river. We are aware that loving your country does not only mean taking up arms and fighting in a war. Against illegal, low-quality English instructors who prevent our land from learning English and against English Spectrum, who debased and degraded the image of Korean women to that of one country’s filthy national brand — this is our strong fight! We know well what a long and difficult journey this will be for the country we love. We gather here to do two things for that journey. Anger at the arrogant English Spectrum, alive and well as ever despite criticism for its debasement of Korean women, and the expulsion of illegal, low-quality English instructors. The small but powerful country, the Republic of Korea! We are Anti-English Spectrum, fighting for justice for a land whose heart is not yet shriveled up. Our work holds meaning for our country and our society. We do it together! This is the citizens’ movement for the expulsion of illegal foreign language teachers.
Strong words. But let me tell you, I look every week for any story with a credible accusation of sexual assault against an ESL teacher, and there are none (having fun at a nightclub doesn’t count). Meanwhile, Mr. Choi, the owner of an English hagwon in Guri, is serving 18 months in prison for beating and raping a woman who accidentally stumbled into his room in a nightclub. I certainly hope that Anti-English Spectrum will be all over this real violation of a Korean woman by a member of the ESL industry – oh wait, what am I saying.