Crane Climbing in Gwangju

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The Babying Effect of E-2 Visas

One of the things that bothered me about working the hagwon pole on an E-2 visa was the feeling like I had just replaced my mom’s succor for my hagwon’s.  (By the way, my lithe agassi therapist recommended using the past tense when talking about work because it will keep me focused on ditching this occupation before year’s end.)  Anyway, for a few years I had a Korean single-mom as a boss and sometimes she seemed unpleasantly motherly.  She paid my rent.  She provided my phone.  She prepared comestibles for dinner.  She controlled my daily schedule.  She called in an quasi-nurse whenever I got too sick to go to work.  I English-babysitted her kids like they were my siblings.  It was like being a teenager again and it stunted my growth for the first few years I was here.

The E-2 Entertainer before me was in a similarly infantile state when I showed up.  She didn’t know how to use the copy machine (all in Korean), so everything had to be done for her.  If one of her students hadn’t brought the materials to class and nobody was in the office to make her a copy of the pages, she’d have to pull one of the teachers out of class to do her bidding.  And everyone was okay with this.  I inherited this low expectation but quickly found it distasteful.  So I learned to make the photocopier hum on command.  I also got my own phone.  Then a car.  These were baby steps toward independence.

The great leap forward was when I got a studio apartment, which was like cutting my own umbilical cord.  It came with risks, definitely, but it came in handy when I decided it was time to take a break and ride the D-10 pink Cadillac.  That was the first time I had actually been independent.  No help from parents back home; no help from a surrogate hagwon mommy or daddy.  There was something liberating about not living on anyone else’s earnings, being free to suffer the consequences of my own stupidity, and having no one around to blame but myself.  That first taste still lingers sweet on my tongue.  Now I can’t get enough of it.

There are people fifteen years my senior here in Korea who are still in full infantile mode.  It’s pathetic but that’s the nature of the beast.  It’s a babying culture.  Some waegs get married here and complete the triple-teat somersault from their mommies’ breasts, to their hagwons’ largess, to the protection of their new parents-in-law.  Cars, jobs, and even sometimes apartments get handed down—a veritable free lunch in exchange for signing a lifetime contract working the TEFL pole in this ashen labor camp of a country.  I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge my long-fermenting animus toward it all.  Let it burn.

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Hilltop Hovel, Gwangju

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Tourette’s Fashion

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Makeup Meetup™

The amount of gumption and enterprise tucked away in the grimiest, most smegmatic furrow on my pendulous pair is enough to yield at least three start-ups.  That’s why there’s no place more deserving of my inventive fortitude than Korea, a land so advanced that even the future yearns to visit.  In this post I’ll let you in on my latest venture, which is the intangible product of my last bowel movement, just to show you how easy it is for me to wrap my head eight times around a difficult problem.

Feel free to take offense.

It’s called Makeup Meetup™ and it involves setting up an innocuous, transparent venue for people to get together and exchange tips about makeup.  The catch is that only novices are allowed to apply, so this leaves out those know-it-all 20-somethings and—blech—any dinosaurs over 30 who’ve been wearing makeup forever.  With them eliminated, the only people left wearing makeup at a novice level are, you guessed it, teens and ajeossis.

Through our patented matchmaking process, we pair off one teen with a sugarajeossi so they can discuss their mutual failure to skillfully apply makeup, or any other topic that might interest them, in private.  Any one of our Makeup Motels™ throughout the country will do.  But don’t think it’s a trivial market!  After 30-year-olds and farmers, pedophiles the incipiently-inclined are the next largest group eager to find dates on this most precocious of peninsulas.  That turbulent swell of public interest you’re about to feel in the coming weeks will be from the titanic displacement my concept makes in the Korean matchmaking market.  Be prepared.

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Sajik Park Observation Tower Open in Gwangju

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Who The Fuck Do These Foreigners Think They Are?

These foreign English teachers are a real peculiar pain in the ass, lemmetellya.  Who do they think they are?  They touch down in this bountiful vulva of economic prosperity and opportunity—our country—and immediately start yammering about their “””rights””” and about “””respecting the contract””‘ blah, blah, blah.  The old “Gee, this isn’t what I signed up for!” sphinctertalk.  They’re so self-centered!  Where’s their show of sincere commitment to satisfying my every whim?  How come they aren’t picking up on Korean telepathy?  Agape stares are all I see when my clear-as-mud grunts fail to convey my directives to these mouth-breathers.  Why don’t any of them bother to read the unwritten norms inscribed in our world-bestriding cultural tapestry?  It’s all so crajeee.

These people were all dropped on their heads as kids or something.  They want to do things like go home at the exact time when their contracts say they finish work.  Who ever heard of such an autistic work ethic?  So literal.  So blind to the inscrutable complexity of our superlative mores.  In our country, we dig holes well into the night after the boss is gone and then fill them back up only once we think it’s safe.  Now that’s work ethic!  Even though the last few hours are spent doing pantomime labor, those hours could potentially be spent really working if business one day picked up.  So we’ll stick to the same sitting schedule until we can make that magic happen.  Don’t want my workers to be soft when that time comes.  I don’t get why the rest of the world hasn’t caught on to the Korean style of iron-bottomed work-for-show, but they’re missing out.  That’s why the rest of the world still isn’t Korea.  Figures—the idiots.

And the telepathy thing, it’s not that hard to pick up.  It takes five minutes.  Why do I always have to spell it out for them when they are in my employ?  It’s stress, you fools.  Stress.  That sudden surge of pounds per square inch within your head whenever the dynamism of Korean leadership shits minute-to-minute vicissitudes all over your expectations—that’s Korean telepathy.  It’s your direct wire to the inner hive telling you what to do, what to feel, and how to cope.  “But that doesn’t even make any sense, Mr. Kim!”  More queerlipped quibbles!  Cretins, if you feel stress from our dynamic dynamism, then you’re already doing things the Korean way!  There’s nothing more to it!  Mutual stress = Korean telepathy.  Just feel it burn and swallow.  Kill yourselves if you must.  That’s how it’s done.  Can the concept be any clearer?

But Mr. Kim, details!”  It’s always details with these snowflakes.  We Northeast Asians are verb people.  We’re big picture.  Cosmic, unseen forces and stuff.  But they’re all about nouns and objects.  Particulars and concrete distinctions.  It makes me crajeee.  When I give a simple command, they can’t just do it.  It’s “But Mr. Kim, who, what, when, where, why, and how?”  Fucking hayseeds!  Again, lemme read Article V, Section B, Stipulation iii from the unwritten constitution on how Korea works: I tell you what to do as vaguely as possible and then you do it.  If you do it right, I take it for granted and then absorb any credit under the pretense of strong leadership.  Do it wrong, and I blame you for everything.  After all, you did it wrong!  That’s the Korean way, dummies!

Why do I have to spend my days parrying their incessant inquiries for specifics? Sometimes I think they’re just retarded.  That’s what they get for having ancestors who grew wheat instead of rice.

Another thing these people do plain wrong is eat.  Whoever thought entire continents could be full of people who don’t understand how eating on the job works?  This one loser I hired got all crotchety when I scheduled nine classes in a row before giving him a dinner break twenty minutes before work was over.  “Oh, Mr Kim.  That’s not right.  The contract says at least thirty minutes for dinner, cock, ballz, mouth.”  He should have been glad that there was any stale, mulch-favored MSG waiting for him at all.  And then he sits there eating all tight-lipped.  Like it’s a fucking funeral dinner.  I didn’t hear a single lipsmack the entire meal.  Don’t these barbarians know that the full taste of food doesn’t come out unless you aerate it once it’s all covered with slobber?  It’s ancient Korean culinary wisdom.  We eat food like the French drink wine.

And then there are furloughs.  Fucking foreigners and furloughs!  They’ll never understand our culturally patented furlough process.  They say, “Oh, Mr. Kim!  The last three hours of work are spent doing nothing!  Why don’t we all just go home once work is finished?”  I know, I know.  Foreigner logic alert.  But it gets better.  “Mr. Kim!  If the academy is hemorrhaging students, then we should close up early to save on utilities!”  Unbelievable. These armchair managers think they’ve got it all figured out.  Just because an academy loses a third of its students doesn’t mean we can go home like the wheatheads do in their wasteful furlough system.  When business goes down, we make our employees do more cubicle charades for the same amount of money.  We do this by ginning up free reinforcement classes for an ever-shrinking student body.

But Mr. Kim!  Now I’m just spending three hours cooped up in a classroom with a single student!  And he’s your son!”  Someone slip Einstein a noose.  Unless he becomes a boss himself one day, he’ll never get that this is what makes paying wages in bulk so much better than paying them by the hour.  You own your peons’ time whether there’s work to do or not, so if you want to stick each of them in a room for hours every week with the last bipolar spergtard willing to pay for the luxury, feel free.  The feeling of owning your cubicle farmhands’ idle time and then filling that time with bullshit make-work purely out of spite is intoxicating, lemmetellya.

This is why I practically catapult out of bed every morning.  It’s Folgers in my cup.

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