Thursday, June 28, 2012

Food: A Genetic Dictatorship?

This guy is awesome! I think he makes a whole lot of sense! I remembered him from the documentary Food Inc. and a friend of mine just went to his farm for a visit. She uploaded some pics on fb and I said, "Hey that looks like the Food Inc farmer!" I guess he's written a book now called "This Ain't Right" and is becoming pretty well known. This is a good thing! Two things he says in this clip that strike me is how we have allowed ourselves to become so disconnected and ignorant about something as intimate as the food we put inside ourselves every day. And the end when he's talking about the pig as a pile of protoplasmic inanimate structure to be manipulated by whatever creative design humans can foist upon it, (for example combining its genes with salmon to create bigger, more cost-efficient salmon that will be introduced into the wild and kill all the others), will probably view people with the same type of disdain, disrespect and controlling-type mentality. In short, view people as paying consumers OF that Frankenfood. Bertrand Russel in his 1953 book, "The Impact of Science on Society" said, "Diet, injections and injunctions will combine from a very early age, to produce the sort of character the authorities consider desirable." Probably the biggest food bullies of them all, Monsanto, unabashedly said that it is their GOAL to take over the food biosphere of the planet. One of the things they are a little bit known for, (and should be better known), is bovine growth hormone produced by Monsanto to inject into cows to make them produce more milk and thereby more money. This growth hormone was investigated by many countries and disallowed because of dangers. Luckily Canada was one. But in the U.S. kids are reaching puberty at 8, boys are growing playoff beards along with their Dads, and a whole pile of other scary things linked to this hormone are obviously happening but people don't know why. Fox News was going to produce a story on this hormone in milk and a high-priced, Monsanto-hired lawyer sent them a letter stating that there would be dire consequences if the story was aired. The station chief shut it down. This is why Fox News is, well, Fox News. Then there's the Monsanto Frankencorn that grows its own pesticides. About 85% of the corn in the States is this stuff that is linked to organ failure, sterility, caused lab animals' stomachs to explode... but it's a good cash crop! The corn farmers don't eat the corn they grow. NONE of them! Well not the Monsanto crap anyway. That is all I need to know. Pancreatic cancer, mercury poisoning, brain damage... Because of FRUCTOSE, sugar we get from corn and is in almost everything nowadays, it is estimated that Americans eat 5X the upper limit of allowable mercury. Why the fructose? It goes back to 1977 when sugar tariffs pushed up the cost of imported sugar so corn syrup fructose became and attractively cheap alternative to the food and beverage manufacturers. As always, it's about the money. Asparatame is reportedly made from the feces of genetically engineered ecoli bacteria that is fed toxic waste! Now I don't know if that's true but I've had a lot of people tell me to eat shit and die. Maybe I am doing just that! Maybe we ALL are! Apparently Nazis added sodium fluoride to the water supplies of the labour camps during wartime to make the prisoner population more docile and easier to control. Also it caused sterility. They used one part per million. In some products sold nowadays there are 900 parts per million of the same stuff! And it's legal. 2 cups of flour could have a U.S. F.D.A. allowable 375 insect fragments and 5 rodent hair/feces fragments. It sure looks like SOMEbody is trying to make us more docile, easy to deal with, and possibly kill us with the food we eat! I've noticed since coming back to Canada that my reflux and stomach constancy has deteriorated. I thought it was just the kinds of foods I've been eating here compared to Korea. Maybe it's the additives IN those foods. "Chemically treated produce, highly processed foods, and refined ingredients like white flour and sugar cause sickness and disease as well as a host of minor ailments such as digestive issues and lack of energy." Miami Herald But I'm not all that worried. In fact I think my diet could best be called the opposite of what's supposed to be good for me. I eat eggs and high colesterol butter or margarine all the time. I have plenty of salty snacks on hand at all times in case I feel my blood pressure dropping dangerously low to around what science tells us is normality. Pasta is my friend Atkins-be-damned! I once saw a friend of mine eat an entire loaf of bread. No jam, peanut butter, butter, just the bread. He is a doctor now. The bread did HIM no harm and I don't think it hurts me at all either even though I eat a LOT. Oil, bring it on! It keeps my coat nice and shiny. I follow one easy rule at the grocery store: get what's the cheapest. It may be cheap because it is the unhealthily mass produced junk the corporations poison us with, or it may be cheap because the carefully produced, vitimin enriched, low-cal, high fibre, dietary, cholesterol-free, penis enlarging, trans fat friendly, heart-helping, lipophobia-easing, polyunsaturated, hydrogenated, soybean-based, Bulgarian Shepherd approved food requires a little higher sticker price for all that goodness. Not to mention labelling. Whether food becomes cheaper or more expensive when science starts messing with it is a little too hard for me to ascertain at this time. So I'll take my chances that I am losing years off my life eating what I want. Those years will come off the end of my life when the quality thereof is not so high. I read some interesting stuff about food in the National Post "Junk Science" week recently. It just made things even more confusing. One of the interesting things written about was the "good bacteria" in yogurt called bacillus Bulgaricus that allegedly prevents mental illness, sexual dysfunction, tuberculosis and scores of other problems including death by heart disease. A lot of this started from a study done by a Russian scientist named Elie Metchnikoff who said that Bulgarian herdsmen, and other yogurt drinkers, lived longer and were free from colon diseases. Even though the health benefits were found to be non-existent, with the help of the media, (and Danone fresh yogurt business), yogurt became all the rage. It went a bit out of style but has made a recent comeback during this war on fat that has all kinds of political, social, philanthropic, media, corporate, government regulator, surgeon general and celebrity support. I guess a guy named Ancel Keys did a study comparing, again, Bulgarian herdsmen with American businessmen. Overlooking obvious variables such as smoking and stress, Keys concluded that it was high levels of cholesterol that led to so many businessmen dying of sudden heart attacks. So don't quit your job on Wall Street where you rip out your hair and smoke 2 packs every day because of the stress, just have some yogurt and you'll be fine. You all remember the saturated fat and cholesteral concern that resulted. And you must remember the thousands of products and promotions like "Heart Smart", "Heart Check" and the like. At one point a U.S. government committee had some hearings on diet and killer diseases they included testimony that 98.9% of the world's nutrition researchers believed that there was a connection between blood cholesterol levels and heart disease. Well, in Feb. 2010 there were results published from some better science from 21 lengthy studies using almost 350,000 subjects that concluded no association between saturated fat consumption and risk of heart disease. The development of this fear-based marketing, and how to create a scientific consensus is fascinating reading! During all of this eggs went from good to bad so many times it's impossible to keep track. Whole milk swung back and forth like the Grim Reaper's scythe too. Margarine was heart-healthy and then artery-clogging. Butter too. Salt once considered essential to human existence is now white death in a shaker. Polyunsaturated oil was actually considered a health food and Harvard nutritionist Frederick Stare agreed with the Keys "research" and advised swallowing three tablespoons of it every day as medication. But after so many studies TRYING to link saturated fat and heart disease failed, he reversed his position and co-authored a book denouncing the cholesterol scare. The corporate action during this time may be even MORE fun to learn about. The American Medical Association saw a way to get in on the junk science. They supported the movement away from saturated fats but ONLY under, (costly), medical supervision. And long after it became apparent that the cholesterol scare was not based in good science, the AHA actually SOLD the right to use its "Heart Check" symbols to food companies. They got $2500 from Kelloggs for each of its products that sported the symbol including the heart-strengthening Fruity Marshmallow Krispies, and $200,000 to Florida citrus fruit producers for EXCLUSIVE rights to use it. Like only Florida oranges fought heart disease. California oranges were artery cloggers! The AHA got 3.5 MILLION bucks from ConAgra, like Monsanto, one of those companies that nobody knows about but you are probably going to eat one of its products today. You may be eating one NOW! Then in 2000 they introduced a "Heart Healthy" diet that got them an estimated 15 million in endorsements. Nowadays there's supposed to be a child obesity epidemic. I see a lot of the same tactics being employed here. There's money to be made! The big target seems to be sugary drinks. In New York City they proposed to ban the sale of any sweetened drink in servings bigger than 16 ounces in places like movie theaters, fast food restaurants, sports arenas etc. I smell a rat. Anybody knows that buying more smaller containers will cost more. Other cities are proposing taxes, like Richmond, California, of one cent per ounce on big drinks. For the good of the kids, of course! How about one PUSH-UP per ounce? It seems to me that all of this illustrates that people will go pretty far out of their way to avoid two things: 1) lowering stress by maybe sacrificing some work/money and 2) exercise. Kids play more video games than they used to. Parents BUY more. Kids aren't allowed to go outside unless they have a full set of armour on. Even then they could get kidnapped or killed. Kids aren't less active than they used to be, they are KEPT less active. This has more to do with the obesity than what they're drinking. At least that's what I reckon.
So in the end, what do we really know about what we eat? Probably less than we THINK we might know. CERTAINLY less than we are told. I think I'll just eat and drink what I want and what is cheap. If somebody tells me I shouldn't be eating/drinking it because it's bad for my health, I'll just wait ten or fifteen years until science/economics reverses the modern trends and say, "Hey remember that egg I was eating 10 years ago? I TOLD you it was good for me!"

Friday, February 03, 2012

The following is an article I wrote in 2005 after hearing that our Prime Minister was entering into trade talks with China. I am posting it here so as to add it as a link in a new post on my new blog.

The new post is inspired by another visit to China by our Prime Minister.

Harsh language and opinion warning.

“The Phoenix is dying, some say dead.
‘Dead without issue’ is what one message read.
But that has been repressed. Officially denied.
I think myself the man who sent it lied.”

And attached to the message was the following:

Hu? We want to increase trade with Hu? Danger! Danger Paul Martin! Danger!
The whole world has unanimously, (though inexplicably), decreed that China will be the next economic superpower and since money is so much more important than anything else, all other countries are falling all over each other trying to see who can give China the economic ass-sucking of a lifetime. It appears that Canada is in the lead. I’m so proud!
But just whose ass are we sucking here? What do we really know about China? What the hell does Paul Martin know? Here’s what he knows: “President Hu smiled and shook my hand. China is wonderful! I think I’ll risk everything and do a whole lot of trading with them.” Moron! Anybody who lives in Vancouver or Toronto knows better than to trade with the Chinese unless it is absolutely necessary. And I’m talking REALLY lived. Not led the life of a sheltered-from-reality politician. The following is why two seemingly unrelated things like trade and human rights violations not only ARE related, but they are the very reason why China is about the worst trading partner Canada could possibly choose. We should not only avoid doubling trade, but we should stop the already existing relationship until China does something about the horrible state of affairs in their country. Unfortunately, if China was to, say, raise the income level of the average person to somewhere within sight of the poverty level in an attempt to quell the existing state of nothing less than national slavery, they wouldn’t be quite so attractive a trading partner, would they?
The first thing we have to understand is that trade, business, MONEY, is not a pastime, game, interest, casual pursuit, job, hobby or anything else so humdrum to the Chinese. IT IS WAR! This cannot be overstated. This is not overstated. It is not hyperbole or metaphor. War has always been about the conquest of land and people and the acquisition of wealth. Since conventional warfare is vastly unpopular worldwide, (just ask America, the most hated nation on the earth), China has chosen the next best way to acquire land, conquer people and get more than enough money to fill a room and roll around naked in: business.
When talking about war and China, one cannot escape mention of Sun Tzu. It has become fashionable to quote The Art of War in books, TV shows, even general conversation. Here are some fashionable quotes that will help us understand better the fact that once we start the Chinese war/business snowball rolling towards Canada, it’ll be a moon-sized city crusher in no time.
The first, and most important factor in considering military conditions, according to Sun Tzu, is the moral law. This actually sounds nice, but we have to understand that the Chinese idea of morality is completely different from our own. Tzu defines the moral law as that which “causes the people to be in complete accord with their ruler, so that they will follow him regardless of their lives, undismayed by any danger”. Call it brainwashing, mind control, Big Brother, whatever, there is absolutely nothing moral about it. Are all Chinese people of one accord in the pursuit of wealth heedless of life, or danger? Check.
Sun Tzu writes, “All warfare is based on deception.” Is Chinese business based on deception? Check. And the Chinese will tell you so unless they are doing business with you.
Last one, I promise. “Many calculations lead to victory, few to defeat.” Is the Chinese business plan to economically annex Canada coldly calculated? CHECK! But as a testament to the skillful Chinese deception, (rule #2), nobody in Canada knows it yet!
So how do we educate Canadians as to what’s going on? The first step is knowing our enemy. Who is the “ruler” who the Chinese are in one accord with? Right now the president of China is Hu Jintao but he’s just a representative of the real ruler of China. I’m referring to the Chinese Communist Party, of course.
How is it that Chinese communism has prospered while all others have failed? Is it simply that the Chinese are too arrogant and stubborn to change that even when something better comes along they cling to what they have? There IS something to be said for that argument. 85.2% of Chinese people are illiterate but will they make themselves an alphabet? Nooooo! I admit, Chinese letters are cool, but get an alphabet for God’s sake! But then, I guess it’s easier to keep uneducated people “in one accord” with the ruler, isn’t it? Yes, I said uneducated people. It flies in the face of all our Chinese stereotypes to think of them as an uneducated people because everyone in Canada or America has had Chinese kids in the same schools with them and invariably they are obliterating the bell curves and making us normal students look bad. But that’s only because when you get to a country that has a lot of something you can’t get in your own country, you take advantage of it.
For that matter, why are there so many Chinese people who are so good at so many things? Is it just because there are 1.2 billion of them to choose from? I think that’s part of it, but I think it’s mostly because of that one accord thing. The goal in everything is money. Education for the kids means money. Becoming a better acrobat means money. Swimming faster, whacking the ping-pong ball harder, diving with less splash means money. Heedless of life or danger, Chinese parents heroically beat hell out of their kids in the single-minded attempt to achieve the common goal. It’s going to take a lot of money to buy Canada.
But getting back to the question of why the CCP is still in power, it’s pretty much the same reason why kids study or practice for a parent snapping a belt while hovering menacingly over them. Wouldn’t you obey a parent like that? How about if your parent chopped off the heads of two of your siblings and held the bloody axe to your neck and told you to work. Would you then? That’s a little more like how the CCP stays in power.
I don’t want to throw too many stats at you because the Chinese are so secretive about things like how many people they’ve killed today, but it’s generally accepted that between 65 and 80 million people have died at the hands of the CCP since they came to power in 1949. That’s more than Hitler killed. If they had only tried a bit harder they could have made 2 million people a year. And who knows, actual stats might even be that high.
Between 1950 and 1952 the CCP eliminated all village leaders throughout China, stealing massive wealth and replacing them all with CCP representatives. They actually admit to killing, by their calculations, 2.4 million people during what the CCP euphemistically called its “Land Reform” program. The real total is closer to 5 million.
Between 1959 and 1961 the CCP decided that China needed more steel so they forced all the farmers to help all the other citizens in the production of the steel. Crops were abandoned and rotted in the fields. This was called the “Great Leap Forward” but really it was just a nice catchphrase for “national labour camp”. It was a huge success. They produced lots of steel and thinned the population by about 30 million through starvation. Who knows which of the two pleased the CCP more?
From 1966 to 1976 Mao Zedung started his “Cultural Revolution”. The aim was to eliminate traditional Chinese culture and beliefs and start anew. Does this, (Pol), ring any, (Pot), bells, (Cambodia), historically? In Cambodia there are stories of people being killed for speaking a foreign language or wearing glasses during the time of Pol Pot. During the Chinese Cultural Revolution there was comparable chaos. Since it was harder to convince the older people of China to abandon tradition, children from middle school to university age formed the Red Guard. The purpose of the Red Guard was to be revolutionary and to stop all non-revolutionary behaviour in adults. Killing solidified your revolutionary status. Kids beat and even killed elders, teachers, relatives, even parents. Or sometimes they would turn them in to authorities who beat, tortured, publicly humiliated or killed them. Things became so Lord of the Flies insane that they actually deteriorated into rampant cannibalism. This is not a million years ago. I was alive while this was happening!
June 4th, 1989. Tiananmen Square. Between 600 and 3000 peaceful protestors were shot or crushed beneath tank tracks. Most were unarmed students. NOW how do you like that guy in the famous picture standing in front of the tank? The CCP has never admitted to any wrongdoing, much less apologized for Tiananmen Square.
1999. Yes, 1999! That’s 6 years ago folks. CCP chairman Jiang Zemin, (remember him?), became jealous of the popularity of Falun Gong and ordered it eradicated. Falun Gong is a terrorist group right? It’s an organization plotting against the CCP, right? Not even close. It’s a type of breathing exercise like Tai Chi that aims to refine the body and mind through breathing and meditating. When the number of its practitioners was deemed to have exceeded the number of CCP members, Jiang Zemin outlawed it. 3 million were sent to prison or forced labour camps and there have been about 30,000 reported cases of torture and abuse in custody. Why? The CCP didn’t like the way some people were BREATHING!
In 2002 Dr. Wan Yanhai was detained. The charge was “revealing state secrets”. What, you ask, might he have done? He was trying to control the outbreak of AIDS in Hunan Province where hundreds of thousands of rural villagers had been infected through faulty blood collection practices in CCP government-backed clinics. I suppose this was another CCP attempt at population control and shame on Dr. Wan for revealing it! The same thing happened a little while later with the news of SARS being repressed in China until it had become an epidemic.
In 2003 Zhang Bin was beaten to death in a “reeducation-through-labour” camp. There are an estimated 250,000 people in these labour camps at any given time in China.
The government of China has tried to reform. In 2005 they released the White Paper outlining how good they’ve been. No doubt to ease people’s fears about the upcoming Olympics in China. They have, for example, tried to control population in less objectionable ways. In all areas of China there are local officials, (all members of the CCP), who are in charge of family planning. Forced abortions and sterilizations are commonly used by these officials, whose paychecks are based on performance. If someone tries to flee a forced abortion or sterilization, his/her family members are held hostage and beaten until the person returns. So far zero deaths have been reported! But in a country that mandates an 80%/20% ratio of good news to bad in all media, it’ll be a while before anything leaks out. A guy named Chen Guang Cheng tried to protest forced abortion and sterilization and he is now under house arrest. No phone, no computer, regular beatings by police, you know, REFORM!
But they repealed the crime of counterrevolution! You remember the one that lead to the Red Guard, the beatings and killings and many a delicious meal during the Cultural Revolution period? Yeah, repealed. Now if they would only release the 500-600 people still in jail for counterrevolution. Not to mention the 2000 or so people in jail for the Tiananmen Square incident. Also counterrevolution.
Ummmmm okay, what about the UN conventions they’ve signed? Like the 1990 convention on the Rights of the Child. But, we know of at least one child who’s been in custody for 10 years now and is only 16. He also has recently been declared the 11th incarnation of the Panchen Lama of yada yada yada. Immediately after that declaration he and his parents were moved to an undisclosed location and haven’t been heard from since. Oh yeah, he’s a holy figure in Tibet. Shall we mention Tibet?
This year a couple Tibetan monks got 11-year prison terms for hoisting Tibetan national flags. No, there’s way too much about Tibet. Let’s get back to the UN conventions. The 1988 convention against torture was signed by China. However, many deaths in custody produce strong evidence of torture and autopsy results are refused release. Mostly because of China, the UN human rights council has come to be regarded as a sad farce. The upcoming UN conference will no doubt maintain this record since even the UN doesn’t want to jeopardize any country’s shot at a piece of that huge Chinese supply of slave labour.
And speaking of that conference, what is our boy, Mr. Martin seeking there? His plan of attack is to advocate more aggressive UN action against genocides and war crimes. He also wants to mention the Kyoto Protocol and stress the protection of the environment. Peace, non-violence and global ecology. China still executes more people than any nation on earth, they have three of the top ten polluted cities on earth and they are the most polluted country. They have not signed the Kyoto Protocol but if they did, they would dishonour it the way they did all the UN conventions they signed, aaaand pretty much everything else they sign. And getting back to the original point, there is no FUCKING way they will honour any trade agreement they sign with Canada.
China is the absolute antithesis of everything Canada is trying to appear to stand for. Yet Mr. Martin is saying, “Hey China, let$$$ be friends.” Is there anybody in Canada but greedy politicians who want to be friends with China? Maybe some greedy businessfolk. But I sure don’t. Not until I see some genuine reform.
In case you have any misconceptions of the size of the Chinese economic/war snowball as it pertains to Canada, let me bring up another point. One that Paul Martin actually might have a clue about. He did say recently that, “As long as they obey our laws…” when referring to China and the blindfolded leap of faith he’s ready to take into a more extensive trade agreement with them.
We already have a 25 billion a year trade relationship with China and we have had many years to get to know them as citizens of our country. There are, (scoff), a million Chinese Canadians right now. (YEAH! In downtown Vancouver!) What is their record in obeying the laws of Canada? Abysmal at best. And this is yet another form of the deception talked about as part of the war/business plan. They try to make us think that they disobey our laws through ignorance. Quite the opposite. No citizen is better informed than a Chinese Canadian about our legal system especially pertaining to matters of business. But as long as they can play dumb and break laws, nobody notices that they are being very clever and CHANGING our laws. Or at least per$uading the appropriately corrupt government officials to relax certain laws to make profit easier. That is until such time as they can elect Chinese Canadians to these offices so they don’t have to do quite so much per$uading. They are also very good at abusing the Canadian fear of anything that can in any way shape or form be construed as racist or discriminatory. The famous Canadian reverse racism where we treat people BETTER because they are not from Canada. Canadians don’t know it but we are actually one of the most racist countries on earth. This is the only reason any Chinese people have a hope in Hell of becoming a Canadian politician. Let me tell you a story to illustrate my point.
I worked for a Chinese college in Vancouver for a couple of years and in that time I saw half of my students. The other half never came to class. Not even once. It was the same for all the teachers at both locations. This represents many thousands of Chinese people who knowingly breached their student visa agreements. And this was only one of over 120 foreign “schools” in Vancouver at the time, many of which were owned by Chinese. I have no doubt that just about all of these mystery students worked illegally for a friend or relative with an existing business in Vancouver. When you start figuring the amount of money in taxes, potential revenue and jobs for Canadians gone by the wayside in this little deal, it is upsetting. I felt a duty to report this to the appropriate Canadian authorities. When I finally reached a human being, she promptly called me a racist and hung up on me. I suffered through the requisite Canadian government agency phone gymnastics another time and a different human answered. He told me very nicely that there was absolutely nothing that anyone could do. Nothing Canada can do about illegal Chinese workers posing as students. The Chinese had obviously relaxed this law in some private agreement. Possibly it was lobbied by one of an increasing number of Chinese Canadian politicians. Who knows? Not the Canadian public.
Another issue Martin and Hu were talking about in their recent meeting is for China to change Canada’s status to “preferred” country thereby allowing regular citizens of China to visit. But now you know that they are already coming over posing as students. Until now it has officially, but not in reality, been only businessmen, dignitaries and “students” who were allowed out of China to visit Canada. This doesn’t make me any more comfortable since with the obvious lack of concern for Canadian law, I have no doubt that a lot of the regular citizens will work illegally in Canada and break Canadian laws as well. This is not to mention all the stories I’ve heard from people at the housing authority, social assistance office, insurance companies like ICBC and many other agencies who all just shake their heads and roll their eyes when you mention the Chinese. They have knowledge of our laws, they just have no concern whatsoever about them. The Chinese behave this way in Canada in one accord, for the common purpose, to make money.
My concern about the new increased trade with China, and our new “preferred” status in Canada is what laws will China get to weaken or relax or change in exchange for this privilege. If we do get increased tourism it’ll only be the rich Chinese coming to Canada. And who the hell needs them? There is only one way to get rich in China and that is to cheat, lie and steal better than the other billion people. So with the new increased trade with China we will be importing all the least moral, (by western standards), and most moral, (by Chinese standards), businessmen and their families. If there are any honest businessmen in all of China, they are languishing in mediocrity or more likely abject poverty in China. Don’t think I’m being too hard on the Chinese because when I worked at the Chinese school, my students, who were predominantly majoring in business, all agreed with every word of this.
When you think of all the hardship Canada will suffer through increased trade with China, it makes it even worse when we contemplate the fact that without a doubt, China needs Canada much more than Canada needs China. However, one must show some compassion for the Chinese state of affairs and wonder whether or not ANY country wouldn’t be the same under such conditions. The official estimate of urban unemployment in China is 4%. In reality it’s closer to 20%. In the country it’s even worse. The estimated per capita income in 2002 was $933 US in the city, $300 in the country. The World Bank estimates that 100 to 150 million people are living in absolute poverty in China. A dollar a day. That’s not absolute poverty, it’s something beyond. It creates an entirely new Maslovian list of principles. Look at things realistically, (i.e. not buried in multicultural, hypersensitive, super-tolerant niceties we suppress realism with in Canada), if the minimum wage in Canada is 9 bucks an hour the average Chinese person can make more in an hour in Canada than a week in China. By mathematical projection an 8-hour day, (which is all but laziness to a good Chinaman), represents 72 times the salary available to the average Chinese person. What would YOU do for 72 times what you’re making now? This is a question immigration and government officials need to ask themselves when dealing with the Chinese. But they don’t because these stats are so well hidden. Sun Tzuian deception or Canadian dismissive positivity? Hard to say.
Is there any Chinese product, other than chicken chow mien, that Canada desperately needs? No. But China desperately needs raw materials that Canada abounds in. Look how desperately they needed steel back in the 60’s. Canada is in a fantastic position to bring about real and needful changes in China but we must do that by DENYING China increased trade until they change. But instead it looks like Paul Martin will decide to give a lot to get a little. The MUCH more important issue here is wiping out one of the most inhumane, savage, demonic reigns of terror the world has ever known. Are we really so sick with the money disease that we can’t see this? It appears our Prime Minister is.
Part of the Olympic philosophy is, “Olympians seek to create a way of life based on … the educational value of good example and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles.” Until China becomes more Olympian Canada has to tell them to hit the bricks and FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, can you find a worse country to host the Olympics???

“At any rate, he has been shot.
As a precautionary measure,
whether he did, or not.”

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I Think I Have to Change the Title

Well, this is gonna cost me, but I figured I'd update things here on the old blog. And the first thing I probably should do is update the title of this here thing eh? I'm no longer in Korea so Korean chronicles these entries will no longer be. I gotta put some thought into this.

The reason it's costing me is I'm at a computer cafe right now paying Canadian, (not MUCH cheaper Korean), prices. But it's okay. There are two really cute girls working here and the food is good. Speaking of that, OH MY GOD Magnum!!! The food is great here! I always forget the little things. I hope I can maintain the attitude of appreciation for the stuff I was missing while in Korea. But like most things it'll probably wear off after a couple months. But I have been eating great! Made a pizza, lasagna, potato salad, Kraft Dinner, (a couple times), smokies and the list goes on... I forgot how nice it was to eat an apple, a SWEET apple, that's the right size and doesn't have to be peeled or cut up or eaten with a fork. And oranges! They're great here! I've had about a dozen different kinds of bread too! 5-grain, 7-grain, 12-grain, whole grain, migraine, grain! Don't think I've even had a slice of white bread.

And the air. Who even thinks about air? It's so much better! I've been actually detoxing for a couple weeks. Sneezing, coughing, crapping Korea right outta my system. The water RIGHT OUTTA THE TAP is better than the bottled stuff I had to pay for in Korea. And when I look around, just look around, I can always see something that was missing while I was languishing in Asia. GOD it's nice to be back! Just look at the pics at the top of this page. The one is just a normal Monday morning in Smithers. The other is a shot of the house I used to live in. It's been redone. Looks pretty nice.

And here's
a pic of a blue bird I saw on my ramblings this morning. Pretty cool eh?

I've seen two moose, a few deer and about 50 bald eagles. The other day I was just off the highway near a lumber store and came within about 10 yards of a 6 deer. Five just cruised along but one of them gave me a look. He might have wanted to come a little closer. For what I am not too sure. But he eventually hightailed it outta there with the rest.

As for the battle of the bulge, I told everybody I'd be slimming down when I got here and that's already the case. I've probably lost a good 20 lbs. Not kidding! I'm down to 250 and am walking probably 5 or 10 Km. every day and going to the gym 3 times a week. Today after I finish this I'm gonna go look at trucks at the dealerships in town and then go to the pool for a gym and swim. I'll be back in fighting shape in no time flat!

And I have an interview at 4 today for a night auditor job at the Hudson Bay Lodge. I am not really sure what I'll be doing there but it'll be gainful employment. Something I haven't experienced for quite some time! And there are a couple massive work projects happening around here in the near future. I'll probably get in on some of that work and before I know it I'll be making enough money to save up for the teacher's certification course I wanna take. Then after a couple years I may actually be teaching for real and in a for real school! That'll be nice.

I've run into a few of my old friends here and am making new ones. I think I'll be set up here with a truck and my own place pretty soon too. And I won't have to get screwed by my boss and immigration on a yearly basis. Just the tax man. But I'll blow up THAT bridge when I get to it.

If you have any suggestions for a blog title, don't be afraid to post.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Proverbs 16:18 Part III-Immigracism

I'm on my 185th day of visiting Korea. My visitor visa only allows me 180 days. I have been forced to overstay my visit by immigration workers who wouldn't let me extend my stay because they obviously thought I was illegally working while on a visitor's visa. They can't fathom why anyone would not just come to Korea to visit a land where everyone thinks all tourists are criminals. Unless they were criminals. They can't believe I wasn't illegally teaching because I had illegally overstayed a visa 5 years before due to immigration not allowing me to extend it, so immigration did not allow me to extend my visa this year forcing me into an illegal overstay position, making me a recidivist and flawlessly VERIFYING their suspicions of my criminal activity while visiting Korea.

Me? I didn't teach any classes. Not a one. I didn't molest any children, rob any Family Marts or kill any misinformed, xenophobic, racist immigration workers with a Phillips head screwdriver then dump the bodies in the dumpster behind the Kimbap Nara on Unnam Dong road near the turnoff for Moodeung Stadium in Gwangju. That wasn't me. I mean if it happened.

I've just been wandering the streets like old Brooks in the Shawshank Redemption, a hardened criminal trying to find honest work in a world that is hostile and confusing. It all started with that little trip I took OUT of Korea to visit my family and attend my 25th grad reunion. I purchased a return ticket fully intending to come back to Korea, get a new one-year contract and move to the place where I got it. Nothing was said by the travel agent about new immigracism laws that don't allow me to do this. Maybe the travel agent just didn't know. Nothing was said by the immigracism officer at the airport who I TOLD I would be returning, looking for a new job and moving. She was the one who suggested I surrender my alien card and come back on my 180-day Canadian visitor visa, instantly making myself a suspected felon and unwittingly disqualifying myself for a majority of the jobs I'd be applying for. But maybe SHE didn't know that either.

After being forced to buy a plane ticket OUT of Korea so I could get back INTO it, I found out how hard it was to look for work, get a job and move without an alien card. Banking, renting videos, moving, ordering internet and cable, even applying for jobs - all these things are easier with an alien card. But I had a job. Nam Seoul University had pencilled me into their schedule. I had three friends whose hours were cut down to make room for me. All but the contract signing was taken care of. They called me and asked if I had my Master's degree just to confirm. I told them that I don't have one. They never got back to me and the number they had used was no longer in service after that call. THEY knew about the prevailing winds of anti-foreigner sentiment that would make hiring me a massive battle with immigracism because those with Masters can get E-1 visas. Those without have to apply for E-2 visas and as all Koreans, including immigracism workers know, E-2 visa holders and applicants are all just trying to compromise the integrity and purity of this, the greatest nation on Earth. You see crime amongst E-2 visa holders is out of control here! At least that's what newspaper and TV reports say. If they only knew the facts! Koreans are still committing crimes at 5 times the rate of E-2 visa holders in their own country. But I guess that's okay because it's THEIR country. Or maybe they just don't know!

I couldn't get a job since Nam Seoul U. pulled their switcheroo at the last minute just before the new semester started at universities and colleges around Korea and that's the kind of job I was after. So I had 3 choices: 1. Go BACK to Canada where I had just come from after buying a $300.00 ticket to Japan I'd just throw in the garbage, 2. Get a job at a hagwon, which would be a one-year crappy job, or 3. Take a few months off and stay in Korea. I chose 3. I figured after the semester was over there would be kids camps and intensive adult programs all over Korea where I could teach and make up some of the lost money from being off 4 months. And 4 months of doing nothing ain't so bad. Even in Korea!

The semester ended and I found some camps and intensive programs. I was asked to do a kids camp and some intensive programs. I chose the intensive programs at Dongshin U. in Naju because I also wanted to work there. The guy I talked with, Professor Oh, said I was in. I had the job and he would send the contracts. It was New Year's. The contracts didn't come my phonecalls and text messages were ignored and the hiring season for camps and such came and went. I finally got ahold of Oh and he said that he desperately wanted to hire me but that administration didn't. I asked why. All he could tell me was they figured it would be easier to hire somebody else. I thought that just meant someone who was already living in Naju. They didn't tell me it was this immigracism bullshit.

Then the final push for hiring at universities around Korea came in Feb. I was called to several places for interviews. Several places I talked to other applicants and knew that I was miles above the others in experience and thought I had the best chance of getting the job. Then was passed over. I called one place and asked why and she hemmed and hawed and got all mealy in the mouth lying and lying and lying when all she really needed to say was that immigracism would be impossible for me.

Then I GOT the job at Dongshin U. although once AGAIN it was yes-no-yes-no until finally at the 11th hour I signed the contracts. This was the day before my 180-day stay expired. Since it was a Friday it was the last day I had to try to get my visitor visa changed to a work visa. I didn't think we'd be able to do it because immigracism always makes you go back twice or more, but I thought we'd at least get it started. Go to part I of this saga to see that that wasn't to be the case. Nor were they inclined to extend my stay on that day. I went to Suwon Immigracism Office on Monday and was shooed away like a dog by the worker there saying I needed a new criminal record check to extend my visitor's visa. Then I called my would-be supervisor, Professor Oh to explain or maybe get him to explain because nobody at the Suwon Immigracism Office speaks English, but he just kept saying, "I hope everything goes well for you..." then he hung up, unplugged his phone and stuck his head in the sand like almost all the other Korean people.

This is how they handle things when they absolutely KNOW their government is totally screwing the pooch. Just ignore it, don't talk about it and wait till it goes away. This is not going away. It's going to hurt a lot more Koreans than foreigners.

I have seen lots and lots of Korean protests since I've been here. A lot of them were for things I didn't agree with like the mad cow protests or the Yankee go home protests, but if there were ever a time and an issue to protest, this is it. Instead there seems to be the opposite of protest. They are attempting to draw attention AWAY from the mistreatment of foreigners in Korea. Maybe it's because they are getting richer and more comfortable and just don't want to get off their comfortable leather couches and pull themselves away from their 50-inch plasmas to go out in the cold and protest. Or, maybe they just don't know...

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Proverbs 16:18 Part II

See how easy it is to "BE A CRIMINAL" in Korea? You can imagine how many times OTHER E2 visa holders have run into problems with immigration workers who didn't do their jobs properly, or just didn't care to, causing delays and ending up in overstays. Since visa dates and contract dates are almost always fairly similar, a person typically has just a short period after their contract has fully expired, to renew their visa. I've even seen it where the contract expires AFTER the visa does. Another way the "criminal" activity numbers have been bolstered.

I bring this up because this is the way the dumbasses who created this law in half-cocked, ultranationalistic vengeance are trying to cover their asses. (or in Korean parlance, "save face") Do you think the guys at the top don't know forcing everybody to get CRC's at the Ottawa office is stupid? Of course they do! But we deserve it. Do you think they don't know that making people, like me, get them more than once is cruel and unusual punishment? Of course they do! But when Canadians hurt Koreans, Koreans MUST hurt Canadians. They're trained to see things as Korea vs the world. When this happened I had all kinds of students apologizing to me. And I'm not even American. Do you think that not a single person has bothered to ask someone in Canada at the R.C.M.P. how these criminal record checks work, or, for crying out loud, FLIPPED ONE OVER? Of course that's not the case either! That would be pretty stupid.

A little history. Christopher Paul Neil.
THIS guy, a Canadian, from BC, who worked in Gwangju is the guy that created this anti-foreigner paranoia and ultimately lead to fairly forced amendments in Korean laws and immigration procedures. And it's possible that since I am from Canada, from the same area, and have taught in Gwangju, THIS might be the reason the girl at Gwangju Immigration wouldn't even sit down at her desk while I was there. I am not kidding at all. The heights to which the hysteria about foreigners possibly sexually molesting Korean children seemed to have no limits for a while. The security cam business boomed for months while hagwons and schools across Korea installed cameras to monitor possible criminals to whom their children were entrusted every day. And accusations against foreigners ran wild so long as the VERY newsworthy stories of sexual misconduct by foreigners remained in the news.

But a funny thing happened on the way to martyrdom. What Koreans found out with the heightened awareness and concentration on sexual and just plain child abuse in school and daycare facilities wasn't quite as newsworthy as they'd hoped. You see it wasn't just foreigners doing it as the TV had told them. In fact it was an inordinately small number of foreigners who were the guilty parties. But anything we foreigners can do to draw national attention to a REAL problem in Korea! You're welcome.

I'm being facetious but it actually DID turn out to be a good thing. Now, largely because of foreigners in Korea and the nationally inspired mistrust Koreans have for us, the children are better protected. And in the end that's a very good thing. The same thing happened, (or seems to happen ever 3 or 4 years really), when the first news stories of foreigners using fake degrees in Korea surfaced. News was made, foreigners were checked, and indirectly thousands of KOREANS with fake diplomas were noticed. Some of very prominent status.

In both cases the story originated because it was foreigners who were the bad guys and Koreans who were the good guys. In both cases laws were hastily enacted and amended and rules were enforced before people even knew exactly what they were. Foreigners Korea-wide were forced to have their degrees inspected AGAIN at their own expense. You see everyone gets their degree verified at a Korean consulate in their country when they first come to Korea. At least I know I did, (see top). Since then I've had to get it verified twice more and I've supplied sealed transcripts to 3 universities for verification purposes 3 times at my expense.

Once Korean bad guys started being exposed at alarming rates both of these stories faded away. But the laws still remained in place to punish foreigners. If anything they are being tightened.

The sexual abuse is what Koreans feared most. I haven't heard a story of a guy who was caught committing it in Korea but there have been people who were convicted pedophiles teaching in Korea. And THIS is what caused the misinformed amendments to the Korean immigration rules regarding criminal record checks. And I'll just do the Canadian version. You see NOW every Canadian possible criminal must get a fingerprint-based criminal record check run AND processed at the Ottawa R.C.M.P. office and present it during their application process while it is 3-months-old or less. If the lawmakers took a little time to find out what they were ordering takes at least 120 working days, from the time of receipt to process, add to that the mailing time and current backlog of requests we're looking at 5-6 months. Then they would know it is impossible. Let me splain:

There are two kinds of federal criminal record checks that can be done. By far the more common is the name-only CRC whereby a cop or prospective employer requests that a name be run through the massive criminal data bank known as the National Repository for criminal records, which is located at the R.C.M.P. offices in Ottawa. This takes very little time and the results can be given almost immediately. They can be documented in FAR less than 3 months particularly if the Ottawa RCMP office is not the place drawing up the documents.

There are 3 possible results for a name-only check: 1. negative 2. positive 3. inconclusive. Negative is positive meaning you have no criminal offenses on file. Positive is negative meaning you have been convicted and not pardoned of a criminal offense. Inconclusive is when a person might have a pardon pending or is on trial or something like that. It could also mean that there is a possible sex offender charge or what they now call "vulnerable sector" charge. In this case, since names are confidential and not released, it is necessary to conduct a fingerprint-based CRC. THIS is what the fingerprint-based searches are for. Fingerprint-based searches are NOT more accurate or better in any way. But they are considerably slower.

So since the main concern of Koreans asking for the CRC's WAS sex offenses, and they heard that the fingerprint CRC's were connected with sex offenders they said, "Okay, yeah, we want THAT!" and promptly ordered the thousands of Canadians in Korea or coming to Korea to get them. TOTALLY UNNECESSARILY!

The CRC I got 2 years ago was name based, (see top). That is what I showed to the irritable immigration workers in Gwangju. THAT was a completely solid CRC that should be honoured as such by a well informed Korean government. But it's not and they're not. The reason they're not well informed is this pride I started talking about. When somebody starts to explain these things to them the reaction is much the same as the people at the immigration office, or the advanced level student in the mixed level ESL class I mentioned. "YOU're going to try to tell ME the the laws of MY country are flawed?" And it's like talking to a wall. I defensive, even aggressively argumentative wall.

HOWEVER, I think that the realization is slowly seeping into the top officers and law makers in Korean immigration that their hastily enacted laws may actually BE flawed. But we're in Korea where the tragic flaw is hubris. These guys can't simply change the laws they hastily and vengefully enacted! That would cost them face! So they've been looking for a couple of years now for a face-saving tactic. Here it is!

Now all us E-2 visa holders are committing crimes at an alarming rate. So alarming that it is becoming newsworthy in Korea. And soon a panic will spread and things will be investigated. And this time it's pretty safe to think that while investigating E-2 visa holders' criminal activity in Korea they won't accidentally stumble onto a way that Korean criminal activity can be exposed thereby ruining a perfectly good and newsworthy story. And it can be reasonably expected that the immigration brass will claim vindication for tightening immigration laws and probably enact even MORE dumb ones as a result of this.

In my argument at the Gwangju immigration office they asked me what I had been doing in Korea for the last 6 months. The insinuation was obvious. They assumed because I had lots of free time and I'm a criminal foreigner that I was obviously breaking some laws. And since it is pretty common for foreign teachers here to teach privately, (which is illegal), that might be what they assumed. And they seemed pretty sure of it although I did not teach a single private lesson or break a single law. But much like a person suspected of a sex offense, I was guilty whether I had done it or not. The facts, if they were revealed would undoubtedly show that teaching private lessons and unintentionally overstaying visas BECAUSE OF THE STUPID NEW LAWS, and the far more suspicious and inefficient immigration officers make up a vast majority of the laws that are reportedly being broken by foreigners. But the facts are not revealed, and won't likely be which just fosters mistrust and anti-foreigner sentiment in a country already in desperate need of a tolerance infusion.

The results of all of these things have certainly NOT helped the ESL industry. Or foreign workers affairs in this country. In fact the Koreans hurt, (or punished), financially by all this silliness FAR outnumber the foreigners. Hagwans, schools and universities all over Korea are ripping their hair out trying to get good teachers. And good teachers are going home. It is actually hurting the industry in Korea. They are just shooting themselves in the foot. Repeatedly!

And in other areas, like I explained in my blog another time when I tried to help my school by splitting a large class in half and teaching the resulting second class for free, my efforts were STILL misconstrued as an affront to the Korean education system and a personal attack on the Koreans who made the schedule. I have no doubt that this kind of hostility in reaction to people who are trying to help is finding its way into other industry and areas all over Korea. I also have absolutely no doubt that I have seen an INCREASE, not a decrease in this kind of hypernationalism throughout Korea. And as the country gets richer, and as the compliments from foreign dignitaries flow the Korean chests, (and heads), are swelling to a point where they are just going to have to explode. And if this ISN'T a tactic employed to sink the powerful Korean economy by other competing nations, boy it sure SHOULD be because it would work.

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. I wonder how that translates into Korean. Despite myself I like the people here and think they are good people with incredibly bad leadership. They're just trained to be bad. And this haughtiness is one of the results of this bad training. I really hope Korea and Koreans realize this before it's too late.

Proverbs 16:18 Part I

You've probably heard the old proverb "Pride goeth before a fall." It's not just a proverb, it's a Proverb. Proverb 16:18 is pretty much the same although I like it better because it has more detail. It reads: "Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall." If you don't know what "haughty" means it's being overly proud of yourself to the point where you look down on others.

For years I've talked of Korean people and said that there is a fine line between "Hooray for Korea" and "Boo for everybody else." This is the difference between good national pride and haughtiness. For a long time I used to admire Korean national pride and wish we could exhibit something similar more often in Canada. Then I started noticing a lot of signs that it is something a bit beyond.

Signs, literally, that read, "Global Elite" or some similar oxymoron are ubiquitous throughout Korea. How can you be thinking globally when you consider yourself elite? "Elite" is a huge seller in Korea. You see it on places you might expect it like universities or travel agencies but then you might see it on something like, (and I'm not making this up), a factory that makes pencils. Again, another fine line being crossed here is that between trying to do your best and considering yourself the best. (particularly when you're SOOO not!) "Elite" is a word that will be a few paragraphs away from the word "education" in reference to Korea as long as it remains a profitable business here cranking out degrees for a price. And that shows no signs of changing. I was thinking about just this today when I saw a sign on the side of a bus that read, "Gwangju Metropolitay City". Very metropolitay. Also erite.

On the other hand you constantly see Korea at the top of lists for education. How can that be? I've explained a few of their methods before like cheating on standardized testing. I am talking about teachers helping students during the exams. And I'm sure a great deal of those lists are compiled by Koreans or at least highly sponsored by them. Their education system is shyte. You learn that when you're in it. That's why ALL the rich folks in Korea send their kids the hell out of the country to get educated and why degrees from Korean universities are considered second rate IN KOREA. Yet, Barack Obama was praising the Korean system. What is up with that? Talking about quantity I might point out, not quality, a major FLAW, not strength of the Korean system. Obama also praised the internet and trade in Korea. Aside from the internet, which is fast, (when it works), here Obama is either not well informed and falsely praising Korea, or VERY well informed and falsely praising Korea.

This is their weakness, their hubris. You have to be in Korea all of 5 minutes to figure that out. They sure don't hide it very well. Mirrors on hiking trails; girls putting on make-up an everyday sight; 76% of women get plastic surgery; men have the cleanest cars in the world; they are always upgrading fashion, phones, cars, girlfriends to outdo their friends; and the measure of a man is money. Of course this is very general, but not inaccurate. And as I've said a few other times here, there is nothing that touches their "pride" in their country. I enclose that in quotes because it is not a strong enough word. Hypernationalism would probably be closer. And this kind of intense national pride leads to paranoia, ethnocentrism, xenophobia and all kinds of hostility toward people who are trying to help. Korean pride is making Swiss cheese out of their feet. If you know what I mean. (bang bang ouch ouch) Let me show you what I mean:

I teach ESL. It's what I do. No ESL teacher really wants to have classes with a wide variety of English levels. This is why they are separated by English proficiency in the good schools. But sometimes we have to deal with the problem. The higher level students DO get kinda ripped off because they don't learn as much but it's not as bad as all that. A good swimmer improves his best time by hundredths of a second whereas a beginner might improve by full seconds. Every learning situation is slower for the advanced. I don't believe I've had a single class where the highest level student couldn't learn anything from the lowest level student. But what I HAVE had are some really arrogant, swelled heads who think they are the greatest at English and will not accept any instruction from other students. Some who wouldn't accept it from me. In my early years anyway. Those kind of guys and gals are only hurting themselves. Sometimes simple improvements in English can make massive improvements.

For example imagine the practically fluent speaker was told by a low level student that his intonation didn't match his punctuation. This could be crucial advice. It could change his life or even save it! But if he says, "YOU are trying to teach ME? Ha ha ha ha ha. Don't make me laugh." Then kicks linguistic sand in the low level students face and steals his girlfriend. It'll serve him right when he says, "Woman without her man is nothing," with no intonation at all and that girl he just stole kicks him in the crotch and pushes him into oncoming traffic. Then as the low level student stands over his body now bloody and mangled by traffic the last thing he hears is, "You should have said, 'Women: Without her, man is nothing.' But don't listen to me, I'm just a low level English speaker..."

I went into the Gwangju Immigration Oraface on Friday to do two things: 1. Try, (and of course fail), to start the application for a new work visa to work in Naju and 2. If in the very likely situation that that didn't work out, extend my stay here. My 180-day visit finished the next day, Saturday. A third, and kind of side-purpose would have been to inform immigration that there was a pretty simple solution to all the recent problems Canadians are having with the backlog of criminal record checks. This advice I wanted to impart would help thousands of Canadians and literally millions of Koreans.

So in I go with Johan, a young Korean guy who speaks English pretty well. I can't exactly remember where we started but I DO remember she stood. Every immigration worker I've ever had before sat at his/her computer. She stood and never once looked at the computer. I think Johan gave her the pile of documents me and the school had put together and she pulled out the criminal record check I had from over 2 years ago and rather confrontationally said, "Not acceptable! Not acceptable!" I had applied for a new one about 108 days before so I KNEW it was not acceptable. The thing is it should have been and I was gonna try to explain to her why. I was not being rude or raising my voice at all. The problem was I was talking to Johan and he was translating and I have learned over the years that a guy who is younger than the person they are translating to will NOT do it accurately, just politely. That's probably what he was doing. But I remember saying that this criminal record check is identical to the one that I am unnecessarily getting right now from Ottawa. I know this because I worked for the R.C.M.P., I understand the criminal record check procedure, and this is something immigration workers like you should know. I didn't say it in an accusational tone at all but it was then I realized she obviously COULD speak English, just chose not to. She acted like I had stabbed her with a fondu fork.

"NOT ACCEPTABLE! NOT ACCEPTABLE! Must be R.C.M.P." My criminal record check was ORDERED and documented by the Calgary police but it says right on it that is based on a search of Canada's National Repository for criminal records. So she probably doesn't know what that means so I say, "Okay, National means country. This is not a city criminal record check. It's a federal check and those are all done in Ottawa by the R.C.M.P. our national police. Then like a little girl she says, "Show me R.C.M.P. Where R.C.M.P?" and folds her arms, (and I believe held her breath). I remember thinking that this was getting us nowhere and that I probably should move on. It really didn't matter if she accepted it or not, I had ordered another one. Just another in a lengthy list of useless exercises in obedience immigration workers love to punish foreigners with.

But, I couldn't resist. I said something like, "What would you do if I showed you R.C.M.P? Would it make any difference? Would you change your mind?" She just kept repeating, "There IS no RCMP!" So I flipped the page over and on the back it says, "The National Repository for criminal records is located in the Ottawa R.C.M.P. office. I flipped it over and back a few times so she can fully understand that this meant she was looking at a federal CRC and telling me it wasn't. Well that just made her MORE angry.

I then asked how old the CRC is supposed to be. I had read on the Canadian Embassy website that in Korea they want it to be less than 3 months old. Johan asked her that and she said yes. So I then said that I had ordered a new one 108 days ago. Even if I had that now it would be too old, wouldn't it? Again she got angrier as though I were insulting HER or her country or something. All I was doing was explaining the problems that so many Canadians are having right now across Korea. She just pulls the first thing out of her ass. "Oh, no, SIX months okay." I say, six months is NOT okay according to my country's website. Also the RCMP told me that the current processing time is more than 120 WORKING days AFTER the receipt of application." SO let's round that off to "much more than 4 months."

She says, "When did RCMP say that? They did not. Show me. Prove it." I said I CAN prove it if you just let me use your computer here I'll bring up the email they sent me. "NO! We don't allow!" She ALMOST touched the computer screen THEN but didn't. I think it might have had a picture of me on it with the words "Give this guy a hard time" below it. Also she knew I'd just prove her wrong again.

So I said, "So your government is asking thousands of Canadians to get something that takes more than 4 months in less than 3 months. Isn't that a bit crazy to you?" This is why across Korea immigration offices are waiving the CRC's and processing visas without them. This has happened to lots of my friends. Again she wanted me to provide a list of names of my friends who this has happened to. I just said probably 100 of my friends. She says, "Show me." Boy I guess she had me there! Probably felt proud of herself. Then she dropped the bomb and told me that she was going to make me go back to Canada to get a new criminal record check from Ottawa RCMP and get it stamped at a Korean consulate in Canada.

After that things deteriorated. I said to Johan that she's just not interested in helping and we should find another person to deal with. Like there was anybody there now who would treat me objectively. She says, (and by now she was livid and saying everything 2 or 3 times like a crazy woman), "You want another? You want another? Here!" And she grabs a guy right beside who had of course been listening and in Korean fills him in probably telling him that I was an asshole. The guy instantly started baiting me. Like he was heroically defending the fair maiden or something. Because I had said that going back to Canada would just be "crazy" he leans over and says to me, "Watch your mouth!" Oh this amused me. First of all "crazy" is not in any way bad enough language to describe the ass-raping I was getting and secondly being told to watch my mouth by a Korean is like being told to be celibate by Charlie Sheen.

Now I know that the word "michin" is commonly, but erroneously translated in Korea as "crazy" and it's a pretty rough thing to call somebody, THIS was not the problem. He was just trying to get me to take a swing at him. Koreans are ALWAYS doing that! They ARE crazy! But I wasn't going to give them any evidence that I was the criminal they perceived me as even though my mouth was dryer than a popcorn fart. That's what happens when I get really mad. So this guy goes over to ANOTHER computer and brings up something and then leans over at me and says, "You are a CRIMINAL!" My reaction again was Whaaat? Yes you broke Korean law! And he's shouting this so everyone can hear and flailing an accusing finger at me. I said, "What are you talking about? What law did I break?" He says, (and I'm not making this up folks), in 2006 you overstayed your visa by 2 days!" I just laughed. Again not a good way to calm the situation.

He starts freaking out like the girl. "You think this is funny? Breaking Korean law is funny to you?" I said, "No but it is funny that it took me 5 years to be informed of it. Not to mention I have signed 5 contracts and visited immigration offices many times since and nobody has brought it up until now." and then I started realizing that the chances of me getting anything done on this day were screwed so I started getting a but vindictive. I said, "Don't you think that's just a little CRAZY?" Again, for about the 4th time he said I should "Watch my mouth." So I said to him okay where was I working then? Was it at Hankuk Wae Dae? Was it HUFS? He goes into his computer, not the one on the desk in front of me mind you, and he pulls something up and says in 2006 I was working at Pagoda Hagwon. I just laughed again.

PAGODA HAGWAN was 1997and 98! "You are off by almost a decade!" I remember the reason I overstayed my visa and it was the fault of an incompetent immigration worker who kept making me go home for extra papers one at a time. A very common occurrance. And when I got to the airport immigration and announced that I had overstayed my visa, did they want to put me in jail everybody had a laugh and told me to pay a little fine and be on my way. Dude at the immigration office thinks I'm Charles Manson or something. I don't know where they find them.

The last straw was the girl who had taken over the computer where dude had searched for my heinous crime. She pipes up and asks me, "Hangul mal chadashinayo?" I know it means "Do you speak Korean?" but didn't answer because it had no relevence. She says to me in the English she refused to use during the visa interview, "How long have you been in Korea, 10 years?" I said yes. "And you still can't speak Korean?" Oooh two points for bitchy pants! Really nailed me there! So since this bridge was pretty much already torched I said, "I didn't learn Korean because I don't want to talk to people like you." And that's the truth.

At around this time I gave it up and me and Johan went to another girl to ask for an extension of my stay. You can imagine the answer. First she asked what I needed it for. I said to buy a stupid ticket to Canada. How long. Well I don't know because I have to wait for my CRC and there's no telling how long that will take. Then to punish me for not taking the abuse the other two were dishing out she said, "No you have to get a plane ticket before I'll give you an extension." Big surprise. So after being told by the berserk guy to respect the Korean law more and being informed of the seriousness of my terrible crime of overstaying my visa, she forced me to overstay my visa again. So then we left.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I Got The Koobfaced in Korea Blues

Hey folks. Let me start off by saying to all the people I infected with either my message that I had won a free Ipad or this one, "How's it going (your name)? Look at you in this video.. What are you doing? LOL!" I'm sorry. I got the second message from a guy on my list who I genuinely know. He's from Gwangju and I thought maybe he'd found the video of me "running to the hills" one night at Stompers in Itaewon. So I opened it. I didn't go to any page where it said to download anything and I didn't see any vid but I got the virus.

Not long after people were sending me messages that I had sent them a message saying I'd won a free Ipad. Then facebook completely crapped out so I couldn't answer these people and warn them not to open anything. Then today I got a mess. from a guy on my list who doesn't even know me saying, "???" in response to a mess he got from me saying, "How's it going, (his name)? Look at you in this video.. What are you doing? LOL!"

I can't even log in or out of facebook now. I go to the site and I get just the top line with the friend requests, messages and profile and such. But there's nothing below it AND none of that stuff works. Facebook is totally Koobed for me!

But that was not all this virus did! My computer slowed down to a crawl. Well, the internet did anyways. I could still watch dvd's and work offline with no trouble at all but the internet was useless. Not just facebook. I checked the processes with the old ctrl/alt/del and there were all kinds of processes running at 70,000 K, 80,000 K, even 100,000 K when usually most are using less than 10,000 K of memory. No wonder my computer was brutally slow!

So I lugged it over to Jacky's computers. He plugs it into his internet and it runs like a dream! I don't think he went to facebook though. But we checked the processes and they were down at 7000, 4000, 3000 etc. where they're supposed to be. Of course he wanted to tell me fifteen things it WASN'T. He said my vid. card fan wasn't working, (it's new), my vid card was burnt, my mother board was burnt, blah blah blah. I told him about the strange happenings on facebook and that system restore wasn't working. In fact I told him to try system restore about 10 times until I said, "FOR THE 10TH TIME TRY SYSTEM RESTORE!" So he finally did and it didn't work. Well of course THIS was my fault too. "You must have used it too many times," he accused. I told him I hadn't even used it once.

So I says, "This is a sign that Windows is deteriorating, right?" I knew it was. He agreed. I asked him how much his Kaspersky antivirus cd's were. 50 bucks. Then I asked how much to re-install Windows. 50 bucks. I asked if a facebook virus would disappear if he re-installed Windows. He said, "Definitely." I MADE him say "definitely" because, as I've written so many times before, Koreans will say "yes" when they have no business saying it. So I went with the re-installation.

Turns out I should have gotten BOTH. You see these Koobface viruses can be deleted with ordinary anti-viruses or by re-installing Windows. BUT, they get into your system restore and automatically restore your system to a time when you had them. Then they start screwing up your computer again. Pretty evil. Who are the scumbags who make these things? Whoever it was will be recruited very highly somewhere I'm sure.

Anyways, I found some instructions online that said I had to get an anti-virus so I downloaded a free Avast. Then I pulled the internet plug, went into start/my computer/properties/system restore tab and disabled the system restore. Then I restarted my computer in safe mode, (by banging away at F8 while it starts up), used the safe mode without net support and did a full system scan with Avast. It found some bad stuff. I can't remember what all the names were but I nuked most of it. One bug required a second restart and full system check to get rid of so I did that. Then I started in normal mode and did one more full check to make sure.

My internet is running just fine now. BUT facebook is still fubared. I've sent messages to them and they have promised to reply but I think there are probably a gozillion people who sent similar messages to I doubt they'll get back to me. I hope they solve the problem though. I miss facebook already. I still wanna wait for a while and see how well my internet maintains before I enable my system restore again.

But in other, more positive news I went to the interview in Youngju and it was fantastic! The trip there... not so much. If you look on a map it should take a couple hours to get from Pyeongtaek to Youngju but I took the train and let's just say it's not a very direct route. The guy at the train station said that to go to Seoul Station then take a subway to Chongyangni and get a train south from there would be the fastest way. It only took 6 1/2 hours. I was way late. But the interviewers didn't mind too much. Tim and Michael. Nice guys. They said several times during the interview, "This looks very good."

The deal is a great one and although the place isn't really near ANYTHING, I think I'll like it. Mountains all around and I saw some fishing stores in town. But before I get my hopes up I'm going to stop. I don't have the job yet.

So after the interview I took a bus from the college into the BUS terminal in Youngju. I figured that couldn't possibly be slower. I KNEW there were roads linking the two cities. So I asked for a ticket to Pyeongtaek. The buses don't go there. Closest is Suwon. I said that would be fine. Suwon is 15 minutes from Pyeongtaek on the subway or train. So I got my ticket and she says, "The bus won't be leaving for another 2 hours." So I asked if there were any buses going anywhere right away. There was one to Seoul. So I called my friend Guns in Seoul and he said he'd have some free time after his Valentine's date with his girlfriend so I decided to go have a beer with Guns. I said, "Kangnam Terminal?" She says, "No, Dong Seoul." That's East Seoul. On the other side of the city from where Guns was. But I said okay let's go.

It worked out okay. Guns' girlfriend's father came to see her so Guns could come out to play. We went to a little bar near his house called Uncle K's. Mr. Kang is the owner and has put out a few CD's. I think it's folk music. I didn't get to hear him play but he was a nice guy and played some songs we were requesting. He also had a few beers with us. Then Guns' roommate came for a few beers and we all slept at their place. They had to get up pretty early, poor guys, but I didn't get outta there till about 11. Made my leisurely way home and found that my internet was still slow. (I didn't know then about the Koobface virus). I asked the daughter of the landlord to call the internet company because even after reinstalling everything the internet at Jacky's was WAY better than mine. But then again, I remembered that toward the end of our squabble at Jacky's we checked the processes again and they were climbing up there. I don't think the net would have worked very long THERE either. Anyway, she comes over and says I should just unplug the internet and then plug it in again. And she's saying there's nothing wrong with the internet and I'm about at the end of my patience telling her how the other internet was good and mine is useless so I said, "Listen, listen, listen. It's no-" She interrupts me again. So I said, "No, you listen with your ears, not your mouth!"

I know, I know that was rude. But I was able to explain it to her so she trusted me and she agreed to call the company. They're coming tomorrow morning to look at it. THEN shortly after she left, and I smiled and thanked her, I started checking for fixes for the problems I had and came across the Koobface virus fixes. And after doing the Koobface boogie for a few hours, taking out garbage, washing dishes and cleaning up during long virus scans I now am up and running again. I don't think I need that internet guy to come tomorrow. But how am I going to tell the landlady's daughter to cancel without looking like a heel? Especially after that ears and mouth crack. Should I leave a post-it note on my door? "internet okay. no need for repairs" Should I just act surprised when the net works fine when he gets here? Or maybe I'll just tell him what it is. Maybe he'll know something about the Koobface virus.

Buuuuuuuuut if I ask him if he can fix the Koobface virus, whether he can or not he'll say, "OH sure! Here's what you have to do..." and he'll start banging away at my computer changing all kinds of things not making anything better but leaving little computer footprints that I'll be fixing for a few months. It has happened pretty much every time a Korean has touched my computer. They can't help themselves! I swear! It's like a disease for them. And so is say yes now and try to figure it out later.

So it's good to have my computer working again. But it would be even better to have facebook too. I hope it's not lost forever. It would be nice to put a comment on my facebook homepage apologizing for passing on Koobface and add a link to this entry, but no can do. It seems everything linked to my email address is screwed. Including, believe it or not, this blog! I can go to and write new entries and edit and everything but I can't go to It has to do with cookies I think because if I go to and type in my blog website it works.

So what I'm gonna do is try another computer and see if I can access my facebook page and blog website from it. If so then I may have to make a choice again: have Windows re-re-installed or buy the antivirus. Until then I'll try cleaning my cache and disk and defrag and do an adware scan.

Yeah I got the... Lord you know I got the... feel like I never gonna lose... never gonna lose the Koobfaced in Korea Blues.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

I recently had an interview at a school where they not only wanted me to teach English but also do a sports program. I really got my hopes up for that one because I absolutely love sports. So that made it all the cheesier when the woman who had interviewed me very eloquently, spent about 30 seconds going uh, um, er, uh, ah, er, uh when I asked WHY I didn't get the job. Why is such a tough question in Korea! They're still not used to being asked. Evidently she hadn't formulated a convincing lie to cover for the fact that I wasn't hired for being too old, too fat, having crooked teeth, a long nosehair, wearing stripes with checks, or some other ridiculous reason. So after a barrage of fillers while she flipped through resumes to try to find mine she says, "Well we were um looking uh for someone with more university experience than you. It looks like you have uh, one and half year."

First of all I have only relevant experience listed on my resume. I have the experience with better educational facilities here in Korea listed there. I don't list the years with the fake schools because I am actually too good a teacher for those schools and that was the ultimate reason for my leaving in every case. To list them would infer that my teaching skill and academic integrity is suitable for those places. Secondly I have 2 and a half years of experience listed on my resume. And thirdly, we had spent the entire interview talking of my 4 years of teaching low level university students, which is what they told me to expect at the school I was interviewing for; my 2 years of teaching at a college in Canada where I did the sports programs in conjunction with Arkansas Tech. University that they were interested in; and I think I also mentioned that I had been teaching at the college/university level for 9 years.

Anyway, I KNOW I was lied to so I guess it's good that I didn't get the job working, as my friend Ang says, "...for bozos like that." But it would have been so nice to teach sports again!

Sports in so many ways is like life. I figure a person can become a very well-rounded, free-thinking, well-adjusted, moral human being just by playing sports. In fact I'm not afraid to say that a majority of the major weaknesses I see in the world, and in Korea could be cured with sport and may actually exist for lack of it. The aforementioned interview is a spectacular example. If you choose a person for your team who is popular or LOOKS like a good player and pass over one who you KNOW is good but doesn't wear the uniform as well, you're gonna lose. The player will let the team down, may ask for more salary than better players, make errors, not play hurt, slag the coach in interviews, refuse to give autographs to fans or whatever. Meanwhile the GOOD player will be helping his/her team elsewhere and you'll wish you had taken that player. One bad player can really kill the chemistry of a good team. And chemistry can make a team of so-so players better than a team of great players. It's been shown again and again.

Reporters can make the life of the person who chose this bad apple really uncomfortable. They will have to lie and they will be caught in their lie and look really foolish. Maybe if the interviewer knew this she wouldn't have had such an embarrassing phone call from me. She knew she was busted and kept trying to end the phone call but I kept her on as long as I could allowing her to either admit the truth or dig her hole deeper. She did the latter, (or course). I even at one point told her that she knows she chose the wrong person for the job and she didn't disagree. But she did put the maraschino cherry on top of her phony, plastic, artificial, business-speak pie when she invited me to apply again next semester.

Anyway, enough about that. I want to talk about sports more than my trials and tribulations in the Korean job market. The recent Super Bowl was pretty good I thought. It wasn't a blowout like so many of them are. But it had a couple peculiarities that brought to mind some of my pet peeves about sport. First of all, why do so many sports have limits on celebration? I forget who it was but after a TD catch he was penalized for "going to the ground in celebration." Excessive celebration. It's impossible to guess but I'd say about half the world has a sporting dream. It may be to win the gold medal at the Olympics or to climb Mt. Everest or to kayak down the Amazon or to score a touchdown in the Super Bowl. Most people, like myself, will go their entire lives without even coming close to their sporting dream. But if you are one of the miniscule number of gifted, lucky, skilled, dedicated athletes who manages to attain the goal and then some JAGOFF says, "Hey, wait a minute! You can't celebrate too much," and actually PENALIZES you, there is something wrong.

I mean, okay, you reach the summit of Everest and yell at the top of your oxygen-starved lungs and somebody tells you to keep it down in case you cause an avalanche, well okay. THEN I can see that the celebration is excessive. It could be dangerous. It could hurt people. But what is dangerous about a little victory dance in the endzone at the Super Bowl? Who is being put in danger? Who is hurt by it? The fans of the other team? The players on the other team? Please! What is this day camp, where everybody gets a medal for participating and score is not kept? Do you really think the players don't know who won the game and who scored the most goals? This is the NFL. If the other team doesn't like the celebration, get a TD and do some celebrating of your OWN!

Every sport's players know when celebration becomes excessive. There are unwritten rules against running up the score and if the Tigers are losing to the Yankees 25-0 and Arod starts moonwalking from 3rd to home after hitting a homerun, then he's a dick. He'll probably be benched for a game or at least should be. If he's not, it'll be what I described above: the tightness of the team will be eroded by it because his teammates will know he's a dick. This is one of so many valuable lessons we can apply to other areas of life. If only some of the psychopaths in business domination would take it easy on the competition! I'm looking at YOU, Walmart! Walmart needs to be benched for a game or two.

There was a guy on the Colbert Report lately named Sean Kelly. A Harvard Philosophy professor who says that there is great meaning in sporting events even to the fans. When we jump up off the couch together and high five after a big play he says that's "sacred." I think he's right. I even think when a satarist like Colbert or Jon Stewart really nails a villain good there's a similar sort of feeling. I'd give you a link, but just this week the Colbert Report website will no longer allow anyone in my area to view full episodes. It's like a referee has blown a whistle, thrown a flag and taken away my sacred celebration of Colbert slamming the selfish, capitalist scumbags who own this world. They have all the money and power and now they're trying to stop us from laughing at their folly. Please, Stephen, tell me you won't begin complimenting their invisible new clothes too!

Even my beloved Kia Tigers are going to have to put a limit on their celebrating. Starting this upcoming season, if a player gets a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 12th inning the players can no longer crowd around him at home plate, pour water on him or anything like that. Why the hell not?

Who are these stuffed shirts making these rules who think that THEIR sense of decency overrides that of the athletes? Do they think because they play sports they are dumb? I submit to you that every single one of these stuffed shirts led a sportless life otherwise they would know that every athlete has a perfectly good grasp of when and where celebration is excessive. MUCH better than them! And what kind of Orwellian madman tries to regulate FEELINGS???

Let's examine THAT point, shall we? If there are any misplaced emotions at any sporting events they are in the moments just before the action begins. A moment of silence for the victims of Hurricane Katrina; Observe with us the hanging of the flag to support our soldiers; Please remove your hats and stand for the singing of the national anthem, not of the players but of the government run by the conglomarations that own them and you. COME ON everybody, take your Soma now. Could it be more obvious? Not a single person is there to think of that stuff and there may just be a whole lot of them who are hoping to put it out of their minds for a few hours.

Of course we may support these things but what in the wide wide world of sports do they have to do with baseball or hockey or football or whatever? Why don't they have the national anthem before golf tournaments? Because golfers and golf fans already achieve the emotional tranquility that best suits the consumer manipulation perpetrated by the sponsors of the events? Who knows?

All I know is NObody is throwing a flag on Mariah Carey or the latest winner of American Idol when she/he sings her/his 18-minute magnum opus rendition of America The Beautiful before a game between two hockey teams that have no Americans playing for them. Some day I would just LOVE to see the national anthem cut short like a droning Oscar acceptance or even GONGED! Ha ha ha. That would be so sweet! But then I'm sure that won't happen because all around the world the viewing audience would all jump off the couch, high five, hug and show excessive celebration at it. I know I would.