While the vast majority of time I do my best to bring out the lighter side of a foreigner being in an Asian country, and I think I do a decent job at that. I also don’t want to be the one that ignores the WHOLE experience of being here. This post is not to single out any person or business but to merely show what happens is a supposedly civilized country….on a regular occurrence.
This is the result of a student doing bad on a test. His father beat him both arms are the same. If this was just an isolated case, you could rack it up to a father with emotional issues because his father did the same and it would just be a simple sad case for the child and his situation. It goes deeper than that. Socially and pathologically deeper.
The worst thing you could to do an Asian is insult them. Actually, that’s not quite true, one thing is worse….insulting them in a way that others become aware of it. There is a severe issue here of ‘not looking bad’, or ‘saving face’. It is so deep that one foreigner I know was hit by a taxi, had to get a cast, loose pay/work. He won his case and received money but it wasn’t because of any expenses he occurred, the amount was calculated based purely on how much ‘face’ he had lost for not being able to do his job.
Now, take that idea and apply it to your family. Your son does poorly in school, your friends find out and make a note of telling you how their son is at the top of their class and will be going to the top high school/university here when he is done. (Yes, they also write entrance exams to get into certain high schools as well as Universities). You are made to feel like a failed father/parent and the only explanation that makes any sense to you is that your son is just not trying hard enough. He is too lazy. This requires some action on your part and if working hard to pay for your son’s extra lessons doesn’t earn you the respect you feel you deserve, then he has to be ‘shown the way’ with the only response you know how…..the same ‘motivation’ that your father gave you. That picture is the result.
This is a common occurrence.
There is a saying that ‘if you aren’t reporting a crime, you are just as bad as the criminal’. Poor logic aside, not one single Korean person will say a damn thing about this to anyone. They simply choose to ignore it. My friend who took this picture, told his boss and his Korean co-worker, neither were interested in lifting a finger to do anything. Then he called the police. They told him to call Child Protective Services. Two things that surprised me. 1/ That the police wouldn’t get involved. 2/ That there IS such a thing as Child Protective Services.
The only other thing of this particular story that I know is that the CPA people showed up, the boss was giving my friend the ugliest of looks (my friend was actually concerned about being fired, that feeling still lingers). It was to the point that the Koreans were tying to talk in ‘Korean code’ to somehow make my friend look bad for calling the CPA. Two problems with this. 1/ The fact that you ignore the cry for help of a child and try to blame the foreigner is really, really sad. 2/ My friend is also fluent in Korean. So their attempts were rather sad.
If I get any more details of this story, I’ll update but that will be less likely because this issue will most definitely be handled outside of the school and thus private to any foreign eyes.
I’d be willing to bet that the student gets pulled from the school because the parent will be upset that the school is now causing him problems (again with the deflecting of blame). This means money lost from the school in turn the school will blame my friend because a loss of money is a huge deal and the loss of a student is the potential loss of face as well. More blame deflection. It’s pretty much a guarantee that my friend will not be offered to renew the teaching contract, assuming that my friend was going to stay any ways.