Wednesday, April 10, 2013

As many of you know, North Korea is a hot topic right now. I've been getting many concerned emails and questions about what is going on here. My parents have even suggested that I come home.

Do I feel threatened? To be truthful, I don't feel threatened. That doesn't mean there isn't a threat here, but I don't feel in any imminent danger.

Do you think war is likely? It's possible... but I don't think its likely. NK is always full of empty threatsThere is also the fact that the whole world would turn against NK if they attacked someone.  Even China, their ally, would become very upset with them. Now, I am by no means any expert when it comes to NK or politics, so don't take my opinions too seriously.  Now Kim Jong Un has a lot of pride and will want to save face.  However, I also believe that Kim Jong Un loves being a leader. If he starts a war, I can see no way in which he could continue to keep that position. (When they lose) He owns his own country now and despite the fact that it is falling apart, he is sitting pretty good himself. Why risk it?

How are other expats reacting? When talking to my other expat friends, I've found that they are share pretty much the same sentiments as I do. Their parents are worried about them but they themselves don't feel too much of a threat. However, I do frequent expat forums online and was surprised to see a lot of people already packing their bags.  I guess if you don't have any real attachment to the country, it's not worth even the smallest risk. I will say that at this time though, the US embassy has stated that they do not feel that there is a threat for us staying here and is telling people not to panic but to go on with their lives. They have even mentioned that people planning to visit Korea are safe to do so.

How are South Koreans reacting? Most South Koreans are just going about their daily lives. They've lived through NK threats year after year. Most of them are hardly casting an eye on NK. However, a lot of this is due to the fact that SK tries it's hardest to ignore NK. I feel like the citizens pretend it doesn't exist. Only the oldest generation remembers what Korea was like when it was one. So, the younger generations no longer focus as much on unification, but rather on their own lives. I believe they worry that if the two Koreas ever did become one, the economic stress on SK would make everyone's lives a lot more harder. SK love the lives they have now and they don't want anything to change. (not everyone's opinion of course)

If something were to happen, what are my options? First, if you are an expat in Korea, the best thing to do is to be safe and register with your embassy. The US site is: https://step.state.gov/step/  They will be the ones to let you know if anything threatens your safety.

Monday, April 8, 2013

"Do your students like Kpop?"

Cinthya asks: "Well, since i know you are a middle school teacher, can you write a line or two about how k-pop idol affects your students? are your students a huge fans of them too?"

 First of all, thank you for your question! I'm more than happy to answer. A lot has happened these past few months, (which i will slowly get around to explaining!) so now I work at an elementary school. I'll give you the perspectives from both.

First of all, if you live anywhere else in the world, kpop fans tend to be a bit... crazy. Haha! When I say crazy, I don't mean 'saesang' fans which follow their idols in taxis and spy on their houses. I just mean they tend to be a bit obsessive. I used to be a bit that way too when I first got into Kpop. So, people hear these crazy stories and think all kpop fans here in Korea are like that. Nope.

Middle school and elementary kids are just like kids anywhere else in the world. They might obsess a bit over a certain band, much like my age group did over Nsync and Backstreet boys back in the day. They act just like kids do. They'll love a band for a year or two then slowly grow out of it.

In middle school I was able to talk to my students about Kpop quite a bit. I'd say kpop idols affect students just like any other idol anywhere else in the world. There's really not much of a difference. There are some that are crazy for kpop bands, and some that could really care less.

The one difference I did notice, however, was the gender fanbase. It is perfectly acceptable for male students to like all male bands. They look up to them and even try to dress like them at times. Of course, they prefer girl bands more!

As for elementary students... there are a few bloomers that love Kpop bands, but really they haven't gotten into it yet. I was surprised when I introduced myself to 20 classes of students and only a handful had recognized my favorite kpop band.

If anyone ever has any questions, feel free to ask!

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