Oh No!, They lost their fake DVDs!!
August 5, 2006 7:45 PM   Subscribe

English tutors complain of Chinese abuse. As the Chinese economy keeps expanding, so does the number of foreigners in China. Like the people in the article some of them have had horrible experiences, others have had funny experiences and many have had sleazy experiences (NSFW text). And they all blog about it!
posted by afu (35 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Full disclosure, I know the guy who runs the China Blog list, but I have nothing to do with it.
posted by afu at 7:46 PM on August 5, 2006 [1 favorite]

w.r.t the "sleazy" link:

I took some Chinese literature classes in collage. Seems like the country is really just bursting with pent-up sexual frustration. They're even worse horny puritans then Americans.
posted by delmoi at 8:02 PM on August 5, 2006

I had two friends teach english in China, one stayed for a year (the term of his contract) and seem to have a good time, and the other one was back in the US within 2 months (no idea why).
posted by SirOmega at 8:08 PM on August 5, 2006

delmoi, let me get this straight: You learned the art of collage while studying Chinese literature, discovering they were puritans before Americans?
posted by gorgor_balabala at 8:19 PM on August 5, 2006

Yeah, more and more foreigners, no reasons to feel special about it. Interractions between foreigners in China are complicated and wierd. Be prepared to spend a lot of time by yourself unless you can speak Chinese.
posted by NewBornHippy at 8:45 PM on August 5, 2006

Hooray! Finally there's someplace that's actually downmarket from the ESL scrum in Korea... now maybe the bulk of the Korea-bound torrent of freaks, geeks† and perennial losers will head Chinaward instead.

†Note: I am also both a freak and a geek, and proud of it.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:49 PM on August 5, 2006

Seems like the country is really just bursting with pent-up sexual frustration. They're even worse horny puritans then Americans.

Can't speak for sex much, but my experience in other areas has been that even 5 years age difference makes a huge difference. When intereacting with people, its always precious information to discover their age, it'll explain a lot about how they react.

At least, 5 years makes more difference in behavior that I found they did in the US or Europe.
posted by NewBornHippy at 9:18 PM on August 5, 2006

That whole "sleazy" link reads almost exactly like many of my experiences as a white European in Mexico. I got here when I was 21, and I spent a few years taking advantage of that particular situation.

There's something about being foreign, which obviously has to do with economics and social status, but not only, since Americans don't seem to do as well as Europeans. I've heard a lot of girls say that they like foreigners because they're not macho like Mexican guys, and Europeans have a reputation for sexual openness, I guess.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 9:24 PM on August 5, 2006

That whole "sleazy" link reads exactly like Penthouse forum.

It might be fun to pretend it's real though, if that's the kind of titillation you are looking for.
posted by Chuckles at 9:37 PM on August 5, 2006

But Korean babes are so damn sexy, stav. That, and the im-ni-das and in-day-yo's don't bug my white foreign ears as much as the ching chang ching chongs do.
posted by GooseOnTheLoose at 9:51 PM on August 5, 2006

A friend of mine (Seriously, it's not me!) had been teaching English in Japan for a few years. Then, for some stupid reason involving a girl, he took a job teaching English in China. He didn't last two months before he (and the girl) crept out in the middle of the night and caught a boat back to Japan. The lesson: Japan is better than China! I don't know how Japan compares to Korea yet, although I would like to find out.
posted by donkeymon at 10:17 PM on August 5, 2006

heh, ca. 1990 I discovered this book; this was before the internets, let alone blogs. And yes, we did wear onions on our belts back then.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 10:19 PM on August 5, 2006

I don't know how Japan compares to Korea yet, although I would like to find out.

In what sense? If it's ESL teaching, Japan is a notch higher up the foodchain (in the most sweeping, general terms). It's harder for the newb to find a job, and you need better qualifications (or any, for that matter). The market there is older and more mature. Most friends of mine who have taught in both countries have described it as harder going in Japan in terms of the actual work, though.

The Korean government will give an E-2 (English teacher) visa to anyone with a degree a pulse and a job offer, and the result has been low standards and lower expectations.

The double-edged result (one of many -- it's a complicated and ugly mess, is education in this country, as it is in many) is that actual foreign education professional types in Korea often get lumped in with the cowboys, but once (if) they get themselves recognized as having the chops, they can almost write their own tickets (with some patience, some connections, and a whole lot of understanding of How Korea Works).
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:58 PM on August 5, 2006

Hmm... I bet some of the China bloggers are Mefites too (self-link)
posted by trinarian at 11:13 PM on August 5, 2006

I was going to work up my own post about it, but here. Some weirdness I discovered here in Korea.

Stavros, you've noticed the extreme number of losers here, too? We call them "LBH," short for "losers back home."

And, while we're on the topic, my own blog about ESL in Asia.
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 11:24 PM on August 5, 2006

All of Blogger is blocked in China, but we can access it with (slow) proxy servers. Blogspot, however, is not blocked. So I can post, but I can't read what I just wrote. Also, there seem to be tiers of blocking... I can access Wikipedia and Blogger with a proxy, but they don't help with BBC News and Technorati.
posted by trinarian at 11:40 PM on August 5, 2006

Clearification: All Blogspot blogs are blocked. Blogger is not.
posted by trinarian at 11:42 PM on August 5, 2006

That sleazy link reads like...it was written by someone who shouldn't be teaching English. Anywhere. What a terrible writer. Even for blog smut.

posted by elr at 1:03 AM on August 6, 2006

OK, I'm a bit suprised at how shocked people seem to be by the 'sleazy' link in the OP. Asia is fucking chockablock with skeezy pork-swordsmen who mistakenly assume that everyone else is as interested in their lilliputian sexual accomplishments as they are.

It's happy hunting grounds for some nasty western fellows indeed, and you don't have to be here long before you start meeting them, like it or not, and looking forward to your next opportunity to wash your hands.

If you think that grubby little tale (poorly written, sure, but better than the average) is an eye-opener, I'm going to have to re-tell some of the unpleasant stories that have been told to me with pride over the years, when I finally get my new K-site launched. Y'all'll faint!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:02 AM on August 6, 2006

I teach English in Indonesia. stavrosthewonderchicken is right regarding the, ahem, go-getter attitude of my various Western colleagues - I think they come over here thinking that they've got a second chance to do right what they've done wrong in the past.

A few of the expats in my office have been here for years and are in committed relationships with or are married to locals (and thus their families!), but more of them have come in expecting the locals to cower before their amazing manly manliness. I'm sad to report that the main instigators of trouble at parties and gatherings are these "skeezy" guys with too much alcohol in their systems and too many problems with their (always gracious) ladyfolk.

It doesn't make me want to renew my contract for another year when talk on the patio during our breaks is about someone's sexual conquests. Ew.
posted by mdonley at 3:22 AM on August 6, 2006

mdonley & stav:

I'm only on the first month of a year contract but it doesn't seem so bad in my company. There's talk of sex, sure, but typically it seems men are complaining about local women using them. Most of the guys here want more steady relationships with locals and are frustrated by the realities of the situation. The cultural differences are too strong and if things were to work, someone would have to make a major sacrifice of friends and family by permanently moving to one country.

One my coworkers just left for England to raise money for a year so he can come back, buy a house (foreigners have to pay cash up front, no loans), and then propose to his girlfriend. Her parents won't let her marry a man without a house.
posted by trinarian at 4:08 AM on August 6, 2006

Well, you know, it isn't the phenomena.. I find the story - I actually only read the top one on the page - to be filled with obvious fantasy.
posted by Chuckles at 4:35 AM on August 6, 2006

Offtopic: how can one discover all Mefites in China? I don't know of a way to use a custom value in the computation of how many people leave close to the coordinates we advertise in our profile...
posted by NewBornHippy at 4:47 AM on August 6, 2006

Having Chinese sex is great, sure, but an hour later you're horny again.
posted by sluglicker at 6:04 AM on August 6, 2006

Not funny.
posted by Chuckles at 7:52 AM on August 6, 2006

My god, an "english teacher" wrote the sleazy link? His writing was far worse than the students in my English 96 class! And that's remedial English, folks! No wonder we're slipping so far behind in education.
posted by nlindstrom at 11:06 AM on August 6, 2006

Its humorous to see quite a few blogspot users listed on that China blog list, considering that the great firewall theoretically blocks blogspot. One wonders if they're really going to keep that thing up when all the tourists and journalists arrive in summer 2008. PR disaster in the making.

Also, ESL people: what's Taiwan's reputation? I'm planning on heading over there in a few months.
posted by gsteff at 12:06 PM on August 6, 2006

Speaking as someone who "taught English" in China for a year before moving on to better things...
All of you who are dismayed by this "English teacher"'s shoddy grammar should know that English teaching in Asia, 9.5 times out of 10, is little more than a means of subsistence for Westerners who 1) couldn't get a decent job, sex, or attention back home (the above mentioned LBHs) 2) are liberal arts majors who are contemplating grad school and want to live abroad for a while or 3) are evangelical Christians.
Becoming an English teacher usually requires no qualifications whatsoever and even with their serious lack of teaching ability, most teachers half-ass it, showing up late, unprepared and hung over.
In my opinion, the exploitation definitely goes both ways and I'm not entirely upset when it bites a few Westerners in the ass
posted by banishedimmortal at 12:36 PM on August 6, 2006

banishedimmortal : "English teaching in Asia, 9.5 times out of 10, is little more than a means of subsistence for Westerners who 1) couldn't get a decent job, sex, or attention back home (the above mentioned LBHs) 2) are liberal arts majors who are contemplating grad school and want to live abroad for a while or 3) are evangelical Christians."

You're forgetting category 4, which, from my experience, is BY FAR the largest: people, from whatever background, who want to get a real job in that country but need to get into that country to look for said job. In that case, getting a teaching visa is easiest from abroad, and then when you arrive and start teaching English, you also start looking for your "real" job. Of the six people on my network management team, 3 (including myself) were former English teachers. for precisely that reason.
posted by Bugbread at 4:56 PM on August 6, 2006

You're forgetting category 4, which, from my experience, is BY FAR the largest: people, from whatever background, who want to get a real job in that country but need to get into that country to look for said job

That may be the case in Japan, bugbread. Here in Korea, though (and this is beginning to change, but only for F-2 spouse-visa holders (and foreign execs parachuted in), for the most part) there are very very few 'real' jobs indeed for foreigners that aren't in teaching. There are a few language-related gigs editing and writing, but these are often filled by 'kyopos' -- returned ethnic Koreans who grew up overseas.

It's a shame, because the kind of retrograde xenophobia and distrust that still prevails in much of the business old guard keeps the country from breaking the shackles of the bad old days, and keeps the many smart and skilled foreigners who love and are committed to Korea (like me, durr) from realizing their potential if they choose to stay here.

I don't think I've ever met -- in the decade since I first came here and the (almost) 8 years I've been in-country -- a foreigner in Korea who deliberately did what you describe, though I have met a (very) few who lucked into non-ESL work.

Me, I actually enjoy teaching adult professionals, and I work at one of the biggest, most transparently managed and globally forward-thinking Korean companies, so I'm pretty much at the top of the game in terms of K-ESL, much as sometimes I'd like to break through to that final, tiny, rarified stratum of foreign professionals here, and get back into IT/Biz.

it doesn't seem so bad in my company

Don't get me wrong -- I'm not saying, by any stretch, that every western man in Asia is a lustmonkey. Not at all. It's an easy stereotype, and incorrect. I'm just saying that they're thick on the ground, and, you know, ick.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:29 PM on August 6, 2006

Sorry, yes, I should have limited that to Japan, because I don't know if it's at all the case in other countries. Apologies.
posted by Bugbread at 5:37 PM on August 6, 2006

Not at all. Much as I deride the wholesale borrowing of so many things from Japan (and little as Koreans like to admit them), I wish that Korea was more like Japan in that respect, at least. Always interesting to hear what things are like elsewhere.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:39 PM on August 6, 2006

Hmm, I'm on the China Blog list. While I don't have a problem with it, I know of some who would take issue with labelling Taiwan as part of China. Perhaps culturally or linguistically, but not politically.
posted by Poagao at 9:46 AM on August 7, 2006

China is a difficult place to live for a westerner. Takes maturity, patience, lack of ego, flexibility, wisdom, knowledge, sense of humor, compassion. integrity, street smarts, a strong stomach and a wide open heart - lots of things people in their early twenties don't yet possess....
Otherwise - you'll slink out in the dead of night....
posted by trii at 5:49 PM on August 7, 2006

For me, coming to China was a break in lifestyle that has proven almost wholly positive. I have, in my two years here, been isolated as the only lao wai in the county I lived in. I've had an awesome experience almost completely devoid of other foreigners and the crap associated with dealing with them. As the only foreigner I have been very aware of my role in the community and have behaved quite well, maybe even better than I would have thought possible. We represent not only foreigners as a whole but also Americans specifically. I'm not sure how I would have handled it had I been younger when I arrived but agree wholeheartedly that it takes some balance.

I've since left the small town and the community I was welcomed into for a large city and the ammenities I had almost forgotten were possible. I'll never forget my time in semi-rural China.

NewBornHippy, you can use GoogleEarth and add this in as a Network Link. Not sure how often it is updated.
posted by geekyguy at 7:17 AM on August 8, 2006

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