Friday, June 1, 2012

Abundance Buzz: That MBC Video

June has just started and it seems the buzz for this month is that now infamous MBC "documentary" video, about relationships with foreigners (especially Korean women with foreign men). For a refresher here is the video with the English subtitles:

It's clear when watching this video that the production wasn't very sound, and the quick interviews with so called witnesses, is fuzzy at best. The truth is this video is racist towards foreigners, and at the same time shames Korean women for dating or seeking foreign men. In essence, this video is no more than the same propaganda seen before in years past. It is in line with the Anti-English Spectrum way of thinking and all together does not shed a positive attitude towards foreigners in Korea. 

What I think is the positive outcome of this event is the outcry from the foreigner community via Facebook and other venues. In my four years of living in Korea I have seen these sorts of things mostly get discussed on forums, but rarely become an organized public outcry like it is happening now. Yes in the past people have flooded network's websites with comments and managed to bring certain articles down. 

Whatever your opinion might be on this video, I think it is important to recognize that the foreign community does need a voice. Facebook and Twitter are just the start, and we should consider making a formidable group or coalition to be ready for any future events like this.

Today I am going to share with you links and blogs that are taking up this issue and offering their opinion or advice. I hope some of what you see today gives you an idea of the impact this video has on expats living in Korea, and also shows the need to have an organized response. 

1. Facebook Group "Action Against MBC and their, racist, biased "reporting": Already up to 6,000 members and counting, this group sprung up just last week and is already swinging into action. Of course some of the people in the group disagree with each other, but I feel it is important to see that there is one central location where people can discuss this issue. What is most engraving is when long-time expats post their family pictures and say something like, "According to MBC, my immoral and dubious plot has succeeded. For the record - 7 1/2 yrs together, great son and gets better every minute."

2. Roboseyo: I knew a post from him was coming, and you can go check it out. I think what is good to keep in mind is that Rob's perspective and background gives him a good voice to stand on. He reminds us that things aren't as bad as they use to be and also suggests ways to make an appropriate response to this video, which will have an impact on the Korean community. It's a thoughtful post which can help you get a good perspective on this hot topic.

I think the most powerful response to a video like this would be another video. A video that reminds MBC of the impact of spreading hateful messages. A video of long-term expats who speak Korean. Or who have families: multicultural families with kids who are Korean citizens, who attend Korean schools, who speak Korean, who have Korean grandmothers and grandfathers who adore them.
3. Gusts of Popular Feeling: A quick post but can give you and idea of how this relates to events in the past.

4. Scroozle's Sanctuary: I have never seen this blog before, but they offer up their own thoughts and gave us a translated version of the video.

This type of BS is exceedingly hurtful. It creates an air of distrust between foreigners and Koreans. It attempts to shame Korean women into staying away from foreign men. It damages Korea’s international image.
5. Groove Magazine: Some responses are more on the creative scale. Martyn Thompson seems to have been the first to suggest it but Groove Magazine is picking up the idea too. That is to make a collage of pictures expats and Koreans who have relationships together. Family portraits...etc. This is part of the response from married couples that they feel they have been targeted as "evil." Certainly a very good idea and I hope the outcome is seen by all. 

6. Busan HAPS: Another magazine picking up the news, but they contacted MBC and were told that the video was outsourced. Still people believe that MBC is solely responsible. 

7. MBC Feedback Board: And if you want to get a direct response to MBC for posting this video you can go do it at this link. 

Most importantly I think people should keep in mind that this video does not directly represent the way all Korean people think. And if you were to talk to your Korean friends or colleagues you would find them just as shocked as you are. 

In the meantime, I hope you have a response to this video and the issues at hand and are taking some time to write a response somewhere or consider some type of action. Otherwise, this is definitely going to be a hot topic for some time. 

1 comment:

  1. I wrote these after the initial brouhaha