화병 FAQ

Q: I am Korean

A: Thats good to hear

Q: This site is anti Korean!

A: The truth is anti Korean, because Koreans stand at odds with the truth. Joking aside, what specifically is anti Korean about this site?

Q: It just focuses on the bad things about Korea! Why dont you write about some other stuff?

A: Ah, so you admit there are bad things about Korea? I write about what interests me at the time. Not everything on this blog is about Korea, although a lot of it is. What is the problem again?

Q: Your articles are one sided. There are two sides to the story.

A: Well, maybe my articles are one sided – after all, I am writing about my opinion. As for there being two sides of the story, I tell the other side of the story, the one that the Korean media ignores or covers up or distorts.

With the blindingly nationalistic propaganda at work in Korea, my site is just a small counter reaction. Here is a commenter that found occidentalism to be useful.

Travolta Said:
August 26, 2005 at 10:39 am

Holy shit. Thank god for people like you who are around to set the record straight. This makes me think I should trust even LESS of what the Korean media claims. Having recently read much about the history between Japan and Korea and opening my mind to views opposing the established Korean views I am amazed to learn how much seems to have been invented and blamed on Japan. I’ve lived in Korea for two years and heard only the Korean side and it’s easy to see how Koreans have such a hardcore hatred of Japan. Korean schools and Korean media must be a factor holding Korea back internationally. (Discussion please). I understand Korea suffered under the Japanese and what Japan did in WWII was shocking and terrible. But the vast majority of Koreans I have spoken to don’t know anything about the numerous apologies, the millions in reparations money and seem to easily dismiss the 60 years of peace between the two nations which have existed since the end of the war as being not good enough or not sincere. Koreans seem to want to become a big player not only in Asia but the whole world, however at the same time they attack their closest ally (USA), take a shit on Japan at every chance they get and lick the sweat off Kim Jong Ill’s hairy balls with pleasure. Why would anyone in the world take Korea seriously? Hub of Asia? Keep up the good work exposing this kind of crap!
PS: I don’t hate Korea (I live here don’t I?), I hate bullshit and lies wherever they exist.

Where do you think comments like that come from? The problem is not with this site, the problem is with the attitudes of the Korean media, and indeed, many Koreans themselves.

Q: You must be a right wing Japanese or Japanese American. Only they could write such a thing.

A: No, I am a white Australian.

Q: I have proof you are Japanese American. I found your ISP etc blah blah blah.

A: I dont know what proof you think you have, but I am a white Australian.

Q: This site offends me. Take it down.

A: No. People don’t have a “right” to be offended about stuff. If some fat guy has a problem with being called a fat guy he can ignore my comments, or better yet lose some weight. The only right you have is to stop viewing the site. It is the fault of the thin-skinned if they are offended about such things.

Q: You are just spreading propaganda about Korea and pretend to be logical! You try to say that what the minority opinion of Koreans is the majority opinion!

A: If what you say is true about me ‘broadcasting the minority opinion as that of the majority’, then where are all these people? They are certainly not on this blog, and other (non Japanese) foreigners that read this blog rarely seem to come into contact with this ‘majority’. Anyway, I have my opinion. If you disagree, thats fine.

Q: You take a single take a single incident and generalize the entire race. I’ve come into contact with quite a few Korean-American communities, and all seemed to have be sociable and considerate. My best (foreign) friend dated a Korean girl for a couple of years, and her family seemed completely accepting.

A: So you comdemn me for making negative generalizations, but you make some hefty generalizations of your own! Is it okay to “generalize the entire race” based on a “single incident”, if only they are positive? Nice logic.

Anyway, I am not telling you what to think, only giving my anecdotal evidence, which I have built up over many years. Some other people agree with me, which makes me think that I am not alone in my thinking.
In short, take want you want from the site and leave the rest. If foreigners are surrounded by Koreans that are different from the way I describe, then they will see my opinion as foolish and incorrect. On the otherhand if their experiences match mine, they will agree.

Q: Why should I believe you?

A: Thats the great thing about it! You dont have to! On the right hand side on the main page of the blog, there is a section called blogroll. That contains links to other blogs about Korea, people with points of view that are different to my own. Read them, I do.

Another commenter, Yoshomasaki, gave his opinion –

Since Matt opened this site, I’ve had “another opinion” in my back pocket. I haven’t been informed ONLY by the Korean mass media, and the many Koreans and non-Koreans who will stick up unfailingly for anything it reports (and they are legion!). That’s what I think best describes this site, as a single source of information among many in your/my toolbelt, to be used as best you see fit to complement and conflict your understood notions of Korean culture, people, nationalism and anything that goes on involving Koreans around the world. It only helps that his articles are often well-researched, well-reported, logically argued and supported by the facts. His Korean abilities make “their” side of the story accesible for me as well.
But that still doesn’t mean you HAVE to believe him. What you must realize is that bias is not your enemy. The failure to admit human biases and the denial of its existance that is standard procedure in major news organizations is. Since you do not know which way the news is being spun, it is that much harder to make an informed opinion on what is being reported. The typical TV viewer’s empathy and poor media fact-checking is responsible for the existence of millions of misdirected and often manipulated lemmings around the world. Since you have taken your search to the internet, where the countless bloggers debate all sides of every issue, why would you be so closed-minded as to call Matt’s site irrelevant, “dead”? Is “the rest of the story” so unimportant to you, or worse yet so distasteful to you that you would rather not hear it? By declaring the opposing view unnecessary you would be willingly subjecting yourself to blinders.
Thinking people don’t even trust the media of their own country to be right all of the time, or even close to it on some issues. Why is it that the Party Line coming out of China or Korea is so easy for so many foreigners to swallow? And why should any voice(s) crying against them be of any deficit to you? If you don’t want to read Matt’s opinion, you don’t have to come here anymore. But it is in no way irelevant.

I just wanted to make the point to those who blow their tops when they see this site: News is a market of facts and opinions. As a consumer of news you are responsible for the final value judgement and fact-checking. Lamenting that any view, no matter how distasteful to you personally, is expressed in the marketplace of ideas is putting blinders on. It is saying “I don’t have the capacity to make a value judgement on this (or I fear others don’t) because it is threatening to my view. I am terified of challenges to my view, so the other guy’s side must not be heard!”

Q:By what right do you write these kinds of things about Korea?

A: Why is it Koreans keep asking questions about rights, etc, and dont want to debate the facts? The comments section is open – If I am telling lies about Korea, then you have a chance to tell everyone about it.

Q: How dare you delete my comment! You have no right, its unjustified!

A: If I deleted your comment it was because it either contained obscene language, was off topic, or contained personal, ad honimen attacks against myself or another poster. And, I do have the right.

Q: I disagree with you. There was nothing in my post that deserved deletion.

A: I told you the rules. Follow them and your posts wont be deleted. You can disagree all you want, but I am paying for this site. If you dont like my editorial policy, then starting a blog of your own is an option.

Q: So you write all this ‘proof’ about Korea, but this blog reminds me of a witch hunt in the Middle Age. When they burned these witches to death, they also had a bunch of proofs that these women were indeed witches.

A: The witches accused in the middle ages were not free to speak up in their own defense, as you are doing now. It is funny that you should call a site that brings attention to Korean witch hunts against foreigners a ‘witch hunting’ site. To you, truthful analysis = witch hunt against Koreans. This is probably the reason it is so hard to make any progress.

Q: I just found out there are lot of people in the world who has lot of negative reputation about koreans. Even I had lot of bad experience with middle-eastern people I always tried to think more carefully about them before I negatively judge them. You people suck.

A: guess you have never heard of 自業自得(자업자득). The meaning is 자기가 저지른 일의 과보를 자기 자신이 받는 일.
What is written on this site is true. You wont find many judgements from me unless there is plenty of reason to do it. You think after writing all this I havent ‘thought carefully’?

Q: This site is racist! You paint Koreans unfairly with a broad brush! Korea hater!

A: You completely miss the point. You say I paint Koreans with a broad brush, but I say in the case of Koreans, it is fair to do so. Where was the Korean outcry when DJ Doc made a song called ‘Fuck Japan’? Nonexistent. Infact, it did well on the Korean charts. Where is the Korean outrage when a well known Korean novelist says that between 3 and 4 million Koreans were killed by the Japanese? Nonexistent, because many Koreans think the same. Where was the Korean indignation when hundreds of thousands of Koreans rose up demanding death when the American soldier drivers of an amoured vehicle accidentally ran over a couple of schoolgirls that in any other country would be thought be trying be to run over (walking in the middle of the road, hands over ears)? Where was the Korean sense of justice when a mainstream TV program in Korea, ‘I want to know that’, ran a story on English teachers looking down on Korean women, getting female underage students drunk then having threesomes, and molestering kids without offering any proof at all?
Korean society not only permits but encourages this kind of slander against non Koreans, whether they be American, Japanese or from other countries.
You call me a anti Korean hater, but opposing Korean hate and extremism is what I am I doing here. Funny that you should call someone that exposes truthful facts as a hater.

Q: This is a race hate site, not a genuine media analysis site. Other balanced Korea bloggers would be embarrassed to be associated with you.

A: Your sense of bias and one-sidedness is completely subjective, and is no doubt fueled by your own biases and prejudices. When I read other Korea related sites, I sense bias, not balance. No process in which human beings are involved will be free of bias. At least I am honest about it, and people know where I am coming from when they read what I am writing. Nor am I afraid to allow readers to see other sites, as I recommend over and over again.

Comparing this site to other Korean sites is comparing apples and oranges. Perhaps if other Korean sites were actually balanced, I wouldnt have made this blog. But they are not. While many Korea bloggers are in Korea and probably cant touch on the sacred cows for career reasons, none of my money comes from Koreans so I am not similarly restricted, which I think is a good thing.

I was able to show the crude lies of the Korean media in my post ‘Japanese Repentence Marathon‘, something that other bloggers either ignored or didnt know about. I was able to show the ‘Crisis of Journalistic Integrity in the Korean Media‘, the exposure of which you call ‘race hate’. More examples of the ‘race hate’ you criticise me for and be found here, here and here, as I exposed fake atrocity photo’s being used on Korean sites to stir up genuine race hate against Japanese. Again I showed more Korean media lies about Japanese apologising to Koreans – a subject untouched by any other blogger. I wrote about the topical subject of Korean/foreign race relations, here, here and here, using only the real words of Koreans without distortion. A small portion of the articles that would never have been written if I had not written them.

The fact is I am able to have a point of view that virtually every other blogger in the Korean blogosphere is unable to, and I am able to do that because I can speak, read and write Japanese to a near native level, and have decent Korean abilities too. I can also read (slowly) historical Korean texts written in Chinese, texts that non specialist Koreans cannot read today. This gives me the ability to read original documents from various time periods, like from the Japanese Administration period, to the Korean documents written in Chinese that clearly show that Dokdo is not mentioned as Korean territory, contrary to Korean claims (documents that I will be presenting and translating soon).

This ability has enabled me to offer more than just the narrow points of view being offered by the Korean media and parroted by some bloggers. Being able to read Korean and Japanese and of course, English, I am able to read several sources with several points of view, and then post on Occidentalism to allow readers to decide for themselves what they think. I posted a review of a video (and the video itself) of a Japanese news story on the subject of the anti Japanese pictures drawn by Korean school children, not shown by any other blogger. When other Korea bloggers were wringing their hands and speculating about the content of ‘Kenkanryu‘, I actually went out and bought the comic, and after reading it, gave an honest review. Again, no other blogger did it, nor did any supposedly ‘balanced’ blogger do it (you would think that balanced would mean seeking the truth, but obviously that is not the case). I offered a photo essay of an alternative point of view on the Japanese administrative period in Korea, one that is not permitted in the mainstream Korean thought that focuses on, and exaggerates, Japanese abuses while playing down the amazing advances in the health and living standards of Korean people during that time. Its a point of view that has rarely been heard by foreigners, nor have I seen any Korea bloggers (much less ‘balanced’ Korea bloggers) put forth such a view.

I write about what others do not write about. That is why this site is necessary, whether you agree with the content or not. The so called ‘balanced’ bloggers you extol either ignore, cover up or do not know about the kind of information I have been presenting here. This site exists to provide balance.

Q: Yeah, well yankee’s murdered those two little girls by their tank in 2002 by running them down and laughing about it and boasting that the Korean police cant touch them and the yankees smuggled them out of the country after defiling the pure maindenhood of our country’s women and looking down on our women because they think they are easy to have sex with but none of our women except women working in bars will date foreigners and all the women I see with foreigners are all ugly Korean women that Korean men wont touch and GI’s can beat up Koreans and never get arrested even when they kill Koreans and we dont have to always feel eternally grateful to Americans that rape our women and and are war criminals that ordered the killings in no gunri and kwangju and prevent our countries unification and turning our country into a colony and destroying our economy with the IMF which is nothing short of genocide.

A: looks like you have gone 화병.

3 Responses

  1. usinkorea Says:

    What is your email?

    You can send it to me at [email protected]

    I want to ask you about your Korean language skill and any chance we could work together on a few things for the http://www.usinkorea.org site. I’ve posted a message over there about the type of project I want to work on next – basically with the TV news and segments on the environment contrasting the number and style of those focusing on specific Korean pollutors vs the ones they do on USFK and the US Embassy and such.

    I am probably going to touch base with other expats familiar with Korea who have much more adequate Korean language skills than myself about infrequent help on material from the anti-US websites and Korean news — with the idea of perhaps paying them a small fee (maybe something like $20) for some rough translation work or paraphrasing if they can’t find the time to do such work for free.

    Anyway, this is something the site has been needing for long time that I’ve kicked around once or twice a year but never got much accomplished — ending up having to grind things out 99% on my own when I felt something needed translating.

    I hope to take it above this level before the end of this year.

  2. hmmn » Blog Archive » Occidentalism: just who exactly is wearing the Emperor’s new clothes? Says:

    […] Much more disturbing than poking fun at Korean pride, however, is a distinct streak of historical revisionsism that I’ve been coming across lately. The site that seems to have formed the locus of many of these opinions is Occidentalism, maintained by an Australian living in South Korea. The main writer, Matt (he seems to have recently opened up his blog to other contributors), claims in the FAQ to “tell the other side of the story, the one that the Korean media ignores or covers up or distorts,” and that his site’s purpose is to “oppos(e) Korean hate and extremism.” Not being privy to Korean mainstream media or having any idea what it’s like to live in Korea, it’s not for me to say whether there’s a legitimate beef here or not, though given that I do have some experience as a person living in a foreign land, I can certainly sympathize with his apparent frustration that the local populace doesn’t have the means — or the inclination — to seek a wider picture. […]

  3. Occidentalism » New FAQ page Says:

    […] Because of all the off topic comments we have seen here recently, I have made a new 화병 FAQ for people (read Koreans) that have off topic questions about myself and this site. […]

Posted by Matt, filed under . Date: September 18, 2005, 1:21 am | 3 Comments »