Anti-Racism Law Proposed by Korean politician

A potentially major story breaking on a Saturday afternoon – from the Korea Times (hat tip to Korean Rum Diary for first blogging about it):

A ruling party lawmaker is to propose legislation that would define racism
and set out punishments for racist acts.

The bill, if endorsed later this year, will become the first legal attempt
to fight racism in South Korea, where various forms of discrimination
originating from skin color and state of origin exist.

Rep. Chin Young of the Grand National Party (GNP), the president of a
parliamentary discussion group on a multiracial society, said an anti-racism
bill will be submitted to a regular session of the National Assembly for
approval, which will begin on Sept. 1.

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Teacher fired after getting the swine flu

Now here’s a story that makes us scratch our heads. Brian in Jeollanam-do broke the story, and the Midnight Runner has done an excellent podcast with the teacher supposedly affected.

The Canadian teacher, only identified as ‘Mark’ had been on vacation in Thailand, then returned to Korea. He began feeling sick about 4-5 days after returning to Korea (though ‘Mark’ never mentions having a week of quarantine, which has quickly become standard procedure for most schools too worried about foreign teachers getting sick). From the podcast, his hagwon asked him to come into work even though they knew he was sick.

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Question from a reader: international schools and holidays

A reader writes in with questions about international schools and holidays here in Korea. She writes:

hi chris,
i ran across your web-site while doing research regarding living in korea. my husband, three children and i are moving there next month. halloween is a big deal to them. i was looking into what koreans did during halloween and ran across your site. i’m glad to see the school you teach at was having fun with the american traditions of the holiday. my kids are 7, 5 and 3, so of course.

i’m wondering which school you teach at? we are of course going to be placing our children in an international school in/around the seoul area and i’m so nervous about making that decision. from pictures, it seems like you work with small children.

also any other websites you can point out geared towards americans moving to korea would be appreciated.

To my wonderful reader and mother of three,

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“Seoul to Vaccinate 10 Mil. Against Influenza A”

So says the Korea Times:

South Korea plans to vaccinate 10 million people against influenza A by the end of this year to stem the rapid spread of the disease that has so far claimed three lives in the country.

Health and Welfare Minister Jeon Jae-hee said of the 13.3 million people, including young children and pregnant women, who are most at risk, about 75 percent will be vaccinated by December.

She said Seoul has contacted Britain’s GlaxoSmithKline and secured an order for 10 million doses of an anti-viral vaccine, with more to be bought next year.

Jeon said full-scale vaccinations will begin in November with 27 percent of the country’s 48 million population to receive protection by February 2010.

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Seoul, by the numbers

Over at the Traveler’s Notebook, an occasional series called ‘By the numbers’ appears talking about one’s trip to some far-flung corner of the world. The most recent, from Cuzco, Peru, was fairly interesting – and got me thinking about trying to start counting things myself. Without further ado, here is my first effort in talking about Korea, by the numbers.

The following are the numbers for my average commute to and from work in Seoul, South Korea.

Flyer wavers (ajuma, or older women, who hand out flyers or business cards to passersby): 7

Koreans with dyed blonde hair: 3

Kids trying on adult clothes: 1

People selling something on the sidewalk: 6

Foreigners seen: 3

People wearing masks: 4

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