Not a Korea Blog?
Read the title? Let me explain. I got an e-mail from a reader who found my blog via the Korean Bloglist. He wrote the following:
I was searching on the Korean Bloglist and came upon yours in the category Koreans in Korea. I’m very surprised, because it turns out you aren’t even Korean, and your blog isn’t about Korea at all. It’s about TV and science fiction and your ramblings, with a few Korea related posts here and there. If the Korea Bloglist were to ever find out about this you would be removed pretty fast…
Name Withheld, Canada
Well Mr. Withheld, let me address your concerns.
1) I’m not even Korean
Here is a quote from the Korean Blog List on their blog submission page:
8. In the past, some Korean-Americans wanted to be listed as American, some as Korean. It made the listings a mess. It’s not helped by South Korea’s stance on dual-nationality. Since Koreans regard the Korean blood line as important, the rule on TKBL is that for listing consistency, you should choose “Korea (South)” for nationality if you have Korean heritage.
What is the country of your NATIONALITY?
If you are half-Korean, an adopted Korean, an overseas born Korean, have Korean heritage, etc then select “Korea (South)”.
I followed the rules when I submitted my blog to the Korean Bloglist. According to their classification criteria, I am Korean. My father was born in Korea, therefore Korean blood flows through my veins. This alone may not be sufficient criteria to classify me as Korean in some people’s books, but according to the Korean Bloglist, that’s where my blog belongs. If you check out any of the other Koreans in Korea blogs, you will find that they also are mostly written by gyopos, multiracial Koreans, and adoptees, most of whom were raised outside of Korea for a significant portion of their lives.
Now, for why the Korean bloglist classifies this way, I don’t know, but I can speculate. For one, we who they classify as Korean go into our “Korea Journey” from a slightly different starting point than those not of Korean descent. In addition, the flavor of our blogs tends to be drastically different.
Now of course, what I said above looks like I am discounting Korea blogs written by those not of Korean descent as inferior… I am not. But at the same time, the compilers of the Korean bloglist saw it fit to appreciate that this difference exists.
I personally chose to list myself in that category because I figured I’d rather be on a shorter list (1 among 19) instead on the larger ‘Foreigners in Korea’ list (where I would be 1 among 233). On one list I represent more than 5%, on the other I would be less than .5%. So, back when I was the Seoul Searcher and the numbers of visitors had something to do with my bottom line, the choice was obvious.
But in addition to just numbers, I think that I also agree that I am in a slightly different boat than most foreigners in Korea. I came here speaking some of the language, had been here many times before, had friends and family here, and didn’t have much trouble getting settled in. If you were to remove all posts about language acquisition, homesickness, loneliness, and the difficulty of establishing oneself in a foreign country, how much substance would be left to a lot of those Foreigners in Korea blogs? Some of them would still have plenty of content. Others would lose over 90% of their content.
Now, that doesn’t mean that there are no similarities between me and people of non-Korean descent in Korea, far from it, but our gripes and concerns (which mostly fuel this blog) are vastly different. While I’ll never know what it is like to live in Korea on an E-2 visa, what visa runs and midnight runs are etc… They will never know what it is like for someone like me who sees society idolize mixed celebrities on TV and declare Korea a multicultural society that embraces all types of Koreans as Koreans while still blatantly treating me as a foreigner.
Oh come on, some people of non-Korean descent have been living here for more than 10 years and are still treated as foreigners, they can relate to that.
No, they can’t. With their experience comes the expectation that they begin ever new relationship with Koreans on the outside, even if they don’t deserve it. It’s something many have just gotten used to. In my case I should be somewhat on the inside, at least half as much as full blooded gyopos and certainly more than adoptees. (Any adoptees that take issue with that, I’m sorry. I’m on your side, believe me… We can talk about it in a later post or over e-mail if you like.)
How is that at all different? You both should just expect to be on the outside!
Heh, I see your point, but it is far easier for someone not of Korean descent to expect themselves to be on the outside, especially when they were in the majority in their own home country. Now, I was kind of in the majority back home, so I can’t say that I “deserve” to be seen as Korean by Koreans with no questions asked. I guess it’s a mixed bag. The full blooded gyopos get instant insider status but they never get to play the foreigner card. I get limited insider status and play the foreigner card when it suits me, so nanny nanny booboo!
2) This blog isn’t about Korea
In some ways this is true. I’m Eugene, I’m Huge, and I currently live in Korea, but not everything I post will be about teaching people something new about living and working (or not working, heh) in Korea. Sometimes I just want to talk about a new TV series I watched. Sometimes I want to talk about Major League Baseball. This blog is kind of like my personal therapy, where I complain and gripe about whatever is bothering me, or just write what is on my mind. And if I ever happen to leave Korea, what then? Should I start a whole new blog or continue writing this one? I prefer the latter, but it would be more difficult if the blog were called something stupid like “The Seoul Searcher” and I were writing it 5 years removed from Korea in Kalamazoo Michigan.
Anyway, just because EVERY post isn’t related directly to explaining something new and wonderful about Korea doesn’t mean that this isn’t a K-blog on the K-blogosphere.