What’s up, teacher?

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What’s up, teacher?

I read your article about Louise Sams with both amusement and disappointment. After living here for many years (I teach English ― big surprise there, huh?), my young children thrive on Cartoon Network and Disney for entertainment (they used to almost exclusively watch Nickelodeon, but Skylife ended their contract). But when all of the shows on Cartoon Network were suddenly dubbed in Korean (which my children, and I, both speak fluently), all they could say was, “Daddy, I want Nickelodeon back.”
International programming is a must for any modern, industrialized society. It seems as if the Korean government (I use that term loosely) is hell-bent to go back to the hermit kingdom days. Between the lack of English anything in Korea, the ridiculous education system, the restrictions on simple living, and the obvious anti-foreign investor environment, I honestly don’t know why any foreign company would choose Korea over another Asian country. Korea, with all its bluster about becoming the financial hub of northeast asia (capitals omitted intentionally), seems to be clueless.
I can get more English channels in Saudi Arabia or Dubai than I can here. I guess it is a business decision on the part of Skylife, but the change to Korean dubbing is just another difficult thing for a foreigner living in Korea.
Example: Do you realize that I can’t even pay for my paper (in which I read your article) via automatic bank withdrawal simply because I am not a Korean citizen? And I can buy nothing on the Internet ― nothing ― for the same reason.
I want to tell Skylife, Cartoon Network, and the entire Korean government (again, I use that term loosely), to wake up! (A look at Cartoon Network’s Web site shows many people have!)
Koreans want international programming, goods and exposure. If they didn’t, then why have a record number of Korean parents sent their kids abroad for an education? I now have to figure out how to “slingbox” foreign programming into my home.
John Charles, an English teacher in Busan

Roh’s bumbling boggles the mind
What a depressing state of political affairs South Korea is in now. North Korean spies infiltrating a minor opposition party and even the Blue House itself, President Roh’s approval rating is at 9.9 percent and the Uri Party’s at an even more dismal 8.8 percent. But really, is this state of events any surprise?
From the very start of his administration the bumbling president has consistently favored ideologues over qualified and skilled personnel, in so much that any career diplomat or government official with competent experience was removed or sidelined to make way for an Uri Party hack or other crony expecting a favor. A recent example is the nomination for unification minister of Lee Jae-jeong, who when questioned at a parliamentary confirmation hearing professed to not being certain which side started the Korean War or to even understand the concept of a “nuclear umbrella.” The certainty that this guy will be made a fool of by the wily and skillful North Korean negotiators who will understand his weakness is a given. And to think that President Roh had to pardon this former convict, who is still under a suspended sentence, to enable him to “represent” South Korea just baffles the mind even more. Is he really the best Roh could come up with? The only surprise in Roh having a 90 percent disapproval rating is that 10 percent of the population could possibly approve of the job he is doing.
Brendan Brown, Itaewon 2-dong, Seoul
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