Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Our Dirty Little Secret

As I stare at another great American tragedy in the headlines, 
I ask myself, 
Why do people say to those of us in South Korea, 
"Come home!  You aren't safe!"

We aren't safe? 
Come home?  
Do you watch the news in the US?  
What exactly about living there is safe?
What is it you want us to come home to 
that will be better for us?  

Is it the:

  • lack of jobs? 
  • poor wages?
  • high cost of living?
  • lack of vacation time?
  • absence of safe, affordable and reliable public transportation?
  • over priced graduate schools?
  • crippling education debt?
  • lack of access to adequate affordable health care?
  • a realistic fear of being shot or assaulted by your students?
  • the overwhelming chance to be harassed or sued by students parents?
  • fear of being assaulted in our homes?
  • fear of being shot in the streets or at large events?
  • restricted access to over priced birth control?
  • staggering cost of giving birth in a country with an infant mortality rate close to 3rd world levels
(this list can go on for ages so I will just stop here)

Is this what you want for us?
To leave behind a theoretically "unsafe" life,
to return to a truly unsafe one?

Because here is the dirty little secret
we don't want to tell you:
Living in South Korea
is the first time many of us 
have ever felt safe.

No, we are not stupid.

We know that something could happen someday.
But dealing with someday is better than dealing directly 
with the impact of an extensively violent culture
while sitting around your house employed
and drowning in massive debt.

So if you love us, just say,
"We love you.
We miss you miss you.
We worry about you."

But don't say, 
"Come home!  You aren't safe!"

1. It's simply is not true.
2. Even if it were true, 
coming home wouldn't improve our odds.

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