When I was a little kid, I hated being yelled at for stuff I didn’t do. I’m still that way.
The Korean government is on the warpath about pot and I am getting really annoyed that potheads are making it difficult for us who would rather enjoy legal drugs like soju. I know plenty of potheads and I have nothing against them. I just don’t see why they have to be potheads in countries like Korea where there is absolutely zero tolerance for the stuff. If you want to be a pothead so bad, go somewhere where it’s cool to be one and smoke it all you want to — fine by me.
One of the great ironies of the expat experience in Korea is your lifestyle is such that all things being equal, you _should_ be able to be a pothead. You have little or no responsibilities other than having children like you and grading and you can sleep in after a hard night of boozing or toking. But it is not to be. You can’t always get what you want, as the song goes. Part of growing up is accepting the fact that just because something should be, doesn’t mean it is. While you should be able to smoke the Constitution because it’s written on hemp, doesn’t mean you can.
Over at Gusts of Popular Feeling they have a long, thorough and pretty much great post about the ongoing drug crackdown in Korea. It’s really informative and I highly recommend you give it a read.
One bit that got my attention was this:
The new policy is mentioned here, and discussed at Dave’s ESL Cafe here, here, here, and here. People preparing to come to Korea are complaining about receiving the new request for additional documents after just receiving their criminal record checks (after lengthy waits). It also appears that some Ministry of Education branches will allow teachers already in country to make copies of their documents at the immigration office, while others won’t allow this.
It’s interesting that, according to that KBS article, the Ministry of Education plans to require foreign hagwon instructors to a take a “drug test when they are newly hired or when they renew their contracts, regardless of their visa status.” There’s nothing in the law (see above) that says anything about needing these documents when renewing their contracts – only when being hired. On the other hand, I’m not sure what the legal basis is for SMOE (and other offices of education) requiring drug and AIDS tests when rehiring teachers. And, of course, with the most recent arrests, there have been editorialssaying that “tests can only verify whether drugs have been used within the last two weeks,” which comes pretty close to suggesting random drug testing.
It is unclear from what I read in this post if one is supposed to submit two copies of your background check or just a photocopy. But, regardless, the crackdown continues and if I want to be a teacher in South Korea, I’m going to have to pee in a cup for no damn reason other than some people who like the sticky-icky are making it difficult for those who don’t give a shit. Image from Google Images