"native white (English) speakers"

From the Korea Herald:

Racism in hagwon: business is business
She explained that when she originally opened the school, she had employed one foreign teacher, a Filipino. She went on, claiming that whenever parents went to her school and saw the non white Filipino teacher, they simply turned around and left. Even though she admitted that some parents told her their children’s teachers were black, she came to the conclusion that “people in Korea prefer native white (English) speakers … When I tried to advertise again I wrote ‘white or blond,’ I had to meet many black people even though I did not want those teachers. I wasted my time interviewing them.

Yikes! Filipinos are not legally allowed to teach English in Korea. There are some who do teach, but they’re doing it either illegally or they’ve acquired Korean citizenship. The article above could come as a shock to some. We all know that thousands of Koreans flock to the Philippines, specially during the winter vacation, to study English. So why not allow Philippine-passport holders to teach English in Korea? I’ve met a lot of Koreans and they think that our pronunciation (or accent) is not desirable. I know even native English speakers, who are not from the USA or Canada, are forced to change their accent to American when they teach. There are also those who think that only “white” people could speak the language properly.
There are times when I talk to Koreans in English and they are a little bit surprised that I talk the way I do. (FYI, I worked in a call center before and enjoyed my job there. I thought it was challenging but less stressful than my previous jobs. I’m just not a writer nor a grammar guru.) I just tell them that a lot of Filipinos can speak English well, specially those who’ve been to college. It’s just a matter of exposure, I guess. When you’re brown-skinned or from southeast asia, they usually think that you could’nt be any better than a factory worker. It’s rather frustrating since I know a lot of Filipinos here who are professionals and are accomplished in their fields.

  1. well, that has something to do with the ignorance that English language skills is based on the color of the skin or the color of the eyes..and the result is evident..

  2. the authority to teach english as a second language should not be ascribed to race or to the color of the skin in general. Im proud that many filipinos can speak english far better than any Asians, but not all can teach english or being a filipino or an american gives you the privilege to teach it. I know some pinoys teaching english in korea, where in fact in my personal assessment their skills is way below as compared to the skills of those pinoys now in the Philippines. In the same way, that many pinoys in the Philippines teaching english to koreans online or personal were i think not skillful enough to teach english. I want to blame their greedy employers though, in the same way that i want to blame some hagwon owners here in korea hiring english teachers irregardless of their skills or educational attainment as long as they are caucasian.

  3. i work at an international school and we have a lot of korean students. they are really impressed with how filipinos speak in english. i was even asked before if i studied in the US.
    so, i guess…nagpapaka-racist lang yang mga yan! hmp!
    btw, i sent your blog link to two of my friends who just started working in korea. 🙂
    keep blogging!

  4. I want to comment about filipinos teaching here in Korea. Arvin sign said that english teachers in the Philippines are below than teachers here in Korea. Come on I am not an English teacher but Korean kids like teachers who can understand their feelings in learning English. I don’t know if you have been teaching here in Korea. Why don’t you come and earn here if you have high skills. Earn as much as 75,000 pesos like me. It is true. If a Filipino wants to teach here in English you you must look beautiful in there eyes. They belong to the high society. That is why they prefer high standard.

  5. I’m not at all surprised with this because I know racism do really exist in Korea….As a Filipino, it’s quite unfair to be treated like this when in fact there are a lot of competitive Filipinos….
    Why do Koreans keep on coming here in the Philippines to study English when they know our pronunciation is undesirable, huh?
    They may have studied with native speakers but try to listen to them…Do they have good pronunciation? Most of them even have a hard time in pronouncing “L” and “R”..
    Well, they’re just trying hard…..

  6. sorry for being harsh…I just don’t like the kind of treatment we’ve got as Filipinos…it’s like we’re being underestimated with our English skills when in fact a lot of them came here to study…..
    They just don’t know our exerted effort in understanding their topsy- turvy sentences….and not to mention their eccentric (Koglish..I don’t know if this is the right term…) accent……..
    They couldn’t find more patient and understanding teachers other than Filipinos….

  7. Koreans are generally dull by nature. Americans even hire Filipinos to teach in their country and offer high salary not only Math, Science but English as well. I believe Koreans are living in a wrong century especially those OLD ones. They look down on Filipinos but they are also discriminated by caucasians. I just hope that young generations will open their MIND if they have it… so that they will become aware that FILIPINOS are VERY COMPETENT TEACHERS!

  8. haha.. the part “I’ve met a lot of Koreans and they think that our pronunciation (or accent) is not desirable” gives me heaps of laughter.. a lot of educated Filipinos are good English speakers.. Koreans are way too discriminatory that it’s just useless to point out how funny their KONGLISH is or how irritating it is to watch their English subbed tv shows / movies / etc. or read online Korean-based forums. And it’s so weird that if they think that way about our English-speaking skills then why do they study here?

  9. blame it on filipinos who marry koreans for convenience. they think they’re gonna be filthy rich when they come here, but no. they’re gonna be living in the province, do housework, and worse — do farm work. something they never expected. educated filipinos would never think like that. and yes, they speak better english. way better. =)

  10. dscrimnxn is xpriencd by us FILS n almos evry part of d world.Wen i red ds site,i found 8 funny n ironic on d part of bruneians.Y?Bec not ol bruneians spik n undrstnd eng.I work n a cmpny hir n brunei wer i hv 2 mit n ntract w/lots of ppol,d 1st time i cme hir,i was rili srprisd bec ppol wer angry jas bec i spik eng(i was 4ced 2 spik deyr lnguage wel n 2wiks,tnx 2 my dialect coz its smilar w/ malayu).I Was evn told 2 go hom bec brunei is nt n eng coun3.funny coz bruneins dslike eng speaking ppol

  11. esp eng-speaking FILS.Dey can b very rude 2 fils hu spik eng,2 d point na dey tel u dat u cme 2 brunei 2 find fud n dat f u dnt spik deyr language u hve no place hir.No mater hw u xplain na ur jas 2wiks p lng n cnt jas lern deyr language rayt away,dey dnt undrstnd,u rili hv 2 spik malay.On d ader hand,koreans want 2 lern beter english,only dat,mali sila ng notion dat we fils e pangit eng ntin.22o nyan,mas pngit eng nla,hirap ntndhin p.

  12. this is for vivs who commented on my post. I dont understand how come you interpreted my comment the wrong way. First and foremost, dont put words into my mouth. I never said those things, and in fact if you will just READ carefully, i even praised the Filipino teachers based in the Philippines pinpointing that their english skills are far better than the skills of those filipino english teachers here that i know.
    FYI, im already here in Korea. Im not an english teacher (i have no right) , but a doctoral student.
    Reading your post/message and knowing that youre an english teacher here in Korea (with a 75k PhP net) made me feel confident about the gist of my post. You are an exact proof of my argument. Do i need to say more?

  13. oops corrections, i thought youre an english teacher, my mistake 🙂 you are a “skilled worker” pala

  14. haha if thats the case, pahirapan ko kaya english exams ng mga korean students ko tom! lol.
    haha if thats the case, what if i make my english exams for my koreans students tomorrow more difficult! LOL! Even a brit kid will find it tooo difficult! lol

  15. In my understanding, the point here is how others treat us Filipinos. Well, it really depends on how confident we are in situations like this. If we put grace under pressure, surely, that would make a difference. Of course, i am not excluding the thought of being discriminated. Who is not anyway? If you go somewhere else, you’d realize that it is rampant. Instead, let us be more optimistic and take this as a challenge. Yeah, so hard to do, but it is never someone’s fault to be born a Filipino. What we can do better to remedy this “growing concern” is to simply put more passion toward our work. If they bluntly discriminate you, fine. Smile and move on. Let them feel that you are not at all affected. And, oh, flaunt that best skill you have too so nobody else can underestimate you anylonger. Lastly, be more kind to animals when you know they don’t like you. 😀 Soon, they’ll realize your impact.
    In my case, I have never been discriminated by them because i never let them do so. And this should likewise be your way of thought. Heads up everyone and be proud rather than resent on this uncontrollable circumstance. WE ARE BETTER THAN ANY OTHER RACE.

  16. I agree with arvinsign in his August 24th entry. I’ve noticed though (not only in this website but in other websites by filipinos working/taching abroad) that we give too heated reactions to our fellow. Im sorry but I’ve seen a lot of snide and cynical remarks. I wonder how’s life abroad coz i’m contemplating on following the bandwagon but sometimes, I fear my fellow filipinos the most. This might sound stupid, i’m just curious. Some americans and other foreigners ask why filipinos fight among themselves and backstab each other while abroad when they should be the ones protecting each other. Is this true? My CV for Indonesia was turned down by my former teacher who’s working there now as a principal coz according to my friend working with her there, her reason was I was overqualified but what she told me was there was no opening. She actually hired someone with similar qualification as mine only that she did not have a lot of training and awards as was placed in my CV. This former teacher had no MA degree then.

  17. to vivs.May I ask what are the requirements if i want to be an english teacher there in korea? how long will it take for the processing of papers? Thanks

  18. would you know how i could teach english on-line? what are the requirements, and how is payment made to the teacher? thanks a lot.

  19. @elyzavet >> sorry but i don’t really have an idea… i know about phone teaching but not online teaching 🙂

  20. Well it’s no surprise, racism is everywhere. I just don’t understand why they don’t allow filipinos to teach english in Korea yet they travel to the philippines to learn english.

  21. Hi Ms. Betchay! ^^; I’m a part-time online English teacher in Duzon (더존 Inglish, i for International English). Ever heard of it? Our office is @ Insular Life Alabang. I am quite sure that not all Koreans hold that negative stereotype against Filipinos, esp. those who come here to learn English. Just my two cents based from my own experiences with my current students and while I was teaching in Korea.
    And yeah, being a Fil and winning Eng contests there, besting other nationalities, can easily reinforce my point.
    to Arvinsign: Your 1st post indeed has a tinge of condescension that could easily be misinterpreted. I myself felt a bit queasy while reading it.

  22. Hi Elliot! I used to teach at Duzon, too. I think I was at 11th/F of Insular Life Building…can’t remember. 3 weeks lang kasi. I didn’t stay that long because the night shift really “killed” me. After 12 years of Human Resources work and getting married, the new schedule really came out as a shock to my system. Didn’t have a problem with the job per se because my English speaking ability (the accent) is almost that of a native speakers’ (thanks to years of practice with my husband).
    It’s true that Koreans give preference to white native English speakers (my husband is an educated and experienced native English speaker and teacher from Connecticut) but if you try to visit other websites, some white people also complain how hagwons treat them. So if they get treated that bad, non-native English speakers might be treated worse than them (white native English speakers).
    As a Filipino, I still look forward to one day be able to prove that we are as good as others (in terms of English speaking ability and dedication to work).

  23. u guys it is not the question of nationality, racism will always be there. but competence, ability, credentials and talent. for non native speakers like us we have to worked really hard to show those people that english is not based on the color of your skin.
    i have been working abroad for more than a decade, surprisingly esl/efl. the first thing i do when i have a snooty and racist colleague is to tell and show how stupid they are, and there are so many ways to do that . by the way i took my undergrad from UST and my graduate studies from UP Diliman with highest honors. there are so many ways to prove your worth as a person,irregardless of color, race and creed, you will only be put down if you allow others to do that.
    we’re ambassadors of goodwill of our country, so we should always put our best foot forward. mabuhay

  24. Honestly, I don’t think that KOreans are racist. Well ofcourse, some are, but most aren’t. They can just rather be naive sometimes. hehe. specially because their society is very uptight and closed knit.

  25. By the way, it’s not just the KOreans who can sometimes be racist. I’ve met a couple of Filipinos who hate Koreans by the bone. My close friend doesn’t like KOreans coz she thinks that they look like rapists. My professor, the second “Summa cum laude” in his department in UP, an ex OPUS Dei, and a high official working for the military, once told me that he hated Koreans coz they are “mayabang”. I asked him if he had ever met a KOrean, and he told me that he hadn’t. My doctor, whom I visited for the first and last time, gave me this rude comment that Koreans are stupid, that they can never learn English. I just said that he’s a racist to shut himself up. It’s not that I’m a Korean loyalist, but come on I have KOrean friends, and believe me, I have never ever heard them say something as rude as those things to a Filipino.

  26. the thing is..you cannot generalize traits to groups of people. Its a case to case basis. Filipinos, Americans, Europeans as well as Koreans have their share of nice, friendly, arrogant, racist etc within their population. Filipinos discriminates other Filipinos too. The same goes on for other nationalities.
    Sorry if some people misinterpreted my previous posts. But its true, i really dont agree that everybody including Filipinos and Caucasians should be allowed to teach ESL without proper credentials. Moreover, fluency and good accent is also not the key. I know many who can speak well fluently, but fails on the simplest grammar examination. And some will write well using high falootin words, but only in the presence of a thesaurus.
    My point is simple…i firmly believe that many filipinos deserves to be regarded as the best in terms of english proficiency therefore have the right to teach english as a second language. Unfortunately, this doesnt apply to all filipinos (including myself). We are not native speakers, and english proficiency for filipinos is a matter of individual skills and not of race.

  27. @Sarah >> it’s disappointing you had that kind of professor… i have a wonderful korean family and korean friends that i really don’t like it when people generalize against them… my mother also thought badly of koreans (she lived in LA’s Koreatown for three years) until she met my husband and his family… but then, my mother only attended elementary school
    @arvinsign >> you’re right about filipinos discriminating against other filipinos… i’d experienced that both in the philippines and here in korea… visayans, for example, are often stereotyped as maids in movies/tv shows and are ridiculed for their accents… pampaguenos are also perceived to be “mayabang”

  28. Greetings everyone. I used to have a Korean friend. Our friendship started out when I tutored her on a Theology course. At first, I thought she was genuinely nice. As our friendship developed and grew, she became arrogant. Some Filipinos she has been hanging out with were to be partly blamed. I don’t know where these Filipinos come from the Philippines, but boy if ever you hear my ex-Korean friend describe the Philippines, you will cringe because the Philippines, according to her, is a place where foreigners are murdered every day. It was sad that I have to end our friendship, but I certainly do not tolerate prejudice and arrogance.

  29. thank goodness that i am working in a place where most of my bosses are american-schooled/trained. they thought that i was trained in the US of A too. No discrimination in my place of work ‘tho one time they told me ( it broke my heart) that most Filipinos in korea are domestic helpers or factory workers. kaya, ipinakita ko sa kanila that i can teach the difficult subjects with ease. they’re good and supportive to me.

  30. “My point is simple…i firmly believe that many filipinos deserves to be regarded as the best in terms of english proficiency therefore have the right to teach english as a second language. Unfortunately, this doesnt apply to all filipinos (including myself). We are not native speakers, and english proficiency for filipinos is a matter of individual skills and not of race.”
    You are right in saying this arvinsign. I met some Filipinas here teaching English and let’s say, they could speak and understand English but they don’t have the necessary skills to teach the language. There’s a big difference between knowing how to speak and teaching the language. This applies even to “native speakers.”
    Koreans complain about pronunciation and accent and sometimes you can’t blame them too.

  31. to vivs, please proof read your post. I saw a lot of glaring errors. What do you do there in the land of kimchi btw? I teach English to Korean kids and adults alike. THEY love us pinoys. so no argument here. AJA PINOY, AJA!

  32. You have nothing to prove we are qualified. Their minds are closed, there is no space for us. Sorry, that is the fact! The best thing is let us pray for our country and our leaders that soon someday all Filipinos will go home and work in our country with a salary that is descent, free from all the mockery and discriminations. Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!

  33. I was born and raised in the United States and applied for an ESL teaching job in Korea. I had all of the qualifications US Citizen, Native English Speaker, College Degree, ect. However, the only problem was that I was Filipino by race.
    Its not only people in the Philippines who get discriminated against but the people from the US who are non-whites.
    After that experience I personally lost a lot of respect for those people. I mean grow up! I can’t stand these people and I think that they are a freakin’ joke. So who the hell cares about Korea…Seriously!!!!
    Support the Japanese instead!!! They hate Koreans!!!

  34. How do I apply at Duzon Alabang? If I don’t get accepted there, I’m going to join Joe Whitecom’s group. Seriously!!! Also, if these Koreans don’t want Filipinos(who know how to speak English far more excellently than they do) to teach them English,hey, GO HOME CHINKS!YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW HOW TO BE QUIET IN A SPA!!! To Vivs, high standard pala and high society ha. Eh bakit ang ingay? Wa Class?

  35. For Filipinos who want to teach English abroad just to earn $1000-2000 per month: DROP YOUR PLAN (it’s up to you though).
    Presently, there are pretty much opportunities to earn online right at the comfort of your home. You just need a stable internet connection and a good computer (and a quiet environment).
    I’m currently teaching English online (homebased). I work for 2 Korean companies earning P120/hour and with a French company for $9/hour (this one is purely business subject). Your income will depend on how much time you can teach. I teach 15 hours a day but I tell you this job isn’t tiring nor stressful at all (as long as you know what you’re teaching :). I’m kind of workaholic (or maybe a bit selfish) so I’m also working on weekends for my private teaching. For private teaching of Koreans you can charge P250-P350/hour depending on the level of subjects. If you can teach IELTS/TOEFL/TOEIC then you can charge P300-350/hour. (you need to invest here. you need to buy a CD and install it in your computer.)
    Normally, many Korean students don’t attend the class religiously especially those who are working. But you need not worry because you’re still paid unless the student has informed the head office of his/her absence at least a day before his/her absence (but this depends on the policy of the company).
    That means, while waiting for your next student, you can exercise, dance, sing, watch movie, cook, chat, etc. — and you’re paid 🙂
    I have a friend who started working online at home 3 years ago. She’s earning not lower than P50k/week. She hired 3 of her family members to work for her. She works for an Australian company. Apparently, she’s a bit selfish to share with me details of her work. Doesn’t wanna share her luck though 🙁
    Anyway, another friend is also teaching online. My friend is a financial consultant. She teaches, obviously, finance and investment. She receives dollar for her professional fees.
    If you’re forte is writing then you can work as a writer/editor/blogger. My friend is writing blogs for some companies. She does it in the evening after office work. On the other hand, her friend works homebased as call center agent.
    I know a lot of people (especially friends) who work homebased. They are earning a lot — honestly.
    One piece of advice: Work on your strength and know your weakness. If you can speak English very well but you feel that your accent needs some polishing then PRACTICE. Check videos on youtube to improve your accents. Or open dictionary.com (and other online dictionary). Check pronunciation of words that you’re not sure of. Listen on how the recorded voice pronounces each word. This will help!
    We Filipinos have the advantage. We understand and speak English. It’s just a matter of pushing some more effort and self-training.
    For my fellow Filipinos: Be resourceful. Instead of playing games and chatting online why not use your internet in a much more productive ways.
    Guaranteed: You can find jobs online that suit your interest and experience.
    Good Luck. Happy Job hunting!

  36. @Joe Whitecom
    Why Japanese????
    In my personal opinion,the Koreans I met were a whole lot nicer than the Japanese.
    Read this
    Mr. Kawasaki said the economic slump was a good opportunity to overhaul Japan’s immigration policy as a whole.
    “We should stop letting unskilled laborers into Japan. We should make sure that even the three-K jobs are paid well, and that they are filled by Japanese,” he said. “I do not think that Japan should ever become a multiethnic society.”

  37. some koreans are so ignorant about the world… there are lots of filipinos who can speak english fluently…
    koreans study english hardly but really can’t outwit the fluency of some filipinos…
    filipinos are versatile speakers … hey koreans! do you know what versatile means?


      Actually friend, sure they’re aware of that fact. They even strengthen the ties between Korean and Philippines…
      …but you know education is a different thing…
      Accepted, we are a good teacher, hardworking, efficient and dedicated..the problem is.. they don’t like Philippine teachers..they’ll decide whether they’re ready or not yet.

  39. Hello mga kababayans in Korea,
    I used to be an ESL teachers in the Philippines and now teaching in Japan.
    Being with the Koreans before made me realize that it’s better to teach the Japanese. This is just my personal opinion based on my 6-years teaching experience. Although you could still experience racial discrimination here in Japan from time to time, I guess from the way most of you guys are saying, that this situation is worse over there in Korea. But anyway, I know that it’s natural for these people to judge us first based on the color of our skin or our country of origin. My only advice is to continue to improve your skills in English so we can show these CHINKY RACISTS what we Filipinos can do well as any English native teachers (or better) and slap it on their faces or shove it up their asses 🙂

  40. well, we should be proud that we are filipinos!
    we should not let anyone turn us down… maybe we could just let them, anyways we know we are better than them .haha they can’t understand this naman right? english eh… hehe joke! though filipinos are not as white as them, we are more competent,fast learners and prettier(hehe) and they’re just WHITE!
    … wla lng share lng…

  41. Native speaker my *ss…I know quite a handful of so-called native speakers who can’t even spell simple words, much more write a simple sentence…

    On a similar issue, I actually feel bad for many Korean (and Japanese) ESL students who leave their country to study English in countries like The States and Canada, it seems to me that they’re getting the bad end of the bargain…Consider this, they shell out thousands of dollars every month–for rent, tuition, visa expenses–all in all, not less that 2-grand a month, and yet what they get are substandard living spaces (i know people who share their rooms with 3 or more other roommates); poorly prepared meals for those living in ‘home-stay’ (how do you expect an asian to subsist on sandwiches?); and worse of all, teachers whose only qualifications are that they happen to be born in a country whose official language is English…many of my friends keep complaining about how lazy many of their teachers are…
    In my opinion, ESL-students living abroad are being exploited by those who run the ESL industry~

  42. and oh, maybe Koreans are racists…
    but so are we 😀
    but beyond that, i’ve met a lot of them here, and i could say that some of them have become really genuine friends (i even keep in touch with a few of those who already went back to Korea)
    I guess that’s the beauty of friendship, it transcends race and whatever walls that man built against his fellowman

    kkkk medyo OT na to…

  43. I am an online English teacher. I work in a company that teaches Koreans English by means of a screen program. It’s hard in the beginning, I can say that honestly not all the people who work in this industry are good enough to be teachers. But most of the people who do work for my company are actual teachers by profession so that’s a relief.
    But it is true that some Koreans are not that open to having Filipinos teach their children English. But I guess it just makes me want to prove to them that I am good enough.
    It doesn’t matter if a Brit or an American teacher comes along, if you earn the trust of you student, then they would learn better with you.
    ^^ (I also used to work for call centers so when I talk to some students they feel intimidated that I have an American or a neutral accent. )
    Ika nga, swertihan lang. (As they say, sometimes luck plays a role.) If you end up with a nice student, then that’s great. But if you end up with a racist or a delinquent student, that’s too bad.

  44. *typo
    if you earn the trust of your student, then they would learn better with you.
    *sorry sakit ko na to. kailangan itama ang mali. ^^

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