“The highest result of education is tolerance.” (Helen Keller)
I’m a permanent resident residing in Busan, South Korea.
I came to South Korea in 1996 to take advantage of Korean people, especially women, and to generally be a bad influence upon Korean culture.
My Korean wife is a victim of my trickery and my children are the result of our relationship.
Wait a second, wrong story. I’m just waking up from my MBC-induced bad dream.
If you watched “The Shocking Truth About Relationships with Foreigners,” an episode of MBC’s “Viewing the World Moment to Moment” (Sesangbogi Sisigakgak) last week, you undoubtedly feel deeply hurt, like a dagger has been thrust through you and your family’s hearts.
Like many foreigners, I came to Korea to teach and experience life in a foreign culture. I never intended to settle down here and raise a family, but that is what I did.
Korea has blessed me in many ways: 1. I met my wife here and now we have two beautiful children, a daughter in the sixth grade and a son in kindergarten; 2. I’ve made life-long friends that occupy a special place in my heart; 3. I’ve witnessed Korea’s economic, technological and social advances; 4. I have had the chance to volunteer at orphanages and be active within my faith community; and importantly 5. I’ve been blessed with professional public and university teaching experience.
Korea is and always will be a part of me. I’m sure if I were living back in St. John’s, Canada, I would miss kimchi, bulgogi, “deulggae kalguksu,” bowing before my mother and father on Chuseok, Seollal and Parents’ Day, the laughter of children on Children’s Day, lantern parade processions before Buddha’s Birthday and teaching with my Korean co-teachers. For this and more, I say: Thank you Korea.
However, to be accused of coming to Korea to sleep with Korean women, commit acts of fraud, of being a heavy drinker, carouser and spreading AIDS, I feel like MBC has raped my family.
I want Koreans to reflect upon the emotional harm that MBC has inflicted upon the foreign population, especially multicultural families, and even Korean women through their reckless, unsubstantiated and grossly unprofessional reporting.
I write this article not for myself, but for my children. I don’t want someone coming up to my daughter or son in school and asking “Does your daddy have AIDS? Or does he sleep with Korean women? Or was your mommy a prostitute?”
In the words of Ruby Bridges Hall, “Racism is a grown-up disease and we must stop using our children to spread it.” This disease can only be eliminated through educational programs that teach our children to tolerate and respect differences and celebrate diversity.
According to John Locke’s 1693 Essay “Concerning Human Understanding,” “the highest perfection of intellectual nature lies in a careful and constant pursuit of true and solid happiness.“
Everyone, including multicultural families, biracial children, women, the physically and mentally challenged, aged, people of all colors, homosexuals, bisexuals, and transgenders have the right to pursue true and solid happiness.
If you love Korea and are against racism, I encourage you to contact the International Relations dept. of MBC, the Korean Human Rights Commission, the Korean Communication Standards Commission, and foreign media such as CNN to express your displeasure over MBC’s racist reporting against foreigners living in Korea.
Let’s respect and celebrate each other’s diversity.
By Patrick M. Guilfoyle
Patrick M. Guilfoyle resides in Busan with his wife, daughter and son. ― Ed.