Just a few newsy type things.
First, if you're in Korea, there's this. A fellow ESL teacher ran into some health problems, is uninsured and possibly going to be kicked out of the hospital if he doesn't come up with 10 mil Won and fast. One of the more reliable expats in the community has vouched for the guy and the situation, whatever that may mean to you. Do I think the guy was teaching illegally on a tourist visa? Probably. But it is possible he was honestly looking for a job. Should he have bought traveler's insurance? Yes, definitely. However, we all make mistakes. If you're in the ROK, you know how simple it is to make a bank transfer. Give it some thought. No one deserves to lose their life, or limb, because of a few poor decisions, even if that was the case, in my humble opinion.
Sometimes we run into situations, as foreigners, that (for the most part) only other foreigners are willing to help us out with. We may be an odd and shattered community, but we are still a community. We're all far from our families and loved ones, and most of the people who feel any true allegiance to us. We should take care of one another, when we have the chance. No questions asked.
Secondly, thanks to Roboseyo for this. I understand that there is a legitimate risk among recently arriving foreigners for the pig flu, but for those of us who have been here for some time and just happen to be foreigners, who also love and spend time with other foreigners, it's fucking offensive. And, quite frankly, ignorant. I'm far more likely to get the flu from one of my grubby little (Korean) students than I am from my foreign friends. Thank the Universe the Herald finally decided to publish something that doesn't make me want to cry.
And last, but certainly not least, there's this. Discussing this over dinner tonight, I told Mike that I don't think it's possible to apply percentages of likelihood to this situation. However, I don't think the nature of someone in a situation where there is nothing to lose should be dealt with lightly. I also don't like that my baby brother is on a military ship somewhere between Singapore and Japan at the moment. But hey, that's life. Prayers and positive energy. Let's hope this situation can be resolved peacefully, for the sake of the citizens of both North and South Korea (and those of us here, on the fringes). And especially for the sake of those young men who, due to no free will of their own, will be forced to fight this war, if it comes to it -- those, in particular, are dear to my heart, given that I currently teach the upcoming generation of this group.