Medical (Mis)Adventures in the Philippines

I arrived in the Philippines on July 7, 2007 with bags and two cats. A half shipping container full of stuff would arrive from South Korea three weeks later. The idea was that Mary, her husband Walter and I would retire together in a large bungalow in a rather posh subdivision. They had already moved in.

Korea had spoiled me when it came to healthcare—inexpensive, efficient and effective. As part of my employment package at the Buddhist university in Seoul, I had Korean National Health insurance, which automatically paid half of any medical bill and drug cost. I’d gotten semi-annual … Read More

Hungary, or ESL after Korea

Five years ago, Steve and I had an interview about his early days in the Peace Corps, starting in 1973, and his then current gig at Yeungnam University near Daegu, where he taught from 2012-2017. We called it “Korea Forty Years Later (Link)

In this recent interview he talks about this past year he and his wife Marsha spent teaching in Hungary, which he sees as a possibility for other teachers after they leave Korea.

Steve’s story

 How was it teaching English in Hungary? When did you go and what was your experience?

My wife and I arrived … Read More

List of Opposites, East and West

 

When I arrived in Asia in 1984, everything was so new that my mind simply would not take in what it saw. I wandered around bug-eyed, marveling at everything but feeling content. I thought, “Isn’t it wonderful that I’m not experiencing any culture shock.” Two things I was ignoring were the fact that the actual shock was not due until later—when it did come—and the fact that my nightly retreats into British murder mysteries certainly qualified as trying to escape from my environment.

Few seasoned travelers to the East would consider referring to it as “mystic”; the realities are … Read More

Author Interview: Human Rights Violations in North Korea, Part 2

Dr. Sandra Fahy holds a PhD in anthropology from the University of London and is now teaching at Sophia University in Tokyo. In our first interview she discussed the North Korean famine of the 1990s, the subject of her first book. (Link) Recently we talked about various human rights abuses treated in her second, forthcoming book, Dying for Rights: Putting North Korea’s Human Rights Abuses on the Record (Link) Here she provides a historical context for the development of the DPRK police state.  

We spoke over Skype while Sandra was in Japan and I was in Read More

Finding Contentment in Japan—and Once in Korea

I first met Mark in the early 1990s at the Lotus Lantern Buddhist Center in Seoul. I was teaching English at Dongguk University, the Buddhist school, and he was studying philosophy at Seoul National University, the country’s top university.  It was a time of intense student activism which greatly affected the climate on university campuses and in the country as a whole. Mark had some decided views on the subject, as he told me in an interview, (Link) After graduating from SNU in 1992, Mark stayed in various Buddhist temples in SE Asia, then returned to Korea to Read More