I sometimes wonder how life would be different if I had found a decent job in Taiwan. I’ve done a lot of poking around the expat interwebs since that short time I lived there (Over seven years ago now. Sheesh.) about life and work in Taiwan and as far as I can tell it can be best summed up as “Korean hagwons in the tropics”.
“Hagwon”, for those of you who don’t know, is the Korean word for a business that sells education. Obviously education is something that should have free market philosophy attached to it and thus remain poorly regulated/ built because Supply-Side Jesus would cry otherwise. It’s called “buxiban” in China, “eikaiwa” in Japan, and “university” in North America. This system would be considered an insane waste of money in a sane world but you know how it is. We live under the Divine Right of Capitalism and it needs to stick it’s nose where it doesn’t belong so it can do the most damage for the benefit of the fewest amount of people.
My current participation in ruining the right of education is working in an after school program. It can be hagwon-like in many ways, but overall it’s a step up if only for the shorter hours and longer vacations. I got this job because no one in their right minds wants to come to Gunsan on purpose when Seoul is always hiring. See, I’m too old, fat, and ugly now to be able to compete with the young and pretty kids in the bigger cities. I think what this means is that, if I did make a life for myself in Taiwan, I’d be working longer hours with less time off and I would be constantly sweating from the tropical heat and covered in giant cockroaches as I slept because Taiwan is covered in giant cockroaches.
Ehn. I’ve had worse.
This is one of my rare color photos. It was shot with a Mamiya C220f in the city of Taichung. The topic of color photography came up with a friend recently. He doesn’t like B&W photos because he thinks it makes it easy to cheat your way out of a bad image. He’s right, which is why I use it all the time. Score one for me!
It did remind me: One thing I’ve learned from practicing photography, making comics, and dealing with other creators, is that artists create things that please them first. It’s our sense of aesthetics that we’re working towards and we’re usually hoping it pleases others as well. I have found that any and all explanations/ art theories put forward by artists about why they do what they do are, at best, post-hoc justifications for our choices. Which I think is actually good because it helps define for you what you were thinking. Also, I find that doing it ad-hoc usually results in really sterile, boring stuff. But you have to go to a fancy art school in order to learn the right terminology to do it convincingly otherwise you’ll look like a fool when someone brings up The Decisive Moment.
Old joke: How do you greet an art school graduate?
“I’ll have a tall latte to go.”
Bwa! Ha! Ha!
… says the guy with a B.A. who has spent a good chunk of his adult life as an EFL Edutainer, ruining education.
P.S.- I’m on vacation now. I won’t be spending it writing blogs for you. You’ll have to look at this picture for the next week. Look at it!