The 8th Annual Expat Korea Congress

The true measure of one’s power is not land or money or physical strength.  The true measure of one’s power is control.  As in, how many people one controls.  You say that you are big and rich and powerful and successful and handsome, and that you can hold a 10 kilo kettle bell 90 degrees straight out from your body with your erect penis?  Big deal hot shot, but how many people do you control?  What’s your name, and how many people do you control?  What is the size of your army?  This is what matters; in terms of power; all else is irrelevant.  My name is Jake, and I control an army of 60 loyal expats, how about you?  ….That’s what I thought.  Go back to your kindergarten job, your gym and your dick-stretching kettle bell exercises.  We’re here to talk about man stuff, expat stuff.  Dust off the 21 year old whiskey and bring out the pipe tobacco.

The 8th Annual Expat Congress is coming up next month and myself along with a committee of 19 other members of the Korean expat jet-set glitterati have been neck deep in paperwork, power point slides, and discarded coffee cups.  Deciding on a venue poses a major logistical problem.  That any large scale expat meeting would be held in Itaewon was beyond question.  But which specific venue would be most appropriate for a large scale meeting of high profile expat movers and shakers?  Some place expat-friendly?  That narrows it down to less than 10 venues.  Some place with no upper age restrictions?  Some of my expat brothers have actually survived beyond their 40th year on this frigid peninsula, despite repeated suicide/escape attempts, so age-hostile places like the Gold Bar (no patrons over 40 allowed) are out of the question.

And then we have to consider which places my various friends have been banned from, which is an extra consideration that only people among my particular social group seem to have to address.  You say you’ve been banned from Dave’s ESL café?  Banned from KoreaBang?  Banned from every Koreaboo website on the internet?  Big fucking deal, man.  I have friends who have been physically banned for life from actual brick and mortar businesses in Itaewon.  I have friends who actually have to sign in with captain Kim at the Itaewon police station and register their presence before the soles of their shoes can kiss the pavement in Itaewon.  I have friends with GPS ankle bracelets that start to beep and send signals to the Seoul prosecutor’s office when they get within 3 kilometers of Itaewon’s magic mile.  I actually have to sit and make a list of friends names, and a list of Itaewon businesses, and then draw little lines all over the place to figure out who has been banned from where.  Painstaking work.  Expat problems.

I’ve been tasked with drawing up the meeting agenda, creating a list of topics to be discussed and voted upon by the 8th Annual Expat Congress, the representatives of which have been elected via a Kakaotalk polling application accessible to only the ~200 most influential expats on the peninsula, you know, the people who actually matter (No, you can’t join without an invitation, so don’t ask).  Complex issues such as “Who will be the next cultural ambassador to Itaewon?” will be addressed. I held the position myself for two years, as did my consigliere Johnny Drama.  Who will be next?  Big shoes to fill, lots of hands to shake, lots of people to meet.  Who possesses the required social skills?  Hushed whispers in the jimjilbang hint that someone whose name starts with “S” or “T” or “A” or “C” could be next, but these rumors are unconfirmed.

Next up for discussion is the re-design of the Expat Hell official name cards and stickers.  People always email me asking how they can join the members-only message board on this site.  Basically, it works in the same way that Korean actresses and models get hired, except you don’t have to put anyone’s penis in your mouth.  You see, new recruits are scouted in person, on the mean streets of Itaewon, Seoul, Gyeonggi-do and as far away as Wonju and Busan.  The signature Expat Hell business card is handed over to individuals who have qualified for admission into our gentleman’s social club.  The boss (me) hands a stack of cards to his underboss, who in turn distributes them to his caporegimes, who in turn pass them on to their soldiers who go out on the streets and into expat friendly places in search of new associates.  It’s all rather complicated.  Think of it as receiving Willy Wonka’s golden ticket.  You don’t choose membership, the membership chooses you.

Additional topics for discussion are the renovation of the Expat Hell World Headquarters on the 6th floor of the Hamilton hotel (room 602).  The room has been handed down from expat to expat over the generations, and frankly is in dire need of a full restoration lest anyone’s mistress complain of roaches or cigarette smoke or plastic bags full of long-used condoms hanging from cheap plastic hangers in the closet.  Which shady contractor will be used for the renovations, or will we simply renovate it ourselves?  Tough decision.  It will all come down to a vote.

The Expat Hell Senior Expat Pension System will also be revised. It would seem that some of our expat brothers aged beyond 40 have run into hard times on the job market.  The Koreans ain’t hirin’ senior citizens, and once you reach age 40, you are basically a senior citizen in Korea.  We younger expats will pay into the pension system to support the older expats who are no longer able to secure full time employment, or pay the legal bills from their 3rd divorce, etc.  Expats helping expats, a strange concept alien to most foreigners in Korea.

The Hooker Hill Relocation Charity Dinner is also in the works, and will be hosted at a well known Italian bistro with actual Italians in the kitchen.  The per-plate donation is still being worked out, with all proceeds going towards the relocation of all of the comfort women prostitutes who will soon be homeless as Itaewon’s Hooker Hill is redeveloped into tourist hotels, bibimbap restaurants and trendy faux-western/faux-authentic eateries.  Social responsibility; helping the community.

A vote will be held on which business venture will next be absorbed by the Expat Hell Hedge Fund.  The coffers are bursting at the seams and the Expat Hell© portfolio is ripe for another acquisition, but what?  Will it be a print shop?  A bar or pub?  A cocktail lounge?  A deaf/mute souvenir cart?  A Thai massage parlor? Allow me to go off on a tangent for a moment.  There is a Thai massage place near my office and in the evenings, they have two Thai girls standing next to the door, greeting potential customers.  One of the Thai girls is tall and thin, with hair down to her ass and silver bracelets up to her elbows.  She looks directly at me with deep, electric eyes every time I pass by on my way to get coffee in the evening.  Her gaze blows wind into my battered sails.  Kryptonite to the working man!  Fuck the coffee; a thousand megawatt smile is all the working man needs to clock in long hours of overtime.

My secretary asks me “Jake, why do you make a funny sound and bite your fist every time we pass by this building?”  “Oh, uhhh, errr…. I’m just trying to warm up my hands.” Riiiiiiight.  I am putting in a strong vote for buying a massage shop.  A very strong vote.  In fact, I’m writing it in big red letters across the top of my ballot, ‘MASSAGE SHOP, FOR THE LOVE OF CHRIST’.  I have a strong feeling that the Expat Hell hedge fund will soon be majority shareholder in a massage shop.  Screw the cocktail lounge, forget government bonds, fuck investing in oil or gold or Indian wig factories, and screw the deaf/mute souvenir cart.

When you see the electric eyes and the thousand megawatt smile, you know you are in trouble, but you also know that you are still alive.  Women look at your face as a way of getting information from you.  They are thinking, and the gears in their heads are turning when they look at your face.  Look at any part of a woman other than her face, and she instantly knows that the advantage is hers.  She is in control of you.  She is already dribbling the ball down the field, and you are chasing her.  Chasers can be winners, but they have to start off as losers.  My friends and brothers, are you chasing something?  You are not a winner.  Yet.  The streets are choked with beautiful women.  Are they looking at you with electric eyes?  Are you looking back at any other part of their body besides their face?  Loser.  Good luck.  Me?  I’m chasing my dream of owning a Thai massage parlor.  Eyes on the prize.  And so…..

The pile of papers on my desk looks about ten feet tall, and the empty cups of espresso surrounding my computer monitor are evidence that I have been avoiding sleep and putting in long hours.  My name is Jake, and I control a loyal army of 60 expats.  How about you, Mr. ESL Café?  Mr. kindergarten teacher?  Mr. ‘imported beer is too expensive’?  Are you burning the candle at both ends?  Are you making plans for big things?  No?  Then what are you doing?

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25 Responses to The 8th Annual Expat Korea Congress

  1. The Expat says:

    Nope! I am not an Apple guy. Looks like I am not the only Jake in Seoul.

  2. Via Korea says:

    Hey, Jake, enjoyed the update. We’re really excited about our proposal for next month.

    I know it got tabled during last year’s Congress for lack of funding, but allow me to resubmit our bill this year and see if we can’t bring the guys around to adopting the motion that I and my partners here in Gwangju have been working on tirelessly for the last 17 and a half months. (See Senate Proposal No. 69-8=D, originally known as the 2013 Spin the Slug Act.) Since then, my associates and I have successfully tested a merry-go-round roller prototype here that’s been increasing our profit margin dramatically. The genius of it is to let pedestrians play Spin the Slug and, when he’s done spinning, whoever the slug’s head points to has to pay. It’s already growing by leaps and bounds. We’ve recently expanded into Naju where the locals are already taking to it. One day it’s gonna be in the capital, I just know it.

    We’re doing big things out here.

  3. GForce says:

    The Expat Hell army is full of grizzled and bitter bastards who wont think twice about taking down the whiners and whingers on Daves or Waygook posting about where to buy ice cube trays or wondering where to get Cadbury chocolate.

    BTW – Where exactly is this Thai massage place? I’d travel across the city just to walk by and see a semi legit smile in this country.

    • Weig1 says:

      This is a valid concern, and for the 8th Annual Expat Conference, I am preparing an introductory briefing on my proposed Hagwon Hardening Program©, a program specifically for public-school teachers posting on waygook.org.

      My ambitious-sounding plan would involve a partnership between local Korean businesses and government agencies, forming teacher hubs aimed at improving the standard of EPIK teachers, reducing the amount of whining from those entitled little bitches and giving the rest of us a well-earned break from hearing about their shitty non-problems and rehashed complaints about Korea and Koreans.

      As we all know, many EPIK “teachers” come straight to Korea from college with no prior experience of actual workplace environments, much less Korean working conditions, and herin lies the problem. While we can avoid going to waygook.org, the pollution spreads to other forums, where inevitably, topics such as “Where can I find Koreans in Seoul?” and “My co-teacher won’t wipe my ass after poopie time like mommy does” will arise. It goes without saying that no one should have to deal with this type of nonsense, and, if the delegates to the conference see fit to implement my modest proposal, no one will.

      My friends, I give you the Hagwon Hardening Program©. My plan envisages a partnership between Korea’s worst kiddie hagwons and the Korean Ministry of Education. Before being allowed to even step foot in the public school system, where weiguk training capabilities are woefully hobbled by government regulations and “teachers” are protected by actually enforced laws, all incoming EPIK teachers would be required to do a year in a shitty kiddie hagwon in the worst areas of Korea to earn their “Ddong Chim Wings,” the coveted badge that cannot be bought, but only earned, after surviving a full year in a shitty kiddie hagwon (and being stiffed out of the 13th month severance payment). Only after the award of the Dong Chim Wings, would a newbie be allowed to apply for a public school position (Here, an alternative yet equally valid award for those having successfully planned and carried out a midnight runner, demonstrating initiative and good sense, is in the planning stages).

      Why, my friends, only the other day, a 24-year-old “adult” (and I use the term with its loosest possible meaning) was seeking advice from other children on waygook.org about dealing with her parents who were reluctant to allow her to go to Korea to “teach,” a thread full of nonsense sadly symbolic of the level of the newbies of 2014. I say throw her into a shitty little cold Wonderland in a nasty regional city with one of those stone cold bitch MILF kiddie hagwon owners, crappy accommodation, missed payments, vague promises of a non-existant health care card and an Ajjuma Armada of nasty “mommies” baying for her blood. She will emerge a woman, ready to actually stand up to her parents, take on the world and actually possess a working backbone.

      I believe the Hagwon Hardening Program© would be a winning solution for all. Hagwon teachers would get a constant stream of gullible, attractive young things and would be actively encouraged to withhold otherwise expansive benefits freeing up valuable financial resources for designer handbags, plastic surgery, sponsored dating and anma visits. Public school principals and designated weiguk handlers would receive toughened new weigs, ready to take on class loads of kids with a minimum of whining, fussing and temper tantrums. Seasoned expats would be spared boring, non-entertaining Internet posts and would be actually entertained with true tales of woe rather than the petty grievances that we are all currently forced to put up with. Finally, newbies would earn their wings and would be reasonably functional adults with decent tales to tell and a sense of perspective sadly lacking in the current crop.

      Fellow delegates of the 8th Annual Expat Conference, I bid you good day.

      • The Expat says:

        I support this motion. Though sometimes it is fun reading stories of teenaged angst at Daves and waygook.

        • GForce says:

          With plenty of free time during winter camp, I read those trash rags with gusto. Mildly entertaining but worthwhile stories are hard to comeby.

      • . says:

        I saw that thread on Waygook too. Graduates of 2014 are pathetic. And today there was a thread saying “Hey guys, I got a job offer, what do I do next?” like his recruiter didn’t already fucking tell him.

        http://www.waygook.org/index.php/topic,64301.msg422724/topicseen.html#new

        Is there a forum out there that allows no-hold-barred insults of these kind of idiots, or that bans Korean sycophants like those found on Waygook and Dave’s?

      • The Baron says:

        Even as a public school teacher here, I support the notion of this plan (I assume this is only for new arrivals and I’ll be grandfathered in!). I constantly hear the belly-aching of my mid-20’s public school teaching contemporaries, and want to shout “STFU! Do you realize how easy and un-demanding your job is?” Any waeg truly griping over their work conditions at a public school has a real tough road ahead of them in life. However, I will not be voting in favor of your plan, as I’m hoping the EH funds can be used to finally put this system into action: http://www.expathell.com/?p=6062

      • unrepentant says:

        I worked at 3 hagwons before a public school and I agree with your idea. I almost wanted to stab myself to escape from suffering through a week of orientation with those needy fools complaining about orientation. I guess I needed some of it to find out more about the noobie idiots who would be my new peers. In the end it made me question the whole switch over thing.
        My favorite complaint is having to use unofficial leave to dodge out of work early to go to the bank and actually losing a vacation day if this adds up to 8 hours. Getting caught ordering something personal like erectile dysfunction pills to work and having your colleges laugh and tell everyone about it is another classic.

        • Weig1 says:

          My favorite ever complaint on a blacklist was something like: “We were expected to grade essays and mark homework.”

      • waeg says:

        I’d support this as well, however there would need to be several programs in place, one to help the washouts find their way to Incheon airport through Paju, with a stop at the wonderful English village that may still be there, where they’d be worked over to take a wonderpul job with great benefits, save again there would be no benefits and their housing would be a small bunk in an unheated dorm room. We’d also need a 12 step recovery program for the approximately 30% who will be nothing more than broken useless husks of their former selves.

  4. Red Wings Fan says:

    Jakeusan,

    WTF are you doing in Korea? Your writing and comedy is on par with the likes of Sam Kinison, Hunter S. Thompson and Ernest Hemingway.

    Get your ass home, writer, and write for US.

    Our Homefront media/entertainment industry desperately needs your assistance.

    Later.

  5. Craig Richards says:

    Thank you! Not for this post alone, but for your collective work. This blog is some sort of odd therapy for me.

  6. fatyogini says:

    Why haven’t you posted on the Flushing McDonald’s incident? I am so waiting to hear yours and/or Baek Inje’s take on that whole thing.

  7. Rob says:

    Do you have to be a whinging Hagwon teacher whinging about whinging public school teachers to join this elite group or can a regular whinging bastard with a non-teaching job be in with a chance of one-day being invited – in?

  8. Dongduchoke says:

    “And then we have to consider which places my various friends have been banned from, which is an extra consideration that only people among my particular social group seem to have to address.” Pure gold.

  9. D says:

    Expathell is coming back?

    • The Expat says:

      Well, to be honest, I was just going to let the site expire, but several people have come forward with generous donations in the interest of keeping it up. To honor these people, I’ll revise and re-post old entries. Somehow, having this website and writing about my life here had a profound effect on many people. I’ve made a lot of friends along the way, when all I ever intended to do was to amuse myself. If I’d never hashed out a single posting online, my life would be markedly different in many ways. I’ll keep this site up as long as people want to read. I’ll re-post older entries along the way when I have time.

  10. rrac says:

    Man is it great to see you reposting your greatest hits expat. I have loved your stories from the start. One of the best blogs in Korea (along with An Idiots Tale) 10 Magazine and his cronies not withstanding

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