i used to like the idea that i’m working for a government institution, but i’m not so sure anymore. i’ve been working for the korea institute of science and technology information for a week now and they asked me today to submit an application. i checked it out. it looked like a standard application for all employees who want to work for the ministry of science and technology. it started out with your typical job application: name, address, number, etc.
then the next question took me by surprise. it asked me what religion i was. its not your typical question for a guy coming from america. i didn’t mind that question, but afterwards the questions started becoming more intrusive. i must be mindful…this is the south korean government i’m reporting all this information to. if something went wrong, i don’t think i would be guaranteed the same rights as if i were in the us.
then the questions started becoming scary. it asked me how much money i had invested in the stock market and if i had owned any real estate. it then went on to ask me how much my father currently has in his total assets. what the heck? why does that matter? its not going to affect my performance as a researcher. AND IT DOESN’T STOP THERE! i also had to disclose all the members of my immediate family and tell them their age and occupation. it calmed down a little bit after that because the next few questions were just asking me what my talents and interests were (although i should still be cautious about how i answer even those types of questions).
the last and final question was the one that hit me the hardest. this next question they asked made me realize, i wasn’t just working for some ordinary nuts and bolts type institution. this was the question that made me realize this was serious shit. THEY WANT ME TO LIST IN CHRONOLIGICAL ORDER WHERE MY FAMILY HAD LIVED SINCE AUGUST 15, 1945. gwang bok jeol. the day korea got its independence. these are not questions you ask some guy to answer if he’s applying to the post office. These are questions you ask someone your interviewing for the CIA. are they trying to see if i’m a spy for the north koreans? maybe even the us? i’m just a nerdy researcher (that’s just in the office…outside the office, i’m pretty darn “muh-shi-suh” but you knew that already). why do i have to answer all these questions? is it even worth it for me to work here? i should just go teach english or something. they wouldn’t bother me with all this. its enough that i’m giving my services to them on the cheap. you don’t work for the governement for the money. you do it as a public service. is this how they treat people who want to help the greater good? if i just so happen to disappear one day, tell mom and dad i love them! i can see how government workers become institutinalized. they are at their mercy.
on a separate note: my FIRST cell phone bill came out to 124,500 won. who the bloody deuce did i call? i didn’t even know how to read my verizon phone bill back home. anybody know how to read the ones out here in korea?