Earlier this week I was contacted via email by a reporter from the Canadian Press and La Presse (based in Montreal, Quebec). They wanted to hear about my current situation given the "drama" regarding North Korea and what it's been like for a Canadian teaching English in Seoul.
I had a phone interview with Lauren Krugel from the Canadian Press (CP) and an email interview with Nicolas Bérubé from La Presse. You can read the La Presse article here (it's in French). As for the CP article, I had friends and family hear my name on Vancouver's Z95.3 radio station as there was a snippet of the CP article from the Calgary Sun (the link was down recently).
Here's the full text of the CP article:
Canadians teachers in S. Korea closely watching response to North's nuke test (Koreas-Nuclear-Cdn-Te)
Source: The Canadian Press
Oct 12, 2006 12:26
By Lauren Krugel
The Canadian Press
A Canadian teaching English in South Korea says he secured his passport, filled his car with gas and withdrew cash from the bank after North Korea's claim this week of a nuclear test.
But Shaun Driver from Williams Lake, B.C., says his contingency plan to leave the country only came at the urging of his mother in Canada, who is not as calm as he and his fellow expats.
``The only time that there actually seems to be any stress is when we talk to people back home,'' said Driver, 28, who is on the second of two one-year teaching contracts.
He said he's been taking the developments in stride _ mostly because the South Koreans he talks to about the crisis are nonchalant.
``It's hard to be worried about anything when you look around the streets and you don't see anyone stressed out,'' he said.
World attention has been tightly focused on North Korea since Monday, when the Communist regime claimed to have tested a nuclear weapon. Neighbouring countries have moved to bolster their defences and the United Nations is considering sanctions _ an action Pyongyang says would be considered an act of war.
Gary Ng, a Victoria native on a one-year teaching assignment, hasn't noticed much reaction on the streets of Seoul, a city less than 100 kilometres from the world's most heavily fortified border. But he's watching the news closely.
``You see all that and then your mind starts racing, but other than that I feel pretty safe here,'' he said. ``I'm not scared. I don't lose sleep at night or anything.''
``But the reality is something could happen, and if it does, we're right in the thick of things.''
Ng, 24, and his girlfriend had been planning a trip to the Demilitarized Zone, or DMZ, that divides the two Koreas. They booked their Oct. 21 excursion before Monday's announced testing and are deciding whether they still want to go, Ng said.
He said he's less scared now than he was before he left Canada in July, when North Korea tested a long-range Taepodong-2 missile, which many believe to be capable of hitting the western United States.
Driver said the locals he's talked to don't see the purported test as a deviation from what has happened in the past.
``It's the same as it always was,'' he said. ``Kim Jong Il raises a ruckus and causes some problems, and then the western world threatens sanctions, and at the end of it they'll send him financial compensation. That's how he does business.''
He said children in his Grade 5 class seem the most perturbed because they're old enough to understand the news from western media outlets.
``One girl was really panicked about it. I said, `Why are you so worried when no one else is?' and she was like, `I was watching CNN last night.'''
Ng said the subject seldom comes up among his co-workers.
``When we're in the staff room we don't talk about `we're all going to die.' We talk about normal things, like `how was your day?'''
Ng said he was taken aback when the Canadian Embassy called him to check on the accuracy of his contact information.
``They're on the ball. I'd say they're doing a good job so far.''
The nuclear test has only piqued Driver's interest in travelling to North Korea, which he plans to do next August.
Through a Chinese company, Driver booked a one-week trip to Pyongyang for C$1,600. He said he's eager to see North Korea's Mass Games, which feature thousands of North Korean children performing synchronized dances and creating elaborate murals by holding up multi-coloured placards. The tour company's website says the Mass Games will take place despite tensions on the peninsula.
``I'm more curious to get my feet on the ground and actually see what's going on as much as I possibly can,'' Driver said.So there you go...here's to my 10 seconds of online fame! :-) Comments are welcome as always!
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