The diploma scandal has been rocking South Korea for over a month now. It used to be that “only” English teachers from foreign countries fake their degrees. About three years ago (as far as I can remember), there was a native English “professor” from the US who was caught with a fake degree. He was working at a university and was earning about $60K annually plus research grants. He was eventually exposed. He never had a bachelor’s degree (the minimum qualification for an english teacher) and the last job he had in the states was as a building janitor.
The diploma scandal started when an art curator, who claimed to have a diploma from Yale University, never actually went to that prestigious Ivy League school. Soon, other prominent personalities came out and confessed that their degrees are fake or that they didn’t go to the prestigious schools they claimed to have attended. Last night while watching the 9 o’clock news on KBS, it was reported that Daniel Henney also misrepresented himself. In his resume before, it was written that he has a bachelor’s degree in Business from the University of Illinois in Chicago. When I checked his Daum profile today, it wasn’t there anymore. His manager explained that Henney didn’t lie about his education. It is the website’s fault that they wrote it on his profile.
In Korea’s society, education is very important. This is why parents spend thousands of dollars on their children’s private school attendance. An example is my first sister-in-law. Her kids go to regular school in the morning and still attend private school in the afternoon until late at night. Aside from regular classes, they also have private lessons in taekwondo, piano, English, Math, Chinese and Korean. They are only in grade school but they’re not at home until 10 in the evening. It’s harder for most high schoolers here. I know one student before who’s at school from 7 AM and attends private school until 2 AM! This early, my husband and I are contemplating to send our son to school outside the country. I hope we’ll be able to.
Anyway, ever wonder why Kim Ki Duk isn’t greatly appreciated in Korea? He’s an award-winning director and yet most of his movies are flops in his own country. One of the reasons, my husband said, is because he doesn’t have a college degree. I guess this is also one reason why prominent personalities “fake” their diplomas. Oh well, it isn’t only a hit in Recto Ave. I wonder if that’s where those famous people got theirs? Hmm…
Press conference at the premiere of Daniel Henney’s new movie, “My Father”.