Tag Archives: dog meat

My hate mail

7 Mar

If you find swearing or abusive language offensive you’re probably best off not reading this post as it is in relation to some abusive comments I have received.

I haven’t written a post in a long time now, because I have been busy doing my PGCE (Post Graduate Certificate in Education) since September. However, recently, whilst I was doing my diagnostic placement, I checked my emails in the staff room. I had an email from WordPress asking me to moderate some comments. Upon seeing the email addresses from the commentor it should come as no suprise as what was to follow – Sociopathtraitors@gmail.com and Fuckingassholes@gmail.com

The cyber troll behind the email addresses was obviously quite upset about my post about eating dog meat in Korea and proceeded to tap out three quite similar comments in reaction to it. Some were on posts that had absolutely nothing to do with dog, which makes me wonder if despite their outrage they still read some of my other posts? I think they must have been deliberately searching out things they would find offensive to come across this post. I don’t know if they set these two email accounts up deliberately to abuse me, or maybe I shouldn’t flatter myself. I think it’s more likely that they were set up for the purpose of sending abusive comments to anyone who sufficiently rattled their cage, as I had.

My  reaction to the comments was first shock and then laughter. I had to explain my audible reaction to co-workers in the staff room. I called my Mam and my boyfriend on the evening to share it with them, joking that I have something in common with Russell Brand. (I am also British, disillusioned with politics and can’t always be bothered to brush my hair, but it was a flippant joke I hadn’t really thought it through). I was actually referring to the hate mail he joked about in his stand up. You can watch that here. 

When I ate that dog meat I didn’t set out to upset anyone. I’m not stupid, I understand the controversy around it and if I was maybe really truthful maybe that was part of the appeal? I see it as being on a similar plane as eating kimchi, visiting a jimjilbang (korean sauna) or a noraebang (karaoke room). I wouldn’t usually eat spicy pickled cabbage on a daily basis, get in a large bath naked with other naked women or get drunk and sing karaoke in the UK. Hang on, that last one has happened outside of Korea.

What I mean to say is that I was of the impression “When in Rome do as the Romans do”.  I could also debate the issue about dog meat not being that different to any other meat. The fact is, we have domesticated dogs so we can get uncomfortable seeing what some people consider as a family member as something we could eat. I include myself in that. My Mam has two Pomeranians and one of my other posts shows that I dog sat my Auntie’s Golden Retriever for two weeks. Sociopathtraitors@gmail.com may be pleased to know neither of which were made into Korean stew. But boy, do I salivate at the site of them! – Jokes.

Anyway, because I think it’s quite amusing I thought I’d share the comments with you all and remind anyone who does encounter abusive messages to just laugh it off. By putting details of yourself online you open up the gates to a wide world of judgement and not everyone will like you and that’s okay. What’s really sad is the people who take it to heart and the people who send the messages. Whether you’re the type of person tapping out horrific messages, or the one reading them directed at you and getting upset, I think they both must be quite unhappy and that’s a real shame. Luckily, most people, including me, don’t fall into either category. I’d encourage anyone reading this to not allow themselves to be taken in by nasty online messages if possible. And to the ‘trolls’: maybe you should find another hobby? Cross-stitch something pretty or go for a bike ride! My troll should probably direct their hatred into something more positive. I suggest they join PETA or the RSPCA and actively support animal rights in a more positive way if that’s their bag.

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Here’s me – months after eating dog, cuddling my Mam’s Pomerian’s as though eating their specie never even happened. What a hypocrite I am.

pom

Dog Meat for Dinner and dispelling myths

17 Mar

Most people who have never been to Korea, or the hermit kingdom as it was once known, know very little about it. Some people assumed when I told them I was moving to Korea that it was dangerous, poverty stricken and that they all eat dog meat. From what I have encountered from living here almost a year is that these myths are mostly false. I don’t personally find it any more dangerous than Britain and I think it’s safe for me to assume any other Western country, for that matter. Obviously, there is some political turbulence regarding North Korea but nothing that has ever affected me or anyone I know directly, and hasn’t done for a long time. There is some bitterness towards Japan and China but I know Koreans who have been holidaying in both these countries. I don’t know the intimate details of Korean people‘s finances but I’ve never seen any great signs of poverty other than the odd homeless beggar in the capital, which is usual for most cities in the UK too. As far as I know most people are living in reasonable circumstance. Most of them live in nice, privately-owned, high rise apartment blocks. Business appears to be far better off  than in Britain and doesn’t appear to be hit by the economic crash in the way that the Western world has. In contrast to my home town, with a high street almost full of redundant shop fronts business in Korea appears to be booming. There are dozens of shops and restaurants even in the small town where I’m situated. And of course, we are all familiar with Korean international companies such as Samsung, LG and Hyundai.

I was surprised to find that many of my students were repulsed by the idea of eating dog meat when I told them of my plan to sample the meat at a restaurant that particular night. One or two, on the other hand, admitted they had eaten it without knowing and some said that their parents on occasion ate it. I concluded from that that it is something that is becoming less usual than it might have been in the past. When I ask Koreans about their Korean culture regarding food they tell me Kimchi is their famous dish.  However, I’d never even heard of the spicy pickled cabbage dish until I came to Korea, although I’ve eaten at least a couple of nights every week since I’ve arrived.

For some time we have been talking about eating dog meat so I, my boyfriend, my Canadian co-worker and an American friend finally arranged a night to do it. We headed to the only dog meat selling restaurant we knew. The owner was a little taken aback by four foreigners requesting dog meat. Our American friend, Sean, requested it as he speaks decent Korean. The word for dog meat stew is actually a euphemism for healthy soup, Sean told us so when he asked for it the chef reiterated that it is in actual fact ‘dog meat’ as though to check whether it was what we actually wanted. The restaurant was just closing. Maybe it was out of curiosity that the restaurant stayed open to serve us. They perhaps wondered what four foreigners would think about their delicacy or maybe it was just the extra business. Either way we were able to eat a portion of dog meat stew each.

 

dog meat stew
It arrived in a bowl with what I think was spinach in a red sauce. The women who brought it over to us warned us that it was a little spicy. Also with the dish there was the usual side orders such as kimchi as well as a bowl of sticky rice and a spicy chilli sauce to dip the meat. My initial reaction was to smell the steam rising out of the bowl. The woman almost immediately warned me not to. As soon as I did I realised why. It stunk! It smelt of damp dog. Straight away I was transported to a time when I was out with Sophie, the pet dog my family used to have back home, I took her off her leash on the green by my home and she ran into the duck pond. After this happened she would always smell really bad. I thought this was the smell of greasy damp dog fur yet this was the smell rising from the steaming dog meat soup. It was quite hard to shake the image of my happy pet dog shaking herself off, spraying water from it’s fur and get past that awful smell yet I managed to eat several strips of dog meat from the stew. The others said they thought it tasted like turkey. I’m not a big fan of turkey but to be honest the dark meat didn’t taste bad. It tasted okay. It was quite chewy but in the sauce and chilli dip it was nice enough. I couldn’t finish it though, not with the image of my pet dog in the forefront of my mind. My boyfriend, who as it happens hates dogs, ate his own and finished mine off quite happily. We don’t have any intentions of eating it again but I’m glad we have at least tried it and had our portion of real, old style Korean cuisine.

dog meat

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