My regular readers know, I call them the way I see them. That doesn’t mean that I don’t hold things back. It’s just—and I think most everyday bloggers are this way—we share our observations with each other (and you, if you don’t). You may like what you read, you may not. You may disagree. Vive la difference.
What I don’t understand are the people who get their socks twisted all out of shape, because they read an opinion different from theirs on the internet. Or they are out to “convince” me that I shouldn’t read or support certain sites, because they themselves have some special insight as to that other opinion blogger, that makes that person not credible. But then again, who are they? And aren’t they reaching me through that same kind of ether, coming to be through the shadows, the same as whoever I’m not supposed to trust?
This went on, in the context of JET (Japan Exchange Teachers), with a fellow—not my regular reader around Osaka—who did not like the fact that I pointed out last summer that not all JETs are squeaky clean. I think he twisted that into an “attack” on all the JETs, which was nonsense and was clearly not the point.
This fellow then set out to “debunk” my opinions by picking up whatever scraps he could, about me personally, and making it into a blog post on a website that purports to review Japan blogs. I really don’t know what to say about that so much as that the more he went on, the more readership I got. So I hope he finds something more interesting to do once he has some free time open, because obviously the more serious part of his life is shadow boxing with opinion sharers over the internet, which, to me, would get boring very quickly.
I am not a big fan of the JET program, but that is old hat and old news already. Some people said that this makes me a shill for the ALT Dispatch system (Heart, RCS, uh, Interac, etc.) Well, no. I have been critical of the fact that these businesses are not doing more to assure that health and pension is not an issue for their workers. As I have recently said about the activity of Osaka General Union, the better Dispatch ALT companies could solve the problem in an afternoon, just by convincing the Education Ministry (a/k/a “MEXT”) to require a certification by any Dispatch company that they are in compliance with health and pension rules.
Once that would happen, a dispatch ALT firm could not place a worker at a school unless they had that certification. This would prevent any underbidding that sought to disadvantage those companies
who which provide the Shakai Hoken. A company that is generally not considered very highly in the industry, and I think it’s fair to say that Max Ali’s JALSS is one that has attracted attention for alleged nonpayment of wages, would be knocked out of contention.
The Dispatch ALTs that were covering Shakai Hoken would price this into their bid with the boards of education, and any competitor who did not cover would not be allowed to bid.
It is fair. It is legal. It solves a big problem, which is really going to rear its head in July 2012 when the Zairyu resident card is introduced and your coverage/non-coverage will be known to Japan. It is pro-active, and seeks to eliminate a problem before it becomes a big problem.
At that point, what will be the difference between Dispatch ALT and JET? Not much, really. The JETs will be selected by one group of people, the ALTs through the dispatch firms through another. Does it take away something for the General Union to gripe about, and perhaps make them less relevant? I think yes, and I think that’s why they never push hard for Shakai. Because once the problem is solved, well, now what is your big agenda? As long as people aren’t being given something they’re supposed to get, you’ve got that raison d’etre (I am pulling out the French today). Once they get what they want, yeah, you need to figure out what you’re going to do.
This is why I think the Democratic Party always seems to come up short on helping people out fully, but I digress . . .
I don’t think my views are that extreme or radical, and I don’t think they’re a shilling for anyone. They really are, in fact, pretty moderate and centrist. Common sense that solves problems, rather than have them linger.
It’s been clear that there needs to be both education reform, labor reform, and pension and health reform in the foreign language teaching arena in Japan. These things are going to happen inevitably, anyhow. Isn’t it better to be on the front side of change, rather than reacting to surprises?
Well, enough of that for now.