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Kimchi and Marmite

It’s apparently tough being a Kowi — a Korean Kiwi. Or at least confusing. And they’re going to have a conference to discuss it.

About the author: Just the administrator of this humble blog.

  • http://www.occidentalism.org shakuhachi

    I would like to offer a rebuttal from Teddy Roosevelt (1915). I am with the President – neither Kowi, nor Korean-NZ’er exists, only either one or the other.

  • http://www.occidentalism.org shakuhachi

    Addendum to the above – one or the other meaning Korean or New Zealander.

  • choiboi

    Should us Kaussies have a conference too?

  • KimSuBok

    “South Korean parents are most anxious to ensure their children are well-schooled, spending around $6 billion a year to send them to study abroad in countries like New Zealand – but they still disapprove when their offspring adopt Western ways.”

    Apparently Korean parents are aware of the advantages of having their children educated in a country with a good educational system. Perhaps they don’t antipate that such an education system might, while promoting independent critical thinking, enable their children to see Korea for the ingorant ethnocentric xenophobic backwater that it is.

    Identity crisis indeed.

  • Eujin

    Kimchi and marmite, not a good combination. The type of thing only an expectant mother could come up with. Funny title for a conference, or perhaps it’s supposed to be a joke.

    The Koreans I know in New Zealand are outstandingly decent individuals. A real credit to their communities.

  • http://www.occidentalism.org shakuhachi

    At #5, yes, they are a credit to their race :-?

  • Netizen Kim

    We can now add Kowi to the list that includes twinkies and bananas.

  • JK

    @ #1 and #2:

    That’s just your opinion, no?

    I personally advocate people assimilating into whatever society they are living (here in America, most Korean-Americans have assimilated into white American culture but the trend among the youth is to assimilate more into black American culture). I myself, growing up in the South where segretation was still a recent memory spoke only English until my early twenties and had to be taught how to use a pair of chopsticks at the age of 13 on a field trip to a Chinese restaurant by…..an African-American classmate.

    But now I speak fluent Korean, use chopsticks to eat my kimchi, and love to eat Korean food and hang out in Annandale, Virginia, which is Washington’s Koreatown.

    Am I suddenly not acting “American” because of my recent activities, Matt? How about the New Zealander of Korean descent who is, to many white New Zealanders, just another Asian girl who suddenly wants to eat at a Korean restaurant? Is she not assimilating enough for you?

    I can see why she would be calling for a forum for people of Korean descent who were raised in New Zealand. Anyone who would question why they would meet to discuss their unique identities is idiotic.

    And Matt, regarding #6, I am sure you’re a credit to your race as well. *Rolling eyes*

  • http://www.occidentalism.org shakuhachi

    JK,

    Actually, it isn’t what goes in your mouth, it is what comes out of your mouth which is what is important. I believe Jesus said that. So what people say, their attitudes, etc, are more important than superficial things like what they eat.

    As for the “credit to their race” thing, I did include the grimace emoticon, which should tell you what I think about that line of thinking.

  • http://www.occidentalism.org shakuhachi

    Sorry, that was garbled. “Actually, it isn’t what goes in your mouth, it is what comes out of your mouth which is what is important” Should be “Actually, it isn’t what goes in your mouth, it is what comes out of your mouth that is important.”

    Sorry.

  • JK

    So what is it she said that was so wrong (that which came out of her mouth)?

  • dogbert

    Interesting article. Obviously, there are differences of opinion within communities of overseas Koreans on the questions of (a) whether assimilation is inherently more difficult for Koreans; and (b) whether overseas Koreans _should_ assimilate at all, at the risk of “becoming Westernized”.

    Small wonder then that the local population is confused about such things and queries motives.

  • slim

    It’s gotta be a tough sell getting kids to want to go back and live in Korea after prolonged exposure to more easy-going places like NZ.

  • Matthew

    umm…. sarah kim is really hot. thats all i have to say on the issue.

  • soondae

    “South Korean parents are most anxious to ensure their children are well-schooled, spending around $6 billion a year to send them to study abroad in countries like New Zealand – but they still disapprove when their offspring adopt Western ways.”

    A broad generalization, grounded on rich anecdotal data, that can be applied to myriad communities settling in other lands.

  • soondae

    “South Korean parents are most anxious to ensure their children are well-schooled, spending around $6 billion a year to send them to study abroad in countries like New Zealand – but they still disapprove when their offspring adopt Western ways.”

    A broad generalization, grounded on rich anecdotal data, that can be applied to myriad communities settling in other lands.

  • jtb-in-texas

    It might be worth noting that some Korean parents actually encourage assimilation and the adoption of (some) “Western ways”…

  • dogbert

    It should be kept in mind that a “Western education” is a significant part of what makes up “Western ways”. Parents who want their children to keep to the ways of their culture should utilize their education system.

  • http://www.xanga.com/wangkon936 WangKon936

    Sarah Kim is a’rite… She’d be foine after 6 shots of whiskey and four beers…

  • Netizen Kim

    Sarah Kim is a’rite… She’d be foine after 6 shots of whiskey and four beers…

    I wonder if she has some cute accent. It’d add some flavor to that kowi punani.

  • bumfromkorea

    She’d be foine after 6 shots of whiskey and four beers…

    Ouch. :-D

    Lol, so is there like a manual called “How to act like an American”? I’m not so sure I’m following the official protocol involving what I say and my attitudes. I don’t want to fall under Teddy Roosevelt’s bad side. How many baseball games should I go to every year?

  • Zonath

    I don’t want to fall under Teddy Roosevelt’s bad side. How many baseball games should I go to every year?

    Not as simple as all that. Rather than just the number of baseball games you do or don’t go to, it’s a complicated matrix of going to baseball games, going on hunting expeditions (+2 if not in your own country and +5 if you bribe local officials to allow you to violate the gun/game laws there), overeating, raping and pillaging your way through island nations…. It’s hard work living up to Teddy’s standards.

  • GyopoTim

    I’m surprised you posted this on your blog. I’m a program director for the conference and a silent reader of this blog for long time. Well not silent anymore…

    Oh and to slim yes it is tough sell to koreans here with short immigration history.

  • lirelou

    “raping and pillaging your way through Island Nations.”

    Ah, my dear Zonath, could you provide some specific dates and places where said rape or pillage occurred? I am assuming that the general venue is Cuba 1898.

  • lirelou

    For the record, my reaction to Ms. Kim was “Right on yer, Miss!” While partial to Aussie myself, no one who emigrates to Kiwiland is doing themselves a disservice. (Unless, of course, they are allergic to sheep.)

  • Zonath

    I am assuming that the general venue is Cuba 1898.

    I was actually thinking as much the Philippine-American War (which occurred at least in part on Mr. Roosevelt’s watch as Commander-in-Chief) as anything else.

  • swlee

    @ #3 choiboi
    ” Should us Kaussies have a conference too?”
    I heard that regular conventions of Kaussies are held on a daily basis at beaches around the outback. Apparently there are also beaches in downunder that are Kaussie-free, but they are generally full of poofters, faggots, gaylords, donut pushers, and the homosexually inclined.

  • oscarwilde

    New Yorker Robert Koehler adjusted so well to South Korea after he moved here as a 23-year-uiversity graduate in 1996 that he “almost forgot” he is American.
    This became a problem in his early life here, when the western expat community couldn’t accept him as being a cracker and mainstream South Korean did not consider him capable of eating spicy food.
    Now, Mr Koehler, a blogger who has noticed that many young expat Americans in South Korea are facing this same “identity crisis”, plans a conference next month to talk about and celebrate being “Migyo” – an American Korean.
    “Facing expectations of parents wanting us to retain our culture and the pressures of society to integrate leaves many of us in a confused state to our identities,” he said.
    “I, for example, feel far more Korean than American, and find more fun singing karaoke and dressing up in Hanbok than using crack or having sex with fat girls, but the fact is, many Koreans will still see me as ‘that Western freak’.”
    Mr Koehler said the conference – called “Crack and Hanbok: Finding Migyo” – aims to help American Koreans understand “who and what we are” and that “they are not alone”.
    “There is a real need for us to have an opportunity to address these issues, and understand how our two cultures interrelate to create a new combined Migyo culture,” he said.
    American parents are most anxious to ensure their children are employed and laid, and allow them to work abroad as English language teachers in countries like Japan and South Korea – but they still disapprove when their offspring adopt Asian ways.

    Mr Koehler hopes the conference will help South Koreans to “get an insight and understanding” into some of the problems and challenges faced by Americans in South Korea.
    Expat lawyer Brandon Carr, who came to Seoul in 1998, said Americans had a “major problem” with integration because they came from a globally dominant society and were “often not used to living as a minority in a nation with another culture and rules”.
    “America country was also historically influenced by Enlightenment beliefs in “truth” and has a history of subjecting other nations to its cultural set of values, which may not be applicable in an Asian society like South Korea,” said Mr Carr, a former American military officer in South Korea.
    For example, the emergence of the American global hegemony in the 20th century teaches that Americans are right and superior, and after the fall of the American-proxy regime in the late eighties, expat Americans in South Korea had to become used to not having everything their own way, he said.
    “In a legal dispute, a Korean company did not have equal property rights even if an American firm had abused the influence the presence its South Korean-stationed military had on the government in Seoul.”
    “So now it can be shocking when Americans find out how much sovereignty South Korea has and [how much] responsibility to adapt to local ways that expat Americans have in South Korea.”
    The two-day Migyo Conference will be held at the Wolfhound in Itaewon on July 4.

  • dogbert

    Better than swlee’s crap, but not nearly funny enough considering the amount of effort and time you put into it.

    C+

  • http://www.xanga.com/wangkon936 WangKon936

    I dunno… I thought it was funny. Very oniony…

    B-

  • GyopoTim

    Nice try, but it’s a meh…

    C

  • calliope

    Oscar Wilde, LMAO. Brilliant.

  • swlee

    @28,
    Can we desist with unnecessary references to individual posters? It lowers the quality of this blog.
    BTW, Dogbeat which one did you identify with: poofter, faggot, gaylord, donut pusher, or the homosexually inclined?

  • Netizen Kim

    Not funny because the basic premise is all wrong. Being a conservative white guy in a hanbok, Koehler’s identity crisis will emerge once he accepts his fate as the Al Sharpton of the expats.

  • pawikirogi

    oscar, the part on lawyer was spot on. hilarious!

    robert is al sharpton?

  • Netizen Kim

    Brendon Carr’s own identity crisis will emerge once he accepts his fate as a pro-bono social worker for besieged Engrish teachers ala John Grisham’s Street Lawyer.

  • http://www.xanga.com/wangkon936 WangKon936

    Rob is more Korean then the rest of us gyopos (I mean this in a good way). He speaks, reads and writes better Korean than us, adopted native dress, and enjoyed his time in the shigol. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I hated the shigol.

  • bbundaegi

    #27

    I am having trouble figuring out whether or not your satiric short was pro-Kyopo or anti-America. Can you please confirm?

    #26

    Are you saying that Koreans in Australia purposely hang out at gay beaches in search of homosexual love?

  • oscarwilde

    To Dogbert,
    The article was directed at westerners integrating into Korean society, not something you would be aware of.

    To bbundaegi,
    The satiric piece was both black and white.

  • dogbert

    The article was directed at westerners integrating into Korean society, not something you would be aware of.

    Awwww…somebody got his widdle feelings hurted.

    True, I don’t know much about Westerners integrating into Korean society, but I do know humor and you’re not half as clever as you think you are.

    @swlee: What makes you think I wasn’t referring to one of the other 1.75 million “swlee”s in Korea? And your continued use of homosexual references just reflects what’s going on in your own mind. No surprise given the celebration of homosexuality by most popular Korean male entertainers. Shave your beard and embrace your identity.

  • KrZ

    Shave your beard
    Maybe he’s a
    bear.

    Hope my html worked o_O

  • swlee

    The point I was trying to make Dogbeat, was to please stop making personal comments about the commenter. This is not the place for us to discuss your wife, your mother, or your relationship with your children. If I wanted to play in the sandpit with you I would have brought my plastic spade. You appear to be struggling with the insults of late anyway.

  • swlee

    The point I was trying to make Dogbeat, was to please stop making personal comments about the commenter. This is not the place for us to discuss your wife, your mother, or your relationship with children. If I wanted to play in the sandpit with you I would have brought my plastic spade. You appear to be struggling with the insults of late anyway.

  • swlee

    Wow, I’m twice published.
    Watch me run in literary circles.
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    OK, I’m done now.

  • http://www.occidentalism.org shakuhachi

    JK at #11,

    I don’t know. I was talking about Teddy Roosevelt and his opinion about hyphenated nationality, which I agree with. I also agree with him that we should look down on racial prejudice.

    You were talking about using chopsticks, eating kimchi, and speaking Korean, which are things I also do. That is why I said those things are superficial, what people say and do are important.

    For example, head over to the fighting 44s or Yellow world forum and you will find plenty of “Korean-Americans” (and others) begrudging their fellow Americans for dating Korean or “Korean-American” girls. If they are Americans they should feel happy at the good fortune of their countrymen, correct? Or does their hyphenated nationality set them apart from other Americans?

  • http://www.occidentalism.org shakuhachi

    WangKon936,

    Rob is more Korean then the rest of us gyopos (I mean this in a good way). He speaks, reads and writes better Korean than us, adopted native dress, and enjoyed his time in the shigol. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I hated the shigol.

    Extremely questionable about the “native dress” thing. Yes it is true that Koreans were wearing that native dress regularly until early last century, but now Koreans wear regular clothes, same as in the west.

    Now the western clothes have been fairly consistent for a few centuries now, but imagine you put on medieval European clothing, would that really be called adopting native dress? When people adopt the native dress they do it so they can fit in, while Robert no doubt sticks out like a sore thumb (no offense to Robert).

  • http://www.xanga.com/wangkon936 WangKon936

    Matt, I was being facetious.

  • KrZ

    Americans/Europeans don’t wear medieval European clothing at major holidays and for special occasions.

  • baduk

    Some people are good at taking two cultures and digest and mix and make a mixed culture of one’s own.

    Others cannot.

    It has to do with one’s upbringing and brain chemistry. There are brains that are prone to racism; they feel more racism compared to their peers when they are placed in the exactly same situation.

  • KrZ

    There are brains that are prone to racism; they feel more racism compared to their peers when they are placed in the exactly same situation.[citation needed]

  • JK

    @43:

    So what exactly did this girl do wrong that you felt the need to quote good ol’ Teddy? After all, the article mentioned how she said that despite being raised in NZ and enjoying bars and watching rugby (rugby? puh-lease… watch a real sport like football or basketball) that most white New Zealanders viewed her as “that Asian girl.”

    I’m sure that growing up with the same loves and passions of most white New Zealanders yet still being called “that Asian girl” that certain identity crises were inevitable…hence this girl is organizing a conference for other people of Korean descent being raised in NZ with similar labels (that were more often that not given by white New Zealanders).

    How this article led to your quote by Teddy Roosevelt is beyond me.

    Like a lot of people of Korean descent living in a Western country, I only wanted to be labeled as a person of that country. However, like them, I was labeled as “the Asian kid” or, growing up a Generation X-er in America when things were less PC, “the Chinese kid.” I didn’t ask for the label, but I got it from white Americans. “Chinese” then became “Oriental” pver the years…which became “Asian”….which became “Asian-American”….which then became “Asian” again….which then evolved to “Korean-American.” And these were the revolving terms that white Americans came up with to identify people “like” me.

    And yet I have to come on this forum and see people like you saying that Americans are just Americans or New Zealanders are just New Zealanders but that its the kyopos who are coming up with the hyphenated national identities. I mean, do you even know your freakin’ history???

    But then again, you’re the same guy who justifies the Japanese colonization of Korea to preserve Korea’s “independence.”

  • swlee

    Matt’s dislike for cultural hyphenation combined with his belief that Koreans are incapable of complex comedic structures often clouds his perception of comments made on this blog (no offense to Matt).
    BTW Matt, what happened to the stories here and here (scroll down in comments) of you and your friend getting your noses rubbed in it in the streets of Sydney, and the legal hullaballoo that followed?
    You can’t just start a story and leave people hanging.
    (again, no offense intended to Matt).

  • http://www.occidentalism.org shakuhachi

    #48 JK,

    Yeah, but we are not talking about people saying they are labeled, but rather people that actively embrace the idea, and create organisations around the idea. I brought up the hyphenation speech of Teddy Roosevelt because this particular group is embracing the hyphenated nationality concept, even coining a new word, “kowi”.

    Anyway, surely you do not find the speech to be objectionable.

    If you want some specific comment about what is actually said in the article, well, I guess I could say that I don’t know why NZ’ers need to “get an insight and understanding” into “problems and challenges faced by Koreans in New Zealand”. Sounds like a demand for tax payers money to me.

  • JK

    “Yeah, but we are not talking about people saying they are labeled, but rather people that actively embrace the idea, and create organisations around the idea.”

    Take a person known as just another “that Asian girl” or “that Asian boy.” And that person grows up hearing such a label despite doing his/her best to assimilate into mainstream (white) society. Anything wrong with him/her seeking others like himself/herself and saying, “I feel your pain” or “I know where you coming from”?

    “Anyway, surely you do not find the speech to be objectionable.”

    I don’t find the speech objectionable at all, even though T. Roosevelt was such an elitest that even the husband of his distant cousin, Eleanor Roosevelt, wasn’t good enough to be invited to HIS elite group of frat brother alums at Harvard (even though FDR himself went to Harvard). Right speech, wrong person…kind of like George W. Bush giving a speech in 2000 saying that the US would protect its borders but would not fight unnecessary wars and take on the burden of nation-building (of course look at Iraq now).

    “If you want some specific comment about what is actually said in the article, well, I guess I could say that I don’t know why NZ’ers need to ‘get an insight and understanding’ into ‘problems and challenges faced by Koreans in New Zealand’. Sounds like a demand for tax payers money to me.

    I heard no mention of this being government-sponsored, did you? I personally attend a few Korean-American and Asian-American events/conferences here in Washington, DC, and, from what I understand, not one cent is contributed by the US government. If anything, it comes from the pockets of people like me. So…..anything wrong with this?

  • http://www.occidentalism.org shakuhachi

    JK, not talking about the event itself being sponsored by money, but resolutions from the event demanding this or that action from the government. Of course, Koreans are not the only ones doing that.

    However, I am not keen on being blamed for someone else’s identity crisis.

    As for the 2000 George Bush thing, I agree with you. I was very disappointed when he did the exact opposite of what he said.

  • JK

    “JK, not talking about the event itself being sponsored by money, but resolutions from the event demanding this or that action from the government. Of course, Koreans are not the only ones doing that.”

    I don’t think Koreans (I guess you mean those New Zealanders of Korean descent and not necessarily native Koreans) are demanding ANYTHING from the NZ-er gov’t, and definitely nothing monetary.

    In terms of assimilation, Matt, I agree with you….get with the program or GET OUT. If a woman gets a divorce, she should get what’s coming to her (be it half or more of the couple’s income, whatever NZ law says).

    My point is that those who felt themselves on the outskirts of mainstream Western society should not feel themselves as anything less than patriotic if they gave it their best shot (learning pitch-perfect English, pledging allegiance to their country everyday while in school), and then suddenly wanting to help those of Asian descent who, like themselves, aren’t accepted by those of Euro-descent due to racial reasons. I peronally would have appreciated such an endeavor to help me cope with the environment where I was labeled “one of them Chinese who bombed Pearl Harbor.”

  • Eujin

    Actually New Zealand has some interesting takes on your discussions of labels. In New Zealand they don’t really have multiculturalism, they have what they call bi-culturalism. Legally, you’re either Maori or non-Maori.

    And they had plenty of bickering over the census categories. Several of my white Kiwi friends disliked being called Europeans. There was one woman in my office who used to spit tacks if I called her European and she claimed she had culturally more in common with Fiji than Britain.

    Then there’s always the brouhaha about the term “Pakeha”. One English guy i met (had emmigrated from England) absolutely loathed the term. I thought he was a knob.

  • bumfromkorea

    I was labeled “one of them Chinese who bombed Pearl Harbor.”

    Lol, one of my 8th grade social studies substitute teacher called me that during class. In his defense, he was on one of the ships at Pearl Harbor, the date happened to be December 7th, and we happened to be covering WWII at the time. Bad timing, I suppose.

    Cultural assimilation in the context of the discussions above is a bit confusing… what would one define as an ‘American culture’? If an American citizen indulged himself in Japanese cartoons, ate sushi everyday, and strive to learn Japanese to better communicate with his new Japanese girlfriend, would he be considered as within the parameters of the ‘American culture’? What about the local goths, who obviously have a very different ideas in terms of popular culture? If an American kid participates in Cinqo de Mayo, does he or she loses the ‘American’ label?

    What is the basis of the assimilation towards American culture? Food? Political opinions? Hobbies? Interests? Mannerisms? Dating patterns? Festivals?

    Because as far as I can see, cultural characteristics vary extremely in American society regardless of race, and I’m not so sure which cultural trends to adhere to in order to have been assimilated.

    As for the identity crises… at least in my experience, the racism wasn’t too bad in school. I only had couple of kids who called me ching-chong, and let’s just say I didn’t get to see them at Graduation.

    But then again, the high school I went to was unusually devoid of cliques and ‘status’ conflicts. Maybe other high schools are filed with white people looking down on Asians…

  • bumfromkorea

    damn it! Still figuring out html tags :-P

  • http://www.occidentalism.org shakuhachi

    Eujin, just another reason why governments should get out of peoples business. They create legal fictions, and lump people of disparate races into the same category, satisfying no one.

  • http://www.xanga.com/wangkon936 WangKon936

    Matt, I seriously question your use of a speech by Teddy Roosevelt to define modern ideas of national and ethnic identity. People and society were different in 1915. First of all the country didn’t go through a civil rights movement, Prohibition, or a lot of foreign wars involving huge amounts of American troops (and exposure) overseas.

    Teddy seems to have confused (like a lot of Americans even today) the difference between national loyalty and ethnic identity. He seems to equate saying Hyphenated-American means you have greater loyalty to the hyphen rather then America. That’s a gross misunderstanding. I think if Teddy was alive today he’d see that.

    Besides, when it comes to so-called Korean-Americans, we are doing just fine in the assimilation department.

    http://www.rjkoehler.com/2008/05/16/so-much-for-the-fifth-column/

  • http://www.occidentalism.org shakuhachi

    WangKon936, perhaps, but perhaps not.

    I am a person with only one citizenship, and only one identity. From this perspective, it is very easy to see people with complex identities as possible liabilities.

    I will quote TR, then give an example.

    “The one absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin, of preventing all possibility of its continuing to be a nation at all, would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities, an intricate knot of German-Americans, Irish-Americans, English-Americans, French-Americans, Scandinavian-Americans or Italian-Americans, each preserving its separate nationality, each at heart feeling more sympathy with Europeans of that nationality, than with the other citizens of the American Republic.”

    Take for example the comfort woman resolution in the US congress. It was the result of heavy lobbying by the Korean community in the US to satisfy their grudge (from the homeland) against the Japanese. This certainly fits the definition of “squabbling nationalities”, and is probably to the detriment of the US.

    A lot of Korean-Americans (there it is, the hyphen!) complain about being seen as disloyal or possibly disloyal, but a lot of that would have to come from seeing Korean attitudes to citizenship.

  • Eujin

    shakuhachi, #60

    The distinction between Maori and non-Maori dates back to the founding document of New Zealand, the Treaty of Waitangi, which basically assures all Maori and their descendants certain rights in return for giving up others, specifically Kāwanatanga, which is usually translated into English as sovereignty.

    If the British government hadn’t gotten involved in 1840, the Maoris may well have been giving up “souveraineté” instead, with or without a treaty.

    The designation non-Maori is basically just everybody who doesn’t have the special rights reserved for Maori. You only have to prove that one of your ancestors was Maori in 1840 to be legally Maori.

    The census is as censuses are. Lots of people like to write “Jedi” in as their religion just like everywhere else. The Pakeha term is a colloquialism. It does not, as far as I know, have any official status.

  • http://thegrandnarrative.wordpress.com/2008/05/23/ James Turnbull

    I’m a bit late to this discussion sorry, but I find the article in the New Zealand Herald to be rather misleading about the problems specifically Korean-New Zealanders have in their identity formation. Actually it was just soundbites that could have been made for virtually any overseas Korean community really, and if the conference focuses on things like those then I think it will largely be a failure. The New Zealand Korean -community is really quite unique in the world, for three main reasons:

    1) It’s comparatively recent. Even in 1990 there were fewer than 100 Koreans in Auckland, the largest city, but then Koreans came in droves because immigration switched to a point system that emphasized skills rather than nationality. Korean immigration largely being after Korea’s economic boom then, this meant that the people that came tended to be relatively well-off, and came primarily for quality of life rather than for economic opportunities. This distinguishes them from, say, Korean-Americans, who largely arrived in the 1970s and 1980s when Korea was still a rather unpleasant place to live in economically, let alone having military regimes also.

    2) This meant that the bulk of immigrants are relatively young, and more importantly came when the first time ever it was relatively cheap and easy to physically travel to and from Korea and most importantly when Korea was getting it’s broadband connections. Which leads to the next point.

    3) It’s much harder to form identity with your new host country, or rather be inclined to, if it’s so easy to stay in touch with your home country. We all know how important it is for young Koreans to constantly update their cyworld pages and so on, and feel that they are much more important personally and socially than most Westerns would. Many continue doing so when they arrive in NZ (only natural), and in turn participants in sites for Korean-New Zealanders are friends and relatives back in Korea that may never visit NZ, and of course usually can’t speak English too. Partially because of that there is no site in English that is specifically only for Korean-New Zealanders, and on them all users use Korean even though they’d presumably have good English skills. Sites for Korean-American teens, in contrast, are overwhelmingly in English.

    In sum, earlier waves of immigrants had no choice but to assimilate much more quickly. Now, it is easy to put this off (just like expats here in a way) which leads to a snowball effect in which there are really no English language sources of identity for Korean-New Zealanders, and so they turn to the few other Korean speakers in NZ and the many at home instead. Hopefully the conference will lead to initiatives to halt that in a sense.

    Yes, this WAS a very quick and poor summation of Stephen Epstein’s chapter on the topic in “Asia in the Making of New Zealand” (2006)!

  • JK

    “Take for example the comfort woman resolution in the US congress. It was the result of heavy lobbying by the Korean community in the US to satisfy their grudge (from the homeland) against the Japanese.”

    Yeah, like how the Jewish-Americans had a “grudge” against Nazi Germany or how African-Americans had a “grudge” against South Africa during Apartheid. Interesting choice of words, Matt….and very revealing…..

    “This certainly fits the definition of ‘squabbling nationalities’, and is probably to the detriment of the US.

    This is what you call “squabbling nationalities”??? So when the Kennedys (including a few members of the Skakels) come out in support of jailed leaders of southern Ireland, is this an example of “squabbling nationalities”? What is wrong with ANY American, regardless of their race, speaking out about a crime in another country? We had African-Americans do it in America who pushed Congress and the President to put up sanctions against South Africa during Apartheid. Apartheid was wrong as was the institutionalization of the Comfort Women by the Japanese and a condemnation was deserved. I am proud to have done by small part in this effort that led to the resolution. That is my right to do so as an American the same way it is for some Americans of English descent to do so (like they did during WWI when ethnic origins DID play a role in America’s involvement on the side of England), the same way it is for the Irish-American Catholics who feel strong connections with southern Ireland, the same way it is for the African-Americans who pushed America to put bans on trades with South Africa, the same way it is for Jewish-Americans to support Israel, etc.

    I don’t know what your problem is with Americans doing American activities, like petitioning their Congressmen, but get over it. Every American has that right, not just those of English descent. Besides….what the Americans of Korean descent asked for seems a LOT more tame than what Americans of English descent once asked for (war in Europe in 1917 on the side of Britain) when America’s national security wasn’t even at stake (just like the Australians of English descent entered the war in Europe on the side of Britain when THEIR national security was not at stake in 1914, much to their regret) and a lot less radical than what African-Americans pushed for (banning trade with the nation of South Africa). I mean all Korean-Americans asked for was a slap on the wrist to the Japanese who refused to officially apologize for an admitted war crime. Was this act by Americans of Korean descent….so treasonous against America and detrimental to it? Apparently the rest of America didn’t think so.

    “A lot of Korean-Americans (there it is, the hyphen!) complain about being seen as disloyal or possibly disloyal, but a lot of that would have to come from seeing Korean attitudes to citizenship.”

    You are so full of it. Right now, you are reading the very words of someone born with US citizenship who wanted to be a good productive American but whose loyalty has been questioned even on this blog because of race. I mean, why do you really think Japanese-Americans were interred in WWII? Was it their “attitudes to citizenship”?

    Matt, I find your views very disturbing and revealing (though not at all surprising as I’ve gotten to know your views the last 2 years). I think others do as well.

  • JK

    Another point I want to make: If an ethnic minority in America (or Australia or New Zealand) does NOT come up with a label (be it hyphenated or whatever) they WILL be given a label by the rest of the country that may be neither accurate nor exactly all that nice. Here are some examples.

    1. People of African descent in America wish to be called “African-American.” Before this term, white America had quite a few other terms for them that weren’t all that nice. So I don’t blame African-Americans for coming up with their own label.

    2. Many people of Italian descent in America proudly call themselves “Italian-Americans” or just plain “Italians.” I guess it beats the other terms they had to hear when there was a stereotype of them being “Without Papers.”

    3. People of Korean descent in America like myself were first labeled as “Chinese.” Then “Oriental.” Then “Asian.” Well if a group is going to be given a label based on ethnicity, it might as well be an ACCURATE one, right? I know that I like the label “Korean-American” a lot better than the term “Chinese”….and it’s also more accurate as to what I am.

    America would be a great place without hyphenated labels….but they are a necessity because without them, OTHERS would come up with their own not-so-nice and INACCURATE labels for the various ethnic groups in this country.

    I applaud this NZ girl’s efforts. And it’s good she came up with a name for the NZ-ers of Korean descent before the rest of the country continues to call the ethnic group “them Asians.”

    BTW, since you’re complaining about the term “Kowi”, Matt….is the term “Kiwi” even an official term????? Both sound kind of lame, to be honest.

  • abcdefg

    “korean-american” isn’t just an ethnic group or identification. it’s a psychological social experience shared by a few — by nobody in the universe but koreans in america. it’s the stuff that shapes worldviews, constitutes us in special but not neccesarily exclusive ways. i imagine the same must hold true for immigrants elsewhere.

    think of such experiences as colored stars in a constellation. we feel compelled to pass unto each star its own name and would regret to efface their differences with a simpler language.

  • Nambangui horangi

    Since I’m cited above….I just wanted to applaud the initiative as very worthwhile. As James points out in #64, there are unique features to the Korean-NZ community and the conference suggests how it is evolving. Increasingly, there are young NZers of Korean descent,raised in the country, who feel that there ties lie first and foremost with NZ. Even the conference website by itself reverses the claim about no websites in English for Korean-NZ issues….

    The piece James cites was largely researched in 2004 and even in that time a whole new group of 1.5 generation “Kowis” are coming of age, reaching young adulthood, passing through university, etc. and with different demographic features. Odd to think that the last 4 years alone represent over 20% of the ongoing history of the Korean community in the country for over 99% of that community….In another 4-8 years there’ll begin to be substantial numbers of 2nd generation Korean-NZer young adults.

  • GyopoTim

    Nanbangui Horangi, what i understand is that a large population of Koreans immigrated to NZ in the early to mid nineties. Supposedly the period when immigration to NZ was easy, due to policy and requirement at that time. Which brought lot of young so called “kowi” 1.5′s. So 4 years represents quiet a bit of Korean NZ history.

  • Nambangui horangi

    GyopoTim,

    Yes, a large portion came in the early ’90s (esp. ’91 to ’95) but there are some continuing surprises in the census stats. Don’t have them in front of me at the moment but the number went from roughly 19,000 in the 2001 NZ census to over 30,000 in 2006, somewhere between a 60-70% increase (the figures don’t include yuhaksaeng). The government will tighten and relax English requirements from time to time and this has had a clear effect on the rate of immigration from Korea.

    Stephen

  • http://thegrandnarrative.wordpress.com/ James Turnbull

    I too see the conference as a very positive step, and probably give the wrong impression with my last comment. And of course the issues mentioned in the New Zealand Herald Article are real and important enough to Kowis themselves, and I don’t want to trivialise them. I just wanted to highlight how unique Kowis are and how assumptions about them based on other groups of overseas Koreans may prove a little simplistic and even counter-productive. But prior to reading Stephen’s work that I mentioned, I admit that I too had no reason to suppose that their issues of identity would be substantially different to say, Korean-Americans.

    Like both Stephen and Tim say here, because of the relatively short time that Koreans have been in New Zealand then research on them conducted in 2004 is becoming rapidly dated. For first generation Kowis though, the impression I got from Tim’s work was that the onus of forming Kowi identities largely lay on them themselves. The ease and temptation to only hang-out with other Koreans is of course by no means confined to New Zealand, but the additional ease with which is now possible to stay in constant touch with reltives and friends back in Korea would reinforce tendencies towards isolation from the host community, and seems more marked in New Zealand than eleswhere becuase of immigrant’s relative youth.

    Although many Kowis may disagree, in both senses I do see surprising parallels in the above with the long-term (Western) expat community in Korea, especially those married to Koreans. We also have feet in both Korea and our home countries, and a lot of assumptions are made about us by Koreans based on our different appearances, usually ones that stress differences between us. I could go on about the incredulity, disdain and mocking I’ve regularly encountered while I was learning Korean too, which was extremely demotivating, but my point is that this too is surmountable with effort. But given our circumstances and our usually bilingual partners, then it is all to easy to simply hang out with other Westerners, watch English-language TV, and chat away to relatives on the internet. Many days, Koreans seem to almost encourage this, which is I’m sure how many Asians feel of Pakeha in New Zealand too.

    Here’s the website Stephen mentioned, which has details of the conferene:
    http://www.kowiana.org.nz/

  • lirelou

    Shakuhachi @62 and James Turnbull @64. Sterling posts, gentlemen, and I’me pleased to see that they generated some equally thought-provoking replies. Well done!

  • arthjm

    Likes rugby she says? Ya know, I hate to stereotype and I realize the hypocrisy of this, but if there’s been one thing that I’ve found in common with Korean girls and native popular sports of other nations, is that they may say they ‘like’ or watch it, but it’s incredibly rare they like it enough to know the rules or terms.

    I mean, during the darkest day of football history (Feb 3/08), I asked my bud’s Korean gf what down they were on after I went out for a breather (was wearing the jersey, face point and all, plenty of wooing and go pats!), and needless to say, answered with something along the lines of, ‘it’s the 11th run I think’. I was quite…disappointed, considering she had memorized a number of stats for a number of the players, thought she would be more aware of the game. Or maybe this is just a sign of the character of the places I hang :/

  • JK

    Robert said over at the Kamikaze thread:

    “Who in turn are often set off by the Korean/gyopo baiting.

    Matt responded:
    “Are you sure it starts off with ‘Korean/gyopo baiting’, Robert? In case you haven’t noticed, race baiting is the game the white man usually loses, and to my eyes the kyopo/Korean anger on this site is unjustified.”

    Can you truly say this with a straight face, Matt, after how I responded to you in THIS thread in #65 and 66 (for which you had no reply, I see)? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

    “Anyway, a lot of the Korean/kyopo commenters obviously have problems that are unrelated to what is going on here. They bring with them the Korean/kyopo version of ‘black rage’, with passive-aggressive posturing in opposition to the evil white man.”

    And I can say after looking over you anti-Korea, racist blog that you are the last person to talk about racism by Korean and kyopo commenters on this blog, Matt.

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