I find the survey results reported in this piece in the KT (also noted by commenter cm here) interesting, especially when combined with this comment by thekorean praising Korean political elites for uniting behind multiculturalism. I say interesting because it seems to indicate that both of Korea’s biggest political parties are pushing a multicultural agenda very much at odds with public sentiment. With the foreign-born making up just 2% of the population, it’s probably not much to worry about now, but if this trend continues and grows, that gap between the governors and the governed might lead to the birth of so-called “far-right” parties in the future.
Like I said, if you want to go multi-culti—and it’s questionable whether the government really does want to go “multicultural”—you’d better get some sort of social consensus first.
But anyway, back to the survey results. According to the poll, only 36.2 percent of Koreans agreed to the coexistence of various cultures in one country. But does this make Koreans unkind hosts? I’m a foreigner living in Korea, and if a pollster asked me if I though bringing differing cultures together in one country was a good idea, I would have answered, “probably not.” I’ve been here 15 years, and I’ve found Koreans wonderful hosts who sometimes go out of their way to be helpful to foreigners, both at the personal and official levels. If you’re planning to stay, though, Koreans—and I’m sorry about generalizing—expect you to do things the Korean way. When in Rome and all. I don’t find this particularly unreasonable or unkind.
Particularly interesting—even if not surprising for me, having been raised in America—was this result:
The survey also showed, in general, people experiencing more education or events related to multiculturalism or those more frequently meeting foreigners were more open-minded. However, the openness rather fell among those having foreign residents as family members or those who “very often” meet and talk to foreigners.
Ignorance might be the root of hate, but contempt usually requires familiarity.