The Perspective of Korean Community in Sunland-Tujunga

Korean people living in LA area spend busy time during the day and night. It can be working for the company or doing their own business. Most of them commute between foothill area and down town L.A near. They have occupations such as running a Korean sushi restaurant, garment factory, cleaner shop, or liquor shop etc. They are very diligent and hardworking people but from the view point of majority of American. They look like living in the closed shell of their own community. That may be true reality. But because they are too busy to work sometimes they do not look around what is going on in the community they are living in. Well, another reason they are reluctant to involve any activities happening around their community can be a language barrier and cultural difference they experience in this country. Many Koreans are well educated and very concerned about teaching their children. In Korea especially teaching and learning English as a second language are a primary educational goal for the Korean national education system. Even in kindergarten small young children are eager to learn the English language. As a matter of fact their parent is more concerned about the good command of English language of their children. Some Korean people reside in USA experience not just communication problems but the in depth understanding of pure American culture. The people who immigrated from Korea to this country when their ages are approximately over mid 30 years old or 40 years old they can experience some kind of insurmountable amount of cultural dilemma. The relationship and true understanding between the parent and the children who are born in the USA turns into somewhat distant one when their children grows up and accustom to the way of American life. The limitation of language usage and misunderstanding of American culture which h are naturally accepted by young people can cause the disharmony and misunderstanding in the Korean family. The children who goes American school get used to American way of thinking, attitude, value and even the American food does not comprehend or even want to understand parent’s value toward the life which lies ahead for them. The formation of Korean culture can be traces back to over 5000 years of Korean history. The Korean culture was greatly influenced by Chinese traditional educational philosophy which emphasizes the basic responsibilities such as an unconditional subordination between the citizen and the emperor who rules the country, a true trust between friends, and the definite rules to keep even between the husband and wife, and the ultimate respect toward to old folks. This traditional Korean philosophy always plays important role in the mindset of old people. The children who grow up in USA with Korean parents also experiences cultural dilemma because they see some discrepancy between the way of their parent’ traditional Korean value and the cultural trend they are experiencing in the American soc iety where they are living in. The ideal way to resolve this problem is the compromise between the two different cultures. The acceptance of each culture’s advantage will be a wise decision. Actually I can say that the Korean culture has become more westernizes these days. If anybody had a chance to travel to Korea they might think that they are standing in the city street somewhere in the USA not in the foreign country. You will see the familiar franchise names of restaurant, fast food chain, market place, the American banks, insurance companies and popular brand name clothing and shoes in show window case. You will notice that the many young people walking around the street in Korea wears and carry American brand name outfits shoes and bags. They like to eat westernized foods such as hamburgers, pizza and donuts instead of traditional Korean food. How about their life time goal and value in the Korean society they are belong to? They have been accustomed to American way of life which is more liberal and freedom oriented as shown in the TV, Internet etc. everyday. So they became almost like American people? I do not see like that. Underlying deep thought inside in their mind still appreciate the traditional Korean culture which influencing them every day. The Koreans are arguably second to none in their zeal for education. Korean parent considers that educating their children is the utmost important thing that they can do for them. According to prominent Korean newspaper in Korea some 82 percent of Korean high school graduates go on to third level educat ion, more than in any other OECD country include USA. There are more than 400 colleges and universities and 70,000 second-level private academies called “ hagwon” around the country. This kind of an additional education centers easily can be found along the Foot Hill Street. In La Canada school district there are many Korean student enrolled in the middle and high school. Because the parents wants to teach their young children in the better school system in USA in spite of the high living cost and expenses in this country. But some people point out that the educational success rate for a young student from Korea is not that satisfactory. In Korea high school students consistently out perform their international peers in reading and math. But with youth unemployment a prominent policy issue and students facing sometimes unbearable pressure to perform, many are questioning the nation’s feverish devotion to academic study. “It is undesirable for there to be so many university graduates,” Ryu Ji-seong of the Samsung Economic Research Institute told Voice. “Currently , only 60 percent of university graduates are employed. There are also few prospects for drastic increases in jobs for university graduates. “While far lower than in most advanced countries. Korea’s youth unemployment rate at 6.7 percent is more than double that of the general population. To tackle this and encourage manual trade-minded students away from university, the government opened 21 Meister schools in 2010, focusing on technical skills in areas such as shipbuilding and semiconductors. Based on the German model of vocational high schools. The government sees the schools as an antidote to a national obsession with admission to the top three universities.

There is a silent, pervasive community within our own community. I asked a Korean resident to tell us about them. He agreed to submit this based on the condition of anonymity.

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