Thursday, February 22, 2007

Wife Shopping Spree

I found this article in the Times to be an interesting read on several levels (including some amusing pictures and the fact that business was conudcted in a karaoke bar). It's about Korean men using brokers to find wives in Vietnam because they can't find one in Korea for various reasons. It raises several humanitarian, socioeconomic, and cultural issues, but the one statistic that I found most relevant to our class is this: in 2005, 14% of Koreans married foreigners while in 2000, it was only 4%.

As we have discussed, Koreans are passionate about national unity and view non-pure Koreans in a negative light. I wonder how the Korean people and the government will react to the future influx of mixed nationality marriages and offspring.

1 comment:

Jaime said...

I think weddings are a fascinating topic through which to view international societal trends. Sean is right, the article raises a number of humanitarian, socio-economic and cultural issues. I thought the article did a good job fleshing out the connection between women's roles and status and Korea's economic development in an international context.

Symbolically, I was intrigued by the front page picture with the two couples in western wedding attire. The western notion of a white wedding is so pervasive and has taken root all over the world - that, in this case, women in Vietnam dream of a white dress and a wedding created in Hollywood's image.

From more of a policy perspective, looking at the sharp increase in transnational marriage and given the high level of discrimination against non-Koreans in Korea, will social services and agencies emerge to provide for non-Korean women? will agencies emerge that to work towards raising awareness on issues of multiculturalism? will a communities of non-Korean wives emerge?