If there is a blog I regularly visit, it is Betchay’s. True to her blog’s name, it is very informative about life in Korea… and entertaining.
I read her readers’ reactions and most are amusing. The latest thread is that of More Korean Men Marry Foreign Nationals. It is actually an old post of Betchay but comments from readers keep on pouring in. What amuse me in the comment section are the passionate responses to another reader’s observation.
A comment came up stating that the major reason why most Filipinas marry Koreans is because of poverty back home and financial security here in Korea… with some exceptions, of course. When I first read the comment which elicited passionate responses from other readers, I was taken aback by the rather “arrogant” way of writing. But re-reading the comment, I think the person has a point. If common perception is to be taken in, there is an undeniable truth in the common perception that indeed some pinays marry foreign nationals (not just Koreans!) for financial security. Korea, which happens to be a not just very male-oriented society but a society whose people look at themselves superior over their Asian neighbors, makes this general perception almost an “absolute truth”. No offense to a dear Pinay friend who was a regular panel in the now defunt show “Love in Asia”, the featured love stories always bring out the best in the Korean spouses and the poverty in the home country of the foreign spouses (and the foreign spouses are not just from the Philippines). It is South Korea’s manifestation of extreme nationalism… but they have always been this way.
Our very different culture from Koreans may make it harder for us to understand their very protective sense of nationalism. Have you met a South Korean who make fun of themselves? I haven’t. Have you met a South Korean who is not obsessed with education? I haven’t. These and other traits are their way of putting themselves above everyone else… because this would make them and their country more successful. In contrast, we Filipinos make fun of our own mistakes… which is a healthy way of living:-). Koreans turn to suicide if they can’t face up to their mistakes.
Back to Pinay spouses of Koreans… I used to share the same perception about Pinays marrying Koreans for financial security. Can anyone blame me for that? I don’t think so. As correctly pointed out, it is the general perception. I once wrote in my other blog that it is the responsibility of the Pinay spouses to elevate themselves from this general perception. And I feel lucky to be friends with some of these Pinays. Hey, they are a lot you can be proud of as kababayans.
I know that it is not easy to rise above the general perception, especially if there are people who live up to this perception. I pointed this out in my other blog when I met another loud Pinay in the Immigraton office in Mokdong. I feel for the smart Pinays who do not fall under this category. Well, this is an everyday challenge. But then again, being pigeon-holed under a general perception does not just happen here in Korea.
My prejudices turned to admiration when I got to meet Pinay spouses of Koreans living here in Korea. See, at the end of the day, who tells you about your self-worth? Do you go with the flow of the general perception? Or, you rise above the general perception and… to heck with those who hold on to their biases.
Kudos to my Pinay friends here in Korea!