As I was walking home back from dropping off my son at his day care, I saw several grade school kids on their way home, too. It’s Monday and summer vacation has ended. I remembered a post I made three years ago asking about discrimination experienced by Pinoy-Korean kids, when I was still a stay-at-home-mom taking care of a toddler 24 hours a day. Thankfully, there is the WaybackMachine and I was able to see a copy of that post. Here it is. Remember that it was posted on April 16, 2008. That was three years ago and a lot of things have changed.
Have you heard of Judith Alegre Fernandez? She was the first naturalized Korean to run for a seat at the National Assembly. I read her interview that was posted on the Migrants in Korea website. She came here 15 years ago when she got married to a Korean and had two kids. Her husband died a few years ago and has since remarried.
In her interview, she admitted that she sent her children back home to the Philippines to study as they were being discriminated at school (in Korea) and were unhappy (I really wonder about this since they also studied here for a quite a while before she sent them home). After reading this, I asked my co-members at a Yahoogroup about their childrenâ€™s experiences in school. As a mother of a toddler now, who will soon go to school, I felt that I needed to know what itâ€™s like for a â€œmixedâ€ child to go to school in Korea. The son of one my friends here has been a consistent class leader since he was in grade three. I have very close friends here who also married to Koreans and have children. We always talk about our experiences and I donâ€™t remember us mentioning anything on discrimination in school.
Anyway, here are what my friends have said on their emailsâ€¦
From a mother of two in Jeonjuâ€¦
my kids as i know havent experienced discrimination in their school. in fact they are popular kasi alam sa school na english teacher ako,..minsan lang nahihirapan ako sa junbi-mul nila, kasi wala me time masyadoâ€¦
some of their classmates visited here and even call me Imo. some even wished na sana daw ako na lang nanay nilaâ€¦kasi good mother daw ako,at teacher pa.heheheâ€¦
ewan ko lang si *****, kasi grade 2 na rin anak niyaâ€¦
i know some pinays send their kids to school,but many send them there para makapag work yata sila mas mabuti dito.gaya ng isa kong kakilala balak niya ipadala sa pinas mga anak nila,(2)..para daw makapag work silang mag-asawa mabuti,pero di yata pumayag ang koreano niyaâ€¦
yung ibang kids they really experience discrimination, lalo na yung mga local na local ang itsura,tapos di pa nag-i excell sa school subjects lalo na sa korean class..ang nany ay di marunong
magkorean,di man lang maturuan ang anak sa lessonsâ€¦natural yun ***, kasi kahit mga korean kids na di marunong sa school,at mahirap ay nararanasan yang discrimination, kahit naman sa atin eâ€¦.syempre yung mga walang kaalam alam e di masyadong kinakaibigan ng mga bataâ€¦at
kahit na ako rinâ€¦..yung mga students ko sa school,mga bobitos yung iba..hay nakuâ€¦.
dito sa amin,may pinay na maraming anak,discriminated sila e,kahit ng mga kapwa nila taga church, kasi ang dudungis ng mga bata,mababaho, parang hindi nagsusuklay at di naliligo..yung mga
batang yun,kung sa kapwa ng nanay nila e nakakaranas ng discrimination, how much more sa mga batang koreano at sa teachers nila sa schoolâ€¦i sometimes meet the nanay,and even my kids donâ€™t
want to play with the daughter kasi daw marumi nga..i talk to my kids they should treat them kindly,but how can i control my kidsâ€™ mind?..
there is discrimination everywhere.. â€¦.not only here in koreaâ€¦but anywhere and everywhere.. â€¦..
From a mother of two in Ilsanâ€¦
so far sa akin, wala naman pero pinaghandaan ko na yan.. I talked to my daughter about it na, and challenge her to be proud of having mixed blood and chances to learn two different cultures and languages. Kaya we are the bridge of their future talaga especially sa English.
In that case, depende siguro sa situation, the place and the status of life or sa kasikatan ng isang inang pinay. Letâ€™s say, masakit mang tanggapin sa ating mga pinay na ganito minsan mag isip ang ibang koreans lalong lalo na sa mga batang koreans na wlang alam sa buhay natin sa pinas.
Minsan kasi yon ang naging resulta sa mga palabas sa TV about the poverty of Philippines, lalong lalo na sa mga poor places sa atin. Yon ang makikitang mga bata sa TV kaya minsan hindi natin maialis sa kanila na sumbatan ang mga batang anak pilipina. Pero sana, to all pinay mothers, aim high tayo, hwag magpatalo sa kanila. Ipakita natin na mas maganda ang education sa pinas at how to discipline our children.
Hwag kayong mag-aala sa ganyang issueâ€¦
From a mother of one in Uljinâ€¦
May nabasa rin akong article anak naman sya nang kano class president din ang anak nya pero may hinaing din sya sa mga ka school mate nang anak nya. Although popular ang anak nya sa ibang bata ay marami din daw ang galit at inggit sa anak nya don daw nahihirapang intindihin nang anak nya ang ganong sitwasyon, Ang sa akin ay may punto si **** at ***** nasa nagpapalaki rin iyon nang nanay at kung gaano makihalubilo ang parents nang bata sa mga koreans. Makihalubilo ka nang maayos sa kanila. Laging maayos at malinis ka at ang anak mo lagi. Huwag kang maging balat sibuyas konting bagay lang ay dapat pagpasensyahan at isipin kung paano malulutas ang problema. Kung maaari ay lagi mong ihalo ang bata sa pakikipaglaro sa mga batang korean habang maliit pa. kahit ako di ko pasasamahin sa mga batang bulok at maiitim ang mga ngipin at palamura ang anak ko at may ADD.Anak ko ay ok naman may bestfriend na sya at may kaaway din okey na yun sa akin at gustong gusto niyang pumasok sa school nya kasi kung ayaw e may problema so kuntento na ako,
From a mother of two in Seoulâ€¦
halu, being here in korea for 14 years i just thought i needed to throw in my two cents ^^
back when my son was in preschool, it didnâ€™t really matter that heâ€™s half-pinoy. sa age na yun nde pansin ng mga bata kung foreign ang parent mo or not, but what matters is kung marunong ka or nde ng korean. kasi if nde marunong ng korean ang bata, the other kids would actually wonder why, which will actually be the start na they would realize na that certain kid is different. dun na magu-umpisa yung sinsabi nating discrimination, its not even about the kids being half something else, itâ€™s just because of the fact that the kid canâ€™t speak korean well. kasi kahit nga yung mga nde half-foreign na late ang speech development nadi-discriminate. you canâ€™t blame them, theyâ€™re just kids.
in my case, living with my in laws since the beginning became an advantage. kasi i never really felt any difficulty teaching my kid korean kasi maraming nagtuturo, he even became my korean practice
partner, magkasabay kami natutong â€œmagsalitaâ€ ^^
heâ€™s good in korean, never had any difficulty conversing, grew up being praised by teachers and other moms kasi he speaks well, madaldal at he takes part sa lahat ng activities sa school. heâ€™s been class pres or vice pres since 3rd grade, til now(6th grader na sya). there was never a time na he questioned why his mom is different that all the other moms.
i raised him to be proud of who he are and to be proud of his mom. lagi kong cnasabi na heâ€™s lucky to have a foreign mom, kasi unlike the other kids he has the opportunity to learn 2 languages, 2 cultures, isa pa heâ€™s got two countries!i made sure na boosted lagi self-confidence nya, make him realize na heâ€™s got the edge, and he can be better than all the other kids if he just wanted to. minsan iniisip ko nga baka yumabang naman ng maiigi hehehe, well actually, there was a time that we had to teach him how to keep his feet on the ground. we also helped him trim his wings ^^*
when he became a grade schooler, i was the one who actually avoided going to his school kasi baka nga makasama sa kanya. kasi if based on looks, heâ€™s not that much different than all the other korean kids. so isip ko if hindi nila alam na foreign ang nanay, wala naman cgurong manunukso sa kanya. pag may gagawin sa school, i sent my husband or my mom-in-law or my brod-in-law. hanggang dumating yung tym na yung anak ko na mismo ang namilit sa akin na magpunta ng school.
2nd grader(2nd sem) na sya when i started going to his school. he was just so proud. when he saw me, sigaw agad sya â€œom-ma!â€. all the other kids looked at me, some were surprised, some looked perplexed and yung mga cnabihan ng anak ko na pinay ang nanay nya were just like â€œah, yan pala mama nyaâ€
some kids asked, â€œmama mo yan?â€ and heâ€™d answer, â€œo, uri omma ya, pilipin e-so wa-soâ€ (yup shes my mom sheâ€™s from the philippines) or â€œku-re uri omma pilipin saram yaâ€ (yes, my moms a filipina) and dahil he just sounded so proud and at ease, wala din nasabi yung mga classmates, then the attention turned to me. syempre ang unang mga tanong is ajumma, where are you from? or why is my skin dark samantalang maputi naman anak ko? yung iba nga ang tanong agad is if im from africa hehehe. some even asked me to say a few filipino words and they would just be â€œwaaaaa~~!!! â€
but what made the kids feel at ease is the fact that i speak korean. magaling or nde doesnâ€™t matter just the fact na i can converse with them and actually understand what theyâ€™re saying is more than enough.
the word â€œwang-taâ€ came to life here in korea not because of the half-foreign kids. talagang maraming mga kids na nakakaexperience ng discrimination be they full blooded koreans or not. so i donâ€™t really think na just because the kid is half-foreign, prone na sya to discrimination. depende na rin sa bata na yan, and how heâ€™s brought up.
kung nakapanood kayo nung program na â€œuri a-i tal-la-jo-seo- yoâ€, all of the kids na pinalabas dun are the way they are because of the way they were brought up. talagang after the professional evaluation nalabas na nasa habit and ways ng parents ang problema why the kid acts like he/she does. and the way na magamot yung ways na yun ng bata ay nasa pagbabago ng ways ng parents na rin.
still its a case by case basis like yung namention ata ni ate **** na pag mukhang pinoy na pinoy yung kid nadi-discriminate dahil sa looks. but i know this kid na half sri-lankan na talagang dark skinned at mukhang foreign talaga but heâ€™s doing okay, heâ€™s proud of who he is and how he looks like doesnâ€™t even matter.
one more thing, nasabi na yata dito but would just like to say again, itâ€™s also important for your kid to see you spending some time with all the other moms, like all the other korean moms. the more na
ipinapakita mo sa bata na youâ€™re not different than all the other moms and that you can mingle like all the other korean moms, and that you can talk to their teachers and do what every other korean mom does, (like go to school picnics, be a PTA officer, participate sa events in school),the more the kid will realize na theyre no different than all the other kids. and that will give them the self-confidence they need in life.
so what im saying is as a parent, be the example. kung ikaw mismo nahihiya, ikaw mismo nde marunong magkorean or is not even making an effort to learn, ikaw mismo ayaw makihalubiloâ€¦ ganun din mangyayari sa anak mo kasi yun ang nakikita nila. Show them youâ€™re confident. Show them you can beat the odds. Show them na youâ€™re not running away coz things get rough. Show them what you want them to be. Kids do what they see. So show they what they need to see.
it may sound simple pero mahirap din lalo na sa mga working moms or financially challenged families kaya lang we made our choices and we have to stand by it. just do what you think you can.
and just rememberâ€¦. . Self-confidence is a must. ^^
my daughterâ€™s a 2nd grader, and shes following in her brods footstep. mas easier sa 2nd kid, kasi all they do is follow their elder brod or sis ^^. so importante talaga you do things right sa first kid mo. but if you missed the chance itâ€™s never too late to try again. ^^
mahaba masyado nde ko na maproof read pasensya na po sa typoâ€™s at grammatical errors ehehe ^^
I live in Seoul and I donâ€™t really really worry about my kid experiencing discrimination in school. Like what one of my friends had said, it could happen anywhere. Even in Philippine schools, discrimination happen among Filipino kids (I had some dark-skinned classmates in school and they got treated badly!) And thatâ€™s true, isnâ€™t it? Itâ€™s really just a matter of how you bring up your kid. If he encountered an obstacle or a difficulty in life, should you just send him away so he could avoid it? Or teach him how to face all those difficulties because you know that there are just some things you canâ€™t avoid?
Things have changed, and my son has been attending day care for three years now. He started on August 1, 2008. He has been to three day cares: one and a half years at his first day care; 5 months at the second one and a month at the center he’s currently attending. He will be moving to another day care on Thursday! In a year and a half, he will be attending school. He has been doing well and his only complaint has been the food. He doesn’t like rice at all! He knows that his mom is Filipino – and would even tell other people about it. He would sometimes brag that he knows Filipino (the language) as well. He knows that he is Korean and a Filipino. He is a very sociable kid, too. He seems to be a boy who is proud of himself. I hope that will not change.
On my part, I try not to isolate him from other Korean kids. Case in point, when the day care center director told me that it’s okay for him not to attend English classes, I disagreed since I don’t want him to be separated from his classmates. I try to socialize with Korean moms as well, despite my difficulty in using the language. I talk to our neighbors, the elderly, the shopkeepers; and I make it a point that my son sees me doing so. Sometimes, he would tell people that I don’t speak Korean well so he would tell them to speak to him in Korean and that he would translate in English for me. LOLz… I also visit his class and talk to his classmates. My son actually likes it a lot when I go inside his classroom and his classmates see me. They would always come to me and say “Hello”. Sometimes, I would also bring him to work whenever we have fun activities so he could socialize with older kids. As a parent, I don’t want him to ever “FEEL” discriminated. So I’m doing my best to raise him as a person confident of himself ;p
Are you a parent of a Pinoy-Korean kid? Share your opinion, experiences, disagreements so we could also learn from you.