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Philippine envoy celebrates multiculturalism in Korea

2012/06/16 | 425 views |  | Permalink | Source

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Philippine Ambassador Luis Cruz, right, poses for a photo with Rep. Jasmine Lee of the ruling Saenuri Party during a festival in Seoul on June 3. / Courtesy of Philippine Embassy

By Ban Se-jung

Filipinos celebrated multiculturalism and the success of migrant workers in Korea last Sunday, at an outdoor festival in Hangang Park, Yeouido, Seoul for their country's independence day which is June 12.

Ambassador to Korea Luis Cruz, welcomed the families and friends of Filipinos and the Philippines saying how proud he was of Filipinos contribution to Korean society and how South Korea is well on its way to becoming a truly multicultural society.

Cruz said in a recent speech that for multiculturalism to work in a healthy way in Korea it has to be a two-way street.

"I happen to believe that the relationship has to be two-way: foreign spouses should learn Korean culture, but Korean spouses and the Korean in-laws should also be receptive to the culture of foreign family members. This ensures that the benefits of a multicultural family - a family that is naturally predisposed to the wealth of cultures of the two nationalities involved - are fully harnessed", he said.

The government and society in Korea is new to multiculturalism.

The government started implementing multicultural policies in April 2006 by implementing targeted measures designed to help multicultural families better integrate into Korean society.

In 2007, the "Basic Act for Treatment of Foreigner Residents" was passed, followed by the "Multicultural Family Support Act".

Jasmine Lee, a naturalized Korean citizen who was born and raised in the Philippines, became the nation's first naturalized Korean elected as a lawmaker.
In addition to the many Filipinos who became naturalized citizens here, some 6,000 hold residency permits.

"Your efforts and passionate cooperation will make this society a better place. And that better place will appreciate our presence as a valuable part of culture and society", Lee said in welcoming remarks during the event.

There was live entertainment from well known Filipino entertainers singing popular K-pop tunes to cheers from some 200 festival goers .

Celebrity Filipino singer Bogoy Drilon, who came out on top in 2010's "Pinoy Dream Academy", The Philippines' version of "American Idol", wowed the crowd with K-pop and Pinoy pop favorites.

Cruz said cultural sharing is what is needed for a truly multicultural society. "It will mean that the foreign spouse is never alienated".

"A healthy relationship is one that allows both spouses to grow and mature in their own terms and styles, and this need is more pronounced in the case of interracial couples", he said.

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