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Reverse immigration

Park, Ji Yong (2010) Reverse immigration. YoungJin.com, Seoul, South Korea.

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Abstract

This book (256 pages, written in Korean) is a critical essay that reviews, questions, and criticises Korean and Eastern immigrants’ thinking and behaviour styles in Australia from their cultural perspectives, and discuss and proposes a creative cultural dimension for their better life in a multicultural context. Multiculturalism is not supportive of Eastern cultures because of individualistic collection of cultures, while transculturalism facilitates nurture of their culture in a community-oriented way within multicultural circumstances. Korean and Eastern immigrants, sharing oriental cultural systems and values, should approach to the Australian multicultural context with transculturalism which allows creating new cultural values in collaboration with and by participation into local communities.

Many Eastern immigrants live in their own ethnic communities without or less interacting with Australian (communities). The author defines this phenomenon as “reverse immigration”. Reverse immigration refers to re-immigrating to their ethnic community in Australia or to their birth country despite they did not anticipate that this would happen to them before immigration to Australia. The author argues that Easterners’ collectivistic culture often devalues individuality and vice versa. Cultural clash between West and East often forces the immigrants to choose reverse immigration because of their lack of understanding of Western culture and their cultural characteristics such as low individuality, high power distance, and high uncertainty avoidance. For example, a vague boundary between individualist and collectivist in a collectivistic context (within their ethnic group) often leads to maladjustment to local communities and enhancement of cultural conservatism. The author proposes that the cultural clash can be overcome by cross-cultural activities named “transculturalism”. To Eastern immigrants, transculturalism can be achieved by acculturation of their two predominant cultures, the third-person perspective and generalised others. In a multicultural context, the former refers to the ability to share another person's feelings and emotions as if they were your own, and the latter does the ability to manage community and public expectations. When both cultural values are used for quality interactions between East and West, they allow Eastern immigrants to be more creative and critical and Australian to be more socially inclusive and culturally tolerant. With these discussions, the author discusses cultural differences throughout the book with four topics (chapters) and proposes transculturalism as a solution to the reverse immigration.

Chapter 1 criticises Koreans’ attitudes and methods towards learning English that is less pragmatic and practical, but more likely to be a scholarly study. The author explains that Koreans’ non-pragmatic towards learning English has been firmly built based on their traditional systems and values that Koreans view English as a discipline and an aim of academic achievements rather than a means of communication. Within their cultural context, English can be perceived as more than a language, but something like vastly superior to their language and culture. Their collectivistic culture regards English as an unreachable and heterogeneous one that may threaten their cultural identity, so that “scholarly studying” is only the way to achieve (not learn) it. This discourages the immigrants to engage and involve in daily dialogues by “using” English as a second language. The author further advises the readers to be aware of Eastern collectivistic culture in communication and interaction that sometimes completely reverses private and public topics in a Western context. This leads them to feel that they have no content to talk to natives.

Chapter 2 compares between Korea and Australia in terms of their educational systems and values, and proposes how Eastern overseas students can achieve critical and creative thinking within a Western educational setting. Interestingly, this chapter includes an explanation of why Eastern overseas students easily fail assessments including essay writing, oral presentations and discussions. One of the reasons the author explains is that Eastern students are not familiar to criticise others and think creatively, especially when they recognise that their words and ideas may harm the collectivistic harmony. Western educational systems focuses on enhancement of individuality such as self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-expression, while Eastern educational systems foster group-oriented values such as interpersonal relationship, and strong moral and spiritual values. Yet, the author argues that the collectivistic approach to criticism and creativity is often more critical and creative than Western individuals when they know what they are supposed to do for a group (or a community). Therefore, Eastern students need to think their cultural merits and demerits by using an individual perspective rather than generalised others’ perspective. The latter often discourages individual participation in a community, and the generalised others in a Western culture is weaker than Eastern. Furthermore, Western educational systems do not educate students to transform (loose) their individuality to fit into a group or a community. Rather they cultivate individuality for community prosperity.

Chapter 3 introduces various cases of reverse immigration in workplaces that many immigrants return to their country or their ethnic community after many trials for acculturation. Reverse immigration is unexpected and not planned before immigration, so that its emotional embarrassment increases such severe social loneliness. Most Eastern immigrant workers have tried to adjust themselves in this new cultural environment at the early stages of immigration. However, their cultural features of collectivism, high power distance, high uncertainty avoidance, and long-term oriented cultures suppress individual initiative and eliminate the space for experiments in ways of acculturation. The author argues that returning to their ethnic community (physically and psychologically) leads to two significant problems: their distorted parenting and becoming more conservatives. The former leads the first generation of immigrants to pressure their children to pursue extrinsic or materialist values, such as financial success, fame and physical appearance, rather than on intrinsic values, while the latter refers to their isolated conservative characters because of their remoteness from the changes of their own country. The author also warns that their ethnic and religious groups actively strengthens immigrants’ social loneliness and systematically discourages immigrants’ interests and desire to be involving into local communities. The ethnic communities and leaders have not been interacting with Australian local communities and, as a result, are eager to conserve outdated cultural systems values. Even they have a tendency to weed out those people who wish to settle down within Australian local communities. They believe that those people can threaten their community’s survival and continuity.

Chapter 4 titled multiculturalism argues that Korean and Eastern immigrants should more precisely understand Australia as a multicultural society in a way of collaboratively creating new cultural values. The author introduces multiculturalism with its definitions and history in Australia and argues the limitations of multiculturalism from an Easterner’s perspective. With well known tragedies of the second generations of U.S. immigrants, Cho Seung-Hui, a university student, massacred 32 people on the Virginia Tech before committing suicide and Hidal Hassan, an Army psychiatrist, killed 13 people at Fort Hood and the responses of ethnic community, the author explains that their mental illness may be derived from their parents’ (or ethnic group) culturally isolated attitude and socially static viewpoint of U.S. (Western system and values). The author insists that multiculturalism may restrict Eastern immigrants’ engagement and involvement in local communities. Multiculturalism has been systematically and historically developed based on Western systems and cultural values. In other words, multiculturalism requires high self-confidence and self-esteem that Eastern immigrants less prioritise them. It has been generally known that Easterners put more weight on human relationship than Westerners, but the author claims that this is not true. Within an individualistic culture, Westerners are more interested in building person-to-person connections and relationships. While Easterners are more interested in how individuals can achieve a sense of belonging within a group and a community. Therefore, multiculturalism is an ideology which forces Eastern immigrants to discard their strong desire to be part of a group and does not give a sense of belonging. In a consequence, the author advises that Eastern immigrants should aim towards “transculturalism” which allows them to actively participate in and contribute to their multicultural community. Transculturalism does not ask Easterners to discard their cultural values, but enables them to be a collectivistic individualist (a community leader) who is capable of developing new cultural values in a more creative and productive way. Furthermore, transculturalism encourages Western Australians in a multicultural context to collaborate with ethnic minorities to build a better community.

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ID Code: 39024
Item Type: Book
Additional Information: Table of contents ------------------------------------------------------------ Introduction p. 4 ------------------------------------------------------------ Chapter 1 English is a language Section 1 How often have you “used” English? p.12 Section 2 There is no English composition p. 21 Section 3 Do not “study” English grammar p. 30 Section 4 The practical English does not exist p. 38 Section 5 Reading is listening and understanding p. 44 Section 6 No context to talk to natives p. 49 Section 7 We are the disabled in language p. 58 Section 8 English immersion program p. 64 Section 9 Learn English with your mother language p. 71 ------------------------------------------------------------ Chapter 2 Studying overseas Section 1 Educational background and happiness p. 80 Section 2 Why failed? P. 86 Section 3 Lecture and tutorial (Australian educational system) p. 92 Section 4 Reflective learning in essay writing p. 98 Section 5 Academic systems and Australian educational values p. 105 Section 6 A different perspective on friendship p. 110 Section 7 Creative and critical thinking p. 116 Section 8 Transnational Life of Korean 'Wild Geese’ Family p. 124 ------------------------------------------------------------ Chapter 3 Reverse immigration Section 1 Reverse immigration p. 134 Section 2 A different perspective on occupation p. 140 Section 3 Career development process p. 148 Section 4 Religious communities for immigrants p. 154 Section 5 Sandwich culture (individualistic) vs. Bibimbap culture (collectivistic) p. 160 Section 6 Emotional loneliness and social loneliness p. 166 Section 7 Cultural differences p. 173 ------------------------------------------------------------ Chapter 4 Multiculturalism, Prison without bars Section 1 Easterners prioritise interpersonal relationship? p. 186 Section 2 Collectivistic selfish p. 192 Section 3 The roles of the first generation of immigrants p. 200 Section 4 Multiculturalism, its background and history in Australia p. 212 Section 5 Multiculturalism, Prison without bars p. 220 Section 6 Multiculturalism, its present and future in Australia p. 227 Section 7 New cultural values: Transculturalism p. 237 ------------------------------------------------------------ Conclusion p. 254
Keywords: Asian culture, Eastern culture, immigration, international students, multiculturalism, Western culture
ISBN: 9788931439711
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > OTHER EDUCATION (139900)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Curriculum
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Deposited On: 08 Dec 2010 11:51
Last Modified: 25 Mar 2013 18:11

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