12. Diaspora

What is “Diaspora?”

The definition of the term Diaspora that I am interested in is:

A dispersion of an originally homogeneous entity, such as a laughage or culture.

The theme of diaspora is everywhere; in the novel Things Fall Apart, in Korea, and in America. In the novel, the main wave of diaspora comes with religion. More specifically, they originate from the Christian missionaries who visit the Ibo village where Okonkwo lives. They teach English, accept anyone to their church, including the outcasts, and bring goods to trade. Their culture exponentially spreads among the natives, through minor branches of cultural exchange, such as schools, markets, and courts.

How about in Korea? Since when were females allowed to wear mini-skirts and expose half of their bare skin? Since when did Korean daily diet become McDonalds and Burger King? Where is the change coming from?

I say the main source of Korea’s Western diaspora comes from education. Korean society has a quintessential obligation for academic achievements. Parents send students to Hakwon, or out-of-school academies, and load them with tutors. Especially after the economical hardships from Korean War and Japanese Colonization, education became the sole way of improving our lives. Ergo, for the past couple decades, myriads of students were sent to United States, Canada, Australia, or even Singapore to receive “better” educations. The original Korean culture is breaking down.

More recently, the Western educational institutions are increasingly blossoming in Korea. The so-called “International Schools” are growing in population.

What does diaspora lead to? I personally believe they destroy cultures. Maybe a little more nicely and neutrally, they blend cultures. Like the title Things Fall Apart, the original culture and traditions of Ibo is breaking down; it’s splitting up, losing its color. The changes might’ve been good for the people, especially for the ones who were powerless and deficient of opportunities, including Okonkwo’s son and the outcasts. However, I believe the overall result was negative to the Ibo people.

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