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A narrative inquiry into cultural identity construction of young Korean Canadians : "my cultural identity… Park, Minjeong 2005

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A Narrative Inquiry into Cultural Identity Construction of Young Korean Canadians: "My cultural identity is a production I create from different cultural pieces" by MINJEONG PARK B.A., Sookmyung Women's University, 1995 M.A., Seoul National University, 1998 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIRMENTS FOR THE D E G R E E OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES CURRICULUM AND INSTRUCTION j THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA May 2005 © Minjeong Park, 2005 ABSTRACT This study investigates how young Korean Canadians construct and re-construct their cultural identity through cross-cultural experiences as they interact with and negotiate cultural differences. My interest in this study was triggered by conversations with some young Korean Canadians. Prior to these conversations, I assumed that they would be more Canadian than Korean in terms of culture. It was a surprise to learn that they were becoming more interested in Korean culture as they grew up and gained a sense of their identity as Korean Canadian. I was especially surprised when I considered their having grown up in Canadian contexts where they speak English fluently and are exposed to Canadian culture most of the time. In this study, I conducted a narrative inquiry which enabled me to uncover unrecognized and unspoken experiences associated with the cross-cultural experiences of young Korean Canadians and understand identity construction as a temporally and relationally multi-layered process. The analysis presented in this study was drawn from twenty-six open-ended interviews with young Korean Canadians living in Vancouver, British Columbia. My findings showed that the young Korean Canadians were not indefinitely torn between cultures nor did they remain victims of unending identity crisis, although during the initial stage of adaptation, they went through uncertainties, tensions, and anxieties about not being wholly one identity or the other. While crossing cultural boundaries and re-configuring different cultures from inside-out and outside-in perspectives, they became more able to assess which elements of each culture they wanted to embrace in their own identity construction. As they transformed their approach from "fitting in one place" to "mixing and matching different cultural elements," they were awakened to the possibilities of having a multicultural identity. Identifying multiple cultural elements, they re-constructed their own emergent form of identity beyond the limited boundary of Korean culture or Canadian culture. This study invites educators to revision cultural identity of immigrants, fabricated by cross-cultural living, as productive tensions and generative possibilities rather than problems to be adjusted and resolved. in TABLE OF CONTENTS Abstract ii Table of contents iv List of tables viii Acknowledgements ix CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION 1 What this study is about 1 Autobiographical prologue: Framing the research question 4 Navigating this dissertation 10 CHAPTER 2: THEORETICAL AND METHODOLOGICAL CONSIDERATIONS 14 Grounding perspectives 15 Hybrid and multiple forms 18 A constant translation: A third space 21 Cultural identity within a pendulum of "being" and "becoming" 23 Narrative construction 26 Using narrative inquiry in this dissertation 29 Understanding narrative inquiry 30 Narrative is a historical understanding of the self 30 Narrative is a repetitive performance of living, telling, retelling, and reliving 31 Narrative gives fragmentary experiences a tentative coherence 32 iv Narrative is a collaborative quilt between the inquirer and the inquired 33 Collecting data 34 Analyzing data and constructing narrative accounts 39 Responding to issues surrounding reliability and validity in narrative inquiry 45 CHAPTER 3: FROM PAN-KOREAN IDENTITY TO MULTICULTURAL IDENTITY: RECENT IMMIGRANT YOUNG ADULT'S STORY 49 Leaving Korea: A difficult adjustment 51 Attachment to the Korean culture 54 Adjusting in Canadian school 56 Conflicting with parents 59 Drug addiction 61 Work experience 64 Navigating cultural differences 67 Becoming a "multicultural citizen" 75 A reflecting moment 73 CHAPTER 4: THE (UN)HARMONIOUS STORIES OF TWO YOUNG KOREAN CANADIAN GIRLS 76 Leaving Korea 79 First steps in a new land 80 Assimilation and acculturation 86 Re-connecting to both cultures 96 A spinning growth as Korean Canadian 99 CHAPTER 5: THE STORY OF RE-SEARCHING KOREAN CANADIAN IDENTITY -107 Learning a new culture and language 108 Getting more interested and involved in social activism 118 The role of a cultural and language translator 120 Racism 124 Living in-between cultures and languages 127 The emerging identity of the Korean Canadian 134 CHAPTER 6: THE MULTIDIMENSIONAL CONSTRUCTION OF CULTURAL IDENTITY: THE STORIES OF TWO SECOND GENERATION KOREAN CANADIANS 141 Childhood stories 143 Living in two different worlds: Inside and outside the home 148 Problems and conflicts 153 Everyday consequences of being Korean Canadian 173 Embracing both identities 185 CHAPTER 7: THEORETICAL INSIGHTS AND EDUCATIONAL IMPLICATIONS 201 The trajectory of identity construction 202 Disruption and rupture between different experiential realities 202 Border-crossing and re-configuring 205 (Re)constructing cultural identity as Korean Canadians 207 vi Cultural identity in fluid movement: Identity as a narrative construction 209 Findings and educational implications 211 Are young Korean Canadians capable of becoming who they are? 211 How do young Korean Canadians experience the Korean culture outside of Korea? 214 What affects the identity construction of young Korean Canadians? 216 What will multicultural education look like within a culturally responsive curricular landscape? 218 The politics of recognition 221 The responsibility to others 224 Multiple identities within in-between spaces 227 Identity construction as a community practice 230 (In)conclusive closure 1: Lingering thoughts 232 (In)conclusive closure 2: An autobiographical returning 235 BIBLIOGRAPHY 247 vii LIST OF TABLES Table 2-1. The story schemas 41 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS It is such a great pleasure that I express my deep gratitude and acknowledge my considerable indebtedness to the following persons for their generous support and encouragement of my studies. In particular, I wish to acknowledge and thank my doctoral supervisor Dr. Carl Leggo, supervisory committee, Dr. Karen Meyer and Dr. Heesoon Bai, for guiding me, having faith in me, and standing by me throughout this whole journey. Without their support and enthusiasm, this study would not have been brought to fruition. I wish to thank Dr. Graeme Chalmers, Dr. Norm Amundson, and Dr. Julia Ellis for agreeing to be on my examiners. Their careful reading and critical comments are much appreciated. I want to express my profound gratitude to the young Korean Canadians who made this work possible and enjoyable: Young-bin, Dae-Hyun, Tae-Hee, Bu-Young, Andy, and Leora. I am grateful for their honesty, caring, good-humored, and unbound voices. I also thank my dear colleagues in the CSCI (Centre for the Study of Curriculum and Instruction) for their friendship, support, and inspiration: Dr. Fleurette Sweeney, Dr. Lynn Fel, Dr. Kadi Perru, Dr. Franc Feng, Dr. Sohaila Javed, Dr. Hartej Gi l l , Dr. Marcia Braundy, Dr. Sheema Saeed, Dr. Monique Giard, Avraham Cohen, and Annie Smith. I want to give special thanks to Dr. Teresita-Salve Tubianosa and Dr. Paul Orlowski for their careful ix proofreading. I also acknowledge Jim Meyer and Ami Meyer for their love, warmth, compassion, and kindness. Deepest love and gratitude is given to my parents and grandmother who teach me the beauty of love and wisdom. They have been a wellspring of energy and encouragement throughout my studies. My gratitude is beyond words. x (This dissertation is dedicated to my mother, Seong-Ok\%p whose Cove and trust encouraged and supported my continuing studies.) xi CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION What this study is about My interest in this study was triggered by conversations with some young Korean Canadians. Prior to these conversations, I assumed that they would be more Canadian than Korean in terms of culture. It was a surprise to find them more interested in Korean culture, considering their having grown up in a Canadian context where they speak English very fluently and they are exposed to Canadian culture most of the time. What gives them a sense of connectedness to the Korean culture? Is their cultural identity located in a Korean culture? In a Canadian culture? In a properly harmonized mixture of both? What does cultural boundary mean to these cultural nomads? In a complex entanglement of cultural differences, what motivates them to maintain or give up the Korean culture? What does it mean to live in a Korean culture in Canada? Furthermore, I have been puzzled by the fact that young Korean Canadians in Vancouver, considered as marginalized immigrants, have tried to find and occupy their own territory in a new land in spite of the lack of material, mental and emotional support. From this observation, I sensed that they were trying to fabricate their own identity, be it marginal and fragmented. Conflicts between Korean parents and young Korean Canadians, mostly concerning the young generation's sense of identity and major interests, are ineluctable. The parents' generation constantly reclaims and searches for the lost Korean culture although they are uprooted from the homeland and transplanted into a foreign land. They immigrate to Canada with all of their Korean beliefs, values, and traditions. But the young Korean Canadians are different. They are already forming and reforming their own ways of surviving and living in the new culture wherein the new forms of identity emerge from a disconnection with the heritage culture. They re-interpret, re-construct, and re-appropriate 1 Korean culture in some ways by intermingling with other cultures. Their cultural identity is no longer being framed and determined solely by a connection with the cultural roots of their parents. Therefore, it is problematic to disregard that young Korean Canadians are actively participating in an attempt to configure and transfigure their own identity. Moreover, the cultural identity of young Korean Canadians is constructed in a highly ambiguous relationship between the host culture and the heritage culture. This is because of a lack of strong Korean roots and a lack of understanding of the mainstream Canadian culture. They are expected to speak English perfectly and behave like other native Canadians in order to succeed in the host country. At the same time, Korean parents constantly try to transmit Korean culture and language to young Korean Canadians for fear of a cultural disconnection with the Korean culture. Young Korean Canadians consider themselves strangers in both cultures. The question of "who am I?" is not about an exotic biography. Rather, it is about the manifestation of contradictions and complexities provoked by a polarity between belonging and not belonging. An examination of their partial and contingent belonging and ambiguous assimilation in a more detailed and comprehensive way is very necessary. It may be wrong to think of their cultural identity as destined to end up in one place or another. It is also problematic to transmit Korean culture by freezing it into a timeless zone, a reified concoction that defies the dynamic changes of Korean culture. Their cultural identity construction is neither returning to its roots nor disappearing by assimilation and homogenization. The question of "What is the 'real' identity of this person?" would be a wrong question to ask because 'essential identity' is difficult to qualify and quantify — a concern that triggered this study in the first place. This study aims to look at how young Korean Canadians define, negotiate, and (re)create the contested and conflicting identity of being neither wholly one thing nor the other as they interact with and negotiate through cultural differences. I also explore the transformative process of identity construction through cross-cultural experiences. Based on the lived experiences of six young Korean Canadians, I analyze how young Korean Canadians first encounter another culture and come to mature into a multicultural citizen. 2 Given the ambivalent situations they face in the process of their identity construction, one part of this study focuses on the confusions, conflicts, frustrations provoked by the lack of self-confidence from cultural uncertainty and anxiety. Another imperative part explores the generative and transformative possibilities of cross-cultural lives, paralleling the notion of "identity failure" or "identity crisis." I challenge the perspectives that view immigrants exclusively as a problem, thus, leading to the oversimplification and dismissal of their complex experiences. This study examines this double-edged process, one that is troublesome and simultaneously enriching. The basic premise behind the conventional assimilation model is that immigrants will move naturally from one culture to another over time. In contrast, this study tries to portray how young Korean Canadians challenge and contest socially and culturally constructed categories: the Korean, the Canadian, and the Korean Canadian. I describe their emerging identity by reconstructing and reconfiguring the ideas of culture and identity. Their stories are deeply related to what it means to be a "Korean" outside of Korea, to be a "Canadian" with a Korean cultural background, to be a "Korean Canadian" inhabiting a space representative of the complex and diverse identity compositions. Instead of viewing their stories as a causal story, I attempt to capture and evoke the complex, paradoxical, and mysterious quality of cross-cultural living. It is not my intention to render the experiences of Korean Canadians as transparent. Rather, I intend to create a space for sharing the experiences of a heterogeneous group of young Korean Canadians inclusive of the common elements of their pains, struggles, and uncertainties. My motivation for this study stems from dual frustrations: the theoretical and the practical. Of the considerable literature on cultural identity of immigrant students, there is little research that deals with Korean immigrant students in comparison to research with other ethnic groups. Korean Canadians are one of the fastest growing ethnic groups in Canada. Although Asian Canadians share many similar cultural characteristics, Koreans are unique in terms of their strong ethnic attachment and the burgeoning emergence of the il-chom-o-3 se' generation phenomenon from the recent wave of immigrants. Historically, Korean Canadians have a short immigration history. Thus, they have scarce resources to rely on to guide younger generations in building a healthy cultural identity. Furthermore, when young Korean Canadians are faced with struggles and dilemmas in school, there seems to be little response to their particular needs. Not being recognized easily pushes young Korean Canadians to become passive and unreflective about their ambiguous circumstances. My study hopes to provide a deeper understanding of the emerging identity of young Korean Canadians who cannot locate themselves securely within a cultural, national, and racial boundary. Given that many Korean immigrants are recently flocking to Canada, my study will be very timely and immediately applicable. Autobiographical prologue: Framing the research question The initiaf motivation for this study evoCvedfrom my own Cife experiences. JLs an internationalstudent from %prea -who has 6een here for four years, I have gone through similar experiences as other Xprean immigrant students. I vividCy remember how my inadequate cufturaC kjiowiedge often times Ced to frustration and discomfort. 'When I Ceft %prea to come to Canada, on the one hand, I brought curiosity and enthusiasm for my new Cife, white on the other hand, much anxiety and fear. My first transitionalprocess was not as easy as I supposed. 1 Il-chom-o-se is "coined in the Korean [American] community around 1980" (Hurh, 1998, p. 164). Il-se means the first generation immigrant and i-se means the second generation of Korean Americans born in America. Il-chom-o-se refers to Koreans who come to America before completing high school. While Korean is the language of il-se who usually reads Korean newspapers, watches Korean television, rents videotapes about Korean soap operas, reality shows, talk shows, entertainment, etc., and attends the Korean service in Korean churches, the predominant language of the i-se is English. Il-chom-o-se speaks both Korean and English languages with varying degrees of fluency. Hurh (1998) describes the distinctive characteristics of the 1.5 generation of Korean immigrants: (I) the large proportion of adolescent Korean immigrants, (2) their parents' high socioeconomic background, which facilitated the attainment offunctional bilingualism and biculturalism, (3) the centripetal (moving toward the center) nature of the Korean American community despite the residential scattering to suburbs, and (4) the adhesive mode of adaptation among first-generation Korean immigrants, (p. 164) 4 Vpon arrivafat the Vancouver airport, I realized how naivety I looked at things. Looking b~ack\ the heavy baggage on my shoulders foreshadowed that my Cife in this new world wouldnot go wetfas expected. My miserable plight began at the customs and immigration section where I anxiously stood waiting in a long line. Since it was my first time ever to talkjwith English-speaking people, I felt very nervous. I practiced what I want to say again and again in my mind. (But when I stood up in front of a custom's officer, I was frozen and forgot what to say. The officer, with an expressionless face, treated me in an official and stiff manner. Her questions, "Why did you come here?" and UtKow long are you staying?" made me feel like a captive in an enemy camp. My first impression of Canada was that of hostility rattier than hospitality. I acknowledged that even if the world talked about a global village, the boundary between nations was still kept tightly closed. My first roommate was from jZfrica, but she was used to the western culture. Use of the bathroom created a tension between us. In %orea, bathrooms have a drainage hole on the tiled floor so we were never concerned about splashing water all over the sink\ I did not know about the western practice of keeping the sink\dry. I accidentally made the same mistake of splashing water around the sink\continuously. JAfterthree days, I found a paper with the message taped to the mirror, "It is nice to keep the sinkjieat. flfter using the sinf^ clean it up with a cloth under the sink^ ..." <Even though I admitted my fault, my roommate's way of dealing with the situation hurt me so much. I felt I was treated disrespectfully. In our%prean culture, it would be Setter to talk\face to face with a smile rather than with a written message. I felt insulted. Tier way of communication pushed me to feel very uncomfortable when I was with her. 5 In my vuCnera6iCity, I just pretended to understand and accept whatever she said or required me to do. 'What came to mind at the time was, U(When in <Rpme, do as the (Rpmans do." I constantly said to myseCf, ',(You have to 6e famidar with the western culture because you are living in Canada. You should 6e prepared to behave Cifcg a Canadian. "Jls I recaCCmy earCy experiences in Vancouver, I realize that I should have spoken rather than simply accept things in silence. This painful experience challenged my naive expectation of compassionate and benevolent openness towards cultural difference. I learned how difficult it was to create a bridge between people of different cultures in a respectful way. I came to acknowledge that naive romantic tolerance would bring us only shallow understanding of each other and continue the pain of the culturally marginalized. Tolerance can limit us to benign indifference and remote respect instead of listening to the cry of people in pain, thereby leaving us separate and impermeable. 9Ay academic life also did not start very smoothly. I struggled to fit into life at a Canadian university. One story I choose to share here is related to the culture of discussion. I have been brought up in a culture that emphasizes listening rather than talking. To butt in a conversation is taken as so impolite that I have to be careful when I share my opinions. JLs a person with this cultural value embedded, I always allowed others to finish what they were saying before opening my mouth. 'While I patiently waited for an opportunity to spea^ other persons already started talking so that when I finally got a turn the topic had changed. Furthermore, the massive linguistic terminologies I never heard in %prea were overwhelming. I was incapable of keeping up with any notes. There were times when I got really stimulated and I had some ideas to share but it toofi me a long time to figure out how to express what I wanted to say. The moment I was able to figure out a way my opportunity was already gone. I never dared to speafcjn class so that I ended up losing my voice and feeling more frustrated than ever. 6 Furthermore, my excessive fear of my spokgn Ting fish made me shy, embarrassed, and nervous to speaf^ Sometimes, myfeedng of uncertainty of what peopCe discussed in cCass kept me quiet. (Because I learned ^ English words mostty through books, I could not make sense ofcolloquialidioms and expressions. This psychologicalfear heCdme back\ (Every time I spoke, I aCways tried to find out how the process evolved. Tfie visible and invisible signs from the native-speakers such as, "What are you talking about?" or "I can't catch you exactly.immediately tookjny courage away. In a western academic environment, participating in discussions seemed to be a crucial proof of my knowledge and my presence. If I did not say anything, my voice would not be heard and I would simply settle in the darkjhadows. My presence would not be even acknowledged. "Speaking out," "Sharing your ideas," " Engaging in an interactive conversation and dialogue"... Not fitting in this talking culture constantly drove me into hiding. My inability to take part in the discussion made me feel suffocated, and I started missing the %prean cultural value of silence. I was tired of the never-ending talt%, talk\ and talk.... lots of words... In my culture, silence at intervals was important. (But in this culture, I realized that there was no room for silence. I felt my spiritual self was suffering from what I toof^as meaningless noise floating through the air. I shouted inward, "(Don't interrupt my silence!" After two years, I went home for a visit. (During the flight I was so excited and elated. When a flight attendant announced that we were almost arriving, my heart beat very fast. I felt as if I just woke up from a long nightmare. I said to myself "Thank^Godfor this hopeful morning!" While I was flying over the (pacific Ocean, I threw into the deep ocean all the nightmares I had experienced as a foreigner in a strange land. In the process of confronting my oppressive and fearful experiences in a foreign land, my thirsty soul really needed some rejuvenating water. I was always seeking a sense of "home" and 1 "belongingness." 'When I -went through customs at the Korean airport nobody asked me, "'Why are you coming to this country?" I toughed at myself, recalling my embarrassment and discomfort from that same question at the Vancouver airport two years ago. Vnlike the experience at the Vancouver airport, I was accepted and welcomed backjn my country. Jls soon as I got out of the Korean airport I took^a deep breath to inhale the air of Korea. (But my body demonstrated that I was not the same person as I had been before. It was not comforting to breathe in a high percentage of humidity and feet the hot temperature. JLlthough I realized that it was the usual Korean summer weather that I missed in Vancouver, my skin was tightening and my body sent me the signals of unfamiliarity and uneasiness. My 6ody was not used to the kind of humidity and temperature any more. This initial feeling of being home after two years of absence made me reflect how much I had been transformed over time. Everything seemed different. In this big city of Seoul, I found myself in-between spaces of familiarity and unfamiliarity. 'When I arrived home, my favorite Korean food, the hot potof"Kim-chi" which has the unique taste of Korean spices, was waiting for me. Jls much as I realty enjoyed the dish, my stomach reacted differently during the night. It seemed that I could not take this kind of spicy food anymore. I was already adjusted to eating dishes that were not as spicy or cooked with different kinds of spices. My meals in Vancouver varied: Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, Indian, Italian, and western. 'Whenever I ate exotic food in Vancouver I thought about Kim-chi; eating greasy food without Kim-chi was incomplete. (But the variety of food I got used to in Vancouver gradually transformed my taste; as well, my digestion appeared to have lost its adaptability to Korean-style spicy food My changed taste for Korean food represented one piece of the process of cultural osmosis. I did not 8 want to be totaCCy disconnected from the Korean cuCture. Yet I allowed another culture into my 6ody and I had Been gradually transformed unconsciously. JL funny experience occurred a few days after my arrival. I went shopping with my mom at Costco. We were at the cashier's counter to pay when my mom realized she forgot to get some detergent. She went backjwhile I waited for her in the line. She did not come back^ when it was our turn to pay, so I told the person behind me to go ahead and pay. "He just passed by me without even saying, "Thankjou." When I complained to my mom about it she burst into laughter. I could read what her laughter meant. She acknowledged how much I had become westernized. I knew I would not have reacted sensitively had it happened before I went to Canada where "Thankjou" was used all the time. I did not see things the way they used to be anymore. That gave me a weird feeling: to be different in my own country. Interestingly, when I first came to Canada a "Korean Canadian friend often pointed out my lack\of saying "Thanks. "Since then I have consciously tried to say that word. Korean culture is less expressive so that we do not use the word "Thanks" or "(Please" habitually. Tor example, if somebody holds a door for me, instead of saying, "Thanks," I will give that person a smile in return. We are told that some tourists, especially westerners, complain that Koreans do not smile and that we are rude. Koreans have a different way of expressing politeness, gratitude, and respect. We thought that westerners often use those words habitually without really meaning them. We do not use these words until we really feel a deep sense of gratitude that comes from the heart. Trom my experiences of both cultures, I can understand both sides. I do not want to judge these cultural differences in a dichotomous way. 9A.y experience with living in a foreign country has developed my own cultural sensitivity. 9 My story is about the difficulties, uncertainties, and complexities that I have gone through in very confused andfrustrating ways 6y living in-between cultures. (Being pushed and pulled in-between cultures, I have modified my multi-layered selves. These multi-selves are not merely whimsical, but rather are constantly conjugated and reconfigured in new relationships. My becoming is alt about tracing in-between lines of multiple selves. I am constantly reaching out to an unknown world. (Becoming is not being something. It is the active and bustling moments beyond my own limits. My cross-cultural experience let me continue to move, change, renew, and grow. I learn how to play with the fluid interplay of the known self and the unknown self It has taken a long time to understand and accept a different culture, a different language, different people, different ways of knowing, different ways of thinking, or different ways of teaching and learning. Through this journey, as the Earth constantly rotates without any instant stop, I keep moving inside and outside myself Stepping backward, forward, backward, forward.... Through my performance in-between cultures, I come to see the world through different eyes. Navigating this dissertation Each of the following chapters, except for Chapters 2 and 7, portrays the generative and transformative process of identity construction of six young Korean Canadians. Talking with them, I acknowledged the inner struggles and the generative growth they have experienced in creating their own cultural identity. Although the young Korean Canadians considered themselves to be Canadian in their childhood and adolescence, they increasingly adopted both cultural aspects within their evolving cultural identity. When they shared stories about these kinds of changes, I sensed the different ways they had taken while living out common historical experiences in Canada. Each of them devoted different levels of energy in dealing with similar issues. I encouraged each of them to address particular issues 10 that were personally significant to their life experiences as Korean Canadians. In writing their stories, I carefully attempted to capture the trajectory of shifts in their identity construction. The first chapter is an introduction to my dissertation. In this section, I discussed the triggers to this study and its purpose. In the autobiographical section, I described where I am coming from, where I am situated in this study, and the new questions emerging in the process. In Chapter 2,1 introduce the seminal theoretical considerations and the different perspectives that have informed and guided this study. These insightful ideas helped me to explore identity as basically being constituted, performed, and transformed rather than being fixed and pre-given. Then I discuss narrative inquiry, the methodology used for collecting, analyzing and interpreting the data. The latter part of the chapter is a description of the conduct of this study and the process of analyzing, interpreting, and writing the stories shared by the young Korean Canadians. Lastly, I present the conflicting dilemmas around the issues of reliability and validity when using a narrative approach. The different stories of the young Korean Canadians are contained in four succeeding chapters. In Chapter 3,1 examine the story of one recent young immigrant, Brian who went through the most difficult process of adjustment among the participants of this study. His story vividly describes the painful experiences of alienation and segregation caused by language and cultural barriers. Brian exclusively socialized with Korean students, feeling apathetic toward learning English and Canadian culture. His story is an illustration of a misfit with Canadian schooling that drove him to disengagement from school, involvement with drugs, and illicit behaviors. This chapter shows how those troubled past experiences 11 are re-interpreted in the present in his attempts to cultivate a multicultural identity.2 Chapter 4 is a narrative about two young Korean Canadian girls, Teresa and Jenny, who immigrated to Canada at the same age. Although they have taken different paths in adapting to Canadian culture, their stories reveal the process of creating and re-creating their identity as they struggle to maintain certain aspects of Korean culture and eventually accept certain Canadian cultural practices. In this chapter, I expose the identity shifts of Teresa and Jenny: from "acting and being white Canadian" to "being appreciative of the Korean culture," and from "a strong attachment to Korean culture" to "an affirmation of life experience in Canada." As I compare the similarities and differences between their stories, I represent their acquisition of a strong bicultural or multicultural orientation and identity. Chapter 5 tells about another story of identity construction. David seems to have adapted to the new cultural context comparatively well, having come to Canada at an early age. His story represents how he re-imagined, re-interpreted, and re-invented a Korean culture as a lived, remembered, and imagined community. In particular, his story is a disclosure of how his cultural identity has been shaped and reshaped through cross-cultural experiences. He described his identity as a hodgepodge of Korean, Canadian, and other cultural influences. His story reminded me of my own experiences in Canada, which gave me some inspiration to rethink about the issues of culture and identity. David's narrative is intertwined with my stories, reflections, and theoretical insights. My continuously running commentaries are woven together with his story. In chapter 6,1 explore the stories of Anthony and Lily. These two second-generation Korean Canadians went through severe inner conflicts between the doubling pressures of 1 The term multicultural identity is employed to refer to an identity constructed by crossing cultural boundaries. It neither refers to a juxtaposition of different cultural elements nor a synthesis of different cultural fragments into a symphonic unity. Rather it indicates a textured identity always in flux, an identity of multiple possibilities in a shifting web of differences. Unlike the notion of multicultural identities grounded in the metaphysics of presence that any identity is preexistent presence, this term emphasizes an emerging form of identity which is neither the identity of the dominant culture nor the identity of ethnic heritage, but one that grows in the middle. 12 r1 "Canadianization" and "ethnicization." In their early adolescence, assimilation of the Canadian culture was considered the most significant key in adapting to the host country, since their Korean cultural background was, for the most part, disregarded. In a new country, home culture did not matter. Anthony and Lily acted like other white peers and tried to hide their Korean identity. But a shift in their thinking and behavior was very noticeable as they grew older and learned to accept physical and cultural differences. Their stories demonstrate the painful, unsettling, complex, and distressing ambiguity in identity construction. I use two columns to tell Anthony's and Lily's stories. My reflections, questions, comments, and interpretations that emerged while listening to their stories are juxtaposed on the right column with their stories on the left column. This narrative form allows me to create a complex polyphonic text which derives the meanings of their stories from the resonance of different perspectives and ideas entwined by these two young Korean Canadians and myself. The final chapter is an analysis and further discussion of how the cultural identity of the young Korean Canadians has formed and transformed over time. From the different experiences of the young Korean Canadians who participated in my study, I situate the identity formative process within three stages: disruption and rupture between cultures, border-crossing and re-configuring cultural boundaries, and re-constructing their cultural identity as Korean Canadians. Based on the findings of this study, I identify implications for education and suggest ways for developing a curriculum to address the needs of multicultural students in the Canadian school system. 13 CHAPTER 2 THEORETICAL AND METHODOLOGICAL CONSIDERATIONS Extensive studies of cross-cultural experiences have addressed such salient anthropological and sociological concepts such as acculturation, assimilation, adjustment, and marginality. For instance, there have been many psychological studies that focus on psychological dislocation and a sense of loss that cause feelings of inadequacy and frustration in a new culture (Anderson, 1994; Chan & Lam, 1987). As well, some conventional sociological studies emphasize differences concerning attitudes and behaviors between two different cultures and measure the lack of assimilation (Richmond, 1974; Watson, 1977; Khan, 1979; Sandhu, 1999). These studies simply assume that immigrants are alienated and stranded between two cultures and the goal of immigrants is to assimilate to the dominant culture. Such conventional work tends to concentrate on the problematic nature of cross-cultural experiences, but remains seemingly insensitive to the creative possibility of emerging forms of identity. If we simply adhere to the models of assimilation and acculturation grounded in conventional perspectives, we will miss seeing the complex and dynamic processes of identity construction amongst immigrants and generative potentials of cross-cultural experiences. We should therefore shift our questions from "How much do immigrants assimilate?" and "Do the immigrants acculturate? " to "How do immigrants change over time? What is the nature of this change?" and "What emerging identity is created and recreated in the process of crossing cultural boundaries?" Frankly, I am not interested in researching in the paradigm of assimilation and acculturation, for I do not share the presumption that the "job" of immigrants is to assimilate to the new culture. I'm more interested in finding out the transformative processes of young Korean Canadians by cross-cultural living. This study considers cross-cultural living as an emergent learning process. To date, no major empirical study has focused on Korean Canadians. Of the available comprehensive studies dealing with immigrants in North 14 America who experienced cross-cultural living, there are many personal narratives dealing with identity transformation (Hoffman, 1989; O'Hearn, 1998; Minh-ha 1991). Those studies reflect cross-cultural living as opportunities for new learning and growth. Research influenced by these innovative narratives moves its focus away from the perspective of the inevitability of assimilation towards an emerging form of identity through cross-cultural living. In particular, research in a number of ethnic studies which draw on the constructivist view3 stresses the fluid, situational, and dynamic characteristics of identity construction (Isajiw, 1975; Mckay, 1980; Nagel, 1994). Not surprisingly, these studies draw out their fundamental presuppositions from the concepts and vocabularies derived from poststructuralism. Poststructuralist work on identity offers comprehensive theoretical backgrounds and insights to serve as the grounding perspectives for this research. In the section that follows, I will investigate some seminal work on identity construction influenced by poststructuralism which informs the critical revision of the questions surrounding identity. Grounding perspectives The question of identity has been a burning issue in both philosophical and psychological discourses. There are many approaches to the understanding of identity. A tension between essentialist perspectives and non-essentialist perspectives underpins the discussion of identity. An essentialist definition of identity is based on the Cartesian subject cogito ergo sum, "I think therefore I am." The Cartesian idea of subject postulates that the individual subject is constituted by its capacity to think and reason, which leads to the assumption that the self as autonomous, unitary, self-sufficient, and self-transparent. The Cartesian cogito, therefore, makes us believe that identity exists within a clear boundary, to be completely achieved through a deliberate reflection, and to be fully known through self-disclosure and 3 The constructivist view emphasizes the socially constructed aspects of culture and identity, in other words, the ways in which the boundaries of identity and culture are continuously defined, produced, and negotiated through social interactions within groups as well as outside. Research drawn on this perspective has shown the ideas of culture and identity to be situational and changeable (Cohen, 1985; Mckay, 1980; Thai, 1999), and focuses on the construction of boundaries and the production of meaning through social and symbolic mechanisms. 15 self-representation. In other words, Cartesian philosophy takes self-identity as essential, fixed, or unified. In recent years, there has been a conceptual move across a variety of fields from the perspective of identity as fixed, essential, pre-given to one of a contradictory, fragmented, and shifting identification. In particular, the widespread shift to poststructuralist discourse rejects the essentialist notion of identity as a fixed, unitary, and authentic core that remains hidden to one's consciousness, but ready for disclosure upon cogito. The poststructural work provides an underpinning for anti-essentialism which looks at identity as a contingent and provisional construction. Emphasis is placed on the process of identity construction which is spun and interwoven through and by multiple layers. My approaches to looking at cultural identity are influenced by the poststructuralist theories, in particular, those of Trinh T. Minh-ha, Homi Bhabha, and Stuart Hall whose theoretical backgrounds adhere to poststructuralism and psychoanalysis. They turn attention from the being orientation towards becoming orientation; in other words they take notice of the enunciative space of inscribing or writing identity. They see identity, not as mirrored in what already exists within the self, but as constructed in a regime of representation through which identity is invented, inscribed, and enunciated in certain kinds of forms. Their focus is on the constitutive and formative role of symbolic systems through which identity is constructed. Identity is no longer viewed as static, coherent, unified, cohesive, and unchanging; instead, it is invented, constructed, and articulated through symbolic systems. Trinh T. Minh-ha (1989a, 1989b, 1991), a Vietnamese writer and filmmaker, inspires me to think of identity as destabilized and multiplied. She dismantles a binary way of thinking where the self is stabilized by being paired with its binary opposite other. In view of binary thinking, being a self requires a boundary between the self and the other. " A " must be " A " and " A " must not be " B . " " A " maintains a boundary by casting itself as not " B . " But Minh-ha rethinks this interlocking question of identity and difference in a new way beyond a binary opposition. According to her, difference constantly arises not only between outsider 16 and insider as two entities, but also within the outsider or the insider as a single entity. It is in Minh-ha's work that I ground my perspective that identity is not given as a stable totality but as constantly multiplied and hybridized in multiple layers with which differences constantly arise. Her idea challenges me to see how the cultural identity of the young Korean Canadians is multiplied and hybridized by a constant play of difference and identity. My perspective is also grounded in the theory of Homi Bhabha (1990, 1994). Bhabha acknowledges that identity is always split and ambivalent between "which one is" and "which is the other." He pays his attention to the fundamental ambivalence and oscillation within identity construction which uncovers the myth of supposedly homogeneous, innate, and continuous identity. Bhabha is interested in exploring the incommensurability of cultural differences and its constant negotiations. I have learned from his influential work how cross-cultural translation engages the young Korean Canadians in creating an emerging identity through negotiations between incommensurable cultural differences and the ambivalent process of identification. I bring in Stuart Hall (1987, 1990, 1991, 1992) who thinks about the question of identity as something that is open to the constant play of meaning. Drawing on Jacques Derrida's notion of difference4, Hall acknowledges that identity is differently positioned at different times and in different places. He reformulates identity in terms of 'positionality' rather than 'essential core,' which invites me to look at identity as positioned differently according to the contingencies of situations. It is through this insightful recognition of identity that I perceive cultural identity of young Korean Canadians as composed of multiple positions where different identities constantly move through different meanings without any guarantee of authenticity. Moreover, his insightful understanding of identity as located in-between 'being' and 'becoming' incites me to turn my focus to what the young Korean 4 Christopher Norris (1982) explains the Derridian notion of differance as something that "remains suspended between the two French verbs 'to differ' and 'to defer,' both of which contribute to its textual force but neither of which can fully capture its meaning. Language depends on difference, as Saussure showed... the structure of distinctive propositions which make up its basic economy. Where Derrida breaks new ground... is in the extent to which 'differ' shades into 'defer'... the idea that meaning is always deferred, perhaps to this point of an endless supplementary, by the play of signification. " (p. 32) 17 Canadians are 'becoming' rather than something that is supposed to be within themselves. When young Korean Canadians think about their cultural identity; they recognize they come from Korea, they are Koreans, they speak Korean, they are Asians, and simultaneously they realize that they are Canadians and they speak English. Their identity as Korean Canadians represents and embraces all these positions. They do not want to exclude any one of them. These poststructuralists, such as Minh-ha, Bhabha, and Hall, displace the unitary identity and put forward a new perspective that identity is constituted, performed, hybridized, and enunciated through a set of multiple and contradictory positions. But they do not adequately explain how we experience continuity with multiple identities which are seemingly contradictory and conflicting. The notion of a narrative coherence enables me to understand how multiplied, fragmented and contradictory identities are embraced and incorporated in creating an emerging identity rather than pulling the self apart. More specifically, the narrative construction of identity invites me to explore how the emergent cultural identity of the young Korean Canadians in this study has been transformed over time rather than searching for a ready-made Korean identity within themselves or an assimilated Canadian identity. Hybrid and multiple forms Trapped in the paradigm of the essentialism of identity, many previous studies have overlooked an infinite interplay of differences in identity and obscured the new forms of hybrid identity with multiplicity. However, the shifting perspectives make it possible to validate complexity and multiplicity in identity construction, a process which constantly produces identity itself anew. According to Minh-ha (1989a), a dividing line between outside and inside always gets melted down because it is situational and positional rather than essential. Its blurred boundary always leads to constant transient and shifting positions, and thus there is no homogeneous insider or outsider. In other words, identity is constantly hybridized and multiplied through intermediate positions that do not fall within an existing 18 category. "There is no real [identity] to return to ... there are instead diverse recognitions of [identity] through difference" (Minh-ha, 1991, p. 73). Attentive to multiple subject positions, Minh-ha (1989b) posits and rewrites "I" as composed of "infinite layers," partially approachable through typographical conventions as I, i , or I/i. She remarks: A critical difference from myself means that I am not i, am within and without i. I/i can be I or i, you and me both involved. We (with capital W) sometimes include(s), other times exclude(s) me. You and I are close, we intertwine; you may stand on the other side of the hill once in a while, but you may also be me, while remaining what you are and what I am not. ... Not One, not two either. "I" is, therefore, not a unified subject, a fixed identity, or that solid mass covered with layers of superficialities one has gradually to peel off before one can see its true face. "I" is, itself, infinite layers. ... Whether I accept it or not, the natures of I, i, you, s/he, We, we, they, and wo/man constantly overlap. They all display a necessary ambivalence, for the line dividing I and Not-I, us and them, or him and her is not (cannot) always (be) as clear as we would like it to be. Despite our desperate, eternal attempt to separate, contain, and mend, categories always leak. (pp. 90-94) The construction of identity is a journey into the multi-layers of different selves. Identity is constantly articulated and re-articulated through inward and outward movements. There is no final and perfect closure except for a tangible closure. Each closure is an opening onto another that generates another start. A contingent closure should be perceived as an impetus to letting identity move rather than to sealing it off. Therefore, identity is taken not as an end point but a point of re-departure. Minh-ha expresses it very eloquently in the following quote: ... a way of re-departure, the return to different pauses, different arrivals because it is always doubled, tripled, multiplied across time (generations) and space (cultures) when differences keep on blooming within despite the rejections from 19 without every place [we] went / they pushed [us] to the other side / and that other side pushed [us] to the other side / of the other side of the other side /Kept in the shadows of other, (cited in Minh-ha, 1991, p. 14) Minh-ha's profound insight acknowledges that identity is constantly multiplied and hybridized through the fluid negotiations of differences as well as the interconnections of partial and fragmented differences. The multiplicity of identity does not necessarily add up to a totality; rather it is more than a simple mixture of several different identities. The generative and creative sources of hybridity and multiplicity of identity is not in a simple combination, accumulation, fusion, or synthesis of various compositions, but in an ongoing process in which other elements encounter and transform each other. Salman Rushdie strongly invokes a creative and positive power of hybridity: Standing at the center of the novel is a group of characters most of whom are British Muslims, or not particularly religious persons of Muslim background, struggling with sort of great problems that have arisen to surround the book, problems of hybridization and ghettoization, of reconciling the old and the new. Those who oppose the novel most vociferously today are of the opinion that intermingling with different cultures will inevitably weaken and ruin their own. I am of the opposite opinion. The Satanic Verses [his novel] celebrates hybridity, impurity, intermingling, the transformation that comes of new and unexpected combinations of human beings, culture, ideas, politics, movies, and songs. It rejoices in mongrelization and fears the absolutism of the Pure. Melange, hotchpotch, a bit of this and a bit of that is how newness enters the world. It is the great possibility that mass migration gives the world, and I have tried to embrace it. The Satanic Verses is for change-by-fusion, change-by-conjoining. It is a love-song to our mongrel selves. (1991, p. 394, cited in Hall, 1992, p. 311) Rushdie demonstrates how cross-cultural living constantly produces the emerging form of identity beyond cultural purity and absolutism. The exposure to other cultures disrupts the previous models of being and provokes new ways of becoming. The space of hybrid 20 identity is what Minh-ha (1989b) calls an undetermined threshold of the "not quite the same, not quite the other" (p.74). The identity of culturally displaced people is inevitably hybridized through a dialectical relationship between different cultures. A constant cultural translation: A third space A famous postcolonial scholar, Homi Bhabha, turns our attention away from the idea of pre-given identity towards an ambivalent identification. What he wants to emphasize by identification drawn from psychoanalysis is a process of identifying with and through the other at which identity is constructed through splitting between that which one is and that which the other is. Otherwise put, identity is constructed by ambivalent doubling where the shadow of the other always falls upon the self since the very question of identification entails the process of differentiating the otherness and difference. It is by the traces of differences that identity is visible and recognizable. From within this perspective, Bhabha suggests that cultural identity is constructed and articulated by and through an act of translation between different cultures. According to him, cultural difference does not simply represent oppositional or antagonistic cultural values. Cultural difference always opens to cultural translation that entails the negotiations of discursive elements which are incommensurable without properly fitting in. The act of translation brings up discontinuity and disruption between different cultures whereby identity is to be continuously mobilized in an in-between space in which each cultural meaning continuously flows through each other, sets the original in motion, and a new meaning comes into being. Bhabha (1990) provides a succinct interpretation of cultural translation: By translation Ifirst of all mean a process by which, in order to objectify cultural meaning, there always has to be a process of alienation and of secondariness in relation to itself. In that sense there is no 'in itself and for itself within cultures because they are always subject to intrinsic forms of translation. ... Translation is 21 also a way of imitating, but in a mischievous, displacing sense — imitating an original in such a way that the priority of the original is not reinforced but by the very fact that it can be simulated, copied, transferred, transformed, made into a simulacrum and so on: the 'original' is never finished or complete in itself The 'originary' is always open to translation so that it can never be said to have a totalized prior moment of being or meaning — an essence, (p. 210, original emphasis) Translation is not returning to the 'original' but going beyond it. It is concerned with 'transformed' rather than the 'original' as an ongoing renewal process. Cultural translation can never be simply an act of integrating different cultures, neither simply tracing two original meanings from which a new meaning emerges, nor harmoniously adding together different cultural contents or contexts. This is an intercultural dynamics in which cultural differences continually oscillate through two interconnecting parties. Without being merely determined, the act of cultural translation brings another meaning into being through a mutual voyage across cultural boundaries. Bhabha calls this productive space a 'third space,' a site of constant interactions leading to mutual transformations. A third space renews and re-configures the previous identity beyond an antagonistic binary system through a dynamic tension between cultural differences where a particular identity is constantly interrupted and innovated. From an interstitial passage between cultures arises the complex combination of resistance and negotiation where cultural differences are no longer imposed on a hierarchical model. It implies that cultural identity neither presupposes the original nor does it impose a fixed meaning. Identity construction through cultural differences is an act of "adding to" rather than "adding up." Bhabha states, "we must always keep open a supplementary space for the articulation of cultural knowledge that are adjacent and adjunct but not necessarily accumulative" (p. 163). It is from this creative third space that the emerging form of identity is constructed in ambiguous assimilation and partial belonging. Applying this notion to young Korean Canadians, their identity construction means neither the addition of 22 Canadian culture on a prior Korean culture nor the simple declaration of the two constitutive parts. Rather, the identity of young Korean Canadians emerges through the conjunction and juxtaposition of both cultures. When young Korean Canadians pick up some cultural forms, whether the dominant Canadian culture or Korean culture, they significantly transform its meaning in the process of cultural translation. Taken together, cultural translation is neither a negative result of a partial definition nor a positive synthesis of opposites. It enables identity to be reinterpreted, rearticulated, and reconstructed across cultural boundaries, which leads to an eternal parody of becoming. Cultural translation is not mimetic or mimicked but transformative and interrogative as a site of navigating cultural differences. Rather than simply a domain of sharing and commonality, it is a site of contestation of differences, and simultaneously an enriching ground of an emerging form of identity. Cultural identity within a pendulum of "being" and "becoming" Stuart Hall (1990) considers identity as basically being constituted, invented, and transformed. He reformulates the concept of identity in two different ways. First, he defines cultural identity in terms of "one, shared culture, a sort of collective one true [identity]." Cultural identity is proclaimed by reference to authenticity and purity by reclaiming the past. Hall states that: ... cultural identities reflect the common historical experiences and shared cultural codes which provide [them], as 'one people,' with stable, unchanging and continuous frames of reference and meaning, beneath the shifting divisions and vicissitudes of [their] actual history. This 'oneness,' underlying all the other, more superficial differences, is the truth, the essence, of [people's] experience, (p. 223) This closed concept of identity aims to unify people into one cultural identity and to represent all of them as belonging to the same group by imposing the pre-given identity. It 23 is an act of imaginative (re)discovery of the past which refers to what Said calls "imaginative geography and history, " which "helps the mind to intensify its own sense of itself by dramatizing the difference between what is close to it and what is far away" (Said, 1985, p. 55, cited in Hall, 1990, p.232). Benedict Anderson (1983) uses the term "imagined community" to describe national identity in this sense. He argues that since it would be impossible to know all those who share the national identity, people just imagine a shared idea of what it constitutes. The differences between national identities, therefore, lie in different ways in which they are imagined. This idea of imagined community is what Hobsbawn and Ranger (1983) refer to "the invented tradition which [means] a set of practices ... of a ritual or symbolic nature which seeks to inculcate certain values and norms of behaviors by repetition which automatically implies continuity with a suitable historical past" (p.l). From within these perspectives, the certainty of the past and shared identity is nothing more than part of an imagined and invented community. Hall does not deny that identity is constructed out of the past. What he wants to point out is that in the process of (re)telling the past, identity is recreated and reconstructed, not recouping the already-made entity from the past. He goes on to say that "we bear the traces of a past, the connections of the past. ... but it is never a return of direct and literal kind" (1991, p. 58). Hall reminds us that the original identity is not the simple 'recovery' of the past because the past is not waiting for us back there to recoup original identity; rather the past is always retold, rediscovered, reinvented through narrative. Therefore, it is impossible to assume identity as unchanging and emanating from a unique origination that has to be traced back. Furthermore, acknowledging ruptures and discontinuities in what constitutes the 'uniqueness' and 'oneness,' Hall notices the critical differences between "what we really are" and "what we have become." Such recognition stimulates a more open concept of identity defined as "a matter of 'becoming' as well as 'being.'" He shares his understanding of the less closed sense of cultural identity: 24 Cultural identity ... is a matter of 'becoming' as well as of 'being.' It belongs to the future as much as to the past. It is not something which already exists, transcending place, time, history, and culture. ... But, like everything which is historical, they undergo constant transformation. Far from being eternally fixed in some essentialised past, they are subject to the continuous 'play' of history, culture and power. Far from being grounded in a mere 'recovery' of the past, which is waiting to be found, and which, when found, will secure our sense of ourselves into eternity, identities are the names we give to the different ways we are positioned by, and position ourselves within, the narratives of the past. (p. 225) Capturing this open sense of identity, Hall highlights that identity is always within representation and inscription in and through difference. Identity is not a thing that we are born with; rather it is formed and transformed within and in relation to representation. He succinctly explains the impossibility of identity in its fully unified meaning based on Derrida's notion of differance. Derrida's notion of differance means that one signifier still retains one meaning while it is encapsulating another with endless sliding. Nothing can fully capture a signifier's meaning as meaning depends on a contingent and arbitrary closure. The traces of other meanings set the word in motion and generate new meanings. The infinite postponement of the final meaning puts identity in an unfinished process, not fully unified. In this sense, what we call identity is no more than an unfinished, contingent, and arbitrary closure. There always happen internal interstices ad ruptures which lead to multiple identities, not of one (Hall, 1987). From within this perspective, Hall recognize that identity is not something that already pre-exists out there; rather it is open, multifaceted, is always under construction, and stretches across a variety of positions. Identity is seen as "not an essence but a positioning" (1990, p. 226). Identity is constructed and reconstructed in a complex manner depending on how we position ourselves. Identity is seen as something constantly positioned and repositioned through an ongoing interplay of representational regimes such as history, culture, and power (Hall, 1990). 25 Taken together, cultural identity is grounded in an attempt to search for a shared root, to recover the lost histories imagined to have existed before, and to make a connection of the present with the broken past. The idea of a unique origin and a unified identity is nothing more than an imaginary and fantasized search for some certainties because any idea of a literal return to a true and unchanged origin can be hardly sustained. The case of Korean Canadians is an example. The original 'Korean culture' no longer exists out there; it cannot be merely recovered in any simple sense. What remains has already been transformed but never in its original form since any rediscovery opens to a reformulation. The idea of 'Korean culture' is no more than an 'imaginary community.' Korean Canadians only know what it is to be a 'Korean' or 'Canadian' through the way 'Korean-ness' or 'Canadian-ness' is represented as a set of meanings. Narrative construction Studies informed by poststructuralism see identity as complex, situational, fragmented, nonunitary, nonlinear, noncoherent, and constantly in flux. I agree with these poststructuralist ideas of nonlinear and incoherent identity to a certain degree. However, the following questions arise for me: • How can fragmented identities be involved in new forms of identity? • Is there any stability at all? • How do we weave together different positions into the provisional construction of identity? What attracts me to the narrative view of identity is that it enables me to think about identity beyond a dichotomy between the essentialist and the poststructuralist perspectives. Jane Flax (1990) discloses a dialectic tension between the self as rational and self-contained and the self as fragmented and unintegrated. Drawing on her psychotherapy orientation, she recognizes that her patients make efforts to establish self-cohesion, however tenuous, contingent, and partial the process might be. She comments, "Those who celebrate or call 26 for a decentered self seem self-deceptively naive and unaware of the basic cohesion within themselves that makes the fragmentation of experiences something other than a terrifying slide into psychosis" (Flax, 1990, p. 218). According to her, identity is neither something definitely given nor infinitely inaccessible or irrevocable. She expresses it more vividly in the following quote: The task of therapy cannot be the discovery (or construction) of a solid, unitary, pristine, and undistorted self lying somewhere down deep inside. If this is our definition, patients are bound to be disappointed and feel inadequate and defeated. Subjectivity is not an illusion, but the subject is a shifting and always changing intersection of complex, contradictory, and unfinished processes. ... Experience is constantly reworked in conscious and unconscious ways as our cognitive and linguistic skills and intra-inter-subjective worlds and purposes change. Meanings of our experience are partially determined by the questions we and others pose. They are also shaped by the interventions and efforts of outer social structures and bodily changes that occur while we are reconstructing our narratives.. (pp. 107-108) Identity is a narrative construction which is narrativized by diverse aspects and influences. Narrative as a vehicle of identity construction is noteworthy in significant ways. Narrative configuration provides the sense of a self-produced continuity for discontinuous experiences. Although we think we have a unified identity, it is nothing more than a 'narrativized' construction about the self, a contingent closure of identity, not identity as substance. It is through narrative configuration that we attain a contingent closure of identity assumed as a unified and coherent identity. If narrative coherence is an imaginarily and provisionarily coherent structure, not a comprehensive viewpoint or an integrated conclusion, then identity may be seen as a partial, contextual, and relative construction constantly shifting. There may never be comprehensive or integrated identity as fixed and unchanging. Different understandings and interpretations are always possible and required when further experiences are incorporated 27 into identity construction. The notion of identity as a narrative construction invites us to understand how conflicting multiple identities from diverse influences are simultaneously inhabited and negotiated without sustaining any single pure or authentic closed identity. The narrative approach also serves to understand identity in "temporal and spatial relationships," not in a singular isolated phenomenon. Narrative is the "constellations of relationships embedded in time and place, constructed by emplotment," a process that shapes the sequences of disconnected events into a unified story with a theme (Somer & Gibson, 1994, p. 62). Somer and Gibson argue that the narrative understanding of identity perceives its construction in the internal and external relations of time and place and power that are constantly in flux. Somer and Gibson give a clear description of narrative identity: Narrative identities are constituted by a person s temporally and spatially variable "place " in culturally constructed stories comprised of (breakable) rules, (variable) practices, binding (and unbinding) institutions, and the multiple plots of family, nation, or economic life. Most important, however, narratives are not incorporated into the self in any direct way; rather they are mediated through the enormous spectrum of social and political relations that constitute our social world. People's experiences ...were inextricably interconnected with the larger matrix of relations that shaped their lives well as the particular stories ... used to account for the events happening to them. (p. 67, parentheses in the original) Narrative configuration brings together the factors of time, space, and relationality, each of which is excluded from categorical or essentialist approaches. Whereas essentialism looks at identity as internally stable, the narrative approach embeds identity within relationships which shift over time and space. Viewing identity as a narrative construction helps to see the temporal and developmental dimension of identity construction. 28 Using narrative inquiry in this dissertation In this study, I used a qualitative methodology of narrative inquiry. The narrative is deemed the best approach to do this study for several reasons. First, unlike the conventional perspectives that abstract human experiences into general categories, this approach understands a particular experience in the dynamics of other experiences over time beyond the myth of totality. Also this approach underscores how we re-construct and re-interpret the past experience in reconciliation with the present perspective. In this sense, narrative inquiry enabled me to uncover unspoken and unrecognized experiences associated with the cross-cultural transition process of young Korean Canadians, to understand the meaning of those experiences, and see identity construction as a temporally and relationally multi-layered process. Another important reason for using narrative inquiry is its support for an intimate relationship between the inquirer and the inquired. Narrative inquiry engages the inquirer and inquired collaboratively together to interweave the meaning and significance of experiences. This approach takes embodiment and emotionality as legitimate and significant ways of understanding human experiences (Ellis & Bochner, 2000). Ellis (1995) manifests the ethical, empathic, and sympathetic aspects of storytelling: In [telling] my stories ... what I have hopedfor is insight, companionship, and comfort during my grief. ... The process of [telling the stories]... has provided that. ...I hope you ... would identify with my plight and gain a heightened emotional sense of what it felt like to live this experience. ...In return, I have wanted to offer comfort and companionship when your time for personal tragedy comes. ... and provide a point of comparison for your life and story, (pp. 334-335, cited in Bochner, 2001, p. 149) A sympathetic engagement and emotional sharing makes it possible that both experiences of the inquired and the inquirer are situated and lived out together on a storied landscape. 29 Indeed, in the study process, the dialogical relationship between the young Korean Canadians and myself provoked and evoked our enthusiastic engagement. The narrative approach let me tune in to the particular stories of the young Korean Canadians and constantly directed me to identify, empathize, and resonate with their experiences resonating with their stories. Understanding narrative inquiry What is behind my deep attraction to narrative inquiry? What is narrative inquiry? Where am I situated in my study? Who am I in the narrative text I create? How can I responsibly and enthusiastically engage and interact with the lived and storied experiences of human beings without undermining and exploiting them? With these questions in mind, I will explore an understanding of the narrative approach informed by my readings in what follows. Narrative is a historical understanding of the self Narrative is a primary way through which human experience is organized into temporally meaningful episodes (Polkinghorne, 1988, p. 1). The narrative approach understands human experience not in a mere temporal sequence but in a complex structure of temporal configuration in which the past, present, and future are intertwined and interrelated to create meaning. In other words, human experiences are understood in a continuum where the past, present, and future are seen as living parts of the total constellation of time zones, not in a linear time line. In telling a story, the past reverberates in the present and the present retrospectively illuminates new meanings of the past experience. Without a recollection of the past, it is impossible to understand the present or move towards the future. Recollecting the past is always directed towards the future because we appropriate the past in terms of our interest and concern for the future. We can no more conceive of the 30 expected future without the recollected past than we can understand the present experience. Understanding the present experience and constructing the meaning is forged out of the retention of the past and the protention of the future. An act of telling a story consists of taking together the past, present and future horizons which human consciousness spans. When we tell a story, it is fairly obvious that we understand the experience in both a retrospective and prospective mode. Narrative understanding of human experiences moves through the flashing backwards and forwards of time. Crites (1986) makes this point clear: To become a self is to appropriate the past, and that takes digging. ... I cannot begin afresh by forgetting my past, but by recollecting it. ... this archaeological project of recollection and avowal is necessarily directed to the future ... With respect to the past the artful act is to reshape what has been. With respect to the future there is the possibility, nourished precisely by possibility, of running toward the open arms of the widest horizon, which dissolves all things and makes all things new, including the self. The present that answers to the indeterminacy of the future is hope. Hope is precisely that openness of the present toward the boundless horizon of possibility, (pp. 164-166) The act of narration is inextricably tied to the process of historical understanding the self by integrating the recollection of the past, the projection of the present, and the anticipation of the future. It is through this dialectical movement of time that we arrive at a profound and enriching understanding of human being. Narrative is a repetitive performance of living, telling, retelling, and reliving In a realistic perspective on narrative, stories are turned into analyzable documents about which scientific truth can be said. Conventional social scientists have overwhelmingly narrowed down the idea of narrative to the representation of social and historical knowledge or the inert transmission of the dead past. Yet, recent alternative perspectives reject this idea of narrative as a mirror of events recorded by disinterested observers. Instead, the potential influence of telling a story is elucidated in its capacity to be 31 continually re-imagined, recounted, and re-invented. A story can be created and recreated differently according to new experiences and perspectives. Some stories that are told, no matter their importance, may become trivial while other stories may emerge from obscurity into central importance. In other words, the meaning and significance of stories are incomplete, tentative, and revisable; they depend on the contingencies of life circumstances from which they are narrated. A different telling makes it possible to bring further untold stories, and thus a story constantly grows into another story with added aspects of experience. Storytelling is not an imitative but a creative act. The construction of narrative engages us in a dialectical and spiral movement among living a storied life, telling it, retelling it, and reliving it. Clandinin and Connelly's (2000) comment confirms this: [An] important task in narrative is the retelling of stories that allow for growth and change. We imagine, therefore, that in the construction of narratives of experience, there is a reflective relationship between living a life story, telling a life story, retelling a life story, and reliving a life story, (p. 418) Telling a story provokes and entices us to invigorate, illuminate, relive, and retell the unrecognized experience. When we engage in a story we are taken to relive the experience, reconfigure the meaning, and enlarge our understanding. In this sense, narrative inquiry allows different meanings to emerge through constant living, telling, retelling, and reliving, and therein adds to a new understanding of the experience. Narrative gives fragmentary experiences a tentative coherence. Freeman (1997) argues that the narrative approach is fundamentally interpretive and hermeneutic. This approach involves two distinct dimensions that Ricoeur (1980) refers to as the episodic — the diverse events that happened in the past and configurational — the 32 constitutive process of putting those events scattered across and through time together in making a story and constellating meaning. Human experience at the moment of happening is lived as disorderly, discontinuous, and chaotic. It does not match a congruent story carefully crafted. The sense of coherence is not simply given at the moment of living nor is it simply "out there" waiting to be recognized by a disinterested observer. In other words, narrative coherence is not the imposition of a ready-made plot structure on an independent set of events but it is derived from the act of telling a story. In this sense, narrative coherence, as a contingent construction, can be revised and recreated when new understandings and interpretations emerge. It is the narrative configuration that gives coherence to fragmentary experience that is inexplicable, chaotic, and even in turmoil in the flux of everyday experiences. Narrative configuration takes place through the process of emplotment (Ricoeur, 1984). Narrative brings concordance to the discordance of experience by the invention of a plot. The plot translates events that seem otherwise unrelated into intelligible episodes and connects them to a whole story that did not have prior existence. It is by making a plot that a tentative coherence is given to what is essentially formless and meaningless at the moment of experience. Emplotment makes it possible for incoherent experiences to be reorganized and incorporated into a coherent story as if the experiences originally possessed order and coherence. Narrative is a collaborative quilt between the inquirer and the inquired Narrative inquiry triggers a radical transformation in the position of the inquirer and the inquired. The inquirer is more than a recorder of stories, or a passive listener. The inquired is neither a mere respondent answering upon request nor an informant simply imparting information. Narrative approach emphasizes a dialogical relationship between the inquirer and the inquired. They actively participate and engage morally, emotionally, aesthetically, and intellectually together in interweaving the meanings of stories as co-participants, co-constructors, and co-creators (Bochner, 2001; Clandinin & Connelly, 2000; Ellis & Bochner, 33 2000). Narrative engages both the inquirer and the inquired together in the storied experiences across each own boundary. A close collaborative interaction between the inquirer and the inquired brings unexpected insights and new interpretations. It is important for both of them to be willing to engage in a dialogue that challenges an already established understanding. Narrative inquiry, as a particular kind of research pursuit, always engages in "understanding something." Understanding is not a private and interior undertaking accomplished through a self-reflective, autonomous, and rational subject. As a practical-moral activity, its significant task is to listen and share what is barely guaranteed by pre-given standard or methodological procedure. When the inquirer and the inquired enter together into a shared matrix of evocative emotion, feeling, and spirituality of each other, they come to understand ambiguous and dynamic human conditions where human life is constantly echoing. This connectedness enables them to reach out to an in-depth and manifold understanding of multi-layered experiences that cannot be understood by scientific or univocal terms. Collecting data To explore ways in which cultural identity is constructed and performed, I have deliberately chosen to work with a diverse group of young Korean Canadians in terms of age, gender, attachment to Korean culture, and the period of immigration to Canada. I also tried to place them on a continuum of Canadian culture and Korean culture to determine how much of the Korean and/or Canadian cultural values and practices were retained, assimilated, or lost. I positioned Brian on the Korean end of the spectrum, Anthony and Lily on the other end, Jenny and Teresa in between, and David in the middle of Anthony and Teresa. Although this categorizing seemed over-simplistic, I attempted to look at a wide range of cultural identity in my analysis. 34 There was something unique in each of these young Korean Canadians that attracted me. Anthony's increasing interest to learn the Korean language and culture was intriguing for me. I wondered what motivated him to reconnect with his Korean roots. With Lily, I wanted to understand her ambivalent positioning where she placed herself in both cultures. I tried to make sense of David's cross-cultural experiences and adjusting processes. I sensed that he seemed to cross cultural boundaries with ease and optimism as compared to other young Korean Canadians in this study. Teresa and Jenny were of the same age when they immigrated to Canada. I wondered about differences and similarities in their identity construction. While Teresa moved her position from the westernized Canadian culture-based assimilation to the recognition of her being Korean, Jenny took on the opposite direction. Brian's pride of being Korean and keeping in touch with Korean contemporary culture on the other side of the globe fascinated me. I was also interested in his dramatic shift from a pan-Korean identity to a multicultural identity. I met Brian, David, Teresa, Jenny, Anthony, and Lily 5 between May and October of 2003.1 advertised my research plan to the local Korean communities in Vancouver, especially through Korean churches and my Korean Canadian friends. And I invited interested persons to contact me. The young Korean Canadians in this study volunteered to join this study with an engaging willingness despite their busy schedules. Being aware of the scarce resources they could rely on when they had confronted struggles, dilemmas, and disturbance in cross-cultural experiences, they were pleased that they could make a contribution to help younger Korean Canadian generations who have gone through similar experiences. With an acknowledgement of sharing their stories as opportunities to provide appropriate parental guidelines for younger generations and to get over the absence of recognition for their unique situation, they were willing to devote themselves to this study as a co-constructor of this narrative inquiry with me. Every two weeks I conducted individual interviews where I listened to their narratives of cross-cultural experiences. Each audio-recorded interview took about one to one and a half 5 All names that follow are pseudonyms to protect their privacy. 35 hours. A l l interviews were done in either Korean or English depending on their preference and bilingual proficiency. In particular, the interview with Brian was completely done in Korean because he was much more proficient in Korean than in English. Also it was more natural for us to converse in Korean being a native speaker of Korean myself. Here is a brief biographical background of each participant. Brian was the person who had gone through the most difficult time in his adjustment. He came to Canada at Grade 11. The language barrier was the major obstacle to his adaptation. He exclusively socialized with Korean students and rarely tried to intermingle with Canadians as compared to the other students in this study. Even after immigration to Canada, he had kept in touch with his Korean friends in Korea and Korean pop culture prevalent among the youth group. Although he lived in Canada physically, he was confined in the Korean culture mentally. His difficulties in adjusting to Canadian schooling drew him to get into illicit behaviors that, in turn, led him to drop out of school. However, at the time of our interview, he was coming to grips with cultivating his multicultural identity. Teresa and Jenny both started their new life in Canada as international students. During their adolescence, Teresa's strong desire for behaving like a white Canadian always provoked struggles and tensions with her parents. She fervently aspired to belong to the western youth culture. On the contrary, Jenny was not ashamed of her being different and felt more connected to Korean cultural values. She spent every vacation in Korea since her parents still lived there. This situation enabled her to develop a strong bond with Korean cultural values. It is interesting that both of them felt very proud of being Korean Canadians despite the differences they experienced with the assimilation process. Demographically, David is a perfect 1.5 Korean Canadian generation. He immigrated when he was in Grade 5. He was in Grade 12 when we met. David seemed the most bilingual and multicultural person of all the participants. Although he indicated his "elementary level" with the Korean language, he seemed to be quite comfortable with Korean culture as well as speaking Korean. His experience of living as an immigrant student brought him an 36 interest in social justice issues, especially racism and bullying. He had been profoundly involved in anti-racism and anti-discrimination movements and other diverse social activities. Anthony was born in Korea and immigrated to Canada in 1975 when he was only three years old. At that time there were very few Koreans living in Canada. He was raised in Toronto and is presently doing his master's degree in Vancouver. He easily assimilated into the Canadian culture partly because he came to Canada at such a young age that he had not fully absorbed the Korean culture. He has never gone back to Korea since one visit at five years old. Although he learned Korean language and culture from his grandmother before elementary school, he had lost most of them as he had grown up. He does not speak Korean well, and he is not knowledgeable about Korean culture right now. Anthony barely developed an attachment to Korean culture through his childhood and adolescent years. Interestingly, as a young adult, he has been feeling more connected to Korean culture and his being Korean is starting to reside inside him. Lily is a second generation Korean Canadian born in Canada. During her childhood, a few Korean people lived in her neighborhood. Unfortunately, she had few opportunities to experience Korean culture and language except with her parents. Her parents were too busy to teach her the Korean culture and language in a meaningful way during her growing up; instead her dad pushed her to speak English all the time. Recently, her dad pressures her to learn Korean but she is not interested in doing that. Even two visits to Korea did not make her feel any connectedness to the Korean culture. She was the most critical of the Korean culture among the participants. The interviews aimed to provide illustrations for understanding, identifying, and analyzing the complex and dynamic processes of identity construction as lived by the young Korean Canadians in the various spheres of childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. I used an unstructured informal interview format with open-ended questions to encourage them to feel comfortable about telling their own stories. Initially, I asked participants to describe 37 their experiences of cross-cultural living. Follow-up questions helped to explore and clarify arising specific issues. My questions focused on the following issues: conflicts, tensions, and difficulties they had encountered living in different cultures, the way of navigating and negotiating cultural differences, the meaning of becoming Korean Canadians in a multicultural society of Canada, and the transformative process of identity construction over time. Although I prepared some specific and broad questions before the interview, the open-ended conversation allowed questions to emerge from the process as opposed to using a more structured set of questions where my intentions were explicit. I invited participants to tell their own stories in their own way in an attempt to establish intimate participatory relationships with them. To motivate the participants to share their stories, I used my own personal experiences of living in a culturally and linguistically different world. Telling my story initiated an engaging dialogue and opened up a space of sharing our own stories together. The conversations were especially lively when we addressed our most difficult problems with cultural and language barriers. When we were mutually engaged in sharing our experiences and struggled to understand what those experiences meant, we laughed and lamented together. Working with the young Korean Canadians, I had tried to practice the significant premise of dialogically and collaboratively embodied narrative inquiry. Keeping this spirit of narrative inquiry in my mind, I attempted to facilitate and enhance an interactive and dialogical narrative inquiry from the beginning of the interview to an interpreting process as much as I could. I did not want my narrative inquiry to rely solely on my own interpretation on their lived experiences. Rather, I invited the participants to be involved in the interpretive process. Each time I finished an account of a participant I sent a copy of the draft for verification and feedback. I asked them to step out of the role of a narrator and step into a new role as an interpreter of the narrative text. This process gave them an opportunity to comment on my interpretations, add something more to their original statement, and elaborate their own understanding. Before addressing how I analyzed the data, I will discuss how I transcribed the interview 38 data. In the first place, I transcribed verbatim everything told at the moment of interview as much as I could, and then I transformed it in a more formal written style in an attempt to preserve their original words. Little attention was given to portray the emotional aspects of conversation such as giggling, laughing, pausing, hesitating, and so on. Transcription was used for a continued dialogue in the next interview as well as for further analysis. Analyzing data and constructing narrative accounts I analyzed and interpreted the interview data using the approach of narrative inquiry. The analysis presented here was based on twenty-six open-ended interviews with six young Korean Canadians living in Vancouver. My analysis of the data focused solely on the content of the stories. Narrative analysis can be categorized into two different ways: textual analysis and discourse analysis. Textual analysis accounts for the temporal ordering of events and their representation in texts. The focus of discourse analysis is on the communicative functions of various features of speech in different social and interactional contexts. Given that narrative is a product of a particular interview situation through interactions between the particular inquirer and inquired at a particular moment, it is essential to be sensitive to how stories are constructed in conversations. Gee (1991) who is interested in how a story is told pays attention to pitch, pauses, and other features that punctuate speech. This approach focuses not only on the content analysis but also on other parts of the discourse such as pauses, breath intakes, non-lexical utterances (mm-hmm, uh-huh, etc), and nonverbal aspects of communication. The analysis of the interview situation and process is absolutely crucial in order to arrive at a more adequate and accurate interpretation. However, this study paid little attention to capture intonation, volume, pace, and other qualities of speech in the interpretive process in which the meaning is produced. This is one limitation of my data analysis. I employed Gee's (1991) framework in creating thematically connected stories with less careful consideration of communicative functions. His framework facilitated sorting the interview data in a thematically related set of units from idea units to lines, stanzas, 39 strophes, and parts. Mishler (1995) explains Gee's notion of thematic analysis: Both prosodic features and interpretation of content in terms of topics and themes are used to parse a stretch of speech into a hierarchically ordered set of units for Idea Units marked by a single intonation contour, to Lines, Stanzas, Strophes, and Parts, each thematically unified at successively higher levels of generality, (p. 106) A development of a story involved the recursive movement from the data to an emerging thematic plot. The emerging plot informed me of the elements that needed to be included in the final storied text from the gathered data. A story evolved through a hermeneutical circle in which parts of the text were understood in relation to the whole and the whole in relation to its parts. When certain strands of meanings emerged, they outlined a preliminary sense of the whole. This sense of the whole helped me refine and reconfigure a story more elaborately. In other words, the creation of a story involved a to and fro movement between the parts and the whole. I also employed Strauss' (1970) "constant comparative method of analysis," a strategy for "making comparisons" and "asking questions" that continually serves as a template for the organization and analysis of data. Such a process of categorization, comparison, inductive analysis, and refinement of data allowed major themes and plot structures to unfold. Through those processes, I developed the story schemas of each participant which organize a wide range of experiences under a rubric of particular themes. These schemas enabled me to acknowledge the whole picture of their experiences, to notice the differences as well as similarities of each person's experience, and identify common patterns in their identity transformation. These story schemas are presented in Table 2-1. 40 Table 2-1. The story schemas E > a v i . d T e r e s a j e i A - i A - u j L a l u j Lanquaqe barrier Initial staqe of Experiences of Adjustment process Livinq in two d ifferent Childhood and - Useless ES L adjustment Canadian school - Anxiety about the worlds: Home and Adolescence class - Supportive - Dissatisfaction with new life outside home - Lack of confidence - Lack of assistance of an E S L class - Home-stay life - Learn Korean at in being Korean educational immigrant teacher - Diff icu lty of being a - Loneliness home and the Korean - Being shameful of program and - Confl icts with fr iend with native - ES L friends language school her physical and intervention f o r Canadian students speakers - Lack of knowledge of - Uselessness of cultural d i fference the new - Lack of English - Limited Canadian social. Korean outside home - Disinterest in immigrant - Unsettling opportunities to cultural, political, and - Priority English over learning the Korean students experiences with practice English historical contexts Korean culture and language - Lack of access invisible racism and - Trying hard to hang - Remind herself of - Limited access to - A sense of being to practice prejudice out with Canadian being Korean Korean culture marginalized and English -Disorientation, fr iends - Doing well in school Inner struqqles in stereotyped Socio-cultural insecurity. - Being actively - Apathetic to identity construction - Strenuous attempt barr ier discomfort, and involved in many Canadian culture - Socio-cultural & of f itting-in - Diff icu l ty in abandonment school activities - Keep in touch with psychological pressure - Critical of Korean making fr iends Korean culture in - Trying to get over the Korean youth to be "Canadianized" culture in a negative - Limited cultural everyday l ife language barrier culture by other new - Lack of confidence way competence - Limited - Strong desire to Korean students in being Korean Conflicts with parents - Less opportunities to look and behave like Social network - No help to deal with - Authoritarian dad participation in experience Korean white Canadians - Socializing Asian his confused -Hierarchical and school activities culture Drawn into Canadian students, especially situations patriarchical family - Balkanized - Be informed of culture Chinese descent - Lack of teachers' structure school Korean culture by - Mystif icat ion of the - More hanging out cultural sensitivity - Lack of environment cousins, relatives, or Canadian l ife style with new Korean - Embarrassment understanding of - Discriminatory Korean novels - More experiencing immigrant and about his d ifferences Korean culture treatment of Confl icts with parents the typical Canadian international students from other Canadians - Overemphasized teachers and - Late returning-home life Racism and -Racist remarks from ideology of studying principles f o r - Slacked o f f study - Dating a Caucasian Discrimination the ignorant white hard Teresa minority students - Spending more time guy -Consciously sensitive - Unfamiliarity in social movements Conflicts with the to visible and invisible with the Canadian and activities parents discrimination toward school system - Differently - Late returning-home non-native speakers and rules expected parental - Parents' prohibition - Racism among Korean - Truancy models of party, drinking. students - Drop-out Livina. in-between camping, sleep-overs. Supportive parents -Adjustment world and dating - Encouraging her to fatigue - Not completely - Loss of Korean experience Canadian Problems with belonging to either culture culture parents cultures - Parents' concern - Very supportive of - Lack of - Being biculturally about her exclusive whatever she wants to communication uprooted involvement in do - Lack of parents' - Awareness of his Canadian youth culture - Constantly reminding understanding of cultural difference Visit to Korea her of Korean cultural his inner - Living up to the - Volunteer work for values and etiquettes struggles and Korean culture as a the World Cup in Visit to Korea tensions secret garden Korea -Reverse culture - Involvement - Fluently but - Reunion with Korean shock with drugs and accented English friends - Experiential gap other illicit Join the PEACE aroup - Re-connected to with Korean friends in behaviors - Raising Korean culture Korea Strona consciousness of - Experiencing diverse - Awareness of her attachment to racism and sub Korean cultures Canadian identity Korean culture discrimination - Looking at Korean - Reconnected to - Exclusively - Establishing intra- culture in a more Korean culture socializing with cultural friendship positive way - Misfit in Korean life Korean students with ethnically and Identity style - Creating "little culturally diverse transformation Identity Korea" inside him groups of people - Demystif ication of transformation - Keep in touch - Cultivating cultural Canadian culture - Realizing Canadian with Korean pop sensitivity and - Taking more pride in identity as part of culture intercultural being Korean herself Canadians - Missing out on something from both cultures -Dissonance and ambivalence towards both cultures Conflicts with parents - Parents' pressure to keep Korean culture - Overly forced parents' opinion - Lack of communication - Experiential gaps - Different expectations - Lack of understanding each other - Overemphasis of study Identity transformation - From embarrassment to confidence in having Korean culture - Re-appropriating the Korean culture - Accepting his cultural difference -More willingness to learn Korean culture -p>. to L i l y - Lack of communication and interaction with parents Life in university - More comfortable with other Asian Canadians - Joining the Korean undergraduate students association - Disconnected from other 1.5 generation Korean students Visit to Korea - Attendance in Korean language school -Limited cultural competencies -Lack of Korean language - Limited opportunities to experience diverse Korean sub culture - Negative impressions of Korean culture Identity transformation - Awareness of her non-white status - Taking Korean "ferial v>avld Teresa j e i ^ y AiA/thoi-U/j L i l y - Disengagement consciousness - More profoundly - Blending in two and language culture and language in Canadian Identity understanding cultures - Saining a deeper as economic capital culture construction of parents' perspectives - Positioning herself in understanding of - Acceptance of being Job experience Korean Canadian - Keeping in touch a multicultural parents' perspectives Korean as part of - Close - Understanding with Korean pop context - Being more herself relationship with linguistic and culture - Being appreciative of comfortable with both - Appropriating both culturally diverse cultural - Re-positioning experiencing both cultures cultures in a positive coworkers difference in a herself as a cultures - Fostering a more way - Wore opportunities positive way "Canadianized Korean" - Nourishing flexible sense of Present issues in livina to practice English - Embracing - Appropriating both intercultural identity as a Korean Canadian and learn Canadian different cultural cultures in her awareness -Embracing bicultural - Glass ceiling culture influences in identity construction -Capability of dealing or multicultural - Interracial marriage Reshape of identity creating own - Saining biculturality with both cultures background issue with parents - Willingness to identity or multiculturality - Creating own - Improving English up cultivate cultural - Recognizing the identity from where to a high class level sensitivity and open- • potential learning he faces - Lack of mindedness experiences of opportunities to -Re-imagining himself cross-cultural experience Korean as a multicultural living culture and speak citizen Korean In analyzing the data, I was aware that not all the stories of the participants followed the traditional narrative structure with a beginning, climax, and ending. In view of Riessman' distinction of narrative genres (1993),6 some parts of the interview data were not about events that really happened but events that they wanted to happen. Also, most data were topic-centered narratives concerning the specific experiences of cross-cultural living. The participants did not tell the story of their lives in temporal order. Neither did they share their experience according to a unitary storyline and clear temporal markers. Because of the frequent shifting back and forth of storyline and time, it was problematic for me to directly extract and construct a narrative out of the interview data composed of disordered, fragmented, and unstructured pieces of experiences. Faced with this problem, I created a story by transposing episodes from the sequences in the telling and reassembling them into chronologically ordered series while looking through the data over and over. This process required the reconstruction of the order of stories from the telling. Simultaneous with the data analysis was a concern for writing formats. I experimented with different discourses for each chapter to convey the dynamics and complexity of their lived experiences. The issues of representation and voice were considered as I struggled with narrative forms that would work for each story. Clandinin and Connelly (2000) use the metaphor of a soup for narrative form: "Like a rich creamy soup filled with different chunks of ingredients, our narrative pots can be composed of different ways of describing and constructing stories" (p. 115). Inspired by this beautiful metaphor, I tried out different pots to construct different narrative texts. The narrative accounts I created in the following chapters will expose myself visibly and invisibly in diverse ways. Looking for alternative formats to create the narratives, I constantly asked how I put myself into the texts rather than silence and suppress my voices. It has been prevalent practice that a research text should be written almost as if there were no personal inquirer, no "I" in the process. Some 6 She categorizes three different narrative genres: "habitual narratives — which describes events that happen over and over and consequently there is no peak in the action, hypothetical narratives — which describes events that did not happen, and topic-centered narratives — which describes the snapshots of past events that are linked thematically." (p. 18) 44 would consider that it is wrong to inject the "I" of a researcher. However, I realized more and more that I could not ignore my presence in the whole process of data collection, analysis, and writing. I was attuned to Krieger who addresses that "when we discuss others, we are always talking about ourselves. Our images of 'them' are images of 'us'" (1991, p. 5, cited in Denzin, 1994, p. 503). Thus I tried to show how I was involved in making the stories and searching for the meaning together with the young Korean Canadians, instead of pretending that I distanced myself out of the whole process of this study. As a narrative inquirer, I attempted to situate myself not so much as an expert who was saying what things meant in terms of "data" but rather as a heartfelt listener who was opening up a sharing space to understand what these young Korean Canadians had undergone through cross-cultural living. My effort was made to bring forth the complexity and dynamism of identity construction that was not available to a totalizing explanation and grand narrative. While being engaged and embedded in the living stories of the young Korean Canadians, I tried to remain with the story with open-eyed wonder rather than to think about the story drawn. This emanates out of Frank's (1995) suggestion: The first lesson of thinking with stories is not to move on once the story has been heard, but to continue to live in the story, becoming in it, reflecting on who one is becoming, and gradually modifying the story. The problem is truly to listen to one's own story, just as the problem is truly to listen to others' stories, (p. 163) I wanted to tell the stories of the young Korean Canadians in a way that would avoid dissolving the lived experience in impersonal concepts and abstract theoretical schemes. Responding to issues surrounding reliability and validity in narrative inquiry The prevailing concepts of reliability and validity rely on realist assumptions that are largely irrelevant to my understanding of narrative studies. Narrative should not be read as 45 an exact record of what happened nor is it a mirror of a reality "out there." Indeed a story does not represent a separate objective reality because storytelling is necessarily selective and incomplete. When we tell our stories we have already selected some events to report and omitted others to project the images of ourselves as a certain kind of person. We also reframe stories to make them reasonably sensible and understandable. While embellishing a story, we are come upon something that bears further investigation, not the unambiguous reoccurrence of some phenomenon. Every story can be retold as a different version. As Schafer claims: "Each telling presents one possible version of the action in question. [Therefore] the idea of narrative [invokes] the inevitability of alternative description" (1992, xvi, cited in Riessman, 1993, p. 65). A story is a particular version of an analytic representation and interpretation of events which already happened in the past. Therefore, the narrative approach should be judged by different criteria other than the standardized notions of reliability and validity where judgment is based on an accurate representation of past experiences. The main purpose of narrative inquiry is not to depict experiences exactly as they were lived. Neither is it to redeem or recover already constituted meanings before narrative telling. Its aim is to bring forward the ambiguous experiences we do not fully understand but somehow undeniably know, to search for language for obscure human lives however momentary and contingent they are, to extend the possible meaning and significance of those experiences, and to generate a vibrant narrative of which those experiences are an intimate part to which we belong. "It is not the 'facts' themselves that [we try] to redeem through narrative tellings. Rather, it is an articulation of the significance and meaning of one's experiences" (Bochner, 2001, p. 153). The significance and meaningfulness of a narrative account may be determined by the fact that it helps us get to communicate with other people and improve our understanding of human life. Bochner (2001) explains that the narrative turn in the social sciences means something much more than the perspective of regarding stories as just another source of data. His idea resonates with my understanding of the issues around reliability and validity in narrative 46 inquiry. He considers narrative inquiry as a turn away from as well as a turn toward: The narrative turn moves away from a singular, monolithic conception of social science toward a pluralism that promotes multiple forms of representation and research; away from facts and toward meanings; away from master narratives and toward local stories; away from idolizing categorical thought and abstracted theory and toward embracing the values of irony, emotionality, and activism; away from assuming the stance of the disinterested spectator and toward assuming the posture offeeling, embodied, and vulnerable observer; away from writing essays and toward telling stories, (pp. 134-135) In this sense, Lather's (1993) idea of validity enlightens an alternative way of approaching validity in narrative inquiry. Lather challenges the notion of "validity as correspondence" with a "validity of transgression." The key point of this perspective is whether research interrupts the existing way of knowing or corresponding to an external reality. She emphasizes the generation of "new locally determined norms of understanding," the proliferation of "open-ended and context-sensitive criteria," the supporting of "multiple openings, networks," the enactment of "practices of engagement and self-reflexivity," the embodiment of "situated, partial, and positioned, tentativeness," and the bringing of "ethics and epistemology together" (p. 685). From my understanding of narrative inquiry, the judgment of narrative inquiry should be made by its capability to allow and encourage us to reach out to the in-depth and manifold understandings of multiple-layered human experiences which cannot be grasped through a grand narrative. The ultimate power of narrative inquiry is to enable us to dwell in-between spaces of each other, to let go of our limitations, and to extend our horizons. In this sense, the Personal Narrative Group (1989) echoes my position about narrative reliability and validity: When talking about their lives, people lie sometimes, forget a lot, exaggerate, become confused, and get things wrong. Yet they are revealing truths. These truths 47 don't reveal the past "as it actually was, " aspiring to a standard of objectivity. They give us instead the truths of our experiences. ... Unlike the reassuring Truth of the scientific ideal, the truths ofpersonal narratives are neither open to proof nor self-evident. We come to understand them only through interpretation, paying careful attention to the contexts that shape their creation and to the world views that inform them. Sometimes the truths we see in personal narratives jar us from our complacent security as interpreters "outside " the story and make us aware that our own place in the world plays a part in our interpretation and shapes the meanings we derive from them. (p. 261) Narrative validity may be said to "stand outside the hierarchical realm of facts" (Minh-ha, 1989b). The major focus of narrative is not so much concerned with being "factual" as being "truthful" as Minh-ha (1989b) asserts: This is just a story. A story is a story. There was no need for clarification ...for there was no such thing as a blind acceptance of the story as literally true. Perhaps the story has become just a story when I have become adept at consuming truth as fact. Imagination is thus equated with falsification, ... (story) may be said to stand outside the hierarchical realm of facts. On the one hand, each society has its own politics of truth; on the other hand, being truthful is being in the in-between of all regimes of truth, (p. 121) Taking all the above notions and perspectives together, I contend that narrative has something to do with evocative understanding and resonant interconnectedness rather than mere representation. The reliability and validity of narrative inquiry should be considered not in terms of whether it offers us effective theory with which we can explain and control the world; rather, whether it offers us the possibility of plausible insights which bring us to a more direct contact with human life. 48 CHAPTER 3 FROM PAN-KOREAN IDENTITY TO MULTICULTURAL IDENTITY: RECENT IMMIGRANT YOUNG ADULT'S STORY I met Brian through a Korean friend. I interviewed him toward the end of collecting the data. Looking through the data, I had a feeling that the stories they represented seemed to be the so-called "typical successful Korean immigrant" stories. It dawned on me that I needed another person who underwent a different, more complex, or problematic assimilation in order to provide another perspective thereby enriching the portraiture of identity construction of Korean Canadians. After talking about the data, my Korean friend suggested that I talk with Brian. She told me that his story would depict another experience of a young adult Korean immigrant. Brian had gone through many difficult times due to maladjustment with living in Canada. Prior to meeting Brian, I was a bit anxious about his willingness to disclose his experiences because young Korean men of his age group do not usually talk about themselves to recently introduced persons. I wondered about how much of his unpleasant experiences he would be willing to share with me. It was rather a surprise for me that my anxiety was uncalled for at the moment I started talking with him. I found Brian to be an open-minded person and a good storyteller. He not only shared his pleasant experiences but also spoke of his troubled adolescence, his disengagement from school, and his involvement with drugs and other illicit activities. He was a very polite young adult with a gentle soul. He was a little bit late for our first meeting. He bowed down to me saying "Ahn-Ryung-Ha-Se-Yeu " which is a Korean greeting for seniors. He politely apologized for his lateness, demonstrating a Korean trait reflective of the traditional Korean culture. Every behavior he displayed adhered to the Korean etiquette. We conversed in the Korean language. His usual Korean intonation built a strong bond between us making it possible for me to better 49 understand him. Although translating was a great responsibility, I could detect the delicate nuances and subtle meanings implicit as well as explicit within his expression. Interviewing in my mother tongue was a distinctive experience that took our conversations to a very personal level. Brian left an unforgettable episode for our last meeting. This meeting was scheduled on my birthday. Before leaving my place, I left a message in the voice mailbox of his cell phone. When he did not show up, I called him several times but no answer. I was so disappointed because I canceled a dinner appointment for my birthday in order to arrange for this last interview with him. I learned later that he was so sick that he could not even wake up. As much as he wanted to call me his cell phone battery was low. On top of that, he did not remember my phone number. So far, he is the first man who stood me up on my birthday. This chapter juxtaposes two performances: one in Korean, the other in English. Our conversations were exclusively done in Korean. In trying to translate Korean into English, I became more aware of the impossibility of word-for-word translation and the ineffability of some expressions which entailed particular cultural contexts, the delicate nuances, particularly the Korean emotionality. For these reasons, I employ an alternative writing format of running parallel two performances in two columns. The left column displays my rewriting about Brian's story in English derived from listening to his experiences shared in Korean. In contrast, the right column unfolds the Korean version of Brian's story where I attempt to keep close to the original words of Brian although I am conscious that always there will be something left out of the transcription. The alignment of these two performances illuminates how I have rewritten and restoried his story through my eyes. This narrative format shows how the same story is told differently by different people, in different languages, and within different cultural contexts. 50 Leaving Korea: A difficult adjustment I came to Canada when Grade 10.1 was placed in Grade 10. It was not easy to adapt myself to the new environment. The English skills I learned in Korea were not very useful. I could not understand what teachers said in class. And I could not express myself properly as well. My ESL class was not a great help for me to participate in school as well as improve my English. In the ESL class, I just learned some basic conversations, such as ordering in a restaurant, finding my way if lost, or asking for help. tqm. ^ % O I I ^-§-oi qt E J M DJOI am4if.5E. q* a n , w-§oiife ESLOII ZLKi E5LCHIW HH^-b 11^% ^ % TiLt, "U qiCHtH^t-f nH CH^HI *HO(: Of-feW, Some subjects were offered only as regular courses. I attended the regular class for Math and Science. My teachers assumed that in the areas of Math and Science, Asian ESL students were excellent so that they could easily catch up with the white students. It so happened that I was a different kind of Asian. Even when I was in Korea, I was not a good student. I sat in that regular class staring into emptiness. It does not make sense to assume that I could understand in a class where only English was spoken. E5L < ^ o i 2 * E E5L A^RJ "%oi ome*, 4^01 u si-^-g- qj.Hh ^.qioiiM dH-JTO cgoot qj a s tW2*?j£-§ A 9JL-f -H2>JI ^T+fthwoj;, qt qj ^oi-typi na-goti ZL^-HI -?i£-7h S E . ^ igoi otu<%.-n^Q., n^ioi mjqi= gjz^S. qjtti AqjotiM oiawf-^91% "HS, a a c t M u m 4^qjM"UoiiE oh° <gjoi -^ty^i c^ c-taj; 9ite " H i , ^ C H S . S I M - 4 i f - E 7g £ O H ! m i q i l - o i ^ -yoi 4iqi-§ f o a a - H - J I M ^i-g-oi EjijjcHcip ^wnt qt a-b H 5 , 51 Making friends was particularly hard in the process of my adaptation. My language problem did not allow me to be accepted by my peers, which made me feel alienated in school. In Korea, I was very outgoing and sociable so I had never been anxious about making friends. In Canada, my language problem hindered me from personally approaching the native English speakers. Peer groups that had already been tightly formed compounded my problems. It was definitely hard for a newcomer to get accepted into any group. My English-speaking classmates got frustrated with my inability to talk with them. They tried to talk to me several times. But when I did not respond properly, they just turned away saying, "Oh, never mind" and then stopped carrying on conversations with me. When I was in Korea, after school I spent time with my friends a lot. But I did not have a friend with whom I could share my thoughts and feelings. cgoi-n eg sfe 9191 wqt, *J.^r M f l f e •grai<3.cHfl., cgcn-J •£ o m m mra itM ^ • i 1 4^ 5= <3JU2, O H § O I t#m fi*M Rt^HEfl a±-§; W=?l-fe C + U J I , W-S-Oll-fe ^ i i l O B M T£ 7*t ^WQjlOH a., %Hfl-fe Mir WmSlQJ. I&OISJ- < ^ O i l M - f e flS^yiS. cgcn-f •g-ftn-m taw -71-M c+fe % ^ <S1J1. EE o m O H I - S - O H I C H S OIDI K|Ufl^7JI5J Z l - f -OI raotra 9| M - ^ O I oti^ a-f-oi 77ms., H ^ U rant C g c H ^ £*H_)77h tUjOJ. O H § £ R ) ^ H£ QJ: ^acn %-7HH=£, o m n i -g- Q£oh so .u77 i - -7imt>nz qt » ? w a f e "H i t , w - to i i fe «s t l H£-§ 7 \ L ^ § O H I c n - § a M •yo i en a ^ a E im I knew that I had to have a lot of practice in order to improve my oral English. Although my teachers were supportive, it was my personal responsibility and commitment to < U § C H E n^i cgoiS. 0**131 j l i n ^ ' & C H C * ISoi9llwcU, 9£°HM T s i ^ ^ o s . « | P i 9 i " M S . Mir Q£OfM i i ^ & H O t % 52 practice English. I could have developed my English skills sooner had I paid attention by listening really carefully. But unfortunately, I did not take advantage of every opportunity to practice speaking. Being surrounded by foreigners was enough to stress me out. I felt that they did not seem to care about me and I suspected that my English-speaking classmates did not wish to speak to me. Our mutual disinterest prevented me from initiating any conversation with them. QjouAH -ii-g-xacaM "Sia-j i?" ex-ji ra-sfi *»a.. anHfe q^oif- ^ e n i <g!9jLS. ^wfe- qtE 9i f-ftm, t(J(9J. OH§S. U%EII ^ TO WE My frustration in relating with my English-speaking classmates brought me closer to the other ESL students who were on the same level of English. While the English-speakers did not attempt to understand my broken English, the ESL students and I made some efforts to understand each other. The Chinese and Japanese were the easiest group to be friends because we share some cultural values and attitudes. However, our communication was rather on the superficial level. Our usual exchange was basically asking each other about our homework. Having a best friend required a sharing of deeper emotional E5LOH§6hal -UTOSlftoH3 . , ESL Ul£t>hu)TO AdS. OI6H6HI <&-H^Q., ^91 OH1-& urn 9^CH1 ?ut>m <&.°qj £ Qto^wq t , ESL OHl77ia-fe %t^^ •S-^joi o m a - E . M £ oie>H«»-HA=.2., Q P ^ - S H £ oicn^a-fe- sira-n 9J.-2.UTO M £ 01 a i m ^ a a , a a i E ESL oH^fdtJi-fe "y_oi qjL-Hi ^i*«?:i-fe cfi-fe ^ f a m t>y^. a t e "%oi o m a - -y-S- ^ o i o n i E e>m zia)ot= an, ESL OH!-771 a e -^fe o i o m - f e ^t-feai ^ r a n t ^ t n 53 stuff. But our inability to put emotions and feelings into English words was getting in the way for us to understand what it tabes to have a friendly relationship. It was not easy to develop a close friendship with ESL students. At the time I deeply missed Korea and my friends bach home. All the time my mind kept going bach to my previous good life in Korea with many friends, which made me feel so lonely. •!•§•§ Ej^-g: ? 3 E £ Jji&HKm-fe a 1 ^ 1 CHI QJ,fe ^ O l Attachment to the Korean culture Usually many students were uninterested in communicating outside of their own ethnic group. They tended to socialize among themselves. In the school cafeteria, there was a clear territorial demarcation of ethnicity such as the "Chinese table," the "Korean table," or the "Caucasian table." Students seemed to not want to get to know each other. This seating arrangement appeared as if English speakers were not interested in the ESL students and vice versa. The teachers did not take this seating arrangement seriously. Nobody noticed the ethnocentric grouping happening in the cafeteria. QJ.1t75)2.^ O H ^ O I 7 C n i l 4 q j . ^ 7 7 i a o j ; o i f e i f e - g ^ o i ^ oHt-g- f - ^ O H l 7 7 i a , tdjqi OH1--& tUjQi OH&7JIHJ, ^ O H ^ - S - *J:-^ O H ^ 7 7 I H J e n - f a s . , =tmm&or lrt£ T J 0 ^ 7 7 1 5 4 <&-fe EflOI-fJoi H J - S . TgdHW %0\3., ^ M % ^ - £ ^ A . ^ ^ 7 7 i a R J : OH^-S - f - ^ OHS77I5JDJ; <&C».fi, M i • & ? n i o i i . f i . , ra^iu ESL o H § * m HifQJ. O H ^ - S - H-& Sf-ffioii a u T j 9JLCHH H £ 9J.M-E. 9t, a ^ l -graioil CHdHAH 54 One day, while smoking I got to know one Korean student who recently came to Canada. I approached him first because he looked a Korean. Our acquaintance saved me from my total isolation in school. Since knowing him, I had started to build my network only with Koreans. There were about 30 Korean students of the 1.5 generation or recent immigrant in our group. We helped each other. 1.5 generation Korean Canadians who lived here for a quite while wanted to know more about Korean culture. They liked the Korean way of drinking, cruising, partying they never experienced here. Drinking, norae-bang parties {Korean ko-ra-o-ke), or going out with girls provided them with new and enjoyable experiences. In turn, this group of 1.5 generation Korean Canadians helped us in many ways to adapt to school life. They advised us when we met with a counselor and arranged timetables. Of course, there were several second generation Korean Canadians who did not want to socialize with us because they could not speak Korean well and lacked exposure to the Korean culture. CHi^ ^ HlfCHIM ^HH HIC+11 $.<%.t>l B l £ % HH OIPJ. £ ^ Orfll ^CHfi , M-S&W^ MOI"*JEH mny II-M qtw ot-fe- 1*\ *JtS. =L *J.aHKiEBM qt^ w n t l - i njoi arm ^(ji a a q i M wei a § y t s , rani- a - u ^ Stjuoii *j.^77i a qt c n - f a f e OH^OI 30<3 9 i 9 i C H . f i , Z2 ^ O f l f e Ml£ OIPJ. £ *J.^14t 9J.-C- K ° i o n - i a oiqi -g- K\ 2.snm njl-g-OII O h O - a o n i M ^QJtCHS. qt-5* • f i i "71-M £ d h M j l i t H H t i " H - J l , W-S-Ef-g-UII-M cxRhE E M J I . . . a ^ t OH-S-OII OIPJ. £ TCI 33) S*J qt^ A - 1 % 1 0 1 ^ c H - f a a j i, oiqi £ 7*1 ^ l - S qt §dn^77h qt^ w^fthJiiqt cH-ta-fe THS, a e i i l 1.5MICH§OI cgcH^ qt^Oh-g-7^  WU7II E.-&OI S lTi^f l . , OII-§ §CH u t f t h a n E 2 l ^ - H ^ f i . M-g-oiife Qjcnf Q A ^ e i E-g-oi ^ f i f t i T ^ o t f i , qt^ -M - ^ § O I ^ C H - f a i l &CHftl-fe OIAdl§E. 9pi-fe - J H U I ^ - S %?&fti o n i ^ " U - t i m H QJ L H ( qt^ O i E ^ * t»3L, ^ • g & o i l E Q(4=-6m o^o^-m. qj^. OH^fttjl c H - § a a j i 6i-7ci 04s, 55 Through "MIRS," one of the most popular internet chat systems, I met Korean friends outside of school. Many Korean Canadians living around the Vancouver area connected through this chat room — once a very popular and strong networking. Metrotown became the major socializing space for Korean Canadians using the chat room. Through the internet, we got together for bubble-tea or snacks. For example, a message in the computer would appear, "Today is Voung-Chel's birthday. Do you want to join us?" Even if I did not know that person, I went so that I could meet many other Koreans. On weekends about 80 to 90 young Koreans gathered. This networking allowed me to intermingle only with Koreans more and more. Mir o n i % - § cm " M I R S " a fe - *H*ai|oi 9A°4te«i a - g . f-OHM t i H ^ t H ^ w o n M-b ^ * J . ^ 1 * " S O I OJ-Tii ^ -H-,,01 HH^tHOII t£Z} S o i f c t g o i, t t f ^ t H , fM5J, t H U t f l , ^KICH - fe e i W g H , ^acHIAHTO- iq A - ^ J f o l O %CH2.4= "HOIIf l , aaul77h O l ^ 7H^2-SL ^ A . H ^ ! - § t&OI qtTfl ^ S , 3 t g w OL"%oi - ° - * , g o i 9 J C H . f i , w £ HtUJQ- d t t g rJHSS.Et-g-.9-S: O- fi.O)AH W-g-EjE ^ h * "8 "5t a ^ c H f i , o n i §CH £ f e ^ Q J o i a H t u - J i S . ^ f e a i -§2H? 6 ^ , a A . ^ - § - § a - E " ^ o i, ^ ^ o t i - f e 86-90*% ^ E fioniE ^ o i f i , n ^ t *J,£.SL o H ^ d t j i c i i c H - § a - n Adjusting in Canadian school Living in a different culture forced me to learn a different culture. If one does not recognize the other culture one could be treated unfavorably. Let me share one episode about this. In my high school, one wretched white guy passed by and made fun of me. Although I could not exactly understand his English I sensed that he was making a fool of me. I was furious a--ft ojoi iAd ^ - H I a <&.°-Ri 4 f o i o j - s . a x t e f i , W - § O I I tyUIOIIM t(J|9l OHfcm % ^ ; d t - H I % q n h q t ^ c f l , rant c g c H f ^ ° . U 7 7 h 7J)4j- S T A M f e "HOM . f i . , CHJt 56 outraged. I slightly pushed him and ashed, "What did you say?" He responded with the same wording. I felt he looked down on me, but I could not express my feelings in English as competently as I would in Korean. I could not attack him verbally, which made me lose my temper. My powerlessness triggered me to hit him. I asked him again " What did you say?" He left just saying, "Stv/y." He seemed to be very surprised by my getting offended unexpectedly. He must have assumed that I would not say anything given my limited English. iz.iwi W S E 9i9jtcHfi, uferai q^oi Qi SiUtn CI U-fe ", l^cgan_|TO, did yon say?" % e i u D - i ^ a - a i ftHfi, •gnjai H f i a 5^HAd qt CH K I U T O a iq tdha - a i *m -insist? £., W7IE. T H S , rant CgCH-f £*H-I77|- Ol-.?. tft-8-E. qt q i ^ °i9J:-fecfl MI-HI t y - i - ^ u m , The "hitting" incident resulted in my being called to the vice-principal's office. The guy I hit told the vice-principal about the incident. When I explained the situation, the principal, instead of dealing with the student making a fool of me, blamed me for using physical violence. In Korea, many high school boys got closer together after a fight. Fighting does not necessarily require punishment, unless it inflicted serious harm on others. Then, I did not know that Canadian policies were different. I observed white people just attacking each other verbally or just faking to hit the other. My ignorance of that policy led me to act in a way I was ", a OHlr q iW * H M U - ^ &U"HI qt H C J I E , Hfy; ^ ^ - S r HI4* 2£t>(.°.£. *IJ2 a e i q t oitg-Hi dn_* oi-^ -ei U E njs. t f l o ^ i oi-qtM wqt, qt^OIIM-fe- OH§77l& M i &*H*l-q!M ci 7^I6HWII a a ^ o i - f i , - y i t q t -5101 on-jqi Q4£ ^ i ^ ^ q t e f l QiQioi U t t K j s ^ i - f e <&®ora., ajfqi OH1-& * h £ f e Q4oi c&cHE "H2| 2^ 11(7^ ^ qt, ZLSIUVr Qf-y a j w q t M v-i-jQ-qi oi-^. ^ i | q t -^%qi T I 5 , 001-fe ^ o j o . i q ta i wqi Q j ^ U T f l § •graiqi -Hoiifi., tujqi O H ^ O I w^-fe ttM€-c E i i q i M nw^ ^ q t A i i f - q t «*-fcr rate ^ " U ft^S " H « S ^ W nw-gofl 7g«i-ww, 57 used to in Korea. That incident caused my suspension from school. Skipping classes became an escape in dealing with my difficulty with adjusting to school. Other Korean students facing the same concern stayed away from classes and got together in the school cafeteria. I lazed around with them more and more. Sometimes we got out of the school campus and hung around the shopping malls. Had I skipped classes in Korea, I would have been punished. But here I was free from that kind of disciplinary action. None of the teachers cared about my absence in class. Because I was used to the more strict and authoritarian system of education, a sudden freedom provoked me to misbehave. I wished at the time for teachers to impose more regulations for truancy. cgcH-n q j s u m qj; %ttAL, A q j M l t O f l § O O h E t ^ q i ^ i S . B . U T O , >g*g 4104 m<H2L qt-^- * J . ^ ! * I - J I = ? n H i a i a c ^ a i <&OHAH 4ia-u- i n u o h u q i mj^ j.^  ! £ • £ : EMI H U t g M MTt nH-9-te QJpi 'US- 91 *H-<TO W-g-Ollfe a -HI ^ e i a ^ a , q t ^ o i i M - b ^°aoi * i q i ^ l ^ S ^ q t E i i S W H U n ^ " H i wirani-a ^ i c i i o n i f e a ^ i j q i o i c+ Riq tEf i q j -wra 9L<*£. A j i A ^ y j f ^ . rant AQJOII 15 tfi QJ f o n ^ 3.~H\ AJTg o^ -H4=f i , Oh^E ^ QJ 6hU77t f o n n i & - ° - q i q j c H S . 4^ 9j ^ h i ^ o i # « ^ e m ^ ° q i a a i E A year and a half later, I decided to drop out of school because of my inability to adapt to the school environment. Physical presence in school did not seem to mean anything to me — something that rather seemed frivolous and a waste of time. My parents urged me to at least graduate 141 m. ^ E W U J I ^SL% ^ C H f i , *m£ o^o tq t 9Lte ^ H i a f e AjT^oi Ewfti ^-§-01 qj a w 5- c+wyisuw qjqt j i f - ^ a t e €9J-§ *>HOI=?;I J f £ i f l w a , K i t e * 4 ° 3 . ^ . S l 01 t>r"HI M l t 58 from high school, but I never felt the need to finish high school. Although I went bach to school, failed so many subjects, and eventually I had to repeatedly register in the same courses. I was more determined to find worh and earn money, instead of meaninglessly carrying my school bag bach and forth from home to school. I got two jobs at a Korean bahery and a Korean ha-ra-o-be pub. Two years later, I regretted quitting school and decided to attend a small high school close to my home. For the first six months, I tried to study very hard, but it was not easy to get bach to studying after dropping out of school for a little while. I cut classes again. Finally, the school kicked me out. i ^ tnamiM tqm. a-u-fe QJOI qj(R! 3.^. SE SHC* brZL, -JhtJDJ; ^ J l gjtW •ftO- dl-EgM M"*t ^Wori^U £ o | & - E tHfe "HI U - § "Ti l£OrM ^ i i X ^ HIM oi-StitoiS. *t-niM WSScHfl., a 5*1 HI SE a"*£E. oma-fe ^IfOl 4f 01 uoicxi tqsLS. Qi a u a S i d t u ^ C H M « t i i i - f O-M 0-U-7IS. DI-§ t^Qgls., 5WCHI 9J[-fe 6I-OI A^CHI f f f t I M *H# 6 ^ % 91^*1 £ ^ 1 ° i "HI, TH-7IM SE *J.^€ " J U M 4^^* w^- °i •§on i -M ^moiiM ^^.cHfl., Conflicts with parents Conflicts with my parents triggered my misconduct. My dad was so strict and authoritarian. He could not understand the youth culture which was popular among the young Koreans in Burnaby — the high school hip hop culture, wearing baggy clothing, hair dying, wearing a necklace. Our style originally came from a Korean singer, "Hee-Jun Moon"who was the most popular star in Korea. We modified the Korean star's style to suit the SfHolIM 7J)-§- £ Oia lE 5E H19A^  'B-fr -^o iQHcHfi , Hit oi-tH4 nftni- w^. M 4 ^ q i -g-oia w ^ D|-7|fcOI, ZlSHAi Mir d m°.i U £ " % S E 2i t^Moii qiig M / ^ O I, wnnt- 21-HI ^JU=, tna-fe- SH a a n OUU= dhHlAi * i £ a l <&oi di-^a, a n j qi*tt tua H ^ o m o m ^--^01 ai-fe -%oi £*8°I9A~HB£, ^oti • g * j $ o i a a i 91,-bcii, imi- qt^oii ^ 59 local Koreans in Canada. Indeed, Korean style has more variety than those of the Canadians. Our style had a unique and a more colorful look. Even the white guys told us," Vou look so coo/? Hip-hop Korean style was such a big hit that the Chinese youth group copied us. Many Chinese got more interested in the Korean pop culture and entertainers. They listened to Korean pop music, read Korean magazines, and imitated Korean-style clothing to the extent that at that time our area was called "Korean Burnaby." rait -R-^'^-te^ ° n i o i i % ^ O H ^ E D-H 2.31 nr+gj- ^TH^S., D. saq j ^ H u m q j ! MOIOIIM ra^oi DH^OlOXcHfl., OH^OI D ^ - j . 7g U ^ O I - j l , A E + Q J E c^qiJi, D Q o t f i , tUfQJ. O H ^ E -9-5J M a " c o o l " *l-c+JZ ^!(CH.Q., qtnji O H ^ E qt*^ tn-a- ^ c n f i . , ^ . a i M 01 f : u n t "Korean Bwrnabuf 5>ji My dad took this kind of hip-hop style as delinquent. Probably he wished that I studied hard because he sacrificed his life for me to have a better future. But I had never forced him to sacrifice his life for me. Immigrating to Canada was not my decision; it was his decision. Whenever we bumped into each other we severely argued. I spent most of my time outside the house to avoid conflicts with him. However much I can understand his motives now, still we do not have a very harmonious relationship. Ki*i ohtnrate £ *ite Tf i^qh OH^OIU a a j i cm-fe H O - j l ^Oldl-^Otfl., OI-tHKI qj^joiiM-fe R I Si §011 H I # ci u-8-£/^6H^gj2 0015. 01 D J s^ou-m. rani-qj/ydi § ^ . R t d m ^ f m - o - ' o a , a m q j 01 a s . 01 qi £ M i ^ o i on jq io i j i , rant oiqi -7mai qt £)-g- q t t l E °J°)£>, fcttyaniRi e»qi ^ ^ a f - § 0 1 0 1 = am-m-^Oll l C H 2 . - b "fcE ^ C H f t S , W-5-£ .3.HUE. annMc> oi-tHn Q i ^ ^ ei oiexidmqt 01^61 A-i-oi-fe f s KI <t&°i.e.. Unlike dad, my mom was more concerned for me. She dealt with me °ioioii .a , rani- Qf-§ % o i £ S . cHtHui-te 60 much better than my dad. She tried to understand me after my drug-induced destructive activities. But in some ways she also holds on to the stereotyped notions of the older Korean generation. For example, my mom does not want me to go dating. She always tells me, "Ifyou have time to date, why not spend time reading books?^ She considers dating as time-consuming to which I have a different perspective. I am sure that I can develop my understanding of other human beings through the dating experience and learn how to win the girl I could really love. Finding and approaching a girl needs some techniques. Boohs cannot provide me with that hind of wisdom, but more from actual living experiences. I never tell my mom about my girlfriends. Although a wider communication has developed between my parents and me, I never talk about what is happening in my life because I do not want to cause any troubles and conflicts with them. H 2 H E R ) | # C i o l d f l d i - a a l i c ^ dhMI.f i . Z ieHSL ° 4 M C H C H U S i MlCHMI.f i . O h t f m M C h § jgoht i fc j - ^ C H M nr\\ ^ " H / d i - b 01 o m e n t a , n ^ - f l i dho i °J: z i H H . f i , M-ir /nnt>n\oa 3.*%-n °i m < & b •g-TC-fl-HB- 0-. Ofl-g § C H , M * J C H C H U - b RHTh o m M-f l - f e !£ %^6H*>m o j . f i . M i . f i . o m M ^ - ^ t f t i r a n ta- jo . fthM-H^fi, " o m M ^ t 3 M ^ t O H *J|OIHJ-£. % Tjh, a OJcHHh," orM-H^s., n ^ c i i rai ^ " i h - S ^ a f i . o m * J - - ? M f l f e •%£ CHOI S f - H I H =1 ^Oi\M m~lr% H H ^ - H ^ f l . , U - f -O f l ^ D J ; q jo l l H - b o m f ^ H t b i - i tfflS. U l o m £ o i ^ a q i o m s . q j u e i o i : s ^ s f l , M b *J| ° i b " ^ M c f o m w ^ b Tfl, a HI qi/^CHI Si-g-OI 5*JC*32 x#H;, a^ENI 3 S I O l o n i - 5 dl-HI M S . « . ^ t ) I U 7 7 h OhOll qj;-§: oj; 7 n u m i sga, O K I - *J.^nh 9JLCH5E. o t c H u q t E j i - b q t o i £ qt naqt ^ C H U: - & ^ ! « i 3«di o i o n i f t H M -i&l-Q J O = ^ <21&, OflTjiOII H l d H M c n t H u d h j i b ^ " w n f <stoi i g q i c i i E o i o m f t H A H -grai % H - g - OhOll n j £ qt H a s , Drug addiction I resorted to the use of drugs at a time I was struggling to adjust. New adolescent Korean immigrants are vulnerable to mir qt nH-b q4^ ai-ofon s i r a q i j o i . f i , H B ^ t H o i i M b o ^ - t ^ a n i ^ J & o h f i , 61 drug use here. There are even "rave parties" where people dance while taking drugs such as ecstasy, heroin, and marijuana. We do not have access to drugs in Korea, but here in Canada we can buy drugs at a very cheap price. At first, I did not know how dangerous it could be. Out of curiosity I experimented with it, not knowing how much dangerous it would be later on. I took heroin with some Korean friends working in the same workplace. Chinese and Vietnamese dealers provided us with drugs any time we had the money. I gradually succumbed to addiction and spent what I earned on it. I could not eat well or did not have any appetite. Whenever I ate something I threw up. I lost 20 kg. I felt like I was a living dead person. There was so much mental as well as physical suffering in my life having gone beyond the initial enjoyment of experimenting on drugs. It was also a problem for me to quit since I experienced an intolerable ache all over my body with high fever soaking with sweat when I refrain from using drug. Several times I tried to quit, but I failed. I found myself in the muddle of uncertainty, helplessness, and uselessness. It was such a heavy blow to my life. "Have you ever been in a place 'ywcx-fe rave partiesa-fe "^E 9 i < * - ° - . S.OfAH Qf-g tqjji fcl-Olffl A^ JEHOIIAH -JHOflfi., SHI "71-goi §Ot£., OOI 0\m % ^ K i i q t H i tu-Qfei O A £ ^ $f<a, qifr^iqt oniAH-te c^n7s)P_j= ^-Hs_o_i KHS. w-g-oii-fe a 5 4 ^ * q+£qt 3. "71 <y CHI AH A - l^^ - fed l W E fiS. HI ^4=!$cH£, ^ O l QJ>-fe CflAH Q£HI J * ! ^ ! ^ tHlS-Qif. S-g. 1^ -71 A. I^CH .2 , teRt ^R! § ^ O H S Q I L J . t f f lEi^ OH-E..O f SHAH <an A c^qj-Hafi, fef&oi 13 qt6H S.uv^ tf T^A-H w:p ai-cni- Mu77t, cni^ -fe"7j: U E fi-S-fe-A^OIOII 01 DI -HOII&, #^SJi-fe ^%Aj}CHa, QJdHAH £ t f C g Of Ai-fecii o * H , Hfil t q w E fcqj OI-U5J- M** °A°4.<*£. t>)CHE O-Sfthji, anw .gj^Hni- -HOI 206g-& A^oi- QJLCHE £qj 9Jlfe "H.W ^OI-QJlfe HI Om9J.CHi2, ^AjlTSj O.S.U- WIS) .2.3: J i f A a ^ a a a i A H Soioftyusi qj «l<»wqi ^-%5E ^ m t °i9JtcH-fi, qtqi §4=01 EJU77I- Qf-§ oj; ai-qi §01 s?.n, -ggol -f^OI ^ £ . 1 ^ 0 ^ Jgji, QjDHJ, org w q±£ w tcg% 4^  <&-§ ;<a, aauTO =S-°-aji tn-§ ^°J.a-"UE -g-oi ul-?- OI-5.U77I- di-s. o|4j. %0-H- CJ-A.1 61-4=. u s , Tgqj; A-l-e^  oi*|4=, ftjo^E. cjiji /^ ja ^-g- 9AJ1 T^qj. ^;nqj ^QAoiii, Ot^ SiqjE <gjoi £qt 4Jai 9 i » f e HI oittf 62 where hope has vanished!" Ultimately, my parents knew about this tragedy. Our conflictsagrew deeper and worse. They blamed me without any attempt at understanding the difficulties and hardships I underwent in the process of adjusting to a new culture. They regretted migrating to Canada. They thought if we had stayed in Korea I would have never gone through this distressing experience. They were at a loss on what to do. Not having the knowledge and skills in dealing with the situation made the problem difficult to resolve. Moreover, they could not ask for help from Canadian institutions due to a language barrier. One of our Korean neighbors introduced a doctor who was expert in drug-addicted patients. The doctor required me to stay in the hospital for a week. The doctor put me under a legal anesthetic and gradually decreased my intake. It took me almost a full year to completely quit. We were a group of ten friends using drugs together. Some of them were sent back to Korea where access to drugs was more limited. Those who stayed in Canada are still relying on drugs. Only 7»-§-oilfc ^S-^l -g- 3 ^OJ MIT QJD>Ut U ^ a ^ H ^ S , qt^oil 9J.OB1 01^ Q L - § 919A-& n e * ^ W M H 01 ai £ ^ - f DJOI ^.djo^cHfl., m -a&u D j ; * H E . •g.QJ dfCgM5z CHig-ni dHOI: OJ; KI CHW6H01: ftibraoii cn*j: 7:1^ 01 OA.O.U771 -q 7^ Oh AjMsiDI -\£C&EL, M-Ag. OOlb DhQI e » b ^^ 501 "asu77h 'i^OH ^ b 1I3J50I ajoi oj.wqi eg OH 5 74 H 5 , n OH DiTjj OI-£OII /gqi w ^ o i t»Qf ZhlHdH^Otfl., W-§CX|-b tg^ iOII 5CW1I-M °i^ °if-0it Si siw-ei w^j OhgH i^Elh DhQf5 ^.otdl-qiAi -fotuiife /=i.o£. S9J.01S, i m i i 30 eg ui^- -g-oii o-Biir ihji a a c j £ o r n s i u W ZE-g-tt Zt-£*1 i<iE5 -f OPJ X 5 , tg^ JODM tyoh Qjfe Q|77>W %7g6| g b Of 1 Vg. ^ S E -a^CHfl, M TtOI ^5oi 1003 »8E 9494te«i, ^ "B-fe gsai i %^OII *i^otiMb 4- <gi°U7» 4^OII 9JLQ;ohfi., UCHKI M-^ 5-& oh^s. ©IICHUW 94.5., -g.^ £•£• M-^-g-63 two of us, another friend and I, got out of this hellish situation. I really appreciated our Korean neighbors who prayed together and encouraged me to be better. Without their support, I could not have gotten out of that situation. That part of my life was a very significant experience that led me to reflect upon human life and myself. That tragedy also became a momentum for my parents and me to get closer to each other. I now have a more open communication with my mom. 'SjtRi "%oi 3. T^OI s$oi2., rai ^  SSJcniMw ^  A-i^ o^i l£o\ H E 6 h J i "q^ftH -5 t^ -gois, cyofoi 2^ 0^11 OI-OE 0494.°-Rt „ $* 4^  °A9A-§ TL "^OiqjCtJl ^Ti;dHii, 7511 Kh^ Ofl CHftHM DJol ^•74% 41 94.94.o.u77i-£, a QJ=. qittiw £«>ia OlftHftlHI ^ ~l£Ofa., ofDmat-jl-fc- a tw 01 £ 3 . ci ajjoi -JiwSiTjjpi.a, Work experience When I almost quit drugs I started working in a Japanese restaurant operated by a Korean owner. I have worked there since I was 19 years old. The employer helped me get back to normal life in many ways. He shared many experiences he underwent throughout his life. He became my mentor and I felt more stabilized and more secure. My responsibility is to prepare sushi in the bar. I meet many people from diverse cultural backgrounds and practice English with native speakers because our major customers are white people. Asian food served by Asians is something rani- x°i Qf.§. goH-y: cm, -g- ra-g-94«>ni 9JLfe 9J.-& M^OII !oni--ni ^JCHJI, A ^ ^ O I -gOI/tlCfl 7\t ^ - g goiA.HI.2, rani- M-71011 cn*giJ= *j "Uj" -goioiiii, a HTflOIIAH W-g-771-KI 9j.6m 9L<, A - I ^ O I rani- QJ=-§ "Jioi - 7 m £ - g o i o n i E %oi d H ^ M H , n i l AH 0 1 ^ 1 3 ^ 5 1 73/^ w=i » £ , rani-QJg. 4iA|tfl|-OIIAH 7^7% 41 Al R J E - f e "HOIlii, % -£01 OI-USJ-, mqilft EJ-HIO^ $-71 nfl-g-OII "Hll AH 91*1-HI AH CI-QJdJ; A ^ - f - E . t&OI rJhU-TII EJJZ 9JCHS. tQt£ -71SJE "ttonsifi. 9^1 feoife £<% 3/4012 f-9J A.|-^OI PJiEM W AHf-Tfl i^ 7H 751 AH AH<ttEfl O I ^ A ^ t^oi - i o ia t i i , aaq i 64 extraordinary for the white customers, so they have so many questions regarding the food. They often ash, "What is it?" or "What it is made of?"\ naturally come to talh with native speakers. I am forced to look up words in the dictionary and observe how others explain things in order to prepare myself for explaining in English. I am more relieved from my anxiety about English and I am now able to speak English with much more confidence. As I become more acquainted with the native speaking customers, sometimes they invite me to their table when I am drinking beer by myself. I feel more comfortable and confident talking with native speakers now. When I go to the pub, I am more willing to speak to native speakers. Currently, I am getting used to taking over the conversation when Korean friends bring an English speaker to our gathering. Koreans do not talk to strangers but I develop the courage to do so. This is the story about my transformation. *H?Joi= ai-urn u#a)£fe n"%oii ^ c H i cntg-Hi a q t ^ - b r a fiji HHSJAH a m i tcgdniE. * IJI , ^ohMilS. OHfl., ttijQjsdhji W jp QjcHi nj/dm MUW cgcHoil m q t - S O i ^ S . ^CH 1 2 ra->tLTjoi ^ c n f i . , w*i ir-h\ 7\L*I--HI wuifl., mny 4Mb 4; <&OYM tirus. 9J.OR1 £ ^ 5 ° ! ra M°d q t * J " ^ O l t r K U L t U S . , M-°-i n? cgcHi ni^fe qt£-§; *ict ^"U "ttoifl., ih? igoa Hoi - ? i q i •mi AH w-g- Htht ^ 9 1 5 * ^ oionis. % «Hflt. q t ^ 7 \ i ^5o i ^ Ttoi 94.-i an, a - g a - ^ - OH-§ c<is.£.qi rani- q ^ ^ M mm CgCH-f- *mi a s . , ^IHH q t ^ - w - & * • = ^^1 *131 q> q t g q t OI-UHJ-cgcHi qjse-fe "9. I - ^ S H fth^-0-. raE J^EHfe n ^ f e C I I , QiftHHtAH DJOI tgq!!CH.e.. At work I also have many opportunities to practice my English with my co-workers. My contacts extended to Canadian-born Chinese and Japanese and other nationalities who immigrated H o i QJdi-fe M - ^ f - d m S i Q j o i i a j ; ^ - i \ $ J l r PJjOhfi., H ° l ° A * » t e ^ 1 ^ o i l f e q t ^ A . ^ q t 9 i t e T t o i OHJHJ- , OOIAH EHoi4i - f ^ o i u Q j £ 2 M i l , o i q i £ W 7 -8 ^ % A . i - ^ l S i D J J - H ^ S . , a f w M a - o n i 65 to Canada 7 - 8 years ago. They speak English much better than me. Our acquaintance with each other represents a sealed relationship similar to that of a family. Oftentimes we hang around after work. I really enjoy our intimate talks and light jokes. My work place is really a supportive and friendly environment. Within this environment I am able to redeem myself from a painful past. The workplace has provided me a space to develop my self-confidence. My ex-girlfriend, a Canada-born Japanese girl and I worked in the same restaurant. She enabled me to practice more my oral English skills. While we went dating, as much as we talked on the phone for almost three hours everyday. In spite of my limited vocabulary, I tried to express myself and to understand what she said as much as I could. She was very patient with my deficient English. If I did not understand something, she explained that very patiently. That was really a good oral practice. However, that did not necessarily mean that I had improved my vocabulary a lot nor mastered my grammar. Nevertheless, that facilitated my speaking English in a more natural oi-Zi -7 l-^^oiOllii , QJ ^ U R i D jo i & m , a j a ^ M M £ - f c ^ E ra-^- ^ j i , M l OI^KH&I o i o n i - J ajoi ai-cj- S.U77I- a Al%ifdl-j lfe qt^Jg . - £ 0 | lS*Hii, n^-HI M-^^fchjl -IP -^HI KlUflHlM K |3f l CgCHS nj/di-a- MU77I-, egCHS. cHSj-di-fe "%oi ajoi igaHTftcH-0-, T n i w ^t^M^-^^ 2*-H2i Off-CHIM t^CHUAH M-fe " % * H ^ ^"Hl ^ J S , OJCHS ajsi-fe -%E 3.e$n. c x a -7hnS 5 s i - u -f-nqt H n i - f e "^ "HICHIAH ^ o i Qjdi-Ri QJ-g 2 Ml OIKI- OHdl-jl M- f l tBM cgcmi °joi •fe°4.a, IHII- qt^ Hi-§ ^6hU77h c g c n s m o i i 2IA.I % A OJ^ol-jl. ZiaU77|-r^qidi cgen^f i&oi *7li a & o i i l , a "Ml ^ n * E-g-oi t&oi °A i i - E -H2i 3 /<ji& T I & S *4!°.U77|-ai HI ^ rani- q+oi A - g - g - ^ K i R i , Ri ^ M - i : s < a * h a =L omi- di-b qt-t o i d H f t i a i E ^ ^ j a , §oi-«>hu77h a . ^ Hi-i *l-fera 9j;oi -SfcHot: %, : z OHE rani- £ 9ioh §• o q i ^ B j d o ^ j i ( rai Jgjg: eg CHE Qioi-if o a j l, a ^ H I oidHdhaJl ±^t>tU MU77h eg oni- 04 i £ « a - ^ £ , 51 ^CH-§ D|OI QtTii a x u -g-tH-f % t ^ d | - n i tn-AeidHAH-71- o i - u a , cgcH% 7g at--™ a 94.0-45 "£01 rani- oi-fe-qtCH^ Jg-tQ A ^ O I I M # CI WQI^^Tfl A qj^ -Hi ^ x a . egCHS 01 igqidHraqtAH 21^ cH-i^-b 66 way. As my command of English gradually gets better and better, I am encouraged to become more confident in socializing with English-speaking people. Even after the breah-up with my girlfriend, we have remained friends. I hnow it would be hard to understand from a Korean perspective, but it is a Canadian way of dealing with relationships. I like this kind of relationship. ty=$ M-^ t IHLgOi -^ "74* ,^ Oftg-Tfl OHOIOI WlofTii .^oti *j.^nh ^ ^ 9i.u+jl SI-IJITCIDJ: •71^ -d(-CfH>^ ifl., ZlTfl =JHu(iaQi A4015., CHRHWW OHQJ.OI .fi-fe-S s - b *i q t^^ 0 ! H f i W a ^ ^Huiiqof /sjoi cf igqj&HL ^oi-fl., Navigating cultural differences In school I could not mingle with the native English speakers. I always only socialized with Koreans. My cultural identity as a Korean was reflected very distinctly in my high school years. I never thought I had been 'Canadianized.' My school environment was not supportive and friendly enough to make me feel comfortable to talk with my classmates. It was not until I started working in an English-speaking environment that I got more and more accustomed to the Canadian culture. Recently I am intermingling more with Chinese and Japanese immigrants in my workplace. I now see that here is a really multicultural society, a place where some immigrants tt-§ OIDI t^n. n u f e §-°iofi-fe xei =)HWIC|QJ.E.O|B£ Of-§a £ TSJOI (gfC^offi. •g&-7f K\ tm75) 01945., mir =?HUCI-i oici T^4"*H £ qt^Si <&&£., ^JE-fe mir ttQl^Tfl «J|QJ. OHldfji cgofi nidmiM c H - i a i eg o f f ^% 4, ojLfe =*HuiciQi /graii "g<a*ni M7=tqt l i O r S . , OIDI £ 7C| 5L30I ^WDJ; TC-f-fe oiraiMoi= =)HwiaQj. "g^am W^^OIU QJ-& W % f W 2 E qj77fl 67 from different cultures come to merge. = ? H U c n i - CJ-qjfcj. Jg-djoflAd OIDJ. £ The need to learn about these diverse cultures became an urgent need in order for me to interact with people from different cultural backgrounds, although Korean culture is still strongly embedded in me. If I am not sensitive to cultural difference I will get into conflicts with other people. I had some experiences of conflicts and misunderstandings provoked by cultural differences. There is an episode. The manager of the restaurant I worked for was a Chinese from Hong Kong. I did not recall exactly the conflict I had with him. I remembered describing what happened between us to other Koreans who entirely agreed he was wrong. I discussed this conflict with the owner, my mentor. He responded differently. He said, "Brian, what you said is your own interpretation. He might have a different interpretation. If he were Korean there would not be a problem. I am well aware that it is not easy to put yourself in his shoes. But don't judge him from a Korean perspective. Try to cultivate cultural sensitivity? His saying led me to realize that the problem was O O I A d - = C+-S- K l ^ ^ d U L A d S . o i - g a j i * j . dHK iaR i n u a e i 9loioi= , -i-JB c x ^ d i q t ^ • g & O f l ZHty H I ^ O I K l ^ g - g . Kd E . -g -S l f . o i d H d t a a l E ^ d m, •gStf-Til, W-OIOII CH% 01 &H-II- a - i j Al -^ l tX -a l "t toi QJOi/ cm, -^E-OIU S-rani- f *$t>m < K i - g - g - T%$k*\ ^ £ 9J.OI 94= TCI-b - 7 l Q | £ . QJ U W R t , Kd * l TI--HIOH S y i O l S a A DHUK-OI- A l - ^ O J C f l A d £ ^ a A d q n g j L R i Tsjoi 9JL9ioi.a, runt ^ T + f c m o n di-tg. QjOl 9 i ^ T i - ^ o j t - H E C i , ^BICI n A - I ^ O I Tf|4=- ^ l ^ - H I dl-fe "H, HHHAd " U S I r T I O I 9JLR1 A - l - ^ t q t E f l • i cH^ t -b -Df l £.1= = a A.I-%01 ?4^%WI1, M - ^ i f O l l - I W K d ^ ^T+OI 01 ^ - ^ R l " H S . aSHAd Rini- A f ^ y q t E I I E ^ f e C f l , A l - T ^ g . O I ^ - H I, " K l - g n ^ - H I Z£t>r±: ^HI^AI ^1i;OI KI Kd A l ^ - g C+B-Jfl "^4% 4^ K I £ 9^ HL*ife K H I ^ 7 5 1 , Oe.DJ. A^-74^ j l 9J .Of£ , Kd A h ^ O I ty^ A - l - ^ O i q i A d S . J?-^6IW OH-IOflf i . , Ojt(|/M-7|. 6 ^ - 7 l g f i . S ni:qt*i-U77i- n A.I-^OI oidH-ii- 9 i a - b " H £ , -1-iB a Al-%2| 9i7Ji-g: oiftHdlfe--£01 ^KI 9 i w f e "'A-S 94A:I Rt, M-^ H±oi .f i , § ^ 7 5 1 fcioioii a % "U A - '7J- i : 68 related to the cultural difference. Since then I have become more careful in responding to cultural differences and have learned how to navigate through these differences. My strategy is to be open-minded, avoid mahing any judgments, step bach and listen to them, instead of holding on to my own opinion. I started having a better understanding of Chinese people through that experience. - i m i L " t f % - § fi£| dhA.i l . f i ," D.W w-fe 77H^9JtCHfl., =L ^ . S - b i r * ^ fchOIOII CHdHM-fe- £.Qt>r-m ^jJ5., A . h ^ § d h j l tt% n« # o a-f^-t H ^ ui *$noi o^a-ji % 5 a U M a 9i*<t-S p a a fti-is., w?. qt^'SfiS.Hh A ^ - T ^ T C I p joaa i d H f i , CHdHM CI OldHdhHI ^ C H f i , Becoming a "multicultural citizen" Although I desire to learn more about the Canadian culture and to master speaking the English language, there still are some things in the Canadian culture that I do not like. For instance, I am disturbed by the obvious distinctions in their relationship for economic reasons. I have two customers who come to drinh beer regularly. They tell me they have been best friends since their elementary school. It is so weird to me to watch them always pay separately. I do not know much about what friendship means in the Canadian culture, which might be very different from Korean culture. Koreans thinh best friends are people who provide for each other in non-calculating terms. 9 J O . S O O I M t £ "HU77I- t t i | ° l 5 # CI tfH-°-J2 eg C H E # CI K£%°-°2. dhfe qiwRt, mme-SL ^ . f i d h K i f c ° j o h f i . o i i f ^ c g , * J . ^ M - o i o n w s . i i | 9 1 i f - S m - y - S - - g q j A i dh-b "5t H - & « l R i q t E l l f e "HI f HI S O I W CJOhfl . , W * J IhHICHI fife - f e y #011, < x a M ^ . c i % ^ a - t f i M H - ^ t i H o i B h A - i a fife ¥ M ^ O \, M i i & f - d f i n . U M ^ C I T ^ O - R I M E . Hi-"tt% n« M H 1 H r a ~n\>£oH ^ 2 H f i . Kil feoilfe 21 HI O H ^ d h H I, t q O i f - O I / ^ T J - ^ - f e * d ^ H > t e I H ^ O ] O l t g U W f e a i U i n R i , A.h%&oi w f e i H ^ 4 t § H T O £ o n d H 0 ! - - 0 - . A - h ^ ^ d j e i i f e *J.9- A-I-OIOIIM 7 C h H H "%nh rtf m-TJlM TflAjhdhfe H I 01, H ° ' R t U M ^ - S - A . I H 69 Canadians usually equate their friendship on a fifty and fifty basis, which is a problem for me. In Korean culture, friendship means having a deep sense of emotional sharing and non-egalitarianism represented by uJeong"\n our Korean language. I cannot see any intimate tie in a Canadian friendship such as "Jeong." I still prefer the Korean type of friendship. I help my friends with their needs and whenever they need my support. If I do not have money, my friends will absolutely pay for me without expecting any return. There is no strict give and tahe rule to follow in our friendly relationships. After my arrival in Canada, I have continuously hept my Korean culture. I am recently attempting to picb up many good things from different cultures. Having worhed with people of different cultural backgrounds, I am learning different cultural values from the Chinese and Japanese, as well as the Caucasians. Every culture has both its worthiness and unworthiness. I am trying to move towards an ideal combination of different cultures. Living in a multicultural society means maintaining a balance between the varieties of cultures, not just being a monocultural person. I become better at M u m ^qtterai cHtg-Hl £ uj nj)-£ 4 Altera oiaim qt -,yg_i q ^ * J . ^ M-OIOII-fe S S q t "*3"OI QJ.CHOI: 1HlgOia-BlA.i£!., Uilr £01 QJ.°.Ri Ol t £ Oll-fe uni- M-AL, S E uni- £01 <&°m * J . ^ H ^ 4^E QJL2, -yoi ^ a f e f^t>r^ora., a ^ c i i ^Humoi £&OIIM£-*J.:?A.|-OIOIIME "Tl M QH mo\3."1r St^qt Hi "U€-«i, *cl "HI qjoii Qi icnfi , qt Dhai QiTgtHHJ-ll- 91^oi-fi, *H-§ Ol PJ. 2fMfe %*i6l q t ^ ° I wjitt^oiiqi T^ CH qi.94.teHi, a-qjqt ^omiw HH2J S&OIIM ^-g-^ 5 " § W H ^ B I a l 6Hfi. H-Q^ qt §Pj-A-^ifa- qj-mi QidhqtA.H, tti|qi-&&£qt o m a •^ •^ ••g-Sj-u QJ. E H H - Q - J I £te f €• >B» u f t i t a f-Mon it-wji QJ.^;^-0-. qt^-S^a-2 o ^-g -yE ohujz tuiqi-g&am ct £-£ "%E o m a , w-fe a f t TgqjdmiM qt^ § &O«M u £ H - & Bie i i ! u% -g^ei ^-g 735s tm-o-qiM rai qtifcmhaji S H S . . q^j-g-Su-^•OIIW Agonh-fe iHuiciqt°.i.M qt -gii-oii ^OIIM QJ.TII Wfe ^ - i HH-Q-fe U S , wq^qt - g ^ l ~&&t>m. m qtoii ^g-70 balancing in navigating through different cultures. I think that is necessary in the process of becoming a multicultural citizen who respects the diversity of cultures while retaining one's own cultural heritage. In spite of my exposure to the Canadian culture, I cannot totally distance myself from the Korean culture. I do not submit myself to the Canadian youth culture. I always prefer the Korean pop culture to the Canadians. I browse through Korean magazines, talk about Korean stars, and listen to Korean pop music. My friends download Korean soap operas, variety shows, movies from the internet, or we rent videotapes from the Korean stores. We can buy Korean magazines and best-selling novels at any Korean store in town. Keeping in touch with Korean stuff makes me feel emotionally connected to Korea beyond physical boundaries. Surely this feeling relieves me of anxiety over being out-of-date with the Korean youth group in Korea. I am missing out on what the Koreans in Korea are experiencing since I moved to Canada. I always feel that something is missing or something is lost in my life here in Canada. I come from Korea and I am a Korean. Therefore it is natural for me to crave about what is going on in - y c m i a j i *, HS^-Pis, S R I Z>*Sai"fe ^ * j J £ & M 4 1 2 J ram ra-g- ohV-ej =iHuia9i -S&OII Ql^ftHraJl 9JLCHE *J:^ -S-&01IM %7<1«>| t^cn^ A J = c d o H "^T+dHii, rai SEeHSi °Hf- 0^11 ranh ^qtc+ji ftj:^- CH-f-S-SlW rai SEHH2I tUJOJ. OH^OI | p i f e -g-&"n on_j-nJ=.e., oHfei OfII Oil ^ j l Q|CHE. %-^ -OHA.H -£q|_ Ea-o i -u £ cgSt- =• «J^O«M S o - *H-b T i l - 6 °J tHH^ji c+ aj-fi, rani HUHI-M 5- M R ! 7 x 1 ^ ! ° ! 9iCjL=|lo|IAH Ch-gr CDS. ^ * J A H § a £ . , a a i i HI C I S "UHlon ll-cg CI- 41*^ A qj^-H^^. *J^OIIAH ^-"i^jjoiu >ira*.ijir-& •%E ct qtu; 2^on IhRj ^ A QJcHii. ^dhrJlAH, o | O a 01 HI %CHE %^2f §= rAJCHTJIAH RtTt^l *tf ^OHIfe "£01 Of-WO-qr&siJcH c^ctfe E ^ - i t^c+fl., ^ M5 . S e > E aj^oii 9JL-& rai SEaiei u4= OH&MCJ- MCHOII s^ fclKf 9J.W °JC|-J=-•fe rani- qt^oii 9J.4=- oH^Mcf ^ i c n r a 9iwfe ETJJOI ^ f -H^f i . 0 i - ? . a =?HU-C+Ofl / ^ j l 9J.CHE *J:^- A.t^ OIU.771-% ^ O 0 A H 4?<8*»fe ~%Ofl 4%*t*l ^ / j J O l 71 Korea, instead of just writing it off my mind. I am very proud of being a Korean. I am proud of my Korean culture. I never think that Koreans are less worthy than Canadians. Although a better command of English and knowledge about the Canadian culture may make my life easier, I cannot just discard my Korean "roots." When I have my own children, I will not let them lose the Korean language and culture. I will religiously retain the Korean language, while continuing to perfect my English. In addition to maintaining the Korean language, I think learning a new language is a "bonus" that will lead to broaden my social networks and interactions. If I learn another language, I can interact with people speaking that language. rani- <?j^ M-^oia-fe •'xoi ra-fe Kr^^&imQ., •g-SjOII CH6HAHE. *i mjOIMcJ- £ ibi-ci-jl ^TJdH £ TijS. tyt££ 9J.CH.2., ^7^d| cgcn= XJ- t>y*& Of Tl AH A^TI CHI 0 0 i m S Bjqjt>n_j77f CgcH^ 7g %0-D, t»±=. D h £ £ q J l K | D t ( qjCHfflaRi 9i mU3L r~&~U;tM2., 7CHI ^•aU77|-fl., 7=f U-f-OII Kl-'S-g- UOI-E %^nj-iy. - g & i f QjcHmejA:! ° t £ 4 s % THOIIfl., tyiEOIIAH Ol-O-a 9jCH4§ UH*IE i^ZEH T^ OIIAH-fe %^OJ;f. i±.~n\ % " H ^ i i . u-a- 04-i- % A qji- 0 - 1 ^ ^°<$qt ^q+ei A.h^§2l-E. CH-§% A q j . o u w =L°JL^ cH9i ^Hie i s 0 | tgcH7^ A a^t "^Ol OlAHfe M u | A l | - S^OI-fl , CI-4J U a Oi - i HH-i A qjocg a^-HI ftl-fe I am grateful to my parents for immigrating here. My experience with living overseas is responsible for my growth in maturity. I am aware that my language, cultural, and social limitations restrict my belonging to and coping with this society. The uncertainty and insecurity still makes me so anxious about the 72 Ol a S . Ol .g. H 5.1^ 77)1 -yA.|-*Hj2, QjCHE - g & E 0-4= ua-OIIAH ^RlAH, 731 "J> C| ^^dl--7fl m "7* T&OtQ., -i-iB OOIAH AJO-fe Ti°l 9iCH7ijOf=U AI-3j-gSj-7i(SS Of a "/m KHIQfE. rjj.71 DIEUE 4f%^«)|-U7;i I j T ^ E HHS E l i , 217:1 % D ^ W °i-°-U77i- rani-Qi/Ol-AH fcllTJf U-1I-OI:, Hl^. 9jE=)oi O H v O U 7 7 h ra £ 7 ; , . t£Og. cxa TjJ^- f 72 future. I do not have many resources to depend on here in Canada where I have to live on my own. This situation pushes me to worh through certain barriers, and to mature. Although I have not become the person my parents expected me to be, I am heartily thankful to them for giving me this opportunity to live in another world. A reflecting moment Most traditional research on the identity of culturally marginalized young adults emphasizes that the minority has a strong desire for assimilation into the dominant culture accompanied with shame about and rejection of their home culture when they arrive in a new country (Tse, 1999). However, Brian's story revealed that his identity construction had been more grounded in the Korean culture. Even after moving to Canada, he had never lost touch with the Korean youth culture and had been always connected to it in so many ways, simultaneous with his integration into the Canadian society. Korea was not just a nostalgic home to him as it had been to the past generation of Korean Canadians. Despite his several years of absence in Korea, his identity construction was deeply related to the Korean youth culture. Of course, to some extent, I suspect that the firm attachment to Korean culture was provoked by his difficulties of communicating in English and getting into the social network of the dominant society. Nevertheless, his strong attachment to the Korean culture sustained him through all the frustrations and insecurities of living in an English world, prevented him from falling into the trap of compulsive assimilation, and facilitated constructing a multicultural identity. Brian's story portrayed a change from a monocultural and monolingual person towards one who became multicultural and bilingual. Within the initial three years in Canada, he created 73 "a little Korea" around him ignoring Canadian culture. Brian did not make any effort to fit into the Canadian society; instead he exclusively identified with Korean friends. His fear of being alienated was greater than his desire to practice English, and thus it caused him to remain isolated from his English-speaking friends. Even moving to a regular class provided him with less opportunity to speak English. Although native speakers physically surrounded him they had so little to do with him. His deep-seated insecurity about his English competence factored in the problem of making friends. As a result, he skipped classes, quit school, and finally was drawn into drug use. His story revealed the fact that his school did not play a major role in facilitating his integration in the school environment. He indicated how the school environment had Balkanized different cultural groups and violated the expectations of the integration of different cultures. For both in formal organization and informal socialization, students increasingly tended to stick to their own cultural group. In contrast to the unfriendly school environment, his work provided him opportunities to speak English and to have contact with English speakers in spite of his linguistically and socially vulnerable position. Brian started to settle down through positive work experiences. In fact, he made a great deal of progress in his English. His story showed how his workplace offered him every chance to practice speaking English and to socialize with English-speaking people who made him very comfortable communicating in English. As a consequence, his work opened up greater possibilities for him for active social interactions with native speakers that he had not previously taken part in. As he felt more secure and confident in his self he came to overcome his past difficulties with a different perspective and reintroduce these experiences into his story in a more positive way. He shared his inability to be completely assimilated into the Canadian culture. This means that his integration was only possible to a certain degree. He might not become a white "Canadian," but he no longer felt marginalized. Rather, he was decisively selecting some aspects from both cultures based on the appropriateness to each situation he found himself in while he constantly modified his understanding of the Korean and Canadian cultures drawing on more complex and realistic images of both cultures. The critical and selective 74 investment in both cultures was his way of constructing a more balanced identity. His identity had been transformed from a polarization of two cultures towards a more balanced position. He really enjoyed the newly acquired bicultural or multicultural identity he never experienced in school. Brian's identity construction was different from the traditional theoretical perspective of the linear assimilation model which presumes that immigrants eventually abandon their own culture and assimilate into the host culture. It is intriguing to learn of his integration vis-a-vis his strong ethnic attachment. He cultivated both integration and strong attachment to Korean culture. His integration did not necessarily mean giving up Korean culture or getting brainwashed. Any desire for "being white" did not surface in my conversations with him. Not once did he mention any desire to "look white" or "be white." He spoke more about his lack of proficiency in English as a hindrance to his integration. I could see him productively creating his own cultural identity while rectifying and converting both cultures to suit where he was at. Recently, he was more coming to terms with different cultures and enhancing his ability in deciding which part of the cultures to accept. He was coming to appreciate what Canada had offered him and was becoming more positive about his life. Lastly, it would be interesting to see what kind of role Korean pop culture plays in the identity construction of young Korean Canadians. For Brian, constant contact with Korean culture diminished his anxiety about being distanced from Korea. His story depicted many young Korean Canadians with clothing and hairstyles of Korean pop stars. This reveals, in part, an impact that Korean popular culture has on the cultural identity of the young Korean immigrant generation. Recently, Korean pop culture has gradually permeated into other Asian Canadian groups such as the Chinese and Vietnamese. It does not have any significant impact on the mainstream in Canada, though. Nevertheless, for young Korean Canadians, Korean pop culture remains at a level of considerable connection to the Korean contemporary culture through visual recognition of a few stars and familiar faces without bringing together Korean cultural values and practices. 75 CHAPTER 4 THE (UN)HARMONIOUS STORIES OF TWO YOUNG KOREAN CANADIAN GIRLS This chapter presents the stories of Teresa and Jenny whom I met in the Bible study group at a Korean church. Teresa showed much interest and willingness to share her experiences after I introduced myself and talked about my research. Her story revealed a dramatic shift of identity for the last two years. She attempted to describe her experience in detail as much as she could during the five interview sessions. Usually we spent almost two hours for each session, and she enjoyed telling her stories. I witnessed how she constructed and reconstructed the meaning of her past experiences in the present perspective. At the time of the interview, Jenny was so busy that we only had three sessions lasting an average of an hour. She always played a contemporary Korean pop music when she drove me home. She reminded me of typical Korean girls of her age in Korea by the way she dressed and with the accessories she used. I learned that she either bought her clothes and accessories from Korea or her mom sent them to her. Somehow her appearance demonstrated a continuous connection to the Korean contemporary youth culture. Teresa and Jenny moved to Canada when they were in junior high school. The stories of these two girls revealed how they began to re-assemble and re-evaluated experiences and feelings of ambiguity, tension, and difficulty in moving from adolescent years to adulthood. They had created and recreated their identity by maintaining certain Korean culture and eventually accepting certain Canadian culture. Teresa and Jenny hold a strong multicultural orientation and identity despite having taken different paths in the process of adapting to Canadian culture. Coming to Canada first, Teresa assumed Canadian culture as glorifying and appealing. She 76 tried to have more contact with the white Canadians than the other Korean Canadians in this study. In her adolescence, Teresa persistently attempted to blend into the dominant Canadian culture as fast and as much as possible in the ways of dressing, in her language, and in her behavior. "Acting white" was a major theme that ran deep throughout her high school stories. Teresa severely had many struggles with her parents over her friendships with white Canadians. To her parents, this meant that she was losing her Korean cultural values. Her "acting and being white Canadian" were interlaced with her formation of the negative images of the Korean culture. However, her visit to Korea became a significant moment in a shift of Teresa's identity from being exclusively a white Canadian to being appreciative of her Korean culture. It led her to reconnect with Korean culture and to observe critically the ways in which her Canadian peers subscribed to and practiced mainstream Canadian cultural values. Instead of continually identifying herself with the Canadian culture, Teresa began to form a strong Korean identity drawing upon Korean cultural values and practices. Her behavior of "acting and being white" gradually decreased as she accepted more Korean cultural values than Canadian's. She came to recapture the Korean cultural values she learned early while being critical about the mainstream Canadian cultural values. This process demystified the stereotyped and idealized images of both cultures from which Teresa developed, and enhanced her deeper understanding of both cultures. It also opened for her new ways of viewing both cultures which resulted in constructing and reconstructing her own cultural identity. Jenny's identity shift is characterized by her moving away from a strong attachment to Korean culture to an affirmation of her being a Korean in Canada. She always tried not to forget being Korean; rather Jenny had more association with Korean Canadians or Korean international students who were of her age when they came to Canada. Her socializing network with those Korean friends who brought Korean contemporary youth culture with them provided the main source of her identity construction as a Korean, and thus this situation kept her from being totally alienated from the Korean culture. A community 77 emerged from this association that bonded her cultural identity with other Korean Canadians having experienced a similar upbringing process. Jenny and her Korean friends assumed that their experiences were something unique that could not be totally shared with either other Canadian students or Korean students in Korea. They shared what it meant to be a Korean living in Canada at this point in their lives. Jenny neither gave special attention to fitting in the Canadian culture nor socialized with Canadians as she adapted to the new culture. One of the major reasons for her disinterest in engaging herself in the Canadian culture was partly because her stay in Canada was scheduled to be temporary. She did not feel the need to completely surrender to the Canadian culture because she thought she would go back to Korea after her graduation from high school. This awareness of impermanence kept her from entirely identifying with the new culture. Rather, Jenny was obsessed with the fact that she missed out on a significant part of the youth Korean culture because she had lived in Canada. She felt somewhat "deficient" as compared to the teenagers in Korea — an issue of concern for her. Therefore, she always tried to get updated on what was happening in Korea while in Canada. Yearly visits to Korea further encouraged her to retain the Korean cultural values and not to be too 'Canadianized.' This resulted in her adopting only what she perceived to be the desirable Canadian way of living instead of being completely absorbed into the Canadian culture. Her case rejects the traditional view that excessive exposure to ethnic culture would discourage immigrant students from learning English and from adapting to the new culture. Jenny's attachment to and pride of being a Korean were positively correlated with her motivations to create a balanced cultural identity. This chapter juxtaposes the narratives of two young Korean Canadians together to demonstrate their different experiences. I used each of their stories to elicit a bigger story on cross-cultural experiences. When I talked with Teresa I made better use of Jenny's story, and vice versa. This process of using each other's stories encouraged them to understand their own story in a different way. For example, when I shared Teresa's experience to Jenny she demonstrated great empathy: "Yeah, that's right. I had a similar experience and felt the 78 same way," or "I didn't think that way. I took a different turn." Moreover, working through each other's story allowed the emergence of a deeper and expansive meaning making, as well as a renewed understanding of each other's cross-cultural experience. The writing format of interweaving their stories together illustrates this evocative process of how these two young Korean Canadians actively engaged in each other's story. Leaving Korea Teresa I had so much aspiration for the western life before I immigrated to Canada. One of my best favorite TV series entitled "Saved by the Bell" described the American high school life. This program was very popular among my age group in Korea. Regularly watching it made me long for the western life. In my fifth grade, I had the opportunity to practice my oral English with a native English-speaking teacher who made me order food in English when we went to a restaurant together. At the time I really wanted to visit English-speaking countries. That chance came when I visited my aunts and uncles in the United States. I had a quick stop over in Vancouver before going to New York, Los Angeles, and Boston. While on this trip, I looked around for universities. Since that time, my desire to live in North America increased and I constantly dreamed about a life described in "Saved by the Bell." However, my total engagement in junior high school experiences in Korea diminished much of my strong aspirations for that life. My good performance in school made me very popular among several peer groups in Korea. Then I began to resent the thought of immigrating to Canada, especially when my mom talked about it. Nevertheless, here I am in Canada. j e n n y I came to Canada as, a n I n t e r n a t i o n a l s t u d e n t , w h e n I v i s i t e d here a s a c^ade 79 &> s tudent l was so Impressed wi th Vancouver. The chance to rea l ly practice E n g l i s h I n a n Engl lsh-speate lng com.m.u.^lty was exc i t ing . I had great m,oiaiei^ts when I could express m y s e l f aiA-d matee native speakers uiA,dersta^d me. it was so exc i t ing to order food In E n g l i s h at a M c D o n a l d ' s restaurant, i n partLcuLar, the difference between the sys t ems I n western h igh schools a n d KOYWV^ h igh schools heightened m y Interest to live here. M y good Impression of Vancouver t r iggered m y decis ion to s t u d y here. M y m o m thought that It would be better for me to f i n i s h m y school ing here cons ide r ing the h i g h l y competitive Korean educat ion sys t em, s h e was worried that I could not endure the pressure of ge t t i ng admit ted to a good u n i v e r s i t y I n Korea. Persona l ly , l came to Vancouver wi th cur ios i ty a n d I n wonder. I was expecting so m u c h I n c l u d i n g a n u n f o l d i n g o-f \M.IJ new life here. First steps in a new land Teresa I did not have many expectations the first time I came to Vancouver. I arrived in May to go to a summer school. My mom, brother and I stayed downtown for two weeks before I moved into a home-stay situation in Langley. Although my uncle lived in Chilliwack he did not welcome us because he witnessed so many cases of Korean international students failing to adjust to the new culture that they ended up going home to Korea. In preparation to my coming to Canada, my mom came to Vancouver to look up some schools and assess the living environment. Since my mom was an English teacher she could communicate adequately in English, though not very fluently. I vividly remember my disappointment over the living environment at my home-80 stay in Langley. It was not even close to what I imagined — the beautiful scenery like a garden city described in "Saved by the Bell." Langley was in the remote countryside that looked totally different from the scenes in that TV series. I had an image of a residential area surrounded by big grass and covered with beautiful flowers and clean roads. That was the moment when my dream shattered. There was a stinky smell, no fresh air. It was indeed my first disappointment about the western life. During the drive to my home-stay, all I could see were fruit gardens, wide wilderness, a gas station, and several houses under construction. My home-stay family was a young couple whom I called "uncle" and "aunt". They were only 30 and 24 years old with a three-year old daughter and a two-year old son. My brother's home-stay was much better than mine. The house was surrounded by green grass. The three children in the family were in the same school we attended — a daughter in Grade 8 and two sons in Grade 11 and Grade 12. My mom felt that it would be more helpful for us to live with native Canadians so she decided for us to be in home-stays. She lived for six months in a rented house close to my brother's home-stay. The three of us spent time together on weekends at my brother's home-stay which was only 20 minutes on foot from her rented place. She did not leave for Korea until she was assured that my brother and I had settled in. jei/uA,u) I panicked avid got very viervous, when I was, Left alone In m.y how.e-stay the fLrst time. M y home-stay aunt was a \Mxddlt-aqtd woman who was not good at taking care of zowiebodij. Most often she went out wLth her boyfriend avid she just Left skimmed milk avid sugarless com flakes for cue Later I learned that she was on a diet. M y breakfast consisted of cornflakes with skimmed mi lk . I had lunch at the cafeteria In school, watching the 81 t e l e v i s i o n occupied m o s t o f m y t i m e at home s i n c e there w a s n o b o d y a r o u n d . B e c a u s e I was home a lone o n m y o w n , m o s t o f the t i m e I s t a r t e d m i s s i n g m y p a r e n t s so m u c h . T h i s resul ted I n p h o n i n g home so o f t e n each d a y t h a t I p a i d f ive h u n d r e d d o l l a r s f o r m y phone b i l l a lone . i n c o m p a r i s o n to the c h i l d r e n o f m y father's f r i e n d s , I h a d e a s i l y a d a p t e d we l l to m y schoo l l i fe . I k n e w stories about some Korean I n t e r n a t i o n a l s t u d e n t s who w e n t to N e w Zealand to s t u d y E n g l i s h b u t d i d not a d a p t wel l . T h e y w e n t b a c k to K o r e a af ter o n l y a few m o n t h s . A l t h o u g h I was m i s s i n g m y p a r e n t s a lot, I h a d never s a i d I w a n t e d to go b a c k to K o r e a . I s tar ted I n c^rade S I n w e s t Vancouver, before the s t a r t o f the t e r m , I a t t e n d e d a n o r i e n t a t i o n p r o g r a m f o r new I n t e r n a t i o n a l s t u d e n t s , w e were t a k e n o n a t o u r to s o m e p laces a r o u n d V a n c o u v e r . T o f a c i l i t a t e s o c i a l i z i n g , we were g r o u p e d b y f ives . T h a t t o u r was a good o p p o r t u n i t y to experience the Canadian culture. In the f i r s t t e r m , I w a s placed I n a r e g u l a r c l a s s w i t h M a t h , A r t , S c i e n c e , P E , a n d two extra 5 S L c lasses , w h e n the school s t a r t e d , I was n o t f r i g h t e n e d because I already experienced c o m m u n i c a t i n g w i t h n a t i v e speakers so I was sure I w o u l d get b y w i t h m y E n g l i s h , ttowever, once r e g u l a r c lasses s tar ted I could no t help b u t be embarrassed because I d i d n o t have e n o u g h vocabulary to express m y s e l f I n everyday c o n v e r s a t i o n s . I w a s f r o z e n each t i m e a n y o f m y c l a s s m a t e s a s k e d me s o m e t h i n g . I could n o t s a y a n y t h i n g because I was so n e r v o u s . A f t e r t r y i n g to t a l k to me several t i m e s , t h e y stopped t a l k i n g to me, p r o b a b l y because I c o u l d not a n s w e r t h e m bach. A t t h a t t i m e 82 I f e l t so s t u p i d . L o o k i n g b a c k , I regret those t i m e s f o r n o t t r y i n g to be f r i e n d s w i t h t h e m . T h e n I w a s c o c k y a n d arroc^avit. T h i s experience was the opposite o f m y schoo l l i fe I n Korea where friends, a l w a y s surrouvided me. Perhaps the reasovi w h y caviadiavi s t u d e n t s were Interested I n me was because there were fewer \coreavi s t u d e n t s I n m y school . T h e y a s k e d me some q u e s t i o n s l i k e "Where Is Korea?" a n d " w h a t k i n d o f food do y o u eat?" Despite t h e i r c u r i o s i t y a n d w a n t i n g to k n o w about me, I f e l t so Isolated. I was a l w a y s a lone f o r quite a l o n g whi le af ter school . T h e l a n g u a g e barr ier fac tored I n t h i s s i t u a t i o n . W h e n I go t home around A--.00 I d i d m y h o m e w o r k w i t h i n ± or 2 hours . After w h i c h I h a d n o t h i n g more to do. It was I n these m o m e n t s w h e n I f e l t so l o n e l y — r e m e m b e r i n g m y f a m i l y a n d f r i e n d s I n K o r e a a n d m i s s i n g t h e m m u c h more. I s o c i a l i z e d w i t h other & S L s t u d e n t s who happened to be I n the s a m e boat as me. i n p a r t i c u l a r , Kortavi, C h i n e s e orJapanese s t u d e n t s were m u c h easier to m i n g l e together because we s h a r e d c e r t a i n p h y s i c a l a n d cultural similarities. I f e l t v e r y comfor tab le w i t h t h e m , w h i c h a l lowed a healthier r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h t h e m . M y f i r s t g r o u p o f f r i e n d s c a m e f r o m H-ong K o n g . T h e y we l comed me Into t h e i r houses, w e o f t en w e n t to the mov ie s together. L a t e r I h a d s o m e Caucasian f r i e n d s who were s i m p l y Interested I n me b e i n g d i f f e r e n t . A l l o f s u d d e n , the viuwiber of \coreavi s t u d e n t s q u i c k l y Increased I n m y school so I s t a r t e d h a n g i n g arouvid w i t h K o r e a n s , i n the process o f f r e q u e n t l y s o c i a l i z i n g so l e ly w i t h K o r e a n s t u d e n t s , I lost other f r i e n d s f r o m d i f f e r e n t cultural badnq^rouvids, those f r o m t+ong K o n g , T a i w a n , a n d j a p a n , as we l l as C a n a d i a n s . K o r e a n s t u d e n t s I n caviada tended to 83 exclusively group together thereby creat ing a fee l ing that C a n a d i a n s seemed not to llfee them. Af t e r a month , I decided to move out of m y home-stay. M y parents came here a g a i n to help me f i n d another home-stay. M y second home-stay a u n t was so telnd a n d very nice. She was £>o years old l i v i n g wi th her daughter 's friend a n d S u s a n who became m y roommate. S u s a n was a Chinese g i r l who was a year older t h a n I a m . Even I f m y new a u n t was a l i t t le bit s t r ic t she was lltee m y grandmother . She a l w a y s helped me wi th m y homework,. Every t i m e I was depressed a n d frustrated, she gave me a b ig h u g a n d cheered me up. I s t ayed In th is home-stay u n t i l I entered u n i v e r s i t y . To th is d a y I a m s t i l l feeeplng I n touch wi th her, especially on her b i r thday , Mother's £>ay, a n d Chr i s tmas . R e g a r d i n g m y studies, I s t rugg led wi th S o c i a l s t u d i e s s ince I was not f a m i l i a r wi th caviadiavi h is tory, the country's social issues or po l i t i c a l s y s t em. M a t h or science was easy for me to uviderstavid. However, social s t u d i e s needed a bac\zc\rouvid I n cav^adiavi h is tory a n d the mastery of view E n g l i s h terminologies . I was completely Ignoran t of the ca\A,adiavi context as wel l as the terminologies , i a l w a y s toofe wi th me a n electronic E n g l i s h -Korean d i c t i o n a r y to help me loote up new vocabulary. ( got Into the habit of l o o k i n g up new words I n a d i c t i ona ry . A d d i t i o n a l l y , the E n g l i s h phonetics that I learned I n Korea sounded t o t a l ly different from, what I was hearing In class. I had one such experience when 84 we s tudied the p a i n t i n g of Michelangelo "Buonarroti. I could not catch his name when a native E n g l i s h speaker mentioned It because of a different p ronunc ia t i on . I wondered whether l e a rn ing I n Korea was useful , cons ider ing that I had to learn everyth ing a g a i n a n d repeat some of m y courses I n Korea. W r i t i n g a n essay was another problem to deal w i th . I had never been t a u g h t how to write a n essay I n E n g l i s h . M y home-stay a u n t Invested her time in a s s i s t i n g me to write m y essays, w e worked together after dinner from g-.ODym to ±0:OO^m. M y home-stay a u n t even encouraged me to speak E n g l i s h a l l the t ime, which was good I n Improving m y oral E n g l i s h . She even suggested t a l k i n g I n E n g l i s h to m y Korean f r iends . Because m y home-stay a u n t took care of me very wel l I d i d not feel very homesick, but s t i l l I missed m y parents so much . Teresa Immediately after moving to a home-stay, I started a summer course for international students. Often my home-stay aunt picked me up from school very late. Many times I was alone waiting for her. Not having friends at the time, I just wandered around school. My brother was luckier than I. His home-stay aunt picked him up as soon as school was finished since their three children attended the same school. Sometimes, my home-stay aunt usually took me grocery shopping after school. She took me to her parent's house, to the library and community center. It was good for me to experience a little Canadian culture. Going home late in the evening prevented me from feeling lonely. My home-stay aunt tried to provide me 85 with many opportunities to experience and live in a Canadian culture. On weekends I visited my brother's home-stay family and spent time with their children who were of my age. I considered myself lucky when I learned that other international Korean students hung out in the mall on weekends by themselves. I spent a lot of time with my brother's home-stay family. All international and recent immigrant students took an English examination to determine their English level. I was assigned to be in an ESL class, which disappointed me. I expected to be with native speakers where I could practice my oral English. Unfortunately, most of my courses consisted of non-native speakers from India, Iran, and China. I could study with the native English speakers only in Physical Education and Art classes. I rarely had opportunities to practice English in my ESL classes. Students sat in groups — Chinese sat with Chinese, Koreans with Koreans, and other small ethnic groups were sat with themselves. ESL students hardly talked to each other. They did not intermingle with each other. They were completely compartmentalized and spoke in their own language with their own group in school. The teachers set up the rule of "Only English at school." Students peaking in a mother tongue got lower marks. There was an evident separation even among Koreans. The recent immigrant students were exclusively socializing with immigrant students from the other countries. Another group of Korean immigrant students born here in Canada mingled only with others who were born in Canada. The opportunity to practice English was indeed very limited for the recent Korean immigrant and international students. Assimilation and acculturation Teresa Making friends during my first year was the most difficult issue. Canadian students neither approached me nor initiated any conversation. I strenuously attempted speaking even with my 'broken' English. I copied the fashion and mimicked the behavior of the popular girls in school. They exclusively socialized among themselves. They sat together in the classroom and had lunch together. When I learned that they liked Asian products like stationery, colored pencils, and fancy dyestuff, I bought so many of these fancy things simply to draw their interest and get their attention. They got whatever they liked from any of my fancy stuff. In a way I was bribing them because I wanted to hang around with them with an expectation of my becoming white. In the Physical Education class, two students were supposed to choose members for their teams. One student was from a popular group, the other from the not so popular group. I wished I were selected for the popular group. But, unfortunately both groups did not choose any of the ESL students. We were chosen only at the last moment, after all the white Canadians were on a team. I did my best to be noticed by the students in the popular group. My being good at sports helped me to belong to their team. However, we only communicated with each other during the games in PE. They never said "Hello" to me when they ran into me in the hallway. They never talked to me or even acknowledged my presence in the cafeteria. I tried very hard to get to be known by them, but they did not welcome me into their circle. My feeling alone confirmed my belonging to the minority. Inevitably, I decided to hang around with Korean or Chinese students in my ESL class. A year later, I transferred to the regular class. Being there increased my wanting to make friends with the popular Canadian girls. For me, having the popular girls for my friends signified my becoming a normal Canadian. I really wanted to be like them. Jennifer, one of the popular girls in my class, was the first person who made me feel welcome. She happened to sit next to me. Whenever we met in the hallways, she always said "Hello Teresa." She was so funny, sometimes silly. She liked my fancy stationery so much that I gave her whatever she liked. We became close to each other. I aspired so much to become friends with Canadians to the extent of doing my best to draw their attention as much as I could. I tried to be active in a PE class in order to be around Caucasian girls. Later on Canadian students told me that the way for ESL students to befriend them was to actively participate in class. Usually most ESL students did not participate in the PE class. They just sat in the corner and talked among themselves. ESL students seemed not to care about Canadians. Some of my Canadian friends complained about the passivity of ESL students to explain why they excluded them. The passivity caused their being ostracized. Remembering those days, I realize that my strong desire for the friendship exclusively with white Canadians was such a childish and silly idea. Here is a funny but embarrassing story when I was in Grade 10. My school had a big gym and another smaller gym with only one changing room for girls. We shared the same block with the Grade 8 girls so the changing room was very crowded. It really caused a lot of inconvenience so we tended to change in the washroom. For four months I followed the popular girls to the washroom. All that time they did not notice that I was there. They did not even say "Hi" to me. While in the changing room they always talked to themselves and never to me, although we were in the same soccer and basketball teams. I always changed in the corner with them listening to their conversations, but I was invisible to them. They talked about what they did on weekends. I knew everything they did — attending parties, going bowling, they did this and that. I got to know these "cool" girls and their close friends. From those little conversations, they started to notice me. The popular girls always used deodorant after our gym activity. I got a Calvin Klein deodorant that nobody else had at the time. My mom gave that to me from Korea. I always carried it in my bag. One day in the washroom somebody said, "Oh that smell is so nice." All of them tried my deodorant on. I lent them the deodorant 88 and sometimes I lent extra shirts and socks. One of them offered, "Hey, if you want you can put your stuff in my locker." I started to share a locker with them after that incident. That changed things between us. I got close to them. I shared this story to my best friend Mayan, one of the popular girls, when we became best friends. She told me that they never noticed that I was following them to the washroom to change for four months. She did not even remember what happened in the changing room. For them, that was an ordinary thing. She was just doing something that everybody did, but for me it was something special and significant because that started my belonging to her group. Mayan was the first person to ask me to go bowling, "Hey Teresa, do you want to go bowling with us on Friday?" I ended up getting an opportunity to be friends with them. It took me a year and a half to be friends with them. Still, the other girls did not care about me. Kale, Mayan's best friend, befriended me. One day, she invited me for a sleep over at her house. I was all prepared for the sleep over. Unfortunately, Kale did not come to school that day. I did not know what I was supposed to do. My home-stay family already left so I was very worried. It was Mayan who rescued me. When she saw me outside she offered to walk me to Kale's house. On our way we talked about a lot of things. I talked about Korea, my friends, my impression of Canada, and many others. I felt that got us closer and better friends. After the sleep over, I went home the next morning while they went out together again. At the time my home-stay family moved to White Rock. Residing in White Rock made it impossible for me to join them very often. The girls frequently talked to each other on the phone. My difficulty with English prevented me from having conversations with them by phone. I always turned on the answering machine even if I was at home because I was so embarrassed each time I talked on the phone. It was enough for me to hang out with them outside of the school. At the time I had a crush on one of their friends. Although they asked me to tell him, I was nervous because I did not speak very good English. Speaking with native speakers always got me in trouble. Despite having dinner and spending time with them, I still felt left out. All I did was listen, but I gradually felt more comfortable with them. Nevertheless, I still preferred not to eat in the cafeteria because they were always together by the back table. There were only five out of 30 people I know in the cafeteria. Once I courageously went to the cafeteria to have lunch and I shared my friends' table. They continued talking among themselves as if I was not there. I wanted to further develop a friendship that was just starting. But I was not able to go out with them all the time because my parents did not allow me to sleep over very often. Mayan held parties a lot in her pretty house with a huge backyard. She invited me to her birthday party. During that party, I was left out because I felt that some people actually did not like me. Some guys said "Hi" to me and recognized me. They made fun of my Korean name because of the sound, but I did not care about it. On one hand, I liked it because that was just one way of making friends. When they made fun of my name and I felt noticed. At another party, I really got drunk. As I lay on the bench I heard someone said, "Oh, Teresa is sick." That sounded like they noticed me. It felt good to have people know that I was there. They were always talking about that night. "Yah, she was so sick," "She got so drunk," and "She did ..." I was not bothered at all by these comments because I got really close to them and became a better friend with them. Initially, I always tried to do everything Canadians did to be accepted. But there were something I did not really want to do, like girls and boys sleeping over together in one room or sharing a tent. I knew it was absolutely impossible for this to happen in Korea. As an elementary student, I could sleep in the same room with boys. But in high school, girls were not allowed to share rooms with boys in the Korean cultural context. I would not feel comfortable doing that. I thought Canadian culture was very different. Another episode when I felt so left out was in a swimming party in the summer. I was undecided because I did not really have much experience with swimming parties and I did not know how to swim. Canadians learn to swim at an early age. Most of my Canadian friends were really good swimmers. They went up to the booth and jumped in the pool. I never felt comfortable doing what they did. However strong I wanted to get involved in all these activities, I was emotionally unprepared. As soon as I started building close friendships with them, I had to go back to Korea for two and half months. I could not be with them in the summertime even if I wanted to spend more time to get close to them. I was anxious whether they would remember me when I came back the following school year. When I came back, I brought so many presents for them. I got pencils, pencil case, waterproof notes, erasers, and many others. Since I had not hung out with them for the long summer, I felt awkward when I came back. They did not talk to me until after I gave them the presents I brought from Korea. They loved my presents. We renewed our friendship. A year later, my parents immigrated to Vancouver. We moved to a new house very close to Kale's. It took two seconds to run to her house. Our being neighbors strengthened our friendship and with her other friends. Kale and Mayan became my best friends. We are still friends and keep in touch with each other. A l t h o u g h I s t r u g g l e d w i t h E n g l i s h I p e r f o r m e d v e r y we l l I n M a t h . M y c l a s s m a t e s c o m p l i m e n t e d m e f o r m y b e i n g g o o d at It, w h i c h g a v e m e se l f -c o n f i d e n c e , g e t t i n g h i g h e r marhs, a l w a y s g a v e m e h a p p i n e s s . T h e freedom. I 91 enjoyed to choose classes I was Interested In and to speak my mind In class added to my satisfaction. Compared to the Korean educational system, the Canadian system allowed much more self-governance to students. I really liked that. The most significant learning for me In Canada was being more Independent. A t home, my mom always did everything for me. Coming here I had to do everything for myself. Finding myself In this situation made me more Independent and self-confident. One thing that bothered me though was the arrival of the weekends. Sometimes l was envious of my Canadian friends, spending time together with their parents. Korean international students without families here In Canada usually went downtown to get Korean food. As I continued to hang around with Korean friends, I started being more Interested In Korean pop culture, current Korean music or movies, in c^ade 8 and c^radej), I never knew Korean pop culture. The Korean international students coming In my school introduced me to Korean pop culture. They borrowed Korean CDs and talked about them, when I shared Korean music with my Canadian friends they found it funny. I spent more time with Korean friends who shared a similar background with me. gradually, most of my close friends became Koreans, if I needed somebody to talk about my problems and struggles I always turned to my Korean friends. It was not because of my language barrier but because of what we had In common. I started socializing more frequently with Korean students In c r^ade l l . They came over to my home-stay; we talked on the phone for a long time at night. 9 2 Never have I imagined h a v i n g a Caucasian boy-friend a l t h o u g h s o m e K o r e a n f e m a l e s t u d e n t s preferred to date a C a u c a s i a n g u y . w h e n I t h o u g h t about d a t i n g a Caucasian g u y , a c e r t a i n d i s c o m f o r t a n d a w k w a r d n e s s e m e r g e d . I w a s s u r p r i s e d t h a t I w a s f e e l i n g t h i s w a y c o n s i d e r i n g s o m e k i n d o f I l l u s i o n s a b o u t Caucasian g u y s I h a d before I c a m e . I t h o u g h t Caucasian g u y s were h a n d s o m e , k i n d , a n d In a good manner. From my experience living here I w a s d i s a p p o i n t e d . N o w I rea l ize t h a t A s i a n g u y s l i k e Koreans or Hong-Kong C h i n e s e looked more "cool" to me . T h e Caucasian guy looked cute, bu t I considered h l m j u s t as a friend, somebody w i t h w h o m I s o m e t i m e s h u n g out w i t h o n the w e e k e n d s . One o f m y concerns about dating a Caucasian guy originated from a s tereotyped n o t i o n t h a t Caucasian guys p r o b a b l y w a n t e d to en joy d a t i n g In a more liberated way which w o u l d n o t be acceptable In the Korean culture. This c u l t u r a l difference scared me. M y f i r s t boyfriend was a Korean guy who came here the same time as I d i d . w e k n e w w h i c h behavior w a s a l lowed or n o t a l lowed for our age. D a t i n g a Korean was more comfor tab le because we shared I m p l i c i t c u l t u r a l v a l u e s . There were o n l y three Korean s t u d e n t s In m y s c h o o l I n m y f i r s t y e a r . I was close to one o f t h e m , as wel l as w i t h m y other H-ong K o n g , C h i n e s e , a n d Canadian friends, w e s t a y e d as friends until c^radej). W h e n I go t to c^rade 8, most of my friends were Canadians. I d i d not have any new Canadian friends since then. M a n y Canadian s t u d e n t s I n m y s c h o o l c a m e from w e a l t h y families. They s tereotyped K o r e a as a developing s m a l l country as presented t h r o u g h the m e d i a , it w a s terribly d e v a s t a t i n g f o r me. I t r ied to 93 show a different Korea from the one t h e y had seen on T V . I w a s forced to brag about being rich in Korea in order to socialize w i t h t h e m . Canadians tended to make fun of E S L s t u d e n t s because t h e y c o u l d not understand E n g l i s h v e r y wel l . A l t h o u g h t h e y never c o m m e n t e d o n o u r p h y s i c a l d i f f erences , we fe l t discriminated, s o m e o f t h e m f r a n k l y a s k e d me, " W h y are A s i a n s u n a b l e to s p e a k E n g l i s h ? " I w a s so upset t h a t I answered b a c k , " W h y c a n ' t y o u s p e a k Korean? can y o u I m a g i n e how m u c h d i f f i c u l t It Is f o r u s to l ive w i t h a language barrier?" They finally said, "But , anyway, you are Hying in Canada now, so you have to s p e a k E n g l i s h . " s i n c e t h e y h a d never experienced Hiving in a different language and culture, they could not understand the s t r u g g l e s o f n o n - n a t i v e speakers . T h e y a s s u m e d t h a t It was not u p s e t t i n g to make fools o f people who d i d not have a good command of E n g l i s h . T h e y s i m p l y expected us to s p e a k E n g l i s h s i n c e we were I n Canada. I t h i n k t h a t r a c i s m w a s s t r o n g I n m y school . One day my Korean friends and I spoke Korean in the bus. Some Qrade 5 Canadian s t u d e n t s s a t b e h i n d us . T h e y m i m i c k e d Korean sounds and said, "They must be u n a b l e to s p e a k E n g l i s h . T h e i r language sounds s t u p i d a n d s i l l y . . . " I was so mad t h a t I t o l d t h e m , "\ can understand E n g l i s h " T h e y j u s t f roze , t h e n one s a i d to me, "We were n o t talking about y o u . w e were talking a b o u t your friends." I answered back, "They can also s p e a k E n g l i s h . " T h e y a p o l o g i z e d b y s a y i n g , "we w e r e j u s t p l a y i n g . " I a d v i s e d t h e m n o t to m a k e fools o f n o n -n a t i v e speakers . I s a i d , "Don't m a k e fun of Asians. They can understand 94 English." several times I experienced this d iscr iminat ing situation. From these terrible experiences, we began to take a hostile attitude towards Canadians,. They considered Canadians to be racist because they saw non-native speakers as inferior and stupid. Male Canadian students did not make fun of male Koreans who looked physical ly strong although they could not speak English f luently. There were two Korean male students In my school. One was In good shape physical ly, and the other was small . Both of them could not speak English well. One day, the smal l Korean student made a mistake In a soccer game during PE and his team lost. One of members on his team blamed him and attacked h im verbally and physical ly, when he grabbed his neck, the other Korean student came and said, "He Is my friend. Everybody can make a mistake, but you are too mean to him." The Canadian guy did not say anything back to this t a l l Korean guy. After that incident, none of the Canadian guys made fun of these two Korean students. O n the contrary, among female students, physical abearance was much more Important. For me, the g iv ing of that fancy stationery was a good means of drawing their attention. t>uring my vacation in Korea, I always bought a variety of fancy stationery to give to Canadian female students. They liked It so much. Through my presents I was accepted. 95 Reconnecting to both cultures Teresa Within the first few years of migrating to Canada, I really wanted to be a part of its culture. I attempted so hard to make friends with Canadians. There was a shift after high school when I was branded 'not being Korean anymore.' I stopped socializing with a lot of my Canadian friends. When I went to the college in Langley I had a couple of high school friends in my college, but I only socialized with them in school, never outside of school. We saw each other in the library and studied together. No plans were ever made for after school. Most of the time I hung out with my ex-boyfriend or I worked at the mall. I did not try hard to be their friends any more. I did not care whether I did not have Canadians for my friends. I was not interested in them any more. After I decided not to be friends with Canadians I started talking with my Korean friends in Korea on the Internet. I was not on the computer as much when I used to spend time with Canadian friends. I did not think about my Korean friends at home. The moment I got started on the Internet, I was touched by the Korean culture more and experienced it more often by talking with my Korean friends. I knew that when I first came here I was obviously going to miss Korea and my friends. The more I spent time with my Canadian friends, my interest in Korean culture decreased. At some point I did not care about what was going on in Korea because I much more strongly wanted to be a part of Canadian society. My brother's case was so different from mine. He was drawn into Korean culture even though he had many Canadian and Chinese friends. He always knew what Korean songs were new and what trends were popular in Korea. He was always listening to Korean music and had more Korean friends, too. I was watching some Korean movies with him and his Korean friends. It made me get to know Korean stuff although I did not intend to find out. Through him my feelings about 96 being 'Canadian' gradually changed. The critical turning point of my transformation occurred when I was supposed to go to Korea to work as a volunteer for the World Cup in the beginning of May in 2002. Four or five months before leaving, I wanted to know about what was going on in Korea to avoid being left out when I went there for the World Cup. I wanted to be part of Korean culture because I was a Korean and I assumed that Koreans were going to expect me to act like authentic Koreans. I was still hanging out with my Canadian boyfriend and Kale, but at the same time I started talking to my Korean friends very often through e-mails. I became more interested in Korean pop culture including music and other entertainment. The Internet provided me access to Korean pop culture such as Korean music, drama, and reality shows. Also, creating communities on virtual space was very active at the time. Through this virtual community I communicated with other Koreans. We posted our pictures and wrote about our hobbies, favorite music, and journals. Each time I wanted to hear some news about Korea I surfed the Internet. Any Korean who went to Korea during the World Cup season probably became so proud of being Korean. I learned something about my Korean culture. I was never proud of my country before the World Cup and I did not really care about Korean culture or my being a Korean. However, when I worked as a volunteer I took a strong pride in Korea. That visit also provided me the opportunity to meet all of my Korean friends again. It was fun and enlightening to share each other's experiences. When I was in Canada I never wanted to go back to Korea. But, while I hung out with my old Korean friends I felt I wanted to come home more often and learn more about Korea. I have a lot to thank my dad for that experience because he suggested to me to volunteer for the World Cup. I realized that my dad always wanted the best for me. Now I can more understand his perspective and I have a lot of respect for him 97 although we often got into a big fight over cultural differences. My visit to Korea helped me to realize what it meant to be a Korean and to know that my parents would always be for my good. Presently, I am more willing to do anything that my parents tell me. I know that I have not changed myself fully but I am trying to be a good daughter to them. J e n n y • D u r i n g the f i r s t three y e a r s o f m y h i g h s c h o o l I n Vancouver, I v i s i t e d m y p a r e n t s I n Korea twice a y e a r , s i n c e c^rade 11 , I w e n t home o n l y once a y e a r . I h a d a l w a y s reminded m y s e l f t h a t I w a s a Korean. I d i d not understand w h y I d i d It a l t h o u g h there w a s no reason to forget it. i t r i ed to ca tch up w i th a l l the new K o r e a n pop s o n g s , music, and m o v i e s . I w a n t e d to k n o w both the Korean and Canadian cultures so that I could keep a balance between t h e m , it seemed to be more w o r t h y t h a t I was able to s p e a k E n g l i s h , a n d at the s a m e t i m e s p e a k K o r e a n p e r f e c t l y . I c a m e to Canada when I w a s young and I d i d n o t have a n y p r o b l e m s w i th the E n g l i s h language. Nevertheless, I s t i l l feel more c o m f o r t a b l e r e l a t i n g w i t h Koreans than Canadians. There were so many Korean s t u d e n t s who c a m e to m y s c h o o l In c^rade 11 . Teachers recyuired me to help the new Korean s t u d e n t so Korean s t u d e n t s were a l w a y s around me. After I s ta r ted g e t t i n g to k n o w more Korean friends I n a t u r a l l y stopped s o c i a l i z i n g w i t h Canadian friends. It w a s not e a s y to I n t e r m i n g l e Korean friends w i t h Canadian friends because o f the c u l t u r a l differences and the language barrier. They felt uncomfortable w i t h each other, it w a s difficult to find commonalities between the two g r o u p s . 98 For example, when Canadian friends, shared jotees, my Korean friends were unable to understand for the lack of cultural knowledge as well as their Insufficient vocabulary. Koreans only talked about Korea and Canadian friends only talked about Canada. There was a communication gap. Koreans and Canadians wanted to do different things during leisure time Korean immigrant students who come from wealthy families usually spend a lot of money. Korean parents usually provide financial support to their children until they finish the university. Canadian students spend money sparingly. Canadian students have to find a job In the summer time to finance their studies. A spinning growth as Korean Canadian Teresa When people leave one place and move somewhere to a totally different environment people change a lot. If I lived by myself completely isolated from the Korean culture and socialized only with Canadian friends, I would behave differently now. Because I have lived with my parents who always guide me, I do not totally lose the Korean culture. My parents have been a significant factor for me to keep the Korean culture. I think my maintaining the Korean culture, despite embracing some of the Canadian practices, has a lot to do with living with my parents who live the Korean culture. I am introduced to some Korean practices that I personally think are more appropriate to me even if I am in Canada. For example, I believe I have to be loyal to and respectful of my parents. I feel bad when I see Canadian children behave disrespectfully to their parents. Our Korean language has two different uses: one for the elders and the other for the young. I realized that English does not have that linguistic characteristic. I heard that 99 some second generation Korean Canadians do not know this distinction. But I want to make this obvious because when I go back to Korea I do not want Koreans to think that I am a white person and not Korean any more. The possibility of going back to Korea requires that I keep my Korean culture. I think that if I do not retain my culture I will have a hard time adjusting when I visit Korea. I am aware that I have lost some of the Korean culture since I have lived here for a long time. But, at the same time I get more used to the different cultures like Chinese and Vietnamese through relationships with friends from these different cultures. I still want to learn about other cultures. I think I create my cultural identity from where I am. Recently, I am more often hanging out with Koreans, Chinese, or other Asians because there are so many Asians around. In my neighborhood in Richmond and even at work there are more Chinese than white people. When I hang out with them I feel a stronger bonding because we look similar physically and we share similar cultural values. At the same time I do not have any problem spending time with white Canadians though. I assume that if I were solely surrounded with white Canadians and hang out with them, I would definitely become a different person. I distance myself from some part of Canadian culture now because my parents do not allow me to go to clubs, drink a lot, or live with a boyfriend before marriage. I do not really care much about fitting into the Canadian culture any more as much as I used to. Right now, I would not exclusively want to immerse myself into Canadian culture. It is a blessing that I know both cultures very well. Whether I am hanging out with white people or Korean people I would feel comfortable and be able to be more flexible. Personally, both cultures co-exist within myself. I have no preference for either one. There is a saying that when people live in another country for a while they try to learn the new culture. But when they get older they want to return to their home 100 culture. I think that is true. In high school for five years, I hung out with all white Canadians and tried hard to experience their culture. After high school, I started getting more interested in the Korean culture. I meet many new Korean immigrant students who want to experience the Canadian culture. I am sure that once they experience it, change will happen. All of us, as immigrants, try to live within the Canadian culture. We try to accept almost everything we observe, which sometimes provokes us to live within two conflicting cultures. I would like to suggest to recent immigrant Korean students to select what aspects of the new culture to embrace, instead of accepting everything of the new culture. They might not be aware that something of the Canadian culture is not applicable to the Korean culture. There will always be a conflict. Living in two cultures is not going to be smooth. A barrier between these two cultures may exist. Canadian students should also understand the Korean culture if they want to be friends with Korean students. Unless Canadians and Koreans understand both cultures, there will always be problems with their relationships. For Korean high school students, it is very difficult to develop a balanced cultural identity when they are not yet mature enough to critically look at both cultures. The first time I came to Canada, it was necessary to know the new culture strategically. It took me several years to intensively learn and experience the new culture, but in the end it slowly faded. Canadian culture was not as I thought it would be. Looking back right now, I realize that in spite of my strenuous attempt to be assimilated, I was holding on to Korean culture without my knowing it. People always brand me as, half Korean and half Canadian. Canadians do not look, at me as a full Canadian. They see me as an Asian because I am socializing more with Koreans and speaking Korean. But even if I was bom 101 here In Canada and could not s p e a k Korean at all, Canadians s t i l l would not see m e as a true Canadian. I \znow that I w i l l never be considered as a full Canadian because of m y A s i a n p h y s i c a l features and the different culture. W h e n i go to Korea, Koreans t h i n k of me as a w e s t e r n i z e d Korean, w h i c h m e a n s t h a t I a m n o t a pure Korean. Koreans w o u l d consider m e as h a l f -K o r e a n a n d Canadians see m e as ±oo^> Korean. I a m a f o r e i g n e r In Korea, and l a m a K o r e a n In Canada. I a m so c o n f u s e d o f who I a m really. I d i s l i k e d t h i s a m b i g u o u s p o s i t i o n In m y h i g h schoo l . I could not s i t u a t e myself — A m I a Canadian or a Korean? M y cultural identity is neither w h o l l y Korean nor w h o l l y Canadian. B u t I c a m e to appreciate more p o s s i b i l i t i e s I have earned by l i v i n g In both c u l t u r e s . A s I become more c o m f o r t a b l e w i t h both cultures I t a k e m y living In-between c u l t u r e s as a privilege and an advantage, of course, sometimes I feel s o m e t h i n g missing inside me. For example , I n the English literature class at university I strongly feel a l a c k of social, c u l t u r a l , a n d h i s t o r i c a l backgrounds to understand w e s t e r n literature. Then I feel left b e h i n d I n contemporary Korean y o u t h culture because I have been away from Korea for a long time. B u t , r i g h t n o w I l e a r n to v a l u e more o f w h a t I have g a i n e d ra ther t h a n w h a t I have lost b y l i v i n g I n a different culture. i f I were to define my c u l t u r a l Identity, I w o u l d s a y t h a t I a m J-5°(o Korean because I have been t a u g h t Korean c u l t u r a l et iquette a n d v a l u e s a n d have a n o p p o r t u n i t y to prac t ice t h e m whenever I v i s i t Korea each y e a r . M y 102 p a r e n t s a l w a y s r e m i n d me to behave proper ly In a Korean c u l t u r a l context , a n d correct me If I do s o m e t h i n g w r o n g . I s t i l l have so m u c h Korean culture Inside me. A t the s a m e t i m e , I a m g e t t i n g more u s e d to the Canadian culture since I have already been here {or e i g h t years. Despite socializing wi th Korean-friends and s p e a k i n g Korean more frequently, I have unconsciously adap ted more to the Canadian culture. Bach t i m e I visited Korea I f e l t t h a t I d i d not be long there a n y more. I f e l t t h a t m y elementary schoo l f r i e n d s a n d I were n o t s p i r i t u a l l y c o n n e c t e d , certainly, I w a s g l a d to see t h e m , ttowever, b e i n g w i t h t h e m f o r three d a y s , I lost m y e n t h u s i a s m to the p o i n t o f f e e l i n g u n c o m f o r t a b l e w h e n we were together , s o m e h o w there were exper ien t ia l a n d s p i r i t u a l g a p s . I -found it very d i f f i c u l t to b r idge o u r g a p s — m y f r i e n d s who s t a y e d In Korea and m y s e l f who experienced living in another culture. Finally, I s p e n t more t i m e w i t h Korean Canadian -friends I m e t In Canada, w e share similar experiences as students in Vancouver. These experiences c o n n e c t u s In s o m e w a y s . A l t h o u g h ( a m f l u e n t In the Korean language, there is s o m e t h i n g t h a t I cannot share w i th 'pure' Koreans. I t h i n k m y experiences o f I d e n t i t y construction take a different turn-from the second generation Korean Canadians. The difference \ could t h i n k o f between the other second generation Korean Canadians and me lies in my having a strong Korean identity before immigrating to Canada. In case o f second generation Korean Canadians, as t h e y have matured they begin to understand t h e i r p a r e n t s , r e c o g n i z e w h a t t h e y have been t h r o u g h , and s t r e n u o u s l y a t t e m p t to seek the i r roots. B u t I already let those t h i n g s go. 103 M y f o c u s Is p r e s e n t l y more o n b e c o m i n g bicultural or m u l t i c u l t u r a l a n d b i l i n g u a l ra ther t h a n j u s t b e i n g monocultural avid m o n o l i n g u a l . I do not w a n t to be a K o r e a n C a n a d i a n who Is an only K o r e a n p h y s i c a l l y bu t m e n t a l l y Canadian. I w a n t to a d a p t to Canadian c u l t u r e w i t h a pr ide f o r b e i n g a Korean maintaining m y Korean cultural background. when I f i r s t c a m e here as a n I n t e r n a t i o n a l s t u d e n t , I w a s j u s t supposed to s t u d y here o n l y f o r s i x y e a r s u n t i l I gained p r o f i c i e n c y in the E n g l i s h language and be prepared to go to a university in Korea, s i m u l t a n e o u s w i t h learning E n g l i s h a n d the Canadian culture, I o f t e n reminded m y s e l f t h a t I w a s a K o r e a n who w o u l d be g o i n g b a c k . I a l w a y s assumed that I w o u l d be going back, to Korea when I f i n i s h e d h i g h s c h o o l . T h e purpose o f m y c o m i n g to Canada w a s j u s t to l e a r n E n g l i s h . Korea was a l w a y s m y home I n m y m i n d a l t h o u g h I enjoyed learning the new culture and language and meeting new friends here. I never t h o u g h t t h a t I w o u l d l ive here forever, i never fe l t a need to be f u l l y Canadian and be ignorant of the Korean culture. I a l w a y s t h o u g h t t h a t I needed to l e a r n more about m y c u l t u r e ra ther t h a n the Canadian culture. T h r o u g h o u t m y h i g h schoo l I h a d lots of Canadian friends, but never strongly desired to be westernized. I have t o t a l l y t r ied to ho ld o n t o m y Korean background. Now I a m a n I m m i g r a n t a n d have g o t t e n more w e s t e r n i z e d . I b e g i n to q u e s t i o n m y s e l f " W h y s h o u l d I o n l y be c o m m i t t e d to the Korean culture?" "Why s h o u l d I be o n l y a Korean?" i have l i ved here f o r s e v e n y e a r s a n d been exposed to the Canadian way of life as well. W h e n It comes d o w n to the s h i f t I n m y identity, I c a n s a y t h a t I have s h i f t e d from being an authentic Korean to 104 b e i n g more c o m f o r t a b l e w i t h h a v i n g both Ident i t ies — l a m a Korean and a ca nadlan. Teresa Presently, I am respectful of both cultures although I do not like some of practices in the Korean culture. There are also some practices that I do not like in the Canadian culture. Thus, from both cultures there is some that I like and I do not like although I cannot specifically tell what they are. I do not want to lose both cultures. I am always looking for a job in a Canadian company or even American company because I want to keep some Canadian practices I like. While working in a Canadian company I will meet many people from different cultures as well as Canadians. There might be Chinese, Vietnamese, or different ethnic groups. Lots of them have been here for longer than I have. Most of them might have even been born here and they are very "Canadianized." If I am just surrounded by Koreans I will lose the Canadian cultural characteristics I have developed. But I want to continue doing what I used to do and to learn more about the Canadian culture. I am trying not to lose my Korean culture, and at the same time I am also trying not to lose the Canadian culture. I want to select the good practices from both cultures. It will lead me to be proud as a Canadian, as a Korean, and a Korean Canadian. I am Canadianized, but I have Korean characteristics. People may remark, "Oh, she is a Canadian but she has a Korean background." I would say "I am Canadianized, but I am not Canadian because I have a lot of Korean characteristics that do not fit in with the Canadian culture." Someone will probably say that I am neither Korean nor Canadian because I have characteristics from both cultures. Rather, I would refer to myself as a Korean Canadian, a definition that includes my becoming a Canadian. When it comes down to my cultural identity, I do not want to refer to it as a complete one. Instead, 105 I want to emphasize the process of shaping my identity. My Canadian friends always say that I am very Canadianized. But I am not 100% Canadian. I do not think I can be 100% Canadian because of my Korean background. I do not want to lose my culture. I still want to keep the Korean culture inside me, but at the same time be a Canadian. I do not want to think that I am neither Canadian nor Korean because it means I have no nationality, no culture. It sounds that I am nothing. But "Canadianized" means that I am someone else. I am becoming a Canadian having Korean characteristics as a cultural background. Therefore, I am a Canadian with a Korean background. I think 1.5 generation Korean Canadians like me differ from the second generation who have already lost the Korean culture. The second generation Korean Canadians who are either born here or came here at a very early age are too Canadianized. They do not know about the Korean culture. They have totally lost touch with the Korean culture. They do not even speak Korean. They prefer to only socialize with Canadian friends and they are not willing to learn about the Korean culture and language any more. They cannot have both cultures. They only have one. But, as a 1.5 generation Korean Canadian, I have both the Korean and Canadian cultures. I am so proud of that. 106 CHAPTER 5 THE STORY OF RE-SEARCHING KOREAN CANADIAN IDENTITY I first met David in February 2002 when he came to U B C to present with other members of his social activism group named "PEACE (People Educating Accept Celebrating Everyone)." He was in high school at the time and one of my colleagues, their teacher, organized the presentation. The P E A C E group was created by students and operated as student-centered activism. The presentation was about bullying, discrimination, and racism occurring everyday in school. The first time I saw David I was certain he was Korean, but I did not have a chance to meet with him after the presentation. I was able to speak with his teacher about my interest in interviewing him. He gave me David's e-mail address. My attempts to contact him through email became fruitful after one month. It was quite surprising to learn that he rarely used the Internet given that his contemporaries spent most of their time surfing the Internet. It was almost a year later that I was ready to interview him. When I tried to get back to him through e-mail there was difficulty in contacting him to arrange our meeting. His email bounced back. Again, I spoke to his teacher who facilitated getting his parents' consent for me since David was under 18 at the time. I was able to talk with his dad who was very supportive and expressed his interest in my research. During that phone call his dad shared with me his fear of David losing the Korean culture and language. Finally, David and I met almost a year after his presentation. David willingly agreed to be interviewed and suggested to use either Korean or English, or both. His bilingual and bicultural ability gave me a wonderful chance to experience the cross-cultural and cross-lingual research process. During our first meeting I explained the research topic and talked about my own experiences of living in-between cultures. He 107 chose to talk in Korean when I asked about his life in Korea, his parents, relatives, and Korean friends; and the first stage of his adjustment in Canada. He switched to English when he talked about his present life, schooling, Canadian friends, and engagement in diverse group activities. He expressed his personal and deep emotions in Korean; his analytic and logical thoughts and perspectives were offered in English. This chapter is an intertwining collage of David's stories, my stories, and our collaborative reflections. Unlike teenagers in Korea who generally focused only on preparing for the entrance examination to the university, David was more interested and engaged in political and social issues. We talked a lot about issues around racism, discrimination, bullying, as well as cultural differences. Together we reexamined Korean and Canadian cultures through different lenses. His stories of adjustment and integration resonated a lot with my own experiences. When I shared my own experiences of cross-cultural living, he expressed deep sympathy with what I had gone through, and then shared similar stories of his cousin, his sister, and his own. In this chapter, I occasionally intersperse applicable theories and emergent reflections based upon my interpretations emanating from my conversations with David. This narrative format shows how David's story enters my story and how in turn my academic and subjective voices become integrated with those stories. I deliberately choose to write in this way for two reasons: first, to demonstrate how my reflexive self is engaged in writing the story of a young Korean Canadian; and second, to inform the reader how I place myself in both the inquiring and writing processes. Learning a new culture and language David My dad was a journalist in Korea. He immigrated to Canada because he got sick of corrupt practices in the publishing company he worked for. His awareness of these practices did not work in his favor. He resigned when he was assigned to tasks he did not want. My mom, who was initially interested in living abroad and 108 experiencing a new life, persistently encouraged my dad to immigrate to Canada. I think my parents did not necessarily come to Canada for the same reasons as typical recent Korean immigrants have done. During our trip to Vancouver I was so sick on a flight because of a terrible cold. My uncle met my family at the airport. His house was only a half-hour drive from the airport, but it took two hours to arrive at his place because on the way to his house, he showed us around and, despite my being sick, we looked at houses for rent. When we arrived at his place I went to bed immediately. I was so sick and exhausted. When he came into the room he thought I was crying over my friends and other cousins in Korea. At first I was not feeling sad but after his question I suddenly became sad. As a matter of fact, I was totally out of focus at the moment. My parents immediately found a new house, bought a car, and registered in an ESL class at the Douglas College. Everything was moving so fast. My mind was somewhere else. I felt so confused. Minjeonq V e r y o f t e n people would ask me, "How do you l ike Vancouver? " M y usual rep l y was, " T h i s is a g r e a t c i t y w i th a fabu lous l y b e a u t i f u l n atura l s c e n e r y . M o s t Canadians a r e so k ind and n ice . I l ike Vancouver v e r y much . " Pub l ic ly , I sa id t h a t Vancouver was t h e most b e a u t i f u l c i t y in t h e wor l d , but deep in my h e a r t I d i d not love t h i s s p e c t a c u l a r f o r e i g n p lace wh ich d i d not belong t o me because I d i d not belong t o i t . Even i f t h e sun was sh in ing , t h i s p lace looked gloomy t o me. I s t r u g g l e d w i th t h e e veryday r e a l i t y o f a l ienat ion and s t rangeness compounded by my A s i a n f a c e and a c c e n t e d Eng l i sh . M y sense of loss, f r u s t r a t i o n and d i sconnect i on c r a c k e d my i l lusion t o w a r d s Canada and Canadians. 109 David I repeated Grade five here after already finishing that grade in Korea. My parents thought that going back to the same grade would give me more time to adapt myself to the new environment. The first school I attended in Coquitlam was a very small school. There were only four Koreans including myself. Everything was strange and unfamiliar. Although I was curious about and interested in the new life in a new school, my life was completely out of focus. I had very limited English and had no idea of Canadian school life. Six months later, I went to a middle school where there were many Korean immigrant students. The school provided an ESL class for immigrants. I took ESL class for English and Social Studies, and I was in regular class for Physical Education, Math, and Art. Because I could not speak English fluently I only socialized with Korean students. It was indeed difficult to mingle with native speaking students. My strategy to make friends was to do my best in sports. Playing basketball, rugby, and baseball provided me with a chance to socialize with Canadians. I got close to them and spent time together in sports. In Korea I was popular among students for being eloquent and expressive. The language barrier turned me into a shy and less expressive person, which made me always feel depressed and lonely. Minjeonq I could empathize with David's emotional loneliness and psychological estrangement. I remembered how much I hated break times in the f i rst term when Canadian students talked with each other about their routines, research topics, or TV programs. I could not join in their conversation. I silently stood next to them listening to the beating of my heart and feeling my loneliness. I no felt as if I was invisible like a ghost whose presence no one cared about. Nobody could imagine what I was feeling at the time. Such a poor worthless being! I had nightmares where I found myself abandoned in the middle of a deep ocean and nobody cared about me shouting for help. Always I woke up with a prolonged scream, and suddenly realized what it would be like to be marooned in a moor. Fear was stronger than anything I had ever felt . This primal scream of my birth into a new world filled me with a kind of negative feeling. The fragments of fear anchored tightly into my unconscious and forcibly intruded into my psyche. Some ignorant Canadian might say, " I t will go away as you become more used to the Canadian culture." They could not understand what it would be like to live in a disconnection and alienation from one's home. David One memorable incident that stayed in my mind was about fighting with a wretched white guy. He cursed when we bumped against each other lightly, and I nearly attacked him. Looking back, at that vulnerable time I overreacted and felt that it was the only way to express myself defiantly and defensively. As I could not communicate with language I spontaneously acted physically. I also had a big fight when I was in Grade 6. My mom learned about it from my teacher who called her, but she never referred to that fight until a couple of years later. When we were driving somewhere, she told me about fighting with my classmates. It was the first time that I spoke to my parents about my emotions and the struggles I was going though at the time. The issue just popped up. I found it much easier to talk about it because I got over it at the i l l time. In my earlier school days, I always overacted for every tiny thing when some students made fun of me. I was oversensitive over trivial affairs and got so easily depressed. I regret that I did not deal with the situation the way a grown-up person would. Others did not seriously take my rebellious action. I was also not sure whether they would have stopped had I not responded. Keeping my silence would surely make me look stupid. At the time I had no idea how to react in an appropriate way. I met a great teacher with a warm heart in Grade 6 although I did not have any friends. She understood my struggles to adapt to a new country. She was an old Indo Canadian with a British accent who went through similar experiences as an immigrant. One day she noticed that I was looking pale and unwell. When I said that I was not sleeping well and was very worried, she listened to me. Her listening to me helped me relieve some of my anxiety and unease. The unfamiliar and new environment caused my sense of depression and disturbance. I felt I was wasting my time and not doing anything productive. My life seemed meaningless and worthless. These negative feelings led me to feel left behind other students. That was a really frustrating and depressing situation. Minjeonq My difficulties with fitting into this new world constantly evoked unfamiliar feelings in me. I felt like a "golden-fish" temporarily existing in an artificial bowl. I wanted to be accepted as a normal person as any other native English-speakers; and I was sick of feeling fearful and paranoid while pushing myself to f i t in a new environment in order to be safe and comfortable. Vulnerability in front of unfamiliarity and abnormality was not what I wanted. My inner 112 struggles were embellished with embarrassment, unhappiness, and unknowing. What was I supposed to do? Was I supposed to publicly declare and insist my presence and existence? Or was I simply and quietly supposed to put on a mask of being a Canadian? David Eleven months later we moved to White Rock when my parents got a small convenience store there. Very few Koreans lived in our neighborhood. I attended a very small school with only 10 students in one classroom. I was the only one who could not speak English well. The sad part of it was there was no ESL class for new immigrants. Worse still, my new school did not offer me an opportunity to make friends as I was determined to do. Circles of friends were already firmly established, which made it more difficult for a newcomer to belong. Most of the students went to the same elementary school, and they had been friends since childhood. I tried to socialize with both Korean and white Canadian friends. Hanging out with Korean friends was very enjoyable because we shared common interests. All the while I tried to play with white Canadians who did not seem to care much about my broken English. Some were curious about me because I was the only Asian. I invited some of them over to my house and I also went to their house. They took some interest in strange and exotic Korean home decorations. I did not exactly remember events in White Rock but some images and feelings stuck in my memory. We lived in a very old two-story house. My room had a big window through which the bright sunshine came. Very often I was left alone at home because my parents were busy running the convenience store and I did not have many friends. Most of the time I lay on the bed and thought. It was relaxing but very boring for me. 113 Minjeonq I had the opportunity to observe an elementary school in east Vancouver. I met Max, an immigrant who had just arrived a week earlier from Mainland China. The teacher seated Max next to another Chinese child and let him figure out how the western school system operated differently from Chinese schooling. Max carefully and silently watched the other children, and copied what they were doing. Nobody paid any special attention to him despite his difficulty of socializing with other children. Max caught my attention because I could totally sympathize with his emotional loneliness and psychological estrangement he might feel as a newcomer. There were six other Chinese children in the same classroom, but none of them spoke to Max although all of them could speak Chinese. Why didn't Chinese children speak to Max in Chinese? Why didn't the teacher encourage the other Chinese children to communicate to Max in their mother tongue? Having been in the same boat as Max, I completely empathized with him to the point of getting furious about the lack of concern and nurturing for a newcomer who could not speak even one English word. Max looked fine judging from the outward behavior he displayed. However, if one observed him for longer one would realize that Max was always alone. During recess Max wandered around other students, but none of them approached or spoke to him. One time I saw him kick a soccer ball with all his strength that had rolled in front of him. He looked very happy running along with the ball. I imagined that he must have been an outgoing and a very sociable boy in China although he looked v e r y shy and qu iet in Canada. I t r e m i n d e d me o f myse l f . M y Eng l i sh-speak ing f r i e n d s m ight th i nk t h a t I was shy and qu iet whi le my Korean f r i e n d s would th i nk o t h e r w i s e . M y e s t r a n g e m e n t and psycho log ica l f e a r led me t o become pass ive — I was t h e r e f o r e looked upon as shy and qu iet . None of my Canadian f r i e n d s s eemed i n t e r e s t e d in who I was. David I never had any experience of learning English in Korea. English grammar and vocabulary were all new to me. Practicing English everyday is the simplest and most effective way of learning English. Just as a baby learns a language, I have learned English without any conscious effort. At the first time, it took me three hours to get my homework done when it took just half an hour for others. I had to frequently look up the meaning of words in a dictionary before I could do my homework. Somebody recommended an English-English dictionary rather than Korean-English version. Using an English-English dictionary was more problematic. There were so many new words with more meanings I did not understand. I had to browse through the dictionary many times to get one meaning. During the early months of studying in Canada, I really wanted to gain mastery of the English language. It was important that I taught myself English to adjust to a new culture. I needed to express myself in an eloquent way so that I could establish a good relationship with English speaking people. From conversations with native speakers, I tried to pick up some words and use them. I made the same mistakes several times. There were times when I spoke one thing and people interpreted them as something else. For example, I used to ask, "If you have the time, do you want to go for a movie?" My friends thought I was asking whether they have a watch. I learned later that I could ask instead, "Do you have 115 time?" I used to make the same mistake very often. Also the phone conversations always got very awkward. I preferred talking in person to on the phone because my gestures or eye-to-eye contact made up for my lack of English expressions, unlike the phone conversations where people might understand what I said just by listening. In order to improve my vocabulary, I spent most of my time reading. Sometimes I took out a dictionary, scanned the pages, picked out words, and just tried to use those words consciously for them to become a part of my vocabulary. There were always words I did not know. I find it so interesting to look back and trace how I developed my oral English skills. When I transferred from Coquitlam to White Rock, I was really the new kid in school who did not have many friends. With fewer Korean students in school I was more exposed to an English-speaking environment. Improving my oral speaking skills turned out to be an obsession that ended with me getting more fluent in English. I was even able to retaliate verbally when someone treated me badly. My speaking progressed from short chats to longer conversations. However, I could not participate in the actual conversations that needed to describe my deep thoughts and feelings in English. It was not until Grade 10 that I found myself expressing comfortably and eloquently in English. I was very shy to assert myself in English before I got involved in the PEACE group in Grade 10. After all my struggles, presently I started speaking some complicated and more intellectual English and I am now able to analyze situations in a much more sophisticated level. My sister's struggle with English was a totally different experience. She focused more on learning grammatical structure and vocabulary but did not develop the skills of expressing herself more refinely and eloquently. Her plan to go to medical school pushes her to speak English like native speakers. There is a typical story of some Koreans who study very hard, go to medical school, and become a doctor or dentist. They end up having only Koreans for clients. My 116 parents worried that my sister would not be accepted as a competent doctor this society and that she would be left behind. So my parents have encourag her to enhance her speaking skill as much as possible. Minjeonq A d e f i c i e n c y in Eng l i sh is s t i l l most p rob lemat i c f o r me. I t is not as easy t o improve my ora l Eng l i sh as I supposed . A s a g r a d u a t e s t u d e n t , I have most ly i n vested my t i m e in read i ng or wr i t i n g r a t h e r than p r a c t i c i n g speak ing . M y Canadian f r i e n d s o f t e n adv i se me t o t r y to th i nk in Eng l i sh , i n s tead o f th i nk i ng in Korean and t r a n s l a t i n g i t into Eng l i sh . But th i nk i ng in Eng l i sh b locks t h e spontaneous f l o w o f my inner thoughts . N o t h i n g natura l and u n i n t e r r u p t e d would come in t h e language o f Eng l i sh . Eng l i sh can n e i t h e r a pp ropr i a te l y d e s c r i b e my f e e l i n g s and emot ions nor exp la in my th ink i ng . M y Eng l i sh words a r e not evoked f r o m my h e a r t . T h e y b reak down my whole th i nk i ng p rocess into f l a t t e n e d f r a g m e n t a r y p ieces . I a lways f e e l someth ing miss ing in my Eng l i sh e x p r e s s i o n s . M u c h o f what I i ntended t o say does not t a k e p roper shape because o f my l im i ted vocabu lary and i n c o r r e c t grammar . M o r e o v e r , my vocabu lary is mainly f o r m a l and techn i ca l because I have l earned most Eng l ish words f r o m books . M y c ramped t e r m s a b s t r a c t my l iving e x p e r i e n c e s to impersonal th i ngs . M y emotiona l anguish is r e d u c e d t o an ana lyt i c anguish because I am unable t o d e s c r i b e proper l y what I f e e l . T h i s gap is t h e s ou rce o f my sense o f e s t r a n g e m e n t and d i sconnect i on f r o m t h e wor ld . Eng l i sh vocabu lary n e i t h e r evokes nor hooks onto what I i n tend t o e x p r e s s . Eng l i sh is not a r e l i a b l e i n s t rument f o r me t o communicate . I t b e t r a y s and buckles me because it does not penetrate into the deep layers of my thinking. Even a simple word brings confusion to insert it into the flow of my perception and conception. English words do not represent things in the same way they do in Korean. English always infiltrates and interlaces with the Korean language. I am caught in a conflicting battle between two languages. Meaning always floats and flows in an uncertain space of in-between languages. Getting more interested and involved in social activism David I struggled with a lot of problems between Grade 9 and Grade 10.1 talked to a counselor about my confusion of self-identity and misfit. That was a very confusing and difficult time for me. I have never talked about my problems with my parents. As I grew up, I came to understand more the sacrifice that my parents made for me. I did not want them to worry in any way and wanted to assure them that everything was going well with me. Joining the PEACE group in Grade 10 was the best thing that happened to me. We were given more opportunities to listen to and speak about issues around racism and bullying, issues ignored in another schools. Sometimes I would let it go, and sometimes I would hold on and share the personal experiences of discrimination. I tried not to patronize or minimize terribly discriminatory things and tried to be more sensitive about those issues with an open mind. I had learned so many things from the PEACE group and conferences to the extent that information became overloaded. I needed to know the truth firsthand. Since then I started developing my political and social consciousness. I was in charge of the Friday presentation of the PEACE group. I shared fictional stories 118 to some Grade 8 students, and talked about real stories to Grade 9 students. After getting engaged in the PEACE group, I became very busy doing so many things. I attended different conferences, performances, went camping, and expanded human relationships and social networks with people from diverse cultures and areas. I loved investing effort in doing that. I realized there must be more important things for me to do rather than doing well in school and I thought that raising awareness about these issues was very important. Instead of just focusing on study, I put more effort into thinking about social problems. Last year I attended "Outward Bound," a leadership camping program. In that week I learned many things. This year I participated in the conference hosted by the BCTF that dealt with issues around commercialization and globalization. These activities have provided me a sharing space with other people. I come to be more aware of how we easily discriminate against others. Some students make fun of people by simply saying, "He is homosexual." I consider that to be very childish. They loosely use the terms "gay" or "homosexual" without attaching any special meaning to them. When a teacher gives them too much homework they would say, "He is gay." It is their way of complaining about the homework. I have never participated in conferences about homosexuality but I have heard stories about the difficulties of accepting different sexual dispositions and learning to live as a homosexual. Considering their sufferings and frustrations, I think it is wrong to use the term "homosexual" in naughty jokes that have nothing to do with its meaning. Minjeonq The PEACE group served as significant scaffolding for David. I t became a turning point in his growing up. Most importantly, it had provided him with a sharing space where he was made to feel interconnected to other students who had gone through similar experiences. Being bonded together emotionally, 119 empath ica l ly , and s y m p a t h e t i c a l l y he learned t o have a vo ice in a marg ina l i zed and o p p r e s s e d s i t ua t i o n . L i sten ing t o t h e unto ld s t o r i e s enables us to r e a c h out t o a mu lt ip le and w ide-ranging v a r i e t y o f vo ices in a more inclusive way. I n t h i s sense , Canadian schools need t o l i s ten t o t h e s t o r i e s o f immigrant s t u d e n t s in o r d e r t o c r e a t e a s a f e and susta i nab le schoo l env ironment to b r i d g e d i s t ances and d i f f e r e n c e s between s t u d e n t s o f d i f f e r e n t backgrounds . T e a c h e r s shou ld be respons ib l e l i s teners who pay a t t e n t i o n t o t h e s i l enced vo ices o f s t u d e n t s . N e w immigrant s t u d e n t s t e n d t o keep s i l ent because o f language and c u l t u r a l o b s t a c l e s . Consequent ly , i n s tead o f t ak i ng t h e i r s i l ence as a s ign o f shyness or a lack o f inte l l i gence , t e a c h e r s shou ld t r y to make an e f f o r t t o u n d e r s t a n d what is going on w i th i n t h i s s i l ence . T h i s is what T a y l o r ( 1994) r e f e r s t o as a " c o n s t r u c t i v e mu l t i c u l t u ra l c o n t e x t " t h a t "expands t h e c u l t u r a l , i n te l l e c tua l , and s p i r i t u a l hor i zons o f all indiv iduals , enriching, our wor l d by expos ing us t o d i f f e r i n g c u l t u ra l and i n te l l ectua l p e r s p e c t i v e s , and t h e r e b y i ncreas ing our po s s i b i l i t i e s f o r i n te l l ectua l and s p i r i t u a l g r o w t h , e x p l o r a t i o n , and en l i ghtenment " (p. 34) . The role of a cultural and language translator Dav id With the coming of more Korean immigrant students to my school, I take on the role of translator when they have a conflict with Canadian students. The principal and vice-principal ask me to mediate these conflicting situations. I suspect that having someone who speaks and understands both cultures and languages could help very much in these situations. Korean students tend to be 120 defensive because they cannot communicate very well with the English-speaking students. They are restricted not only in understanding what the other students have said but also in defending themselves. Most Canadian students tend to warmly accept students from other ethnic backgrounds. But there are always some students who are insensitive and indifferent to the new immigrants students. In the face of insulting attacks by some insensitive Canadian students, Korean students are apt to take offense to Canadian students who know their English deficiency and their lack of cultural competence. It is a really uncomfortable situation. Anybody can feel insecure when one cannot communicate very well, does not have as many friends as other students do, or is not accepted by other students because he/she is new. So the quick reaction tends to be physical defense. But that approach always makes the situation worse and unfavorable because physical violence is generally taken as very serious here. Any physical act results in a suspension for a couple of days, or if the case is serious it may last a whole year. Administrators have different ways of dealing with involving conflict. When the female vice-principal in my school deals with students' conflicts, first of all, she usually calls me and gives me freedom to mediate. The second step is for me to talk with the two students in the conflict alone because the students are intimidated and afraid of the vice-principal's presence. And plus the presence of an administrator easily turns the situation into supervision rather than understanding the conflicting situation. Usually in mediating both sides, I have to translate Korean into English and vice versa. Most often Korean students say something impossible to translate because some Korean terms do not really correspond to the English language. I have to modify and reorder as best as I can. I try to make sure that I translate them in a respectful way. I heard about the prejudices of administrators through the media as well as friends from other schools in Vancouver. The majority of students in my school 121 are whi te C a n a d i a n s . In cont rast , Vancouve r s c h o o l s have lots of s t uden ts f rom d iverse e thn ic b a c k g r o u n d s . Th is diversi ty is more c o n d u c i v e to i n c r e a s e d s tuden t conf l i c ts , espec ia l l y be tween recent immig ran ts a n d C a n a d i a n s tuden ts . I heard f rom my f r iends how their admin i s t ra to rs b l a m e d s tuden ts f rom minor e thn ic g roups . An A f ro -Canad ian f r iend of m ine f rom S o m a l i a is the only b lack guy in his s c h o o l . He gets the b l ame for every s ing le ac t of v io lence in s c h o o l . It t u rns out for h im to bel ieve that admin is t ra to rs a lways target a par t icu lar e thn ic group. I a s s u m e that the major reason for th is is a pre jud ice aga ins t immig ran t s t uden ts who are s tereotyped a s d r u g add i c ted a n d poorly behaved . Any genera l i za t ion or t ak ing an ex t reme b ias is very d a n g e r o u s b e c a u s e it h inde rs look ing at the p h e n o m e n o n fairly. Admin is t ra to rs a n d t eache rs s h o u l d try to f ind a respect fu l a n d logical way of d e a l i n g with th is s i tua t ion . I th ink many t e a c h e r s are wi l l ing to l isten to immig ran t s t uden ts who need c o u n s e l i n g . However, th is is not a r t i cu la ted very we l l . T e a c h e r s shou ld give priority to immig ran t s t uden ts who barely s p e a k any Eng l i sh a n d a re new to the s c h o o l . A s i m p l e " H e l l o " cou ld lead the way to bui ld a c l o s e re la t ionsh ip be tween immigran t s t u d e n t s and t eache rs . Adap t i ng to a new env i ronment d i f fers be tween ind iv idua ls . S o m e of the immigran t s t u d e n t s cou ld adap t really wel l , but s o m e of t h e m don ' t . In my s c h o o l , the re is a group of 1 0 to 1 2 Ko rean boys who h a n g out together and a lways s p e a k Ko rean to e a c h other. Poor Engl ish sk i l l s prevent t h e m f rom in teract ing with nat ive C a n a d i a n s tuden ts . I c a n u n d e r s t a n d that very we l l . It total ly m a k e s s e n s e . B e i n g new to an env i ronment , it is natura l to h a n g out with t hose who you s h a r e a c o m m o n cul ture or interest. One unfor tunate d rawback is that it c rea tes a barr ier be tween new immigran t s t u d e n t s a n d other C a n a d i a n s tuden ts . Every immigran t s tuden t shou ld take respons ib i l i ty for h i s / h e r own ac t ions , a n d s h o u l d try to be long without j eopa rd i z i ng the her i tage cu l ture in favor of the new cu l tu re . Genera l l y s p e a k i n g , the adap ta t i on p rocess t ends to be eas ie r for the s t u d e n t s who a re not shy and do not hold t h e m s e l v e s capt ive in 122 their own space. When they are willing to go out, play, and talk with English-speaking students with whatever English language skills they possess, they obviously adapt to the host culture faster and more smoothly. The major problem during adolescence, both for Canadians and immigrants, is making friends. Some students are very popular, but others are not. They are divided into some groups with funny-sounding names, "the cool group" or "the geek group." This phenomenon is much more severe here than in Korea. The students from the cool group sometimes make fun of the students in the geek group. This situation is particularly played out during the Physical Education class. When teams are formed, English-speaking students do not tend to choose immigrant students who cannot speak English well. Hence, the new immigrant students are usually left out by the end of the selection. For the immigrant students, it is very difficult to belong to any pre-established circles of friends. Whereas Canadians like hockey, new immigrant students do not know anything about it. If Canadian students rarely welcome the new immigrant students, the immigrant students cannot feel comfortable with Canadian students because the feeling is mutual. Minjeonq I t is a very difficult situation to be pumped with a totally different cultural knowledge. I vividly remember that my inadequate cultural knowledge provoked discomfort many times. I felt distanced from everything. Can you imagine what it looks like to live outside the ordinary standards of behavior? My Canadian friends share so many cultural assumptions that are quite invisible to them because these are naturally shared. But my deficient knowledge of Canadian culture always makes me feel unsure of my behaviors. 123 I l i s ten t o t h e winds o f sameness and d i f f e r e n c e blowing around me and touch ing t h e b o t t o m o f human e x i s t e n c e . I e n t e r into t h e t e x t u r e s , t a s t e s , t o uches , and f l a v o r s o f t h e vast l y d i f f e r e n t wor l d . I am t r a v e l i n g and t r a n s g r e s s i n g beyond my b o r d e r ; however , I cannot comp lete l y s t r i p myse l f o f t h e Korean c u l t u r e going t h r o u g h my sp i r i t ua l and body memory . M y everyday l i f e is a t r a n s l a t i n g p rocess w i th a spec ia l caut ion . Being and l iving i n -between cu l t u res i t s e l f is a s o r t o f locat ion . I am l ingering between connectedness and d i sconnectedness . I have l earned t o ho ld myse l f w i th i n my b o r d e r so t h a t I am not t o t a l l y s u b m e r g e d into t h e new cu l t u re . A t t h e same t i m e , I am ca l l ed upon t o t r a n s g r e s s beyond my hor i zon and to go beyond myse l f . T h i s is a k ind o f c r o s s - c u l t u r a l space w h e r e my being and t r a n s f o r m i n g is c a r e f u l l y p e r f o r m e d . Racism Dav id I think racism generally can be seen from both sides, not just from the Caucasian students but also from students from minority backgrounds who live in a Caucasian dominant area. Racism is not only manifested through direct insult such as calling names, saying racial comments, or discriminating somebody for being different. Racism happens in indirect ways, too. You may not really see it happening, but you can feel it. Racism involves many tiny things and can happen in many everyday situations. Racism is such a tricky concept to define, to understand, and to deal with. The first time I dealt with a racist issue by retaliating. I was really emotional about the issue and I reacted at a very emotional level. When my family immigrated we lived in an ethnically and culturally diversified community. At the time I was too young to figure out racism and I was more engrossed with 124 adapting to my new school. It was when we moved to White Rock where I found myself the only Asian student in school. I remembered winning in a rugby practice and a student whom I did not like very much had a stupid joke about an Asian trait. The sad thing was this student was a second generation Korean. Everybody laughed and laughed as he stereotyped Asians. I started yelling, "This is racism!" Indeed racism can happen on a daily basis. When I got to Grade 9 I just kept my thoughts to myself. I learned that I did not necessarily have to react in a retaliatory way. It would be much better to talk about racism in a calm and rational way. My friends and I had spoken about this issue since then. We used to go to my friend's house, sit down and talk about it. But sometimes I felt depressed and disappointed because talking about racism was not enough. I sensed the need to express our positive thoughts in action. Minjeonq Little research has been done about the racism experiences of Korean students. Studies on racism in Canada mostly deal with young black people or First Nations people. I never come across studies involving young Koreans. Young Korean students seem to downplay racism or to pretend that it does not exist. Indeed, when I initiated a conversation about racism, the young Korean Canadians in my study did not have very much to say about it at all. David was the only person who was very interested in the issue of racism and shared his experiences and ideas of racism profoundly. Other participants only mentioned their own experiences in passing. David's story shows the lack of resources for young Korean students to confront racism. Without any appropriate help or useful tools, they just respond in an individual and private way, or avoid talking about it. There are very few supportive spaces to help 125 them articulate their own experiences around racism and to prepare themselves to cope with the issue appropriately. They do not get proper support of schools, parents, and even Korean communities. Most Korean parents neither have English language skills to use Canadian public services for help nor time to deal with the problem. In turn, young Korean Canadians feel so isolated in dealing with racism. Young Korean students often employ a physical response as a common way of coping with racial slurs and discriminations in school. I heard so many times this kind of story among Korean male students who use physical violence in front of their inability to express themselves fluently and articulately. Unlike male students, many female Korean students tend to try very hard to f i t in and be accepted through screening off their being Korean in the privacy of their homes and with Korean friends. The form of racism has changed as I sensed through my conversations with young Korean Canadians. Contemporary racism puts on the mask of tolerance and acquiescence, not an openly articulated form. As David clearly speaks, "It (racism) is not so much done by direct insult like calling names, calling racial insults, or making a fool of somebody for being different. But it is happening more in an indirect way." The refined and equivocal form of racism blinds Canadians to racism that is invisibly anchored in Canada. Although there seems to be no evident and noticeable manifestation of racism, racial discrimination is still implicated within and through cultural or symbolic systems. David appropriately pointed it out when he mentioned that if somebody felt alienated and separated from others even without any direct racial slurs, it could be racism. The atmosphere of being alienated generates physical and 126 psycholog ica l s e p a r a t i o n as much as d i r e c t rac i a l labels o r naming ca l l ing . T h i s kind o f inv is ib le r a c i s m p e r m e a t e d in t h e minds o f some Canadians consc ious ly and unconsc ious ly induces t h e cont inual c u l t u ra l c l imate o f r ac i sm . I f Canadians want t o say , "Canada is a c ount ry w i thout any rac i a l p rob lems , " Canada shou ld be a p lace w h e r e e verybody f e e l s " a t home" w i t h a sense o f belongingness w i t h o u t any v i s ib l e or inv is ib le d i s c r im i na t i on . How can we say t h e r e is no r a c i s m in Canada i f immigrants f e e l " o t h e r e d " due t o t h e i r d i f f e r e n c e s ? Antagon i sm , an t i pa thy , and unfr i end l i ness t o w a r d s people f r o m d i f f e r e n t r ac i a l and cu l t u ra l groups would cont inuous ly make i t imposs ib le t o e ra se t h e des ignat ion o f a r a c i a l i z e d country . Even i f everyone wears t h e same c l o thes , goes t o t h e same schoo ls , and lives in t h e same ne ighborhoods , people o f d i f f e r e n t c u l t u r e s cannot f e e l s a f e in Canada as long as t h e dominant s o c i e t y cont inues t o s ee t h e m as a l ien , as d i f f e r e n t , and as o t h e r s . Living in-between cultures and languages Dav id There is one question a lot of my friends have asked me. It is funny that they all at one point seem to wonder whether I think in Korean or in English. I can never seem to answer this kind of question because I do not really know if I am thinking in Korean or in English. Sometimes I would realize I am thinking in English. For example when I am writing an essay in my English class I am definitely thinking in English about what I want to write about on a piece of paper so that I can get a mark. When I talk with my parents, I do recognize that I am thinking in Korean. But in terms of spontaneous thoughts that pop out, maybe in a shower, I cannot really think about which language I am thinking in. I just think. 127 I live in a bicultural and bilingual world. I do not think I am living in a dichotomous world, being in a Canadian culture or being in a Korean culture, juggling between two cultures. Rather, it is more about subconscious events happening on a daily basis. I do not really know what Canadian culture means, and I do not really know what Korean culture means either. For I have never lived in Korea long enough to be fully absorbed into its culture. I have not experienced what it would be like to be part of a Korean culture around the age of 17 to 18. As well, I have experienced Canadian culture in a very limited time. In particular, Canadian culture works in a dynamic way and hinges upon its diversity. Canadian culture is a big massive blend of different cultures from diverse cultural backgrounds and is in the process of comprehending what exactly Canadian culture is. In addition, since cultural experiences depend on the perceptions of individuals, it is not quite easy to define what Canadian culture is or what Korean culture is. The way I perceive Canadian culture is probably different from the way my friends do. Each one of us thinks of the Canadian culture in so many different ways. Minjeonq David t aught me t o r e a l i z e how much we " e s s e n t i a l i z e " and " l a b e l " t h e concept o f c u l t u r e as a c e r t a i n e n t i t y . F o r h im, c u l t u r e is not seen as a s e t o f t r a d i t i o n s , group menta l i t i e s , o r co l l ec t i ve wor ldv iews . H i s c r o s s - c u l t u r a l exper i ences have p r o b l e m a t i z e d t h e conventional not ion o f c u l t u r e as a s h a r e d s y s t e m o f customs , values, p r a c t i c e s , b e l i e f s , symbo ls , and meanings. T h i s c l osed concept o f c u l t u r e seems to ensure t h e idea o f "be ing norma l " w i th i n t h e c u l t u r e and a c c e l e r a t e s a boundary d iv id ing t h e normal and dev iant . T h e d i s c u r s i v e p roduct i o n o f any c u l t u r e as a s h a r e d th i n g n e c e s s i t a t e s t h e demeaning, i so lat ion , o r r e p r e s s i o n o f some people who do not f i t w i th i n an 128 internal boundary. Culture, as shared things, refers to an imaginary bounded community and is imagining the boundary itself. In this sense, the idea of culture as oneness is a process of 'othering.' This is a generally known concept of culture. But this assumption of culture as being the same for all members is something of a naive fiction: any two people who are from the same culture may perceive it very differently. For example, my perception of being Korean could be different from other Koreans' perceptions. I t is impossible to envision people simply as a member of a homogeneous, unified cultural group. Although people in a certain cultural group may have some kind of shared meanings, those meanings are partially shared because they understand and interpret them in individually different ways. I would say culture is both shared and idiosyncratic. The notion of culture should be seen in a much more flexible way. Strauss and Quinn (1997) describe culture as a "fuzzy concept," an unbounded phenomenon. They contend that culture is "not some free-floating abstract entity." Rather, it should be seen as regular occurrences in the humanly created world, in the schemas people share as a result of ... the interactions between these schemas and the world" (p. 7). Culture is performatively created and recreated when exercised by individual people. I t is evident when we look at how bicultural or multicultural people improvise different cultures contingent upon different situations. This bicultural or multicultural space is performatively co-constructed and co-created on the spot through interactional processes, what Pratt (1991) calls "contact zones" — "the social spaces where cultures meet, clash, and grapple with each other, often in highly asymmetrical relations of power" (p. 34). The performance of each culture is flexibly adaptive rather than rigidly repetitive. This enables cultural knowledge to be constantly reconstructed and envisioned when it is realized, exercised, and appropriated. The imaginary boundary of a pre-given bond is broken down and cultural hybridity comes into existence. David vigorously demonstrated what happened when he encountered with two different cultures. I t was unlikely that two different cultures bumped into each other and crashed. Where was the Korean culture in this process? Where was the Canadian culture? Could we say his cultural identity was developed on a linear continuum? David said, "Ihave not experienced what it would be like to be part of Korean culture around the age of 17or 18. And also I have not lived in Canada before the age of 11.1 have experienced Canadian culture in a very limited time." His cultural identity has been constructed within a discontinuous experiential realty generated by cultural displacement. The disjunctive juxtapositions of different moments enabled him to figure out a way to put non-synchronous cultural pieces together, and as a result, hybrid and transitional identity emerged. Bhabha (1994) explains well how cultural identity of immigrant people becomes an open question instead of being specified by its fixed identity: Hybrid hyphenations emphasize the incommensurable elements — the stubborn chunks — as the basis of cultural identifications. What is at issue is the performative nature and differential identities: the regulation and negotiation of those spaces that are continually, contingently, 'opening out,' remaking the boundaries, exposing the limits of any claim to a singular or autonomous sign of difference — be it class, gender, or race. Such assignations of social differences — where difference is neither One nor the Other but something else besides, in-between — find their agency in a form of the 'future' where the past is not originary, where the present is not simply transitory. It is, if I may stretch a point, an interstitial future, that emerges in-between the claims of the past and the needs of the present, (p. 219, original emphasis) The experience of living in-between cultures is not only a "transitional process" but also a "translational process" which cultural identity is represented and articulated by and through negotiating between different cultural meanings (Bhabha, 1990). The act of translation of cultural differences generates the emerging form of identity through a supplementary residue that does not pass neatly from one culture to another. This residual space is not just an incomplete stage; instead, it is a creative impetus to initiate the new form of identity to emerge. According to Bhabha (1994), it is through a dynamic tension between cultural differences that an emerging identity emerges beyond an antagonistic binary system. Cultural translation allows multiple inscriptions to be generated without simple assimilation. In this sense, the cultural identity of "Korean Canadian" implies something tainted with the impossibility of completely fitting in one culture. I t is through a metonymic and interstitial moment of cultural translation that Korean Canadian identity is articulated and performed. David's case is an example. Once David left Korea he had a strong link with Korean culture but simultaneously he was obliged to come to terms with the new culture he inhabited. His translational process between different cultural meanings was neither simply being assimilated into the Canadian culture nor completely losing the Korean culture. Currently he still bears the Korean culture, tradition, language, and history by which"he was shaped before coming to Canada. But those Korean aspects have been continuously interlocked and intertwined with the influences of Canadian culture. His Korean culture is a trace rather than unchanged original one. David My friend told me about the conversation he had with his professor about Korean girls in his college. The professor told him that Korean students did not tend to do their work by themselves and they were always doing the work with other Korean friends. The professor traveled to China, Japan, and Korea, so he was comparatively familiar with Asian cultures. He commented about the group-centered disposition of Asian students. Korean students tend to get together and discuss their work, which results in doing similar work instead of creative work. I understood very well the professor's point. I could possibly provide an explanation that culturally Koreans working as a group is more important than individual work. It comes so naturally for Koreans to sacrifice the self for the group. My friend seemed to understand my explanation, but I knew it was not the level of understanding I expected him to acquire. I was aware of the discrepancy between my friend and me because we had been grown up in a different culture. Minjeonq This story is very intriguing in terms of cross-cultural understanding. We understand and interpret the world through cultural lenses by which we have been raised, educated, and trained. Different cultural skeletons provide different conceptual frameworks, different situational knowledge, and 132 adequate behavior expectations. The different cultural lenses keep people of different cultures from accounting for symbolic behaviors of without any biased interpretations. We are more apt to judge other cultures from our own cultural values instead of from a cross-cultural understanding. Therefore, some of the western cultural values may seem irrelevant or inapplicable to Korean culture, and vice versa. Some western ideological presuppositions may be alien to the Korean ethos. Those cultural differences easily give rise to a misunderstanding or a distorted understanding of each other. For example, "asserting oneself," one of the common western cultural values, is not appropriate in Korean culture which emphasizes more harmonizing with others in a given environment rather than standing out. In the Korean culture, it is not acceptable to present one's feelings to others or to strongly assert oneself. Korean culture considers the maintenance of group harmony as more important than self-disclosure. Being more sensitive towards others and adjusting oneself to others is more highly valued in Korean culture. The story of David's friend represents an incompatible cultural difference between collective-based Korean culture and individual-based western culture. This story also discloses how cultural difference gets in the way of cross-cultural understanding despite without any discriminatory and prejudicial intention. I t seems impossible or counterproductive that cultural differences congruously coexist. Although we easily accept different food or customs, it is not easy to deal with conflicting cultural values and perceptions. Given this fact, it is a very naive assumption that cross-cultural understanding is nourished and fulfilled by somehow teaching a piece of knowledge of other cultures as an enclosed substance. Cross-cultural understanding comes about through what Bhabha (1994) refers to as a "third space." In this generative t h i r d space , c u l t u ra l d i f f e r e n c e no longer s imply r e p r e s e n t s c o n f l i c t i n g and opposit ional c u l t u ra l values and t r a d i t i o n s ; i n stead i t i nv i tes each c u l t u r e t o be a r t i c u l a t e d and i n t e r p r e t e d t h r o u g h t h e negot iat ions o f incommensurably f l o a t i n g meanings. The emerging identity of the Korean Canadian Dav id When I think about my cultural identity I hardly specify how different I am from other people. I can feel difference and I am aware of it when the difference becomes visible. I know it is happening. But I do not know how it happens, what happens, and why it happens. Things just happen. This is going to happen for the rest of my life. I am aware that I could never be like other Canadians. This means that I always have my own secret place that I can never quite represent to my friends. It is a significant aspect which makes me stand out among the rest of my friends. In my daily life it is impossible to detach myself from the Korean culture partly because I am a native Korean rather than a native Canadian. There was an awakening experience which lead me realize this. I performed a monologue, in an acting class, about a 30-year old man whose wife has cancer. This character professed how he felt about this situation and how enigmatic human life looked. I had to pretend that I was the real typical Canadian husband figure. Suddenly I realized that I could not put myself into the role because I did not have enough experience of a typical Canadian life style and cultural value. However, my parents are concerned about me losing the Korean culture and emotional tie with Koreans. My memory of Korea is gradually fading away and my Korean culture is getting hazy. What I learned and experienced in Korea has blurred in my memory. I have forgotten the children's songs I sung often in my 134 childhood, the Korean proverbs, and the fairytales that most Koreans had read I never imagined that I would lose the Korean language and what I had done in Korea before coming to Canada. Recently, I tend to switch Korean with English words when speaking in Korean with my parents. I am slowly losing my Korean culture and language! I only speak very limited Korean with my parents, a representation of how much I have moved away from being a Korean to becoming a Canadian. I am concerned about losing most of my Korean culture and language. I want to maintain my heritage culture inside me throughout the future. Minjeonq Once I have transformed from being haunted by normalcy to accepting the status of an exotic stranger, my difference turns out to be neither a disadvantage nor a handicap. I do not know exactly what I am going to become, but I am sure that I am becoming someone who I have not been so far. I do not make a vain effort to master a new culture. Nor do I stick to my own culture any more. What is important to me is not how much I keep myself unchanging, but how much I have grown up from my new experience. Iinterminably created new beings inside me have allowed me see the world though prismatic colors and create own cultural identity based on my particular experiences. David My Indo Canadian teacher in Grade 6 said that she did not want to designate Korean culture, Canadian culture, Indian culture, etc in a separate and exclusive way. Indeed, in reality it is impossible to clearly classify cultures. Instead, I would say, "This person has this kind of particular characteristic and 135 that person has that kind of particular characteristic." The questions around what Korean culture is or what Canadian culture is do not have any right answer. It is more significant for me to grow up as a more mature human being in continuous reflection of these questions rather than restricting myself to a specific cultural cage. Getting to know many friends from different cultural backgrounds, I pick up good exemplary cultural values and practices. To me, it is not important who I am in terms of how I act or behave. Regardless of Canadian culture or Korean culture, I have developed my own identity as a human being by learning good virtues from different cultures. Minjeonq David does not represent his journey of leaving Korea and settling in Canada as a linear passage. There is no destination he should head for. He continues to create new possibilities where he is no longer what he once was. David is unable to be simply assumed as a Korean because he has been reborn as a Korean Canadian by virtue of cross-cultural experience. His situation is not solely considered as a threat of losing his original identity; instead, it should be seen as a critical resource to re-articulate the very idea of cultural identity. Identification through cross-cultural living is not a simple reproductive activity; rather, it is a creative performativity which brings the emerging identity into being. For example, when young Korean Canadians embody the Korean culture, it is not always the same. Re-reading Korean culture through a crisscross of cultural borders enables them to perform the Korean culture in different ways. 136 David I proudly expressed of being a Korean as revealed by my physical as well as cultural differences. Some recent Korean immigrant students like having their hair dyed. I feel this is a disguise. Every Korean had the monotone black hair. I always felt much pride in my almost bluish black hair because it differentiates me from Caucasian Canadians. Another example is having an accent. Despite becoming fluent with the English language, I still have the Korean accent. There are words I cannot pronounce well to this time. Although it is something outside of my limits, initially a source of pressure for me, currently I do not resent my accent and mispronunciation any more. I would actually like to have it for the rest of my life. I am getting more used to the Canadian English and I am learning to pronounce words much better, not by will but by natural adoption. I am more and more able to speak English that sounds legitimate and knowledgeable. There are still many students in my school who have limited vocabulary and cannot use eloquent words to describe a phenomenon. I am so proud that I can express myself in English, which makes me become more Canadian. But my becoming Canadian will always be based on my Korean culture because of my origin. I do not have the same sort of fundamental substratum as native Canadians. I think it is something to feel dignified about. My attachment to Korean culture is instinctive. My other friends of the third or fourth generation want to trace their roots. One of my friends is third generation Irish on his dad's side. He is very curious about the Irish culture and he always cheers the Irish team when he watches soccer games. We are instinctively inclined to belong somewhere, which is one way of expressing the self. In my case, I am really interested to learn about the Korean culture because I came from Korea; I have some experiences and memories of Korea. I brought the 137 Korean culture inside me when I immigrated here. I appreciate and acknowledge the richness and depth of the Korean culture that cannot be understood nor explained without living in Korea. I remember our relatives gathering together having great fun during holidays. I am missing those experiences and feel nostalgic recalling events. Though the details of my remembrances escape me, some feelings and memories have been deeply embedded within me. Unfortunately, these memories are slowly fading away, which is very sad and distressing. With very limited resources to learn more about Korea except for my parents or cousins, what I imagine of Korea is what it was before my immigration. Some of my mom's friends sometimes bring some Korean books when they come for a visit. I read one book that described Korean youth culture based on interviews with people on "Dae-Hak-Ro." The book was filled with so much fun and exciting performances, plays, and concerts of young Koreans. Reading that book brought back my own experiences in Korea. When we lived in Korea, my mom brought me to there. I liked the place very much. It would be great if I get to visit Korea as a young adult. Sometimes I wonder how I would feel the next time I visit Korea. I do not know whether I will like it or not. I think I might not fit anymore because I have been away from Korea for quite longtime. I just want to visit Korea for a while, but not live there for long. I think I have been so lucky to live in two countries and so fortunate to grow up in Canada. The obstacles and difficulties along the way have changed my philosophy and outlook of the world and human life and led me to become more mature. Had I stayed in Korea I would have been stuck to one culture and have a narrow perspective. I do not want to get attached to one culture. I want to explore more possibilities. Going through a transitional process from one to another culture has provided me with an incredible learning experience. Reflecting on crossing boundaries of the two cultures, I acknowledge that I 138 come to embrace both cultures with a critical perspective while I try to fit myself into the new environment and blend my old culture with the new culture. In my growing up, creating my own identity from experiencing different cultures is more important than searching for who I am from a specific cultural standpoint. When my family decided to immigrate here I often heard some typical stories about Korean immigrants. "Young students your age can more easily adapt and master English fast. It should not take more than six months for you to speak English. There won't be any problems." This statement does not correspond to the reality. I have never seen the Korean who speaks perfect English only after six months. I see the gap between the ideal and the real. As a youth, I have learned how much I idealized the reality. From my lived experiences of understanding the difficulty of learning English, I have learned how to live realistically and practically. I am able to juxtapose the ideal life with reality in a more balanced way. Also I come to divest myself of limited restrictions. If I were raised only in the Korean culture I would have internalized only the Korean culture and be restricted within the limited framework of the Korean culture. The different cultural influences have helped me develop different perspectives and expand my understanding of human life. I try, as best as I can, to acquire a balanced view of both cultures by not only looking at the differences but also the similarities. Minjeonq At the cost of leaving home, I have learned to let go of my limited self and to build a space where my existence invites other existences by interactions and interrelations with each other. I escape from such a binary opposition of the self and the other and move towards a productive synthesis where every bit of difference is conjoint and conjunctive. I am enabled to unfold, re-enter, 139 and enlarge myself by letting go of my stubborn holdings. There is a Korean proverb — the frog in the well — which means that the frog in the well does not know the ocean. For him, the world delimited within the well is everything. He is unable to imagine the existence of other worlds. My living with cultural differences takes me out of the confined well of Korea and leads me to see the multiple colors of human lives. A cultural dialogue beyond a certain polarity, " A " and "Anti-A," resolves the antithesis with a capacious synthesis. I am becoming more and more a hybrid creature with lots of colors in a constant dialectical stitching. I cannot describe specifically what has been happening inside myself, but my body remembers tumbling upheavals having run through my life. I have grown to bring myself into bigger challenges and changes and to let myself be soaked by them rather than being overwhelmed by the wild wind from the alien world. Once I begin to lose my childish fears, I pick up the attributions of fearlessness, courage, willingness, receptivity, and openness. 140 CHAPTER 6 THE MULTIDIMENSIONAL CONSTRUCTION OF CULTURAL IDENTITY: THE STORIES OF TWO SECOND GENERATION KOREAN CANADIANS The second generation of immigrants generally represents a high point of tension and struggle with the double pressure of 'Canadianization' and 'ethnicization.' They are living in-between cultures — one inside the home, the other outside — in which they are not quite comfortable in either one. Their cultural identity as Korean Canadians is constructed and reconstructed as they negotiate within these doubling positions. This chapter explores the double-faced aspects of the cultural identity of two second-generation Korean Canadians. Marginality, cultural clashes, alienation are often the main themes of experiences in classic immigrant stories. Admittedly, these themes emerge in the growing-up experiences of the second generation Korean Canadians I interviewed, Anthony and Lily. If the classic immigrant story focuses on conflicts and problems stemming from cultural clashes, then my focus is on the emerging identity of Korean Canadians. I seek to understand the processes in which they have interweaved their cultural identity on the margins of two cultures. Anthony is the first person I listened to. When I was looking for young adult Korean Canadians who were willing to share their experiences, Anthony showed great interest. When I invited him to participate in my research project, he expressed concern about how he was supposed to act or behave in relationship with me because he did not know what it would be like to have a Korean friend of the same age. But he wanted to have Korean friends to teach him Korean culture, language, history, geography, etc. Doing a narrative inquiry for the first time made me quite nervous and anxious about the research process. I had no idea on how to elicit stories and facilitate the interview process. I was very curious 141 about Anthony's reaction after our first conversation. He was so supportive of my inquiry and offered an encouraging comment, "It is much more than my own self-discovery. I really enjoyed this process." It gave me confidence in how narrative inquiry would work. Having further conversations with him provided me with great challenges in terms of intercultural understanding and cross-cultural awareness. I was quite anxious about the cultural and language obstacles, but we gradually created a safe and comfortable environment where we could share our stories and build a depth of understanding of each other. When I talked about my experiences of difficulties and conflicts I had gone though in this new cultural environment, he listened to my stories with a sympathetic mind. It was so refreshing and soothing for both of us to share different stories of our growing up in Korea and in Canada. These evocative stories of each other enabled us to fabricate an intercultural friendship that has allowed us to continue these cross-cultural conversations. Lily and I met through my Korean friend who was teaching her Korean. We are both about the same age. Interestingly, Lily had slightly different feelings and attitudes towards Korean culture compared to Anthony despite the similar experience of growing up in-between cultures. While listening to her stories, what drew my interest was the fact that she appeared to be culturally Korean in some ways although she emphasized a dislike for Korean food. Moreover, she did not have much interest in learning about Korean culture or the language. She seemed to be a much more decent and obedient daughter when compared to the contemporary Korean girls in Korea. I could sense her resisting conflicts against very traditional cultural values from her father who had strongly impacted on her identity construction. Recently, Lily's father felt a strong urge for his daughter to learn the Korean language, leading him to force her to take lessons. This pressure actually hindered Lily's positive identity construction as Korean. It reminds me of a need to be careful of how to nourish and nurture commitment and attachment to the Korean culture to the second generation who have already gone through a comparative assimilation process. Anthony and Lily were the eldest participants in this study and both of them had post-secondary education. This meant that I shared a significant amount about academic 142 discourses and my own positions around this study itself with them compared to the other participants. During the interview, my head was filled with interpretive comments, ideas, and questions. This chapter is the multilayered text interlaced with Anthony's stories, Lily's stories, my monologues, emergent understandings, and scholarly discourses. I divided each page into two columns. The left side is braided with the stories of Anthony and Lily. The right side is crafted with the multifaceted understandings and interpretations of the stories, all of which are interspersed with my emotional and intellectual responses, as well as emergent questions and critical comments that arose while listening to their stories. This experimental writing form, cracking open a mono-voiced representation, allows me to weave polyphonous voices together from the interstices of experiential and theoretical groundings in understanding identity construction through cross-cultural living. Childhood stories Tkese two Korean families / ^ n t h o r u j : When my father was five years old, my grandmother escaped from |\|orth rC o r c a a n d went to ,3 e o u l i n «SOL,th Korea. £>ecause my grandmother, uncles, and my father escaped to 5OL,th JCorea, my grandfather was murdered by the army in [\Jorth K^ orea. O n c of my uncles immigrated to "Toronto first. Like other immigrants, other family members began to immigrate to (panada, too. My family and mij other uncle's familq immig;rated situation was terribly devastating after tke Korean War. A t tke time Koreans kad keen taugkt tkat tke label Made in U S A automatically meant a superior product. In otker words, tkeu kad negative images of tkemselves. immigrated to Canada in tke early 1970s because tke Korean economic 143 to Toronto with an expectation to have a better life in |\jorth /\merica. When we immigrated in 1 JJ^r, | was one year old and my brother was three. fvV) father worked so hard throughout his entire life to support the family and provide good opportunities for us. because of his hard work, | was able to go to school and have a good life. A n d right now, | do not have to work as hard as my dad. Lily: My parents came over to Canada after they were married in 1972, a year before I was bom. Prior to their coming, my dad served in the military service in Vietnam for three years. After the Vietnam war, he worked in various military operations for the American military for another seven years. Then be went traveling for a year looking foe a place to immigrate to avoid going back to his poor family in Korea. My dad came from a very poor farmer's family. When he was in Vietnam be sent money back home to support two older brothers and an older sister. A t the time when he decided to immigrate, Canada was more economically progressive In the first wave of immigration, Koreans flocked to North America to escape poverty in an expectation of tke American dream. ' North America was seen as a land of opportunity where everything could he obtained by working very hard. Theij left behind Korea, the only country they ever knew, a country of three thousand years of history and tradition, for Canada, the land of opportunity. When they came here they gave up very respectable positions and privileges they had in Korea. But the situation waiting for them was not as great as they expected. A l l their experiences in Korea had been rendered absolutely useless in this so-called land of opportunity. They were generally disadvantaged in the Canadian labor market due to the language barrier and cultural unfamiliarity. They had to open grocery stores, laundromats, and restaurants where the hours were 144 tbgn the United States. The economy of Canada was really blooming. My dad told me that once people arrived they were offered jobs at the aifport. He then decided to immigrate to Canada-Q h i l d h o o d life A n t h o n y : p a r e n t s ' g e n e r a t i o n t h o u g h t o f ( p a n a d a a s t h e l a n d o f o p p o r t u n i t y . ~T~hey s a w m o v i n g t o ( p a n a d a a s m a k i n g s o m e t h i n g new f o r t h e m s e l v e s a n d a b e t t e r f u t u r e f o r t h e i r c h i l d r e n , "["hey c a m e t o ( C a n a d a t o e s c a p e t h e p o v e r t y in |<^orea. £ > u t t h e i r life w a s a l w a y s s o b u s y in w o r k i n g h a r d t o su rv ive a n d s u p p o r t t h e i r fami ly in t h i s n e w l a n d . W h e n | w a s g r o w i n g u p | r e m e m b e r n e v e r h a v i n g new c l o t h e s . | a l w a y s h a d my b r o t h e r ' s u s e d c l o t h i n g . W h e n | g o t new s h o e s o n c e a y e a r it w a s l ike a s p e c i a l e v e n t . | d o n o t r e m e m b e r h a v i n g a n e w b i c y c l e . M y d a d a s s e m b l e d my b i c y c l e f rom u s e d b i c y c l e s . W e h a d a small c a r a n d a n i ce t i n y h o u s e w i th a small y a r d . W c w e r e n e v e r s t a r v i n g . £ ) u t we n e v e r w e n t o u t t o e a t e v e r y w e e k e n d a n d n e v e r a t t e n d e d p a r t i e s . long. Since tkey were recent immigrants, learning the Canadian waij of life and fitting into tke Canadian society were still problematic. Tkey were treated as inferior because of tkeir different race, culture, and accents. Tkey suffered tke kumiliation of immigrants. Tkey suppressed tkeir etknicity in tke name of pragmatism and opportunism. To be successful in tkeir new world, tkey kad to actively assimilate making tkeir cultural background less conspicuous. Yet, tkey kad tkeir reasons for immigrating. N o amount of sacrifice was too muck for tke sake of tkeir ckildren. Notking in tkeir lives meant more to tkem tkan tke best kope for tkeir ckildren. W k e n tkey underwent all kinds of kardskips to survive, tkey believed tkeir ckildren s success would reward all tkeir sacrifices. It was necessary for tkem to pusk tkeir ckildren to study kard. MM 145 Lily: When I was growing up my parents operated a small grocery store. They were so busy that they did not have time to spend with me. They were at the grocery store from 8:00 am in the morning until 11: 00 pm at night. There was not enough time to prepare food so that I had fast food, frozen food, or take-out Cantonese food very often. I spent most of my time with my English friends or in front of an English satellite TV which was all about Canadian culture, not much Korean culture at all- The only Korean things that I related to were Korean food and the Korean church service on Sundays. The Korean church provided Korean lessons, but my attendance was irregular. I just learned the basic level of Korean, such as writing my name, saying "MUt" which means apple, something like that. I mostly forgot what I had learned there when I stopped attending church. Now I have to learn again how to read and write in Korean from a very basic level. As I grew up, there were very few Korean people around me and I did not have a lot of Korean friends. I was the only Asian student Many Korean immigrants attend tke Korean churches for practical as well as religious purposes. Korean immigrant churches serve several practical functions which are indispensable to the new immigrants adjustment. These churches are major places for socializing with fellow Koreans as well as sharing resources and information. They provide a space for Koreans to interact with each other. Also the churches take a significant role in reinforcing ethnic attachment by preserving Korean cultural traditions in some ways. The Korean culture and language are more openly practiced here than in other places. For the second generation, Korean churches become the primary route to experience the Korean culture. The Saturday Korean language school is another major space for learning the Korean culture and 146 in rny elementary school. I worked with a speech teacher when I was in Grade 3 or 4 because I could not pronounce "s" properly, i had to practice reading and writing words starting with the "s" sound- Once a week I bad a session with a speech teacher and- She would teach me exactly how to place my tongue in my mouth and how to pronounce other words. I bad problems with some other words too, but the most difficult was the "s" sound-Even in my junior high school, I grew up in a very white environment where I was the only Asian face. There were some Koreans in my high school, all of who were ESL students. /\nthony: M y parents are very religious people. L_very «5unday | went to church until age I 8 when | left my family for university, [during elementary school andjunior high school, | was also very religious. | was the president of the youth group and played the role of a religion instructor for five years. |n my childhood, all my friends came from the K^orean church. ~T~hey were second generation K^orean (Canadians like me. M y best friend was a Korean. We had b een language in Canada. Indeed, most second generation Korean Canadians have experienced the Korean language school at least a short period ol time. These two institutions, the Korean church and the language school, take on the significant role of teaching and transmitting the Korean culture and language. Since the second generations have very limited access to Korean mass media because of language deficiency, the images and ideas of Korean culture represented by these two institutions may have directly or indirectly influenced their identity construction of being Korean. Anthony and Lily professed to have grown up in a home where being Korean was not greatly emphasized, at least not through a more open and conscious way of passing on the Korean culture and language. The 147 friends since we were little kids. We shared very similar experiences as second generation Koreans and we valued the same things. When | stopped going to the Korean church | lost touch with Koreans who were associated with the church, particularly when | moved from the place with a lot of minorities like Koreans, Indians, and (Chinese to a very white dominant area, | lost all my Korean friends and started socializing with all white people. 5 l n c c then things have changed. | began seeing my religious life differently and becoming flexible with my religious practice. parents did not nave enough time to teach them how to be Korean in Canada. Neither did they seriously think about the consequences and cost ol taking up the track ol fitting in. Their parents rarely advised them about ethnic consciousness or pride, particularly when they were laced with living in-between cultures. Rather than having an explicit Korean identity based on what their parents wanted, Anthony and Lily held on to having a more tacit version. Living in two different worlds: Inside and outside the home Learning; both Korean and V ngjish lang;uag;es Anthony: | naturally learned K o r e a n from my parents just by listening although | did not speak Korean too much at home. (Jsualiy my mom spoke K° r e a n to me, but my dad spoke English to me. |n both cases, | responded in FjLnglish. | do not cjuite remember how frequently | used K° r c a n -The second generation Korean Canadians usually learn the Korean language from their parents. They speak Korean before they enter the elementary school. As soon as they start learning English they spend more time in an English-speaking environment, and consequently they gradually lose their Korean language. 148 ^ i n c e | was a very little child | started learning English through T V - M y brother and | sat and watched cartoons and a lithe kids1 sh ows. A f t e r g o i n g to school we would learn and practice L_nglish more and more, /^nd then even at home we werejust talking to each other in English. ) did not try to practice Korean because it was of no use for my survival. | always spoke in English with other friends, my brother, and my father. M y dad spoke English very well because he had worked in a place where L_nglish was spoken so he practiced English all the time. dad always wanted us to speak English because he thought that the mastery of the English language was very necessary to be successful in this white dominant society. , 5 ° we always spoke English with my dad. L_ven if | answered in k^orean he responded to me in English. A 5 I became older, | gradually lost the K.orean language. A s a y o u n g kid 1 did not feel the need to know Korean as a preparation for my future life. A t present | can understand Korean but | cannot speak it very well. | can speak only some words, some very childish stuff. | can write a little. ] learned some KLorean at t h e l C orean language school in the k^orean church in my There are manu stories about the dilemma immigrant parents lace. Parents want their children to be fluent in English as much as they want their children not to lose the mother tongue. They are torn between letting their children speak English or Korean at home. Korean parents are resigned to having their children master English at the potential cost of losing Korean in order to be on an equal footing with white Canadians. Hurh (1998) states that the cultural assimilation of Korean Americans does not necessarily mean their social assimilation. According to him, cultural assimilation refers to the immigrants acculturation to the host culture. Social assimilation refers to their access and entrance to the social networks of the host 149 elementary years. |just learned Korean vowels and consonants. | was not taught Korean history and culture. | quit after three years because | found it so boring and | considered it useless at that time. The priority of learning English over Korean Lily: I natut-ally learned English from watching TV. I was left home alone a lot because my parents were always busy. My brother and I grew up alone quite a bit and we watched TV all the time. My parents told me that they took me to Korea a few times when I was young. But I do not remember ever going to Korea until I was 12 or 14. When I visited to Korea at an early age, some people wondered how I could count in French from 1 to 10. I learned it from watching TV because we lived in Ontario at the time. My parents never forced rne to speak Korean. Rather, we spoke English at home. But when they scolded me, it would be in Korean. More interestingly, when I yelled at my younger brother it was done in Korean although I normally spoke to him in English. Praying was another moment when I spoke society. Cultural assimilation can be successfully done wben tkey learn tke American way of living suck as language, customs, values, and beliefs, etc. But cultural assimilation does not automatically guarantee social assimilation. Muck researck skows tkat wkile cultural assimilation of tke minorities is practiced to a considerable degree in America, tkeir social assimilation kas not been far-reacking yet. It reveals now difficult it can be for Korean immigrants to be completely accepted in tke dominant society. Considering tke reality, it is not easy for tkem to feel a sense of kome in tkis new land. In a lack of awareness and understanding of prejudice towards tkeir ckildren from tke dominant society, tke work hard ideology is a general strategy tkat Korean parents employ to protect 150 Korean. My family did not really go to church every Sunday, but we would have bible study sessions at home together. My mom always liked it. A t present I always wake up at about 6:00 o'clock each morning without an alarm because my parents start their prayers. It is so loud that it wakes me up by 6:30 and I have to listen to it for half an hour. It is a moment for me to listen to Korean. As a family we always pray together in Korean. When I pray I think in Korean and then translate it into English. I am more comfortable praying in Korean because I am more used to Korean terms of prayer phrases and hymns. ~\~)r\e emphasis on hard work /\nthoruj: dad always reminded me that | was a Korean in a (Canadian culture. ] was not a (Canadian. |t meant that | bad to work hard and | had to achieve. \~~\e told me if | did not do well, it would be difficult for me to be accepted in this society. \~\e reminded me that |bad to prove myself. brother and ) grew up as bard workers. ] studied very bard to be themselves from the reality of discrimination. They deal with the issues very privately without seeking collective and political allegiance. They naively think that fluency with speaking English and high education would lead to a future with financial securitij and no discrimination. Unsurprisingly, the children never dismiss it outright. But I would like to raise the questions, How much can education help them get over their status as a minori ty?""D oes education hold promise for the success they expect? Success in school should not he a major key to empower them in face of the discriminating reality. These stories of two Korean Canadians make me realize that there is a lack of familial teaching for the young generation to tetter understand and respond to their sense of marginality and alienation 151 MM successful because | knew | was different. Liven though tfiere were a lot of K orean immigrants wbo came in the 1 ?7<0s, we were still a minority. "P^at always reminded me to work hard to survive. M y parents never told me directly, "f3e proud of being Korean" or "r3e proud of our Korean culture." "Pheyjust emphasized that ] had to work hard being a member of a minority, i wish my parents had said that | had to be proud of being a K ° r c a n - |£ I was acknowledged that | should have been more proud of my K o r e a n culture and language regardless of how different | was, | would have been confident in sharing my Korean heritage and being Korean among my white friends. M y parents never took being a K ° r e a n seriously, feather, they were more concerned about being successful in this white dominant society. caused by cultural and racial differences. For racial minority groups, tke family is expected to take on an important role in teacking tke young generation kow to deal witk issues around cultural difference and racism. African Americans skow tkat families kave given particular attention to teack tke younger generation a sense of pride and identification witk black kistory and traditions (Billingsley, 1992; Hill, 1999). In contrast, Korean parents teacking remains very narrow in some cultural traditions and customs. Ratker, tkey leave young Korean Canadians to deal witk discrimination or racism issues on tkeir own. No interest in Korean customs and cuisine Lily: I remembered we had a special Korean dish during the Korean Harvest Day and the Chinese New Year's Pay. In the Chinese New Tkere is not muck support tke Korean community can provide to equip young Korean Canadians to deal witk tke sckizopkrenic kind of existence — between kome life 152 Year, I had to bow to my parents as a sign o f respect. Sometimes cousins came over to our bouse and paid respect to my parents. Then my parents gave them money in return. That was not interesting to me. it did not mean anything to me, but I just did it to please my parents. My dad was very concerned about my 'fitting in.' We ate less Korean food than other Korean families. I bad grown up usually with the western food such as some kinds o f sandwiches. We did not eat Korean food very much. Until now i cannot eat spicy Korean food and do not like it very much. Just lately my family started eating Korean food at home. As my dad gets older, be just becomes more homesick. He wants to have Korean dishes so my mom makes Korean food these days. It is recently that I have Korean food quite often. But I am still not used to Korean food because I did not grow up with it. and another life outside of the home. The parents are at a loss about how to rectify the situation where young Korean Canadians who have already assimilated into the new culture do not seem to care about their cultural origins. How can they teach the young generation to take advantage of their living in two different cultures in a more positive way? How can they convert the negative sentiments of young Korean Canadians into positive self-affirming aspects of their identity? Problems and conflicts different cultural values Anth onu: My becoming more adapted to the (Canadian The ethnic context of the family is very influential in how the second generation experiences and 153 culture was always a source of conflict with my parents. ~T"hey valued K o r c a n culture, but | wanted to live by the (Canadian cultural values. T"hese different cultural values did not mix well and instigated many problems between my parents and myself. Moving out to live with my girlfriend, going camping with my friends, traveling, partying, and drinking too much were examples that triggered conflicts with my parents. | wanted to be free. | think that one of the big differences between the two cultures is that parents tend to be overvalued in the Korean culture. |f my parents tell me to do something ] have to obey them. | am aware of the Korean cultural value of respecting parents. | absolutely respect my parents but in a different way, not like the traditional way. | want to make my own choices like other (Canadians do. | want to take on the Canadian cultural value of independence. \~or example, the practice of "making my own decisions." understands Korean culture and takes pride in being Korean. Much research emphasizes that intergenerational relations in immigrant families are characterized by powerful cultural conflicts. These conflicts influence the identity construction of the young generation. Lily s and Anthony s stories include details of tensions, problems, and struggles with their parents who tried to impose their cultural values on them while Lily and Anthony were gradually becoming Canadianized. The cultural clashes with parents clearly stand out in the childhood memories of these two people. The insufficient understanding of Korean culture L i l y : There were always some conflicts and As Anthony and Lily were more and more assimilated into the Canadian culture, the cultural disjunction was accelerated between them and their parents. 154 difficulties caused by cultural differences. M y Korean teacher Mrs. C b o to ld me about some aspects o f Korean culture that I did not really understand until she actually articulated it a bit more. She said that Koreans tend to be t o o exaggerated- For example, they might say, "Oh I love y o u so much," "I'm going crazy.. ." This kind o f exaggeration is part o f Korean culture. For example my parents said to me, " i f y o u don' t do this I won' t give y o u money." But in the end they gave money. Their saying " N o " did not mean the "usual N o " in English. M y parents tended to use this kind o f Korean style o f expression. They said something that would not mean the same thing in English. I understand it now. But I was confused in my childhood because 1 could, not understand them. I d'd not really know these practices were connected to Korean culture until Mrs. Cho explained it. It was then that I realized these misunderstandings were not psychological problems o f m y parents, but more out o f a cultural domain . This generated many struggles and conflicts because the two cultures interacted against each other. The cultural clashes Anthony and Lily experienced with their parents are distinctly marked by cultural incommensurability where cultural differences constantly flow through different meanings without being merely determined. Lily s episode describes the kind of misunderstanding elicited by her lack of knowledge about the Korean culture. She could not quite grasp the subtle nuances and implicit meanings involved in the Korean way of expressing oneself because her only way of understanding Korean was through literal meaning. This episode represents how the differences in culture and language evoke a misunderstanding between immigrant parents and children. 155 A lack o f commun ica t i on b e t w e e n p a r e n t s a n d ch i l d ren o n u : M a n y con f l i c t s wi th my p a r e n t s we re re l a ted t o p o o r commun ica t i on b e t w e e n us. |n t he K o r e a n cu l tu re , t h e r e is l ess commun ica t i on , espec ia l l y in a re l a t i onsh ip b e t w e e n f a t h e r s a n d s o n s . T " h e ch i l d ren a r e j u s t e x p e c t e d t o l is ten t o the p a r e n t s . |t c r e a t e s a ba r r i e r b e t w e e n p a r e n t s a n d ch i ld ren . ~T*he K o r e a n p a r e n t s d o no t k n o w how t o commun ica te with the i r ch i l d ren . | th ink if t h e r e is more o p e n commun ica t ion , t he re w o u l d b e less con f l i c t s a n d p r o b l e m s b e t w e e n us . The authoritarian dad Lily: My dad tended to get angry very easily when I did something wrong. To me his anger seemed to be out of proportion compared to what I had done wrong. So I thought maybe my dad had an anger management problem and he should go for counseling. I always wondered why he over-reacted to something I had done. He did not have to yell. I mean, be could tell me in a different way. At the Antkony indicated tkat kis parents imposition of certain rules and expectations from tkeir cultural values was a major source of tkeir conflicts. In tke absence of any open communication, tkese expectations were usually embedded in traditional and undemocratic ways. Antkony strongly insisted tkat in order to reduce conflicts and struggles, parents skould try to create a more open environment in tke family and invest tkeir time talking witk tke ckildren. It is interesting to see tke general model of family life idealized by tke second generation Korean Canadians. Interestingly, Antkony and Lily s general ideas of tke Canadian family reflect tke life 156 t i m e I t h o u g h t it was part o f m y dad's p e r s o n a l i t y . B u t w a t c h i n g s o m e K o r e a n v ideos , I real ize K o r e a n s d o have t h a t k i n d o f t e n d e n c y . T h e y just y e l l f o r n o a p p a r e n t reason as a w a y o f express ing t h e i r anger . W h e n K o r e a n s are t a l k i n g , it s o u n d s v e r y a n g r y t o o u t s i d e r s . I t h i n k t h e K o r e a n language s o u n d s a n g r y i n t e r m s o f t h e t o n e o f t h e language . W h e n I l i s tened t o m y d a d I had b e c o m e m o r e sensit ive because here i n t h e C a n a d i a n c u l t u r e ra is ing o n e ' s v o i c e is a b i g deal- I bad a lready accepted t h a t f o r years. I c o u l d n o t c h a n g e m y dad a n d I a l so c o u l d n o t c h a n g e what I felt. C o n s e q u e n t l y , al l I c o u l d d o was just accept it because m y d a d was v e r y t r a d i t i o n a l - H e was p r o b a b l y m o r e t r a d i t i o n a l t h a n p e o p l e w h o c o m e f r o m K o r e a r i g h t n o w . W h e n he g o t m a d be d i d n o t l i s ten t o m e . H e just g o t a n g r i e r a n d a n g r i e r . H i s v o i c e was just l o u d e r a n d l o u d e r . . . I had t o g ive i n a n d say, " O k I 'm s o r r y . Please c a l m d o w n . " erent parental models style of upper-middle class Canadians which may not accurately describe a typical Canadian family model. Pyke (2000) notes how the monolithic image of the normal American family is used as an interpretive framework in which young Asian Americans gauge their own family experiences. According to Pyke, Korean Americans and Vietnamese Americans often feel that their relationships with parents are deficient, lacking in expressive of love and psychological support. Similarly, Anthony and Lily describe their families as not normal when compared with the generalized notion of the Canadian family. Anth onu: |n (Canadian culture, children need help to get their homework done and get good 157 grades. ^ >ut in Korean culture, parents are here and the children are there. "T~he parents just want their children to show how well they are doing in school, but they never help. Looking back now, | can more understand why they could not help me a lot. f~irst of all, because of the language; second of all, because of the different culture; and also because of the different upbringing. | wish my parents could have a relationship with me as friends, notjust as parents and children. | think it is what Korean culture lacks. My parents never asked me "Ljow are you feeling at school?" |t is not something that | blame my parents for it isjust the way it was. Tke Korean parents seem to Le unable to interact successfully witk tke young second generation because ol tke experiential, cultural, and linguistic barrier. Tkeir ckildren come kome from sckool witk questions tkey cannot answer. For parents, life in Canada is lull ol pitfalls. Being dislocated from tkeir kome and engaging in tke adaptation process leads to many difficulties for tkem. different expectations Anthony: Another big issue that | had in my adolescence was my parents' inability to understand what | was going through. T"hey had their own expectations from their Korean point or view an d|had my own expectations from my (Canadian point of view about what parents should do. W e had the different expectations of what each other was supposed to do and how we were supposed Many young Korean Canadians in tkis study complained of a lack of emotional support from tkeir parents. Tkey indicated tkat tkey did not tell tkeir parents wkat tkey kad gone tkrougk in sckool. Tke parents migkt be aware of tke difficulties and struggles of tke young generation even in an abstract and superficial way. But tkeij simply responded witk silence because tkey were unsure of kow to 158 t o ac t . |t c a u s e d me much f r u s t r a t i o n a n d d i s a p p o i n t m e n t . A s a f C o r e a n ( C a n a d i a n , | h a d d i f f e r e n t k i nds o f pa ren ta l mode l s b e c a u s e | a l r e a d y saw a n d l e a r n e d wha t ( C a n a d i a n p a r e n t s d i d with the i r ch i ld ren . | mean t h e y t o o k the i r ch i l d ren t o movies a n d t h e y s p e n t t ime d o i n g s p o r t s t o g e t h e r with them. f j )ut | h a d n e v e r g o n e t o a movie with my p a r e n t s . Moreover, | was no t a l l owed t o g o o u t la te , t o s l e e p o v e r with f r i ends , o r t o w a t c h T V f o r l ° n g - I f o u g h t s o ha rd a g a i n s t t h o s e p r o b l e m s . T h e y j u s t w a n t e d me t o p r o v e tha t | was d o i n g well in s c h o o l a n d g e t t i n g g o o d g r a d e s . T h e y w a n t e d me t o s h o w r e s p e c t f o r p a r e n t s a n d t o a c c o m p l i s h w h a t t h e y e x p e c t e d t o b e d o n e , j ^ o r examp le , if | d i d no t d o well in s c h o o l | was p u n i s h e d b e c a u s e t h e y t h o u g h t tha t d o i n g well in s c h o o l w a s a key t o s u c c e s s . An overemphasis on study Lily: My parents always asked me whether I did well in school rather than what I did- They really paid attention to me when I brought home my report card- They counted how many As and Bs I received. If* I did not get respond, and they could not quite enter into these conflicting situations. Furthermore, there were very few resources to rely on. The Korean parents were barely capable of guiding the younger generation in how to resolve conflicting problems in a diaspora. The younger generation might be ill advised, and hence tended to forget about their Korean cultural heritage. This lack of guidance originated from the fact that the parents had not gone through similar experiences during their own childhoods. It was the disparity in these experiences and histories that the separation and alienation between these two generations accelerated. 159 good grades, -they went searching for a tutor to make up for my deficiencies. They were pretty good about finding good tutors and paying for them. When I was in Grade 5 I was not very good in my school. So my dad became really concerned about me. He started getting me a private tutor who was a substitute teacher. She came over to my house every Saturday and d'd two hours tutoring me in Math and Science. During the summer vacation before Grade 6, she came to my house every day and went through the entire Grade 6 Math curriculum over the summer. When I went to Grade 6 I was much more prepared than the other students and I got a very high grade. But I did not find school interesting at all- I felt class was boring. Anyway, my Grade 5 summer vacation was hell. No playing, just studying, studying, studying, if I had a B it was fine with me, but my parents wanted all A's. I think for Grade 5 or 6 children, it is too early to be really concerned about study. There was no need to have tutoring everyday. But if 1 did not do that, my dad would have punished me. In my junior high school, I hated Math. One day, my dad went to Parent-Teacher Day. It Given this situation, it is important to facilitate bridging tke experiential rupture between tke first and second generations and to kelp eacb understand and accept tke otker. It is significant tkat tke parents and tke young generations empatkize, understand, and appreciate eack otker s experiences. Better communication, openness, and understanding of eack otker will lead uoung Korean Canadians to create a kealtky cultural identity. How could tkese two generations respond to eack otker in a way tkat moves beyond tkeir different experiences? Tke process requires more follow-up questions: How can parents empkasize tke importance of learning about tke Korean culture to progeny wko skow mostly apatky because of tke pressures to assimilate? Wkat does 160 was an opportunity for parents to talk to teachers and ask how their children were doing in the class. The parents went around to every teacher like the French teacher, English teacher, Math teacher, etc. When my dad talked to the Math teacher, there was a list of top ten students. My name was not on the list. My dad got so mad and I was scolded for 2 to 3 hours. After that I had to put more effort toward Math. In senior high school, I was doing well in school. The major trouble that I bad at the time was in Physics class. The teacher taught us at the level o f University Physics. I remember that one day my parents and brother were having fun together watching W o n the weekend, but I had to study all weekend for a Physics test on Monday- I had to memorize all the formulas and scenarios. There were some different ways to get the same answers but I could only memorize one way to get the answer. Anyway, I was not allowed to watch TV over the weekend- I was always forced to study hard in my adolescence. it mean to te Korean outside Korea? In what ways can the Korean culture te taught properly? The over-emphasis on academic achievement is deeply emtedded in these intergenerational cultural conflicts. Lilij spoke disapprovingly of the psychological pressures her parents put on her around school performance. Anthony also spoke at length of his feelings atout growing up in an atmosphere where education received such a high priority. While affirming its value, he resented the manner and means ty which his parents emphasized doing well in school, an issue that conflicted with his ideas atout how family relationships should te. 161 ~T"he social pressure of westernization Anthony: | never used to experience the real (Canadian culture in my childhood. (Canadians had parties during holidays or they went up to the cottage during vacations. / \ \ \ these were things that Korean families did not necessarily do. | did not go camping, or skiing, etc. My difficulty was not necessarily related to language but more to culture. | had never experienced "real" (Canadian culture because | did not have access to it. | really wanted to do those things but | could not. (doming to high school, | realized that in order to be accepted in the (Canadian society, | had to speak English well, | had to dress suitable to the |\jorth A m e n c a n culture, and | had to act like other |\|orth /\merlcan people, etc. T"here were so many social and cultural pressures. |n high school, peer pressure was extremely important. | was supposed to drink, | was supposed to go out, | was supposed to trade drugs, and | was supposed to have sexual experiences, etc. A H these unwritten things were what this (Canadian culture was about. A s a minority, | needed to participate in all this cultural stuff to be "cool" and Tke empkasis on ackievement and. education is a frequent tkeme coming out of tke narratives of tke Asian immigrant students. For immigrant parents,' Doing well in sckool is seen as an effective means of overcoming socio-cultural barriers and ackieving socioeconomic status and rewards in a wkite-dominant society. It is taken as tke only way to compensate for tke disadvantage of being immigrants. Tkis discourse is also closely related to tke American dream tkat socioeconomic success is possible and open for all wko strive for it. Tkese two stories do not skow a monolitkic pattern because tkey kave maneuvered tkeir cross-cultural living differently depending on tke different situations tkey kave gone tkrougk. In spite of tke diversity, kowever, 162 accepted. ]^>ut | was not allowed to do those things according to my k^orean culture. T"hese cultural issues led me to feel alienated from other (~anadian friends. Wanting to look "white" Lily: I recall that I was angi-y at the world a lot during my childhood and adolescence. I would think o f myself as white, but I realized I was not white when I looked at myself in the mirror. I saw myself as completely different from other white friends. I had different skin color, body structure, hair color, and so on. I had grown up with little Barbie dolls which were represented as white, not Asian. It made me feel Asians were inferior to whites. I still have that feeling right now although I know it is not true, logically speaking. But at an emotional level, sometime I feel Asians are just second rate. It was what I found living in this white dominated culture. Interestingly, when I went to Korea, people said to me, "You really don't look like a Korean. You look half Korean. Your eyelashes look like the ones white people one common theme runs through their memories: a part of growing up as a Korean Canadian involves developing an awareness of their non-whiteness." They remember their childhood as an emerging consciousness of their differences from the white Canadians. When Anthony and Lily were growing up, there were not many Korean immigrants in Canada. The social landscape of their neighborhood was a predominantly white Canadian one. As children, they thought looking Korean would be a barrier to normalcy. In the white dominant social environment, being normal meant being white. The absence of minorities in their living environment led them to establish the conception of normalcy as being white. 163 have." I bad lost the way back in because I was aware that if I was really compared with white people here I was nothing. Just wanting to "fit in" Lily: In elementary school, I really wanted to fit in. I remember that there was one girl who came from Vietnam. She bad just immigrated and she did not speak a lot of English. She ended up being my friend when it was just Grade 3. When she came to my bouse for breakfast, we ate Korean noodles using chopsticks. When she went to school she told other classmates that I had eaten with chopsticks. She said it in a way that made me feel bad-After that, I was not her friend any more. I felt betrayed because she let out something that I perceived to be very private. At the time, I was trying bard to be normal with the other Canadian students. I brought only sandwiches to school for my lunch just like the other Canadian students. I never bad Korean food at school. Despite having grown up as Canadians, their childhood memories are scarred by the powerful feelings of wanting to he white because of always being marked by their differences. While they realized that they were physically and culturally different, subconsciously they did not want to be weird, different, or stand out. They just wanted to be as Canadianized as they possibly could. They tried to convince themselves that they were white, whatever that meant. It was not that they were the brunt of direct racial insults. Rather, it was more a matter of being different from most of the white children in school or the westerners they idealized as young children. The fear and anxiety of being different discouraged them from being Korean and developing their cultural identity as Korean. 164 eing; a s h a m e d o f K o r e a n cu l tu re A n t h o n u : |n my g r o w i n g up y e a r s , | w a n t e d t o have n o t h i n g t o d o with K o r e a n cu l tu re . | j u s t w a n t e d t o d o the same th ings a s o th e r ( C a n a d i a n s . N o t on ly e a t i n g t he ( C a n a d i a n f o o d b u t a l s o d o i n g e v e r y t h i n g . | was a lways ne rvous a b o u t b r i ng i ng o v e r ( C a n a d i a n f r i e n d s b e c a u s e in my h o u s e t h e r e were a lways s t r a n g e K o r e a n smel ls , s t r a n g e cus toms , c l o t h e s a n d d e c o r a t i o n s . | was s o c o n c e r n e d a b o u t how t h e y w o u l d r e a c t t o t h o s e k inds o f K o r e a n th ings . | d i d no t wan t t o show my f r i e n d s t h a t | was d i f f e r e n t f rom them. | j u s t w a n t e d t o live t he C a n a d i a n life e. | r emember t h a t a t my b i r t h d a y pa r t y | s a i d t o my mom, " M o m , c a n we o r d e r p izza?" | d i d no t wan t t o s h a r e K o r e a n d i s h e s f o r mu b i r t hday with my ( C a n a d i a n f r i e n d s b e c a u s e | w i s h e d | was no t a K o r e a n . A t the time, | real ly w a n t e d t o b e c o m e a ( C a n a d i a n , w e a r the same c l o t h e s , d o the same th ings , a s well as have the same f o o d . Unfortunately, Anthony and Lily have never been taught directly and publicly how to take being different in a positive way. The pressure of being "normal did not allow them to practice and openly exercise their Korean background. They considered their Korean side was something that should be hidden from other Canadian friends and only enjoyed in the privacy of home. Indeed, Anthony and Lily confessed at various times that they felt ashamed of the Korean food in the refrigerator and the smell this food permeated through the house. It reflects the strenuous efforts they employed to erase their sense of difference. I also heard stories from other Korean Canadians who did not understand why they needed to learn about their roots. They just pretended that theij were exactly like white people. 5 s ty l 165 A patriarchal dad Lily: I had s o m e conf l ic t s wi th m y dad because be was patriarchal . M y dad w o u l d tell m e " Y o u g o d o this o r that for me" like "Get s o m e water," " F i n d m e a pair o f shoes," etc. I t h o u g h t that t h o s e t h i n g s were n o t necessarily what I s h o u l d d o . I d i d n o t want t o d o t h e m . So we c a m e i n t o c o n f l i c t that way. I felt o t h e r K o r e a n C a n a d i a n girls also e n c o u n t e r e d these p r o b l e m s with the ir dads. ( C o n f u s e d cul tural ident i tq A n t h o n y : |n some c a s e s | still f ee l | am ne i ther p a r t o f here n o r there . | am more here a t o n e time, b u t | am more t h e r e o t h e r times. W h e n | l o o k at myself in the mirror a n d c o n s i d e r my h i s tory | am total ly K o r e a n . Fj)ut l o o k i n g a t the ins ide o f myself, | am n o t 1 00% k^orean b u t m a y b e 2 0 t o 50%. I have n o d o u b t a b o u t my ( ~ a n a d i a n - n e s s . F 3 u t it d o e s n o t neces sar i l y mean that | am n o t p l e a s e d with my k^orean identity. | s t a n d in s o m e w h e r e there . | am par t o f b o t h , even a little bit. I think the s e c o n d g e n e r a t i o n is the most Obviously, assimilating pressures are continuously imposed on immigrant students as a hegemonic norm. This is the case even though multicultural education is part of federal policy in Canada. The immigrant students are struggling to reconcile these tensions. They try to figure out where they fit in a society that never seems to accept cultural hybridity as a possibility. This points to the need for multicultural education to consider how the psychological twists of young immigrant students often impedes upon their positive identity construction. It also indicates that public schooling in Canada subtly inculcates immigrant students from minority backgrounds with a value system that endures white privilege in Canada. 166 difficult generation. W e have to fit together the fragmented little pieces of the puzzle that our parents give to us, our school gives to us, and society gives to us. W e always have to satisfy all those different kinds of conflicting behaviors that we are supposed to have. /\s a second generation, | have to find out who | am in a very confused situation where | am not really Canadian, not really Korean. What am | supposed to do? | do not know. My parents have to let me figure it out because they also do not have any answers. Korean immigrants have not had the third generation or the fourth generation yet. /\\\ of my cousins and all of my friends are the second generation. ~T~he third generation may not necessarily be Korean. T"here could be frequent mixed marriages and mixed babies. Mow do we expect them to be Korean here in (panada, tojust stay Korean? Mere is not Korea! When | was growing up, nobody told me what it would be like to be a Korean Canadian, and what it would be like to grow up outside of Korea. | did not have any blueprint. | still do not know what | am going to be and what | am supposed to do. /\m | supposed to go back to Korea and learn my roots? O r a m I j u s t supposed to live as a Tke parental generation s desire is to attempt to make a continuity ol kere and tkere despite tke discontinuity caused by tkeir move and dislocation. For tke assimilated generations, it is too easy to forget tkeir culture and forfeit community in tke western ideology of tke "free individual, an ideology tkat leads tke younger generations to indulge in individualized isolation from tkeir cultural background. Tke assimilated generations kardly want to make any emotional commitment or attackment to Korean culture. How skould we teack tkem Korean culture? We may be able to talk to tkem about certain aspects of Korean culture, but we will not be able to force tkem to make emotional attackments to Korean culture. Wkat can be skared between tkese two generations seems only some knowledge of tke Korean culture. It would be wrong to expect tke assimilated younger generations to accept and understand Korean 167 (Canadian here and forget about my k^orean side? A m | supposed to marry a K^orean girl and keep the k^orean lineage according to my parents' wishes? M y father did this, my uncle did that, and many other k^orean immigrants did this. 5 ° should | follow in their footsteps? Y e a h , | am so confused, "["here is no guideline. |n this sense, | am good for my sister. | have already gone through the same problems, the same feelings, and the same kind of troubles between Korean culture and (Canadian culture she is undergoing now. | am so glad that | can be there for her and tell her "FJ)on't worry. |t's going to be ok. J u s t be respectful to mom and dad and then you will understand them later." T~hat is my role and my responsibility to her. B u t | did not have anu guide or help in my growing up. | did not have older k^orean people who said that they understood what | was going through. M y parents did not grasp what | was going through so | had to deal with those problems by myself. T h e y j u s t tried to put food on the table and thought that their responsibility was done. culture in tke same way tkatit is understood by tke parents generation. Tke Korean culture will likely kave different meaning for tke first generation and tke second generation. Unlike tke parents generation, for tke second generation, Leing an autkentic Korean naturally becomes impossible. If tkey were raised in Korea tkey could just be Korean. But being raised kere, tkey are compelled to be Korean Canadian, not just Korean, nor just Canadian. Tke issue tken is not about being Korean in some self-evident ways. Tke obsession witk one s pure and autkentic origin will lead tke younger generations to feel discriminated against by otker Koreans because tkey don t look pure Korean. Tkeir situation of being raised in anotker culture already makes it impossible to 168 (^uiturally-insensitive teachers onu: When | was growing up, none of my teachers knew what to do with immigrant students. I\|one of them said, "(Celebrate your customs, traditions, cultures." A H  mjj friends were white (Canadians and the school neither allowed me to celebrate my culture nor encouraged me to understand my culture and language. |n this kind of environment how could | feel comfortable with my different culture? {~or Europeans, it seemed so much easier to adjust to the (Canadian culture and to feel comfortable because they came from a similar cultural background. £ ) u t Korean immigrant students could not help feeling embarrassed about their place in western culture. Not surprisingly, ) came to consider my different culture as shameful and easily forgot in an insecure school environment where | could not feel confident and proud of my own cultural heritage. r 7 mbarrassed by people's ignorance Anth onu: I had never felt racism in high school, fjjut in assume an identity in terms of tke country of tkeir kirtk or tkeir ancestors country. It is tkerefore important to listen to kow tkey define tkemselves. Tke parents skould consider kow young Korean Canadians figure out wkick cultural elements matck ratker tkan just kanging on to tke Korean cultural tie in any kind of autkentic way. Some people migkt tkink Canada is an inclusive multicultural society. But tke Anglo-centered cultural value system is still very muck a dominant part of Canadian culture. As Antkony mentioned, tke typical teackers lack of understanding of immigrant students indicates tkat tke Canadian sckool system kas not taken enougk of an active role in facilitating tke creative construction of tke cultural 169 university, | experienced some kind of racism. | got into a college outside Toronto where the people did not have many opportunities to see Asians. Toronto was a very diversified city so | could see lots of ethnicities in the city, eat different foods, and enjoy different cultural events. Fj>utthe college where | entered was different from Toronto where | had grown up. There were few A s ians . | encountered some embarrassing events. | do not think it was racial discrimination but more ignorance. | think ignorance is a different thing from racial discrimination. VVhen people say something you may perceive it as racially uncomfortable. £)ut it would not be discrimination, feather it would come from ignorance. Theyjust do not know that what they are saying might hurt you and could be perceived as a racial comment. | had two incidents in terms of such racial comments, j was sitting and watching T V in a student lounge of my college dormitory. One of the residents approached and asked me, "Isn't it hard to blink?" | said, "What do you mean?" and she said, "because your eyelashes are so thin and short. L)o they scratch them (eyes)? J^)o they poke them?" | was so embarrassed for her. | said, "You identity of immigrant students. Teackers tend to wait for tke students to adapt tkemselves. Tkeir cultural ignorance and lack of attention lead immigrant students to tke miserable experiences of alienation and separatism. Many immigrants just blame tkemselves for tkeir unsuccessful integration. Tke new influx of immigrants from different countries kas accelerated tke multicultural nature of Canadian society. Witk tke slogan of multiculturalism, Canada is representing itself as a society embracing cultural differences. Tke official federal policy of multiculturalism was enacted in 1971. Many Canadians tend to believe tkat, because of tkis policy, racism is not part of Canada any more. It is tke blindness of people wko close tkeir eyes to racism wkick is tke most problematic. Tkey kave eyes but tkey can t see. 170 really think that? T h a t ' s really too bad." A n d she was very hurt by my response, | think, because | was very aggressive towards her. A t that moment | was very defensive, fvly friends who were sitting there were laughing at both her and me. T h e y were laughing at her because her comment was so stupid. |t was not very smart of her to ask that. | think it was not racial discrimination. |t happened through her ignorance. A n d another incident was when my friend and me were eating some C h i n e s e food in the cafeteria. T h e guy who was in charge of taking care of residents in the dormitory came in and asked, " O h , having rice again?" \~je was a residence assistant, which meant that he was supposed to be knowledgeable about cultural differences, but he was not, which was unfortunate. VVe werejust shocked. M o w can he say that? W e were very angry about it. M a d | been in a position of the white person, | would have perceived and responded in a different way. | would have said, "\es, | am having rice again" £)ut we took it extremely defensively at the moment because we thought it was a stereotype towards A s l a n s . | think he did not intend to hurt us. M e just did not know what it meant A n t h o n y spoke about some embarrassing experiences w i t k some p e o p l e w k o w e r e not attentive to c u l t u r a l differences. H e just interprets it as tkeir ignorance, but w e n e e d to t k i n k about complexities a r o u n d tke issue 01 racism. Is it e n o u g k if we simply say, Sorry, I d i d n t i n t e n d to kurt y ou after w e k a v e affected somebody in a negative w a y emotionally, p s y c k o l o g i c a l l y , or m e n t a l l y ? W k e r e does tkis ignorance a n d narrow-mindedness come from? H o w is it re lated to racism? If w e define racism only as direct r a c i a l slurs, it is suck a naive supposition. T k e r e are several forms of racism. In comparison to tke institutionalized r a c i a l discrimination of tke o l d generation of K o r e a n immigrants, A n t k o n y s experience kas been less constrained b y segregation. Indeed, 171 by bis stupid words. Fj)ut m y friend took it as a racial comment so be went and talked to him specifically, "What is your opinion? Y o u can't say that to Asians because that is a kind of stereotype. \tye do not necessarily put on that stereotype." T"he guy ended up apologizing, "| didn't know that it might hurt your feelings." Parental discouragement on interracial marriage Lily: One of my dad's friends has four daughters and three of them were married to white guys. Al l o f them were very successful Korean Canadians. One is a doctor herself and she was married to another doctor, another daughter is a lawyer and she was also married to a white lawyer, and the other one is too. Although they invited my dad to their wedding, he did not go there because my dad considered it as dishonored. My dad just went to the one girl's wedding where both bride and groom were Koreans. My dad keeps telling me, "You cannot marry non-Korean." But actually I do not like Korean men because I think Korean males are contemporary forms of racism are not only based on skin colors. Racism no longer expresses itself as blatantly as it once did. operates invisibly and implicitly. A superficial tolerance and acquiescence towards cultural diversity conceals tke multi-layered reality of racism. Tke issue of racism skould be interpreted in a broader context of tke economic, political, social power relationskips. Tke parents negative attitudes towards interracial marriage indicate tkeir notion of being Korean by blood. Most young Korean Canadians kave tke experience of confronting an interracial marriage issue witk tkeir parents. Lily and Antkony recalled vividly tkat tkeir parents urged tkem to marry a Korean. Tkis insistence reflects tke desire of 172 very established by chauvinistic like characteristics "Get me this," "Make me dinner," kind of ordering to women, if most Korean guys are like my dad, I would not marry a Korean guy. But my parents really want me to marry a Korean man. Lately, they tell me very often, "You have to pray to find someone who is a good match for you." When they talk about a good match for me, firstly they mean a Korean. But I just want to be open to meet anybody. My partner does not necessarily have to be a Korean. In terms of my future spouse, I would like a person who has intelligence, integrity, honesty and ambition. These kinds of things are not really about whether someone is racially white or Korean. Korean parents to keep tke Korean blood pure. While parents immigrated with hopes and dreams lor a better future and strenuously tried to survive here, they failed to realize what could result from the Canadianization ol their children. As they were working hard to provide a stable lile lor the family, their children were rapidly becoming assimilated. The parents should understand that young Korean Canadians, who grow up in this rmilticultural and multiracial environment, do not want to put on the artificial constraints of ethnicitij and race when ckoosing a future spouse. Everyday consequences of being Korean Canadian Unconsciously internalized Korean culture Lily: When my younger brother calls me by my name "Lily" I get mad- I emphasize to him, "You should call me "Nu-na" which is a label Lily s story skows kow Korean culture kas been involuntarily internalized. Ske kas accepted certain parts of Korean culture, not so muck tke specifics of it. Antkony 173 for an elder sister in Korean, not my name." He usually calls me Nu-na instead of calling my name directly. When he uses my name I feel kind of strange. In addition, when my brother addresses me, bis tone of voice should be respectful. These aspects represent certain Korean cultural values inside me. unconsciously acquired some sense of tke Korean culture tkrougk tke living example of kis parents ratker tkan tkrougk self-conscious verbal pronouncements or active efforts by eitker kimself or kis parents. Inseparable K^orean culture Anth I have had the urge to be a part of my K^orean culture, traditions, and customs. | always feel like | belong to something larger than myself, larger than (~anadian culture, | belong to something with more tradition than what other (Canadians have. | always feel | have special things inside me which my (Canadian friends do not have. Relationship to other Asian Canadians Lily: I thought of myself as a white. But coming to UBC, I started recognizing that "I am an Asian." UBC looked like Asian villages where there were many Asian faces. I was not standing out in the crowd any more. Coming Antkony insists tkat altkougk ke kas been tkrougk tke assimilation process, tkere is somekow a re-connection to kis being Korean and kis Korean keritage. Korean culture is sometking inescapable from kim and intrinsic witkin kimself. Tkis means tkat ke cannot completely get wkitewasked. Well accepted as a Canadian, ke continuously wonders about kis roots and wants to delve into tke Korean culture and language. He wiskes to remember kis Korean culture. His sense of being a Korean is reappearing at tke same time tkat some aspects are disappearing. 174 to University, I became more distanced from white people. In high school, I got along with white people very well. There were not any options because there were very few Asians. But the university environment was totally different. When I was in the science classes in my first year, there were a lot o f Asian students. I can say in English 100 or Psychology 100 there would be 50% Asians, but in science classes there would be more like 60% or 75% Asians. A t UBC, Asians were the majority. Most classes for the first year students were so huge that it was difficult to make friends there. The first year was really tough because I did not know anybody at all. Most o f the people I knew in my high school went to 5FU. I did not find anyone else at UBC. Personally, it is bard to make friends in a new environment. For a more outgoing person like my brother, it would be easier than me. But I am a bit shy and guiet so it is more difficult for me to approach other people first. I tried to seek the people familiar to me. I think it is natural that people tend to aggregate towards the people who are similar in terms o f race and culture. I do not think it is racism. Rather, it is a natural human Lily points out tkat it was witk some Asian-origin persons ratker tkan otkers tkat ske kad felt more comfortable socializing. Indeed, ker social life at university was centered on a f riendskip network of Asian Canadians wkick, for tke most part, was composed of students of Japanese or Ckinese origins. Lily felt more connection witk otker second generation Asians wko spoke Englisk and kad a cultural commonality witk ker. Ske really did not get along witk tke Korean student groups wko spoke Korean fluently and were oriented more towards tke Korean culture. Ske felt no sense of kinskip witk tkose Korean students. Ratker, ske felt alienated from tkem due to ker limited Korean and cultural knowledge. Tkis drew ker to feel a greater sense of social ease and receptivity witk otker Asian Canadians wko kad a common growing-up experience. Creating a social circle witk Canada-born Asians, ske disconnected kerself 175 t e n d e n c y t o g r a v i t a t e t o w a r 4 s t h e f a m i I i a r . i f y o u w a n t t o m a k e f r i e n d s f r o m d i f f e r e n t c u l t u r a l b a c k g r o u n d s o r e t h n i c g r o u p s y o u have t o m a k e g r e a t e r e f f o r t . In m y f i r s t y e a r , I j o i n e d t h e KISS c l u b ( K o r e a n I n t e r c o l l e g i a t e S t u d e n t S o c i e t y ) . B u t I c o u l d n o t g e t a l o n g w i t h t h e m . It just t o o k m y m o n e y a n d d i d n ' t d o a n y t h i n g f o r t h e w h o l e y e a r . It was t o t a l l y d i s o r g a n i z e d - T h e p e o p l e d r a n k s o m u c h t h a t I t h o u g h t e v e r y b o d y was a n a l c o h o l i c . A n d p l u s t h e y o n l y s p o k e K o r e a n b u t I c o u l d n o t s p e a k K o r e a n w e l l . I was i n a t o t a l l y d i f f e r e n t b o a t f r o m t h e m . T h e y b a d t h e i r o w n c u l t u r e w h i c h was v e r y d i f f e r e n t f r o m w h a t I k n e w . I d i d n o t r e a l l y feel r e l a t e d t o t h e m , a n d at t h e s a m e t i m e I c o u l d h a r d l y r e l a t e t o w h i t e p e o p l e . I f o u n d m y s e l f m o r e r e l a t e d t o o t h e r A s i a n g r o u p s . I w o u l d g e t a l o n g m o r e w i t h o t h e r A s i a n s w h o h a d g r o w n u p h e r e as I d i d a n d s p o k e E n g l i s h . In g e t t i n g a l o n g w i t h o t h e r A s i a n g r o u p s w i t h a s i m i l a r b a c k g r o u n d t o m e , m y l a c k o f K o r e a n d i d n o t r e a l l y m a t t e r , a n d t h u s I f e l t c o m p l e t e l y c o m f o r t a b l e w i t h p e o p l e f r o m t h e s e g r o u p s . from Korean students who came from a more Korean cultural background. It would be interesting to see how her cultural identity construction is related to other Asian Canadians. Perhaps future research can explore this process. What does it mean to the second generation to assert roots and origins ? Is it just for a kind of nostalgia? Is it a kind of superficial cloak to cover over their growing Canadian identity? Or, is it a basic immutable form of being that cannot be modified over movement, dislocation, and change? Both of the two young Korean Canadians simultaneously experienced their identity as having been positioned and repositioned in the different situations they faced. Sometimes 176 Want to get mt] lost Korean culture back Anthony: When | was young, my family and my uncle's family got together in my grandmother's house on K ° r e a n holidays such as Korean Harvest E^ay and New Y e a r ' s E^ay. We put on t~/an-£j)ok (Korean traditional custom), did Jje-fj)ae (Korean traditional bow done on |\|ew Year's fj)ay). After my grandmother died, we did not get together often. | miss those traditional customs and ceremonies so much now. | wish | had kept them going. A s soon as | left them behind | naturally lost them com pletely. |f | could live my life all over again, | would wish to be forced to speak Korean at home, not even reading and writing butjust verbally, and to observe Korean cultural traditions. (jrowing up, | did not want to be proud of mu Korean culture because | did not know whq | should be proud of it. A 5 a y o u n S child, |just did not want to be different from other Canadian children. A t this age, however, | feel so empty. | feel like there might be something more | should do with Korean culture. £)ut when | was a little child | did not realize it. (jetting older, | started having they felt they were Canadian, sometimes they felt they were Korean, hut they never became purely Canadian or Korean. When they say pure, it implies their complex sentiments of frustration and emotional anxiety invoked in front of the pressure of cultural purity and authenticity. This essentialist view of identity makes young Korean Canadians feel not Korean enough and not Canadian enough. Thus it draws them to feel unfit anywhere. Lily still has a far more compartmentalized sense of identity. Her being a Korean and being a Canadian is experienced separately. For her, Korean culture is still a very private part of her life while Canadian culture is experienced in public. Korean culture is held psychologically and unconsciously within her, but it is 177 respect for mt) Korean culture and being more confident with it. My parents only emphasized that | had to compete with the white people to live like them. £)ut | wish that my parents had encouraged me to appreciate my k^orean heritage more. T~hey would have taught me more about k^orean culture, traditions, customs, and the language. | do not intend to blame my parents. |t was not their fault. T"hey could not afford to take it seriously because they were so busy themselves simply surviving here. (joingto a good university and being financially secure is what k^orean parents mean by success. (Jsually K.orean parents sacrifice everything to help their children accomplish it. j~or my parents' generation, their children's success meant compensation for their sacrifice and hard times. £)ut, they did not know what they were really sacrificing, f ushing the children to be well adapted to (Canadian society, they left out teaching children about their roots. T"hey did not know what would result from their ignorance in not teaching K.orean culture to their children. | want the lost Korean culture back for my not played out in her everyday interactions. She easily conforms to the dominant Canadian culture while her Korean culture exists as a segmented or compulsory burden. In particular, her disinterest in Korean culture and her feeling of learning Korean as a burden reminds me of the idea of sy mbolic ethnicity which describes a type of ethnic attachment that has been observed among European third-and fourth-generations (Alba, 1990; Gans, 1979). This term refers to the tendency of maintaining ethnicity without practicing ethnic culture or participating in ethnic networks. This new kind of ethnic involvement relies on the use of ethnic symbols rather than the active participation in ethnic culture. 178 children. T"he previous generation did not have any exemplary model to inform and guide their children. | think my generation will do it more. | did not grow up with any examples of Korean (Canadian experiences, but | want mu child ren to benefit from mu generation. | hope there will be a healthier balance in the next generation. No interest in Korean culture and language Lily: For me, the Korean language and culture are a kind of extra burden. I am trying to learn Korean again now. Not because I really want to, but because it might be useful for me in business and because my parents are forcing me to learn it now. And plus if I look this way and cannot speak Korean, people would think something is wrong with me and ask why I cannot speak the language. That is why I am trying to learn Korean now. I do not have a lot o f Korean friends and do not need to speak Korean much. In this situation, being forced to learn Korean is extra work that I do not want but have to do. According to Gans (1979), most third or lourth generation Jewish and Catholic white ethnic groups achieve high levels ol acculturation and social assimilation. In the process, they lose much ol their ancestral cultural background. Yet, theu continue to perceive themselves as ethnics and maintain their ethnic identity through major symbols such as ethnic food and festivals which does not require much effort and does not interfere with other aspects of their lives. Gans further hypothesizes that the third or fourth generations are less and less interested in their ethnic cultures and organizations and instead more concerned with maintaining their ethnic identity, with the feeling of being Jewish, or Italian, or Polish, and with finding ways of feeling and expressing that identity in suitable ways (p7). 179 M'ssing; out on aspects of both cultures Anthony: Living through two cultures, | can choose what | want from each culture. F~j)ut at the same time | feel something is missing. | am in both worlds, but | am missing out on something from both cultures, as well. Living in the (Canadian culture, | have gained so many things in terms of access to education and adaptability of entering into North American situations. | do not know what it would be like to have pCorean friends, to go to Korean clubs, or how to approach and talk to people. | know k^orean culture only in a (Canadian context. | do not know what rCorean culture is really like in a K o^rean context. | do not know k^orean history and language well. What | know of k^orean culture only comes from my parents, from my relatives, and from k^orean church-related people here in (panada. | am in-between cultures, but it is unfair to say that | possess two cultures eaually. |n terms of (Canadian culture, | have not grown up with many (Canadian experiences as compared to normal (Canadian child ren. ~j~hat's w^y I d° not feel | am completely a part of (Canadian Tke old etknic cultures serve no useful purpose in identity construction for tke tkird or fourtk generations wko lack direct ties to tke old country. Symbolic etknicity is only centered on etknic symbols wkick are kigklij subjective and intermittent. As empkasized by Alba (1990), it is ckaracterized by a kigk degree of ckoice in terms of kow and wketker to identify witk a particular etknicity. In otker words, individuals can be free to ckoose to identify or not, ckoose wkick elements of tkeir ancestral culture fit witk tkem, and decide kow important etknic identity skould ke for tkem. It is their ckoice kow tkey manifest or express tkeir etknicity. Tkis way of being etknic provides a way to feel a distinctive etknic identity witkout detracting from one s status and legitimacy as a member of tke mainstream society. 180 culture. | do not feel | am 1 00% Canadian. | am Korean C a n a d i a n . T"hat is nevergoing to change in mt) life. The model racial minor i ty Lily: We can still see strong stereotypes towards Asians in a place where there are not a lot o f Asians and there is little opportuni ty to see, meet, and work with Asians. But it is not a big deal here in Vancouver because we have so many Asians. I have beard o f the "model racial minori ty" that Asians are hard workers. 1 think this stereotype is actually helpful in some ways as compared t o stereotypes such as drug addicts, alcoholics, etc that probably go against us more. I think Asians are really a minor i ty group. There is definitely a hierarchy in terms o f races; White , Spanish, Asian , and Black. I think probably Spanish is higher than Asian , Asian is higher than Black, and Black is at the very bot tom. Asians are a kind o f silent minori ty. The political parties likely care about Blacks as a minori ty , but they don' t care much about Asians. In a sense, Asians are more a minor i ty because they work very Lily kas the characteristic ol symbolic ethnicity. She does not have a special interest in specific Korean cultural practices or lorms, but she wants to keep her sense ol being Korean in many ways. She wants to maintain her Korean culture as long as it keeps her status as Canadian and does not interfere with Canadian cultural norms and beliefs. Anthony also wants to keep some Korean cultural values as long as they are compatible with the culture of the dominant society. Talking about raising children, Anthony expresses his regret that he could not nourish and cultivate Korean cultural traditions and practices to his future children. But at the same time, he expresses his uncertainty about to what extent he should emphasize Korean culture to his children. Anthony and Lily want to exercise Korean culture to an extent that it 181 b a r d b u t l i t t le a t t e n t i o n is g i v e n t o t h e m . ^ t i l l C o n f u s e d a t w h e r e t o g o o n u : I h o p e tha t mij ch i l d ren s p e a k K o r e a n a t home with my p a r e n t s a l i t h e t ime. | wan t mu ch i ld ren t o real ly know a b o u t K o r e a n cu l tu re . Fj)ut | stil l d o no t know " M o w t o d o it" b e c a u s e | d o no t know K o r e a n cu l tu re well a n d | am u n a b l e t o s p e a k K o r e a n f luen t l y . |n a d d i t i o n , e v e r y t h i n g s e e m s t o b e g o i n g t o w a r d s the major i ty cu l tu re . |n C a n a d a , t he cu l tu re o f t he major i ty is sti l l t he whi te cu l tu re b e c a u s e whi te p e o p l e h o l d t he p o w e r a n d theu s e t all t he p o w e r s t r u c t u r e s a n d s y s t e m s t o maintain pr iv i lege f o r the i r cu l tu re . FT v e r y o n e has t o a d a p t t o t he whi te cu l tu re t o live in C a r > a d a . C o n s i d e r i n g th is real i ty , | f ee l a litt le e m b a r r a s s e d a b o u t k e e p i n g my own cu l tu re . P r e s u m e d f o f e i g n n e s s L i l y : P e o p l e t r e a t m e d i f f e r e n t l y a n d m a k e s o m e a s s u m p t i o n s d u e t o m y d i f f e r e n c e s l i k e , " Y o u d o n o t k n o w h o w t o s p e a k E n g l i s h " o r " Y o u does not make it especially difficult for tkem to Le accepted and to participate in tke dominant society. Tke way tkey want to practice Korean culture is loosely related to specific cultural practices and traditions. Tkeir practices of Korean culture are reminiscent of symbolic etknicity. Wkile tkere is more or less a salient Korean identity, not simply being Canadian, tkis Korean identity is likely to be more selective and less distinctive in its expression tkan it kad been in tke lives of tkeir parents. Nevertkeless, tkey want to keep in touck witk a sense of being Korean. Tke presumed foreignness encountered by Lily kigkligkts ker particular situation of looking Asian and speaking Englisk. Ske was kigkly aware of tke misidentif ication of ker Canadian status in otker peoples eyes. Wken people complimented ker on kow 182 are an Asian who just recently immigrated." They just judge me based o n bow I look. In some cases, it was a humiliat ing experience. People really did not try to know who I really was inside. Sometimes people just assume that I have a lack o f knowledge about the mainstream Canadian culture and language just from my Asian appearance. I had some encounters where people immediately mistook me for someone who did not speak English. When I was in Saskatchewan, 1 was walking around the downtown area and a person came up t o me and asked, "Do y o u speak English^' I was really kind o f surprised and embarrassed. I was born here and my first language is English. I can barely say a few words o f Korean. I mean, I should not be asked that question. Some people do not th ink o f me as a normal Canadian. Ethnic capital Lily: Whenever my dad change tires o n his car he goes t o a Korean mechanic. M y dad said, "It's useful t o know Korean people." He means that when Koreans want t o buy a car and go well ske spoke Englisk, ske interpreted suck compliments as an indication tkat ske was not a native speaker wkick meant ske was a different kind of Canadian differentiated from tke wkite Canadians. No matter kow muck ske tried, ker fluent and unaccented Englisk could not peel away kerpkusical differences. Ske seemed overly sensitive and overly reactive. However, tkis reflects ker awareness of prejudice and discrimination towards Asian Canadians despite tke fact tkat tkey are treated far more favorably tkan tkey were a few years ago. Tke insensitive remark in Lily s story, Do you speak Englisk? represents tkat some wkite Canadians still assume tkat Asian Canadians do not fully belong to Canadian society. Tkis unacknowledged treatment negatively affects tke identity construction of tke young Korean Canadian generation. 183 to Korean people, they can get a discount. It is one o f the most important reasons that my dad forces me to learn to speak Korean more fluently, if I can speak Korean more fluently it would be beneficial to me. My dad's friend's son is a doctor in East Vancouver. He speaks perfect English but be does not get along with English clients. He is forced to learn Korean just out o f economic necessity because most o f his clients are Koreans. Koreans want to go to a Korean doctor, Caucasians want a Caucasian doctor, and Chinese want a Chinese doctor, something like that. I think it is a human tendency to gravitate towards the familiar and to go with the same thing. In this sense, if I can speak Korean I can take advantage o f the Korean community. That's why I a m trying to learn Korean now even though I really do not want to. I can take advantage o f my ability to speak another language in addition to English. For example, I can bring more customers to my business i f I can speak Korean. Lily views being Korean as strategically valuable because it endows ber witk a kind ol etknic capital tkat is ol great value in tkis multicultural society. Her fatker, wko exclusively encouraged ker to kave a command ol Englisk even several years ago, forces ker to learn Korean and acquire some concrete or actual knowledge of Korean culture because ke tkinks it would be useful to botk ker career and ker real life. Indeed, tke attraction of being Korean to young Korean Canadians is reinforced by tke fact tkat tkeir being Korean would be a valuable source of etknic capital. Tke Korean identity is not simply sometking to be skunned or dismissed, but sometking to be deliberately cultivated as a valuable resource. 184 Embracing both identities prom embarrassed to confident Antb o n u : ] was always trying to fit my pCorean culture into the (Canadian culture. ) wished | had brought my K.orean self to the (Canadian culture without many problems. | was so concerned about how other people looked at me because of my different language, culture, and race. That's whu tried to dress in a (Canadian style and do the same things other (Canadian child ren did as much as | could. £)ut as | have matured, | have come to better understand that what was embarrassing for me has constructed who | am todau. | cannot be separated from my K^orean culture nor have it taken away although | did not like my childhood due to the cultural problems | had. flight now, | welcome my different cultures which have shaped who | am. | am in a place where | am confident to be who | am. | am very secure with myself and comfortable with the Korean culture and language which are nothing strange to me any more. | do not care about my differences any more. F~_ven if | am the only Korean guy among thousands of MIRROR MIRROR People keep asking me where I come from says my son. Trouhle is Im American on the inside and oriental on the outside No Doug Turn tha t ou tside in THIS is what America looks like. (Mitsuye Yamada, (citedinMinh-ha, 1989, p 89) For Antkony, kis increasing inner confidence became a starting point for open and connective identity construction. Altkougk ke could not specify wkat it meant, ke kad increasingly become aware of kis sense of being Korean and started to embrace botk cultures more. Wkat is remarkable is tkat kis primary 185 people | would not care. When | was teaching in ,5outh America, | was trie only Korean guy in the entire school. | never met another Korean person in almost four years. £ )ut it did not matter to me. Although | was ashamed of my K o r e a n culture in my childhood, | later became more aware of my own culture and started being proud of it. When | was a child, | was so nervous to show Korean culture to my Canadian friends. £>ut right now, | am not embarrassed about it any more and not worried about my differences any more either. | can share everything about my K o r c a n culture with my white friends. | bring my friends over to my house and say, "fj^o you want to try some K o r e a n food?" rather than saying "Y)o you want a sandwic h?" A n d theq say, " O f course, let me try it. O h , it's delicious. T"his is good." | feel so glad about it. | do not think | cou Id be in a good relationship with someone who does not understand my Korean side which is so important to me. j do not necessarily agree with everything in K o r e a n culture, but | am proud of having a K ° r e a n heritage, jndeed, there is a significant shift in thinking about my cultural identity. source ol being a Korean was nourished within kimself ratker tkan by anckoring kis identity in specific cultural lorms or in relation to kis place ol origins. His pride in being a Korean and tke strengtk ol kis Korean identity kad been developed tkrougk sell-assertion witkin kimsell ratker tkan actively excising Korean cultural values and practices. It is particularly notewortky tkat altkougk Antkony not only felt comfortable in tke company of accepting wkite people, ke did not rel inquisk kis Korean culture. It proves tkat tke conventional assimilation model is not applicable to young Korean Canadians any more. An increasing acceptance of tke Canadian culture and greater social relations witk Canadians do not necessarily lead to tke surrender of tke Korean culture. 186 More comfortable with both cultures Lily: In elementary school, I always wantecl to be a white and I did not want to be a Korean. But over the years I gradually came to realize that 1 was not white, I was Korean, and then I accepted it. Looking back, I had some feelings of not fitting in well with both cultures. When I was younger, I was really worried about being different. I wanted to be the same as all the other children. That was why I did not want to eat Korean dishes. I always brought sandwiches as my lunch. But right now I feel more comfortable in both cultures. I can straddle both cultures and I am pretty happy where I am now. I am not completely Korean and I am not completely Canadian. I would not be able to have the same background as Koreans who come from Korea or Canadians who have been raised only in the Canadian culture. But I have both cultures inside me; P o s s e s s i n g ; c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s f rom b o t h cu l t u res A n t h o n y : f l i g h t now | am p r o u d o f rny K o r e a n r o o t s For both Anthony and Lily, despite their comparative cultural assimilation, the characteristics ol the Korean culture were inseparably intertwined in their identity construction. As Philips (1975) has addressed, the relations between the ethnic culture and the host culture are more complex than what the assimilation model has generally assumed: Ratker than simply exchanging their original culture lor that oi the host society, migrants may actually begin with a culture slightly different from that of the majority of their compa triots; ma y hesita te between competing versions ofthe host culture; and may find that their life situation leads them into developing a new culture, different alike from that of their origin, that of their hosts, and that to which they aspire "(Philips, 1973, p. 218, cited in Mckay, 1980, pp.58^59). 187 although | have little of it and | am distinct from other k^oreans. | might be a very limited K^orean in other k^oreans' eyes. |f | go to K^orea, K.orean people would automatically recognize that | am an incomplete k^orean. P3ut | have some connections to rCorean culture in terms of the customs, the food, the family structure, the idea of certain family values, and a little bit of language, all of which are part of my k^orean-ness. 5 o m c h o w , | act and behave instantly in Korean ways. |f | am with an elder person when | get out of the car, | will make sure to open the door for her and let her out. |n this way, k^orean culture naturally comes out. | have no idea why | act like that. Maybe j can guess that ] am more K^orean than | think | am. | am always connected to the Korean culture somehow. Fj>ut at the same time, | think | am more Canadian than K.orean. | can speak the language, understand the customs, and | know how to get things done in terms of social insurance, drivers license, etc. A l s o , | am proud of some parts of (Canadian culture like the freedoms that | have, being able to speak J2_nglish anywhere in the world, really having access to gpod education, etc. | appreciate my parents who provided me with a good Although these two young Korean Canadians had grown up in two cultures they were not split in hall; instead, there are two distinct beings inside them. II they were separated from one side, they would lose the sense ol who they are. An inseparable link between these two worlds allowed them to constantly see themselves in a new way without any absolute or pure sense ol identity. Being and living in-between two cultural worlds was not simply a one-way process in which they affirmed their roots or completely assimilated to one culture. Embracing different cultures from different eyes, the Korean second generations are actually shaping and reshaping their Korean Canadian identity. Living in-between cultures provides 188 opportunity to live in panada. | am not sure that if | was in KjDrea | could enjoy the same standard of living. Nevertheless, | do not think | am a 1 00% (Canadian because | have too many K,orean characteristics inside me which make me see and experience things in different ways from other (Canadians. The unavoidability o f being Korean Lily: I need to cultivate my Korean identity more because it is part o f my heritage. I mean there is no question that I have to know my culture and language. When I was in law school, I met someone who was half Chinese and half white. He did not speak Chinese at all although his mother was Chinese. Apparently, he bad grown up speaking English all the time. He was smart, intelligent, and spoke perfect English. But, in fact, be did not know anything about his culture and language. I thought bis mother was wrong in not teaching him anything about the Chinese culture and language. I think I should learn the Korean culture and language more because I am Korean. opportunities lor t k e m to extend, tkeir own boundaries. In tke previous section, A n t k o n y a n d L i l y d e s c r i b e d tkeir complex situation in tke c k i l d k o o d w k e r e tketj k a d to lit in to e a c k puzzle m o l d e d by tke K o r e a n parents a n d tke C a n a d i a n sckool. W k a t o c c u r r e d to t k e m was a k i n d o l fragmenting o l m u l t i p l e identities into K o r e a n pieces a n d C a n a d i a n pieces. A t moments tkese different elements were in a tension against one anotker ratker tkan fitting togetker to form a cokerent wkole. B u t as tkey k a d matured, b e i n g p a r t i a l l y identi f ied w i t k botk cultures b e c a m e constitutive of an o p e n a n d f l u i d identity w k i c k was not traceable b a c k to a single origin. T k e p a r t i a l a n d incomplete identifications e n c o u r a g e d t k e m to understand different layers of tkeir own identity. 189 j~lexible identity Anth onu: My upbringing as a Korean Canadian makes it impossible that | become a 1 00% C a n a d i a n or 1 00% K o r e a n - M a y b e sometimes | would say I am a 60% C a n a d i a n and 4 0 % Korean, and the other times | would say | am a ^>0% Canadian and J0% Korean. When | was in college, I was purely Canadian almost 24 hours a day because the environment was dominated by white people. M a y b e for one hour a day | might have lived one side of Korean-ness. |t is impossible to be totally separated from either of the two cultural aspects. I don't think it is a disaster. feather, it is a realistic situation | am in. My Canadian friends wou Id say, "You are a Korean Canadian" because | have a Korean side that they do not have and thus differentiated from them. £ )ut my Korean friends probably say, "You are a Canadian Korean" because they would think some of my values are more similar to those of Canadians. My cultural identity is pinned down differently depending on who is looking at me. Anthony did not conceptualize his identitij any more in terms ol a binary split between being a Korean and being a Canadian. He did not see himsell to be one or the other. Rather, he sees himsell to be both. He says that sometimes he is a 70 % Canadian and a 30% Korean , ana other times vice versa. This means that his cultural identity is constructed by constant negotiations between his dillerent cultural positions where bothol ms beings are related in some ways. The elements ol both cultures are continuously repeated, echoed, and revealed in his identity construction. Considering the voices Irom these second generation Koreans, an either A or B approach is not appropriate any more in defining their cultural identity. People might say that they cannot be a 100 % Korean or 100 % Canadian. But, I 190 Seeing both cultures in a larger context Lily: It is said that Korean parents support their children financially even after they are 18 years old- We think that is Korean culture, but I would say that this is a part o f any good family. I see so many overlaps between these two cultures. I think some cultural values considered as Korean are applied to any good family. My brother went to St. John's high school where there were many rich families. His close friends, even the white ones, regularly had tutors. His best friend told him, "I have tutors so I can't go out with you on Saturday. I have to study-" Some o f the white Canadians actually work as bard as the Asians. I think the "working bard" ideology is also relevant to white families' cultural values. There might be more o f a tendency in Korean culture, and not so much o f one in western culture. But I see it as a common characteristic o f human beings. In terms o f financial support, when one o f my white friends, Joan, entered university in New York, her parents paid for her entire school and living costs. Until now she relies on her parents financially- I know most would like to highlight that theu can become more than 100 % Korean and 100 % Canadian. Lily stated that she saw the two cultures sharing common human traits rather than seeing them as part ol only one particular culture. This is a very interesting perspective because manu uoung Korean Canadians make comparisons between the Korean culture and Canadian culture in sharp contrast instead ol through similarity. She viewed both cultural aspects in a broader human context beyond considering them as a part ol one specific culture. Having matured, these two young Korean Canadians have come to understand more clearly the difficulties that they have gone through in their childhood. They have given new meaning to past 191 Korean parents completely support their children before they are financially secure. In my case, I got several jobs while in university. But my parents told roe, "Don't waste your time. Just concentrate on your study-" They were willing to support me financially. I was so lucky in that way. But I do not think it is only a Korean cultural value. Not only Korean parents, any good parents would do that regardless o f their culture. Even white parents like Joan's parents. / \ d e e p e r u n d e r s t a n d i n g ; o f p a r e n t s troubling experiences and appreciated tbeir difficult cbildkood as an opportunity for growtb. They come to interweave together their multiple identities which look fragmented but also are connected in some ways. It is a moment of healing where anger and angst within them can be re-interpreted and transformed into productive tensions and generative possibilities. A n t h o n y : /\s | g rew o lde r , | g a v e more r e s p e c t t o my p a r e n t s b e c a u s e | c o u l d u n d e r s t a n d t he tr ia ls, hur ts , a n d f r u s t r a t i o n s t h e y h a d g o n e t h r o u g h by l iving in a new c o u n t r y . £ ) u t a s a ch i ld , | d i d no t u n d e r s t a n d the i r pa ins , ( j r o w i n g up | h a d s o many i s s u e s a r o u n d s c h o o l , f r i e n d s , s p e a k i n g E n g l i s h a n d K^orean, t he d i f f e r e n t cu l t u res , e t c . |t was a very c o n f u s i n g s i t ua t i on , e s p e c i a l l y in high s c h o o l . £>u t o n c e | g o t t o un ivers i ty , eve r y th i ng ca lmed d o w n a n d t h e n | b e g a n t o have much more r e s p e c t f o r my p a r e n t s . | am very r e s p e c t f u l o f my p a r e n t s now. As a child who was devoid of a sense of his own history and background, Anthony failed to appreciate the sacrifices that his parents made and the values that they imparted. Anthony s increasing understanding of his parent s painful experiences was so moving and touching for me. 192 /\bilitq to deal with two cultures Anthony: | feel comfortable in both cultures. Although my everyday life looks more driven by Canadian culture, | feel comfortable with the Korean culture instantly when | shift from the Canadian culture. )f ] go to a Korean restaurant | can enjoy some Korean food. |f | visit a Korean person's house | would take off my shoes and say "An-Yung-hja-fye-Yu" which is "Hello" in Korean. | feel comfortable doing all this Korean cultural stuff. |t sounds like | put a coat on and walk into room A and change the coat and walk into room F3. | can naturally switch from A culture to F3 culture, but it is indiscernible. | do not feel any big difference in myself whether | am in Korean culture or in Canadian culture because both are a part of me. My definition of being a Korean Canadian is being able to feel comfortable with both cultures. | can choose which one is suitable to me depending on the situation. j~or example, Canadian culture is very much like "When you are eighteen years old, find your own way." F3ut Korean culture is like "^tay with Tke theories about tke cultural identity ol immigrants can be divided into two contrasting perspectives. Tkere is tke approack tkat empkasizes tke commonalities ol physical and cultural characteristics and historical experiences associated with the place ol origin. In this perspective, cultural identity means a sense ol belonging to a particular ancestry and origin. We are naturallu inclined to seek out the alf inity and familiar commonalities and feel more of an emotional bond with those people who share the same ancestry, physical aflinity, language, and religion. There is a contrasting perspective that rejects the assumption that cultural identity is determined largely by commonalities in physical and cultural characteristics and historical experiences shared by a group of members. This approach focuses on emerging identity created and recreated in the context 193 y o u r family until y o u marry." | think e a c h culture has a very d i f f e r e n t i d e o l o g y . ^)omc k^orean va lues d o n o t work f o r me b e c a u s e | have b e e n in two wor lds a n d am a b l e t o c h o o s e which o n e | want. Critical view o f Korean culture Lily: I will be thirty-one years old soon. The main reason I am still single is that I was not allowed to date when I was growing up. My parents made me focus on studying. Although my parents want me to marry a Korean, I do not think I fit well with Korean guys. I think that most Korean guys have a very traditional Korean male view on marriage. This is true even among those who came here very young. They expect their wives to take care o f the cooking and cleaning. It is because o f their socialization. In a sense, Korean Canadian males maintain two standards. In the mainstream society, they present themselves as liberal, open-minded males. But when they are within their own community, in the bouse, at the church, or in community meetings, their traditional male-centered values come out. Korean ol adjustment in tke new culture. Tkese two dillerent perspectives explain botk types ol cultural identity construction. I would like to empkasize tkat we kave to ke carelul about seeing being a Korean as essential or primordial, a matter ol blood or skared descent Irom a common ancestor. From my working witk Korean Canadians, it was obvious tkat wken parents enlorced Korean cultural values as kind ol a pre-given set on tkeir ckildren, it only caused tremendous pain and suffering for tkeir ckildren. As well, tke pressures and obligations to cultivate an autkentic cultural identity caused parents not to notice tkat tkeir ckildren were creating tkeir emerging cultural identity. 194 Canadian females resent that because they want to be treated as equals. Fot-that reason, I am so glad to live in Canada. I think Korean culture is such a patriarchal culture, but here in Canada I can have more freedom. I can aspire toward male oriented jobs, be more independent, and be able to think for myself I think Korean girls are quieter and more passive. They usually do not speak up. But I am getting used to speaking out, which is better, I think. When I first started working in the law firm, I felt quite uncomfortable because I d'd not know what to say and what was considered as proper. After a while I tried to talk about anything to make rapport with my co-workers. In Canadian culture, it is better to be yourself. But Korean culture is too respectful o f authority, like not being able to talk back to your parents. I have been raised in that way, and sometimes it hinders me. Lawyers have to speak up more, but I do not feel comfortable with doing that because my parents usually have not allowed me to talk back to them. I recognize some Korean sides o f myself disturb me in my work. I find it hard to argue with people in a higher Antkony and Lily talked about a certain tension between tke pressures ol autkentic Korean identity and tkeir uncertainty ol wkat it was exactly. Tkeij kad gone tkrougk doubts and ckallenges as to kow genuinely Korean tkey were. Tke notion ol autkentic identity caused tkem to be more ambivalent and confused in terms ol tkinking about tkeir Korean Canadian identity because tke meaning and significance ol tkeir identity as Korean Canadian was an ongoing process. I am curious about wkere Lily s negative images of Korean culture come Irom. Ske criticizes Korean culture in terms ol its conservative and ckauvinistic aspects. Her negative image is closely related to tke orientations and attitudes of ker parents. Tke second generation is mainly involved in Korean culture 195 position. Usually I say nothing to make things smooth over. k^orcan culture as an important part of who | am Anth rCorean culture is an intrinsic part of myself. | cannot specifically explain what Korean culture has done for me to shape who | am, but it is really there. |t directly impacts on how | approach life, ["or example, the way of treating elders, being respectful towards my parents, my responsibility for my sister, the idea of family life, and some |<^orean customs. Looking back right now, those things were very special to me. | do not get them enough now, but | am very proud of those cultural experiences which have shaped who | am today. | cannot really cjuantify to what extent Korean culture has affected who | am. B u t if I did not have k^orean culture, | wou Id be very different from who | am now. O r> if I grew up in a (Canadian family, | would not be the same person as | am right now either. tkrougk a mediation ol tke lirst generation ol immigrants wkose concept ol Korean culture becomes reilied at tke time ol tkeir migration. Tke Korean culture imagined by tke lirst generation is Irozen over time. Tkus, tke Korean culture ol tke lirst generation is muck more conservative tkan tke one in contemporary Korea. Wkile tkey kave been distanced Irom tke kome country, tkey cultivate tkeir own image ol tke kome country witk a nostalgic gaze or very critical perspective. Tke danger is tkat tkey may potentially impart to tke tjounger generation a reilied conception ol Korean culture, one tkat kas very little to do witk tke reality ol contemporary Korea. Tkey mistake tkat Korea kas not ckanged over time since tkey lelt and increasingly idealize Korean culture in eitker a positive way or negative way. 196 Positioning; mqself in the multicultural context Anthony: My parents always want me to marry a Korean girl because tbey want to keep the Korean culture going. | understand them because if | am not married to a Korean girl, mu K o r e a n cu Itu re might die with me. £ )ut | cannot control it at all. |f | live in Korea, of course, probably | would marry a Korean girl. P)ut living in C a n a d a , | have many opportunities to meet people from different cultural backgrounds and ] can choose whomever | love. | do not necessarily need to marry a K o r e a n girl- I c a n hang out with whomever | like. | want to marry the person who fits in my culture now, not my race. | do not necessarily think | have to marry by race or by culture. |n this multicultural situation, everyone can have an interracial marriage. T"here would be more mixed races, mixed cultures and languages. A n d the n it becomes a new cultural trend of Canada, and in the end it is going to be a unique C a n a d i a n culture. 5 e e how many people from P urope, Africa, and /\s\a coming to C a n a d a intermarry such as Koreans and Whites, Koreans and f3lacks, Koreans and Chinese, Tkese second generation Korean Canadians underwent serious confusion about not being able to be wkolly one tking or tke otker. Yet, tkis is not just a patkological identittj crisis. Antkony made it clear tkat kowever difficult his experiences were as an immigrant ckild,ke was not indefinitely torn between two cultures nor kad ke completely lost kis Korean culture. Neitker was ke tke victim ol an unending identity crisis. Ratker, ke insisted tkat despite kis comparative integration into Canadian society, at a certain point, tkere was somekow a reconnection back to kis sense ol being Korean. Tke ambivalent and confused identity came to terms witk tke reconstruction of identity as a Korean Canadian. In tkis sense, it is important kow to acknowledge, lacilitate, and nourisk tkis reconnection to being Korean. 197 and so on. Embracing different ideas Lily: Living in Canada allows me to socialize with people from different cultural and racial backgrounds. Nevertheless, unfortunately my social circles are very limited- I do not know many white people, do not know East Indian people, and do not know any gay people. Not knowing people from various backgrounds makes my worldview very limited, i f I am not exposed to different ideas I cannot become creative. Gaining access to diverse perspectives is the great benefit to living as a Korean Canadian. It enables me to live beyond the boundary o f Korean culture. W a r | t to keep Korean culture Anthony: | hope my children will make more of an effort in learning the K^orean language and culture. /\s a second generation, | had to learn all of the C - a n a d i a n stuff bu myself and find my place in this society because my parents did not know what to do and how to help me. £ ) u t Becoming a Korean Canadian is not simply conlorming to tke dominant Canadian culture or totally losing tke Korean culture. Young Korean Canadians leel some connection to being a Korean even alter tke loss ol some ol tkeir distinctive Korean customs and language. Tkeir sense dl being Canadian is also a//ectedh\j tke reconnection to being Korean. Tke re-interpretation and re-appropriation ol Korean culture tkrougk Canadian eyes and vice versa oilers tkem an opportunity to create an emerging and evolving identity, ratker tkan restricting tkeir identitij to a single patk. It is a signilicant moment in re-constructing tkeir cultural identity as Korean Canadian along an unckarted patk. Tkis craiting process allows tkem to abandon tke notion ol a static identity and to reconfigure it in a dynamic process on an ongoing basis. 198 my children's generation will be different. They may have more curiosity about being K.orean. T~hey will be able to afford to find out about Korean culture more than | did. B u t | have some concerns about "how." |n my case, if | visit my parents, rCorean culture is over there and always available because my parents are k^oreans and we always eat rCorean food. £ > u t I am not sure that it is going to be available for my children. | do not know how to teach k^orean culture to my children. My culture is my production /\nthony: |f | marry a person from a different cultural background, my children may get the "wrong identity" as | did growing up. B u t I think intermarriage is a phenomenon that is almost impossible to stop here in (panada because different cultures are always intermingling with each other. T h ere are K o r e a n communities, (jreek communities, Jewish communities, (Chinese communities, etc. There is a lot of moving around and interactions between those communities. We cannot place a barrier between any inter-In order to kelp ijoung Korean Canadians find own way, wkere skould we let tkem go? A world witkin tke boundaries ol autkentic Korean culture? Or a world beyond cultural boundaries? Tke transformative process of becoming Korean Canadian implies tkat young Korean Canadians constantly modify tkeir understandings of botk cultures. Tkerefore, tkey arrive at a more complex and realistic picture of a Korean Canadian identity. Tkeir cultural identity skould be taken as an inkerent sum ol wko tkey are and wkat tkeir experiences kave been, instead of tke fixed entitij based on tkeir ancestral origins. Let tkem re-capitulate and re-discover tke meaning of tkeir internal conflicts and growtk by cross-cultural 199 racial and intercultural relationships in (panada. |f | say, "I'll only stay in the Korean community" or"| will marry only a K o r e a n gid," it is almost cheating myself. | should find out with which culture | am most happy. |t won't necessarily be only K _ o r e a n culture, fvly cultural identity is a production | create from different cultural pieces. experience. Tke stories of tkese second generation Korean Canadians indicate tkat as tkeu kave matured, tkeu kave come to better understand tkeir troubling experiences in ckildkood and adolescence from anotker angle. Tkis revision process is not an indication ol failure but of growtk. 200 CHAPTER 7 THEORETICAL INSIGHTS AND EDUCATIONAL IMPLICATIONS The young Korean Canadians who participated in this study have experienced the different paths of assimilating and constructing a multicultural identity. Every experience of defining-and situating the self within Canadian society is unique for each one of them. Their emerging stories, demonstrated in the previous chapters, manifest a diversity of autobiographical experiences and certain conditions of existence, which indicates that Korean Canadians should not be seen as a homogeneous group. Their cross-cultural experiences are not stories about fitting in one place or another place. Instead, their stories illustrate the transformation of cultural identity at different times in various situations and the challenge of certain fixed ideas about culture and identity. This final chapter investigates how their cultural identity has been constructed and reconstructed over time while crossing cultural boundaries and charting new ground. Looking at the struggles and conflicts that these young Korean Canadians faced in the initial transition, I learned that they assumed to have only a single cultural identity, either as a Canadian or a Korean. Yet, as they matured and became more engaged in cross-cultural experiences, they were awakened to the possibilities of having a multicultural identity. In this chapter, I will trace their identity transformation from possessing a monocultural identity towards embracing a multicultural identity. Coming to terms with cross-cultural living, the young Korean Canadians wove and interwove the parts of different cultures in constructing their own unique identity. They became conscious of how experiencing other cultures had a significant impact on their identity construction. I do not consider their incomplete and partial identification provoked by cross-cultural experiences as an evidence of an identity "crisis," although I acknowledge the problems they faced in the process. Rather, I assert their particular experiences of living in-between cultures in terms of 201 generative possibilities and creative tensions. The trajectory of identity construction 7 Disruption and rupture between different experiential realities Most of the young Korean Canadians in this study described their childhood and adolescence as the periods of existential ambivalence and identity crisis filled with ambiguity, tension, and uncertainty. When they crossed out of their own cultural boundary and ventured into an unfamiliar territory, they lacked cultural competence and shared references used by other Canadians. The cultural identity was naturally shaped by a particular mixture of the familiar and unfamiliar. Their experiences bore testimony to the complex and ambivalent feelings of being "in-between cultures" where they no longer solely belonged to the Korean nor to the Canadian culture. This cultural rupture constantly led them to be vulnerable to emotional and psychical dismemberment caused by a split of experiential worlds. Their inner conflicts were stimulated by internal and external pressures arising from the imposition of some Korean cultural values from parents and the social pressure of assimilation outside of the home. They were torn between two cultures: on one hand, the home environment where they spoke Korean, ate Korean food, and practiced Korean customs; and on the other hand, white dominant schools where they were drawn into assimilation of the mainstream Canadian culture. This doubling situation arose many problems with their parents while they grew up. Teresa disclosed that her desire to act and be like other white Canadians caused more serious conflicts with the parents. Her parents tried to impose traditional Korean values upon her, such as the family structure, her role play in the family, no late night parties, or no sleepovers. Furthermore, many of the young 7 I borrow this term from Wenger (1998) to describe identity construction as an ongoing process, not completely finished. This concept is used to emphasize the interactions of convergent and divergent movements among the trajectories of identity construction. It unfolds identity construction in a much more complex process than linear development. 202 Korean Canadians identified an experiential gap between the parents and themselves that provoked more serious struggles and conflicts. These two generations read different books, watched different movies, listened to different music, and cultivated different perspectives as well as spoke different languages. The parents were not well aware of the problems and struggles the young Korean Canadians had lived through as immigrant students. Most participants in this study talked about their depression and frustration emanated by a lack of understanding on the part of their parents and the scarcity of resources to get some help. Engulfed in confusion and ambiguity, they felt like their existence was compartmentalized into two disconnected different worlds. A social and psychological pressure to be "normal" was another enormous tension to overcome. Wanting to be similar to other Canadian students was a dilemma the young Korean Canadians had to deal with. It resulted in their resistance to learn more about the Korean culture and language. At some point, a few of them instilled some negative self-images, as well. Anthony mentioned that he was ashamed of his Korean culture while he was growing up. Similarly, Lily expressed her frustration of not being white when she attended a predominantly white high school. In spite of her speaking perfect English and mastering of Canadian cultural etiquette, physically she was considered Korean than Canadian by other Canadians. Her "racially being different" status was a stigma that was more difficult to handle than the cultural and linguistic difference. The superiority of the white Canadians that resided in their subconscious was evident to the extent that they equated "being a Canadian" with "being a white." To be "normal" Canadians was also a common desire among the 1.5 generation Korean Canadians. They were forced to assimilate into the Canadian society either internally or externally. Otherwise they would be brought to social and cultural alienation. In a reactive strategy to cope with this estrangement, some of them most likely socialized only with Koreans. For example, Brian established his own "little Korea" with other Korean students after being excluded from Canadian groups in school. He still maintains a tangible tie with the contemporary Korean youth culture through the Internet. Others probably worked 203 strenuously to be accepted by Canadians. Teresa was always self-conscious about her English accent, her clothes, and her behavior. She strongly desired to behave and look like a white Canadian. She downplayed "being different" and wished to be "just normal." A language barrier was an extremely serious problem in the transitional process for the recent immigrant Korean Canadians. Language fluency was a more significant factor for acceptance and recognition from Canadians than physical characteristics. Mastery of English was a formidable challenge inextricably related to identity construction. Brian strongly proved that he was more likely to be defined by his lack of English proficiency rather than who he really was. They needed access to opportunities where they could practice their oral skills with native English speakers, but usually native speakers did not seem to help them. To interact with English speakers, they should speak English well in the first place. A lack of opportunity to practice speaking hindered the enhancement of their spoken English. Trapped in this dilemma, some young Korean Canadians intentionally cut themselves off from non-native speakers and tried to engage more actively with native speaking peer groups. For example, Teresa disliked being dumped in the same group of ESL students and avoided socializing with them. Instead, no matter how arduous it was for her, she attempted to interact with native speakers. Unlike Teresa, Jenny was friendly with other ESL students coming from different countries. Brian gave up interacting with native speakers and chose to associate exclusively with Koreans when he got very limited access to be involved with native speakers. He was less concerned about his competence of English; instead, he was content to belong to a private sphere of Korean friends. Racism is another significant issue experienced by the Korean students living in Canada. Most of the young Korean Canadians in this study agreed to the existence of subtle racial discrimination, although they were never the serious victims of verbal harassment or direct physical assaults. They strongly felt they did not completely belong to the Canadian school community because they were culturally and physically different. For the recent immigrants, a lack of English and cultural competence seemed a much more significant factor that led them to be discriminated than physical difference. 204 Border-crossing and re-configuring The young Korean Canadians in this study expressed uncertainties, tensions, and anxieties about not being wholly one person or the other. But they were not indefinitely torn between two cultures nor did they sorely remain victims of unending identity crisis. As they crossed and negotiated cultural boundaries, they came to look at both Korean culture and Canadian culture in a more critical and dialogical way. The case of Teresa is an example. She shifted from an exclusive assimilation of the Canadian culture to a deeper appreciation of the Korean culture. Initially Teresa stereotyped the Korean culture in favor of the Canadian culture and vigorously criticized the hierarchical and authoritarian Korean family structure and patriarchic Korean mentality. For instance, she found white Canadian boys more attractive than Koreans partly because of her stereotyped Korean culture of gender inequity. However, when she started reconfiguring both cultures she ended her desperate desire to enter into Canadian's social networks and developed a stronger attachment to Korean cultural values and social attitudes, particularly with respect to obedience to parents, preference for Korean churches, and maintenance of the Korean heritage. Recently she is more selective in adopting certain Canadian cultural values. It is generally assumed that young Korean Canadians assimilate the Canadian culture at the cost of losing their Korean heritage. David talked about how living in Canada naturally deprived him of an opportunity to experience Korean culture, an experience he might have had if he had stayed in Korea. He said, "I have never lived experiences that young Koreans at my age group have gone through. " Jenny shared David's awareness of missing the Korean adolescent experience. Although they seemed to miss out on sharing experiences of young Koreans in Korea by moving to Canada, it eventually turned out favorable when they considered the greater experiences of cross-cultural living that would never have been possible by only living in Korea. David felt blessed to have this cross-cultural experience: "I am so lucky that I have grown up in Canada. Although there have been obstacles and difficulties along the way, I could change my philosophy and outlook and be more mature. " Even Brian who faced the most difficult struggles with his new life in Canada among the 205 participants in this study described that his experience of crossing cultural boundaries shifted his identity from a pan-Korean identity to a multicultural identity. When crossing cultural boundaries and reconfiguring, the young Korean Canadians came to recognize sub-cultures within one culture and to explore the concept of culture and identity in a new way. They problematized the idea of culture as homogeneous and conceived of heterogeneity within the same cultural groups. Their perspective was shifted from a stereotyped notion of culture to a living dynamic culture. For instance, Teresa had some illusions about the Canadian culture when she first immigrated to Canada. Her experience with diverse sub-cultures within the Canadian culture awakened her to realize that a culture was not simply better or worse than others. David also learned to embrace the concept of culture in a broader and more profound way. He said, "It is not very easy to define what Canadian culture is or what Korean culture is, especially considering that those kinds of cultural experiences depend on the perceptions of individuals. " The process of crossing cultural boundaries brought to them a profound understanding not only of the new culture but also of the heritage culture. Adapting to a new culture was more than just survival; rather, it was a process of reinvention, transformation, growth, and reaching out beyond the boundaries of own existence rather than the sole abandonment of the former culture into which they were born. They dismantled a rigid distinction between two cultures and learned to become both a Korean and a Canadian. Although they wanted to badly fit into the Canadian culture in the beginning stage of adaptation, their identity construction changed from "fitting in one place" to "mixing and matching different cultural elements." Crossing borders prepared the young Korean Canadians for fostering with a more open and flexible sense of identity. It was a profoundly transformative process. Of course, in some ways, they seemed to just reconfirm and strengthen the existing dominant Canadian cultural identity, or just maintain the Korean culture they brought with them when they immigrated. However, cross-cultural experiences not simply reproduced an existing identity but had a 206 formative effect on their identity construction. Indeed, while crossing cultural boundaries, the young Korean Canadians problematized what was usually taken for granted and positively transformed their identity. An important advantage of being "in the middle" occurred through crossing borders which was essential for enhancing a more sophisticated understanding of cross-cultural experience, as well as for developing a multicultural identity. They had learned to improvise the unpredictable and unfamiliar new culture and to transmute discomfort and bewilderment into generative possibilities and creative potentials. Their stories demonstrated that the dynamic complexities of struggling with cultural differences were an enriching process. (Re)constructing cultural identity as Korean Canadian When the young Korean Canadians reconfigure cultural boundaries, they started reconstructing their own identity of Korean Canadian beyond mere assimilation or imaginary cultural purity, an identity that neither solely represents "Korean" or "Canadian." They resisted occupying a single culture and placed themselves in complex positioning, none of which are neatly encapsulated. For example, Teresa defined herself as a "Canadianizedperson with Korean characteristics " which represented the impossibility of being solely "Canadian" or "Korean." David also refused to identify himself in a compartmentalized way and emphasized his particular growing up in a multicultural environment. For them, becoming a Korean Canadian involved a creation of one's own distinctive multicultural identity. Instead of simply accepting a ready-made Korean identity imposed by parents, the young Korean Canadians continued to search for the meaning of having Korean origins in Canada. The Korean identity had been continuously invented and reinvented over time rather than merely discovered by practicing concrete cultural practices. Neither the practice of Korean traditional culture or participation in Korean communities was enough to make them feel being a Korean. Different from the parents' version of Korean culture, the young Korean Canadians had imagined and re-imagined Korean culture from their particular experience 207 of cross-cultural living. Furthermore, their cultural identity was not solely related to the Korean culture or the dominant Canadian culture but also related to diverse multicultural influences. They talked about that the Chinese culture, Japanese culture, Indian culture, other European cultures, as well as the dominant Canadian culture had visibly and invisibly influenced on their emerging form of identity. They did not see being a Korean Canadian as clearly defined by their cultural origin. Instead, they valued more balanced identification with multiple cultural elements. Having a Korean origin is only one element of a much wider set of commitments and affiliations in their identity construction. Instead of having a guilty feeling over losing a fixed attribute of Korean culture, they came to appreciate the learning process provided by living in a multicultural environment. Enmeshing multiple cultural influences, they had re-constructed their own emerging identity of Korean Canadian beyond the limited boundary of Korean culture or Canadian culture. Their cultural identity should be seen as an interweaving product of several cultures through translating and negotiating cultural differences. Becoming a Korean Canadian was not merely a process in which new cultural elements are simply added to the prior culture. When the young Korean Canadians learned the new culture, the unlearning, so to speak, the deculturalization of some elements of the old culture occurred to some degree, at least. While learning and unlearning continued, they grew to observe two cultures from inside-out and outside-in perspectives and to enhance their own identity of Korean Canadian in a dialectical and spiral way, not in a linear way in which the Korean identity began to lose as the new Canadian identity began. This was a process of shifting from a monocultural identity to a multicultural identity. As the young Korean Canadians nourished a multicultural identity they had more inner confidence and pride of having the Korean heritage. Anthony spoke of his increased interest in Korean culture, although when he was stuck in-between worlds he felt uncomfortable with the Korean culture. Therefore, it seems incorrect to assume that young Korean Canadians partake separately in two different cultures in a dichotomous boundary: the home culture 208 and the outside culture. Rather, the mixed and multiple forms of identities are potentially connected and combined through a variety of perspectives, not one perspective. In conclusion, the narratives of the young Korean Canadians demonstrated that they acquired a bicultural or multicultural identity, although during their childhood or adolescence, they tended to be polarized toward one culture over the other as i f fundamentally a person cannot keep two different cultures within. However, while crossing cultural boundaries and reconfiguring different cultures, they became more able to assess which elements of each culture they wanted to embrace in own identity construction. The process of becoming a Korean Canadian made them unable to be the same person they imagined themselves before. As well, it enabled them to fabricate their own identity by taking the best features from different cultures. These three trajectories of identity construction are to be considered as a spiral movement which reflects the different levels of identity the young Korean Canadians have achieved at given points in time. Cultural identity in fluid movement: Identity as a narrative construction The young Korean Canadians in my study demonstrate that their cultural identity is non-unitary and contradictory synchronically and diachronically. For example, Jenny exclusively socialized with Korean students in her high school, but later she regretted not exerting more effort to interact with native Canadian speakers. David viewed himself as a misfit among Korean friends although he wanted to have more Korean friends. At first Lily identified herself as "Canadian" rather than "Korean," but sometimes she felt disconnected from other Canadians by virtue of the difference in cultural background. Teresa desperately wanted to be accepted by white Canadians, yet she distanced herself from her white friends after a visit to Korea. Sometimes she acted in a Canadian way, other times in a Korean way. Teresa continued to identity herself as a Canadian, but at the same time did not discount being a Korean. Like Teresa, other young Korean Canadians described themselves as simultaneously "Korean" and "Canadian." They practiced the Korean culture in private and openly adopted the Canadian culture in public. They did not define themselves solely as 2 0 9 one; rather they claimed that they were obviously of more than two cultural elements. Being partly Korean and partly Canadian fundamentally provokes conflicting and fragmented identities that constantly shift through and assemble together cultural differences. In negotiating cultural differences, they confront the discreteness of the different cultural codes at many junctures and levels of decision-making situations. At first glance, these conflicting identities seem contradictory, incompatible and split, but they are narratively interconnected and simultaneously lived out in some ways in each person. David's voice expressed this situation: "I look like living in a dichotomous world, one being in the Canadian culture and the other being in the Korean culture. But the thing is that it is not like I am juggling between two cultures consciously. It is more of a subconscious event that happens on a daily basis. I cannot say that I am struggling between two split cultures." From his statement, some questions come to mind. How can conflicting identities reside and connect in one person? How do fragmented identities affect the construction of new forms of identity? Is there any stability or cohesion? How can "contingent closure" and "confluence point" get juxtaposed? How do young Korean Canadians weave together the fragments of different elements into a provisional construction of identity? How do they make implicit and explicit connections among fragmented multiple identities? How do they integrate non-unitary and fragmented identities into stories of the development of their multicultural identity? These questions lead me to the idea of narrative identity. Many narrative theories acknowledge that although life is filled with discontinuity and fragmentation, human beings instinctively seek narrative coherence in disintegrated and incoherent experiences (Carr, 1986; Somers, 1994). Carr (1986) observes, "coherence seems to be a need imposed upon us whether we seek it or not" (p. 97). The narrative link displays the process of putting dispersedly fragmentary experiences into an imaginary and provisionary coherent structure. Narrative link or coherence is a key to understanding how non-unitary and contradictory 210 identities are connected and coexist in one person. The narrative understanding of identity supplies the sense of a self-produced continuity for disconnected and discontinuous experiences. Polkinghorne (1991) writes: It is the narratively structured unity of my life as a whole that provides me with a personal identity and displays the answer to "Who am I? " My self-story gives a unified context in which it becomes clear how I am living my life and what is the nature of my individual existence, character, and identity, (p. 143) The discrete and fragmented identities are connectively reconstructed through narrative contingency with a provisional unity and internal structure. Identity continues to be constructed and reconstructed through continuity within discontinuity, and discontinuity within continuity, in a narrative process. Findings and educational implications Most of the young Korean Canadians in this study rarely shared with their parents and teachers the struggles and troubles they had gone through in cross-cultural living. This missing communication partly reflects a lack of sensitivity and responsibility on the part of the parents and teachers in helping them deal with the issues of identity and difference. In what follows I will address the findings from my study and suggest educational implications to be considered for engaging in multicultural education and immigrant education. Are young Korean Canadians capable of becoming who they are? A number of studies on the cultural identity of immigrants suggest that they have been paralyzed by a dichotomizing perspective of assimilation or anti-assimilation which centers on either assimilating into or resisting the dominant Canadian culture (Tse, 1999). These simplistic frameworks emphasize the inner frustrations of immigrants over alienation from 211 both cultures and their anxieties of losing a pure cultural identity. They overlook an open and emergent identity created by immigrant students through cross-cultural living. My research shows that although the young Korean Canadians favorably accept the Canadian culture, they still have a high regard for the Korean culture and language. Despite their experiences of emotional anxiety and ambivalence during the early exposure to Canadian culture, they have come to terms with a more open concept of identity. However timid and quiet they might appear when first drawn into the new cultural and linguistic environment, they learned to negotiate cultural differences and to create a flexible sense of identity. As they matured and became capable of dealing with conflicting and contradictory situations they paid more attention to adopting the best elements of both cultures. Rather than simply enacting one culture, they reinterpreted and re-appropriated both cultures in their own way. The young Korean Canadians gradually moved away from a polarized identity to a more balanced one. Instead of remaining forever as marginalized immigrants, they have come to gain some acceptance in both cultures, to create their own cultural identity in a more flexible way, and to take advantage of cross-cultural living. It reminds me of Cook's notion of "multicompetency" which describes a capacity of speaking more than one language (1999). He employs this concept to refer to" the compound state of mind with two languages" (p. 190). According to Cook, "multicompetent minds that know two languages are qualitatively different from those of the monolingual native speaker in a number of ways"8 (p. 191). Drawing on this idea, I consider young Korean Canadians as "multicompetent cultural translator." This multicompetency encourages them to invest in learning both cultures and enables them to re-conceptualize themselves as multicultural Canadians, as legitimate members of the Canadian community in their own right, not as deficient immigrants troubled with the loss of the Korean culture or a misfit in the Canadian culture. Cook (1999) argues that muticompetent language users show different characteristics, compared to a monolingual person, in terms of the second language knowledge, the first language knowledge, language processing, and the thought processes. What he wants to insist, drawn on these differences between multicompetent language users and monolingual users, is that the second language users should be treated as people in their own right, not as deficient native speakers. 212 Salman Rushdie (1999), in his novel The ground beneath her feet, addresses the generative possibilities of living in a culturally diversified environment. He portrays how two adolescents from Bombay, Vina Apsara and Ormus Cama, invent music that was neither pure Western music nor pure Indian music. For them impure music would be "impure Bombay, where West, East, North, and South had always been scrambled, like codes, like eggs." Rushdie shares their story in the following: What's a "culture? " Look it up. "A group of micro-organisms grown in a nutrient substance under controlled conditions. " A squirm of germs on a glass slide is all, a laboratory experiment calling itself a society. Most of us wrigglers make do with life on that slide; we even agree to feel proud of that "culture. " Like slaves voting for slavery or brains for lobotomy, we kneel down before the god of all moronic micro-organisms and pray to be homogenized or killed or engineered; we promise to obey. But if Vina and Ormus were bacteria too, they were a pair of bugs who wouldn't take life lying down. One way of understanding their story is to think of it as an account of the creation of two bespoke identities, tailored for the wearers by themselves. The rest of us get our personae off the peg, our religion, language, prejudices, demeanour, the works; but Vina and Ormus insisted on what one might call auto-couture. And music ... was the key that unlocked the door for them, the door to magic lands, (cited in Kramsch, 2002, p. 12) The young Korean Canadians in this study spoke of how their own cultural identity adapted to their needs in what the culturally diversified environment of Vancouver provided for them. Instead of living out a cultural identity taken from available cultural frames, they constantly interpreted and re-interpreted each culture from different angles. They were far from the passive recipients of cultural values imposed upon them. Rather, they had re-combined and re-created their own identity in new and unpredictable ways. Examining the different sides of each culture, the young Korean Canadians engaged in their own becoming with self-confidence while enriching their lives. 213 How do young Korean Canadians experience the Korean culture outside of Korea? The young Korean Canadians I worked with have fabricated their own images and ideas of Korean culture and identity through the memories imprinted from their experiences in Korea and the memories handed down from their parents. In other words, the Korean culture and identity have been constructed and reconstructed in multifarious ways from various times and across various levels of community — the lived community, the remembered community, and the imagined community. The imagined community of Korean culture may be differently experienced and conceptualized by Korean Canadians contingent on an attachment to Korean culture and an environment in which they grew up. Some of them may experience Korean culture by keeping in touch with Korean contemporary youth culture, or through their parents and other Korean adults in Korean communities in Canada. Particular to the second generation is the concept of Korean culture as much more self-produced and self-defined due to a lack of access to experience it. For Korean Canadians who are not acquainted with diverse Korean sub-cultures and rapidly changing contemporary Korean culture, what is represented as "Korean culture" is a highly homogeneous subset. Here is an example. Lily recently had two short visits to Korea, but she was not afforded many opportunities to experience the Korean culture in a wider range because of her deficient Korean language and limited resources. During these short sojourns, she easily found faults with Korean culture and made unqualified generalization about the Korean culture from her limited experience of Korean culture. In contrast, Teresa had a great opportunity to experience the Korean culture differently. During her visit to Korea, she met a very nice and considerate Korean man who shifted her stereotyping Korean men as authoritarian and patriarchal. Experiencing some sub-Korean cultures also provided her with a chance to clarify certain aspects of the Korean culture, which led her to rethink her negative images of Korean culture and to look at those negative images positively. In investigating the notion of cultural identity of young Korean Canadians, I found the idea 214 of "imagined community" intriguing and useful. Wenger (1998), expanding upon Anderson's view of imagined community, insists that a human being is capable of relating to people beyond immediate social networks through imagination. In his view, imagination is a distinct form of belonging to a particular community of practice, and a way in which individuals locate themselves and others in the world and include in their identity "other meanings, other possibilities, other perspectives" (p. 178). Applying this idea, the concept of cultural identity is seen as contingently imagined, articulated, and preformed rather than fixed, original, essential or permanent. It is evident that the Korean and Canadian communities these young Korean Canadians imagine are kaleidoscopic and contingent upon their subjective experiences and memories. They coordinate these various imagined communities in their identity construction. The young Korean Canadians narratively construct the imaginary community of Korea through diverse routes. For them the original Korean culture no longer exists out there. It cannot be merely recovered in any simple sense because it has been always invented and reinvented and never remains the same. The Korean culture is rehearsed again and again in an attempt to make a connection of the present with the broken past. David's story portrayed how his Korean culture was narratively imagined and reimagined in an absent-present contestation of "it is here" and "it is not here." He stated this by saying: "I really do not know what Korean culture is because I have never lived in Korea long enough that I have experienced what it is to be part of Korean culture for the age of 17 to 18. " Anthony also indicated that he just imagined what Korean culture would be like from the Korean adults in Korean communities in Canada. Anthony did not have much opportunity to experience the Korean culture directly. Comparatively, recent immigrants Brian, Teresa, and Jenny continuously attempt to keep track of the Korean contemporary culture by listening to Korean pop music, watching Korean movies, or browsing through Korean fashion magazines. For them, maintaining the Korean culture means keeping in touch with contemporary Korean pop culture, not limiting themselves to exercising traditional cultural practices. Putting these ideas together, I adhere to what Grossber (1997) states: "It is not where people belong that is important, but how people belong — the various ways people 215 are attached and attach themselves affectively into the world" (cited in Kramsch & Lam, 1999, p.70, original emphasis). What affects the identity construction of young Korean Canadians? The Korean Canadian second generation students in my study spent their childhood and adolescence during the 1970s and 1980s when the different cultural backgrounds of immigrants were disregarded and assimilation into the Canadian system was considered to be most significant. As a result, they came to learn the new culture and language at the cost of losing their heritage culture and language. Lily and Anthony narrated how awkward it was for them to speak Korean in a generally monolingual and monocultural based environment. Even at home, they used a considerable amount of English because the parents presumed that speaking only in English would smoothen their transitional process. These situations worsened with general negative images perceived by the dominant group of the society towards immigrants and minorities. Anthony and Lily gravitated more towards assimilation within a situation where preserving the heritage culture seemed unproductive and useless, in what they perceived to be an unfriendly socio-cultural environment. However, the new group of recent immigrants is situated in comparatively different conditions. They have more possibilities to retain Korean culture and maintain a continuing connection with Korean culture than ever before. There are some influential incentives to have them stay in touch with Korean contemporary culture. First, the development of modern communication, technologies and transportation keeps them much closer to contemporary Korean culture. Indeed they communicate and maintain links with relatives in Korea more easily than the previous immigrant generation did. This favorable situation encourages them to maintain the Korean culture and language to ensure familial and affective ties with Korean communities in both Canada and Korea. Immigrating to Canada no longer means a detachment from Korean cultural influences. Second, the Canadian multiculturalism, initiating cultural and linguistic diversity, provides 216 young Korean Canadians with more resources and incentives to develop multicultural proficiency. This multicultural ethos invites young Korean Canadians to mix with a variety of cultures and encourage them to appreciate their own unique background. In this context, being different becomes less problematic. Moreover, with an increasing population of Korean immigrants and Korean international students, the young Korean Canadians are more exposed to contemporary Korean culture and motivated to engage in Korean culture and to speak Korean fluently. Third, another significant factor is their vision of the future in affiliation with Korean communities in both Canada and Korea. As they imagine and envision the communities where they would belong in a much broader and global scope, they highly value multilingual competence and multicultural identity as economic capital. Such a vision leads young Korean Canadians to foster multicultural identity and intercultural awareness as a means of facilitating their mobility locally and globally, thereby increasing their assets for the future. Furthermore, their cultural identity is influenced by diverse cultural elements as shown through forging friendships and relationships with people from different cultural backgrounds. Their cultural identity is inevitably intertwined with diverse cultural influences such as the Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, and Latino, to name but a few. Identity construction takes on fluid and movable connections with different cultural influences. The identity of the Korean Canadian is enfolded through, embedded in, and enabled by parts of different cultures as well as the dominant Canadian culture. David was quite explicit about how different cultural elements were constitutive of his identity. Brian also validated his learning from a multicultural context. In this sense, their identity of Korean Canadian seems a dialogical mosaic intertwined with diverse cultures, not just a monological coordination of Canadian and Korean cultures. These shifting conditions trigger a change in the mode and degree of their adaptation process. The simultaneous assimilation into the Canadian culture and the retention of the 217 Korean culture clearly influence the different modes of becoming Korean Canadians. They do not have to choose one culture over the other; instead they choose to bring together different cultural elements in own identity construction. Different cultural elements are not grounded in an imposition of one culture to the other. Neither does it mean losing one's culture. The young Korean Canadians in my study expressed that having a Korean cultural background was a crucial way of identifying and distinguishing themselves from other Canadians. They claimed similarity with the majority of Canadians, but at the same time they asserted the right to be a different kind of Canadian and to be a different kind of Korean. Without resorting to a binary language of opposition, they embraced different beings in their identity and sought a ground for "difference in identity" and "identity in difference." What will multicultural education look like within a culturally responsive curricular landscape? Canadian multicultural education has been described as a "mosaic" approach that encourages distinctive cultural characteristics to be retained. This mosaic multiculturalism contributes to the promotion of the ethnic heritage culture and accommodates cultural diversity. However, this model tends to circumscribe multicultural education simply as a celebration of ethnic foods and exotic costumes, which is too superficial to understand the complexity, multiplicity, and possibility of cross-cultural living in the midst of negotiating and navigating through incommensurable cultural differences. It draws on benign cultural pluralism which implies that identity is a preexistent presence, or what Aoki (1993) refers to as "multiculturalism as multiple identities" (p. 92). This mosaic approach, dichotomizing and polarizing between the dominant Canadian culture and the ethnic cultures, has implicitly or explicitly inscribed immigrant students as bounded by their own cultural tendency in which they were born, and thereby keeps them strangers or foreigners. Therefore it rarely helps immigrant students enlarge and deepen their horizons by dwelling in the generative possibilities of their own becoming in and through differences. The pedagogical implication of such a perspective is much more serious because in assuming 218 immigrant students as being trapped by their cultural boundary, it undermines what these students bring to classrooms and what they experience in a multicultural classroom. The aim of the multicultural curriculum does not necessarily mean returning to the original forms and perceptions of pre-given cultural heritage. The young Korean Canadians in my study provided ample evidence that their different cultural backgrounds had neither bound nor limited them to one culture. We need to shift our attention from a position of what immigrant students lack in terms of cultural difference towards a position of valuing the incipient possibilities of their 'becoming' through cross-cultural living. Although Canadian mosaic multiculturalism moves beyond monoculturalism and welcomes diversity and heterogeneity, it is less aware of living in the midst of, between, and among the negotiations of cultural differences. Aoki (1993) defines this new fabric of curriculum as "a curricular landscape of multiplicity." In noting the in-between space of differences, Aoki evokes us to rethink about the notion of multiplicity drawn on Deleuze's insight on multiplicity. In Dialogues, Deleuze states: In a multiplicity what accounts are not the elements, but what there is between, the between, a site of relations which are not separable from each other. Every multiplicity grows in the middle, (p. viii, cited in Aoki, 1993, p. 93) Drawing on Deleuze, Aoki notes "difference" between difference in degree and difference in kind. Deleuze alerts us on how our insensitive understanding of difference as difference in degree makes us blind to difference in kind. Difference in kind may not be integrated or incorporated smoothly into a homogeneous whole. Rather, within the in-between lines of differences, something is creatively produced and is constantly growing. This productive space can be referred to as a "third space" where Bhabha (1994) acknowledges and comprehends gaps, interstices, or cracks in which disjunction, supplement, and replacement constantly happens beyond boundaries between cultures. This landscape of multiculturalism can be defined as "a polyphony of lines of movement 2 1 9 that grows in the abundance of middles, the 'betweens' and 'ANDs ' that populate...a landscape of multiple possibilities in a shifting web of rhizomean lines of movement" (Aoki, 1993, p. 94, emphasis in the original). According to Aoki, "between" and "and" are not merely joining words. They are words that allow each to be reborn and to grow in the middle of between words. It is in the borderlands of "betweens" that different cultures continuously intermingle and co-mingle, and therein the new form of cultural identity eventually emerges. A collage of different cultures in the ambivalent juxtapositions and ruptures of conflicting cultural meanings within and among cultural differences constantly creates and recreates the emerging forms of identity that had not existed before. Cultural identity by cross-cultural living reflects multiple becomings through the proliferation of and interaction between cultural differences. Multicultural curriculum should be based on an inspiring understanding of these creative processes. Unfortunately, the existing ideas of mosaic multiculturalism do not adequately encapsulate the fluid and hybrid cultural identity of immigrants as well as its transformative process in identity construction. It seems that the focus tends to be more generally given to their psychological adjustment with an assumption that their cultural differences will naturally disappear as they adapt more and eventually belong to the host culture. Cross-cultural experience drawn from a profound understanding of differences is not suitably dealt with. Neither is it generally integrated in the multicultural education courses. Lorde (1984) addresses how the education system is lacking in the way it serves students to understand difference in an educationally meaningful way: Institutionalized rejection of difference is an absolute necessity in a profit economy which needs outsiders as surplus people. As members of such an economy, we have all been programmed to respond to the human differences between us with fear and loathing. ... As a result, those differences have been misnamed and misused in the service of separation and confusion. Certainly there are very real differences between us in terms of race, age, and sex. But it is not those differences between us that are separating us. It is rather our refusal to recognize those differences, and to examine the distortions which result from our misnaming them and their effects 220 upon human behavior and expectation. ... Too often, we pour the energy neededfor recognizing and exploring difference into pretending those differences are insurmountable barriers, or that they do not exist at all. ... We do not develop tools for using human difference as a springboardfor creative change within our lives, (p. 115) My conversations with the young Korean Canadians in this study taught me that the multicultural curriculum rarely deals with culturally disrupted students who are confronted with a sense of non-belongingness and uprootedness resulting from their being physically, culturally, and linguistically different. What kind of multicultural curriculum can truly serve culturally marginalized students? What should be considered, in contemporary debates of multicultural education, to understand and accept cultural differences? Culturally responsive and relevant multicultural curriculum, in the face of the growing diversity of students, should be built upon a generative orientation which opens up the questions of identity in multi-layered ways and focuses on the transformation and growth of students in a multicultural atmosphere. Given the inability of Canadian multiculturalism to manage and accommodate the issues of difference, an inspiring multicultural curriculum calls for our genuine understanding of the relationship of the self and other where be(co/w)ing together in and through each other's difference opens up infinite possibilities. With these questions in mind, I will address four issues to be considered in developing a culturally responsive pedagogy: 1) the politics of recognition, 2) the responsibility to others, 3) multiple identities within in-between spaces, and 4) identity construction as community practice. The politics of recognition Canadian society tends to consider immigrant students difficult to teach due to different cultural backgrounds that do not fit well with the Canadian mainstream. Some of them speak no English and their culture seems to be at odds with the dominant culture. This 221 negative assumption is often made about how and why immigrant students demonstrate low achievement at school and consequently are doomed to fail. It ultimately forces immigrant students into a homogenizing mold that is inhospitable to difference and ignorant of their different cultural backgrounds. In spite of the promotion of multicultural education, there is very little evidence that different cultural backgrounds are properly considered in educational practices. Research shows that minority students have been continually discriminated against by the devaluation and disregard of the mainstream education (Corson, 1993; Cummins, 2001; Feuerverger, 1997; Nieto, 1994). Igoa (1995) concludes that immigrant students whose cultures and languages are not included in their education are unable to integrate their worlds: Children who were afraid to reveal their backgrounds...and who pushed their cultural past into the unconscious, or off onto their home life...feel uncomfortable, acting one way at school and another at home. When they grow up, if they become conscious of their separate worlds, they may look down upon, reject or deny their native cultures; or they may discover that native part of themselves left behind in childhood. When they try to regain this early self at the adult stage, integration of life will take time. (p. 45) The issue of recognition and respect for cultural difference and specificity should be considered in multicultural education, not so much in terms of a naive cultural relativism, as in terms of adequate recognition to the hitherto excluded. Frantz Fanon (1986) argues that the major weapon of the colonizers is the imposition of a negative image on the colonized and subjugated people. The marginalized people have suffered from the self-image of inferiority inflicted by the dominant people. In this sense, one of the imperative issues of multicultural education should be concerned with recreating the positive self-image of culturally marginalized people by a cooperation of the marginalized group and the dominant one. 222 Charles Taylor (1994), in his celebrated article "The politics of recognition," highlights the importance of how we are recognized and acknowledged because identity is shaped and reshaped through a continuing dialogue and struggle with others. Identity is not forged in isolation, but negotiated through dialogue with significant others whether it be overt or internal. Nonrecognition or misrecognition imposed by a false and distorted self-image of inferiority causes us to suffer from a lack of self-esteem, which leads us to be oppressed and suppressed. His main debate is that each person has his/her own original way of being. Thus each other's specificity and distinctiveness should be acknowledged and respected. In this regard, homogenizing differences with a very limited acknowledgement of each other's distinct identity is inhuman and highly discriminatory. Being exposed to and encountering differences, we "develop new vocabularies, by means of which we can articulate the contrasts between worldviews" (Taylor, 1994, p. 67). Taylor explores how these new vocabularies "are likely to displace our own horizons in the resulting fusions" (p. 73). While creating new vocabularies by acknowledging other cultures, we get to move from what we have formally taken for granted to a new understanding. It is through exploratory and critical conversations with others that we are able to expand and enrich our limited cultural, intellectual, and spiritual horizons. Drawing on this idea, one of the major efforts of multicultural education should be to cultivate a willingness to be open to differences and to productively incorporate those differences into one's own identity construction. This will provide us with the enriching "horizon of meaning for human beings, of diverse characters and temperaments, over a long period of time" (Taylor, 1994, p. 72). It is through an engaging willingness to create healthy and positive images that culturally marginalized students are able to find out what it means to live in Canada with a particular cultural background and to weave their own identity by living through cultural differences. 223 The responsibility to others The pressures of monoculturalism and homogenizing assimilation emanate from a social stance which perceives cultural difference as something to fear. Placing multicultural curriculum within a framework that envisions difference as deviations or prob