Here is something that we’ve been expecting since the news of a young Vietnamese who was killed by her mentally ill husband after just eight days living in Korea came out in July. I wrote a draft on it but I’ve been too busy to finish it. A few days after the incident happened, the government cracked down on illegal matchmaking agencies. It was reported that Korean men spend as much as 8 million won (about 7,000 USD) for the whole package of meeting, traveling to a southeast Asian country and marrying a bride they barely knew.
Starting on Oct. 6, Korean men will have to enroll in a state-administered education program on interracial marriage in order to get a visa which would allow their foreign spouse to enter the country, said government sources, Wednesday.
Also, the government is considering barring Koreans from getting married to foreigners if their earning ability, mental and physical health condition, criminal status and other factors affecting married life fail to meet a guideline set by the Ministry of Justice, they said.
In the Philippines, women who are married to foreigners and planning to live in their husband’s country are required to attend seminars. Those who are marrying (or are married to) Japanese and Korean are required to attend a two-day seminar where they are supposed to learn about their husband’s culture.
Korea is a patriarchal society which has a 5,000 year history (according to them). People here are proud of their history, way of living and traditions. For this reason, a foreign bride should not expect her husband to adapt to her ways and customs even if it’s really necessary for a Korean husband to learn about his wife’s culture so they could better understand each other. I think the move by the government to educate its citizens about inter-cultural marriage is just a way to save face. I don’t know how much they could learn in just four hours. And is it just applicable to Seoul? In the end, it’s still about the image of Korea.
To get a visa inviting an overseas wife to Seoul, would-be husbands are required to undergo one session of the program — each session runs for four hours.
There is no formula in a successful marriage. That is true whether one is marrying a foreigner or not. Or whether the couple are coming from a whirlwind romance or a long-term relationship. I just don’t believe that women should marry someone whom they would not be able to communicate with. I also don’t think it’s bravery to marry someone from another culture and move to another country. Let’s be honest, the only reason a young woman from our side of the world would marry someone she doesn’t know and someone she can’t communicate with and who is the same age as her father is for financial reasons or to have a better life. If not, then what else could be the reason? I have a very good friend who is not afraid to admit that she married her Korean (ex)husband for financial reasons and we all love her. She’s now happily married to someone she loves but who isn’t as well-off as her ex. However, just to be fair we all want to marry someone better than us, don’t we?
Hopefully, the government’s plan would work and it would someone prevent violence against women. In fairness, the Korean government has been working to make the lives of foreign immigrants better. When I first came here, it was illegal for Filipino F-2-1 visa holders to work as English teachers. There are more centers for immigrant women where we could learn the language and the culture for free. They have also provided trainings for those who’d like to join the workforce. There are also some programs specifically made for multi-cultural families. Women who wants to marry Korean men should know what they’re getting into. Education is the key ;p This is a proud country with thousands of years of history and traditions; and it will not change just for our sake.