“There are about 55,000 Korean repatriates in South Korea from their global diaspora, mostly Central Asia, China, and Russia, somewhat like the Zionist movement of the Jews back to Israel, except for one difference: they live in Gorean ghettos to avoid being taunted and jeered as traitors?” reports B, 82, a high school alum, naturalized and resident in NY for over a half century.
Gorean is another way of anglicizing Korean, the sound 고 in 고려 phonetically falling halfway between the two.
“Traitors in what way?” I ask.
“Leaving Korea during the dark days of Japanese occupation instead of sticking it out.”
“A typical case of 적반하장, the thief picking up a whip to chastise his victim!” I shout in indignation. “Like the Jews two millennia ago fleeing Judea occupied by the Romans, our people fled Korea, hating the very idea of treading the same land, breathing the same air with the Japanese. To remain in Korea attending the schools the Japanese had built and seeking employment, promotion and success in their system was collaboration, betrayal, than which anything was better, even unspeakable hardship in climes and cultures unknown that often turned out hostile, downright murderous…”
“Especially those who went to Siberia who after, getting settled, got brutally uprooted and dumped in Central Asia by Stalin in 1937, as described in your Polyglot: Union of Korea and Japan, amazon.com, now being serialized bilingually in the Korean New York Ilbo Daily.”
“The descendants of these heroes and patriots should be welcomed back to their ancestral land with open arms, not ostracized as some alien species. What is the South Korean attitude toward us Korean Americans who jumped ship a generation later, after the Korean War?”
“Ambivalent, because we are still better off than most South Koreans despite their phenomenal increase in wealth. But if Trump fails and the American might wanes, we will end up just another species of Goreans in our ghettos.”
“If we go back.”
“Right. Beware of repatriation, Korean Americans, however tough the going.”