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Annyeonghaseyo: Reflections of a Korean in the Philippines

My journey of living in a foreign land commenced last March. The scorching, tropical weather seemed to foretell imminent experiences in the Philippines but my heart was overflowing with unmitigated zeal and confidence. Challenges, after all, make life more dynamic and provide pivotal experiences to make one stronger. Even though I am a mere student at the Ateneo de Manila University under the auspices of my parents, I realized that I am taking on more roles. Studying abroad has enabled me not only to see myself in relation to Filipinos, but also to be cognizant of the broader international relations between South Korea and the Philippines. This essay is a reflection on Koreans as a subcultural group in the Philippines. A subculture can be defined as a group of people who share ways of life distinct from the mainstream but do not transgress the social rules, beliefs, norms, and values of mainstream society. Koreans living in the Philippines are regarded as a subculture because, while they take part in Philippine culture as residents of the country, …

Interacting with Myself and by Myself: Social Interaction in Online Space

When I was a student in Japan from 2011 to 2015, the incidence of hikikomori was a much-talked-about issue. The Oxford dictionary defines hikikomori as “(In Japan) the abnormal avoidance of social contact, typically by adolescent males.” It was an unprecedented social phenomenon; no one knew what it was and how to deal with it. It is easy to conclude that the hikikomori are outcasts of a fast growing society and that their emergence is a natural outcome of social change. However, such a notion raises too many questions: why did they emerge in this particular point in time? What have influenced young people to be hikikomori? What do they imply about the current society?