[EDITORIALS]Why are they leaving here?A television home shopping channel recently sold “immigration packages” in record time for any product. In just 80 minutes, 983 viewers bought the packages. The shopping channel reaped 17.5 billion won ($14.8 million) for the sales, as much as it normally makes in one week. This event shows that in the era of globalization, pursuit of a better life and self accomplishment cannot be confined to the mother country. But, in fact, Koreans started to immigrate more than a century ago.
In the past, however, most Korean immigrants were economically or politically motivated. These days, more and more Koreans want to leave their country because they feel uncertain about the future or are concerned about education for their children.
The fact that 62 percent of the purchasers of the immigration packages were in their 20s and 30s, the key labor force for the present and future, shows that there are some serious problems in our society.
A poll conducted earlier this year allows us to understand what is behind the immigration fever. In the survey of 1,500 men and women in their 20s and older, 64 percent said that our society is “not good for living.” More than 40 percent said they wanted to immigrate to another country.
Most of the immigration hopefuls are motivated by hate for our society or despair over the cost of private education, which an ordinary salaryman can hardly afford. They fret over the poor quality of education, soaring housing costs and politicians who seem not to have any other interests than slinging mud. In other words, they want to escape this land because of discontent over the reality here and the uncertainty.
In a situation where people live longer while the population decreases, trouble is on the horizon when those in their 20s and 30s seek to leave. Korea used to be called a vibrant country. How did it end up in this situation? There is nothing wrong about immigrating to another country and searching for a better life. But Korea must bear the responsibility for disappointing those at the exit.
We need to think about a reality that fails to give hope to the younger generation and find measures to respond to their longings.