[LETTERS to the editor]Need foreign labor? Open up your mind

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[LETTERS to the editor]Need foreign labor? Open up your mind

In discussing Korea’s importation of foreign labor to do this country’s 3D [dirty, dangerous or difficult] jobs, Kim Seung-wook, economics professor at Chung-Ang University, makes an unfounded and narrow-minded statement in his Aug. 23 opinion piece.
Mr. Kim writes: “In the long term, an increase in the number of unskilled foreign laborers will have social costs, such as the risk of international terrorism, organized crime and cultural discord. Thus the government has to regulate the foreign workers.” Oh, really.
Mr. Kim must mean Filipinos, Thais, Indians, Indonesians and Chinese as the “unskilled foreign laborers,” as it is these nationals that make up the majority of the visiting 3D workers here. What international terrorism, organized crime and cultural discord is he referring to? Perhaps Islamic extremists from the Philippines, Thailand or Indonesia will find their way to Korea and start a jihad?
As for organized crime, is he saying that working migrants from these nations will begin counterfeiting, prostitution and gambling rings? By social discord, is he implying it will be upsetting to Koreans to have to live next door to unskilled people of darker color? We don’t know ― he offers no proof or evidence.
Even if his claims are true, which is highly doubtful, they are still offensive. For argument’s sake though, let’s reverse the situation for a moment. In the early 1900s, thousands of unskilled Koreans flowed into Hawaii to do manual labor in the pineapple fields. And throughout this century, unskilled Koreans have emigrated to developed nations such as the United States, often opening food markets. In fact, just a few weeks ago a major organized ring of Korean-owned prostitution houses was busted in the U.S., proof that Americans have every reason to fear future Korean workers, as all Koreans obviously belong to organized crime circles and cause social disruption. Plainly, my claim is silly and racist, as is Mr. Kim’s.

by Mark Dake
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