1.5 Generation?

the question of origin


by Sophia Kim















  Read More... DIVERSE special

Read More... Culture Section













Photo: Junsuk Kim by Sophia Kim



Canada is the only home Jungsuk Kim, a 27 year old business banker, has ever known. Immigrating when he was 3 years old, his memory of Korea is hazy and fragmented, yet his life is led by his Korean morals and values.

¡°I¡¯m a Canadian first,¡± says Jungsuk. ¡°Being 1.5 generation is a non-issue for me.¡±

He explains that having spent his early childhood in multicultural Montreal, he had never felt out of place or questioned his identity.

¡°On the East Coast, it¡¯s easier to identify with Canadians than on the West Coast,¡± says Jungsuk.

It was only after he moved to Vancouver in middle school that he began to think about his cultural background.

¡°There were only 4 Asian kids in my class when I moved here,¡± says Jungsuk. ¡°It was hard to fit in. High School was even harder. I joined all these teams and extra curricular activities but it didn¡¯t help.¡±

When he started working, he found his place in society. Jungsuk, who spends much time with Canadian born Chinese co-workers and a few Korean friends, feels quite content. He doesn¡¯t even feel the need to connect with the Korean culture.

¡°When my parents used to push the cultural things at me, I used to resist,¡± explains Jungsuk. ¡°Kind of a rebellion I guess.¡±

Even though his assimilation into the Canadian culture seems complete, when he speaks of his values and vision for the future, the influence of his Korean upbringing is clear. He eats Korean food and speaks only Korean at home with his parents. He does not speak up or resist his parents¡¯ Korean ways no matter how different his Canadian ways may be.

¡°I feel like there are actually two generations separating us because [my parents] are so backwards,¡± says Jungsuk. ¡°When there¡¯s a clash of cultures, I just let them do what they want.¡±

Jungsuk explains that politeness and respect in the Korean culture is very important to him.

¡°I would teach my kids to speak Korean and to be Korean,¡± says Jungsuk. ¡°At the same time, there are some aspects of the Canadian culture, like manners and flexibility, that I want my children to learn.¡±

While he marvels at the ability to have the best of both worlds, for Jungsuk, as for Shih Kai, the worlds are always kept separate.

¡°I keep my work and home completely separate,¡± says Jungsuk. ¡°My Korean friends and Chinese friends also never meet. My ideal is to have two separate worlds: home and Canadian.¡±


Story is continued


DIVERSE 5th Issue

We are pleased to announce that DIVERSE 5th issue, Spring 2011 has been released.  

12 Diversity in Canadian Workplaces What are the obstacles to a better form of ¡°diversity¡± in the workplace?

- Open Door Group

- BC Workplace Diversity Inclusion Awards

6 BC¡¯s Diversity through 30 portraits



2 ThePower of Exchange A Historic Collaboration between Germany¡¯s

Premiere Art Collections and Canada¡¯s First Nations

28 Ezra Kwizera  Born in Uganda to Rwandese refugee parents, Canadian Musician and genocide  survivor speaks on the art of  forgiveness and of adapting to Canadian culture

42 Dana Claxton  

The Mustang Suite: Questioning mobility, freedom and autonomy 


24 Gung Haggis Fat Choy in Vancouver, BC: The Diversity of Canada      

38 Denise Brillon Breaking barriers in the fashion world



32 Pysanky¡¯s Resurgence

Joan Brander¡¯s contribution to the renaissance in traditional

Ukrainian egg art


10 Publisher¡¯s Note

27 Benefits of being a bilingual writer

31 Canadians come in all differences



35 News Briefs on Multiculturalism

36 Publisher¡¯s Picks




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    DIVERSE......"Each person is born into a unique culture. All deserve respect.¡±