Just two little things that made me go, “huh.”

One coworker recently broke off a verryyyy long relationship and is starting to get back into the dating scene.  In describing a man she’ll be going out with this weekend, she mentioned that he has the same family name as her and if they wanted to get married they’d have to research it and make sure it’s not for the same “reason,” otherwise marriage is illegal.

Huh?

There’s roughly 90 family names in Korea (which is a totally off-the-cuff fact that I think I remember reading somewhere, so take it with a grain of salt).  Anyways, that’s not very many.

Not when you have more people in one city than in the entire country of Australia.

So making it illegal for people with the same family name to marry?  Geeze, talk about cutting the dating pool down.

I’m not sure what the “reason” is they have to research.  Best guess is they basically want to make sure you’re not related, because the “reason” is related to where your family line comes from.

My co-worker’s grandparents are from North Korea, so she’s fairly confident she will not have the same “reason” as her date.

Huh.

The second thing is in relation to how children with disabilities are treated here.  I’d done a bit of reading on resources available to disabled or special-needs kids, but honestly it’s hard to find information because, well, it’s all in Korean.  I found a couple of documents around 20 years old, but as you know, the country changes drastically every 12 months, so going back 20 years just isn’t going to cut it!

So anyways.  I’ve asked around, and gathered up bits and pieces of information.  As you know if you’re currently expat-ing here, getting concrete answers is a bit of a challenge.

At any rate!

I have one student in my 3rd grade (U.S. 9th grade) who has severe scoliosis (even after surgery), and I’m not sure if she has learning disabilities as well.  She doesn’t talk–I can barely get her to say her name, and that comes out as an inaudible whisper–so I’m not sure if she has a lot more going on or if she has just been so ostracized with the disability that it’s severely affected her social abilities?

In one class, my coteacher mentioned she was trying to recommend her to a special-needs school, but the parents would probably reject the idea.

Why?

Because having a disability is not a good image to project, so it’s better to try to fit in with all the “normally” socialized children.

Well, yes and no…

I ran across an interesting article a few weeks back about autism in Korea.   “They” (oh, the mysterious “they”!) ran a study investigating autism rates in Korea.  Give that a Google if you want all the details.

One interesting point–and I forget which version of the study review had this–was how many students in Korea, although undetected and not offered special services, compete very well in the public education system because of the rigorous structure it involves.

Back to my own student’s situation.

If the parents reject the idea of a “special school,” then this teacher is going to push to get a special tutor or counselor to help the student.  I hope it’s one that goes with her to high school, as we’re halfway through her last year at this middle school.

So.

Those things.

I learn new stuff every day, seems like.  Which makes up for all the things I never get information about no matter how much I ask.

But that’s another story for another time. 🙂

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2 responses

  1. Yep, the same-family-name marriage law was intact up until about 10 years ago. Good thing it ain’t around any more, because I read somewhere that 24% of native Koreans have the “Kim” family name.

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