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Saturday, March 12, 2005 

The Case for Immigrants & Culture Immersion Courses

My last blog focused on the culture clash between immigrants and their host countries. I referred to the case of a young Sikh woman who was murdered by her father because it was customary among Sikhs to restore a family's honour through honour killings. Now, another case has come to light and this time involving a Korean family.

In January, 2005, a 16 year-old Korean high school student was subjected to at least 3 hours of punishment by caning. Hundreds of blows were administered to the boy by his father as punishment for skipping classes, staying out late and being rude to his mother. In March, 2005, the father pleaded guilty to assault and was "to submit an article for anonymous publication in the local paper about what forms of discipline are acceptable." The father said that caning was a 'traditional Korean culture". I understand that the father was upset that his son was squandering away his educational opportunities after the father had spent over $27,ooo a year to keep his son in Canada studying but to justify caning his son for 3 hours??? It wasn't just one episode where the father lost his temper, the boy admitted that he had been caned on other occasions as well and was waiting for another caning when his father returned to Canada after he had found out the boy hadn't reformed his behaviour.

The excuse that Koreans accept caning as justified punishment does not absolve him from his crime. I'm sure that this man, a CEO of several international companies, would be the first man to run to the police and file charges if someone had hit him once in the board room, on the street or in his house. Yet, he nearly killed his son with his perverse form of punishment.

If it weren't for the direct intervention of school officials upon seeing his injuries, I'd probably be blogging about the boy's obituary instead as in the case of the Sikh girl.

Again, I reiterate my opinion that all immigrants must be forced to take cultural immersion classes upon their acceptance into their host countries in order to prevent more atrocities like these ones from happening. These courses should include language, law, history and culture lessons and once the prospective immigrants have passed tests on these subjects, only then should they be given their residence papers.

We may not be able to eradicate all criminals but we may be able to prevent many from happening. By informing potential victims of their rights and freedoms, they may be less willing to remain silent about their suffering if they have the support of the community and law behind them.