The Korea Herald


Multiculturalism is real: filmmaker

By Lee Woo-young

Published : May 22, 2013 - 20:50

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Korean people should not approach multiculturalism as an ideology or theoretically, but accept it naturally as society has already become multicultural, according to Yook Sang-hyo, director of the 2010 movie “Banga Banga,” which comically depicts life for foreign migrant workers and social discrimination in Korea.

“We should not be distracted by some cultural and social logic of multiculturalism. It’s real. Korean society has become multicultural. It’s time to accept it naturally,” said Yook during a phone interview with The Korea Herald. 
“Banga Banga” movie poster “Banga Banga” movie poster

The number of foreign workers in the country reached 1.45 million last year.

The Korean government estimates that immigrants will make up 6 percent of the total population by 2030.

In Yook’s movie, the main character disguises himself as Bhutanese to get a job after failing at several job interviews. The character is hired at a manufacturing plant where he meets foreign migrant workers and witnesses cruel treatment and discrimination.

The movie drew much attention to racial discrimination against foreign workers and the challenges they face such as the risk of deportationin in raids to catch illegal workers.

The movie, which attracted about 1 million viewers, was seen to have touched the subject of foreign migrant workers in detail, casting real-life foreign workers in Korea, including Khan Mohammad Asaduzzman, who is well-known by his Korean name Bang Dae-han.

“Bang Dae-han helped me make the story more real,” said Yook.

Yook, who lived in the U.S. in the late 1990s and early 2000s, said the time he spent in the foreign country as a minority helped him shape an interesting point of view toward foreign migrant workers.

“I worked with them at a chair factory for a week and ate with female workers,” said Yook. “It helped me capture foreign workers naturally.”

By Lee Woo-young  (