Posted on February 10, 2010
Koreans are the ones that have organized their family lineage the best in the world. Also, Koreans have made a concept called ‘Hang-ryul,’ which reveals the generation of that person. When a person stated his family, house, and generation, it was able for a person to know who that person actually is.
Anyways, our ancestors have put their best efforts into carrying out and passing down their lineage along with a mortuary tablet. In times of war outbreaks, the first thing our ancestors took was the book of genealogical records. Why so? It is because not only did they want their descendants to succeed their family tradition, but also to keep their family generation after generation. Consequently, they didn’t want their descendants to be rootless descendants, and wanted them to know their own roots to bring glory to their family by learning how to behave, make efforts, have self identity and succeed.
These genealogical records have also been done in the past by the Roman Empire that established today’s western civilizations. During that time, the Roman Empire kept a book of genealogical records not to record the family tree, but to keep track of military capacity and taxation. For this, the Emperor himself led the recording process as a ‘Census campaign chairman’
The census that started almost 2000 years ago is now a system that most of the nations in the modern society have implemented. The United States also takes the census every 10 years. Most of the people living in the United States do not think of the census as the Koreans did in the past, such as a tradition of the family and guarding it with their lives. However they know it as a common sense to actively participate in the census.
However, even the Americans look at the family and the roots from the census when they encounter important figures such as their president. In Obama’s case there is only one that his father is from Kenya, but for his wife Michelle Obama, the press organized her family tree and printed stories about it. I believe that among our Korean descendants, there will be great leaders and famous figures. That is why Korean American immigrants should also take part in the United States 2010 census even though it is unfamiliar for us.
Life is happening now, but the effort made to carry out the life itself is for the future. Therefore we strive to be educated to be prepared for the future, and to earn money. Taking part in the census of the United States is not only important because the Federal government will use the tax in improving the community’s welfare, road infrastructure, school and public facilities of the community and educating your children and parents starting from 2011, but also because it will help the generations learn where their roots are.
What if we do not take part in the census now, and in the future the press talks about how they were unable to track the ancestors of this presidential candidate and how they came into the United States? Then he becomes a person without roots, and people will question him of whether he is capable of leading the country. There is an old Korean saying; Tigers leave their skins when they die, but a man leaves his name after his death. If one does not respond to the census, not only will he not leave his name behind, but also will be blamed upon.
Unfortunately, among the Koreans who chose to live in the US and became US citizens a decade ago, not even half of them agreed to participate in the census. Ministry of Foreign Affairs then said that 2.5 million Koreans left and did not come back with their American passports. However, only a little over one million responded to the United States census. The American-born generation is left out from this statistics. Then what had happened to the 1.5 million Koreans? There were all from a country with lineage…