16 Sep Where in the world is UFI? – New Chapter in South Korea
From the Desk of Laura Bunker:
If you are concerned about the rapidly crumbling family values in your country, you are not alone! The critical issues of Life, Marriage, Family and Religious Freedom know no international boundaries, and are being undermined in every culture. The good news is that there are everyday heroes throughout the world who are doing all they can to strengthen these values in their own communities.
One such person is Hubert Huh, of the Republic of Korea (South Korea). Mr. Huh is the Director of the new UFI-Korea Chapter which began in January, 2015. In fact, his appointment and the launch of the new Korea chapter were featured in the Korea Times.
We recently had the opportunity of meeting Hubert and his beautiful family while they were visiting the United States. They are courageously promoting family values in fast-changing times, by sharing the UFI message with friends, the media, and political leaders in their country.
We invite you to read Hubert’s earnest letter below, giving a glimpse of Korean culture regarding the family, and why he is working so hard to maintain traditional family values in his country.
We sincerely thank Hubert and his family for all they are doing to strengthen the families of Korea, and encourage all others to “try this at home,” wherever your home may be!
United Families International, President
A Message from UFI-Korea
By Hubert Huh, Director of UFI-Korea Chapter
“Yoboseyo” – Hello
Dear Friends, UFI Members, Supporters, Volunteers,
I’m so honored and privileged to have this opportunity to meet you. I was named the inaugural head of the Korean chapter of United Families International (UFI) in January of this year. I feel very honored and responsible being the first international chapter in Asia. I wanted to get involved with the UFI movement because I’ve seen the family’s traditional role and structure dissolving in recent years.
Traditionally the family has been strongly supported for many centuries in Korea. It has played a very important role in the society. The oldest son would take care of his parents when they get older and he would be the center of all the family activities when his parents passed away. His younger brothers and sisters would come to him for guidance in many different respects.
Ancestors are well remembered and respected in Korea. Most people visit their ancestors’ graves – up to the 5th generation – at least twice a year. They’re remembered on their birthday and death anniversary. However, due to the rapid transition from the agricultural society to high-tech, it is very sad to see the long-preserved customs becoming weaker and weaker.
Most Koreans have not been in favor of divorce, cohabitation, and out-of-wedlock childbearing. However, this is also changing as more people break those traditions, but it is still considered shameful to be divorced. People have a tendency not to disclose if they are divorced. Your parents or other family would think its disgracing to your family. The government recently changed the law to allow children of a divorced mother to use her name for all official documents such as passports. Previously, you’d carry your father’s last name only, even after you don’t live with your father any longer.
Family Size in Korea
I have three children, but the average family size in Korea is 1.2. My wife and I get lots of attention when we are in public place such as shopping mall because we have such a “large family.” I can think of two reasons why the child birth rate is so low. 1) Young people don’t get married or postpone their marriage 2) Younger people believe education costs them too much and decide not to have many kids.
On the other hand, I used to hear my parents generation saying “Everyone is born with his/her own food to eat.” I grew up in the countryside and my parents were poor farmers but they’ve raised four children beautifully. I know they worked long hours on their small farm. We didn’t have a car or refrigerator or sufficient food but we were happy and worked harder and lived happier.
I’ve always had a small poster that says “Family is heaven on earth.” We can’t deny the importance of family. It’s very sad that we see many families being broken. Families should spend together as much time as possible. Many of my friends enjoy sports such as golfing with their friends over the weekend. However, I am just happy to spend my entire weekend with my family.
I’m a firm believer that our genuine love can be measured by the amount of time we spend with our loved ones. They say we can buy a clock with money, but not the time. Love is togetherness.
Hubert Huh founded the first “Good Neighbor Program” in the Republic of Korea, a successful program where U.S. Army soldiers teach English to Korean students. He also founded the Seoul English Studies Association (SESA). He also serves as a Corporate Member of the Adjutant General’s Regimental Association (AGCRA), a forum for US Army soldiers engaged in the Human Resources field. Hubert and his wife Soonhee have three children.