Chu Youngmin: Assembly has a great influence on people's lives
During the years of independence of Kazakhstan, our country has flourished, significant events have passed in its history and became a solid established state.
Despite the experts’ wrong opinion on indistinct future of multiethnic state, many ethnicities are living in peace in one country. All this is the result of the uniqueness of the Assembly of people of Kazakhstan, which has formed a unique model of public consent and national unity.
The influence and contribution of the Assembly become the subject of research by foreign experts.
One of such specialists is PhD student of L.N. Gumilyov Eurasian National University – Chu Youngmin.
—Yangmin, could we start a conversation with your ability to speak Kazakh. How long have you been studying Kazakh language?
—There are departments of Kazakh and Uzbek languages at "Central Asian Studies", Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in Korea. It was established in 2004. As you know, I chose and study Kazakh language and I am the second student studying at this faculty. Thus, I have studied four years at our faculty, learning language, culture and traditions of the Kazakhs. I completed my master's degree in Regional Studies and wrote a research work on Central Asia.
In order to continue the dissertation in 2015, I entered a PhD program of L.N. Gumilyov Eurasian National University.
It was interesting for me to learn about nomadic people, whose appearance and language were similar to Korean ones, but at the same time they had different culture.
—You came to Almaty in 2007 and studied for a year. What cities have you visited?
— I studied at KazGU University in Almaty within the student exchange program. I liked Almaty as it is a cultural center of Kazakhstan. In addition, I visited Karaganda, Kostanay, Kyzylorda. I would like to go to Taraz, Semey, Atyrau. After defending my thesis for PhD degree, I would like to realize my plan.
My research topic is the Assembly of people of Kazakhstan. Since it is located in Astana, I decided to study here. After all, it will be necessary to use my knowledge in practice. However, despite the fact that political science is interesting, I understand that regional studies is a special scientific field for me.
I chose the Assembly as my research theme because Korea is a monoethnic state, it needs the experience of other countries with a multiethnic society. Because now we have other nationalities.
I believe that the experience of such a unique institution as the Assembly of people of Kazakhstan is necessary and useful for Korea.
During the study for my master's degree, I have noticed that the Assembly has a great influence on people's lives and I am convinced that it brings positive results. Due to a small amount of information about Kazakhstan, the Assembly in Korea, I decided to visit Kazakhstan and conduct research.
Currently, the Korean government requires the creation of conditions for the preservation of languages, traditions of migrants, representatives of other ethnicities living in the state. Due to the fact that only Korean people lived in Korea for a long time, Kazakhstan's experience in this area will be recency for us.
My parents did not know about Kazakhstan before, and now, when I came to this country, they are very interested. When they watch a documentary about Kazakhstan, they send me the links. Now Kazakhstan seems to be a close, friendly state for them.
My friends and two sisters expressed interest in coming to Kazakhstan and visited the country last year. They saw the beautiful capital with its amazing sights. My parents plan to come to Astana when I defend my thesis.
In general, I want to say that Korean people know Kazakhstan through outstanding personalities as Sabina Altynbekova, Gennady Golovkin, they make a positive contribution to the image of Kazakhstan. Denis Ten is also respected.
— Did you experience culture shock when you come to Kazakhstan for the first time?
— In 2005, when I came to Kazakhstan, we went to one village in Almaty. We witnessed how the cattle was slaughtered, and then the hosts invited us to taste the meat, they put the sheep’s head in front us and served with eyes, brains, ears to eat. It was a culture shock for me.
Kazakhs are very open and hospitable people. When I first came to Astana for two weeks, my friends met and drove me with a car to the places I needed. They asked about my well-being every day and invited me home.
In Astana, I often meet with representatives of Korean nationality in Kazakhstan. They often speak Russian, I speak Kazakh. We have good friendly relations without understanding each other.
I really liked Kazakhs’ tea ceremony. Coffee shops are widespread in Korea, not so many people prefer tea. Now I prefer tea rather than coffee. My habits became similar to Kazakhs’ ones, because I have a headache when I do not drink tea.
When you pour tea, you do it in a small amount and very often. When I asked: “Isn’t it easier to pour a full cup?”, I was explained that you do it to keep tea hot.
In addition, it is surprising that the Kazakhs eat much meat. When somebody invites me home for beshbarmak, I take a picture of it and put in a social network. This year I ate beshbarmak thirteen times. I think that's a lot. In general, Koreans like this dish because our people also like meat and broth. But Kazakhs eat meat dishes more often than we do.
Our country has its own peculiarities, for example, when people in Korea meet each other, they ask “Have you eaten?”. Its meaning is “How are you doing?”.
—Do you read books in Kazakh language?
— I read articles concerning the Assembly. As for literary books, I started reading "Abay's way", but it is rather difficult for me. In order to understand it, it is necessary to deepen the study of Kazakh language.
— Do you have any interesting events that you have experienced in Kazakhstan?
—One day I went to the store and asked the salesman to show pork meat in Kazakh language. He thought that I was a Kazakh girl who eats pork and asked: "Why do you eat pork being a Kazakh girl?". He was very surprised when he knew that I was a Korean from South Korea.
Once I visited Astana to the delegation from Korea. They took me in as a resident in Kazakhstan and knowledge of the Korean language.
— What do you think of the Assembly of people of Kazakhstan?
—I think that the Assembly is a mediator uniting people and the government, uniting the center and the regions. The Assembly creates all conditions for the preservation of the native language, culture and traditions of the people of Kazakhstan. Each state has its soft power. For example, Korea’s soft powers are K-pop, dramas (Korean TV series) and Kazakhstan’s one is the Assembly. The Assembly is an institution that promotes peace, prosperous unity of the people of Kazakhstan.
—What are your favorite places in Astana?
—When I lived not far from Bayterek, I liked jogging on the road leading to Akorda in the morning. Silence, Bayterek, Akorda – these views took my breath away! I think that every person who sees such a picture will become a patriot.
I like Astana residents like very much, they helped me a lot. It was difficult for me to move here without the help of local residents. I want to express my gratitude.