Blogs > Liberty and Power > Koreans in London

Jan 18, 2009 9:18 pm

Koreans in London

I was completely unaware there are at least 15,000 Koreans living in New Malden in south-west London until I read this fascinating article about a middle-class invasion of a middle-class London suburb. I found the story all the more interesting because for five years, back in the 1970s, I lived in Surbiton, just two stations south of New Malden, at a time when there were no Koreans there at all.

"The resentment created when poor migrants take over traditional working-class areas is well documented right across western Europe. This is a bourgeois invasion. Korea and Britain could hardly be more remote and different from each other. Yet these two groups, the Home Counties British and the Korean newcomers, are astonishingly similar: self-contained, reticent, desperate to avoid offence and very bad at making connections, partly because they are both hopeless at foreign languages."

Matthew Engel concludes his article with the words of a local, presumably English, resident,"If you're going to have an ethnic group in your community, I recommend the Koreans."

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