A new generation of South Koreans is voting for a more liberal and kinder lifestyle with their feet - leaving the country in droves.
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South Korea is high tech, high flying, and high stress. Everything takes a back seat to work and success, but economic growth has come
at a cost that many young south Koreans are no longer willing to pay. I'm Steve Chao. On this episode, 101 East meets those willing to
give it all up for a chance at happiness far from home.
Every Sunday at the Promise Church, several services give thousands of faithful a full-blown show. These Koreans mega-churches are fiercely competing with each other to attract believers. But the Promise Church is not in South Korea. Its in New York. The faithful are all immigrants who the church helps build a better life in America. The church is more than a place of worship for this uprooted community in Flushing, Queens. It's also a school, a daycare, a sports center. Its a place where Koreans of all ages can socialize 15,000km away from their country. Each week after the service, new arrivals share a meal. They are students or young workers. The church helped them leave their country.
The food at the church is Korean, but there are no chopsticks. Its a symbol of the difficulty in immigrating from such a culturally unique country to America. But they have made their choice. While they say its hard to adapt to life here, they were desperate to leave South Korea.
Nearly 100,000 Koreans now live in Queens. This Manhattan suburb has been transformed like other American cities into an Asian district. Millions in Seoul, hope to join them.
Back in Seoul, we visit Myeongdong market. Every night, it attracts the city's young people as well as foreign visitors. This “shiny Korea” is now a tourist destination. A model of vitality.
A lot of interesting things happening in design art... umm. I think it's a great place to be right now.
I think its thriving, economically, socially, umm, you know...all of the above. I mean its a...its a hip place to be, you know.
But many locals complain that that Korean success just is a front. A cruel, inaccessible, shiny dream. South Korea holds the world-record for alcoholism, suicide, and work schedules. After striving for 50 years to be a capitalist champion, young people are now questioning what the point of it all is. 88% of people under 35 now wish to move abroad.