smoke

I write better when I smoke. Don’t ask me to reduce it to a science.

Jayeoun Kim gets it

If there’s anything I’ve learned from all the time that I’ve spent blogging, it’s that Filipinos don’t have a monopoly on insight into the ills that beset the country. Reading the Manila Times today, that bit of understanding was validated.

One of the Times’ OpEd writers quoted an essay by a Korean student named Jayeoun Kim. I don’t know if Kim is a girl or a guy, and I don’t know why the essay was written or for whom it was intended. But I was immediately interested. Like I said, I like different points of view and I was curious. As it turns out, my curiosity was amply rewarded.

You gotta read this all the way through.

Kim’s Essay

Filipinos always complain about the corruption in the Philippines. Do you really think the corruption is the problem of the Philippines? I do not think so. I strongly believe that the problem is the lack of love for the Philippines.

Let me first talk about my country, Korea. It might help you understand my point. After the Korean War, South Korea was one of the poorest countries in the world. Koreans had to start from scratch because the entire country was destroyed after the Korean War, and we had no natural resources.

Koreans used to talk about the Philippines, for Filipinos were very rich in Asia. We envy Filipinos. Koreans really wanted to be well-off like Filipinos. Many Koreans died of famine. My father and brother also died because of famine. Korean government was very corrupt and is still very corrupt beyond your imagination, but Korea was able to develop dramatically because Koreans really did their best for the common good with their heart burning with patriotism.

Koreans did not work just for themselves but also for their neighborhood and country. Education inspired young men with the spirit of patriotism. Forty years ago, President Park took over the government to reform Korea. He tried to borrow money from other countries, but it was not possible to get a loan and attract foreign investments because the economic situation of South Korea was so bad. Korea had only three factories. So, President Park sent many mine workers and nurses to Germany so that they could send money to Korea to build a factory. They had to go through horrible experience.

In 1964, President Park visited Germany to borrow money. Hundred of Koreans in Germany came to the airport to welcome him and cried there as they saw the President. They asked to him, “President, when can we be well-off?” That was the only question everyone asked to him. President Park cried with them and promised them that Korea would be well off if everyone works hard for Korea, and the President of Germany got the strong impression on them and lent money to Korea. So, President Park was able to build many factories in Korea. He always asked Koreans to love their country from their heart.

Many Korean scientists and engineers in the USA came back to Korea to help develop country because they wanted their country to be well-off. Though they received very small salary, they did their best for Korea. They always hoped that their children would live in a well-off country. Many Koreans have a great love for Korea so that we were able to share our wealth with our neighborhood. The owners of factory and company distributed their profit to their employees fairly so that employees could buy what they needed and saved money for the future and their children.

Have you cried for the Philippines ? I have cried for my country several times. I also cried for the Philippines because of so many poor people. My mother who has been working for the Catholic Church since I was very young told me that I have to love Filipinos and do good things for them because all of us are same and have received a great love from God. I want Filipinos to love their neighborhood and country as much as they love God so that the Philippines will be well off. I am sure that love is the keyword, which Filipinos should remember. We cannot change the sinful structure at once. It should start from the person. Love must start in everybody, in a small scale and have to grow. A lot of things happen if we open up to love. Let’s put away our prejudices and look at our worries with our new eyes.

I discover that every person is worthy to be loved. Trust in love, because it makes changes possible. Love changes you and me. It changes people, contexts and relationships. It changes the world. Please love your neigh­borhood and country.

Good, isn’t it?

Especially the part where Korean ex-pats came home to work for their country, even at great financial cost to themselves. Kinda like the way the Jews came to Israel to contribute labor to the development of their new-born nation; contribute labor, not just high-minded talk.

So, Kim’s essay shows us how it could be, which is a far cry from how it will probably be. But, hope springs eternal, eh?

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Filed under: musings, society, , ,

7 Responses

  1. for this, i owe you yosi.

    good one.

  2. rom says:

    j-i-e: welcome to the smoking room! I smoke philip morris. 🙂 my friends call me either a karpentero or … well, you know what. 😀

  3. shiro says:

    no offense luv but…. urgh, menthols. 😛

  4. rom says:

    shiro: bwahahahaha! now you must thin I have hairy forearms or something! and my knuckles drag on the floor when I walk.

  5. shiro says:

    hhahahaaahaaha! of course not luv, i had a menthol phase myself just recently.

  6. niki says:

    You know Rom, I heard that during the lowest times of Korea their citizens (rich and poor alike) volunteered family jewels, properties, etc. to the government. That’s the type of patriotism that’s missing in this country. Everybody yakking about this and that, but what? Back in the province I used to tutor Korean teenagers, and the way they talked about their country — with pride and unmistakable love made a big impression on me. Try asking a random Filipino teenager, or anyone for that matter, about this country. If you come out smiling and inspired, then you’ve experienced a miracle. I used to believe in this country a lot, and I still do, but what can you do if everybody’s just missing the point?

  7. rom says:

    niki: not to sound preachy or anything, I guess you have to try to make them see the point. 😀 I share your frustration, sis.

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