Among all on the earth, Korea is the only divided country. (Of course, I am aware that there are many countries with political, economical and religious divides.) Since the Korean war ended in 1953 with a cease-fire, the peninsula is the last vestige of the cold war. The current nuclear threats and the missile tests of the north show our open sores of the nation. I was born in Seoul, the capital of the south, during the New Village Movement, a political initiative for the economic development that ended with a great success. While growing up, the Seoul Asian Game in 1986 and the Seoul Olympic in 1988 brought the tremendous cross-societal prosperity in the country. My family started the first overseas travel in 1989. I did experience the tear gas that was used to put down the demonstration of the college youth against the military government in 1980's. I was the first generation who brought a beeper, a brick-size cellular phone and an old generation of the apple computer home in 1990's. The national income soared up. The introduction of the new technology gave rise to a new cross-culture. Then, I left the country in 2001 for grad school. While I am away for 12 year, the fast moving society in the south part of the small peninsular has amazingly changed in every aspect. The gap between my old-fashioned perspective and the current trends of the country is too big for me to catch up.
The citizen of the world: this is one of my nicknames that I was given by the professor I worked for 3 years as an assistant. I can't find any unified identity in me now. I have accepted the diversity of the world and respect every value from different cultures. Still, I am who I was and who I will be. The solid foundation of my soul and spirit has come from the peninsula to form who I was, and my beautiful life building that I have been building and will keep building will describe who I will be no matter where I will finish. I will just live my life fully and respectfully. My heart is breaking when I read news about the tension on the Korean peninsula. I just pray for the land which my ancestor had offered their lives in defense of and had prayed for days and nights. May peace abide in Korea.
In Ellicott City MD on April 12th, 2013
A younger brother deceitfully took the inheritance to his elder brother, the first son of the family. The elder kept a serious grudge again his younger brother that he wanted to kill him. The younger fled to his uncle and stayed for a while. They grew up separately, married and had their own family. When they got together for the first time since the younger one left home, he was afraid that his brother would come and attack his family. The younger one showed a gesture of complete submission as he approached his brother. The elder brother who had lost the entire inheritance and the family blessing to his brother ran to meet his brother and embraced him and they wept. They were reconciled with each other in peace after 20 years of separation.
Do you think that this is just an old fable? There are still severe conflicts among the family members nowadays for many different reasons. There are so many broken relationships between friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, and even countries. I should start right now to forgive and accept more, and ask for forgiveness to people that I once hurt by humbling myself down to be a peacemaker where I am.
In Ellicott City MD on April 4th, 2013