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  Dr. Joseph Chung - Column
 정희수 칼럼



In Montreal there is group of thirty or forty people who call themselves “patriots”. For this group, anyone who do not agree with their biased views, the person is treated as “Red”. The expression “Red” in Korea originally meant “communist” of “pro-North Korea”. This is an expression reflecting the hatred against the brutality committed by North Koreans during the Korean War and never-ending threat by North Korea since the war.

This hatred is deep in the heart of most of the South Koreans, because most of South Korean families suffered directly or indirectly from North Korea. In other word, the expression” Red” is emotionally loaded one; it means “dirty bastard”; it had no ideological contents; it is just simple word of hatred.
The unfortunate thing is that, in Korea, this violent hatred against North Korea is being used for political purpose. To be more precise, any idea or any group which are not with the vested interests are labeled as “Reds” by pro-vested interest media, the information services, the public prosecutor’s office, the police and the government even the armed forces.  This sad reality has been revealed during the last presidential election.
It goes without saying that the true “reds” should be caught and punished, but it is unpatriotic behavior to label “red” those who are really concerned with the welfare of the people and who try to correct the corruption culture.
Korea is expected to play a major role in the process of the creation of the East Asia Economic Community. Korea is a unique middle power nation in the region; it can play a key role of intermediation in trade, political and cultural areas. However, unless Korea meets the international moral standard, it cannot play this role. In this context, if you are a real patriot, you should criticize the corruption culture and do something to correct it.

True, there are a great number of people who are victims of the corruption of the government and they express their concerns. But, they are not North Korean spies; they want a better country. It is quite possible that among them there are spies sent by North Korea, sympathizers with North Korea, but the most of them are real patriots who would like to do something for the welfare of the ordinary people.

■Kim Inspired his children to love Korea
 Kim knew that the children of immigrant parents in Montreal have the tendency to regard Korea as corrupted society. True, they like HanRyu (the wave of Korean youth culture including K-pop, Kangnam Style), but in general they are not very proud of the Korean culture and they do not love Korea.
According to Kim, this is a real problem, because to survive in multicultural and multiethnic society like Canada, one has to have robust identity of which one must be proud. For a visible minority group, one has double identity: ethnic identity and cultural identity. This means this. Suppose you are culturally well integrated; you talk like Quebecers; you eat like them; you play like them; you think like them. But you are eternally Korean as far as native Quebecers are concerned. Therefore, you must be sure of identity and proud of your double identity.

So the crucial question is “How can the Korean youth proud of Korea?”. Kim remembered attending early 2000s one of the seminars on the very topic at a university in Montreal. Kim remembered the presentation by a Canadian professor of Korean origin. He gave two messages in his presentation. First, the corruption culture which is derived from Asian philosophy offers nonetheless something of which one can be proud. Second, Korea can play historical role in the process of the assuring prosperity and peace in Asia. In short, Korean youth can be proud of both the philosophical and the spiritual legacy and the Korea’s historical role in coming years. This is the “Koreanness”.
“ What is koreanness?”, asked a student with obvious curiosity.

A senior person provided an answer: “For me, koreanness means feeling proud of spiritual and cultural legacy, being aware of the corruption of the leaders but the desire to fight against corruption, the desire to improve the Korean society.  I am proud of Daoism which gave me the respect for the nature; I am proud of Buddhism which gave me the tendency to find my inner self; I am proud of Confucianism which gave the passion for learning things”.
<to be continued>