martes, 30 de agosto de 2011

"An Obligation, Reflection, and Decision"

Mi participación en la JMJ me ha abierto las puertas al mundo, a un mundo que hoy me parece más cercano que hace unos meses. Durante la Fiesta de Fe tuve la oportunidad de acercarme a culturas de los cinco continentes, pero a ciertas personas he tenido el placer de conocerlas en más profundidad y he podido entablar amistad. Especialmente mi descubrimiento personal en estas jornadas ha sido el país de Filipinas y las maravillosas personas que he conocido de Manila y Cebú.
Una de esas personas es Sally Kong, una joven estudiante coreana del Miriam College, colegio sito en una ciudad cercana a Manila, la capital de Filipinas. Sally se marchó a Filipinas con su madre para estudiar inglés y ya lleva siete años en las islas, tiempo atrás españolas. Hoy estaba hablando con ella a través del Facebook sobre las diferencias abismales en la misma península entre Corea del Norte y Corea del Sur, y descubriendo que su familia por parte de madre es de origen norcoreano, pero que cruzaron la frontera cuando estalló la guerra. En esa interesante conversación me ha confesado su sentimiento patriótico y su aseveración de que, si estallara la guerra de nuevo entre las dos Coreas, ella dejaría sin dudar su cómoda vida en Manila para regresar a Seúl y servir a su país. Y ello lo plasmó hace unos meses en una carta abierta que me ha compartido y que me ha sorprendido gratamente viniendo de una joven de 17 años. La carta está en inglés, pero creo que no es difícil de comprender, así que confiando en que vuestro inglés nivel medio sea suficiente para entenderla os la dejo a continuación:

An Obligation, Reflection, and Decision

               Upon hearing about the recent news of North Korea’s sudden attack of Yeonpyeong Island in South Korea, my mom hurriedly withdrew 5000 dollars from her bank. She told this money was for preparation of an emergency that Korea would be in war. For in such case, we would need to buy plane tickets -- tickets to go back to Korea.

             I was shocked and terrified. I did not want to go to a place wherein there is war. I fear death. I wondered if it wouldn’t be better to just bring all my family members here to the Philippines rather than us going there and die with them. I was confused. I have never thought of such matter. I was so afraid, and I just couldn’t stop the tears from dropping.

             “Noblesse Oblige” my mom then suddenly said. True nobles are willing to take the risk and face the most dangerous challenges, for they are the leaders of the society, and with their determination and gallantry, they would influence the people to follow their examples. She told me how during the time of Ancient Rome, the sons of royal members would be set in the most dangerous places in war rather than to be sent somewhere safe. With great power comes great responsibility, and being in a high position does not mean that one deserve more safety and privileges than others; on the other hand, it means that one should have more commitment to accept the most difficult challenges, take higher risks in times of danger, and influence others to take action as well.

             I may have spent only a few years of my life in Korea. Nevertheless, this is my motherland. If I were to die, I would die in service for my nation and people; in war, I would help in caring and aiding the soldiers, joining them in the fight for our country. However, with no doubt I am scared. I used to believe in myself that I have the potentials and credentials of becoming a leader, an empowered woman leading in service for the people. But all of a sudden, I did not think that I possess such passion for my country, and I suddenly lost my trust in myself as the leader that I used to believe that I am. Escape seemed like a better solution rather than facing such danger and disaster.

             Then, my mom told me that she would not force me to go back with her to Korea in case war really does happen. She would understand my fear of losing everything (even my life), and my want to escape. She told me that such actions should not be dictated upon but rather come from the heart and felt in the blood.

             After having this talk, I realized how truly challenging and difficult it is to be a noble and responsible countryman. Honestly speaking, as a student leader in our school, I feel like I receive more privileges than what I give and work for. With such, despite my knowledge of how wrong it is, I often serve with self-interest and presumption of a reward in my mind. Therefore, the thought of such grave matter as war, and my fear and hesitation of putting my own life in stake for others, again, made me doubt and question my being as a leader.

             Nevertheless, I remembered how I always talked of the aspiration to serve the people and take part in making a difference, triggering change, and bringing about progress in my community. Furthermore, though I may have gained different values, insights, and practices from different environments, I am a Korean. No matter where I will be, I am undeniably and proudly a Korean.

             Honestly speaking, I still feel like some cowardly loser who just wants to hide and escape from such horror. But by reminding myself of my ambition and obligation in life, I gain more conviction in my decision to serve my nation and people.

             And yes, I may now be ready to accept the challenge.

Sally Kong, Manila