Forgetful Koreans

I recently saw a picture of former South Korean President Kim Dae Jung in the newspaper with agony on his face as he heard the news of his son being arrested for political impropriety. President Kim’s former aids are also being investigated on similar charges. Justice should be pursued regardless of a person’s current or former position, but I feel that the current administration is overdoing it. I feel that they are dishonoring the former head of the country.

During his term, President Kim helped the nation overcome the IMF (International Monetary Fund) crisis, the economic crisis which put Korea under the temporary supervision of the UN. He motivated and mobilized people to help Korea overcome the crisis, allowing Korea to become healthy and economically independent again. But people seem to have forgotten this and other good things he accomplished. All they care about is what they hear now, and they accuse him of bribing North Korea so he could win the Nobel peace prize. Koreans seem so forgetful and ungrateful.

Kim Young Sam, Kim Dae Jung’s predecessor, is another case in point. He was the first civilian president elected in thirty years. Before him, the office of president was always held by military men. Kim Young Sam fought against the military cronyism that had been the basis for military rule and successfully dismantled it. Koreans owe him for not having to worry anymore about the possibility of a military coup even when the government is unstable. Yet Korean people today only blame him for ruining the economy and bringing about the IMF crisis. Koreans seem so forgetful and ungrateful.

Kim Woo Jung, the former CEO of Daewoo, is yet another example. He led the way in exporting Korean goods to foreign countries. He started with a small dress shirt factory but eventually went on to form Daewoo, a huge conglomerate. He paved the way for Korean companies to explore foreign markets and helped Korea become a major exporting country. Eventually, he incurred too much debt due to overambitious expansion plans and many of the companies he helped start were sold or went bankrupt. But we should still be grateful to him for his role in making Korea a prosperous exporting country. Yet people today only condemn him as someone who used company money for personal use. Koreans seem so forgetful and ungrateful.

When people do wrong they must be punished. But when we consider them, we should acknowledge their contributions as well. There should be balance. It is only fair.

Every country has national characteristics. One characteristic of the Korean people may be being forgetful and ungrateful. We Korean-Americans may have the same trait in our blood. If that’s true, we must make a conscientious effort to not forget the good that others have done for us and continue to be grateful. Most of all, let us never forget what God has done for us and continue to be grateful.

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