the morning after the impeachment of President Park

more so even than the political implications, which are nothing to shrug about, i am extremely proud of the youth of Korea, who undertook the daunting task of ousting a president, for forging ahead with sundering themselves from the generation that has coddled them into acquiescence. Korean Millennials have a tough time foraging an identity & independence, from parents, in fact an entire generation, no, a long history, which has made them culturally & fiscally dependent on an over-worn generation raised on a tradition of Neo-Confucian patriarchy.
due to this cultural tradition, wet-marked into the behavior of elder Koreans, Millennials are expected to utterly acquiesce to their elders—partly from a sense of duty but also from a sense of guilt for being given & relying so much on what that generation reaped, which, i don’t deny came from diligence & hard work, no quarrel there.
so i see this protest not just against the political & economic corruption of their elders, but also, a peaceful, middle finger to the misguided traditions, which essentially says those who are wealthier than you are above you, deserve your respect & admiration, regardless, because their status is something you want, you should be working toward; so that if you attain it, you must continue that behavioural pattern, in fact it is a duty to, so that others may follow the example to improve themselves as if everyone is capable of the same fiscal comforts, pah! say the Millennials—what have we got to show for your traditions? & so they have endured the teeth of the cold & Seoul is unbearably cold in Winter— they call the Winter air kal baram (칼바람), which means, ‘knife wind’.
it must be remarked that Millennials in Korea are highly educated. they have been sent to Europe, Canada & America, where they have learned real Democratic freedoms, they then return & have to keep their gob shut when some idiotic man above them in years only spouts some gurgled botched bull crap about something they know frig all about. they are educated like this & then expected to maintain the status quo. i know a handful of Millennials who have spoken openly to me about this sort of thing & i’ve always commended their pacifism, because i’ve wanted to rip the man’s tongue out for talking so idiotically.
so good riddance ex-president Park & the best of luck to the intelligent, proud Millennials of Korea— i am with you all the way. this poem is dedicated to your best efforts & what you can do; to all of you who turned up under the watchful eye of Lee Sun-shin & suffered the cold, peaceably, with only the heat of a candle & the belief that you are right to alter the wrongdoing of your elders.
i am sure Kim Chi-ha is a very happy chap right now.

 

the morning after the impeachment of President Park

on the soles of the air, the reek
of fertilizer, in a roundabout way
inseminates everything, at this time
—on fresh-faced grass, a snake skin
ticked off like circumcision.
a pharmacist wipes the street muck
from his windows like a man rubbing his eyes
there’s something sentimental in
the brusque rotundity of his action.
the steel-toe punt of winter is

healing up with canola, thickening
in the dry bed of the stream.
the eyes of all things, cluster round
the invaluable return of warmth.
the unoccupied hotel rooms
wake, even as their occupants sleep.
the men who lashed out with flags
at the young police lads, i know their sort
: their spine’s an outworn tradition
a spinoff of Confucianism, props them

— the kind of men who approved
the meaningless slaughter of students*
in the name of progress—good riddance.

*the meaningless slaughter of students i refer to is the Gwangju uprising of May 18th 1980, where the people of Gwangju, took arms against the military after they shot at & brutally clubbed, their children, who were university students from Jeonnam University, who were peacefully demonstrating for democratic rights in a time of a political vacuum created by the death of Park Chung-hee. around 600 odd people were killed by the military.

6 Comments Add yours

  1. pseudonymous says:

    Go Korea. I am so happy ya’ll didn’t fall for the “first woman president” bs so many did here. Congrats and a great poem.

    1. Well they sort of did, but it was all the elder generation remembering her father & thinking Geun-hye would be the same. Even now they’re blinded by traditional ‘values’ & struggle to see what she has done as wrong. As i said in my forward i am most proud of Millennials for speaking against a generation they have been wrongfully taught to bend the knee for regardless.

  2. Pablo Cuzco says:

    Never say “it can’t happen here.” I’m surprised (pleased) that a popular uprising can bring down a corrupt President, no matter who she, or he, is.

    1. Korea is really Conservative, so if it can happen here it can happen anywhere. But it has taken consecutive weekends of mass protest, an unwavering diligence.

      1. Pablo Cuzco says:

        The subservient attitude depicted in the Korean dramas is appalling. I read in Outliers how Korean airline crews allowed their planes to crash rather than question a superior’s judgment. It accounted for all the airline disasters of decades prior to fixing the problem by requiring crew members be fluent in English. They figured by immersing themselves in the language they would recognize the Western principle, the boss is not always right.

  3. That is all very true. That generation no matter how false a statement they make no matter if you show them they are wrong they don’t change. It has made me want to throttle them sometimes.

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