i am over the moon to be, for the first time in my life, living in a country with a liberal leader. After my total disillusionment with Western politics it comes as a surprise that Korea would vote in such a person. Yet, on reflection, it isn’t: sharing is a way of life here, people give each other things, they help & trust each other. But it is never done with a smugness, nor with any expectation of the reward of a good rapport, or to bolster the credence of their character, it is done, without any such notions. It really is built into the fabric of the society. Sure you can go off & find something to the contrary, but i would say that whatever article you can dig up on the internet doesn’t not hold up against my having lived here 7 years, married to a Korea, spending every day with Koreans & witnessing first hand this type of social behaviour. So it isn’t really a surprise after all.
i have been getting into all sorts of scrapes with liberals back home (some of the rhetoric is just shooting themselves in foot calling Conservative voters stupid & even soulless), because it is hard to explain that, liberalism isn’t born of government, but from a tradition of sharing that is done regardless of what you do or don’t have, but is simply a magnanimity that continuously assures the people don’t stray too far from each other. In the west we are a long way from this sort of automated reaction. Our kindness is always for a reward, even if that reward is the pleasantry of please & thank you.
This isn’t a good poem. i have been working & working on it. But the sentiment took over. It seems to me that sharing must become the common reaction to each other, then liberalism can potentially take root.
문재인— Korea’s New President, a Soliloquy
Asking for just a bite, you receive half a sandwich;
if this is not matter of fact, not cross-hatched
into the character of people, harmony won’t take root.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise Korea just voted
in a left leaning liberal, human right’s lawyer;
imprisoned during Park Chung-hee’s economic dictatorship,
for protesting to stop good men, poets & artists,
from being slung in the slammer for speaking against
the tyranny gripping Korea, back then, with intimidation & torture;
men whose poems were pitched by their anger
& broke like their fingers & will into analogies of freedom
: bird, sky, light, air, star, universe, love, door.
문 = door. 문재 = problem. 인 = person— i pun
on his name to conservatives: he’s a problem for everyone.
문재인 is pronounced Moon Jae-in. i put it here, because he feels somehow symbolic in pure Korean. 문 is his family name, 재인 his Christian name, so 문&재 don’t go together to make the word ‘problem’ actually, but placed side by side, it makes a nonsense name like ‘problem person’, which is ironic & my natural inclination was to do something with this wonderful coincidence.