Monday, October 13, 2014

Lesson Learned from a Korean

Two blog posts for today! I just have a lot of things to write about these days...

Well, this post is not about movies or books like usual; I would like to share something that I learned from a random conversation that I had last week with someone that I met at my office.

As I stated in my first post, I work at an English course in Jakarta. Even though I'm a teacher, my boss likes to use me as an emergency admin when the real admin is having her day-off every Friday (I've told him so many times that I SUCK at doing administration work, but he never seems to listen *sigh*). So last Friday I was sitting in the front office and then this Korean mom appeared with her two daughters. When the oldest daughter went into her class to start her lesson, the mom and the other daughter sat in front of me and my co-worker. And then we started chatting.

At first the conversation was all about the entertainment industry in Korea. My co-workers LOVE Korean dramas and Korean boybands and girlbands, but I don't, so I was not very interested at first (I don't hate K-Dramas and K-Pop, I'm just not very fanatic about them. Please don't kill me.). But when it was almost time for the daughter's class to finish, we were talking about our feelings as citizens whose countries were once colonized by Japan.

Okay, let's have a short history class now.

Korea was under the Japanese rule from 1910 to 1945. Meanwhile, Indonesia, my country, was colonized by the Japanese Empire for a shorter period of time, from 1942 to 1945. The occupation of both countries was ended in 1945, which was resulted by the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki done by the Americans near the end of World War II. 

So this Korean mom stated that she and most of the Koreans are still very sensitive about the colonization. She said that the history about the colonization is used by the Koreans to remind them that they have to work hard, so that they can prove that they don't deserve to be colonized, that they are not lower than their former colonizer.

And what about us, the Indonesians? This Korean mom assumed that we don't feel the same. Well, maybe she made that conclusion because we can see a lot of Japanese things in Indonesia: Japanese restaurants, Japanese bakery, Japanese school, Japanese cartoons (that we all grew up watching), Japanese dance lessons, Japanese girl groups with Indonesian sister groups (hahaha), etc. This Korean lady stated that she saw a Japanese flag that was used by them during the time of the colonization in a mall. She was shocked to see that the Indonesians felt nothing about that, because the Koreans would feel emotional if they saw one.

Well, I think it is a good thing that the Indonesians have let it go and have peace with our former colonizer. But her statement about working hard to prove that we don't deserve to be oppressed really slapped me in the face. Work hard; that's what we, the Indonesians, must do. We usually just admire the Japanese and the Koreans for how great and tenacious they are. Her statement makes me realize that we shouldn't just do that; we must work hard and be great and tenacious like them. We must prove that we don't deserve to be oppressed, that we are not lower than other countries, that our country is great too.

So the lesson that I've learned from this is, we must use the bad experiences in our lives to remind us that we must fight harder.

That's all from me today. Have a great week ahead! :)

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