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[Opinion] Diana and Oasis

Posted August. 30, 2002 22:04,   


They have nothing. A disabled woman born with cerebral palsy and an ex-convict - she was even deserted by her family and he is a man at a total loss. Then they are falling in love, calling each other’s name, Gongju (meaning princess) and Janggun (general). They are in “Oasis,” a Korean movie directed by Lee Chang-dong, which has so far attracted some 400,000 moviegoers. Gongju, who barely speaks with her twisted lips in the real world, sings the song “If I were the sky” in her own world of dreams. Janggun, who has to eat rice with beans the prison serves,” says that he, like Gongju, hates rice with beans.

▷Late Princess Diana, who died at a car accident 5 years ago, had everything from wealth to power and beauty, except one. That was love. She knew even before she got married to Prince Charles that her 12-year-older husband was having an intimate relationship with his long-time companion Kamila Parker Bowls. From the day she entered the Palace, she began to suffer from eating disorder, an illness of a broken heart, a heart wanting to be loved. She was furious at that her husband treated her as a person with mental disorder, and escaped her prison in the end. But the life before her wasn’t that long. She died a tragic death surrounded by paparazzi, gossip photographers who followed her everywhere like hungry hyenas.

▷Of course, “Oasis” is a fiction and Diana is non-fictional. It might seem absurd to compare the two cases. But why not use our wings of imagination? Gongju and Janggun in the movie were happy because they had love, nothing but love for each other. It’s an open question how long chemistry between a man and a woman lasts after they finally get married. Apart from the question, however, Prince Di was not treated as a subject of love by anyone. Charles treated her as an accessory of the royal family, people around never felt close to the highness, and the public saw her as a princess in a real-time Cinderella story.

▷Gongju, Janggun and Diana are different from ordinary people like us. But at the same time, they are humans like us. And aren’t we all meant to be different from one another? Despite so, we often become so cruel to those people who are different. “Oasis”

teaches us how to love those who are different from us. Janggun cut branches of a tree outside Gongju’s window so that she can fall asleep without feeling scared. That’s giving, love of giving. Diana, the princess in the real world, could not get love from her husband. So instead, she chose to give love to those in need by joining charity work. Love of giving, that’s why Diana is remembered as one of the 20th century legends.

Kim Soon-duk, Editorial Writer yuri@donga.com