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[Opinion] Learn to Enjoy Drinking

Posted September. 04, 2002 22:25,   


“With many of my colleagues stop drinking, I now often find poems written by heads instead by hearts,” renowned Korean poet Goh Eun once lamented. According to the poet, old wine wakes up our souls by setting us free from everyday routines. Great writers in history like poet Lee Baek enjoyed drinking and wrote many works about old wine. Although I respect the old poet, however, I do not agree on that only drunk hearts write true feelings. We have learned about great artists who died too young because of their love for drinking, and we wish they had lived long.

▷ Journalist and politician Nam Jae-hee wrote a series titled ‘Dedication to drinking 40 years,’ which equals to poet Byun Young-ro’s ‘Arts of drinking 40 years.’ The series, published in ‘Monthly Gangsuh’ and Internet newspaper ‘Presian,’ was enjoying great popularity. There, he wrote about novelist Lee Byung-ju who loved Volvo, cognac, Beethoven and women. Lee Byung-joo volume-produced novels to finance his drinking habit. He went to bars to drink cognac with barmaids every night. Nam noted that he has never seen a writer of vast knowledge and experience like him. But the writer died too early because of heavy drinking even when he could write a lot more great works, Nam recollected. Old wine wakes up sleeping souls sometimes, but it kills writers and their works too.

▷ “Leaving Las Vegas” is a movie about an alcoholic addict – a man lost his family and job, and is still drunk all the times. He buys a woman but is too drunk to have sex. The movie is a screen adaptation of an autobiographical book written by John O’brian, a writer who died from poverty and alcohol addiction before the movie was made. We felt pity for the man in the movie, but in real world, alcohol addicts are mentally ill people who make miserable not only their own lives but also their families’.

▷ Yonsei University has opened a ‘drinking and brewing’ course for freshmen facing a heaving drinking culture in college. In some worst cases, young students who never drank before died of excessive drinking. It’s important to learn how to enjoy drinking in the first place. There are many people out there who ended up being failures because of heavy drinking. It sounds like a good idea to help young people understand drinking and learn how to enjoy it.

Hwang Ho-teak, Editorial Writer hthwang@donga.com