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[Opinion] Leaving This Country

Posted January. 03, 2003 22:39,   


A message posted on December 30 on the official homepage for president-elect Roh said `writer Lee Moon-yeol is planning to leave this country.` The person who posted the message said that he is a Korean living in New Zealand and his father is a long-time friend of Lee`s. He went on to say that he heard the news from his father living in Busan while talking on the phone. The reason, according to him, is that Lee was very disappointed with the result of the presidential election. Another message appeared on January 2, which claimed ˝Lee is going to leave for England for a new life there.˝ Lee, however, denied the speculation saying ˝It was groundless.˝

▷Cheon Yong-taek, lawmaker from the ruling Millennium Democratic Party lashed out at his colleague from the opposition Grand National Party as they argued during a National Assembly committee meeting that he would leave this country if GNP presidential candidate Lee Hoi-chang elected as the president. People often jokingly say something about leaving the country when they are engulfed with election fever. Still it appears rather careless for a lawmaker to say such a thing in public. A college student identified herself as S from Ehwa University posted an open advertising on Dong-a Ilbo back in 1975 when the military regime tried to put the press under their control, which said ˝I am going to leave this country for good if even Dong-a succumbs to their pressure.˝ Prince Charles in England recently fumed ˝I am going to leave this country,˝ as the ruling Labor government moved to ban the fox hunting, one of the most favored pastime sports activity enjoyed by the royal family.

▷Historians see as the nation’s first emigrants the 102 people who left Jemulpo Port for Honolulu, Hawaii on board of U.S. steamship Gallic on January 13 1903. While those leaving this country for Russia, China or America during the late Chosun Dynasty years and the Japanese colonial rule period hoped to escape the dire situation the country was facing at that time, people began to leave this country in the pursuit of their dreams in the 1960s. Today, however, most people leave because they failed in business or marriage or want to educate their children abroad.

▷There may be some people who leave because they do not like the president. Yet, emigration means that they will have to unite with people with different ethic backgrounds. It is not only about getting accustomed to new languages and customs, but also mingling with different races. You can leave this country for your dreams or to escape hardship here. Yet, leaving because you don’t like something about this country sounds hardly convincing. There must be something they can do here to change the thing they do not like.

Mun Myeong-ho, Editorial Writer, munmh97@donga.com