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[Opinion] Brotherly Ties

Posted July. 16, 2003 21:50,   


The most well-known brotherly tie in the history is the one that was made among Yubi, Gwanwu and Jangbi from `the Book of Three States.` The three men, who used to idle away their times without work to do, became heroes of the time after forming a brotherly tie. They rose to prominence after successfully reining in the uprising led by a group of thieves. Then, they swore to keep their tie and serve justice till the end. Forming a brotherly tie is an act of confirming a true sibling-like friendship that lasts lifetime.

There has always been a practice of forming brotherly ties both in the west and the east since the ancient time. Mythological characters from ancient Greece and Northern Europe were known to have brotherly ties, and in the Book of Travel to East, King Taejong in China became a sworn brother to Monk Hyunjang before the team led by the monk set out for a long journey. Speaking about `brotherly` ties, there were sisterly ties as well. In `the Dream of Nine Clouds` written by Suhpo Kim Man-jung, eight wives of Yang So-yu, the hero of the book, formed a sisterly tie and lived happily together. But not every brotherly or sisterly tie is based on faith and friendship, though. Mongolian nomadic people had a custom of `Anda` agreement, which required two heads of tribes to form a brotherly tie by drinking each other`s blood or trading each other`s belt. The tie, however, broke up when there were conflicts of interests, and they turned into adversaries.

Koreans, straightforward in their character, become easily friends to each other and form a brotherly tie. Sports and TV stars, in particular, tend to readily form a brotherly tie among themselves or with their fans. People often hear the news that basketball players from the South and the North become sworn brothers or a baseball player form a brotherly tie with a singer. Recently a primary school held a special ceremony in this age of nuclear families, in which all the students became sworn brothers and sisters. There are warm-hearted students who form ties with poor and deprived children.

There is a different kind of brotherly ties, too. They become sworn brothers to use each other. Members of criminal organizations force new members to swear a brotherly tie as a means of binding them and urging their loyalty. This kind of black `tie` is not based on true feelings of bondage and is easy to break up when their interests are threatened. It was recently reported that a policeman once assigned to Chong Wae Dae maintained a brotherly tie with a high-ranking official at Good Morning City, a real estate development company involved in bribery scandal. What was the policeman expecting by being a sworn brother to one of the swindlers instead of arresting those who violate the law? Victims of the case, who lost their savings for the past two to three decades, will only find the news even more appalling.

Kim Sang-young, Editorial Writer, youngkim@donga.com