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[Opinion] Sarang and Ji-hye, Love and Wisdom

Posted July. 23, 2003 22:33,   


▷ `Freedom and Federation, now and forever, they are one and cannot be separated!`

Eng and Chang Bunker, the twins born in Thailand that originated the term `Siamese twins,` had always had the above political slogan following them. The word `Siamese` derives from the old name of present Thailand, Siam. The twins who were born conjoined at their chests in 1811 were taken to the United States by a US general named Captain Abel Coffin with the permission from the Thai king, and were introduced and began to be known as the `Siamese twins.` While Eng and Chang brothers were gaining popularity in the circus, the Confederate States of America were causing much dispute over whether they would separate from the United States, before the outbreak of the Civil War. Senator Daniel Webster, from Northern America cited the Siamese twins as a symbol of freedom and federation, claiming that Northern and Southern Americas cannot be separated, touching upon all US citizens’ hearts.

▷ The Eng and Chang brothers, who were considered as one person, were separately married by 32 and had 21 children altogether. It was a proof that Siamese twins were normal people who could have jobs, who could marry, and who could lead normal lives. However, maybe people did not want them to be together forever. Wherever they went, voluntarily or not, they were targets for medical interests. It was only due to the high risk that prevented them from being surgically separated.

▷ The cause of the Siamese twins is not yet clearly known. Knowledge to date tells us that two weeks after the fertilization, the fertilized egg starts to get divided into 2, into twins, but for some reason the division stops, and twins are born conjoined at certain parts of the body. 1 out of 50000 to 100000 are born this way, but the actual figure of the surviving Siamese twins is approximately 1 out of 200000. Many people grieved a few days ago, when the Bijani twins of Iran, who so desperately desired for 29 years to live separately, died after the surgery attempting to separate them. The Eng and Chang brothers who lived until 63, appearing countlessly in Mark Twain novels, poems and documentaries should maybe considered as happy in comparison.

▷ However, there is an even happier set of Siamese twins. Sarang and Ji-hye Min were successfully separated a couple of says ago. Sarang and Ji-hye, who were born on March 4, 2003, were conjoined at the lower spine. They were a true combination of love and wisdom, of which the Korean words are `Sarang` and `Ji-hye.` On the Internet café dedicated to the twin sisters, the mother had written that `there are people who ask us if we are unhappy, but in fact we are very happy.` She explained that it was the sound minds, right judgments for the future and self-management that make one’s life rich, not one’s physical appearances. With the success of the separation operations, now Sarang and Ji-hye can lie down facing each other. I hope that the reborn sisters, Sarang and Ji-hye would become the symbol of love and wisdom for all Korean citizens.

Kim Sun-deok, Editorial Writer, yuri@donga.com