Thursday, January 1, 2009

A Korean Pep Talk for the New Year

The following paragraphs are the New Year's greeting to the readers of the Catholic Peace Weekly from the editor: saying goodbye to the year of the ox and welcoming the year of the tiger with blessings to all. The following is a summary of what he said.

Last year, although all was rather gloomy, we decided to begin with a cheerful heart. This year we are told we are recovering, but it is best not to be too optimistic. If we have, to live as not having, if we do not have, to live as having. It is necessary to begin the new year without many words and with determination.

We had problems from the outside and now are facing them also from within the country. It is like a boiled bowl of gruel, boil it too much no one eats, boil it properly and all will benefit; we must face the problems with a cool head.

Koreans when belittling ourselves compared the country to a rabbit. When our spirit returned we compared the country to a tiger. Our ancestors compared the country to a tiger. Should we not again look at ourselves as a tiger.

A tiger is a cruel wild animal, has sharp teeth and shrewed, it is easy to be fearful of the tiger; our ancestors, however, attributed to the tiger a warm tenderness: this we see in our folk tales and narratives. At the sight of persimmons the tiger fled , trying to reach some children in a tree, used a rotten rope and fell into a millet patch , smoked a pipe, and enjoyed leisure. The tiger comes across as a humorous character. A friend to us in travel, faithful, returns favors , he comes into our lives as a friend.

This is the year of the metal (white) tiger. Although we are afraid of the tiger we are in a friendly relationship with the tiger. Let us all imitate the tiger: strong, shrewed, with sharp teeth, and yet fled the persimmons, smoked the long pipe and enjoyed his leisure. Let us be like the tiger, hide the claws and be a friend to travelers.

We are too sensitive. Even with a very small commotion, we are quick to get nervous. A well bred and reserved person , doesn't lose his cool , is considered to be a person with dignity. When the country is is in turmoil let us keep our presence of mind, take all in stride, learning from the tiger.

Looking over the words of the editorial it was easy to see that he is addressing a populace that understands his allusions. It was one culture; they all knew the proverbs, the folklore, and knew what resonates within their hearts. This is changing. There is a sadness in seeing this change, but it is a globalization that can't be stopped. One can see the vanishing of a way of life as the country because more multicultural with the passing of the years. A Happy New Year.