Remembering my student
Remembering my student
  • professor, Kim Eun-hee
  • 승인 2010.08.31 14:15
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On green summer days, I feel relaxed as I walk around the campus following the students’ footsteps. With all the tiring, routine days, when I see students’ smiling, I often feel like I might have to do something as a teacher.

One day, when I was walking out of the classroom, a student followed me and asked for an excuse for being absent next class. I asked the reason and he told me that his father, who had financial difficulty, had disappeared. So he had to look for his father. He said, “My father suddenly disappeared, so how could I stay at home peacefully?” With deepest sympathies, I patted on his back. I felt sorry for him and I was worried about him as well. Surely, this situation wouldn’t be only his problem. As a matter of fact, such crises are everywhere around us, but the government’s policies and treatments are still far-off. The situations on campus aren’t much different from that. I feel very sorry looking at students’ worrying eyes. However, the only thing I can say to them is to study hard.
In China, the gap between the rich and the poor has reached the highest since the political reformation in the 80’s. The Chinese government, at last, presented a slogan, ‘harmonized society’. I don’t think this gap is simply solved by just a slogan. Differences between the urban and the rural, the East and the West, and the intellectuals and the laborers hindered the development of Chinese society. The government claimed “Harmony before Development”, and such perception has been working as a major factor in making the ‘Shaokang Society(小康社會)’. No one can guess how much time is needed to reach a ‘Harmonized Society’ in full. However, taking the first step with the real perception itself could be a positive indication. Other countries are working hard to minimize the differences in the society, while the Korean government is talking about losing the capital area restriction. And now it has put the rural areas in black despair by diminishing the comprehensive real estate taxes. Leaving a debate about being constitutional or not aside, the sudden decision without considering the situations made me feel embarrassed.
In addition, it is miserable to live in rural areas in Korea as university students. Students who study in poor surroundings feel isolated in the competition and they can’t get a chance in this society. And in this situation, the government’s policies, like the capital region regulation, give more burdens to them. My pupils are in these situations, so I feel sorry for them. These days, something called "spec" is crucial for employment. “Spec” is to add up various data such as academic background, work experience, and test certification. So, students study all the time to get better scores in TOEIC or TOEFL tests and do volunteer work only to improve their spec. Students in regional universities devote themselves to this spec because they don't have special qualifications to express themselves in the big competition. Therefore, a well-rounded attitude and creative thinking about the humanities fell into the insignificant category. Since professors know well about this situation, their lectures are affected by them. Professors are even evaluated by how much they are creating profit. Being a great professor means being helpful for students to get profitable occupation, but other scholars are dismissed as lacking a realistic sense. In reality, where all finance and support for studies are centralized to the capital region, the government maintains to activate the economy through easing the capital area regulation without such measures. It is like adding fuel to the fire. Are they just planning to neglect locals and local education? The small, half-sized Korean peninsula has formed a deep rift between capital and non-capital regions, and it created a boundary between them. What is more, the government is busy inciting quarrels between them with prejudice and arrogance instead of balance and integration to destroy it. 'In Seoul' shouldn't be the only way to promote the quality of life, and localities must liven up their own features to build their own identity. The government and the local government should make an effort for this and make a way to respect the individuality and live together peacefully. Whatever makes its own true voice can secure its life force, and people in the light should listen to the minorities in the social shade. There is no reason to be treated unfairly just because they are in the shade. Look at the principle of the earth and the sky and Yin and Yang. Yin and Yang are just different. They should not be discriminated against. And the truth is eternal.
In conclusion, I recall the last passage of the novel of Lu Xun (Zhou Shuren, the Chinese writer):'I thought that Hope can be said that it essentially exists, or not. It's like a way on earth. Actually, there was no way on the earth. It became the way as many people walked through.'

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