To Be a Neighbour
To Be a Neighbour
  • 승인 2015.05.12 14:44
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The definition of neighbour based on the closeness of location should be changed in the current globalized and highly connected world. Globalization had been the keyword in Korean society from the late twentieth century to the early twenty-first century, but its status as the guiding light of the future Korea seemed lost at some point, not because we stopped cherish its value, but because it’s has been accomplished with the assist of technological development. Without paying expensive price we can make contacts with our friends and family living on the other side of the globe with a smartphone or a computer as if they are right beside us. Our sense of distance has been slowly modified in our daily lives without our sensing it. So we feel distance from a person when we lose our interest in and contact with the person. Therefore, the new definition of the word neighbour should contain the elements of one’s interest and will to contact.
The new definition of a neighbour reflects in a subject’s will and intention to keep interest in and attention to one’s counterpart. The old definition of the word has a more static significance in it. According to the old definition, one becomes a neighbor when s/he moves to a certain site to live there. In a Korean city where the major type of housing is the tall apartment complex, we can be the neighbours of the residents of the complex we live in. However, no one would agree with the idea that the residents of the same apartment complex are her/his neighbours any more, because sometimes we do not know who are living right beside our apartment. So the relationship of neighbourhood has changed to become formed and molded.
With the help of technology, now we can become a neighbour with anyone if we have enough will to connect and interest. In a globalized society, we can be a neighbour of the Syrian refugees scattered around different middle eastern countries and many women living under the harsh oppressive patriarchal regimes, if we have wills to follow SNS’s of them and to encourage them with short sentences. We can become neighbours of the residents of Belfast, where separation and hostility between the Catholics and the Protestants still are dormant and the uncertain peaceful coexistence can break down with some tiny stimuli, if we try to connect with the residents and pray for their permanent peace and settlement. Becoming a neighbour with the persons far away is one way to enjoy the fruits of globalization and technical development.
Ironically, to become neighbours of the persons we live close with and meet daily is to keep away from the fruits of technical devices. If we put down technical gadgets and gizmos when we are having conversation with our family and friends, we can overcome the apartness which breaks down neighbourhood. If we turn off the smartphones in the classroom and show interests to the teachers and the classmates, our friendship and neighbourhood senses will become stronger and the campus life flourish. Let’s take advantage of our technical devices to become neighbours of the persons suffering and residing apart from us and let’s put down them to become good neighbours of those near us.

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