My name is Daniel. I was an English teacher in Seoul, South Korea, and now I am a writer who has
published three books including South Korea: Our Story by Daniel Nardini.
Last time, I spoke about "Minjok," or the preservation of the Korean identity. The problem
is that when carried to extremes, Minjok becomes a destructive force for excluding all that is good and
progressive. We have now seen definite links to the murder of former half-brother Kim Jong-nam by personnel
of the North Korean embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. There is no question in my mind that North Korean
tyrant Kim Jong-un had ordered the assassination of his half-brother. This harkens back to what was done
in the Joseon period when Yi family members would kill each other for the chance to rule Korea. North Korea
is pretty much like the feudal kingdom that ran Korea into the ground. While South Korea is far from perfect, it
does have elections where a president can be chosen, it does have freedom of the press and peaceful
assembly, and most important the chance to have a shot at making a better life (something definitely not
possible in North Korea. South Korea for that reason has a far, far better standard of living and quality of life).
Although the political left may dislike the United States and Japan, it is from these two countries that in previous
times South Korea had looked to for political and social trends to try and improve itself. In my view this is still
true, and people in South Korea should look towards Japan and the United States for a better future. Perhaps,
Minjok should stand not for what it "traditional," but what is good for the Korean identity.
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