Disappointment and Fear due to Absence of Adults

Children hold candles during a rally to pay tribute to victims and missing passengers of the sunken ferry. (Photo : AP/NEWSis)

Images from the Sewol Ferry disaster still linger. As of June 15, two months have passed since the disaster occurred. Yet, twelve people are still missing. When will they all come back to their families? Will everyone even come back? It is still distressing to think about these questions. Reflecting on the disaster, we feel total helplessness at the prevalent ignorance toward safety, poor safety measures, and extreme Mammonism that overlooks the values of life. We should not stop expressing our condolences to the families, nor should we ever forget the injustice done. However, at the same time, we all have to start our new lives. Yet, it seems to me that no one knows how or where to start.

In that sense, I realize that there are no “adults” in our society. Not an adult as in the opposite of a child, but an adult whose words are supported and followed by all members in society. Even though that adult does not necessarily have to be associated with religion, I cannot help but think that if Cardinal Kim Sou-hwan was still here, his words would have given us comfort as well as courage. Privately, there have been people who assert that we have to go back to our normal routine; they take a mammonistic assertion that it is the only way the country will avoid falling into recession. In reality, however, there is no one who can publicly tell and persuade the public. For that reason, I am sad and fearful.

Perhaps it has to do with the development of the Internet, but since time immemorial, we have lost an individual whom we can absolutely trust. Forget about the fact that no one has passed the hearings without his or her flaw revealed. I feel deeply ashamed to learn that even the people who have known to have the cleanest image are full of lies and deception. Personally, I believe that we should continue to hold hearings. Although I am not advocating how the hearings overemphasizes one’s flaw, no matter how big or small, I believe that this will make the next generation realize that one has to live an honest and upright life in order to be in public office.

People shout slogans during a rally to demand the government to seek the truth in poor handling of the sinking of the ferry Sewol, in Seoul, South Korea, Saturday, May 17, 2014. (Photo : AP/NEWSis)

In 2008, our magazine put out a photo of the French President Nicholas Sarkozy visiting a world-renowned anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss on November 28 to celebrate his 100th birthday. Personally, I have always had an unfavorable opinion about President Sarkozy’s levity. However, looking at President Sarkozy respectfully listening to the great scholar, I realized how culturally advanced France is. Although the country seems to be going through the same kind of problems as Korea, France will not easily fall part. In the case of the U.S., there is the famed linguist Noam Chomsky, whose words are always heard by the U.S. citizens.

Pope Francis is increasingly respected by the world. While the society should respect an individual only if he is worthy of it, I am afraid that it is becoming almost impossible for such one to even emerge in our society. Politicians should be respectfully seeking the learned for their insights, rather than calling them to politics. That way, the whole public will also listen to them. That way, we will have “adults” back in our society. Translated by Kim Min-su

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