Maybe we are all snowflakes — once floating, flying in the air, in the center of attention. But we all disappear. And no one remembers us.
It’s a belief shared by Rhyu Si-min, former Minister of Health and Welfare, writer, and a student protest leader during the regime of President Chun Doo-hwan. He is the Leonardo da Vinci of South Korean political science, the best friend of President Roh, and an unsung hero who battled the song of corruption. But in his own mind, Rhyu Si-min is none of those. In his mind, he is the same snowflake as “you,” President Park, and President Trump.
“We aren’t born with a purpose,” he says, “we are just born.”
There’s someone worse than Trump. The name is Kim Gi-chun, a notorious villain in South Korean history. You may know him for creating the infamous Blacklist, consisting of athletes and artists who oppose him. But he’s most infamous for creating the martial law, allowing multiple dictators to continue their regimes and stamp on South Koreans’ human rights. And this concentration of power at the top 0.01% of the society would become the platform for the corruption scandal today. Kim Gi-chun, the platform builder, was arrested on 21st by the Independent Counsel of South Korea. He is currently 77 years old — lucky to be alive, for he himself killed so many people. He is “The Devil,” the opposite of Rhyu Si-min.
But at one point, Kim Gi-chun too was a 7-year-old, marveling at the snowflakes with his hands and eyes glued to the window. At one point, President Park and President Trump were cute. So were you, and that person who you hate. A devil is made, not born, because we aren’t born as devils. We are just born.
We are simply born as human beings, who are sad, angry, and lonely. Some of us indulge in those feelings, directing them to specific people. Yet some of us use those feelings as motivation. That includes Rhyu Si-min, whose main motivation was bitterness — bitterness from how the corrupt political scammers manipulated justice to feed off of the South Korean society! Mr. van Moppes — the advisor of National Honor Society and AP Language teacher at H400 — is right that “it’s so easy to be negative,” because negative feelings are the most powerful feelings. Those powerful feelings are what allowed Rhyu Si-min to fight for social justice. And those powerful feelings unified hundreds of thousands of people against President Park.
But the same feelings allowed Kim Gi-chun to unleash what we have been fighting against.
If we can take anything away from the ongoing corruption scandal, it’s that we cannot lose our inner sense of good. We must use negativity, not let negativity use us. We are only free upon achieving that autonomy from hatred.
We are all snowflakes. And until we disappear, our duty is to do something good out of purity, not corruption — especially for the 7-year-olds who are watching us right now.
– Roger Han (’17)
Banner: Celine Yoon (’19)