It’s a line from a song, “Señorita” by Vince Staples, a 23-year-old rapper from Long Beach, California. He’s perhaps the “realist” gangster in the public world, having been through gang violence and drug trades, both as a perpetrator and a victim. Yet, he’s also one of the least pretentious rappers. He cares little about money or fame; all he wants to do through rap is to reveal gang life as it is – no glorification.1
In a symbolic sense, Vince Staples represents the polar opposite of today’s society, a society that is riddled with superficiality and “fakeness.”
As students of an international school, we like to think that we know more about the world than other “average” students of our age. But in truth, we understand little about this world and the people in it. We think of ourselves as special and superior, when in reality, we are just fortunate, blessed, and spoiled. We understand little about how it feels to be oppressed and to fear everyday. Most of our sadness and frustration come from first world problems. As much as we hate to admit it, self-sympathizing makes us feel better. We are happy people, drugged with money. And we are no different from the former President “Princess” Park.
And so we are fake. We don’t have to be real because we have no real issues to worry about. We worried about Trump only when he was an issue. The same goes for South Korea’s corruption scandal – we think of it as a one-time issue, but it’s still the main topic of discussion in news today and amongst the real, “average” people whose lives are directly affected by little changes in politics. We live inside the fake capsule of money while others have nothing to protect them. Their lives are dependent; hence, they are not free.
It’s disheartening that ones with power sometimes don’t understand the ones without power. There’s little that can be done about it. Such is the case with the United States’ installation of THAAD in South Korea. Short for Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, THAAD is a defensive missile system against nearby, threatening missiles. The United States installed THAAD in South Korea for their own benefit against North Korea, supporting the decision with a fake gesture of hospitality towards South Korea – that THAAD will help protect South Korea. The consequences are rather hostile than hospitable, because China has reacted by banning Korean tourists and businesses.2 South Korea – a small nation in midst of turmoil – can do nothing against the U.S. policies, nor against Chinese policies. We are dependent on them. We are not free.
In order to fight against the fake, we have to first become real ourselves. It’s understandable that KIS students do not have the emotional motivation that less fortunate people surely do. Besides, the greatest fighters against the fake and injustice are those born into misfortune, those with overflowing emotional motivation; think Barack Obama, Nelson Mandela, Tupac, or even Hyeonseo Lee, who came to speak for us KIS students.
Those people fought for freedom because they wanted it “for real,” not at a superficial level. That’s why they were willing to become criminals in the eyes of the criminals, and why their impact is still felt today.
For us KIS students to become real, we simply have to walk out of the fake capsule and remove our spoiled lenses, so that we can truly see the world. Here in this real world, you can walk the path to self-actualization and find what you truly want – perhaps something that you would murder for, against the unjust standards of the society.
-Roger Han (’17)
Featured Image: http://reaphit.com/vince-staples-senorita/