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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Tae Guk Gi Korean Brotherhood A Touching Story

At tense "warlike" moments like now November 2010, we can only try not to imagine if an onset of war, or world war can create to human, a person, families and earth itself.

I can recall one poignant movie I saw at the Scala in Bangkok in 2004. Titled "Tae Guk Gi" or "Brotherhood". Incidentally, Guk Gi means flag, and in a chinese dialect, "gork gii" means flag too. Tae Guk Gi also means the pre-war flag of Korea.

A nice big question for you. Why is Korea separated? Why is it North and South?
The movie answers it in its own way. Just imagine, as villagers, as farmers, as nobodies. When a group of people with guns come to our village, and demand tapioca, or all the poultry. We have to give in to their demands, give them what they wanted. Then we toil the soil again. Then another group of armed men comes into our village. Now they accuse us of helping the other group. And they want to teach us a lesson by burning our huts. We cry. We cried. We are beaten. And we don't know why.

Think about Vietnam. And the Vietnam war. And why finally some villagers with nothing can defeat a military superpower with limitless ammunition and budget.

Sounds familiar or not? Well this is how war is. How it is to the nobodies. We do not know what is really going on and who to help and who not to trust. But when a gun is pointed at our heads, we give to that person. Whether it is CIA, so-called guerillas, militias, drug masters, Nazis, or whoever who has a big gun, we succumb to the basic tenets of preservation of life. Give in.

So these poor villagers. Be it "communist" or not or whatever label the Western propaganda made about Vietnamese. These are humans and farmers.

So now all the mess of brain-washing, propaganda, deceit, confusion - is left with a nation torn into two for over 50 years. When I was on a flight out of South Korea in 2006, there was no other passenger in my cabin. I had some kimchi which I bought and requested the flight stewardess to keep it in the aircraft fridge. We talked about Korea. At that time, I didn't know much of the history. But felt their passion to succeed and pride and making their country successful. That's how they leapfrogged Malaysia from a recipient nation to a donor nation in just 4 decades. I just commented about the movie, Taegukgi, and just my wish the Korean nation can be united. She was very touched. The flight stewardess offered me the whole bottle of wine.

This movie goes beyond talking about a relentless sacrifice a brother was willing to make for the younger brother. This story happens in real life throughout South East Asia. How sacrifice means letting your siblings go to school. How sacrifice means working and saving money now, for the future. How sacrifice meant taking a 3 month boat ride out of China, to work hard for years, to send money home.

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