Whenever I introduce myself, I now say I’m from South Korea. I am tired of having to tell the few people who ask whether I’m from the North or South that I dug an underground tunnel across the border from the North with only a spoon. From the very moment school started I was faced with a lot of jokes with regards to my ethnic background, and I would characterize North Korea as a “term” used to demean my Korean pride. To be frank, I was never severely offended by these jokes, as I was well aware of their intent to just be funny, but sometimes it was simply embarrassing. Not because I was from Korea, but because that very specific label always tagged along with me, and I was not very fond of it. Unlike my roommate, I am not up to date with everything that is happening in the world as I am too caught up in mine, yet the status of North Korea’s reputation never seems to change. No matter the date, the issue always lies in the fact that Little Rocket Man never seems to conclude that his “rockets” are symbols of aggression and danger for the rest of the world.
The news about the Olympics was rather odd to me. North and South Korea, participating as one unified nation – I was perplexed. The opportunities and hopes that would spawn from this step towards unification are understandable. However, the feasibility and implications those very things carry are questionable. The intent of this act is conspicuous: to better relations to do the world a favor. How I see it? A waste of time and effort. With all that has happened, and with all the ruckus this nation has caused, I find it close to impossible to truly come together again as a unified Korea. Even if it comes to happen, why is South Korea to be dragged so low? While I prize the idea of peace, I believe peace can come in various ways, and certainly, this is not one of them. With two completely different governments, two completely different histories, and two completely different individual nations, I see no benefit in my country to “be on the same team” with an outraging, belligerent nation.
For the very first time, we have the honor to host the Winter Olympics, and these games are an indispensable aspect of country pride. Watching Korea walk out as one team may have been heart-warming and hopeful for many, but I only witnessed a façade that meant nothing more than a mere show. Some of the most skillful South Korean women’s ice hockey players, who have been training their whole life for this specific event, were pushed off by North Korean ones to simply meet a quota. In accepting this small step towards unification, the world and South Korea are ignoring the fact that the woman sitting behind Mike Pence and Moon Jae In (the South Korean president) is the sister of a world-threatening, nuclear-armed dictator. I could not be any prouder of where I come from. Nevertheless, I will not and do not identify as one of them.