Opinion > The Ninja Girl

Written by Ilocos Sentinel posted on Saturday, April 6th, 2013

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Beyond K-Pop

This is last part of the essay I submitted to South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade essay writing contest on Korea’s National Image. In this part I discussed the two Koreas and how their decades long conflict relate to our very own Bangsamoro.

Two Countries

Whenever I tell my friends I am going to Korea for a visit, they always ask me, “North or South Korea?” It is amazing to know that a lot of people are not aware that entering North Korea is even stricter than gaining admittance to the United States Department of Treasury’s fabled Fort Knox’s gold bullion depository.

The Civil War that ended with the division of the Korean Peninsula by the 38th parallel is the most defining period of the Korean people not only because of the economic hardships both Koreas experienced during and right after the war, but because it turned asunder the lives of thousands of families.

As someone who is close to my family, I could not imagine not being able to see and talk to any of them whenever I want and need to.

The 38th parallel is an imaginary line, but it is as real as the one mile no man’s zone called the DMZ or demilitarized zone separating South Korea from the North. It is as real as the fact that one day thousands and thousands of Koreans woke up to learn that they may never be able to see their parents, sisters, brothers, husbands, wives, and loved ones again.

Can you imagine the pain these Korean families go through every moment just because an imaginary line has effectively ripped them apart? Can you imagine a South Korean man walking to the border every day, rain or shine, blizzard or no, hoping for just a glimpse of his loved ones left at the other side of the DMZ? Can you imagine him at the closed gate to the DMZ visibly straining, wishing he can see the other side? Ah! What pain the man goes through every day and how utterly moving?

I witnessed exactly this in a Korean television show which is dedicated to the efforts of reconciling Korean families separated by the division of the Peninsula. I could not imagine the pain he goes through every moment, but I can imagine the hope he has that maybe this day, this very day, he would get a glimpse, just even a glimpse of the family he has not seen for several decades.

This hope is the same thing we, Filipinos, have as regards the resolution of the decades-old armed conflict in Mindanao. We hoped and prayed every day, and we hoped and prayed some more. Just like the South Korean man.

Recently, after so many lives lost to armed conflicts, the Philippine Government has finally signed a peace agreement recognizing the Bangsamoro identity. Though this agreement is just the beginning of a long and challenging process, it is a milestone for the Filipinos particularly the Bangsamoro people who have been continuously fighting for the recognition of their rights.

This early, the people affected by the conflicts as a result of the fighting over rights and identities, are hopeful that they can now move and walk freely within their communities without any fear; that they can start rebuilding their families, and begin looking for their loved ones displaced by the armed conflicts.

In spite, or maybe because of the thousands of lives lost, we persevered, and worked toward peace among all Filipinos. Thus, it is also my hope that someday, somehow, the South Korean man will be given the chance to be with his family, not only for a few moments in a meeting room right smack in the middle of DMZ, but to be with them for as long as he wants.

It is my hope that the Korean people continue to hold on to their dignity and pride in their history while the two Korean governments agree on the best ways to lessen the emotional hardships their separate identities have caused to their people.

Finally, I also wish that the Bangsamoro experience of the Philippines serves as an inspiration for the Korean people. That eventually the will of the people will prevail, that political differences will be seconded to the fact that families are not meant to be separated by a line. As we say in the Philippines, “Mabukay ka (Long live), Korea!” 대한민국! 대한민국! 대한민국!

***

Interesting Money Facts. Continuing with Forbes’ billionaire list, one of the biggest gainers is Amancio Ortega of Zara fashion house fame. His net worth increased by US $19.5 billion in a year, US $53.4 million a day, US $2.23 million an hour, US $37,100 a minute or US $618 a second.

How rich did he get, you say?

In 2013, the highest minimum wage in Spain is US $853 a month. Señor Ortega out earns the average obrero by about 1,905,041 times! Ay yay yay! Señor Ortega es muy rico! Maybe the Spain should ask Señor Ortega to bail the government out of its trillions of dollars in external debt.

 

Liza Gaspar is a wealth coach and personal finance enthusiast. She spends her free time helping out with the projects of the Rotary Club of Makati McKinley (rcmmckinley.org) and the Gerry Roxas Leadership Awardees (grlawardees.org). Visit her Web site at thegirlninja.com, email her at liza@thegirlninja.com, or visit her at facebook.com/annalizagaspar and TheGirlNinja.com

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