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2002 May 12 23:02

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Re: [vox] [OT] russian holiday
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Re: [vox] [OT] russian holiday

On Fri, 10 May 2002, Marianne Waage wrote:

> The few times I've heard Norwegians mention it, it's just their
> "Independence Day".  When I asked my mom specifically, she said over the
> Germans.  She even remembers when she was a kid, working at her father's
> pastry shop, some of the older Norwegians wouldn't come into the shop if
> there was a German in it.

When I was little, my grandmother would tell me stories about the Korean
War, which was basically the aftermath of the "other half" (the Asian end)
of WWII on Korean soil.  Apparently I lost several uncles on both sides of
my family due to the war and didn't even know about it until a few years
ago.  I loved listening to those War stories...

Anyway, Korea also celebrates its independence day, not from the Germans
but from the Japanese.  It's on the August 15th, and is a celebration of
freedom from 36 years (according to a website... I thought it was longer,
but...) of Japanese' occupation of Korea.

A brief modern history of Korea: Korea was freed from Japan in 1945.  As a
part of the reconstruction phase, the Soviets took the north half and made
North Korea (communistic), and the US took the south half and made South
Korea (democratic). Why the country had to be broken up into two is beyond
me; probably due to the Cold War on the west.  Anyway, the North invaded
the South in 1950 -- the Korean war.  The war involved not only the North
and the South, but also the UN on South's side (the US, mostly), and the
Soviets and the Chinese on the North's side.  The war pretty much
destroyed both sides pretty badly.  3 years later, the war came to a
pause, and it has been ever since (the war technically never ended.)  To
give you a perspective, my parents were born in 1949 and 1950.  South
Korea went through its own reconstruction phase, and got the economy back
up and running, good enough to host the Olympics in 1988 -- that's 35
years after the total devastation.  And somewhere along the line, Korea
also managed to help out in the Vietnam War (including my parents), and
the country managed to deal with my birth as well.  North Korea, on the
other hand, has forever been preparing for the war that never ended, which
explains why their economy is so horribly bad, to a point where they have
to eat each other to survive.  If they'd only concentrate on their economy
and forget about the war... it's not like the South is going to invade
first.  I could go on but I better stop here.

For the sake of my Japanese and Japanese-American friends I should
probably mension there is little tension between the Koreans and the
Japanese today.  I've been told older people still hold grudges, but my
grandparents certainly don't show any signs of it... as one of my
grandfather's occasional activities is to go to Japanese restaurants and
practice his Japanese... :P


Mark K. Kim
PGP key available upon request.

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