Unity

It’s easy to forget I am living in a country that is technically at war. I know little about the Korean War but what I do know is that Munsan is one of the closest major towns to the border, Munsan is where I live. Seeing young Korean men in army gear driving around trucks is no longer a shock, its just something that ‘is’. The majority of these guys look like they could barely harm a fly, let alone kill another, however there was never a peace treaty signed between the North and South after the country was divided at the 38th parallel so enforced military service is still occuring, it is still deemed necessary. There have been several instances so far that have genuinely scared me and made me think quite seriously that war could be about to break out, a few days after I arrived several helicopters spent the morning flying above my head, they were flying low, above the border which is close because of a rise in water that occurred on the dividing rather in which 6 Koreans who had gone camping dissapeared after the river rose quickly and with no warning, what happened is still un certain – apparently the North has been recieving lots of rain, there was flooding and something burst causing water to rush… others believe in slightly more sinister reasons; the north using water as a weapon against the south…. it was something i hadn’t bargained for. Despite this ‘threat’ South Korea goes about it’s life in the same way Britain does, they get on with things, they progress, they advance… however the display of Unity amongst the people is becoming more and more obvious, and I am not just talking about couples wearing matching outfits (no joke, i have yet to get a photo but I have seen several – its kind of cute!) The ‘diversity’ you get in cities such as London is there… but on a distinctly lower key, people dress in a similar way, they don’t break the boundaries of style or behaviour and adhere to the tradtional values of there forefathers. The society is intensely heirachal and I have barely touched the surface but men are the dominant race by far, the women are strong yet subservient when it comes to nearly all aspects of daily life… its bizarre. The contrast within Korea is in some ways terrifying – how a country can be so shockingly advanced in some ways but seemingly backwards in others – however I get the feeling it leads back to the hardship, to the suffering and the craziness that happened in the not so distant past, the memories of the war being still too recent and raw for all to be forgotten the people cling to each other, to unity in order to. continue existing.

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