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One mouth and two ears (KOR)

Oct 17,2019
CHUN SU-JIN
The author is deputy editor of international, diplomacy and security news of the JoongAng Ilbo.

The United States is just as divided as Korea these days. When I watch CNN, the United States seems to be sinking with U.S. President Donald Trump. When I watch Fox News, Trump is a hero that is not recognized by enough Americans. As I am writing this piece, the main news on the CNN website is a column criticizing Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria. It mocks Trump, saying, “He has a right to make stupid mistakes.” At the same time, Fox News’s top story is anchorman Tucker Carson’s news series captioned “CNN’s bias exposed.”

CNN and Fox News have become figureheads of the two camps each supporting and opposing Trump. If you access only one of them, you are only looking at half of the United States.

But the United States is not as serious as Korea. Some say that it is better for our mental health to divide the country into two. As it turned out, Seoul is divided between protesters at Gwanghwamun Square in central Seoul, and protesters in Seocho-dong, southern Seoul. The people who gathered in Seocho-dong and the people who gathered in front of Deoksu Palace hate each other passionately.

Anger is powerful. Poison spreads quickly. Malicious attacks, not healthy criticism, led to inappropriate criticism on the appearance of a female prosecutor who searched former Justice Minister Cho Kuk’s apartment for evidence-gathering. The attack has escalated to personal attacks on reporters. Just as the flame is not dying away after controversial minister Cho’s resignation, rallies will continue. While the high officials can resume their original career after resignation and saying sorry, what about the wounds in the hearts of the general public who walk the streets of Gwanghwamun Square and Seocho-dong to report to work every day? I find the job of a citizen in the Korea very tiring.

So, a column in The New York Times earlier this month was refreshing. In an opinion piece titled “Why Lefties Should Watch Fox News,” the author claimed that those who oppose Fox News should watch Fox News. The argument was that healthy criticism is possible when they understand Fox properly. As of Oct. 15, it has 1,049 comments. The division in the United States seems healthy. What about we listen to the opinions of the other side before going to Seocho-dong or Gwanghwamun? There must be a reason why a human has one mouth and two ears.

Because of the massive rallies, the studio of a sculptor near Deoksu Palace isn’t getting many visitors. When I went there on Tuesday, a wooden sign outside read: “We love, cooperate, cherish and practice true love as one people.” The wooden sign had been knocked to the ground.

JoongAng Ilbo, Oct. 16, Page 28