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2011 Irish Korean Essay Competition

Ireland and Korea


The Embassy of Ireland, Republic of Korea and The Irish Association of Korea, in association with Emerald Cultural Institute, proudly announce the launch of the inaugural

Irish-Korean Essay Competition for university students in Korea. Entrants are invited to make essay submissions on the subject of

Ireland and Korea Now accepting submissions* – final date for entries November 30, 2011 at 5pm 1st Place Return flights to Dublin, four weeks study in Emerald Cultural Institute*, Dublin, and 2,000 Euro spending money (total value approx. 8,000,000 Korean won) 2nd Place A cultural prize and cash to the value of 1,000,000 won 3rd Place A cultural prize 4th Place A cultural prize 5th Place A cultural prize For details, please visit the Embassy of Ireland’s website at www.embassyofireland.or.kr


The Irish Association of Korea, and the Embassy of Ireland, South Korea, in association with the Emerald Cultural Institute, Dublin, proudly announced the winners of the inaugural Irish-Korean Essay Competition for university students in Korea in March 2012. The competition raised awareness about connections between both Ireland and Korea. The lucky winner received a month long opportunity to study at a leading Irish language institute. Second prize received a sum of money, while the remaining Runners up also received cultural prizes. Details of the Competition The competition was administered by the Irish Association of Korea, a non-profit organization which actively seeks to promote Ireland and all that falls under the banner of ‘Irishness’ within Korea, and supported by the Embassy of Ireland in Seoul. The competition was designed to highlight Ireland as a leading location for study abroad, and as a unique and fascinating cultural destination. Conor O’Reilly, the chairman of The Irish Association of Korea and a lecturer in Kyunghee University, explained that the closest and strongest bonds which exist between Korea and Ireland are between the people and their own personal experiences. “There are stronger connections between Irish and Korean people than you may think” he explained. ” More and more Korean people are connecting with Ireland on a personal level, and it is because of these individual connections that Korean people and Irish people are developing a stronger affinity together”, Mr. O’Reilly explains. “The topic for the Essay competition was quite vague – deliberately – to allow essayists to show their creativity as well as their language and research ability. “ The first prize winner ‘How Korean Women may learn from Irish Women’ is a thought provoking piece on social change in two very different but traditionally socially conservative societies. I am proud that the competition provided a space for such topics to be discussed” said judges for the competition. It is through this inaugural Irish-Korean Essay Competition in Korea that the The Irish Association of Korea and the Embassy of Ireland in South Korea sought to strengthen these personal ties by offering Korean university students the special opportunity to experience Ireland first-hand, and to develop their own relationships with Ireland.


Winning Essays 1. How Korean Women May Learn from Irish Women Paek Jung Won 2. Exclusion and Revival of the Indigenous Language of Ireland and Korea Choi Min Jeong 3. ‘The Wake’: A Window for Viewing Ireland and Korea Nam Ji Hyun 4. Freedom, Creativity and Harmony that Korea Should Learn: Irish Street Arts and Culture Yun Chae Young In the 2011 competition a situation arose where the outright winner of the competition turned out to be a native speaker of English, but they were a Korean university student. Following this the concerned parties made the decision to partly disqualify the first place winner (she could not be registered in the language school so therefore she could not be given the prize). In 2012 the judging committee made the decision to specifically make this competition for language learners only.


First Place

How Korean Women Can Learn from Irish Women By Park Jung Won Kongju National University


How Korean Women Can Learn from Irish Women People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don't believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can't find them, make them.1 <Mrs. Warren's Profession, 1893, George Bernard Shaw>

If God invented soju to prevent the Koreans from ruling the world, then who invented Korea? It wouldn’t be a complicated task for Declan Kiberd to write an alternative edition of Inventing Ireland (1996)2, if he spent some time with Father Patrick James McGlinchey3 who has been combatting poverty in Korea since 1953; Inventing the Ireland of Asia. Although, most of Kilberd’s publications deal with literary colossuses, it isn’t an exaggeration to state that Irish literature is an emblem of Ireland herself. Simultaneously, that is one of the better reasons why common Korean people recognise the Emerald island; Yeats, Shaw, Wilde, Joyce and Heaney being familiar names for many Koreans.4 It may seem absurd trying to draw parallels between two countries that don’t even have a single direct flight between them. Even more absurd when there are just over 800 Irish people in a total Korean population of almost 50 million5, and probably just over 1,000 Koreans living in Ireland.6 However, this makes our journey more 1Quotation

#26793 from Michael Moncur's (Cynical) Quotations: http://www.quotationspage.com/quote/26793.html 2 Kilbred, Declan. 1996. Inventing Ireland: The Literature of a Modern Nation: Literature of the Modern Nation: Harvard University Press.

The Jeju Weekly, Jennie Hahn, July 18th, 2009: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:ciGP2QZ5Uo4J:www.jejuweekly.com/news/articleVi ew.html%3Fidxno%3D169+Irish+catholic+priest+on+Jeju+Island&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk 3

My major is English language & literature, and I have studied most of these writers. One of my favorite poems is “What Then” by William Butler Yeats as read by Seamus Heaney in Voices and Poetry of Ireland. 2004. London. Harper Collins Publishers. 5 The Irish Embassy Website states that there is “a community of 836 Irish citizens, registered by the Korea Immigration Service as of 30 June, 2011.”: http://www.dfa.ie/home/index.aspx?id=82913 4

Posted by Andrew on October 18th, 2010, in the article, “Dublin opens a Korean school”, on the blog http://speakingkorea.com/2010/10/18/dublin-opens-a-korean-school/ I realize that this figure refers to Dublin only and that more Koreans are living outside of Dublin. For example, these Korean soccer players in Sligo, as told in the Irish Independent of October, 28th by Daniel 6


fascinating. Prior to researching this essay, other than the aforementioned writers, I just knew about Guinness, U2 and my professor. However, I now know that links and similarities between Ireland and Korea are more qualitative rather than quantitative. In spite of the long distance between the two nations, they share remarkable analogous geographical conditions, agonizing histories, and vivacious dispositions. Both have had terrible colonial pasts; both countries are divided; both have their own native language7; both have their own traditional music; and each seems to have a liking for alcohol, whiskey for the Irish and soju for Koreans. South Korea8 is roughly the same size the island of Ireland.9 The Miracle of the Han River, can I’m told10, be compared with the Celtic Tiger. However, there are also other links which are less positive; the many Irish who died in the Korean War, both soldiers11 and civilians12; corrupt politicians in both countries13; the child sex abuse scandals in Ireland, especially those involving McDonnell:http://www.independent.ie/sport/soccer/league-of-ireland/seoul-brothers-league-of-irelandskorean-connection-2919626.html My professor also told me that he knows about 10 Koreans living in Limerick. 7

My professor told me that less than 20% of the people speak Gaelic these days.

8

38,691 square miles: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Korea

9

32,595.1 square miles: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ireland

10

An Economics professor at my university told me this.

11

Many Irish soldiers fought in the U.S. army in the Korean War from. The Irish in Korea: Irish Men and Women Who Gave Their Lives in the Korean War, edited by Brian McGinn, 18th December, 2008 on the website: http://www.illyria.com/irishkor.html Incidentally, my professor told me that one of these soldiers, Billy Scully, is buried very near his father, in Galbally cemetery, County Limerick. It’s a small world, indeed.

The Irish Independent, Donal Lynch, March 9th, 2008. Korean war stories never to be forgotten: http://www.independent.ie/lifestyle/korean-war-stories-never-to-be-forgotten-1311543.html 12

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ray_Burke_(Irish_politician) RTE website, 26th May, 2009. Dunlop sentenced to two years for corruption: http://www.rte.ie/news/2009/0526/dunlopf.html Jeon Duhwan , Noh Taewoo 13

전두환

노태우


Catholic priests compared to the abuse of handicapped children in Korea as seen in the recent movie Dogani14; and the misfortune of having the IMF enter our countries to fix our economies (I hope the Irish economy recovers as quickly as Korea’s did), with indeed, the same man Ajai Chopra involved each time.15 Thus, as we can see there are positives as well as negatives between Ireland and Korea, and it is clear that both countries can learn from each other. “Ireland without her people means nothing to me”16 isn’t only applicable to President Michael D. Higgins’ inauguration speech.17 People are considered the most valuable resources in each country, and it’s on this that I’m going to focus my essay. As a young Korean woman, an area that interests me greatly is that of gender equality, and it is one where Korea may learn and benefit from the courage and conviction of Irish women. In the very words of the aforementioned Fr. McGlinchey, “These women sacrificed everything for their children. I had never seen anything like it before.”18 He was referring to women on Jeju Island. Well if this is true, then why are Korean women still treated like second class citizens? Korea has always had great and heroic women who have played a huge part in our development as a “modern nation”.19

14

Directed by Hwang Donghyuk, 2011

Efinancialcareers.ie. 29 November 2010. Who is Ajai Chopra, Ireland's new household name?: http://news.efinancialcareers.ie/News_ITEM/newsItemId-29730 15

President Higgins was quoting the great Irish Socialist leader, James Connolly who was executed for his part in the 1916 Easter Uprising, when Higgins was inaugurated as Ireland’s new president on November 12th last. My professor told me this information.

16

RTE, Inaugural speech of President Michael D Higgins, publisher unknown, November 11, 2011: http://www.rte.ie/news/2011/1111/higgins_speech.html 17

18

Ibid. at footnote 3

For example over 200 women participated in the Easter Rising such as Winnie Carney, Julia Grenan and Elizabeth O'Farrell as described in Women in the 1916 Rising on youtube. Uploader,cobrolchain2, June 21, 2008: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FiZJ2C8EwSA 19


Ireland has also had her great women in history.20 Indeed the country itself is nearly always referred to in the female voice. As Edna O’Brien21 puts it,

“Ireland has always been a woman, a womb, a cave, a cow, a Rosaleen, a sow, a bride, a harlot, and, of course, the gaunt Hag of Beara.”22 However for too many years Ireland’s and Korea’s treatment of their women folk has run along almost parallel lines of gender inequality and discrimination. Many reasons exist for this but it’s no great exaggeration to state that the biggest one in Ireland was the power and control of the Catholic Church, and in Korea it has been inveterate Confucianism. Indeed in Ireland under the constitution “the State recognises that by her life within the home, woman gives to the State a support without which the common good cannot be achieved.”23 However, in recent times in the case of Ireland there seems to have been a significant move away from the bias that was once held against women towards greater equality and recognition. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for my own country. In the recent Global Gender Gap report revealed by the World Economic Forum (WEF)24, Ireland ranked in 5th place out of 135 countries whereas Korea ranked 107th. The report revealed that “South Korea’s gender inequality is even worse than that of some Islamic countries.”25

20

Woo Gwan-Sun

유관순, Non Gae 논개, Heo Nan-Seol-Hun 허난설헌

She wrote a very novel “The Country Girls” in 1960. It was very controversial at the time and was banned. My professor provided me with this information. 21

22 These Irish Times articles are very important to my essay. I have not been able to find the exact date of publication for them. Sarah McPartlin from the Irish Times says by e-mail that they may just have been a “special online only feature”. I know that they were posted in 2010 as they commemorate 40 years of change in the lives of Irish women from 1970.

The Irish Times Special Online Edition. Compiled by Fintan O'Toole. 2010. Agents of change 25 women who made a difference: http://www.irishtimes.com/indepth/sisters/agents-of-change.html Article 41.2.1 of the Irish Constitution: http://www.constitution.ie/reports/ConstitutionofIreland.rtf downloaded from http://www.constitution.ie/constitution-of-ireland/default.asp 23

mk Business News. Written by Mi-yeon Kim - Ha’eun Bang / edited by Soyoung Chung. November 2, 2011: http://news.mk.co.kr/english/newsRead.php?sc=30800006&cm=English%20News_&year=2011&no=711685&s elFlag=&relatedcode=&wonNo=&sID=308 24

25

Ibid.at footnote 24


After reading an article by the journalist Fintan O’Toole, “10 things an Irish woman could not do in 1970”26, it is clear that there has been an improvement in the lot of the Irish woman. There are many reasons for this but the one I’d like to examine in this essay is the role that ordinary Irish women have played in this great change because I believe that Korean women can greatly learn from them. It’s easy enough to mention well-educated and powerful women; the Mary Robinson’s27, the Mary McAleese’s28, the power of the suffragettes, bra burning and all that. However, if you’re not that well-educated, are poor, and don’t have some powerful organisation to support you, and you’re the victim of inequality, discrimination and injustice, what do you do? What can you do? You act like Mary McGee, Josie Airey, and Lavinia Kerwick;29 women who took matters into their own hands and changed the system from the bottom up. I could mention many other Irish women in this regard but these are the three that I’ll focus on as their stories may inspire Korean women to strive for change against gender inequality. Mary McGee was an Irish housewife with four kids. Or perhaps it would be more appropriate to call her a caravan-wife as she lived in a caravan with her husband. She didn’t want to have any more kids but didn’t wish to stop having sex. She couldn’t even refuse to have sex with her husband even if she wished, as this was one of the 10 things an Irish woman could not do in 1970. Marital rape didn’t become a crime until 1990.30 However, in the church controlled 1970’s contraceptives were prohibited, as in the eyes of Catholicism, procreation is only reason to have sex. Mrs. McGee attempted to import contraceptives but they were confiscated by the Irish customs service. She took a law case

The Irish Times Special Online Edition. Compiled by Fintan O'Toole. 2010. Ten things an Irish woman could not do in 1970: http://www.irishtimes.com/indepth/sisters/changes-from-1970s.html

26

Ireland’s first woman president from 1990-1997: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/President_of_Ireland. My professor told me about her famous "Mná na hÉireann" inauguration speech. 27

28

Ireland’s second woman president from 1997-2011: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/President_of_Ireland

29

Ibid at footnote 22: http://www.irishtimes.com/indepth/sisters/agents-of-change.html

30

Ibid at footnote 26: http://www.irishtimes.com/indepth/sisters/changes-from-1970s.html


against the Irish state which went to the Supreme Court, and she won. Her action opened the gateways for contraceptives to be legalized for all Irish adults in 1985.31 Josie Airey was an Irish housewife who wanted a judicial separation from her husband. However, she couldn’t afford to pay a lawyer to represent her. She sought legal assistance from the Irish state but it basically told her to represent herself in court. She did and she failed to get the separation. “With the assistance of the Free Legal Advice Centres, she pursued her case all the way through the Irish court system, being successfully opposed at every stage by the State.”32 Her challenge failed and she went to the European Court of Human Rights which found Ireland to be in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights because it had failed to provide legal assistance to her. This whole legal battle may have taken 10 years of Mrs. Airey’s life but it forced the Irish government to eventually introduce a civil legal aid scheme in Ireland. Lavinia Kerwick wasn’t afraid to “lose face”33. She was only 18 when she was raped. At trial William Conry pleaded guilty to this rape. However, the judge adjourned sentence for a year to “give him a chance”.

34

Kerwick was distraught but did

something that showed immeasurable courage. She revealed her identity as the victim, regardless of the stigma and shame that might follow. No Irish woman had ever done this before. This brave action brought the whole issue of rape, rape trials and soft sentencing out in the open. The Irish people were incensed by the judge’s action.

A Criminal Justice Bill was drafted shortly after the trial that allowed

unduly lenient sentences to be appealed. Even though at re-sentencing Conry only received a nine year suspended sentence, Miss Kerwick’s brave action probably resulted in many dangerous criminals spending longer time in prison. The actions of these three brave Irish women not only affected their private lives but brought change for all Irish women. None of them were rich and I don’t think any of 31

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contraception_in_the_Republic_of_Ireland

32

Ibid at footnote 26:

33

Losing face is a very big taboo in Korean culture.

34

Ibid. at footnote 22: http://www.irishtimes.com/indepth/sisters/agents-of-change.html

http://www.irishtimes.com/indepth/sisters/changes-from-1970s.html

양반은 물에 빠져도 개헤엄은 안친다.


them had a university education. However, their courage and example has encouraged and caused other women to challenge issue of gender inequality and discrimination in Ireland.35Korean women can learn from them. I’m not saying that gender equality is perfect in Ireland but it is far better than it was forty years ago. My mother and her friends tell me that very little has changed in Korea. At present, Korea ranks 41st in the gender equality ratio among 45 countries that the World Banks classifies as high-income countries using GNI per capita.

36

Admittedly something is being done in the Korean public sector to improve this terrible situation. 300 laws have been revised to eliminate gender bias since 2005. Our Constitutional Court has struck down provisions in the Civil Code that said that only men could head of the household.

Children are no longer obliged to take their

father’s surname.37 We had our first Prime Minister, Han Myung-sook in 200738. Yes, certain progress is being made…slowly. However, it all only seems to be in the public sector and from the top down.

The following statement seems to confirm

this. “Our strategy has been to change the laws and institutions first so the rest of the society can catch up in changing attitudes and culture in favor of gender equality,” said Chung Bonghyup, director general at the Ministry of Gender Equality, which was established in 2001.39

35

Ibid. at footnote 22: http://www.irishtimes.com/indepth/sisters/agents-of-change.html

Ibid. at footnote 24: http://news.mk.co.kr/english/newsRead.php?sc=30800006&cm=English%20News_&year=2011&no=711685&s elFlag=&relatedcode=&wonNo=&sID=308 36

37

The New York Times. Choe Sang-Hun. March 1st, 2010. The Female Factor: Korean Women

Flock to Government: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/02/world/asia/02iht-women.html?pagewanted=all GENDER INEQUALITY IN KOREA. Professor Kim Eun-Gi (publication date unknown): http://ocw.korea.edu/ocw/division-of-international-studies/contemporary-koreansociety/7_gender_inequality_in_korea.pdf 38

Prof. Kim Eun-Gi is a professor at the department of International Sociology at Korea University. 39

Ibid. at footnote 37: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/02/world/asia/02iht-women.html?pagewanted=all


A friend of mine had an interview recently for a big company in Korea and she was asked the old riddle about the boy being injured in a car accident. His father was killed and when he was taken to the hospital, the doctor that met him said, “That’s my son”. Why? Obviously, because it was his mother. The possibility of a woman being a doctor seems to be oblivious to some Korean employers. Korea’s four largest conglomerates — Samsung, Hyundai, LG and SK — have less than 2 percent of seats on their boards, while there are almost no female executives at South Korean banks. In 2007, only 60.9 percent of women with college or graduate degree were employed. Women bring in only 52 percent of what men get in wages, according to the U.N. Development Program’s gender empowerment measure.40 These are not very encouraging statistics from a woman’s perspective for the world’s 13th largest economy. And it’s not until Korean women start displaying the same kind of courage and determination as Mary McGee, Josey Airey, or Lavinia Kerwick and many other Irish woman that can I see them ever changing. Only then can Korea said to be a truly “modern nation”. To conclude, with Shaw from my opening quotation, Korean women need to “look for the circumstances” we want, and if we “can't find them, make them”!

Ibid. footnote 37. All these statistics are from the article Korean Women Flock to Government: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/02/world/asia/02iht-women.html?pagewanted=all 40


Bibliography Books 

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English: The Living Dictionary.2003. Essex. Pearson Education Limited.



Voices and Poetry of Ireland. 2004. London. Harper Collins Publishers.

Websites 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contraception_in_the_Republic_of_Ireland



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ireland



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/President_of_Ireland



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ray_Burke_(Irish_politician)



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Korea



http://news.efinancialcareers.ie/News_ITEM/newsItemId-29730



http://news.mk.co.kr/english/newsRead.php?sc=30800006&cm=English%20News_&year= 2011&no=711685&selFlag=&relatedcode=&wonNo=&sID=308



http://ocw.korea.edu/ocw/division-of-international-studies/contemporary-koreansociety/7_gender_inequality_in_korea.pdf



http://speakingkorea.com/2010/10/18/dublin-opens-a-korean-school/



http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:ciGP2QZ5Uo4J:www.jejuweekly.c om/news/articleView.html%3Fidxno%3D169+Irish+catholic+priest+on+Jeju+Island&cd=1 &hl=en&ct=clnk



http://www.constitution.ie/constitution-of-ireland/default.asp



http://www.constitution.ie/reports/ConstitutionofIreland.rtf



http://www.dfa.ie/home/index.aspx?id=82913



http://www.dictionary.com



http://www.illyria.com/irishkor.html



http://www.independent.ie/lifestyle/korean-war-stories-never-to-be-forgotten1311543.html



http://www.independent.ie/sport/soccer/league-of-ireland/seoul-brothers-league-ofirelands-korean-connection-2919626.html



http://www.irishtimes.com/indepth/sisters/agents-of-change.html



http://www.irishtimes.com/indepth/sisters/changes-from-1970s.html



http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/02/world/asia/02iht-women.html?pagewanted=all



http://www.quotationspage.com/quote/26793.html



http://www.rte.ie/news/2009/0526/dunlopf.html



http://www.rte.ie/news/2011/1111/higgins_speech.html



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FiZJ2C8EwSA


Third Place

Exclusion and Revival of the Indigenous Language of Ireland and Korea By Choi Min Jeong Korea University


Exclusion and Revival of the Indigenous Language of Ireland and Korea Ireland and Korea are two countries that people seldom relate with one another, however, the two countries’ histories are very much paralleled in terms of the process of foreign invasion, the sufferings, and the reconstruction. In the imperial oppression that both countries went through, one of the main features was control over language. (Ashcroft, Griffiths, Tiffin 2002)The two countries both had indigenous forms of languages which were both spoken and written among the native population, Gaelic and Korean, respectively. When the intrusive neighboring forces first sought to gain control over the territory, they quickly went after the exclusion of the unique forms of language because the colonizers knew that the elimination of language also meant the loss of their culture, history, and ultimately, their identity. The process of exclusion of Gaelic and Korean were done in several different methods, but one of the most noticeable steps the colonizers took were the renaming of the places. Changing the names of the places and reorganizing the administrative districts had a magnificent effect for the colonizers since in addition to destroying the history and spirit behind the place names in the native language, it made the overall governing of the colony much more efficient regarding the management of the populations or tax collections. It also had an instant, huge effect on the colonized population, depriving them of the invaluable history and culture as well as the daily exposure to their own language. The Japanese empire carried out the renaming of the Korean peninsula under the name of “Reconstruction of the Administrative Districts” during the years 1913-1914. However, the action should be criticized since the motivation and purpose behind the renaming procedure was the colonizer’s will to exploit the colony, and the fact that it was done without consent of or considering the Koreans, and that this act ultimately lead to undesirable change of the place names. There were more than 34,000 district names that were lost in this process and there were more than 11,000 newly but thoughtlessly given names to them. (The National Geography Institute,


2010) The invaders did not have any interest in preserving the story or background of the place names, and therefore they simplified some place names using a different Chinese character41. For instance, there was a place named Gu Am, which meant “Turtle Rock”, but the Japanese changed the Chinese character just to make things easier so that the pronunciation remained the same but the meaning turned into “Nine Rocks”, which obviously had nothing to do with the actual place. (The National Geography Institute, 2010) Overall, the colonizers simplified and changed the names to their taste, depriving our country’s cultural and historical background. Similar actions were performed by the British Empire to the Irish community, either directly translating the place names from Gaelic to the equivalent in English, or sometimes just choosing a word that had similar pronunciation regardless of the meaning. This process was well depicted in one of the plays written by an Irish playwright, Brian Friel. In his play Translations, the officials sent from the government work with a translator in the name of Owen to Anglicize the place names of Ireland. In this procedure, which is remarkably similar to the one done in Korea, the names are changed into “its approximate English sound or by translating it into English words,” (Friel 1980) undoubtedly erasing the names’ unique history and culture. In one particular name that was attempted to be changed in his play, Tobair Vree, we can see in detail how the renaming in the view of the colonizers deprives the culture of the country.

And why do we call it Tobair Vree? I’ll tell you why. Tobair means a well. But what does Vree mean? It’s a corruption of Brian-(Gaelic pronunciation)Brian- an erosion of Tobair Bhriain. Because a hundred-and-fifty years ago there used to be a well there, not at the crossroads, mind you-that would be too simple-but in a field close to the crossroads. And an old man called Brian, whose face was disfigured by an enormous growth, got it into his head that the water in that well was blessed; and every day for seven months he went there and bathed his face in it. […] So the question I put to you, Lieutenant, is this: what do we do with a 41


name like that? Do we scrap Tobair Vree altogether and call it-what?- The Cross? Crossroads? [â&#x20AC;Ś]

Due to these efforts of the British Empire to impose the usage of English, and the terrible loss of the population during the Great Famine (1845-1852) after the rule of the British ended, only about 15% of the populations were able to speak Irish. (Price, 2000) However, the Irishâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s acceptance of the English language was not an act of submission to the British force, but an act of appropriating the language and remolding the language to new usages. (Ashcroft, Griffiths, Tiffin 2002) In reality, after the acceptance of the English Language, numerous worldly known poets, playwrights, and novelists came from Ireland, George Bernard Shaw, Samuel Beckett, James Joyce, Oscar Wilde just to name a few. Many of these writers, including aforementioned Brian Friel wrote about Irish identity and culture, and English being a prominent tongue spoken in various places around the world, it was rather an efficient tool for conveying the cultural messages of the Irish. Thus the English appropriated and spoken by the Irish people was not the same language as the one that the British imposed on them and had qualities and utilities of its own. Although the Irish accepted the usage of English and actively turned the language into the benefits of their own, there were also ceaseless efforts to preserving the indigenous language. Not only the street names and place names have regained their positions by being written on the road signs along with the English version, there have been continuous promotion of the usage of Gaelic and the Irish government is trying to promote industries in the regions of Ireland where Gaelic is dominantly used. The Irish language is an important subject in the schools in Ireland and the Irish Language Board also encourages Irish to be used throughout the country. The national Radio Broadcasting System (Radio na Gaeltachta) and the National Television Broadcasting System (Teilifis na Gaeilge) both provide Gaelic broadcasting. These efforts of preserving their own language had some fruitful results; the most noticeable achievement is the Irish Language being accepted as the 21st official language of the EU in the year 2004. (Irish Examiner, 2004) The future


prospect looks bright too, according to a survey conducted by the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland, a majority (57%) of the Irish people feels that promoting Irish is both important on a national and personal level, and another 30% feel that promoting Irish is important at least on a personal or a national level. (Broadcasting Commission of Ireland, 2004) The Korean language survived better than Gaelic, largely due to the fact that the Japanese language was not as prevalent nor used in the commerce or diplomacy in the neighboring regions as English was. Although the native tongue was forbidden to be spoken during the Japanese occupation, it was taught secretly in hedge schools during their rule, and when the Japanese colonization was put to an end, it was naturally revived as the sole language spoken among the population. However, there were definitely traces of the Japanese language left in the place names that were aforementioned or in the usage of daily words such as Bento (meaning lunchbox), Yoji (meaning toothpick) and many more. There were various efforts to purify the usage of Japanese words and one of them was the publication of “Recovering our Language” by the Ministry of Education in 1948. (The Korean Institution of Dictionary Research, 1994) This booklet was distributed to the public, and lead to the elimination of the Japanese usage of words and expressions. Not all of the changes attempted by the government were successful, but many of them were, including the change of Bento to Doshirak, Hondate(meaning bookshelf) to Chakkotji, et cetera. In 1976, the Ministry of Education founded “The Council for Purification of Korean” and researched and published words to change and still remains to this day. (The Korean Institution of Dictionary Research, 1994) Although many of the district names that the Japanese forced upon Korea still remain to this day without notable reconstruction of the place names due to the complications in management, there were also efforts to trace back the origins of place names before the mutilation of the Japanese and “re-renaming” them in Korean. Most of the places that were given new names were the station names of the nation’s subway. Among the Korean metro stations, there are many whole-Korean


(non-dependent on Chinese Characters) place names such as Hangyeoul (The riffle of the cranes) or Dolgoji (skewered-rocks). Despite the painful memories of colonization, Ireland and Korea both have a post-colonial history of quickly regaining power both in terms of economic and cultural power. Ireland had a period of extraordinary growth from 1993 to 2007 and became one of the most globalised economies, and still remains as having one of the highest growth and GDP per capita among the European Union. (An Irish Department of Foreign Affairs Website, 2011) South Korea is well-known for making a huge economic growth from the debris of the damage from colonization and the Korean War. Also, both countries to this day maintain a distinctive cultural identity of their own that is clearly differentiable from the nations that forced undesired influence on them, which to an extent is the result of the exertion of maintaining and reviving their native languages. Even when they are either voluntarily or involuntarily relocated in a foreign land, they keep the culture and often create native communities within the larger community, contributing to the diversity of the international community. The relationship between Ireland and Korea is relatively at an adolescence level, but there are no doubts that due to their alikeness in the process of history the relationship has enormous potential. In order for the two countries to build a lasting, strong bond with each other, understanding of each otherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s historical, cultural background and the current situations are vital. In this situation of worldly economic crisis and the threat of neighboring giant countries, Ireland and Korea could use their similarities and empathy with each other as a tool to cooperate in terms of economic development, international trade, tourism between the nations and intellectual exchange in order to achieve mutual growth in this world.


Works Cited



Ashcroft, B., Griffiths, G., Tiffin, H., (2002) The Empire Writes Back. Theory and practice in postcolonial literatures. Routledge.



Broadcasting Commission of Ireland. (2004). Turning on and Tuning in to Irish  Language Radio in the 21st Century Web.<http://www.bci.ie/documents/jan05e.pdf>



EU grants Irish official language status. (2004) Irish Examiner.



Glanville Price (2000). Languages in Britain and Ireland. Wiley-Blackwell. p. 10.



Friel, Brian. (1980) Translations.

Worthen, W.B, ed. The Harcourt Brace

Anthology  of Drama. 3rd ed. Fort Worth: Harcourt Brace (2000). 

Lee, E., Kim, W., Kim, S. (1994) Data Dictionary of Korean and Korean Literature.  The Korean Institution of Dictionary Research.



The Origins of Korean Place Names â&#x20AC;&#x201C; ChoongChung Version. (2010) The National Geography Institute.


Fourth Place

‘The Wake’, a window for viewing Ireland and Korea By Nam Ji Hyun Hanyang University


‘The Wake’, a window for viewing Ireland and Korea

When I was an elementary school student, my grandfather died and had a funeral in his home. I remember every detail of the process of the funeral. After a long drive to the grandparents’ house, I saw many unfamiliar faces of my relatives in the place. It was a scene quite different from what I imagined of a funeral for the dead. People who gathered for keening didn’t seem that sad or heartbroken. Instead, they greeted people who had not seen each other for a long time and had some food lightheartedly. In addition, there were some people who played card games for money or for fun and they kept drinking. I thought my father and I were the only people who visited the funeral with deep sorrow. The event for saying good bye to the dead seemed not serious at all. I felt the atmosphere was even festive for some people. Since that bizarre night, I have had no chance to experience ‘the festive funeral’. In fact, the next funeral that I went to was totally different from the one before. It was my aunt’s funeral and it took place at the hospital and not in her house. The funeral was not crowded with every villager and did not have a boisterous mood, with no people drinking or playing card games. This second funeral was closer to what I had imagined of a funeral. However, it seemed too solitary for the dead, my aunt in a chilly hospital funeral chapel. I began to realize then why people had a custom of singing songs and sharing some drinks at the funeral. In that way, the dead can leave his/her place gladly under a festive atmosphere. The custom of ‘festive funeral’ is an old tradition in Korea. Some Asian countries such as Japan also have a similar funeral custom. People have keening ritual pathetically for the dead and then gather together to talk about their own lives and play some games with drinks. This seemingly odd custom seemed well-suited for Asian cultures. In Asia, people believe spirit is superior to body. They also have strong community ties which are the foundation of their histories. These aspects are well expressed in the funeral custom. People would think that the dead will “feel”


sad when they should leave his/her place so people try to create a merry atmosphere to make the dead “feel” better! Surprisingly, this ‘oriental’ custom can also be found in Ireland. In J. M. Synge’s play The Playboy of the Western World, there is a scene about ‘the Wake custom’. In Act 1, Pegeen says his father Michael is going to Kate Cassidy’s wake. There is no detailed explanation of the process of the wake. But I can figure it out when Michael got drunk from the wake in the play. I have found out the wake custom in Ireland is almost the same as our old funeral custom. Even though this old tradition is practiced rarely because of a new trend of having a funeral at the hospital, we have had the custom for a long time in Korea. I was surprised that Korea and Ireland share this little bizarre custom as these two countries have a big physical as well as historical distance between them. Irishmen get together in the house of the dead and share food and alcohol. They sing and dance with people for all night. It is almost a party and not a funeral with a heavy atmosphere. I decided that this common aspect in the funeral custom between Korea and Ireland is full of suggestions. Therefore I investigated other aspects between two countries in-depth. Both two countries’ biggest common aspect in history can be summed by the word, ‘resentment’. Korea had been occupied by Japan for 36 years. The Japanese ruling era left much wound and many scars in our history. Koreans suffered compulsory military drafts for boys and men, being forced to become “comfort” women for Japanese soldiers, and destruction of cultural assets. In fact, Korea not only had the period of occupation by Japan but also had to endure constant invasions of other countries including China. Thus our history embraces ‘resentment’ from harsh days of protecting ourselves from other countries. Compared to Ireland, however, Korea had a relatively short period of the occupation period. Ireland was a colony of England until the declaration of Independence in 1923 except for Northern Ireland. They had the independence war for three years and many people lost their lives. I assume that their history expresses deep


‘resentment’ similar to that among Koreans. The period of occupation by another country is the first reason for ‘resentment’. There is another common fact which brings out ‘resentment’ of the two countries. They both failed to achieve the independence fully. Korea has been separated into North and South because of ideological disputes. Ireland is also partitioned into North and South. Two Koreas still fight for their meaningless ideologies and they constantly drift apart as time passes. Although North and South Korea share the same language and the same history, the separation makes the relationship even worse. In the same sense, Irish people are divided by their religion and the colonial roots of their family: Are you Protestants or Catholics? Do your ancestors come from England or the pure Gaelic? They each color themselves with green and orange. In Dubliners by James Joyce, there is a story called ‘Two Gallants’. In the story, Lenehan has a plate of green peas and a bottle of orange ginger beer. A man sitting alone for nothing but wasting time to catch up with his friend’s nasty story about his woman eats Ireland itself! A plate of peas symbolizes ‘the Green’ and a bottle of ginger beer obviously symbolizes ‘the Orange’. To such an extent as to every Irishmen can notice the symbolization in James Joyce’s novel, disputes between the North and the South are intense. Division in the same ethnic group of two countries is another poor aspect which adds the ‘resentment’ for every people. I started my investigation about the relationship between Korea and Ireland by noticing the same odd funeral custom, the wake. I found out two common historical facts that make ‘resentment’ of two countries’ people. The experience of occupation by another country and the division in the same ethnic group are enough to make huge ‘resentment’. However, I stopped to find out more information and return to my first discovery, the wake. Yes, Koreans and Irish people share similar sad historical backgrounds. But they are not always resentful of their lives. They enjoy every moment of their lives by gathering with people and share drinks with them. They are sincere people who are considerate enough to take deeper care of the dead’s last journey. They hold a party to share happy last moments with the dead. In


spite of sad historical facts, the Irish and Korean people always remember how to cherish their lives. The wake custom is not just a crazy night at the funeral. People don’t want to make the dead person feel lonely and gloomy. They cry mournfully at first to express their sadness and they immediately share the last moment of the dead person with happy memories. The festive atmosphere can encourage the dead person to leave their lives pleasantly without much regret or bad feelings. The Irish and Korean people resemble each other in the sense of how they look at their lives. They know that life has two sides. They share a resentful history but also jovialness that each needs especially under the duress of their not always bright histories. Furthermore, the Wake custom shows the prospect of Korea and Ireland. South Korea is striving for unification with North Korea in spite of series of negative events between two. Korean still misses the strong bondage between South and North Korea. Likewise, even though there were many disputes between ‘the green’ and ‘the orange’, the only one Ireland is neither entirely orange nor entirely green. Ireland begins with the Gaelic but integrated with the Protestants from England. The perfectness of Ireland should be expressed by mingling orange and green. There are lots of dissonances that block two countries’ unification. However, Ireland and Korea still always hope the unity for their countries. The Wake custom tells us how the Irish and Korean look their lives. They cherish their surroundings and deeply concern about others’ emotions. In addition by keening in the ritual, they express their respect and love toward the dead. These trustful behaviors show how much they adore their surroundings as much as adore themselves. Therefore, the Wake custom appears as a key for finding out the link between Korea and Ireland and the bright prospect of two countries. Ultimately this custom is the most significant cue of the relationship between Korea and Ireland.


Fifth Place

Freedom, Creativity and Harmony that Korea should learn: Irish Street Arts and Culture The Advantages of Irish Street Arts and Culture and The Necessity of sharing them with Korea By Yun Chae Young Sookmyung Womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s University


Freedom, Creativity and Harmony that Korea should learn: Irish Street Arts and Culture The Advantages of Irish Street Arts and Culture and The Necessity of sharing them with Korea On the 20th of September in 2007, a movie was released in Korea. That movie was about music and to make that, not much money was needed. With the record of over 200,000 audiences, the movie became the most successful one in Korea as a foreign independent movie. This is the story about Irish movie, ‘Once’. Now ‘Once’ is one of the best movies among Koreans and ‘Falling slowly’, the theme song of this movie, is being played in most of Korean cafes. Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova who were the main actor and actress of ‘Once’ are also singers and their band visited Korea in November, 2009 for the concert. In addition, Glen Hansard made his appearance as a special actor in one of the Korean movies in June of this year. As one of the audience who enjoyed ‘Once’, I started to be more curious about Ireland and be interested about some unique attractions of Ireland. The most impressive scenes for me were about people who were performing on the streets. On Grafton street and O’connell street of Dublin, many artists were performing. Some of them were playing musical instruments or singing, including the main actor who was playing guitar with singing. Others were drawing, dancing and etc. On the streets, everyday, various artists were freely performing. Through those scenes I got to know Irish people have natures as great artists and they are very good at arts. Because of the truth that streets of Ireland are always full of happy artists, it brings energy and good spirit to Irish people’s lives. Since I realized this, I have found many information and knowledge about Ireland by searching in the library and on the internet. Then I read some books and watched documentary. Irish street arts and culture was much more amazing than I thought. From the main streets in major cities like


Dublin, Galway and Cork to quite leisurely streets in country sides like Portlaoise and Feakle, all streets are the lively stages for the artists. I realized that Korea have many things to learn from this Irish street arts and culture. First thing is the freedom about artistic expressions. If you are stepping on the Irish street, it means that you just got the freedom to express your artistic talents in anytime, in anywhere on the street. People can do everything like playing songs, dancing, drawing, doing puppet show or pantomime. If there is something you want to perform, you can use the Irish street as your own special stage. Irish street never cares about if you are a child or an old, or if you are a beginner or a professional. This situation is hardly seen in Korea. In Korea, street is just for passing by people who always so busy that they canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have no time to care about others or surroundings. However in Ireland, street is filled with warm and lively feelings about arts by unrestricted artists. The street becomes a festive stage beyond just a simple meaning as a road. Second thing is the realization of high quality and creative arts based on the spirit of freedom. Art is like a flower which demands freedom as a nutriment especially more than any other fields. In Irish street arts, there is no form or limitation. Irish people know how to enjoy the real arts and how to represent it creatively. Some artists frankly express their emotions or love which can be experienced in our daily lives. Other kinds of artists deal with profound ideas, aspects of society or history. Considering this, there is no surprise about the truth that world famous pop singers like U2, Van Morrison and Enya are from Ireland. Also, Ireland is a homeland for 4 Nobel prizes winners, including G. Bernard Shaw and respectable writer like Oscar Wild and James Joyce. Additionally, Francis Bacon, a great artist that everyone knows, is from Ireland. The last thing is a wonderful and beautiful harmony which has no gaps between the past and the present and between the old generation and the new one. Irish street arts and culture covers both the history of the past and the moment of the present. Also, it stops cutting a generation gap by working as a passage of


communication, so that it makes Irish society be maintained strongly. On the 30th of January in 1972, there was an affair of bloodshed in Derry, Northern Ireland. One of the famous bands, U2, made a song ‘Bloody Sunday’ about this incident so they tried to embrace historical scar and make descendants remember not to make a same mistake. On the other side, by some other artists, these very moments are newly handled. While watching some pictures put in the books and the documentary, I found a very different thing from Korea. It was about that children and old people were together but it looked completely normal without any awkward feeling. In Korea, it’s hard to find young people who are spending time with the old. Communication among generations is getting disappeared so now it’s becoming a serious social problem. The most touching thing was a picture of a young girl and an old man during ‘World Fleadh’, one of the most famous Irish music festivals. On the corner of the street where ‘World Fleadh’ was being held, the old man was teaching a harmonica for the girl. I could feel that for Irish people, music itself is the life, love and communication. Street art of Korea is just started as a new type of culture, having people’s attentions. In this cultural production process, Ireland can be a good example. If Korea fills up its cold and empty streets with 3 spirits of Irish street arts and culture, freedom, creativity and harmony, Korea can be a powerful nation of culture like Ireland. Being a powerful nation in the field of culture is not just about having excellent cultures but also includes making a strong social connection among generations by covering people’s minds, lives and histories. I think that the exchange about street arts and culture between Ireland and Korea is definitely necessary. This sharing will bring many positive effects to both of the countries. The reasons why especially we need to exchange are as below. First, artistic and cultural exchange will be the most effective way for the good start of foreign policy between Ireland and Korea. Arts and culture is the thing that reflects each country’s history and basic characteristics very well. Through culture, we can see each country’s people’s own lifestyles


and minds so by understanding the culture, main passage toward the good national relationship can be made. This is like a formation of emotional sympathy for the step of preparing strong bond between countries. About foreign policy, people can easily think about economical or political alliance first, but the truth is, if the cultural relationship gets deeper, those things will just follow naturally. I think national exchange about arts and culture between Ireland and Korea is the first order for durable intimacy and future-oriented developments between them. Secondly, by sharing arts and culture, both of us can preserve our own traditions and at the same time, can upgrade ourselves. Besides, we can get the chances to create new styles of culture. Originally, the field of arts and culture will be disappeared if people just leave it. But if they put changes steadily through the flow of time and era, it will be survived and maintained with the best popularity. Ireland and Korea already have our own unique and superior arts and culture which are acknowledged in the world. Ireland’s Sean nos(folk song), mop dance and Gaelic and Korea’s Arirang(traditional song), fan dance and Korean(language) are the good examples. By sharing, we can keep and introduce these valuable artistic and cultural things. And when Irish and Korean arts and culture are combined, totally new kinds of outcomes can be created. Lastly, we can develop our cultural industries. Cultural industry is one of the rising fields in these days, having prospects in the future. Not like decades ago, nowadays people’s expectations about qualities of lives are getting higher. Investments to cultural industries will bring not only economic profits but also improvements of national images. In the case of Korea, cultural entertainment industry is brisk and the market of it is extending all over the world. This summer, because of Europeans’ huge interests about Korean pop songs, the concert of Korean pop singer was successfully held in Paris. From the point of view of Korea which is planning making inroads into European markets, Ireland is the best one to discover artistic talents. Even though the level of Irish street arts and culture is outstanding, the Irish artists are not being appreciated


their real worth as Irish entertainment industry is not in advance yet. Therefore when Korea’s helps in the process of systemic finding and educating talented artists meet with Ireland’s supports of street artists, both of us will get great positive outcomes. It’s a clear win-win strategy. In Korea, there is only one Irish street festival, St. Patrick’s Day, which is held in every March by IAK(Irish Association of Korea). Though the purpose of foundation of IAK was helping Korean know more about Ireland, there are not enough supports and activities. About Ireland, just in this year, an official association of Koreans was organized. With great arts and culture, both of us still don’t know how to utilize in the best ways. If Ireland whose streets are filled with wonderful artists exchanges about artistic and cultural heritages with Korea whose cultural industry is trying to widen its field, both of us will acquire positive effects more than we expect. From starting taking interests about each nation’s culture more and more, Ireland and Korea need to support each other with systemic helps of governments and institutions which are related with arts and culture. Then both of the countries can find the best ways to be the strongest nations in the field of arts and culture, truly uniting together.

2011 Irish Korean Essay Competition  

The Irish Association of Korea, and the Embassy of Ireland, South Korea, in association with the Emerald Cultural Institute, Dublin, proudly...

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