Aporia Called City

Busan is my hometown and it’s the number one port city of South Korea. It is famous for the night views of Haeundae's skyscrapers and Gwangan Grand Bridge.  But only a few decades ago, there were a lot of shacks built by the refugees after the Korean War. So, in those days, when ships entered into the Busan harbor at late night, some passengers on the ships were imagining Manhattan skyscrapers as they saw the lights from the shacks rising up near the top of the mountains.

 These dramatic changes in Busan are in line with the South Korean modern history called ‘Miracle on the Han River’. Since South Korea has achieved remarkable economic development and modernization in a short period of time, it has become one of the best model for economic development of many countries. But this rapid change had its dark sides. To achieve its goals, many things were quickly destroyed. Among them, on top of the ruins of war, were traditional heritages, culture and nature.  We may never be able to recover some of these.

 In modern Korea, you can find shiny buildings adorned with glass and steel.  But to find traditional heritages or trace of the past, you will have to go to museums or certain tourist areas.  This story is found in other places. Many countries and cities around the world are planning and promoting these changes. They are removing their heritages or existing places that are not align with their ideals, and replacing them with sophisticated and modern new ones in a short time.

 The world resembles each other in this way.  I think the modern human beings’s way of life is similar. Sometimes people throw away things that interfere with achieving their dreams and goals and rush to their wishes. Though they lose many things along the way, they cannot pause to realize what they are missing.  

 Some older generations that I encountered in Korea recalled their past and said: "In those days, we were just surviving, eating was all.” So they ran towards it.  Now what is our generation dreaming about and where are we running towards?  

 The world we live in is like “Aporia”.  We are rushing towards the future without resolving the problems of the past and the present.  The conflicting values and desires and relations produce confusions.  And we can easily lose the directions.  It is a time that needs more reflection than hasty action. Then, there is hope.

 *Aporia: In Greek, it means a difficult problem to solve but it has a clue in it.