In the narrative psychology class which I am taking this semester, I read a paper written by Grace Cho and also went through the exhibition together with the class. I didn't expect to encounter anything about Korean War in the class, so it was rather surprising and the subject particularly was engaging.
Korean War - what Korean themselves call Yook-i-o(6-2-5, June 25th) - is a subject that Koreans recognize quite frequently; the very presence of another government in the peninsular reminds them of the past conflict within the country. So when I realized that it was hypocognized war in US, I found it very peculiar. At one point I wondered why US would even care; is it their entitlement as a “police country” to nudge into every business of every country? Indeed they took part in the war just like many other countries including China, Soviet Union, Turkey, etc, but as far as I know none of others put an extra effort to remind themselves of a war in some other far away territory.
Then I thought perhaps that is not the point. It is not the war itself but those who left Korea during or after the war to America that we were talking about. Then it became a slightly different story. Indeed their stories are hypo-cognized even in Korea because they don’t physically exist, and people forget those who don’t exist in their boundary. After the war there had been plenty of survivors to pay attention to (although I am not sure whether it was done correctly) and too many buildings to restore. In short, people were too busy taking care of what should be done in front of their eyes.
Personally I am not familiar with their narratives for sure. My parents, grandparents, and many of the school teachers went through the post-war period in which constant propaganda of anti-communism and decades of dictatorship ruled. They talked about the military training they had to take in high school and political movement against government, as if wanted to remind the new generation of the long-gone legacy.But I had not thought of leaving the country as an option; I simply had not known - or heard of - those who left.
The video of a woman’s narration added different sensation from what I had known as “the 625 narrative”. It is also different from other second-generation immigrants’ narrative of a struggle to find their cultural and self identity. For me it was a discovery of a new yet somehow familiar narrative.
I found the method very interesting. By speaking and videotaping, the narrator put more information on the contents which would not have been achievable in written words, including her accent, emotional reactions(gradually increasing?), etc. By manipulating the surrounding - as it was originally part of her performance - she created the environment she desired and thought would be more engaging.
Thank you for this wonderful opportunity to regard such an important history in a perspective I had not thought of. This indeed had enlarged my understanding of Korean War.