2019, English Essay : College & Adult Div.; 1st Place – Kevin Horan

KCHEFNE’s question,:
Please write us a brief summary of what you have felt and learned while participating in this essay competition.

When I heard of the Dokdo and East Sea writing competition I knew I had to enter.
I have been a foreigner living in Korea for almost 5 years but each day I realize there is still so much to learn, so much to experience here and so much to try my best to understand.

I married my Korean wife a few months ago and from that moment I knew I had a duty to her, to our family and to our newly shared country to learn as much as I can and to try and understand as much as I can in this short lifetime.
I felt a duty to a country where I came as a stranger and I was given food. I was nobody but I became somebody. I had nothing but I was given so much. And to write as best I could to tell a story of a nation that gives so much to so many but has had so much taken from it also.

I not only learned a great deal of scientific facts about Dokdo and the East sea, like Dokdo experiencing a mild climate due to warm currents or the East sea’s chemical composition making it ideal for biodiversity.

But I also learned and I felt in my heart for the first time the pain and the struggle and the frustrations of the Korean people. Korea and the Korean people’s wronging at the hands of a former colonial oppressor, one so recalcitrant and unrepentant of their own colonial and imperialist wrongdoings.

It was admittedly difficult to remain unbiased when, as I wrote and certainly as I researched more, I felt my emotions rise and fall.

Dokdo is much more than just some islands.
The East Sea is more than just a name for a body of water.
They are a living, thriving, powerful statement of protest of injustices that still have not been fully ameliorated.
They are goliaths of Nature, akin to Seolmundae Halmang, rising up to create Jeju and the world, so too do these wonders of the natural world rise up to help create a new nation, a new country.

A new world for all people and all nations. A new world for peace. This essay was not easy to write.
But I knew I had to try. And I am happy I have was able to participate.
Thank you,

   Posted : 9/16/2019 || 7:46 PM