Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Korea, Korea

Originally written January 22, 2008

My admiration towards this Korean actress rekindled my interest in everything Korean again. Yup, I learned a lot about Korea including some disturbing facts as well. The most disturbing is this one by a Dutch navigator who got shipwrecked in Korea sometime in the 17th century. His name escapes me but most Koreans probably know him as a proof of their wretched behavior.

He and his crew were traveling from Japan to Taiwan when they met some weather disturbance and found themselves in a strange country they had no idea with (Korea was still closed to outsiders that time and most probably Europeans don’t have any idea what this country was). The King of Joseon refused to let them leave so that his country would still remain unknown to the rest of the world. Upon his orders, no help was provided to the crew and they were treated like dirt. The sailors were forced to beg in order to survive for thirteen years until they successfully escaped to Japan where they were treated more humanely. I think only eight sailors including the Dutch captain survived (but knowing how the Dutch treated the Indonesians in the past and being the notorious slave-traders I don’t pity those sailors). It is an ugly scar in Korean history.

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