Saturday, November 16, 2013

Jeong Hae Joong/201003224/2nd draft of oral history/tues 11am~1pm

 201003224 Jeong Hae Joong


Time Machine


     "Do I have to live in this place?" was the answer I got from my uncle. What else was I supposed to tell him in that situation? When I heard this, I had to say that it was quite unexpected, astonishing, and kind of sad. That answer was still resonating across my mind. Even though I got some unexpected answers from him, I thought I got to know kind of the history of my family. The interview might be just my family's history but be a part of a whole Korean history in the 1980s.


Interestingly, there are many social phenomena or events happening right now across one country or even the world. Something big, small or important is taking place across time and places. As a matter of fact, there was always something worth listening within people' lives. I think one of them is Ichonhyngdo, a term to describe that more and more people are going to cities to move there. I think there is no one who doesn't know what it is. Actually, I knew that my grandparents on my mom's side used to live in small town in the super countryside and moved to Seoul in the early 1980s. I was curious about a story why they went, what they did for a living, and part of the face of Seoul. So I decided to interview my uncle about his early life in the 80s.


     Before beginning of my interview, I thought of the current state of Seoul that I knew to compare what the city was like at that time. Now, how super-big it is. Many exciting places to go and interesting things to do are all in the city. Well, I was quite sure that the capital city was always great.


I began my interview with a question: "when did you move to Seoul from your hometown?" He answered that the whole family moved to the city in the early 1980s. It was about a decade before I was even born.


Then I asked what the family moved to Seoul for. He said "At that time, there was almost nothing to do for his parents for a living in the town. So we just moved to Junggye-dong, Seoul." When I heard this, I thought that it didn't make sense because Junggye-dong is one of the most affluent districts in Nowon-gu. It sounded that they didn't have money and went to the affluent district. It sounded absolutely weird. So I asked him a kind of following-up question to make sure that he really did. I said "where did you live?" he replied, "At first, the whole family lived in a small room in Junggye-dong. Even though Junggye-dong is nowadays so affluent and well-developed part of Nowon-gu, which has a nickname of Daechi-dong of Nowon-gu, the district used to be so barely developed that we lived in a town so called "panjachon." Literally, we lived in a small room with no bathroom. There was a public washroom for each three house. It was so uncomfortable that I did never have a shower in a relaxed way. We also used kind of coal to heat the room in the winter, which was kind of less effective or just useless."


Getting to know this fact, I got more curious about his thought and life. So I gave him a question about the first moment he came to the city. After thinking, he said "I thought my family was so poor. My life would be so rocky." He continued to say that when I saw the room, I asked my parents a question "Do I have to live in this place?" While listening to him, I was sorry for him.


Another question was about the jobs my grandparents did for a living. "What did your parents do for a living?" I asked.

"My parents, so your grandparents, did so called "nogada," he said. I later found from him that my grandparents did not get highly educated well for doing so called "professional works."


My last question was this: "Have you ever regretted your choice to move in the city?" he said that "Actually, we moved a lot. At a time when Junggye-dong was being developed, we moved to Sanggye-dong. And when Sanggye-dong was being developed, we moved to Danggogae. You know, we just kept moving to more and more outside of Seoul because we had no money to live in a developed area. It was just unaffordable to do. But I've never regretted that I lived in Seoul with almost no money. I thought living in that kind of circumstances made me to work hard so much. Living in Seoul gave me inspiration to study hard to have a big house with some bathrooms."


     When I finished interviewing him, I got humble and sorry. I can't imagine what it was like to live in the small room like my uncle did. It was like I was running back in time for a short time to the past of Seoul with my uncle as a guide. I thought that the city has super-rich areas, however, it also has dark sides, too. Although it didn't take that long time to talk, this time was a whole different story that I had expected to listen. It felt like this interview was more than just peering, but pouring into the past. 

No comments:

Post a Comment