Children of the new world

20070426_moonlightFor the chapter I am currently working on, I have been looking back at the time South Korea was under military dictatorships. As it officially ended in 1987, I should remember what it was like. I do remember quite a few things – except that I was not aware of the concept of military dictatorship back then. I was born under one and spent most of my childhood under another, so I understood that was how the government functioned. I didn’t quite get why university students went on demonstrations, although I picked up a few words along the way and guessed there was more than I was told in school. To be honest, my pacific self just didn’t like Molotov cocktails and tear gas.

Among the few things I remember, one is that every evening, 30 seconds before the 9 o’clock news, the telly displayed a still cartoon of a boy in pyjamas making his bed, which was accompanied by a comforting lullaby kind of music and a voice, “It’s time children of the new world (새 나라의 어린이) went to bed.” Nighttime curfew was also in effect until I was 6 or so, but I have no personal memory of it.

Having looked back on, I find myself amazed realising how recent all these episodes were. I am also amazed wondering how come it never struck me as funny that the TV told me to go to bed, not my parents or grandparents. Above all, I am most amazed how hard the government tried to convert everyone to a ‘morning person’ … in vain. Well, look at me for instance. 😛

6 thoughts on “Children of the new world

  1. John had this problem of getting up late in the morning and was always late for work. His boss was mad at him and threatened to fire him if he didn’t do something about it.

    So John went to his doctor who gave him a pill and told him to take it before he went to bed. John slept well and in fact beat the alarm in the morning. He had a leisurely breakfast and drove cheerfully to work.

    “Boss”, he said, “The pill actually worked!”

    “That’s fine” said the boss, “But where were you yesterday?”


  2. Yeah, I saw that back in Australia. The reason I connected Lives of Others to your original post was that it shows how authoritarian regimes seep into every part of everyday life. Both it and Goodbye Lenin show how that creates absurdity.


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