Does anyone remember that I have a set of modern Korean history books? The ones I bought in *ahem* Nov 2012?
After 6 long years, I’ve managed to finished reading it!
Book 1 I mean. hahaha out of a set of 4.
Hey. I still think that is a real accomplishment. While I read it on and off, 6 years is still indeed a long time to take to finish a book. It’s funny though, because I am very very interested in the book and I didn’t leave it aside for years. In fact, I take it out every now and then to read a few pages. So it’s still baffles me how I can take 6 long years to read 309 pages, out of which I completed 60 odd pages in this month.
Reading a book for that long also meant that I could really see how much I’ve improved over the years. I remember having a lot of difficulty with it at the start. I was about a TOPIK level 5 back then. But I still remember how I would highlight many words in a page and struggled to read and re-read the sentences to make sure I understand what it meant. It was made more difficult because it was my first introduction to modern Korean history and I was not familiar with many of the events that had happened. I had to google/wikipedia the events and read up on them – sometimes I get so engrossed I would just keep on reading link after link (and forget about the book lol).
역사는 어제의 기록이 아니다. 바로 오늘이며, 내일을 향한 나침반이다. 우리가 한국의 현대사를 모른다는 것은 오늘의 한국사회를 모른다는 것이며, 그것은 곧 우리 자신을 모른다는 것이다….홍세화
History is not a record of yesterday. It’s today, a compass for tomorrow. To not know the modern history of Korea is equivalent to not knowing about today’s (Korean) society and is tantamount to know knowing ourselves (Koreans).
This struck a chord in me. I have always thought about history as a record of the past and distant from my life in the present. When I was a student, I dreaded history classes cos it meant a lot of memorising and it didn’t seem very applicable. But as I grew older, I fully appreciate what the quote meant.
Just like how past experiences shape a person, history shapes the society.
Can’t wait to read and learn more.
I’ve been writing for a couple of days so I’m actually on page 40 of book 2 now. Hopefully this momentum can continue over 2019 :).
Till the next post!