GOING TO THE JEW
(Several months ago - before I set off to England and Ireland- , I made a promise to the world, I swore that I would write in my blog everyday that I got drunk in England and Ireland. I lived up to half the deal. I got drunk everyday, but my drunk digits failed to find their way to the nearest keyboard to do a little drunken dance on the appropriate keys.
I never got to formally apologize.
On the upside, I just got home a little on the pissed side after four hours of drinking at the local watering hole in Gastown and I’m ready to make amends. I’m ready to write. I’m ready to raise some questions.
How much GREAT LITERATURE is saturated in booze ? We all know that Dylan Thomas was wasted through most of his career but what particular words were written whilst boozed up ? What sentences, paragraphs or chapters were composed through burps and pants-pissings by our most illustrious writers ?
This evening I’m not going to add anything great to world literature but I am going to filter a story through my beer soaked brains. The idea for the story came to me this afternoon when a student (I teach English as a Second Language) said that when she was a child she was excited about going to the Jew. She meant “Zoo”, but Koreans generally have problems with “j” and “z”. At that moment I thought to myself, there’s got to be a story behind children in Korea getting excited about going to see the Jew for some annual celebration. There’s got to be some story there.
Let’s go see the Jew.)
GOING TO THE JEW
“We’re going to see the Jew, we’re going to see the Jew, high ho the dairy oh we’re going to see the Jew,” Kwang-Jae shouted out with his classmates. Every year the Nam-Jun Park Middle School went to the small town of Ung-Dung to visit the re-creation of an historic village. The bus was filled with children whose hearts were filled with excitement.
The history behind the annual field trip was of little interest to the students who were simply happy to have the day off from sitting in desks and writing in their notebooks. They would have shouted out anything sponsoring their day off The grade nine students didn’t really care that in 1823 several Chinese Jews had embarked on a trip to Korea to establish ties with this tiny kingdom. A small community developed in Ung-Dung where these Chinese Jews fell in quite comfortably with the local Koreans who were slowly convinced of the wisdom of their ways For a short period of time, a Jewish community emerged which was an anomaly in the homogenous society of Korea.
Kang-Jae sprouted beads of sweat on his upper forehead as well as where the undersides of his legs rubbed against the green plastic of the bus seat. He couldn’t wait until they got to run around the tiny Jewish community. There really was only one Hasidic Jew who was responsible for the attraction as times were tough for the town and most of the others in the community had moved on to more lucrative possibilities in the big cities .
Kwang-Jae would run around the town with a small kite made in the likeness of a Korean Jew.
Kwang-Jae would someday grow up to study English in Canada where he would pronounce “Jew” as “zoo”, leaving his teachers confused about the events of his childhood.
But we know better.