Sunday, December 19, 2010

OUT MY WINDOW - Life in Phnom Penh, life in Korea

A woman takes sleep, where only the skeleton remains, only with a small blanket and a light bulb. In Cambodia, a woman and Tola, the sworn nephew of her, live in a constructed building with humble minds.

While I watched the videos of them, I got to know how modestly they think and live. They are construction workers. They live in a building that they are constructing, with others who have been working with them for several years. The place is very noisy and dirty, with drilling noise and a lot of dust. But they do not complain. They appreciate that they can make money with their ‘blood and sweat.’ They are allowed to work more during weekends. Just the fact that they earn money depending on the time they spent on work, they feel happy and satisfied. ‘Being happy at the cost of their honesty.’ Although their standard of living is lower than that of More Developed Countries, their ways of thinking seem much higher and nobler that those of MDCs.

Their hobby is to look out the windows. The windows are the means for them to look at other people, think of their dreams, and remind of their past. Between two people, I found Tola to be similar to me, in terms of having interests on architecture. When he looks out the window, the National Assembly, among a lot of buildings, catches his eyes, since the decorations are just ‘so beautiful.’ He concerns more on the techniques used on the buildings rather than splendid fountain or loud motorbikes. He instinctively cares about the decorations of the buildings, and he regrets to stop the study on the architecture. The objects related to ‘architecture’ look especially shiny to him; as such things seem like that to me.

When I look out the window, I see a forest of apartments. I live in one of the apartments in our village, which is full of tens of apartments. Since I had a dream to be an architect, the distance between the buildings, a shape of windows, and the colors of the apartments have caught my eyes. Although there are so many apartments in my village, I do not feel stuffy. In the forest of the buildings, I can meet many people, I can hear laugh of children, and I can think of my dream. Staring at the stars enclosed by four buildings, I feel the stars are put in a pretty dish. Looking down a village market that is held every week, I am enlivened. When we make kimchi, we share it with front household. When they go for a trip, they never forget to buy our souvenir. Though some Koreans say that apartment town is suffocating, it is one of the best places in which I can feel happy and cozy. I am happy that I am living with my precious dream and nice people.

Looking out another window that is on the opposite side, I can see G1230, which is a kind of cram school. At 12 p.m. every day, I can see a flow of students coming out of the building. They look very tired, exhausted from overwork in both school and cram school. I feel sympathy toward them since I had attended G1230 for three years of middle school life. When I was walking to the academy, my feet were too heavy. Looking at the dark sky after the cram school, I felt something vague. Looking back, it is also a part of reminiscence. However, if someone asks me whether I want to go back or not, I’ll definitely say not.

Day and night, I can see lots of cars running along the wide roads. Tens of cars constantly go through the road. I also can see some scary motorbikes that are running with the speed of light. On the verge of the change from green light to red light, cars desperately speed up to pass the signal. Koreans, are, busy.

While I looked at many cars and buildings, I thought about my past, Korea’s past. Then I found that it resembles Cambodia’s past. Tola says that when he was young, there was no transportation he could take, so he had to walk all the way from his school to house. The speed of development has been fast in Cambodia. For the speed of development, Korea never loses. When I was a kindergarten student, there was no online game. Internet had not been developed well, so my brother and I only could CD games. However, now, only after about twelve years, Internet has been so developed that I can enjoy that anywhere, anytime. Also, for my village, there was no apartment when I was born. As I listen to Tola’s narration, I felt sympathy.

Although Cambodia is distant from Korea, though I have never met Tola & his aunt before watching the video, I could compare and share some feelings and thoughts with them, throughout the stories they told in a highrise. They live in a building that is not completed, and I live in an apartment. They live, sleep, think, and dream in that highrise, as I do here. Stories in the highrise were very nice chance for me to look at the lives of people who live distant from me.

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