[NOTEBOOK] Be Reasonable - See Things My Way!

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[NOTEBOOK] Be Reasonable - See Things My Way!

In Soccer, Politics Or Life, We Should Not Close Our Ears to Differing Opinions

Some time ago I met a man who had a thick beard. When I asked him why he grew a beard, he said he did not grow it. When I looked puzzled at his answer, he added, "I do not shave."

Growing a beard and not shaving seem to have the same meaning, but they are different. There is a clear difference between the viewpoints. Words sprout from thinking. But sometimes words overrule thinking. Many people say casually, "Your opinion is different from my opinion." But because "your opinion" is different from "my opinion," does not mean that your thinking is wrong.

Errors must be corrected but differences can be accepted. Indeed, what I have not thought of could be made clear to me through other people who have different points of view.

In Korea, many people are not accustomed to debating. There are many reasons for this, but I think language habits of Koreans account for the greatest cause. In Korea, people who have "different" opinions must be corrected, which makes them outcasts. That is also why many debates end up in a fight and the heaping on of abuse.

I will make a fool of myself if I force the hairy person mentioned above to stop playing with words and insist that it is wrong to say that he does not shave - he is just growing a beard.

We are living in the Internet age. Public opinion spreads at a fast speed and different opinions from various people are expressed freely. But there is also a great deal of abuse and slanderous statements. There are many people who just cannot stand those who are different from them.

Great attention is focused on the national soccer team lead by head coach Guus Hiddink. There are comments such as, "The Korea national team definitely improved after a foreign head coach took over."

"There isn't any difference."

"We should support Mr. Hiddink without criticism."

"Things to be improved should be pointed out."

The issues include the team's roster.

"Why wasn't this player selected as a member of the national team?"

"This player must be kicked off the team."

The fans of specific players are most active in expressing their opinions, but soccer fans in general will not yield a single point in this debate. There are many fans who seem to have an almost expert knowledge of soccer.

But people who try to develop evidence to support their opinions step by step cannot make any headway because of heaps of abuse. It is deplorable.

Right before the opening of the 1998 World Cup games, Cha Bum-kun, head coach of the national soccer team, endured waves of phone calls asking why he did not choose specific players. The phone calls were almost blackmail, filled with abusive language. When he refused to accept more calls, some people passed themselves off as reporters and forced their opinions on him.

The condition surrounding head coach Mr. Hiddink looks good enough. He is a foreign coach invited by the Korean government to prepare the national soccer team to, it is hoped, enter the round of 16 at the 2002 World Cup. Recently, an atmosphere has developed allowing no criticism against Mr. Hiddink. Many soccer fans think that for the Korean soccer team to make it to the round of 16 unquestioning support for Mr. Hiddink is required. Criticism is responded to immediately with abusive words.

But mindless support and flat opposition are both wrong. Unproductive criticism should be avoided but various opinions are essential for the improvement of Korean soccer. Please, let us not use slanderous words and ignore different opinions. We should open our ears and listen to people's opinions which are different from ours.

I hope that in the future people would say this in their conversations: "Your opinion is quite different from mine."

The writer is a deputy sports editor of the JoongAng Ilbo.

by Sohn Jang-hwan

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