[FOUNTAIN]The tunnels of the mind“The digging general” is another name for the Chinese pangolin, a mammal found in southern China and the Himalayas. The ant-eating animal, whose entire body is covered with scales, can dig an approximately seven-meter-long tunnel in an hour. Its nickname comes from its image of nimbly digging soil with its claws. In contrast, how much earth can men dig if they do not use tools ― 1 foot or 3 feet? Those who have experience in digging trenches know how hard it is.
“Digging man” often makes his appearance in war or crime movies. Audiences feel relieved when the main character overcomes a tough situation and succeeds in a crime or escapes by digging a hole. The late Charles Bronson and Steve McQueen were “digging men” in the 1963 war movie “The Great Escape.” It is a classic movie, based on the story of British soldiers who dug a tunnel and escaped from a German concentration camp in World War II. The prisoners had planned to escape by digging a 100-meter-long tunnel. But because they dug a shorter one by mistake, they emerged at a spot that was enclosed by barbed wire and suffered all sorts of hardships. A scene in which McQueen jumps on a motorcycle and drives through the wire is cited as one of the great scenes in 20th-century film history.
The influence of “The Great Escape” is evident in such movies as the 2000 American comedy “Small Time Crooks” and the 2001 Korean movie “Jakarta,” in which characters bore a tunnel to rob a bank, the 2001 animated film “Chicken Run,” in which a hen tries to escape from a farm and last year’s “The Liberation Day Amnesty,” in which a long-time prisoner digs a tunnel with a spoon for six years and flees.
Sometimes events like a scene from “The Great Escape” really take place. Last month, at a prison in northeastern Brazil, 84 prisoners staged a mass escape by boring a 50-meter-long tunnel from the prison to the jungle outside. Meanwhile, Korean newspapers recently reported an interesting event. A gang managed to dig a 20-meter-long tunnel under the post exchange at the main U.S. military base in Seoul and looted the post of duty-free wine and beer over a two-year period.
But how can they be the only ones who bore “a tunnel of injustice,” blinded by greed? Let us look inside our minds if we have an unreasonable idea, like the mole of a story that sought a marriage with a family greater than moles but later realized his kindred was the best.
by Lee Kyu-youn
The writer is a deputy city news editor of the JoongAng Ilbo.