[OUTLOOK]Like a race horse with heart

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[OUTLOOK]Like a race horse with heart

Haru-urara is the name of a legendary horse that had an impressive losing streak. In the nearly 120 times he raced, he never won a race ― and this horse ran only in local races at Kouchi race course in Tochiki Prefecture of Japan and never at bigger race tracks. Somehow, this horse has won celebrity status in Japan. Whenever Haru-urara runs, people come from all over Japan to the Kouichi race track. There’s only one reason that people come to see this horse run: hope. To see and feel hope and ultimately to attain it and share it with others.
What hope can one put in a race horse that keeps on losing? Haru-urara is older and shorter than most other horses he races against. However, once he starts running, he gives all that he’s got. Even when he loses, he never gives up till the end. He is truly an extraordinary horse that touches the hearts of those who have had their hopes dashed in life despite their best efforts.
People are comforted and encouraged by Haru-urara. They find new hope for themselves. That is how Haru-urara became a small symbol of hope in his own way for the Japanese people during the long recession.
The cynics might remark that Japan must have been in a hopeless situation to find hope in a race horse. But it is precisely because the Japanese sought messages of hope in these small things that they could overcome the recession that continued for over a decade. On the other hand, Korean society is floundering in a slough of desperation these days. In a survey, 69 percent of the people said that they lived without hope these days. No wonder a sense of lethargy has taken over our society. The reason for the enervation that has enveloped our society is in the loss of hope.
Nothing can save a society in lethargy better than hope. When investments are down and wallets are shut, there is no better prescription than hope to save the economy. Hope is also the key to reviving our backward-looking and directionless politics into politics that serve the people and the country. The key is whether we generate new hope in society or not.
There is no leadership stronger and bigger than hope. There is no driving force stronger than hope. Hope makes the fallen stand up again and opens ways where there were none before. Nothing is more precious than hope. Before leaving for a campaign in Persia, Alexander the Great was asked by a servant what his most precious treasure was. The conqueror answered firmly, “Hope!”
Hope is not an idea. It is food and strength. The reason castaways die in uninhabited islands is not because there is no food but because they have lost hope. The same goes for our reality today. No matter how enormous the hardships they face, those who have hope live on. Those without hope die.
Hope is a matter of survival. If one has hopes of finding a job one day, then one would gladly write hundreds if not thousands of job applications. If one has hopes of getting proper work one day, they wouldn’t mind doing all the small and thankless jobs in the meantime. If one has hopes of paying back all one’s debts, one would stand all the shame and embarrassment of today. If one has hopes of buying one’s own house someday, then one wouldn’t mind living in a tiny rented room for now. If one has hopes of one’s children living a better life than one did, then today’s hardships would even feel like a blessing.
The people want politics of hope and politics that give hope. The National Assembly should be a factory that makes hope. Each and every one of the 299 National Assembly members should be determined to become a “Haru-urara.” The presidential seat should be a seat that makes hope. It is reported that President Roh Moo-hyun will include a message of hope in his speech for the commemoration of our liberation on Aug. 15. Hope, however, is more than just words. Hope is action and implementation. One must run and give it all one’s got. Just like Haru-urara.

* The writer is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.

by Chung Jin-hong
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