[FOUNTAIN]Spoiled athletes in Doha?Only 100 years ago, in downtown Beijing, there were many young people who frequented opium stores. They were the offspring of aristocrats of the Qing dynasty. These young people had a variety of hobbies, including growing birds such as pigeons or hawks, gambling on cricket fights and womanizing.
They were good-for-nothing in the truest sense. They did horrible things to people, too. In the early part of the Qing dynasty, a grandson of a high government official beat one of his slaves to death, cut off his limbs and burned the body, infuriating the emperor. In the reign of an earlier emperor, a son of a government official beat 30 slaves to death. As they did nothing but spend time with unproductive hobbies, their stories swirled around government offices or homes throughout the dynasty.
In China, the expression “youth in silk pants” means rich young people. The expression was used during the Sung Dynasty for the first time and has been used ever since when referring to offspring from rich and powerful families. These snobs stirred up society during the era of dynasties when power was concentrated.
Even after communist China was established, the problem did not disappear. Pretentious children of senior members of the Communist Party emerged. With the prestige and power of their fathers, these young people formed a group of crown princes and surfaced in every part of society, causing ordinary citizens to have strong antipathy toward them. Because China has experienced harm from these young people in silk pants, it remains wary of those types of people.
South Koreans who are watching the Asian Games in Doha, Qatar, must feel frustrated because of its money-making star players, the Korean equivalent of youth in silk trousers.
The Korean baseball team boasted a line-up of star players, but lost to Taiwan and Japan. Our soccer team was overly confident and lost to Iraq, even though Iraq is at war. When checking into their rooms, some of the Korean star players had problems with other athletes who play in sports that are not so popular among the general public. Those stars may have lost a sense of teamwork as well as a strong determination for victory, a basic requirement for athletics. But the real problem is that we filled their pockets with money. From now on, we should not pay attention to the phony sports stars who visit TV studios more often than the practice field.
Instead, let’s pay more attention to the real heroes who do their best without much recognition from the public.
*The writer is the Beijing correspondent of the JoongAng Ilbo.
by Yoo Kwang-jong