Make oath elegant, profoundThe government is reportedly gathering public opinion to change the content of the oath of allegiance. In December of last year, the national flag law was established. This law will take effect in July, so the government plans to change the content of the oath in accordance with changing times.
But the government has weak grounds for the change. According to the survey by the Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs, 75 percent of respondents said they want to keep the oath. As for the content of the oath, slightly more people want to keep it as is, not change it. That is, 44 percent of people want it to remain the same, while 42.8 percent want it modified.
Among the middle-aged and seniors, more people want to keep the oath as is, while among young people, more want it changed. A source in the ministry said that many young people said that certain expressions, such as “to prove my loyalty to my fatherland and my people;” “sacrificing my body and soul” and “to firmly swear,” are not suitable in an era of globalization where borders are unclear. Some young people said the oath sounds as if they are forced to show loyalty. The home ministry said it had a consensus with the Blue House and thus decided to amend the oath.
The oath to the flag was written in 1972 by Park Chung Hee’s despotic administration. The Roh Moo-hyun administration probably thinks the oath is a legacy from that reign. However, the Park administration, when creating the oath, must have wanted to prioritize the country over individuals because South and North Korea were confronting each other. Of course, some may feel resistance to certain phrases in the oath when they look back at human rights issues under Park’s regime.
However, if we still need the spirit of the oath after nearly three decades, we need to accept it as a part of our history. The oath to the flag emphasizes individual responsibility, duty and patriotism. The spirit of the oath needs to be encouraged even more in the era of globalization when the concept of a country is shaken.
There is no need to rush the revision of the oath.
The administration ministry made three samples and consulted a couple of experts on the Korean language. That is wrong. It must listen to other experts on philosophy, constitutional law and education.
The new oath to the flag must condense the people’s thoughts and it must be elegant, refined and deep.