[Viewpoint]Do not betray the dreamThe Brazilian lyricist and novelist Paulo Coelho wrote that a place where there is nothing to do is hell. It was unfortunate, but Pyeongchang became that place on Thursday.
It was thought that Pyeongchang had won the right to host the 2014 Winter Olympics, but it was robbed of that chance by Sochi in Russia. The resort city had suddenly become a place where there was nothing to do even if you woke up early in the morning. The morning I was in Pyeongchang after the Olympic announcement, the residents all looked unhappy despite their slogan: “Happy Pyeongchang.”
I dropped by a restaurant where they serve dried pollack stew for breakfast. The owner’s wife was watching television, but her eyes looked lifeless and her shoulders were drooping. The television news at the moment was reporting that most of the construction projects related to the Winter Olympics would be suspended. Upon hearing the news, she switched the channel immediately.
The waitress clicked her tongue and said, “I don’t know what they will do about it, since so much construction work has started in preparation for the games.”
Continue to build is the answer. We cannot stop here, we cannot drop to our knees now and give up our dream. Yes, we must try for the Winter Olympics again.
It is not because we regret the expenses spent on breaking ground for new building projects for the Winter Olympics. It is because we cannot betray the sincere desires and efforts of our people. They have been steadfast and I know that a genuine effort made with a pure spirit will not betray the wishes of the people. Giving up on a dream after failing only twice is worse than not trying at all. We should not only try for a third time, but also try repeatedly with the determination that we will continue to try until our dream comes true. This is not the time to feel despair. This is the time to renew our determination.
If we fall down here, then Pyeongchang has no future. Pyeongchang is no longer the geographical name of a remote place in a mountainous area of Gangwon.
The name Pyeongchang is now known to the world. The spirit of the Korean people now dwells in the name Pyeongchang. It is the pride of the Korean people and its name represents the spirit of those who sacrificed for the nation.
We must not let Pyeongchang succumb to defeat. We must revive the city where our spirit resides. And there is only one way to revive it. That is by defeating this defeat.
By concentrating all our efforts, even more than we did in the past, we must regain what we have lost ― the four years lost to Vancouver and now the four years lost to Sochi. This debt will be repaid in the end.
There is no reason to complain about waiting another four years. Haven’t we waited longer than that at other times without complaining?
Time flies like an arrow. Moreover, to those who prepare for the future with all their strength, the year 2018, which seems far away, will arrive very soon. And then the day when we are compensated for our eight lost years will certainly arrive. We desperately need to have this belief now. We should never give up our dream.
Pyeongchang is still young. As long as the dream of Pyeongchang overshadows Thursday’s despair, and its hope for the future wipes away remorse and regret, Pyeongchang will never get old.
The best-selling Chinese author Jin Young, a writer of martial arts novels who has a large following among Chinese speakers, went to Cambridge University in the United Kingdom for further studies at the age of 81 two years ago. He was granted an honorary doctorate in Chinese literature from Cambridge University in 2005, but this time he was pursuing a degree on his own. His master’s thesis, however, failed to pass the preliminary examination three consecutive times. But he did not give up, and he finally got a master’s degree at the age of 83 because he challenged successfully the fourth time. Now he is studying for a doctorate. The lesson is that the dream will never be betrayed as long as the spirit is strong.
We must win the right to host the Winter Olympics. South Korea already hosted the Summer Olympics in 1988 and the Asian Games in 1986, and has won the right to host the World Championships in Athletics in Daegu in 2011.
The Winter Olympics is one of the few major international events yet to be hosted by South Korea. It is a valuable target.
That is why Pyeongchang must try again. It should prepare for the winter games and put life and spirit into the quest. We should not be disappointed or give up hope. We must start again. Giving up hope is tantamount to betraying the wishes of the people and losing our heart.
That would betray the expectations of history.
*The writer is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.
by Chung Jin-hong