The haunting effect of War

I couldn’t secure a couch in BKK, Thailand, ended up living in a Korea hostel and met quite few Korean travellers. Giju is one of those.

He is a Mongolia / Korean Mix. Whenever he meets travellers, he will identify himself as a Mongolian. As the conversation goes deeper, he will reveal his mixed background. (His father owns a resort in Mongolia. He used to go on business trips in South Korea, then met his mother. The two fell in love with each other. His mom moved to live in Mongolia. )

As he has dual nationalities, he needs to perform military services in Korea. He recalled one anecdote that has shattered his life profoundly.

Back in 2011, he was serving as a commander in the marine department. He needed to monitor military activities of North Korea. One day, North Korea soldiers attacked South Korea marine. Few bombings occurred. One took place right beside his ship. Few of his juniors were so freaked out that they peed themselves. Although he had similar panic attacks, he remained calm so as to take care of his crew.

After that, he realized: “Oh, this is war, this is life for real.” Nothing matters much as life itself. Hence, he took a gap year from the university after completing his army service and embarked a self-imposed exile to Australia, then Indonesia for 1.5 years.

He worked in different restaurants, hung out with hippies, smoked weeds, learnt how to play Guitar, windsurf, got to know the alternative way of being.

Now he has returned to School, majoring Chinese literature but he cannot speak Chinese properly, nor he can speak perfect Korean.

“Korea is too materialistic and too cold during the winter. I miss my horse in Mongolia. I want to go back my simple Mongolian life but I can’t because I have lost my innocence. I have known too many things now. I can’t go back as the way I was. ” He sighed.

He was traveling in Cambodia, Laos and Thailand over his semester break. He chose to go to those less-touristic areas and chill. Now he has returned to Mongolia.

This is the first time for me to hear such vivid and hands-on war experiences. In front of death, what else would matter when you were just a 21-year-old colleague kid? traveling along the way, meeting all these independent and cool freaks, age doesn’t weight that much coz some people are stuck in their own comfort zone, they won’t have such insights and revealization in life even though they are in their 30s or 40s.


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