Today a student asked me what I think about Takeshima Day and the Dokdo issue.
I didn’t want to get into how it’s (a) not a new issue, (b) his country’s biased-assed press (or was it hus buddy who told him the story?) seems to have misled him by making it out to be “the Japanese government” that has declared Takeshima Day, when it’s the little backwater Shimane Prefecture that did it, (c) wow, newspapers are sure selling and nationalist sentiments are sure hot now, aren’t they, and hasn’t he noticed a cycle to this whole pattern?
I mean, this is a pretty dangerous question for me to answer, as a teacher. As a foreign teacher, representing a foreign point of view. I don’t know if I could get fired for expressing my opinion, but I was determined to be careful, and to tread lightly. I also wanted to inject a dose of realism into the discussion.
So instead of pointing all that out, I simply said, “I don’t know much about Dokdo. But there are no nuclear weapons on Dokdo, and Japan is not threatening South Korea with nuclear weapons. Right? So right now I am much more worried about Kim Jong Il. Aren’t you?” Into the ensuing silence, I said, “So why fight with Japan, now? Kim Jong Il could kill us all. Boom.”
More silence. “And Japan could help South Korea. So why fight with them? They don’t have nuclear weapons pointing at Seoul. Do they?”
I don’t know if anyone took offense, but of course nobody expressed it if they did.
But what do you, Dear Reader (that is not a Team America: World Police-styled Kim Jong Il pun!), think about this response?
Oh God, I think I will never write “Dear Reader” again without smirking.