Honoring Kim Dae-jung From Manila
I am a simple Filipino citizen in Manila. However, my heart is also Korean in the sense that I have adoptive parents who are highly educated Koreans. They are now in their advanced senior years and are staying in Korea. They lived here in Manila for almost 20 years, since the late 1970s.
When I was in realty development, the office of the Korean ambassador was one of our beloved tenants for many years in our high-rise building in Makati City, Metro Manila. I have fond memories of friends from the Korean Embassy.
I write this piece to articulate my feeling of loss at the demise of Korea's former President Kim Dae-jung and to honor him.
We had seen the recent passing of our former Philippine President Cory C. Aquino. Both Tita Cory (in Manila, we fondly and dearly call her ``Tita,'' meaning ``Auntie'') and Kim have, to this day, something great in common.
Words may not be enough. Even to say ``something great in common'' is an understatement, more especially when we consider the role of Tita Cory's martyred husband, Ninoy Aquino, whose martyrdom is celebrated on Aug. 21 ― he was assassinated in 1983.
Korea's Kim had a close association with the late Ninoy Aquino in Boston in the 1980s.
In the Philippines, Tita Cory is the icon of contemporary Philippine democracy. In Seoul, Kim is called the symbol of modern Korean democracy.
It might have been the hand of Divine Providence that the two great leaders would be called by the Almighty Creator within a few days of each other. Maybe, it was for a divine reason for both Filipinos and Koreans to fathom.
Even if I have been spending most of my life in Manila, I have also followed developments on Kim through the years, even before he became the president of Korea. His private and public life is worth emulating.
His memory is meant to be cherished forever, especially in terms of deep love of country, passion to uphold true democracy, and the dream to see the two Koreas united, hopefully, in the Almighty's own bidding and time.
Long live the memory of Kim, and God bless Korea.
Manila, the Philippines