Name: Nathan Cho
Class: ESL 100
Let Bygones be Bygones
The International Monetary Fund is an organization made up of 188 countries and it its main purpose is to secure financial stability around the world. If one country can not pay its debt exchange, the organization can help that country. In 1997, the I.M.F was active in Korea because of lack of foreign exchange. At the time, the Korean economy had fallen and many Koreans lost a lot of money, jobs and family. Also there was a lot of corruption, suicide and accusations. That is to say, there was a huge economic crisis. Of course, my family also lived in Korea, so it affected them. We lost many things such as money, prestige and friends. My father is a pastor who works in the church, and my mother is a missionary. This crisis happened when I was six years old, so I could not understand why my parents were accused by the other people for mismanagement of funds. I had seen that many people respected my parents before the I.M.F crisis, but after the event, my family experienced three effects or lessons: when money speaks, the truth keeps silent, doubting is safer than being secure, and forgiveness is better than revenge.
The first lesson was that when money speaks, the truth keeps silent. In 1997, my mother was preparing for a mission to evangelize in Kenya. In 1997 when the I.M.F’s programs came to Korea. During this time, my mother was accused by two people who had donated money for mission. Their reason was very simple. They lost a lot of money at that time, so they wanted to get the money back which they donated to my mother. They did whatever they could to get the money. One day, when my parents were not at home, people who accused my mother came to our home and yelled to me and my younger brother. They ordered us to persuade my mother to get money which they donated my mother. We were afraid, and they made us feel uncomfortable. After they visited, I thought that money was like the devil because money first looks like happiness. However, it finally created a corrupt society and degradation of character.
The second lesson was that doubting is safer than being secure. My family did not believe other people anymore after the crisis. Of course, it is not that we did not have friendships or relationships. We just had to put distance between people regarding money. When my mother was accused by people, my brother and I did not understand why they accused her because they had been friends with my mother for ten years, and they sometimes gave me some gifts, food, or money. I did not believe that they accused mother. However, now I understand them because the I.M.F policies made them lose money and prestige. One woman even got divorced from her husband because of I.M.F policies. So they needed people to whom to pass the buck and they found my mother. Finally, our belief was broken by them and we realized we had been naive.
The final lesson was that forgiveness is better than revenge, which is now my strong belief. My mother did not want to have a battle in court, so she sold our home in order to pay them. When my parents gave them the money, I was angry and I resolved I will get revenge one day. However, my mother told my brother and me not to think about revenge. She said that Jesus taught forgiveness, so you also have to forgive them. Two years ago, some people who accused my mother came to her to get forgiveness, and she forgave them. Now my mother has a good friendship with them. Sometimes they ask me that if I still want to get revenge and I say “I already forgave to you”.
Many Koreans have made great efforts to forget the I.M.F program. We want to let bygones be bygones. However, many people could not and will not forget those terrible years. My family also does not forget this memory, but it is not a terrible memory. Rather, my family thinks we got good three lessons and we sometimes remind each other of these. Actually, my parents feel sorry for me and my younger brother because they think that it was hard for us to have this experience. Although we had a hard time during the I.M.F period, we learned important lessons earlier than other people who are the same age, and it still helps me to live contently.