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Ahn Identity

by Eui-Jun Song (DG editor)

  With overall 13 gold medals won, the Russian Federation stood out to be the champion of 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics and in the center of Russia’s success, there was a somewhat awkward face. Nicknamed the emperor of short track, Hyun- Soo Ahn, was back to the Olympic stage, but only with a different name, different uniform and different country. Renamed as Viktor Ahn, he was no longer a competitor for the Republic of Korea but a competitor against it.

   Ahn’s naturalization as a Russian citizen was a hot potato even before the Olympics started. As he was one of the most accomplished short track speed skaters of all time and won numerous medals for South Korea, his sudden naturalization in 2011 caused a public uproar. People wanted to know the reason why the talented athlete transferred to another country and what made his mind change.

   The reason turned out to be the conflict with the Korean Speed-skating Union (KSU) and the lack of support from them. After the 2006 Minneapolis World Champions, Ahn’s father, Ki-Won Ahn had a quarrel with KSU claiming that the coaches didn’t associate with Ahn and conspired with other skaters to prevent him from winning the title of the overall champion. The South Korean short track team at that time was actually split into two, and Ahn was coached by the women’s coach due to the conflicts with the men’s coach. The antagonism between the groups became so intense that the opposing skaters even refused to dine in the same room, sit next to each other on a plane, and share the same floor with each other. Ahn got fed up with this extreme factional strife, and finally, when he failed to qualify for the Korean National Team squad for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics due to the aftereffect of his injury, he makes up his mind and flies north.

   The story after his “defection” is well known. Ahn, finally returned to Olympics which were held in his home country Russia, and once again, he showed the world how valuable player he was. He won 3 gold medals (500m, 1000m, 5000m relay) and a bronze medal (1500m) for the Russian federation. He basically rewrote the history of short track speed skating in Russia, in a sense that the medals he won all marked the first short track medals that Russia has earned while competing as Russia. Also, he became the short tracker with the most Olympic medals, at 8, tied with that of Apolo Anton Ohno. This left South Korea to be more miserable, which didn’t win any medals in men’s short track speed skating. The Diploma, an Asia Pacific current affairs magazine, even wrote an article about KSU with the title “Korean Skating Union: The Biggest Loser in Sochi?”

   The Korean Skating Union should recall what Ahn said to the reporters after he switched his South Korean passport into a Russian one. "I only came here to continue playing the sport I love. I wanted to find an environment where I could train with full support," The very fundamental function any sports union should perform, is clearly not being fulfilled. Without any alterations, there is no doubt that there are going to be more Viktor Ahns, which is an apparent national loss.



by Eui-Jun Song
(DG editor)
 

dongtan globe

Strong Stride toward Excellence

The pleasant scent of autumn has spread and the campus of Dongtan Global High School is enveloped in cool wisps of the fragrant harvest breezes of fall. Just as the nearby rice fields have grown into sturdy, golden stalks so too has our school matured and taken firm root in the city of Hwaseong.

 

  With the school’s first commencement ceremony last winter, sending the graduates far and wide to make their mark in the world, already another group of seniors are about to take one of the biggest exams of their lives. My fellow students are eager to honor the name of the school, and the new recruits are more competent than ever. The campus has been blooming with special events, academic challenges, and new clubs and activities where students have been showing their persistence, creativity, and expertise. It seems DGHS is ever more fruitful with every year that passes.

 

  In the third publication of the Dongtan Globe, we have taken strides to meet the rising standard of the school. The reporters and editors have tried to deliver the best of their work, striving to meet the high expectations. In consequence, we were able to present more extended and finer edition to you. And I, the third chief editor, will return the honor to the hard-working members of the the Dongtan Globe and contributors who willingly participated in the publication.

 

  Previously, feature stories focused on topics associated with the annual Joint Academic Conference of Global High Schools. This year, however, we’ve taken a different approach and will be discussing the controversy regarding integration of the liberal arts and natural sciences tracks in South Korean high schools.

 

  The topic is fairly recent as the Ministry of Education is starting to implement education of no border between natural sciences and liberal arts. There are many controversies whether the integration is necessary or not. In our feature, we cover various arguments and facts about the issue. Specifically, the feature discusses the issue first in the historical context and then through its progression of current decision to integrate the tracks. Within this discussion, the feature spotlights the concept of consilience of Edward O.Wilson which will help readers to understand the ideology behind the track integration argument.

 

  In addition, we’ve included a wide range of articles covering other domestic and international issues such as Crimean crisis, school life including articles about an invited professor and a reporter, and even reviews of some recent music, book, and movie.

 

As usual, we thank you for your continued support and readership and hope that you enjoy this year’s edition of the Dongtan Globe.

 

By Jong-Seo Park
DG editor-in-chief

 

The Humanities Matter

 Korean high school education has been offering distinct curriculum tracks for the last several decades: liberal arts and natural sciences. As of 2018, however, those two separate tracks are supposed to be integrated into one comprehensive track. Debates are raging surrounding this issue. While advocates argue that the integrated curriculum be implemented in order to produce creative talents fitting the consilience spirit of the 21st century, opponents argue that it is premature to decide that now. Rather, they insist, all we need to do is strengthen basic skills under the current split curriculum.

 

  I believe an integrated curriculum is eventually the right choice to make. This academic approach is already a mainstay of many developed countries such as the United States and most western European countries. The underlying philosophy behind their policy is that both quality of living and competitiveness can be enhanced only when scientists are armed with humanities refinements and entrepreneurs possess good knowledge of natural science.

 

  I support this approach, and believe additionally that humanistic values are closely associated with cultural industries, and developing them in each individual will be beneficial to society. The general idea behind cultural industries is that popular culture produces cultural goods such as printed media, music, television, film, as well as crafts and design. They are knowledge-based and labor-intensive, and not only create employment and wealth, but also drive the norms of a particular society. Thus, in nurturing creativity, analysis and reflection, and fostering innovation, societies will maintain cultural diversity, enhance economic performance, and advance the sciences while also promoting sustainable, peaceful societal standards.

 

  The essential point is that technology alone cannot lead itself to beneficial cultural industries. That is, we cannot produce a movie only with quality cameras, audio, and special effects. The storytelling is indeed crucial to the development of an entertaining and profitable film. In addition, a film that is only entertaining and profitable is also not necessarily a promotion of wholesome societal norms. The story must also celebrate, at least subtly, positive cultural goods to build enthusiasm for positive cultural attitudes such as cooperation and sustainability. Steve Jobs might be a genius, but he is not supposed to create iPhone all by himself. In the modern world, cooperation of the humanities and the sciences is integral to success. And being successful is not just about profitability, but about creating sustainable societies.

 

  Thus, an individual who has built an upright character is one who is not only a master of formulas and rules, but also an engine of creativity and innovation, based on cultural norms which promote peace, cooperation, and sustainability. This is the reason why we study the humanities.

 

By SangYol Cheong
Principal, DGHS