High-School Diary of

Young Suh Kim

      In 1954, I was a high-school boy in Korea. Americans seem to like this photo. This photo was published first in the newspaper for American troops in Korea (1954). These days, they include this photo whenever they talk about me.
      Click here and here to hear what they say about me.
  • Professor Emeritus
    Department of Physics
    University of Maryland
    College Park, Maryland 20742
    Home page.

  • Photos from the Facebook

  • In this photo of 1954 (my graduation year), I am shaking hands with General Maxwell Taylor who was the commander of the U.S. Forces in Korea. Under him were more than 300,000 combat-ready American troops.

    General Taylor was a scholarly man and was keenly interested in Korea's educational system. He wanted to visit the best high school in Korea. He asked his Korean secretary which school to visit. The Korean secretary told Taylor about the high school he attended. He is also in this photo (far left).

  • Taylor served as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Kennedy admiration, and made a plan to invade Cuba during the Cuban missile crises in October of 1962, resulting in the downfall of Nikita Khruschev of the Soviet Union from his position as the head of the Soviet Union.

      These Russian girls in Kazan reacted happily when I talked to them like a high-school boy. Do you know where Kazan is? Click here for this interesting Russian city! Click here for my photos from Kazan.
  • Korean high schools are single-gender schools according to the Confucian tradition.

    1. Boys should not sit down with girls. They should not talk to girls. These rules were very unnatural to teenager boys to whom girls started becoming attractive.

    2. Thus, the language style for boys is different from that for the girls.

  • So many years after my high school graduation, I still talk like a high-school boy whenever I meet the girls. To them, I sound like a talking toy, and they seem to enjoy what I say. To me, they still appear like toys.

  • I regard this aspect of my life as an extension of my high-school years. I enjoy talking with young girls wherever I go in the world. To them, I seem to appear like an innocent high-school boy.

      Silvana Mangano in 1949. She was born in 1930.

  • During our high-school years, we were not allowed to go to movie houses. Thus, the high-school graduation meant a great liberation. Right after our graduation, we went to movie houses very diligently.

    In 1954, an Italian actress named Silvana Mangano was a very popular among us. She starred in the film entitled "Anna." She danced there with a music entitled El Negro Zumbon. This dance song-and-dance scene is still popular and is available from this video.

    Contribution of a New Culture

Alumni Contribution System!

  • When I went to Princeton in July of 1958, I noticed many of the buildings had personal names, such as Palmer Hall, Fine Hall, McCosh Hall, 1942 Hall, etc. Each building carries the name of the person or the group of people who contributed money to construct it. They were the graduates of Princeton University. The 1942 building was donated by those who graduated in 1942.

  • It was one year after Principal Kim Won-Kyu left our school in 1957, and the morale of our students was sinking. In order to lift up their morale, I decided to send $100 per year to our high school. This became the beginning of our alumni contribution system.
      Click on these figures to enlarge them.

Second Phase

  • In Korea (1958), it was a very strange idea for high-school or college graduates to make monetary contributions to their alma mater. Thus, I became well known to Koreans for this strange practice. Some people praised me, but most of them accused me of buying fame with money. Things are different these days. Koreans are making a progress along this direction.

    Ten years later in 1968, the graduates of the same high school decided to follow my example of sending money to their high school in Korea. The total amount of money was increasing every year.

Final Phase

    It went through several stages of evolutions, but I am most proud of giving, not the money but, the Culture of Alumni Contribution to my younger brothers. This culture is flourishing these days. If you made enough money, donate some to your school. This is the duty as a responsible alumnus. I become very happy whenever I hear the news like this:

  • By 2010, our high school was no longer a school without history. Many of our graduates became VIPs in their respective organizations. In addtion, many of us became in command of large sums of money. The alumni contribution became their business: large chunks of money!

Korean War (1950-1953)

      North Korean tanks came to Seoul in the morning of June 28, 1950. They were T-34 tanks developed in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv before World War II.

      In 2000, I was in Kharkiv and had a photo with Ukrainian friends. The T-34 tank was developed in this city, but they were mass-produced during World War II in Chelabinsk deeply hidden in the Ural Mountains.

  • The most serious event during my high-school years was the Korean War which lasted from 1950 to 1953. From July 1950 to August 1951, there were no classes. In September of 1951, out-door classes were held in Busan. We then moved to a temporary campus early in 1952. We had classes there until we returned to Seoul in September of 1953 after the Panmunjom Cease Fire Agreement was signed in July of 1953.

  • The Korean War started when the NK army crossed the 38th parallel on Sunday, June 25, 1950. The school classes were held on Monday, June26, and we all thought the unification of the country was imminent. We all expected that our (South Korean) army (armed with US-made M-1 rifles) would march into Pyongyang in a week.

    However, things turned out to be different. We were all sent back from the school on June 27.

  • There are a number of the war stories which I am the only person who can tell. I will tell just one of them. After spending a sleepless night of June 28-29 at the ground of Suwon railway station, I was on a roofless cargo train car waiting for departure to Daejon.

    Suddenly, a four-engined American plane was flying toward the Suwon Airport. We then heard machine-gun noises, and we saw fighter planes messing around. I later found out the big four-engined plane was MacArthur's plane called "Bataan," and General Mac was coming from Tokyo to inspect the war front in Korea. A North Korean Yak fighter was attempting to shoot down MacArthur's plane, but American F-80 jet fighters chased it away.

    I saw them with my own eyes and later read the story written by the person who was the Korean Air Force Chief at that time. I also collected the photos of those three planes from various sources.

  • Click here for my website for the Korean War (1950-53).

Roofless Classrooms in Busan

      Our roofless classrooms were on this mountain in Busan.

      We were very happy to be back to our campus in Seoul (September 1953).
  • During the Korean War (1950-53), the city of Seoul was in the combat zone, and we had to study a temporary place in the south-eastern port city of Busan. One year in roofless open-air classrooms and two years in plywood box-like class rooms. Yet, our life was very rich. We were making transitions from boys to men, and girls were becoming attractive.

    We all had to study hard in preparation for the college entrance examinations. Many of us were planning to go colleges in the United States.

  • On July 27 of 1953, the Panmunjom Cease Fire Agreement was signed. We all returned to Seoul, and started classes at our original campus. However, the main school buildings were occupied by the British troops who came to Korea as a unit of the United Nations Forces. We thus had to study in the auxiliary spaces on the campus. Yet, I was very happy to be back to our original campus.

  • The following photos show the morning meetings at the Busan campus and Seoul campus.

  • Mr. Kim Won-Kyu used to give us long sermons every morning.

    1. Click here for my story about him.

    2. People say this and that about him. Yet, they all agree that he was a talented and had an unusual passion for his job.

    3. Click here for his family photo of 1954. He had three sons and five daughters.

  • Click here for more about our Busan period during the war years (1951-53).

Extra-Curricula Activities

  • During my high-school years (1948-54), I was good in mathematics. I was known among my teachers and friends to have a special talent along this direction. However, what purpose did it serve in my later years? Click here.

  • As in the case for all people, extra curricula activities during this period played important roles in shaping up my personal goals. Let me brag about my own activities.

    1. My high-school years cover the war years of the Korean war (1950-53). Thus, we had to go though a thorough military training, using Japanese Arisaka rifles (known as 99shik to Koreans) for basic training, and American M-1 rifles for mechanical training. We also had to learn how to throw hand grenades.

    2. In my case, I had a special interest in electronics. I knew how to make radio receivers using vacuum tubes. Semiconductors did not exist at that time. It requires 400 Volts DC to operate those vacuum tube devices.

    3. While fiddling around with those electronic gadgets, I developed my interest in short-wave radios, and started receiving radio signals from far-away places.

        When I left Korea in 1954, I did not come with my radio, but I bought the same model in the United States. This machine was so dear to me.

    4. During the Korean war, my father was a high-ranking officer in the Korean Navy. He had contacts with American navy officers. Those American navy people needed short-wave radios to receive programs from their home country while on their ships far-away their homes. They thus needed short-wave radios, inexpensive sets especially made for them. The Model in question was the Hallicrafters S-38 as shown here.

      My father got one of those sets from his American friend, and it was for me. Thus, in Korea, I was able to listen to radio programs from Japan, China, and BBC programs from Australia, as well as the Voice of America news from Clifornia. I was able to understand Japanese programs given in the laguage of Japan. Their govenment-supported radio, called NHK, had two channels. One primarily for news and education, and the other primarly for music and entertainments. I enjoyed both.

      American and British BBC programs are given in English. China and Taiwan (called Free China) had their part-time English programs. While listening to those programs in English, I was preparing myself for college education in the United States.

        This is the church I attended during my childhood years, until May 1946. This church was in the area now controlled by the North Korean Kingdom.
        Click here for the history of this church.

    5. I also enjoyed North Korean programs from Pyongyang. I never liked their communist messages, but I was interested in how Koreans were doing there. I was born and raised at a village now controlled by North Korean authorities.

      I am proud to say that Koreans, in 1884, built their first Presbyterian church at this village, and that my Christian background is much stronger than those of my professional colleagues (mostly non-religious scientists) in the Western world.

      My family moved to the South in May of 1946 before the Stalin-backed communist regime was formally set up there in 1948. The Pyongyang Radio sent out their powerful signals with three different short-wave frequencies: 4.4 mhz, 5.7 mhz, and 6.25 mhz (megacycles/second).

    6. While listening to the world, I developed my strong desire to talk to the world. In order to talk to the world, I had to build a strong broadcasting station, but it was not possible for me at that time.

      However, the communication revolution took place during the late years of the 20th Century. The internet technology became available to everybody. Indeed, this was God's best gift to me. I can talk to the world by constructing webpages.

    7. Click here for more about my interest in short waves to internet.

  • Thanks to my webpages, I am getting awards and recognitions from respectable institutions. Click here for a degree of progress I have made so far. I am telling

      How did I talk to Einstein?
    1. Einstein left a blank spot when he was formulating his theory of relativity.

    2. I filled in this blank spot with the mathematics I learned during my war-time high-school years (1951-53) in Korea.

    These assertions are very difficult for my physics colleagues to accept with their Herod complexes. However, the ordinary people understand what Einstein means, even though they do not know what the physics is about. Thanks to the internet system and my early interest in long-distance communication, I am making a progress in getting reconditions I deserve.

  • Click here for my auto-bio.