Wisdom of Korea (2004, January -- June )

Die Fledermaus

Y.S.Kim (2004.1.4)

What did you do during the holidays? Christmas, New Year, parties, gatherings, watching TV? Of course this holiday season is accompanied by music. In addition to usual church music, there are a number of well-established musical events.

The city of Vienna has many music halls. One of them is called "Musikverein." There, on every new year's eve, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra presents a Vienna waltz concert. This program is broadcast to the entire world. For Americans, the narrator is Walter Cronkite. If you spent some years in the United States, you should know who Cronkite is. He has been doing this for 20 years. It is my understanding that, in Korea, KBS TV relays the same program narrated by Cronkite.

For Christmas music and ballet, we can mention Tchaikovsky's Nut Cracker. I talked about this ballet several times in my earlier articles. The ballet is based on one of Russian stories for children, but dances are superb. Its second act consists of a complete set of international dances, including Spanish, Ukrainian, Chinese, Arabian, French, Italian dances. I watch this ballet every year.

Another Vienna-based seasonal music is an opera entitled Die Fledermaus. The waltz "Die Fledermaus" is one of the most popular musical pieces in Korea, along with "Over the Waves" by Juventano Rosas (Mexican composer) and "Waves of the Danube" by Josif Ivanivich (Romanian composer). The Die Fledermaus was composed by Johann Strauss, whose name is associate with many familiar Vienna Waltzes, such as Blue Danube, Emperor, Voice of Spring, Song of Wine and Girls, Roses from the South, etc. These are well known to all Koreans.

As for the opera Die Fledermaus, I heard its complete version on the last day of 1952 from Japan using my shortwave radio. At that time, I found out that the Die Fladermaus waltz came from the opera. In Korea it is called "Bak-Jui Waltz", and "Ko-omorni-no Waltz" in Japan. The songs in the opera are beautiful, but its title carries the name of a creature unlucky to both Koreans and Westerners. Have you wondered why?

The opera is based on a new year's party for Vienna's high-class people. It consists of a series of beautiful songs and waltzes linked together by French-style jokes and pranks. It is not worth explaining what the story is about. However, the star singer wears a flederamus (bat) mask to hide her identity. This is the reason why the opera is so entitled.

While the party was at its full swing, a Hungarian countess shows up with the bat mask, and sings how beautiful her country is. She sings her country has beautiful river, sky, and just about everything. In addition, she says Hungary has a beautiful language. Hungarian language is different from European languages. Its grammar is the same as that of the Korean language. You do not have to learn Hungarian to speak Hungarian. You can speak Korean there with a different pronunciation for each word.

What this Hungarian countess says is quite meaningful to me. I say the same thing about the language you and I speak on the cover page of my web-based book (www.physics.umd.edu/~yskim/wisdom.html). You may check what I say there.

Another remarkable aspect of her song is that it sounds like our Patti Kim's song entitled "In Praise of Seoul." I can construct a theory of why Hungarian songs are so popular to Koreans, but I should stop here. When I was in Budapest last year (2003), I met three Korean ladies who are active musicians there. I of course enjoyed talking about music with them. If you like to see my photos with them, visit my lady page, and see the section on Korean ladies (toward the end of the lady page).

Happy New Year!!

National Defense Army

Y.S.Kim (2004.2.2)

As you know, I have been writing stories about Rhee Seungman, Korea's first president. In the past, I have been writing mostly about his achievements and his tireless efforts to set up the country known as the Republic of Korea. These days, many Koreans miss him in view of the conducts of recent presidents. My personal view is that he is a great man, and we can learn many lessons from him. This is the reason why I am writing the present series of articles about him.

On the other hand, Rhee made many serious mistakes during his presidency. In my previous mail, I talked about Johann Strauss's opera entitled Die Fledermaus. This opera consists of a serious of great songs and dances linked by French- style pranks. Likewise, the twelve years of Rhee's reign (1949-60) consisted of a series of tragedies linked by comic political shows. It is indeed a miracle that Koreans managed to survive under this extreme environment and started constructing prosperous economy.

The worst tragedy was of course the Korean War which lasted from 1950 to 1953. Some people say that Rhee started this war, but the cause of the war was the division of the country by the United States and the Soviet Union. I talked about this in detail in my previous articles. Rhee is blameles here.

Koreans suffered during the war, but Rhee's made two major blunders to add more sufferings to the people. One was the infamous National Defence Army, and the other was the massacre of innocent people at the village named Keo-Chang. Because of these two incidents, Koreans turned away from Rhee, and Rhee lost most of his political allies.

Let me tell you about the National Defense Army. Before June 1950, the Korean army had 100,000 men organized into eight infantry divisions. After three days of fighting at the initial stage of the Korean War, the army could count less than 5,000 soldiers capable of firing rifles. In order to reconstruct the army, Rhee decided to place the Korean army under the command of General Douglas MacArthur. That is the reason why an American general is still in operational control of the Korean army.

Under the U.S. control during the War, Korean soldiers had to do the jobs Americans did not want to do. When Americans retreated under the pressure of the Chinese army, Koreans had to stand between Chinese and Americans in order to save American lives at the expense of Korean lives.

Out of frustration, Koreans wanted have their own army under the Korean control. In November of 1950, the National Assembly passed a resolution to build a new army of one million men under the Korean control. As a consequence, a separate army organization was set up, and the official title of this new army was "Kook-min Bang-wi Goon" (NDA or National Defence Army). The commander of this army was Major General "Kim Yoon-Geun." Because of the figure one million, Kim's NDA was authorized to draft every able Korean man, and it did. This was the beginning of the tragedy. What happened then? Let me continue next time.

June 29 - September 28 (1950)

Y.S.Kim (2004.2.25)

During the three-month period from June 29 to September 28, Seoul was under the occupation of the North Korean communist regime. When Joseph Stalin and Kim Il-Sung planned the war, they did not expect the Unite States would intervene so swiftly. In an attempt to overcome this unexpected obstacle, North Korean authorities started drafting every able-bodied man in Seoul to its volunteer army, called "Eui-yong Goon."

We do not know the exact number of those young people who were forced to volunteer, but most of them were able to escape and return home when the North Korean army lost its organization and retreated to the North. Yes, they were forced to sign the statement pledging personal loyalty to Kim Il-Sung's socialist cause.

Then, when the South had to retreat from Seoul in December of 1950, those young people could not be left behind. The Korean government drafted every able-bodied young man before moving the southern provinces. This was how the National Defense Army was created. However, did the Korean government have enough resources to provide food and shelter to those young people. I will talk more about this next time.

Being drafted to the N.K. communist army as "Eui-yong Goon" was a dreadful experience for those young people. In addition, many of those innocent people were persecuted by (south) Korean authorities for collaboration with enemy. They were severely beaten an tortured by security agents of the South.

Even after the Cold War was over, around 1995, there was a foreign minister named Kong Ro-Myung. He had to resign from his post because he "volunteered" to serve in "Eui-yong Goon" in 1950. Very definitely, he was forced to volunteer and did not join out of his will. I met him in 1962 when I came to the Washington area. He was then a low-ranking clerk at the Korean Embassy in the United States. He devoted his entire life to Korea's foreign service operations, and served as the first Ambassador to Gorbachev's Soviet Union before becoming the foreign minister. He was the "cleanest" public official I know of. He served his country well. It was definitely wrong and inhumane to accuse him of having served in the Eui-Yong Goon.

We all agree that North Korean communists commit atrocities to their own people, but I wonder whether Koreans in the South are much better in treating fellow Koreans as humans. Between the two different ideologies, Korean young people had to go through sufferings after sufferings. Yet, they are the ones who provided the work force for building Korea's industry. Koreans can afford some sympathy to fellow Koreans.

Atrocity committed by Ignorance

Y.S.Kim (2004.2.26)

On January 4, 1951, the US Army engineers blew up the ponton bridge connecting Mapo and Yeoido. By that time, Seoul was an empty city. Most of its citizens had moved to Busan and other cities in the South. We call this the 1.4 retreat.

The young people who got drafted to the National Defense Army also moved to the South. There were no organized transportations. If those young men could not ride on trains or trucks, they had to walk. During this process, those with money or influence could avoid their military duties and could move to the South with their families. Only those without money or influence remained in the service.

In order to construct an army, the government has to provide training and weapons. Before that, those young soldiers should be given food to eat and shelter under which they could sleep. The planners of the National Defense Army had absolutely no ideas about this basic human requirement.

Yes, the National Assembly allocated some money for their living expenses. However, the NDA did not have administrative structure to transform the budget into daily necessities. As a consequence, most of the NDA budget went into corrupt officers and money-loving business people.

For instance, business people got contracts to provide uniforms for the troops, and get the money. Those business people never delivered any clothing pieces to NDA soldiers, but expensive dressings for the officers' wives. How about food? Nothing for the soldiers, but meat and honey for high-ranking officers.

As a consequence, the NDA units became collections of sick beggars. I do not know the exact figure, but the estimate is that nearly 100,000 young Koreans became tuberculosis patients. This is what the Korean government did to its innocent citizens.

By March of 1951, there was a public outcry about this madness. In order to describe this tragedy, Koreans used the word "Cheon-In Gong-Ro" (God and people become angry together). Rhee Seungman had to replace the defense minister, Shin Sung-Mo, and punish the top-ranking officers in the National Defense Army.

The commander of the NDA was Kim Yoon-Geun. He had neither military nor administrative background before becoming a major general of the NDA. When he was attending Yonsei University, he was a sportsman, or more precisely a muscle man. He was "Ssireum" man. It was Shin Sung-Mo's madness to give the immense organizational responsibility to this brainless man. Indeed, the NDA was a product of these two ignorant men.

The defense minister who replaced Shin Sung-Mo was Lee Ki-Boong. Lee did a reasonable job in cleaning up the mess. He sent Kim Yoon-Geun and four other NDA officers to a firing squad. Kim was offered to say the last words before his face was covered for execution. He said Shin Sung-Mo is the real person to be punished. Many people, including me, agree with Kim on Shin Sung-Mo.

By cleaning up the NDA mess, Lee Ki-Boong gained a reputation as a competent and conscientious administrator. From there, he became closer and closer to Rhee Seungman. He and his family died in April of 1960 two days before Rhee resigned. Lee, his wife, and younger son was shot to death by his elder son who then shot himself.

Lee Ki-Boong was known as a decent man. I once shook hands with him when he came to my high school on the graduation of my class. He asked me whether I was planning to go to the United States. I said "Yes Sir." He told me to study harder for the country. What was wrong with him was that he had a power-hungry wife named Park Maria. I will talk more about these people in my later articles.

Speaking of my high school graduation, it was on March 3, 1954, fifty years ago. I came to the United States in September of the same year. This year will also mark my 50th year in the U.S. To celebrate this, I decided to upgrade the American laddies section of my ladies page (I assume you know how to get there). Toward the end, you will see American ladies and Korean ladies including my mother.

You will note there a photo of Hillary Clinton which I took. When I was a student at Princeton, there were no girls. Women were intellectually inferior at that time. You will be surprised to hear that the present president of Princeton University is a lady. I have a photo with her.

Many things became changed. The first-class postage 50 years ago costed 3 cents. It is now 37 cents, more than 12 times. The air-mail postage for once ouce to Korea costed 80 cents fifty years ago. It is still 80 cents. This means that Korea became very close to the United States.

Keochang Massacre

Y.S.Kim (2004.2.27)

About ten years ago, I met a Korean gentleman four years younger than I am. I asked him where in Korea he came from. He said Keochang. I then asked him whether he is from Keochang in Kyungnam Province. I then told him it is impossible because everybody there was killed by the (south) Korean troops in 1951 when he was twelve years old. He told me he and his family members were away from the town on that tragic day.

After the North Korean army was driven away from the South in September of 1950, many of the NK troops were trapped in the South. Most of them were captured as prisoners of war, but still many of them went into mountains to stage guerrilla wars. They joined the former South Korean communist guerrillas. In order to obtain food and daily necessities, those guerrillas had to raid the nearby villages. The strongest guerrilla base was in the Jirisan mountains in Kyungnam province.

Keochang was near Jirisan and was a town of about 1000 people. Those communist came down to this town often to get daily supplies. Indeed, there were some communist sympathizers, but most of the town people were innocent farmers, merchants and craftsmen..

During the early months of 1951, the only safe area in Korea was Busan and Kyungnam Province. The person who was responsible for the security of this area was an army colonel named Kim Jong-Won. His title was the commander of martial law in the Kyungnam district. He was also in charge of personal safety of Rhee Seungman. This meant that Kim Jong-Won was the most powerful man in Korea, only after the president.

He could not afford those communist activities in his province, and sent one battalion of police troops to Keochang to kill everybody there. The town was completely wiped out. He did this in the name of safeguarding the president. This incident was reported in foreign mass media and caused a domestic outcry. When the National Assembly sent a team of investigation to Koechang, Kim's troops, disguised as communist guerrillas, attacked those Assembly men.

While the National Assembly demanded the punishment of Kim Jong-Won, Rhee refused. Rhee was impressed by Kim's personal loyalty to him. In so doing, Rhee lost most of his political allies. Rhee's vice president, Lee Si-Young, resigned. Most significantly, Cho Byoung-Ok also resigned from the post of minister of internal affairs (in charge of national police and of appointing provincial officials). Cho had been one of Rhee's closest comrades against communists.

Cho became convinced that Rhee was ethically unfit to run his country, and joined Rhee's political enemies to start a movement to remove Rhee from his presidency. This became the beginning of Rhee's political crisis in 1952. I think I can cover the 1952 event comprehensively, because I was able to get information from unusual sources. I heard the daily coverage of the 1952 events from Pyongyang through my shortwave radio. There were communist spies in Rhee's inner circles.

Another source of information was Cho's youngest son. He was my classmate in high school. We were very close friends. He was wondering how I could do other things (such as talking politics) while doing mathematics. He is now the head of one of the major political parties in Korea. He advertises himself as a clean man, and he is. I become very happy whenever I see his photo in newspapers.

As for Kim Jong-Won, I never met him, but I was once two meters away from him in 1951. He was well-built handsome man. At the insistence of the National Assembly, Kim was later tried and received a ten-year sentence for the Koechang atrocity. Everybody assumed that he was finished. One day, when I was going to school in the morning, I was noticed him on the front seat of a jeep marked as the Police of Chungbuk Province. He was in a police uniform. I could not believe he was Kim Jong-Won who was supposed to be in prison.

Next day, newspapers reported the appearance of Kim in Busan as the Chungbuk police chief. He received a special pardon from Rhee and later became the national police chief (in Korean, Chian Kook-Jang). He was so notorious that Korean movies use his name whenever they talk about the Chian Kook-Jang, even though different a person was in that position.

I do not like what Kim Jong-Won did, but he had a talent to survive, still in movies. After I received a sentence "Dashen is a genius but you are a Chosenjin" in 1966, I was totally isolated from the U.S. physics community, and was thoroughly despised by my fellow Koreans. It is a real pleasure these days to receive greetings from my old American friends. They are commenting on my webpages, and I think of Kim Jong-Won.

June 25 (1954)

Y.S.Kim (2004.3.6)

On June 25 (1954), there was a ceremony at the Seoul Stadium (near Dongdaemoon at that time) marking the fourth anniversary of the 6.25 event. It took place two months before I left Korea at the end of August, and it was the last public meeting I attended. It was the first 6.25 ceremony to take place in Seoul.

I was a freshman at SNU then, and not high enough to be on the front stand, but was distinguished enough to be in the front row of ordinary citizens standing on the stadium ground facing the front stand. I was at an excellent position to watch what was going on the front stand. At the center, there were two kingly and queenly seats for the president and his wife. In addition, there were seats for other government officials, such as the chairman of the national assembly and the chief justice.

On the west side of the stands were seats for assembly men, and the east side were the seats for foreign ambassadors, soldiers who earned combat distinction during the war including immediate family members of those who were killed in action.

There were several moving moments during the ceremony. President Rhee Seungman gave out five highest combat medals to those who died in action. The first medal was given to a widowed wife. She was very young and looked very intelligent. She was dressed in light-green Korean dress. She gently bowed to the president after receiving the medal. Many people were in tears, so was I. But this lady was thoroughly composed. After receiving the medal, she was sitting at her seat on the east side of the front stand. I looked her carefully. She was composed throughout the ceremony and her face was showing her determination to be strong. I do not know where she is now. She is the kind of Korean ladies whose photos I would like to include in my photo album.

The second medal was given to the father of a deceased soldier. He came from a country side. He was very tall and was wearing a white Korean robe with a traditional Korean hat called "Gat." He also bowed to the president, and Madam Francesca (Rhee's wife) shook hands with him. He looked so humble and so innocent that he fixed my attitude toward the humble people. As you know, in my writings, I am always sympathetic toward ordinary Koreans and am hostile to intellectuals though I am one of them.

As usual at that time, the ceremony was delayed for about an hour, and I was able to see those arriving dignitaries. I saw Cho Byung-Ok taking his seat at the assembly section. About ten minutes later a freshman assembly man came and took his seat. His name was Kim Doo-Hwan. You should know who he was. He was the head of the gangster group in the Chong-Ro district, and became elected to the assembly in the March election of 1954.

Kim Doo-Hwan was dressed like a sportsman, with a navy jacket and grey pants. He looked at his assembly colleagues who arrived before he did, but ignored everybody except one person. He was sending a very kind sign to Cho Byung-Ok. He looked more like a Kisaeng than a gangster boss. Cho was an expressionless man, but he showed his happiness to show up in public place with Kim Doo-Hwan.

Here are then questions. Cho Byung-Ok was the police chief during the U.S. occupation from 1945 to 1948. Kim Doo-Hwan was a gangster boss very active during that period. They were at the opposite ends. Furthermore, Cho belonged to the political party determined to oust Rhee, while Kim was elected as a member of pro-Rhee party. Then why Cho and Kim had to be so close? I will tell the story next time.

As for Kim Doo-Hwan, I met a small Korean boy a year ago in the U.S. I asked him what he wants to be. He said he want to become like Kim Doo-Hwan. I asked why? He said Kim was fighting for the good and fighting against evils. I asked him how he knows this. He said he saw him from the movies.

One of the things Kim did while he was in the Assembly was that he threw a bucket of human waste to one of his corrupt colleagues while he was speaking on the podium. There are many interesting stories about him, but you do not know why he was so close to the police chief during the confused period of 1945-18.

Kim Doo-Hwan

Y.S.Kim (2004.3.19)

Kim Doo-Hwan is well known among Koreans, and I do not elaborate on his life. We simply miss him these days. We should erect his statues in front of major government buildings. In his statue, his should hold a bucket, and his bucket should be constantly filled with smelly human wastes. This is the most appropriate way to warn those corrupt politicians. We should have definitely have his statue in front of the supreme court building. It is agreed that the judicial branch of the Korean government, consisting of SNU graduates, is the most corrupt institution in the world.

When Americans came to Korea in 1945, the U.S. military commander was naive enough to give political freedom to all political factions including communists, and Park Hun-Young's communist group became the most prominent political party, still known to us as Namro-Dang. Park's party was strong because his ideology was based on the anti-colonialism and nationalism.

In order to become the president, Rhee Seungman had to route out this communist organization. The person who contributed most toward Rhee's cause was Cho Byung-Ok. He was the police chief in the U.S. military administration. He was ordered by his American boss to maintain political neutrality, and he pretended to do it in order to maintain his job. But he was in the best place to look into the communist activities. I will talk more about Cho's king-making role for Rhee in later articles.

Another person who made a very significant contribution was Kim Doo-Hwan. Yes, the communists had their organizations in labor unions, colleges, high schools, government branches, and just about everywhere. How about gangster organizations? Yes, they had strong organizations even there. It was Kim Doo-Hwan who eliminated his communist rivals. One day, two of Kim's younger brothers (loyal followers) kidnapped the boss of the communist gang organization, and brought him to Kim Doo-Hwan. Kim then killed him with his pistol.

There were those who witnessed those two younger brothers kidnapping the communist boss. They were arrested and tried for murder. Out of their loyalty to their boss, they never said who the real killer was. Instead they said they were the killers. When the judge was ready to deliver heavy sentences to them, Kim Doo-Hwan stood up and said "I am the killer." Kim then received a 20-year jail term and was shipped to a jail of the U.S.army in Okinawa. When the Korean government was inaugurated in August of 1948, Kim received a special pardon from the president.

Here is the point. Cho Byung-Ok was the police chief. It was impossible for him not to know who the real killer was. However, Cho did not want to touch Kim Doo-Hwan. In order to function properly, the police chief of any city country needs cooperation from gangster organizations. Cho and Kim were comrades in fighting communists and in the business of king-making for Rhee Seungman.

I received several emails from Korean students about political uncertainties in Korea. To me, it is not new. Since I came to the United States fifty years ago, this is the fifth time for Korea to be without the president. I told those students that we are very lucky this time because military units are not involved.

On the other hand, there is a more serious problem these days. The problem is the ideological division among Koreans. Koreans are very nationalistic people, and I am one of those nationalistic Koreans. Before 1945, Park Hun-Young's nationalism was synonymous with anti-colonialism against Japan. It is very unfortunate that his nationalism took the form of communism. These days, American influence is too strong in Korea. The danger is that Koreans have tendency to equate their nationalism to ani-colonialism toward the United States.

I am not saying that we should be subservient to Americans. Not long ago, Russia used be our enemy country. However, if you go to Russia, Russians are the most friendly people to us. How about Americans? They have never been our enemies. Why cannot we become their friends? Yes, American policies toward Korea are more often wrong than right. But, we are not in a position to criticize Americans. The problem is that we do not know how to talk to Americans. It is very easy to understand why. Korean students after spending seven years in the United States cannot speak English. Those students, after returning to Korea, become policy makers and diplomats. The problem is the same for the academic world. This is how Korea's best university became the worst university in the world.

Here again, I am not preaching things which I cannot practice. I am attaching an email from an American army officer who served in Korea for your information. I am not giving out his email address. I you wish to write him, I will be very happy to forward your mail to him.

Please continue reading.

From Jason.Crowe@(e-address not shown)
Date: Wed, 10 Mar 2004 14:34:05 -0000
To: yskim@physics.umd.edu
Subject: Web Site


I really enjoyed your web site, I found it looking for "tank" photos of all kinds. Imagine my surprise when I ran a search on Russian Tanks and the title "Ladies of the world" came up! All in all, I found your photographs to be charming and a positive reflection on the human spirit.

As a side note, I'm a career U.S. military officer and I've served in the Republic of Korea. Namely the Taegu and Waegwan area. One thing I took away from my tour in Korea was the warmth and friendliness of the Korean people.

In any event, I'm sure you're a very busy individual. Good luck in the future, best wishes, and keep up the good work!

Very Respectfully,
MAJ Jason Crowe

From yseo@radiology.ucsf.edu Mon Mar 29 00:49:44 2004
Date: Fri, 19 Mar 2004 14:30:04 -0800 (PST)
From: Youngho Seo

Dear Prof. Kim,

First of all, I appreciate your constant passsion in preaching us how important the communication ability is. This is another tantalizing story so that I feel obligated to respond.

Hope you remember our previous e-mail correspondences (I was at UCLA at that time). Also, last year when I was on the way to Philadelphia to atten APS April meeting, I in fact knocked your door at University of Maryland before meeting my friend Youngchan there. Unfortunately, I did not get an honor to chat with you. And, since last September, I moved to UCSF to pursue my career as medical imaging physicist...

Let me continue responding to your story about Kim Doo-Hwan.

Yesterday, there was an interesting article about that Korea's best university with some remarks by Korea's most well-known industry leaders. But, their view was quite different from yours. The referred article is at: http://news.naver.com/news_read.php?oldid=200403190000354867041

One of Korea's "best" industry leaders, Mr. Jong-Yong Yoon made a remark to compare Korea-educated Ph.D.'s in science and engineering to US (or European) - educated Ph.D.'s as Hyundai Pony (my metaphor) to Mercedez-Benz S-Class. Furthermore, this news article leaped Mr. Yoon's original idea (in my opinion) to concluding that SNU Ph.D.'s are awfully treated in Korean industries. The part "SNU" (and so-called "SKY") is believed to be inserted by this newpaper reporter. What is wrong with this remark? Maybe, there is nothing wrong. Maybe, he spoke about only facts. However, the ones (US-educated Ph.D.s) that Mr. Yoon wants at Samsung are exactly those who you criticized. Korean graduate students admitted to American graduate schools, after spending seven years to learn valuable skills and technologies that Samsung wants, are very much welcomed by Mr. Yoon. These students, most of them, but not all, are the ones who cannot speak English after so many years in USA. As you might have already noticed, American graduate education especially in enginnering does not require foreign students to have sufficient communication skill. Not at all. A sadder observation I had in recent years is that the ones who seem to know how to communicate in America do not go back to Korea. The ones who seem to not know how to communicate in America mostly failed to get a job in this soil and had to go back to Korea. Certainly Samsung welcomed 90% (not based on any statistic) of these US-breed Ph.D.'s. US security issues after 911 deepened this symptome more. So, what is my point? Well, my point is that we have to blame Korean students' attitudes than to blame schools such as SNU, SKY, or very funny acronym PKS. One best example of bad attitudes is not participating in Christmas party, of course! There are many good examples set by our predecessors. Hard-working (one of three little dragons), being gentle (Suhn-bee), working-together (Poom-at-ee), respecting each other (Yei-Buhm-Juhl) to name a few. Where are these virtues gone now? Best,
Youngho SEO, Ph.D.
UCSF Physics Research Laboratory, Nuclear Medicine Section
San Francisco, CA 94143-0946

Eaton College (High School)

Y.S.Kim (2004.3.27)

I came back from London after spending my spring vacation week there. Things are good there. Weather in London is never good, but spaghetti tastes much better there than anywhere in Italy or the United States. How does it taste in Korea? While there, I was thinking of writing the following article.

The name of my high-school principal was Kim Won-Kyu. Here is my story about him. He was a very happy man because he had a passion toward his work. Within his school system, he was a dictator. He also had a strong influence on Korea's educational system. He transformed an easy-going Korea into an entrance-exam hell. As many of you know, Dr. Kim Hogil was the founding president of Pohang University of Science and Technology, and he also occupies an important place in Korea's educational system. He spent ten years at the University of Maryland, and he used to have hot arguments with me very often.

It is safe to say that Kim Hogil had a great respect for Kim Won-Kyu. Kim Hogil used to tell me he knew about Kim Won-Kyu better than I do. I then asked him whether he ever met the person. He said No, but he knows better because I am nothing. He then added that, if I have anything, it all belongs to Kim Won-Kyu. As many of you know, Kim Hogil had his own unique logic, and used to annoy people. However, in this case, his logic was a product of his admiration toward Kim Won-Kyu and, to some extent, toward me. I used to like him and I still miss him.

When I was a high-school student, Kim Won-Kyu had one favorite word, namely "Eaton High School" of England. He used to mention this word everyday. Eaton College is a five-year pre-college school for the boys of ages from 13 to 18. I do not know why it is called collage. This high school produced many important Britisch during the reign of Queen Victoria (1837-1901) while the British Empire was expanding. Most the prime ministers, governors of India, navy admirals were Eaton graduates Kim Won-Kyu's dream was to construct a high school like Eaton in Korea.

When I went to his home, in August of 1954, to say "good bye" to him before leaving for the United States, Mr. Kim Won-Kyu told me I should handle Eaton men when I meet them in the world. I have been in the United States for fifty years, and travelled around the world, but I have not met a single Eaton man whom I wanted to handle. After all those years, I went last week to Eaton near Windsor (about 60 km from London) to meet some Eaton boys to figure out why I could not see them in the world.

Eaton was an important institution when Britain needed the people who could run the Empire, but it is no longer. To ordinary people in England, Eaton is a special high school for the riches and royal family members where students wear black uniforms. I met many students there in their uniforms. Other than that, Englishmen/women do not know what Eaton stands for. Neither Tony Blair nor Margaret Thatcher is an Eaton graduate.

To make things worse, Eaton had not established a tradition of their graduates going into science. This is the reason why I was not able to find Eaton men in my profession. Most of the Eaton students follow their family traditions. I met a 13-year old boy on the Eaton campus. I asked him what he wants to be. He said he wants to be a soldier. Presumably his grandfather is a general who looks glamorous to him. At his age, it is not possible to have a critical mind.

I also met a student in his graduating class. I asked him what his future plan is. He said he wants to go the United States to study economics. These day, one has to be in the U.S. to run the world, he said. He seems to carry the original Eaton spirit: to run the Empire. This seems to be the trend for the ambitious Eaton graduates these day.

In England, Eaton boys are not the only ones wishing to study in the United States. In London, manual services such as hotel and restaurant works are mostly are provided by the students from money- poor Eastern European countries. There are also many students from Mongolia. The British system allows foreign students to work for 20 hours/week while studying in universities. I asked them what their future plans are. They all say that their ultimate destination is the United States. It is very difficult for them to go to the U.S.

This time of the year, many Korean students receive admission letters from the graduate schools in the United States. For Koreans, it is very easy to come to the U.S. They should know how fortunate they are, compared with those from other parts of the world including those from Eaton College. Instead, they refuse to learn English while in the United State, thus failing to acquire ability to communicate with the world. I talked about this last time.

They should also realize that they had an exceptional educational background. Before receiving their admissions, they had to go through ruthless competitions in Korea's educational system. Here again, Korean students do not see how fortunate they are. They instead constantly curse their educational background. If they survived in the Korean educational system, they should use their ability to compete with their colleagues from other parts of the world.

Here again, I do not preach what I cannot practice. You would agree that I went to Eaton out of my respect to the Korean educational system largely framed by my high school principal. Many people say that I have reached my retirement age, but they also agree that I am the most competitive or combative physicist after visiting my website (http://ysfine.com/home/index.html). After all, Kim Hogil was right. I am nothing. If I have anything, it all belongs to Kim Won-Kyu.

Here is the point of today's sermon. If you survived in the Korean educational system, use your competative ability to compete with those from other countries. You will be far more productive than in competing against your fellow Koreans.

Follow-up on Eaton

Y.S.Kim (2004.3.29)

Eaton College was known as the best high school in the world until the end of World War II. These days, it is very close to the worst high school, if not the worst in the world. How did that happen? The answer is very simple. The school was not able to adjust itself to the world environment, as in the case of the Korean government and Korea's best universities.

There was another Eaton-like school in England. It was and still is called Harrow. Quite understandably Eaton and Harrow used to be two competing schools. From outsiders' point of view, they were the same school. Winston Churchill was one of the last prominent graduates of Harrow.

Among the last prominent Eaton graduates was Winston Churchill. He was able to see the concept of the British Empire was becoming outdated due to the enlightenment of the world. More specifically people of the world, other than English-speaking people, were learning how to operate guns. He came to the conclusion that the only way for Britain to survive as an English-speaking nation was to sell the Empire to the United States. This is what the Atlantic Charter (1943) is all about. The United States then combined the Empire with Woodrow Wilson's idea of the League of Nations to create the United Nations.

As you know, the first government of Korea headed by Rhee Seungman was created by the United Nations which was an agency of the United States at that time. Rhee did not have any political organization within his own country, but he knew what was going on in the world. As a student of Woodrow Wilson at Princeton, he was able to see how the concept of the United Nations was evolving. This made him powerful enough to eliminate his political rivals such as Park Hun-Young and Kim Koo.

Cho Byung-Ok as a king maker

Y.S.Kim (2004.3.31)

Kim Koo came to Korea as the president of the Shanghai Provisional Government, but got into a bitter conflict with the commander of the U.S. forces in Korea on the issue of the five-year trusteeship, known to us as the Shintak Tongchi. He did not have much political organization within the country. Rhee Seungman was also against the Shintak, but carefully avoided direct confrontation with the U.S. commander. He instead went to Washington and witnessed how the U.S. government, with George Marshal as the secretary of state, was making preparations for a UN-sponsored government for Korea.

Internally, Park Hun-Young's communist party had the strongest political organization. There was also a conservative party called Hanmin-Dang consisting of well-to-do upper-class Koreans headed by Kim Sung-Soo. This party was against communists but was no match to the communist party in terms of organization and appeal to the ordinary people.

The political plan of Hanmin-Dang was to place Rhee Seungman as the head of the country, but retain the political power among themselves. They had in mind the cabinet responsible system in which the president is only a figure head, with Kim Sung-Soo as the prime minister.

The Hanmin-Dang people were pro-American and were interested in putting their own people into the U.S. military government. They recommended their man named Cho Byung-Ok to Americans, and he became the police chief. Cho was necessarily a Hanmin-Dang man because he was financially supported by Kim Sung-Soo while studying at Columbia University.

Yet, Cho was loyal to Rhee Seungman because he also knew what was going on in the world. He was ordered to be politically neutral by his American boss, and he pretended to be obedient. He used to arrest those who would tear down communist posters, but his real job was to create a political base for an anti-communist government headed by Rhee Seungman.

As I said before, Cho had a non-trivial cooperation with Kim Doo-Hwan who was a legendary gangster boss. In addition, there were many young people who came from Pyongyang after witnessing atrocities committed by Soviet troops and Kim Il-Sung's communist gangsters. These Pyongyang refugees formed a youth group called "Seobook Chong-ryun Dan." These anti-communists provided necessary fist power against communists in the South.

After the inauguration of the Korean government, the police organization became a branch of the ministry of internal affairs headed by Yoon Chi-Young, another staunch supporter of Rhee Seungman. He was also ruthless to the communists. Yoon was replaced by Shin Sung-Mo who was ruthless not only to communist but also other innocent Koreans including respected Kim Koo. After Shin became the defense minister, Rhee picked a Buddhist monk as the minister of internal affairs. His name was Paik Sung-Wook. Rhee apparently thought that this Buddhist could heal the feeling of the people.

Then the Korean War came in June of 1950. The police headed by a Buddhist could not deal with the war-time internal affairs. Cho Byung-Ok was called in to head the internal-affairs ministry. Because he was familiar with the police organization he built, he was very effective. During the war, North Korean military units occupied Waegwan after a bitter fight and was ready to march in to Taegu. In order to agitate the citizens of Taegu, the communist were able to drop three mortar shells in the city center of Taegu. Naturally, the citizens were ready to flee.

During this confusion, Cho Byung-Ok got a pledge from the commander of the U.S. troops not to withdraw from Taegu, and kept Taegu citizens within the city. For this contribution, he was elected as an assembly man from Taegu in the 1954 election. His son is running from the same district in the forth-coming election. He was my high-school classmate, and I wish he will do well there.

In the spring of 1951, Cho Byung-Ok decided to separate himself after witnessing the Keo-Chang massacre, and Rhee's failure to punish Kim Jong-Won. This was a big political loss to Rhee, and he had to face the 1952 crisis sparked by the national assembly's attempt to elect a new president without Rhee's knowledge.

I will talk more about this in my later articles. As I said before, I am quite knowledgeable about this subject because Cho Byung-Ok's son was my classmate at that time, and because I was listening to Pyongyang radio with my shortwave receiver. The communists had spies within the inner circles of Rhee Seungman.


As I said in my previous article, without Cho Byung-Ok, Rhee could not have become the president. Cho was indeed close to Rhee personally even though his political base was the Hanmin-Dang. Even after the bitter political battle of 1952, Cho served as Rhee's ambassador to the United Nations. On the U.N. day (Oct. 24) celebration of 1952 held in Busan, I heard Cho giving a speech in English addressed to the foreign participants in celebration. There were ambassadors and American and British troops. I assume the occasion was just before his departure to New York to assume his duty at the United Nations.

Then why did Rhee let Cho (then the minister of internal affairs) go after the Keochang massacre in 1951, and promote Kim Jong-Won who was labelled as a murderer? This was not the only personnel mismanagement Rhee staged during his reign. Rhee was known as a genius in foreign affairs, a blind man in domestic affairs, and a total idiot in choosing persons for his administration. Was he really an idiot?

It is very easy to understand why he appeared so idiotic while he was not. He knew what he was doing. He was interested in remaining in his post for lifetime. He kept those who told him to become the lifetime president and threw out everybody who wanted to take over his post even in a democratic way.

It was quite apparent in the early days of his administration. His domestic political problem started with his refusal to appoint Kim Sung-Soo as the prime minister. Kim as the undisputed head of the Hanmin-Dang. Rhee asked him instead to become a finance minister because Kim knows how to manage money, but Kim refused. He had to let Cho go even though he was the key person in creating the political base for Rhee by routing out the communist organization.

He was then surrounding himself with those who could not cause political threat to him. He knew that Kim Chang-Yong was not qualified to become the president because Kim served in Japanese military police. The same was true for Kim Jong-Won because of the Keochang incident. There was another person very close to Rhee. His name was Lee Ki-Boong. He was a very humble man, but Rhee knew him well enough. He definitely was not qualified to become the top man of the country.

It is an accepted view that Rhee's failure in domestic affairs was caused by those wrong people around him. Were they wrong to Rhee? No. Those people were quite capable of telling Rhee to stay in power permanently. This is what Rhee wanted to hear, and this was what Rhee wanted from the beginning, even though he was not able to say publicly. Was Rhee wrong? Definitely not in view of what is going on these days in Korea.

When I meet Koreans, they usually ask me where I came from because I do not speak the standard Korean. I say Hwang-Hae-Do. They then say there are no famous Koreans from Hwang-Hae-Do. I then ask back who else is in Korea if we leave out Kim Koo - Rhee Seungman. They then become impressed. We are of course talking about Korea's presidents.

Rhee was not the only one who likes those who can read his/her mind. My grandfather was a rich land owner, and I was in competition with my cousin in inheriting his fortune when I was very young. The best way to compete was to make up the stories grand daddy wants to hear. I used this training in approaching some of the most difficult persons in physics. You should know whom I am talking about. To me, Kim Hogil never said a positive word about me. I do not know what he said about me to others, but I still praise him. Why? He was the only Korean physicist who knew what was living for. In case you cannot recognize his name, he was the founding president of POSTECH.

Let us go back to Cho Byung-Ok. While working so hard for Rhee, was he working for someone other than himself? Very definitely No. He was interested in becoming the No. 1 man himself after Rhee's democratic term was over. Rhee of course knew this, and this is precisely the reason why Rhee let Cho go in 1951. Rhee and Cho had different dreams. This is the beginning of the political crisis of 1952.


Harry Truman was the president of the United States from 1945 to 1951. He was succeeded in 1951 by Dwight Eisenhower. Truman was Franklin Roosevelt's vice president and became the president after Roosevelt died three months after his inauguration. Before he got into politics, he was the owner and manager of a clothing shop in Kansas City, Missouri. Like George Bush, he did not have much experience in foreign policy before taking becoming the president. Yet, he made the three most difficult foreign-policy decisions for the United States in the 20th century. First, he decided to drop two nuclear bombs on two major Japanese cities in 1945. Second, he decided to sent American troops to Korea in 1950. Third, he fired a towering army general named Douglas MacArthur.

All three of them have something to do with Korea. What do the nuclear bombs on Japan have to with Korea. These bombs hastened Joseph Stalin to declare war against Japan, and Soviet troops stormed into Manchu and Korea while the United States had no plans for those areas of the world. This is the cause of the division of Korea.

On June 29, 1950, I walked from Seoul to Suwon. When I arrived at the Suwon railroad station, the station ground was jam-packed with people to catch trains to the south, and many of them decided to walk to the south instead of waiting for trains. There, a Korean airforce plane was dropping leaflets telling us the U.S. would send troops to Korea. At that time, I was not able to understand how the United States could intervene in internal war in Korea, especially because the U.S. stayed out of the war in China during the period 1945-49. Likewise, it was very difficult for Americans to understand why they have to send their sons to Korea to fight. Korea was an unknown place to Americans in 1950.

How did then Truman made this Korean decision so quickly? First, Truman and his advisors under-estimated the strength of the North Korean army, and they thought North Korean troops would run away after seeing tall Americans. Yet, the decision was for Truman to make. How did he come to this decision. Was it because he loved Koreans so much?

Here is the answer. After becoming the president, Truman's first foreign policy venture was the Potsdam conference in July of 1945 where he met Joseph Stalin to talk about how to divide up the world. Truman later summarized the result of the Potsdam conference in the following way. He said "I found out Stalin was a son-of-bitch and he found out I am a son-of-bitch too." Truman decided to send U.S. troops to Korea in order to re-affirm his son-of-bitch status to Stalin. Truman was right.

The first Korean ambassador to the United States was Chang Myun. Four months after Rhee Seungman resigned in 1960, Chang became the prime minister in the cabinet responsible system, but was overthrown by Park Chung-Hee in May of 1961. What he did before 1945 is unknown except that he studied at an obscure college in New York. He had a strong affiliation with the Catholic church organization. He also had talented brothers, such as Chang Bal (artist) and Chang Keuk (world- class engineering professor. I knew him). Before 1945, he was an English teacher at Dong-Sung high school. He was a gentle person and had a polished mannerism. He was a harmless person to everybody including Rhee Seungman.

Chang Myun was in Washington in June of 1950, and visited Truman in tears for help shortly after Truman returned from weekend retreat at his hometown (called Independence) in Missouri. He had to come back early after hearing the news from Korea. Chang amplified this case, and talked as if he influenced Truman in sending troops to Korea. Nobody believed what he was alleging, but his stock price went up from the fact that Truman met him. In February of 1951, he became the prime minister in Rhee Seungman's government. For Koreans who wanted to oust Rhee Seungman, there was a new man who could talk to Americans, other than Rhee. To them, Chang Myun became the person to put up.


Many people asked me to comment on Korea's latest election, and I can also say what other people are saying.

(1). Younger people are now firmly in control of the country. This change-over was long overdue. These younger people like to become closer to China and North Korea, and eager to gain foreign-policy independence from the United States.

(2). The power of communication (internet power) could be stronger than the power of money.

(3). Korea's democracy has now reached its mature stage.

On (2), I knew for many years communication is very powerful, especially in the academic world. This is the reason why I am spending so much time and energy to develop conferences, webpages, and e-mail network. I have been doing this for sometime. Those who do not know what I am doing are retiring. Those who know what I am doing think I am becoming stronger.

On (3), As you know, I am writing these days stories about the early days of Korea's democracy. I will continue talking about this in my future mails.

On (1), I have to write many stories. Before writing off the United States as an immature imperial power, we should study more about the U.S. I have been in this country for 50 years, and the United States is a different country from that of 1954. If we understand this change-over process, there are golden opportunities for Koreans to shape up the American attitude toward Asia and Asians.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court's decision on the issue called "Brown v. Board of Education." Do you know what this word means? This means that the Supreme Court of the Unites States ruled that the segregation (separation of black and white Americans) in public schools is unconstitutional.

David Halberstam was a young reporter in the South when the Supreme Court made its historic decision in 1954. He wrote a number of books on the developments of civil rights in the United States. He contributed a short article in Today's Washington Post. He said "The Brown decision began the birth process -- however slow, however difficult, however painful -- of a new America."

Even more remarkable has been the change-over of the American attitude toward Asians and Asian countries. This was of course forced upon by the economic productive power of the Asian countries, but this change in attitude was not possible without the Supreme Court's decision of 1954. When I tell my black friends that I am one of the major beneficiary of the Brown v. School Board, they say it is a surprise to them, but they immediately say they understand what I am saying.

We need a more systematic research on this subject. The more we think about this, the more opportunities we will find.

Another aspect in the United States. While it is very difficult to get into prestigious universities in Korea, they have a tendency to think the life is much easier for Americans. The life is easier for Americans because they do not feel necessary to go to name-brand universities. As for getting into those Ivy-League universities, the life if becoming tougher and tougher. I am attaching an email from one of those univs. for your information.

Please continue reading. Princeton University Tiger E-News newsletter April 2004, Vol. 2, No. 8

Welcome to the April 2004 edition of Tiger E-News, Princeton University's monthly electronic newsletter for alumni. Tiger E-News provides an easy-to-scan digest of pertinent University news, information and Web-based resources. It is edited by Kathy Taylor '74 of the Office of the Alumni Association and Eric Quiñones of the Office of Communications.

Admission offers go to 11.9 percent of applicants. Princeton has offered admission to 1,631 students, 11.9 percent of the 13,690 applicants for the class of 2008. Acceptance letters were mailed April 1 to 1,050 students who applied through the regular decision process, in addition to the 581 students accepted through early decision in December. Of those offered admission this year, 53 percent are men, 47 percent are women, 35 percent are from minority backgrounds and 11.2 percent are sons and daughters of alumni. Approximately 1,175 students are expected for the class of 2008. http://www.princeton.edu/pr/pwb/04/0412/2a.shtml

Friends donate $10 million for largest Whitman College dorm. Longtime friends are funding construction of the largest dormitory in the new Whitman College complex. The gift, which will total $10 million, comes from Charter Trustee Peter C. Wendell '72 and his wife Lynn Mellen Wendell '77, together with Scott D. Cook, co-founder of the financial software company Intuit, and his wife Signe Ostby. http://www.princeton.edu/pr/pwb/04/0405/1a.shtml

Remaining paragraphs deleted.

(C) 2004 The Trustees of Princeton University


I received the following e-mail from one of our readers. It appears that I will have to answer his questions.

Date: Sun, 18 Apr 2004 00:37:20 -0700 (PDT) From: Seokwon Kim

Dear Dr. Kim:

I've been on your email list for several years now, and I have enjoyed your articles very much. In fact, I sent you an email a while back. Just for curiosity, I have the following questions for you if you care to answer them :

1) Do you have any plan to visit or return to Korea? Any particular reason why you never visited the country for the past 50 years? Korea is a very different country now.

2) Do you think America has changed a lot for the past 50 years even with George Bush regime? In my opinion, he is one of the most right-wing hard-liners among the recent U.S presidents. The way he handles foreign policy is very much like that of the old-timer cold war mentality. America is good, and its opponent is evil. I am very amazed that he is still getting good support from the American people.


SeokWon Kim

My answers to the above questions are contained in my earlier "wisdom" articles.

In answer to question (1), I obtained last week a new Korean passport valid until December of 2008, which replaces my worn-out passport. I intend to renew my Korean passport in 2008. I am not a citizen of any country other than Korea. For the rest of the answer, you may read my article entitled "Never come back without --," which I wrote in 1996. This article is attached for your convenience.

As for question (2), Korea's problem with the Bush administration is far less serious than the problem France and Germany are having. What is remarkable is that Colin Powell is still in charge of the U.S. policy toward the Korean peninsular. It is highly unlikely that there will be another war in Korea. As for Americans' perception toward Korea, you may read my article of 2000 entitled "200 AND 1962." This article is also attached to this mail.


Y.S.Kim (1996.9.16)

As I promised earlier, I am going to tell you why Polish intellectuals have been able to earn Nobel prizes for their country. I think I have already given the answer to this question in my earlier articles, but let me say again.

I met a Polish man for the first time in the dining hall of Princeton's Graduate College in 1958. At that time, John Foster Dulles was the Secretary of State, and talking to a man from a communist country was unthinkable. I asked him how he was able to come to the United States from Poland. He said he was invited by Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of International Affairs, and that the School invites routinely two or three scholars every year to assert Woodrow Wilson's role in the independence of Poland. I then asked him what role Wilson played. He asked me whether I heard about Wilson's 14-point peace plan. I said Yes. He then told me that the unification and independence of Poland are clearly mentioned in Wilson's 14-point declaration.

This is a big surprise to me. Like all Koreans, I used to think Wilson was the godfather of our 3.1 movement. It was a shock to me to realize that Wilson did not even mention Korea, while Poland was so dear to him. I felt betrayed but went through the following reasoning.

First. Poland is in Europe and Korea is in Asia. The United States gives preferential treatment to Europeans.

Second. Not so. Poland at that time had two Nobel Laureates, namely Maria Sklawdowska Curie about whom you know well and Henryk Sienkiewicz who wrote "Quo Vadis." Thus, Poland was important to Wilson while Korea was not. This was my line of thinking until 1980.

Third. Not necessarily so. Two Polish generals, namely Thaddeus Kosciuszko and Jerzy Pulaski, helped George Washington when he was staging the independence war against Britain. This was my thinking until last year.

Fourth. After visiting Poland last year, I found that Wilson is not a significant figure in Poland.

Fifth. While I was in Poland, I made a great discovery. I found out how stupid I have been. One country's independence has nothing to do with a president of another country. The people of Poland has a great respect for the United States, but Wilson has nothing to do with the independence of Poland. They clearly know what the word "independence" stands for. That is why they were able to take the first bold step in tearing down the Iron Curtain. This is also how they are able to do creative work for Nobel prize.

I have been able to impress a number of young Koreans by preaching "independence" through this email network. You can now see how imperfect I have been in the past. Yet, another curious question could be why I mention Nobel prize so often. In the following, I will tell you my own story, and then tell you that the story is also applicable to you.

I spent six months in Korea after my high-school graduation. The Korean constitution clearly states Korea is a democratic republic. In 1954, however, Korea was a "bribe republic." When I was processing my passport to the United states, there were no written laws governing foreign travel of draft-age persons. The only law was how much money one can give illegally to government officials. When the officials were delaying my passport processing, I knew clearly the reason. I was determined not to obey the bribe law.

Instead, I openly threatened to become a communist. At that time, you could become a chunk of "ground beef" if not shot to death on site for saying things like that. However, Korea's political leadership decided to let me go. The No. 2 man in the Ministry of Internal Affairs told me to go to the United States and never come back without Nobel prize. It was before the Park Chung Hee revolution, and the Internal Affairs Ministry was in charge of the most of the tasks KCIA used to do, including police, internal and external securities, and fixing up the elections.

I do not remember the name of the No. 2 man (vice minister), and he said "never come back without -- " entirely as a passing remark. Yet, you would agree that he was a stylish person even though he was a member of a corrupt government. You would agree also that he was speaking for the entire nation. He was telling me personally, but he could have said the same thing to every promising young student. He could have said "never come back without -- " to you also.

The point is that it is completely up to you how seriously you would take "never come back without -- ." In my case, I have been obeying this order. I have never been back to Korea since I left the country in 1954. I am looking for comrades. Please contact me if your thinking is the same as mine.

2000 AND 1962

Y.S.Kim (2000.2.23)

If you are a physicist, you know who Richard Feynman was. You also know who Eugene Wigner was. If you are not, you can compare them to Elvis Presley and Beethoven respectively. In the physics community, my name is associated with Wigner (Beethoven) while my research line is parallel to that of Feynman (Presley). Together with Dr. Daesoo Han of NASA, I was fortunate enough to develop an international conference series called Wigner Symposium, and its 7th meeting will come back to the Univ. of Maryland in 2001.

Thus, for many years, I have been interested in developing a conference series named after R. P. Feynman, and decided to hold its preliminary meeting during the above-mentioned Wigner Symposium. The name of the conference will be Feynman Festival. I have chosen the word "festival" because Feynman was so fond of the Mardi Grass Festival held every year in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil). Last month, I went to Brazil to finalize my idea of developing the festival named after him. In other words, I went there to talk with Feynman's ghost. Because Feynman's name carries a heavy weight in the United States, there will be strong pressure from the U.S. scientific community, but I am prepared from my experiences with other conference series.

When I was coming back, my UAL flight left Rio left at 11:00 PM. For some unknown reason, once in every five flights, I get kicked up to the business (or first) class during the seat re-arrangement within the airplane. This time, I was asked by a flight attendant to move to a plush seat in the business class section. The stewardess serving in this section was an old pro of about age 50, and she knew how to make passengers comfortable. Those serving in the economy class are young chicks, but they look attractive. They are known to chase rich men usually in the business class.

While one of those young ladies was passing through the aisle of the business class, she told me "We meet again. Do you remember?" My honest answer was "No," but I said "Yes, I do." My assumption was that she was confused with a rich Japanese business she met somewhere. She then came to me again and asked me to send her the photo of herself with me. I told her again YES. Then I wondered whether I took a picture with anyone looking like her during the day.

Yes, in the morning of the same day, I met in front of my hotel a young Brazilian who offered to make a Rio car license plate with my name on it for $25. I accepted his offer and I told him to imprint FEYNMAN instead of my name. He then came back to me at 1:00 PM with the license plate. We then posed for a photograph. Just before the third man pushed the camera button, a young lady hopped into the scene. I thought she was a college student from the United States looking for fun. For this photo, go to my Feynman page at

http://ysfine.com/feynman and look for Feynman photos.

Toward the end of this page, there are American and Korean ladies. See the first photo in the American ladies section.

The young stewardess came back to me again and gave me her business card carrying the address to which I can send the photo. We shook hands, and she said to me "Kam-sa Hap-ni-da." That means, she was able to sense that I am Korean even though I did not tell her. Yes, I often bragg about my ability to get the addresses of distinguished ladies around the world. But, this time, it also means something very important to you.

Let us turn the clock backward. In March of 1962, I was on a train from Washington, DC to Princeton. There I met a neat-looking Princeton student, and we started talking. He then asked me where I came from. I told him to guess. He mentioned Japan, then China, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines. I said No continuously, and we became frustrated. He said he gave up and asked me where I really came from. After hearing my answer, he was astonished. The purpose of his trip to Washington was to visit the Korean Embassy to gather the material for his senior thesis on Korean affairs. That is right, a researcher on Korean affairs could not think of Korea when he met an oriental man. This was how Korea was to Americans in 1962.

If you subtract 1962 from 2000, the result is 38. You can now see how much Korea's position was elevated during these years. Needless to say, this was achieved solely by Koreans. This is in flat contradiction with the perception widely held by Koreans that all Koreans of the established generation are bad. My advice again. Look and think before complaining. Learn lessons from humble Koreans like Hongdo. By the way, I am also a humble Korean.

Let us go back to the discrimination issue. If there is a discrimination against Koreans in the United States, you would agree that there is some difference between that of 1962 and that 2000.


Y.S.Kim (2004.4.21)

You will not be surprised to hear that Americans also talk about George Bush. Most of my university colleagues are against the Iraq war and against Bush. Today, however, I shared a lunch table with one of my long-time friends. I asked him which minority group he belongs to. He said the white-male minority. These days, every American has to have his/her address in a minority group.

He is also in the academic world. He supports Bush, and I heard his opinions. It is not appropriate to quote his view or mine about Bush in this network. What is interesting is how Colin Powell, with so much difference with other people in the Bush team, is kept by Bush.

My friend, a staunch Bush supporter, said Powell is a great man, and he should be kept in the next Bush administration. He is of course assuming Bush will be re-elected. The following views are mine. In the early 1970s, there was in China an event called the cultural revolution. At that time, Mao Zedong was rock-hard ant-Western dogmatist. On the other hand, Chou Eun-Lai was a pro-Western pragmatist. These two people had diametrically opposite ideologies. Yet, both of them worked together paving the way toward the present-day prosperous China.

I am hoping that the Bush-Powell team will lead the country to a better direction in the future. George Bush is of course the elected president, but what does Powell represent? Republican or Democrat? No! Liberal or conservative? No! Black Americans? No!

When George Washington constructed the first American government, he did not feel it necessary to create the department of foreign affairs. The United States still is a country with foreign minister. Because of this, the prime minister has to take care of foreign affairs. The prime minister is called the secretary of state.

In setting up a country, you need elections. But you also need those who can run the country. The judicial branch of government consists of highly educated lawyers. The county also need an efficient banking system. In addition, the country should have adequate armed forces. These professional institutions are not obtainable by elections. The United States has all these. That is the reason why it is admired by the people of the world.

However, unlike European countries, the United States does not have a foreign policy establishment. Most of the foreign policy decisions are still made by the president personally. As for routine foreign policy decisions, the Unites States used to rely on the British government in London. This is the reason, why Britain and France were bold enough to make a military venture with Israel into the Suez Canal in 1956, assuming that the United States would join them. At that time, the president was Dwight D. Eisenhower. Eisenhower became quite upset, and told Britain, France, and Israel to withdraw their troops, and they had to obey his order.

Indeed, the United States gained its foreign-policy independence from Europe as late as in 1956. Eisenhower's decision was based on his deep knowledge of those European countries which he gained while he was the commander of the allied forces during World War II. He did not have any benefit of foreign policy advisors in his own country. Of course, he had a secretary of state named John Foster Dulles. He worked closely with Eisenhower, but Dulles did not represent any foreign policy institution in Washington or anywhere else in the United States. It is like a politician acting without party affiliation.

In 1960, there was a very hot contest between John Kennedy and Richard Nixon in the presidential election. During the campaign, Kennedy propose the idea of "peace corps" and impressed many college students. The idea was very naive. American college graduate can go out and teach everything in other countries. I was wondering how a fresh graduate can to to Korea and straighten up Korea's corrupt banking system. How can those young people can teach African farmers how to plow the field with horses or oxen.

However, Kennedy's idea had one positive element. American young people would learn about the world while serving in the peace corps. At that time, I was a graduate student. When I expressed my own opinion, I was almost stoned to death by my classmates. How can Americans learn anything from Koreans and Africans? These days, forty years after 1960, the peace-corps experience is an important credential for those who want to get job in the state department.

In 1971, Henry Kissinger went to China to meet Chou Eun-Lai. At that time, Chou told Kissinger that Americans should learn how to take into account the nationalism of the local people. Chou's observation was quite accurate if we look at what Americans are doing in Korea, Iraq, or other parts of the world.

It is remarkable that Kissinger took a note of what he heard from Chou, and started a new school of policy makers. Colin Powell was picked up by Kissinger, and he now represents this new school of foreign policy in the United States. This school is not yet strong enough to override Americans' appetite for petroleum, but strong enough to have a representation in the government. This school of thought will grow, because the U.S has more than enough resources. Americans will understand their foreign policy should be based on professionalism, rather than domestic politics. Sooner or later, the United States will have it own professional institution for foreign affairs.

How about Korean foreign policies? We do not know whether there is an establishment. If it does, it is filled with graduates of the worst university in the world. It is worse than having nothing. How can Korea declare its independence in foreign policy?


Korea's first election was held on May 10, 1948, and the government was inaugurated on August 15 of the same year. There was therefore only a short period of three months between these two important events.

The 5.10 election was conducted by the United Nations, and its purpose was to elect 200 men/women with two-year term to construct Korea's first national assembly. The purpose of this short-term assembly was to produce Korea's first constitution. This UN plan made sense because it takes about two years to construct the constitution for any new country.

On the other hand, this plan did not specify who would run the country during this two-year period. Even before the 5.10 election, it was clear to all Koreans that Rhee Seungman should be the first president. Thus, there were no serious problems. The only problem was work out the procedure was to elect Rhee as the president. This also was a routine procedure in a parliamentary system.

At that time, Dr. Yu Jin-Oh was the most respected constitutional scholar, and was asked by the assembly to present the draft of the constitution. First, he knew that it was not possible to conduct another national election for the president. Second, he was most familiar with Germany's Weimar constipation (after World War I and before Hitler). According to Yu's original version, the president would be elected by the assembly, but he would only serve as a figure head, and the cabinet headed by the prime minister would run the country.

Yu's original version was quite consistent with the Hanmin-Dang politicians with Kim Sung-Soo as the head of the party. I do not know whether Dr. Yu was a member of that party, but his political address was the same as Kim. As many of yoiu know, Yu later served as the president of Korea University which was essentially founded by Kim Sung-Soo.

The assembly chairman at that time was Rhee Seungman. The day before presenting the constitution to the assembly, Rhee had to read it, and Rhee did not like it. Rhee knew that he would become the president, but the constitution said he would be utterly powerless. He ordered Yu to rewrite the constitution overnight. Korea's first constitution was an "overnight" constitution.

Thus, according to Korea's first constitution, the president was to be elected by the majority of the national assembly with a four-year term, but the president's power was the same as that of the presidential system in which the president is elected directly by national election. There was therefore a room for power struggle between the president and the national assembly, unless the assembly was controlled by the president.

Rhee Seungman did not have his own political party. He thought he was so powerful that he did not need it. Thus, the strongest voting group in the assembly was the Hanmin-Dang. Rhee, on the other hand, did not include anyone in his cabinet. Rhee used the Hanmin-Dang in his fight against communists, and them it away after he became the president. This was the beginning of Rhee's constant trouble with the national assembly.

After the tragedies of the National Defense Army and the Keo-Chang Massacre, most of the established politicians became convinced that Rhee should not be given the second four-year term as the president. They ganged up and worked out a secret plan to oust Rhee. The plan was like this. In 1952, a new presidential election should be held, and the assembly would elect the new president according to the constitution. The assembly would elect the prime minister as the president.

This would minimize the disturbance of the war-time government. The prime minister at that time was Chang Myun who was a gentleman to everybody and who can talk effectively to Americans. They agreed that they would keep this plan secret to Rhee Seungman until after the new president became elected and announced.

This perfect plan has one flaw. Choosing the next president is a very important national event. Doing this without participation of the incumbent president is totally out of common sense. Furthermore, those politicians were incredibly naive to think they could keep their plan secret from Rhee.

Rhee found out this plan the day after it was worked out. In April of 1952, Rhee decided to close down the national assembly. This was the beginning of the political crisis of 1952.

When I was a high-school student in Korea, I was interested in a number of things. I was interested in electronics and short wave communication. I was known to many people as a good mathematician. But, my most enjoyable subject was to witness Korea's political development toward democracy. I will write more about it.


Rhee knew that he was not always with popular with the national assembly and opposition politicians. He also knew that Cho Byung-Ok was upset about the Keo-Chang incident, but he was expecting that the assembly would give him his second term, after his first four-year term was over in 1952. After finding out the plot to remove him, he became thoroughly upset.

He thought this could not happen without communist infiltration into the national assembly. In that case, he has to shut it down. He called Maj.Gen. Won Yong-Duk, commander of military policy, to arrest all assembly men, but Won could spare only 150 riflemen in the Busan area (government was in Busan at that time), and could not handle the problem. He was of course conscious of possible civil disturbances. Rhee then called in the army chief of staff to place one army division under Won's command to carry out the job.

The army chief at that time was Lt.Gen. Lee Jong Chan. I talked about his reaction in one of my earlier articles. His service to the country is exemplary, and I am attaching my article about him. You should read this article if you did not last year.

Please continue reading.


Y.S.Kim (2003.6.20)

In this article, I will be talking about what happened in Japan and the Japanese army during the period 1930-40. This short-time history left a profound effect on the ideology of Korean soldiers who served in the Japanese army, and on the early stage of Korea's democracy.

Not all Japanese politicians were war mongers. It was not Japan's parliamentary decision to set up the puppet government in Manchu in 1932. By that time, Japan's military establishment in Manchu was so strong that the generals made their own decisions on their area. The Japanese army in Manchu was called "Kanto-Goon" or "Kwantong-Goon" in Korean. The commander of the Kwantong-Goon was the supreme figure in the Japanese army, and the Japanese army officers in Tokyo had to obey orders from the Kwantong-Goon commander.

On February 26, 1936, out of an excessive loyalty to their Kwantong-Goon commander, a number of young army officers in Tokyo staged an armed revolt against the their government and assassinated key cabinet ministers who were not friendly to Kwantong-Goon. This incident is known as the 2.26 incident. However, this radical action was condemned both by the Japanese government and the Kwantong-Goon headquarters. As a consequence, the revolt was put down, but the Kwantong-Goon's influence on the Tokyo goverment became much stronger.

In 1939, the Kwantong-Goon became greedy enough to invade Mongolia. But, the invading Japanese army was stopped by fierce Mongolian troops at the border town called Nomonhan. Then, the Soviet army led by General Georgy Zhukov came with water-cooled machine guns and T-34 Stalin tanks, and wiped out the Japanese troops. This is called the Nomonhan incident, but not many people know about it because of Japanese propaganda effect.

As a consequence the top-level Kwantong-Goon generals were ordered to commit "Harakiri" (suicide by cutting his own abdomen). Among the generals, Lt. General Tojo Hedeki was not high enough to be admitted to the Harakiri party. On the other hand, in 1939, Japan was making preparations of the "Kigen 2600" (Japan became 2600 years old) for the all-out celebration scheduled for 1940. Tojo somehow became in charge of covering up the Nomonhan disaster. He indeed was very talented in inventing lies. He transformed the image of Kwantong-Goon to that of a 2-million strong invincible army. By doing this, he became the prime minister in 1941. He then started the Pacific War against the United States which ended with the nuclear baptisms on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The Korean soldiers in the Japanese army witnessed this ugly history and developed their own ideology. Military men should not be involved in politics. Park Chung-Hee was of course was an exception but he admitted that he was acting against his principle by saying the he was the most unfortunate Korean soldier when he was retiring from the army.

General Lee Jong-Chan was the army chief of staff from 1951 (early) to 1952 (late). He was a graduate of the elite Japanese military academy and a relatively high-ranking officer in the Japanese army. He felt guilty about being pro-Japanese, and refrained from joining the Korean army, but had to come in 1949. On June 30, 1950. General Douglas MacArthur visited his army unit stationed at the southern end of the unbroken Han River rail bridge. At that time, Lee Jong-Chan was a colonel, and his unit consisted of 2000 Koreans troops re-assembled from retreating soldiers. MacArthur asked Lee whether he could hold his position for three days. Lee said "Yes" and he did. This was the reason why he became the chief of staff in 1951.

In 1952, Rhee Seungman was having a life-or-death struggle with the National Assembly. He ordered his army chief of staff to mobilize one division to close down the assembly. Lee Jong-Chan refused from his own conviction that military people should not get involved in politics. Lee was later fired by Rhee and was placed at a very insignificant position in the army.

But, Rhee did not realize that Lee Jong-Chan helped him by keeping the army out of politics. If the army had taken over the power, Rhee's position could have been in danger from continuing power struggle among the factions in the army. Lee Jong-Chan was later approached by Park Chung-Hee several times to stage a coup d'etat against the Rhee regime. Each time, Lee advised Park not to continue.

Indeed, the ideology of the Korean officers, strongly influenced by the tragedy of Japan, helped Rhee Seungman to maintain his regime until he became too old to control himself.


Y.S.Kim (2004.5.8)

We can all agree that the worst tragedy in Korea's recent history was the division of the country in 1945. Yet not many Koreans know how that happened. Since my hometown in the North is so close to the 38th parallel, this issue has been my life-time research project. I think I have a thorough understanding of how that happened, but I am not able to explain clearly to my younger friends. Perhaps this time I can use a model to illustrate the circumstances which led to this tragedy.

These days, we use often the word "WMD" for weapons of mass destruction. This word carries a second meaning: something that does not exist. In addition, it implies intelligence failure. We are talking about the WMD in Iraq, but it is not the first WMD for Americans.

In my previous mail, you read my earlier article on Japanese army in Manchu. The army was strong enough to change the Japanese government in Tokyo, but was thoroughly defeated by the Soviet army in Mongolia in 1939. Lt.Gen. Tojo Hideki was skillful enough to invent lies to cover up this humiliation. After becoming the prime minister of Japan, Tojo then believed his own lies and ordered Admiral Yamamoto Isoroku to bomb Pearl Harbor in December of 1941.

Tojo's lies created a invincible army called "Kwantong Goon" by Koreans. This army acted as a Japanese WMD throughout World War II, threatening everybody in the world. But the truth was that this army has no combat capable units. They were all transported to the Burmese fronts and destroyed by disease starvation. Indeed, the Kwantong-Goon was a WMD to those who did not have enough intelligence capability to measure its military strength.

By the end of 1944, Americans started working on military plans to land their ground troops in the Japanese main lands. Their biggest problem was how to clean up the Japanese WMD causing a great threat to Americans on the Japanese soil. Japan could pull their Kwantong-Goon troops back to the mainland to destroy Americans.

Thus, the American planners decided to let Stalin's Soviet army to carry out the dirty job of cleaning up this WMD, but these Americans did not know how much price Stalin was going to charge. Americans had to supply 8,000 winterized trucks to Stalin (I saw those American trucks in the North), but Stalin's main targets were non-freezing harbors in Korea and also in Japan.

Immediately after the nuclear bomb on Hiroshima (August 6, 1945), Stalin declared war against Japan and Soviet troops started destroying Japan's Kwantong-Goon, known to them as "Kantonsky army." Since this Kantonsky army was only a WMD, there was nothing to destroy. Russian military units had comfortable rides on those American trucks. By August 12, some of the Soviet army units came to well south of the 38th parallel.

Alarmed by this speedy advance of the Soviet army, two night watchmen at the War Department in Washington told the Soviet delegation in the same building to stop their troops at the 38th parallel. One of them was a young army colonel named John Bonsteele, and a civilian with a rank of colonel named Dean Rusk who was a mid-rank official in the state department.

Dean Rusk later served as the secretary of state during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations (1961-69), and later appeared several times on TV to explain how Korea was divided. Of course, he was proud of inventing the idea within an hour or two of stopping the Soviet army at the 38th parallel and thus saving the capital city of Seoul.

However, Rusk did not explain why Stalin agreed to stop his troops at this artificial line. Stalin did not have to obey the order from these two low-ranking officials in the U.S. government. Dean Rusk does not seem to know the reason. He did not know and never found out the content of the Yalta conference held in February of 1945. In Yalta, Franklin Roosevelt met with Joseph Stalin without Churchill's presence, and Roosevelt begged Stalin to open an eastern front to attack the Kantonssky army before Americans started landing their troops in the Japanese mainland. I have a photo of this begging scene on the Korean history page of my webpage.

At that time, Stalin had a better intelligence information about the Manchu-Korea area than Roosevelt did. He knew that there were two different Japanese military units in the Korean peninsula. One was the 17th regional army stationed around Seoul. It served as a component of the mainland defense force defending the Japanese mainland consisting of four islands (namely Honshyu, Kyushu, Shikoku, and Hokkaido). The other was a separate army unit stationed in Pyongyang. It mission was to provide logistic supports to the Kantonsky army in Manchu.

When Roosevelt asked Stalin, he did not take into consideration that Korea had been an independent country with a long history. He only talked in military terms. It was not clear whether he knew Japan had two separate army units in Korea. To Stalin, however, he translated Roosevelt's request into a military language that he would take care of the Kantonsky army base in Pyongyang, while Americans would be in charge of Japanese troops in Seoul and its south. The Kantonsky army was also a WMD to Stalin.

Thus, Rusk's request to Soviets to stop at the 38th parallel was quite consistent with Stalin's understanding of the unwritten agreement with Roosevelt. This is why Stalin did not venture to occupy the entire area of the Korean peninsula.

It is interesting to note that nobody on the American side (including Korea-south) mentions two separate Japanese army units when talking about the 38th parallel. It is possible to find this information from Russian sources. How then did I get this information? From the North Korean literature sent to me from the N.K. propaganda agency about 20 years ago.

The 38th parallel was created by America's huge intelligence gap on WMD which took the form of Kwantong-Goon at that time. Even more serious was America's ignorance about Russia's long-term interest in the Pacific Ocean. Winston Churchill was there, but Roosevelt did not invite Churchill when he met Stalin. For this mistake, Americans had to fight in Korea from 1950 to 1953. They are still suffering from Kim Jong-Il's nuclear bluff. We all know how much Koreans suffered, and still are suffering.

British imperialists had been very sensitive to Russia's expansion toward the Pacific Ocean. Russians developed their city in the middle of Manchu. The city was and still is called Harbin. In order to block the Russian advance toward the Korean peninsula, the British government encouraged a group of Presbyterians from Scotland to go to Manchu and establish a Christian base in a small city called Woochang about 200 km south of Harbin. This in turn resulted in the first Korean edition of the Bible.


I just came back from Montreal, and I cannot write a lengthy article tonight. If you have been to Montreal, you would expect a number of interesting photos will be added to my website.

These days, a hot topic in Korea is "Independent Diplomacy," independent of the United States. The question is whether we are ready for this. The ultimate answer to this question does not come from the quality of the minister of foreign affairs, but the answer should come whether you and the people are ready.

After nearly 60 years of democracy in Korea, we found out the form of the government untimely depend on the people. Likewise, our diplomacy should be a product of the people. Are we then ready to understand what is going on around our surroundings? Our understanding of Japan is zero. After 60 years of American influence, the United States is still a strange country to us. China? We like to think China is closer to us than any other country. Yes, if we practice our old way of submitting "Chogong" to the Chinese rulers. Chinese agree that they do not understand their own country.

On the other hand, it is not difficult to establish friendship between individuals, because people are the same everywhere. Instead of blaming your government for diplomatic failures, try to make many Japanese friends, Chinese friends, and American friends. These day, there is an important country new to us. You will be interested in the following e-mail which I received from a gentleman in Russia.

From lyssyak@ineonet.net Mon May 17 01:32:39 2004 Date: Sat, 1 May 2004 23:34:03 -0400 From: Sergey To: yskim@physics.umd.edu Subject: Proschanie Slavianki

Dear Mr. Kim:

I found you web site (http://www2.physics.umd.edu/~yskim/ ) when I was looking for a music..... Needless to mention that your web site is a very interesting project which has reflection of your ideas and your vision of the world. Meanwhile, I would like to thank you for a music file of "Soviet Army March No. 5" (Proschanie Slavianki). This unforgettable music was written in 1912 in Tambov town. Vasiliy Agapkin, 28-year old cavalry orchesrant wrote this music. He become a Soviet army officer after time was passed by and that is why everybody knew this music as "Soviet Army March No.5"

I found this information here: http://musicplanet.ru/belov/html/11_Raznoe/musykanty/Agapkin.htm May be it will be interesting for you. Thank you again many times. Sincerely, Sergey Lyssyak admin@ineonet.net

Russians are happy to listen to their own music from a website contructed by a Korean man. Can you think of any better diplomcy than this?

RHEE AND VAN FLEET Y.S.Kim (2004.5.20)

As I said before, in April of 1952, Rhee Seungman became very angry after finding out a plot of the opposition politicians to elect Chang Myun to replace him. According to the constitution of that time, the president was to be elected by the majority vote in the national assembly. In order to shut down the assembly, Rhee asked his army chief to transfer one divisional power to his commander of military police. But the army chief refused to spare the troops for Rhee's political purpose.

The army chief was Lt.General Lee Jong-Chan. Lee was not the army boss from the operational point of view. The real army chief was an American general named James Van Fleet. Lee Jong-Chan was not in a position to shift his army troops. However, it does not require heavily armed troops to arrest the assembly people. If he really wanted, Lee could have given Rhee enough spare troops to Rhee, but he chose not to.

At that point, Rhee could have dismissed Lee and appointed a new army chief, but he did not. Why? The reason is very simple. Rhee did not want embarrass General Van Fleet who was the commander of the 8th army and the top military man in Korea.

In April of 1951, I was in Chinhae. I do not remember the exact date. I was tuned to Japan's NHK radio program in the morning. At 10 AM, there was a breaking news. The news was that General Matthew Ridgeway was going to replace General Douglas MacArthur as the commander of the United Nations forces stationed in Tokyo. About one hour later, the Japanese radio carried a live broadcast of MacArthur's departure ceremony. MacArthur was dismissed by Harry Truman, the president of the United States. The reason was that MacArthur failed to respect the presidential authority spelled out in the U.S. contitution.

Who was then Ridgeway? He came to Korea on the Christmas day of 1950 to become the commander of the 8th army, and restored the combat capability of the U.S. army in Korea. It is generally agreed that, without Ridgeway's military wisdom, Korea could not have been saved from the invading Chinese communist army in 1951.

Ridgeway was brilliant but was an elitist. He did not think much of anything other than Westpoint. He had a contempt toward Japanese military men, and consequently toward Korean army officers. Because of his basic prejudice against the Korean army, if not to all Koreans, Rhee Seungman did not like him.

After Rideway went to Tokyo to assume his new responsibility, General James Van Fleet came to Korea to become the 8th army commander and also the real chief of the Korean army. Van Fleet was different from Ridgeway. Right after World War II, Yugoslavia became a communist state. This strengthened communist movements in neighboring Greece. Van Fleet was sent to Greece to organize the Greek army, and he was quite successful in defeating communist insurgencies in Greece.

Van Fleet was able to compare Korean high-school graduates with Greek boys. He found Korean high-school graduates are far superior to their Greek counterparts. Why high-school graduate? The army needs them to produce army officers. Unlike Ridgeway, Van Fleet saw a great potential for Koreans to build a strong army. He systematically introduced heavy guns and armored vehicles to the Korean army. Van Fleet is still known as the father of the Korean army. These days, there is the Van Fleet Award program which recognize annually a Korean or American who made significant contributions to the American-Korean relation.

Rhee Seungman wanted to build a strong Korean army, and Van Fleet was a Messiah to him. Rhee was not in a position to embarrass him. This is the reason why he abandoned military means to shut down the national assembly.

Then what method did he choose?


Y.S.Kim (2004.5.25)

As I said in my previous article, General Van Fleet was able to see a great potential for Koreans to build a strong army. His judgment was based on Korean high-school graduates who can form the core of military professionals in the army. Then how did he see this potential?

In order to answer this question, let us look at two young Korean officers who worked for him as his personal assistants. I am very happy to mention two names. One was Min Kong-Ki and the other was Paek Haeng-Gul. Both of them were college freshmen in 1950 when the Korean War broke out, and they had to join the army. From Van Fleet's point of view, they were just high-school graduates.

When Min Kong-Ki was in his high school, he was eager to the United States and studied English thoroughly. He entered Yonsei University because Yonsei appeared to him to have a better American connection. Min was chosen to become Van Fleet's assistant when he came to Korea in 1951 and changed this American commander's view toward Korea. Van Fleet came to Korea with a strong prejudice against Koreans.

Toward the end of 1952, Min left the army to spend his full time to make preparations for his trip to the United States (at that time, it was very difficult to go the U.S.). He went to Amherst College. In 1957, he went to the University of Illinois at Urbana and finished his PhD degree in 1962. He was married then, and the life as a graduate student was very tough for him, even though both Min and his wife came from well-to-do families in Korea. They used to be in tears when they were talking about their life in Urbana. Min is now a professor emeritus at Rensselaer Political Institute.

I used to meet Professor Min often at APS physics meetings, but not these days. It was about eight years ago when we met in Washington. While we were talking, he told me it is about time for me to behave like a grown-up man. If someone is able to tell me this without angering me, then he must be a very close friend of mine.

After Min left the army, Van Fleet had a new Korean assistant. His name was and still is Paek Haeng-Gul. I do not know whether there was someone between Min and Paek. If there was, his name must be Seung Kei-Ho. Seung acted as Rhee Seungman's interpreter when Dwight Eisenhower (then the president elect) came to Korea in January of 1953. Seung also came to the United States and studied philosophy at Yale. He is now a professor (emeritus?) at the University of Texas. He is an authority in Immanuel Kant's philosophy. I know him well.

Let me go back to Paek Haeng-Gul. He continued serving Van Fleet until his retirement from the U.S.army in 1953. Then General Maxwell Taylor came to Korea to become the commander of the U.S. forces. Paek continued serving this new commander. Taylor was so impressed with him that he decided to visit Paek's high school in 1954. At that time I was a graduating senior there. If you go to my "Korean Background" from my style page at http://ysfine.com/style.

you will see a photo of myself shaking hands with General Taylor. Standing behind Taylor is Paek Haen-Gul.

Unlike Min and Seung, Paek stayed in the army. He was interested more in scholarly aspect of the armed forces, and set up a strategic research program for the Korean army. I think he rose as high as three-star status, before being pushed out the politicians in the army. Many people who know both Paek and me assume I know Paek well, but I never met him. I am just happy to show you as a photo containing his image and mine.

There are two versions of this photo on the above-mentioned webpage. One was taken by a United Press reporter with his professional camera, and the other was taken by one of my friends with a Leica camera perhaps one second before or after the first one. Paek's image is much better in the second picture. Both pictures were taken with the best cameras fifty years ago. You can now see how much progress has been made in photo technology since then.

This article will serve as a lesson to those Korean students in the United States who constantly complain about elder Koreans. I am also a hot target of their complaints. They are the ones who cannot order food at the McDonald's after spending seven years in the U.S. Needless to say, they are mostly graduates of the worst university in the world.

Wisdom of Korea (2004, July -- December)

Questions and Answers

Y.S.Kim (2004.7.8)

In my last mail, I talked about three Korean boys who, with their respective high-school backgrounds, were able to impress American generals during the Korean War. In response, I received several e-mails asking me how they can continue their scientific careers in the English-speaking world. One person asked me whether he can continue using Korean in American universities. He intends to hire an interpreter. Since many of you have the same question but are afraid of asking me, I am giving my answer in this form of public announcement.

The answer is very simple. As far as scientific research is concerned, the entire world is the English-speaking world. This is particularly true for Korea. Korea has been under a strong influence of the United States ever since most of you were born.

I was too young to impress American generals before I left Korea, but I am quite capable of impressing ladies around the world. For this, I am envied by many (non-Korea) visitors to my website. You are invited again to visit my style page, and click on FRIENDS which used to be called "Ladies" in the past. Yesterday, someone affiliated with the Pakistani International Airlines asked me whether he can copy my photos of Pakistani airline ladies for their airline history page. I intend to say YES, even though I am not able to understand why he could not take his own photos of those beautiful ladies.

I contend that I am as good as those three Korean boys in confronting the people around the world, and I am in a position to speak for them. The question is how Koreans can pursue their scientific careers in the English speaking world. My answer is this. It is the easiest thing in the world. As I said before, Korea has been within the English speaking world since 1945. The only problem is that the individuals do not see this. Those three Korean boys saw this and extended what they learned in their high schools. As you know there are some Russian ladies who know me well. They all tell me that I learned everything in my high school.

I say this again. Please do not curse the education you received in Korea. It is the best in the world. Do not blame others when things go wrong. I emphasize this point on the front page of my book entitled "Wisdom of Korea" (http://www2.physics.umd.edu/~yskim/wisdom.html).

Many Koreans tell me I was the best student in Korea's best high school. This is a totally meaningless statement. If I have this reputation, it is not necessarily because of my high school records, but because I was able systematically extend what I learned in Korea. I recently started my Einstein page in preparation for the 100th year of E=mc^2. You are invited to visit


to see its preliminary version. You will note that I approach Einstein from my Korean background. If I can use my Korean background in the English-speaking world, you should also be able to. I gave you my secret.

How to get a job in U.S.A.

Y.S.Kim (2004.7.20)

Many of you complained to me that they are not interested in jobs in Korea, but in U.S.A. Some of them are interested in getting prestigious jobs without learning English. Honestly, I do not know how to help them. As a rule, there are no jobs who do not want to work. The "work" these days means learning. If you are a computer programmer, the most important part of your job is to learn new program languages.

However, if you are genuinely interested in getting a job in U.S.A., you should realize that the Unites States is a capitalistic country. Americans will hire you only if they become convinced that they could make more money than they pay you. If you are looking for a post-doc position, you will be hired only if you are able to convince your prospective employer that you will publish papers which he/she can use for getting more research grants. In other words, you have to write papers which will entertain the interest of your prospective employer.

Let me give you a short sermon. Some years ago, Moses wanted talk to God, and he did. How did he do? He wrote five books about God, and God liked them. That is the reason why people still read them. I am of course talking about the first five books of the Old Testament. Many people ask me how I was able to write seven papers with Eugene Wigner who was regarded as one of the most difficult persons to approach. My answer to them is very simple. Follow the example of Moses. I wrote books about Wginer's physics. If you wish to do post-doc with Steven Weinberg, write papers which will impress him.

For me, it is not the first time to respond to the question of getting jobs. I wrote many articles about this issue in the past. I will attach two articles. One tell you what to do, and the other what not to do. Please read the following two articles. Y.S.Kim (2004.7.20)

**** This article tells you what you should do. ****

Tips on getting jobs -- different from taking entrance exams

Y.S.Kim (1995.1.5)

Samuel Langley is a prominent name in the U.S. Air Force, and one major A.F. base is named after him. The reason is very simple. He was the pioneer in developing flying machines. He was crazy enough to put a steam engine into one of his unmanned aircrafts before the internal combustion engine was available.

Yet, the Wright Brothers are known to be the inventors of the airplane, even though they did not know too much about engines. Indeed, they used a teen-can engine in their first successful flight. Instead of worrying about engines, the Wright Brothers systematically carried out experiments on how their "bird" can adjust itself to changing wind conditions on an Atlantic beach near Kitty Hawk (North Carolina). Langley's aircraft had a much more sophisticated engine. Yet, the result was that one could fly and the other could not, because the wind condition was and still is unstable.

I have already made my point. If you do not wish to compare yourself to a machine, I can mention a human being. As you know, Rhee Seung-man, the first President of Korea, always wanted to hear what he liked to hear. During the 6.25 conflict, he did not like the Korean armed forces being controlled by Americans. One day, Rhee invited top-ranking Korean generals to a lunch and asked them who is commanding the Korean Army. The generals told him the commander of the UN Forces is commanding the Korean Army. However, there was one person who told a different story. He quoted the sentence from Korea's Constitution specifying the President's position in the armed forces. It is not difficult to guess who became the Army Chief of Staff next morning.

This is a simplified version of a much more complicated story. However, those who have some knowledge of Korea's recent history can tell the name of the general who produced the correct answer to his President. His name was Chung Il-Kwon. He was a promising young officer in the Japanese army until August 1945. In 1946, he was the first Korean soldier who learned how to operate the M-1 rifle, while Americans were not sure about Koreans' ability to handle such a sophisticated machine. He was also able to adjust himself to Korea's turbulent political winds until he died last year.

I often become frustrated when I talk with our young physicists looking for jobs. Many of them still think job-hunting is like taking an entrance examination. In the exam, all you have to do is to get a higher score than others. In job-hunting, however, the basic issue is how useful you are to your prospective employer. From your point of view, it is a matter of how you could adjust yourself to the environment controlled by your boss. For instance, if you like to get a postdoc position with Steven Weinberg, it is essential that you study his papers before seeing him. You should talk about his papers rather than your own if and when he invites you for an interview.

Of course, I realize that I should not preach what I cannot practice. Paul A. M. Dirac and Eugene P. Wigner were known to be two most difficult persons to talk to, but I used to talk and listen to them freely. What was the magic? I simply followed the example of Chung Il-Kwon. At the time of the 6.25 war, not many generals knew about the Constitution, but it is safe to assume that Chung studied it immediately after the Constitution was adopted on July 17, 1948 (as he learned how to operate the American rifle in 1946). This is why he was able to produce the correct answer to Rhee's difficult question. Simple enough indeed! When I was studying Dirac's papers and Wigner's papers, many of my colleagues, especially my Korean friends, laughed at me. Perhaps I looked stupid to them, but not to Dirac and Wigner because I was able to talk about their own papers whenever I met them.

**** This article tells you what you should not do. ****

Pride and Capitalism

Y.S.Kim (1993.4.25)

During the early months of 1993, Japan's NHK-TV is airing five one-hour programs on the Pacific War (1941-45). I watched the first three, and I intend to watch the remaining two. The theme of this series was predictable. Japan's worst enemy during this dreadful period was Japan's own pride which was called YAMATO TAMASHI. The Japanese warmakers were deadly locked into the thinking that only Japanese can have their god-given pride, which no other people can have. In 1941, Admiral Yamamoto desperately tried but failed to convince the Japanese generals that Americans can have and do have their own pride, even though he later obeyed the imperial order to carry out the Pearl Harbor operation. These days, our young people are very proud of themselves. When I talk to them, it is impossible to convince them that I can have my own pride. Very often, they force me to admit that I do not have any pride. If I am a prideless animal, it is OK. The problem is that the pride of our young physicists might affect their own careers. Most of you have read Hermann Hesse's "Siddhartha". Siddhartha is an intelligent-looking young man looking for job at a market place. When asked what he can do, Siddhartha says "I can THINK, I can PRAY, and I can FAST," while his prospective employer is expecting an accounting skill (computa- tional skill) from him for his business. Hermann Hesse clearly spells out the difference between Buddhism and Capitalism. Indeed, from Hermann Hesse's Siddhartha, we can derive the concept of


You have to have a marketable skill to get a job in the United States which, in case you did not know, is a mighty capitalistic country.

These days, our young PhD's complain that there are no jobs in the United States, and therefore they plan to go home immediately after passing their final oral exams. On the other hand, they know that going back to Korea does not guarantee an easy life anymore. They also know that not many Chinese students go back to their own country. Our young scientists are now beginning to see that many Koreans who came to America before 1970 were able to settle down here and have been very productive in their endeavors. Many of them are thinking of staying in the U.S. for a longer period.

Yes, the competition is much more fierce now than before, but this does not explain why we should lose while Chinese are winning. The initial condition our young people have these days is far superior to that of those old timers. First of all, when I came to U.S. in 1954, I never thought Koreans could make volt-ohm meters, while, these days, almost all multitesters in the world are made in Korea. There were virtually no American-educated professors before 1970. It was almost impossible to get advanced textbooks before 1965. Before 1965, Korea (South) had a lower per-capita income than North Korea had.

Then, what is bothering our young physicists? Some of my American friends, who may be your prospective employers, complain that Koreans are trying to sell their PRIDE before anything else. You do not have to be a genius to realize that PRIDE alone is not a marketable skill in the United States. What else does PRIDE do to you? Read the first paragraph of this mail.

Historians agree that Hitler's Nazism was a form of inferiority complex. Some historians say that Japan's YAMATO TAMASHI was also a form of inferiority complex, but this interpretation is not universally accepted. Like all diseases, it is best to cure the PRIDE DISEASE as early as possible. If you have problems, contact those old timers. They will be very happy to discuss your problems with you, as your medical doctor does. The difference is that they will not charge you money. They may even buy you a lunch or dinner.

You would say that those old folks had a relatively easy time in the U.S., and that they will never understand the problems young people have to face these days. No! No! (1) Until 1966, the U.S. immigration law was explicitly prejudicial to Asians. The law was saying essentially "No Asians in the U.S. please". (2) There were no Korean communities, and the only way to eat Korean food is to get invited to the family of a Korean woman married to an American soldier while serving in Korea. (3) The U.S. newspapers were printing only bad things about Korea, such as poverty, corruption and dictatorship. (4) Owning a car was an impossible dream.

However, those old timers had one important advantage. They were and still are more traditional Koreans, carrying the virtues of Confucianism. This is a quotation from Maengja. If God wishes to give you an important mission in this world, He grinds your bones and flesh, mixes up your mind, shatters your soul, and leads you to temptation, until you develop enough patience to make up the difference between what you have and what you want. Many people ask me how to succeed or survive in research. I always give them a very uninspiring answer: Follow the example of your parents. I think I am giving them the correct answer.

A letter from my old friend

Y.S.Kim (2004.8.12)

In addition to those English-speaking Korean friends of mine, I have many Korean-speaking friends in Korea. Since I left Korea six months after my high-school graduation, my friends are mostly my former high-school classmates, and I talk about them often. Tonight, I wish to talk about one of them belonging to a category quite different from those whom I used to mention before.

Quite understandably, my high-school friends are making preparations for their 50th reunion to be held in Korea this October. I received a warm personal letter from the principal organizer of this big event. He started his career as a high-school teacher after graduating from SNU's College of Education. He then became a professor at one of obscure colleges in Seoul, and then at one of the prestigious universities. He is now retired, but he still gives lectures at graduate schools and is the chairmans of the Korean National Committee for Enhancement of Education. He has written ten books on Korean education. He thus can tell us about Korea's young people.

You would agree that he lived a quite respectable life starting from the humble beginning. What was his secret? The answer is very simple. He did not complain. Under given circumstances, he kept improving himself. His ambition was always consistent with his ability. How do I know this while I was separated from him for 50 years. The answer here is also very simple. I also lived like him.

This friend of mine has been reading the stories in my online book entitled "Wisdom of Korea," and told me that my article entitled "Strength of France" exactly points out Korea's vision-less society. If young people do not wish to solve their problems and constantly complain about others, the country is not going to move.

You will recall that I sent out two articles about what to do and what not to do in getting jobs in the United States. I received several comments on those articles. One complaint was that it was possible for Korean students (in U.S.) to learn English 50 years ago because there were not many Koreans in the United States, but it is now impossible these days because there are too many Korean in the U.S. Alas he is not alone. Most of Korean students tell me the same thing. If they cannot learn English in the U.S., it is because they are stupid and/or lazy. Their easy solution is to blame their fellow Koreans.

In order to give you a clearer picture of what I am saying, I would like to add my article "Strength of France" which the above-mentioned Korean educator mentioned in his letter to me.

Please continue reading.

Strength of France

Y.S.Kim (1996.3.29)

When I go to Europe, I often talk about philosophers with my European friends. When they ask me who I think is the best American philosopher, I say "Thomas Edison." According to this kind of definition, the philosophy of France is Art.

In 1939, when German army was becoming uncontrollably strong, some of the well-to-do Parisians collected money to send several thousands bushels of red roses to the Maginot line, in order to boost the morale of the French troops guarding the French-German border. This does not show how strong France is in art. However, I would like to advise you to watch a French film entitled "Les Enfants du Paradis" (children of paradise) produced by Marcel Carne. It is like watching the classic American film "Gone with the Wind," whose the cinema logistics shows how resourceful the United States was in 1935.

The point is that "Children of Paradise" which boasts off the richness of France was produced in 1943 when France was under German occupation. The French film artists were able to produce this miracle during the most difficult period in France's history. This is not all. During the 1940-44 Nazi occupation, France produced some deep thinkers. Jean-Paul Sartre was one of them. Sartre refused the 1964 Nobel prize in literature because he thought the prize was a kind of Gamtu (he hated Gamtu much more than I did). When he died in 1980, his funeral cortege was followed by 50,000 young Europeans. Then what did Sartre really teach to earn the respect of those young people?

During the Nazi occupation, a young Frenchman had the following difficult problem. His elder brother was killed by German troops. His father left his family in order to collaborate with Germans. Thus, he was living with his mother. To her, this young man was everything. However, he very strongly felt that he had to flee to England to join the French Army being organized there. But his departure from his mother meant her collapse. After going through the agony, he went to Sartre and asked him what to do. Sartre clearly understood his problem, and said to him


Sartre was respected by young Frenchmen because he gave them the true meaning of FREEDOM. You would agree that we need a Sartre these days who will give lessons to our Korean students. Whenever things go wrong, Koreans blame the educational system they went through. While I was writing this article (around the noon of March 30 in Korea), the high school I attended (1948-54 in Korea) was having its 50th anniversary celebration. The principal of the high school was kind enough to invite me to participate in the ceremony. Though I was not able to fly to Korea, I told him that I met many people from many different parts of the world but I never had a moment to think the Korean educational system is second to any other educational system in the world.

I often have the following conversation with Korean students. They tell me that I am not a popular figure among Koreans because I insist on being honest and straightforward. They also complain that they cannot compete in the world because of the Korean educational system. I then ask them whether the Korean educational system taught them to be dishonest. They then complain that the Korean system does not teach them how to be honest. I think even animals know how to be honest. Thus, talking to Korean students is sometimes like talking to stone walls.

There are no schools in the world which will satisfy Korean students these days. Instead of complaining, they should realize that they are FREE to create a new knowledge whenever they need. If they cannot create new knowledge, they cannot compete in the world. Thomas Edison had his own style of creating new knowledge, and this is the reason why I insist that he was an American philosopher.

Let us go back to the issue of the Maginot line. Andre Maginot was an efficient government administrator, but he was wounded and crippled while serving in the army during World War I. He had enough reason to prevent another war with Germans. Maginot was the French war minister (minister of defense) during the period 1929-31. He produced the concept of heavy fortifications along the French-German border to keep German troops from marching into France. Maginot's original plan of course included France's entire eastern border, but the French politicians did not allocate enough budget to cover their border with Belgium. This incomplete Maginot line was completed in 1938. As you know, in 1940, highly mechanized German troops invaded France through the Belgian-French border.

Thus, according to the wisdom of young Koreans these days, the solution is very simple to the above-mentioned young Frenchman who went to Sartre. Blame Andre Maginot! You would agree that we can do better. This is why I am writing this article.

Sartre and Korea

Y.S.Kim (2004.8.20)

I received many mails concerning my story about France's Sartre. To be honest, I was disappointed by their reaction. They are not able to understand what relevance the story has to Koreans. Let me explain in terms of what is happening in Korea these days.

Under the changing world environment, Koreans lack the vision for their own future. They become humiliated by Americans, Chinese, Japanese, and even by North Korea's Kim Jong-Il, as Frenchmen and women were during the German occupation during World War II. As in the case of a young Frenchman who went to Sartre, young Koreans have their freedom to find a way out of this deadlock.

Instead of finding solutions, Korean have to blame someone. These days, they are blaming those pro-Japanese traitors. If they are so patriotic with respect to Japan, my solution to them is to get ahead of Japanese. It is easy. Learn about them. We all know from Sonja. In competition, the winners are those who understand and respect their rivals.

Here again, I do not preach what I cannot practice. I will attach one of my old articles about the idea my grandfather had with respect to Japan and Japanese. Unlike you, he was beaten by Japanese police several times.

--Please continue reading.

Koreans develop romanticism.

Y.S.Kim (1998.9.29)

I am continuing my series of articles on how Koreans were creative under the harsh Japanese rule during the years 1920-45. Koreans learned how to use Hangul, got rid of the caste system, built up a military potential, and picked up technology to increase agricultural productivity. I said further that the capital accumulated from the increased agricultural productivity went into the education of younger generations.

During this period, Koreans learned how to use Hangeul by reading the Bible and by writing love letters. Unfortunately, I do not belong to the 1920-45 generation and I do not know how to write love letters. How many of you know how to write romantic letters? The romanticism of 1920-45 did not stop at man/woman relations. They had a much greater romanticism toward their children and grandchildren. This was the beginning of a new intellectual core in Korea. Some people question whether this core exists, and more ask whether Korean intellectuals are worth anything. In either case, many young Koreans went to Japan to study during the period 1920-45. After 1945, those Koreans who studied in Japan led Korea's intellectual life until 1960. I hope to discuss their impact next time.

Tonight, I will talk about what romantic dream my grandfather I had for me and how his dream affected my life in the United States. As I said in one of my earlier articles, he was beaten several times by Japanese police. His solution to this problem was to send his grandson (myself) to Todai, which was called Tokyo Imperial University at that time. His grandson will be the No. 1 student at Todai but Japanese will give the No. 1 spot to a Japanese boy, and I will have to settle with No. 2. My maternal grandmother told me that by the time I became ready to go to college, I would have to go to the United States instead of Japan.

These days, I routinely say Todai (Univ. of Tokyo these days) is worse than the worst university in the world. You already know which country has the worst university. But my life in the United States has been exactly like what my grandfather had predicted. As I said repeatedly before, Eugene Wigner was only a adopted advisor. I had a real advisor at Princeton and he signed all the documents for my degree, but he is saying an American physicst is the No. 1 man among about the thirty PhDs he produced even though, according to my grandfather, I am the No. 1. My obligation to my grandfather is to prove that I am indeed No. 1 among those Princeton boys. This is why I am working so hard at my old age.

Let us talk about Japan. Like all Koreans, I enjoy kihapping (giving hard time to) my Japanese friends. My kihap to them usually takes the following form. When I sit down with my Japanese and Western colleagues, the Westerners ask the Japanese many questions about Japan. Always, I have to answer the questions. Japanese cannot communicate with Westerners because they do not believe in Jesus. I usually end up with vigorously defending the Japanese values. Why? Am I a pro-Japanese traitor? No! It is because Japanese share the same cultural base with us. This is the reason why I am advocating our close cooperation and collaboration with Japanese.

What romantic dream do you have for your children? What dream do you have for yourself? Let us be romantic! Please send me your letters. I will be happy to circulate them.

Rhee's basic problem

Y.S.Kim (2004.8.25)

I will continue telling stories about Rhee Seungman. Rhee's basic strength was his ability to grasp international climate affecting the Korean peninsula, dominated by the United States and the Soviet. Thanks to him, at least the southern half of the peninsula was kept out of Stalin's expansionism.

His weakness was in the domestic fronts. He did not have many friends in Korea, and there were nobody to turn to at the time of crisis. In January of 1953, Rhee gave a new year's message at national assembly, and I heard it on radio. At the end of the speech, he said "I hope a new baby boy will be born in your family." This remark amplified the rumor that Rhee was attempting to obtain a son with a Catholic nun. In Korean words, he was doing a "Sol-sun Su-bum" (set the example for himself first). Indeed, he missed his children who could help him at the time of crises.

During his political battle with the national assembly in 1952. He was totally isolated. In view of his lief-time work for setting up the Korean government, he could not believe that everybody was turning against him unless there was an outside conspiracy. Because he did not have his own son, he called in the son of his old friend's. He was Admiral Sohn Won-Il, the navy chief of staff. He became the navy chief because Rhee and Sohn's father were good friends. They both were early Christians. Sohn's father was Rev. Sohn Jung-Do who later moved to Manchu. In the the Manchurian town, there was another Christian family: the family of Kim Hyung-Jik and his wife Kang Ban-Suk (a very devoted Christian). They had a son named Sung-Ju who later became North Korea's Kim Il-Sung. Sohn Won-Il and Kim Il-Sung were also friends.

Rhee ordered Sohn Won-Il to find out the link between the national assembly and the North Korean conspiracy. Sohn said Yes, and tried to find a clue, but he could not get any results which would satisfy Rhee. Even though I do not have concrete stories to tell, Rhee should also have tried to get the evidence from his No. 1 red hunter named Kim Chang-Yong.

After he failed to to link the national assembly with the communist conspiracy from North Korea and the Soviet Union, he had to resort the method he did not really want to use. What did he do? Whom did he hire to carry out the job?

Welcome the United States

Y.S.Kim (2004.9.6)

Every year, in August or September, I send out a message welcoming Korean students to the United States. Each time, I emphasize the following points.

(1). In spite of frequent diplomatic failures, the United States is admired throughout the world. The reason is very simple. This country rewards those who work hard. Koreans are hardworking people. Maintain your Korean work habit, and you will be rewarded.

(2). The United States has its constitution. This year, Americans will choose their next president according to the U.S. constitution. However, there is also a super-constitution. It is the Gospel of Matthew. In daily life, Americans follow what Jesus says in this first gospel of the New Testament. If you came from Korea, you are quite familiar with what Jesus says. If you do not believe in Jesus. It is quite OK. You know what Confucius says. Remember always that Confucius and Jesus say the same thing. If you are a good Confucian, you will be a good American.

This year is a very special year for me. I left Korea and came to the United States fifty years ago. On August 31, 1954, I boarded a propeller-driven Northwest airplane at the Yoido Airport and landed at Tokyo's Haneda Airport. There were no jet airliners at that time. I slept one night at the Shoto Hotel in the Shibuya District of Tokyo. I came back to the airport next day to board another NW plane for Anchorage (Alaska) in the evening of September 1. This plane had to stop on one of Ryuku islands for re-fueling.

When I came to Anchorage in the morning, it was still September 1 due to the dateline change. the U.S. immigration official stamped the I-something form attached to my passport, and said "you are very welcome to the United States." He said this twice. His attitude was quite different from that I was accustomed to in Korea. On the same NW plane, I came to Seattle. There I stayed one night at hotel recommended by the NWA. It was the Bush Hotel (still there) managed by an American of Japanese origin. In the night of September I boarded another NW for an overnight flight to Chicago's Midway Airport (O'Hara did not exist at that time). Then continuing flight to Pittsburgh. The airport was rather new and called the Greater Pittsburgh Airport. It was September 3, 1954. I then became a freshman at the Carnegie Institute of Technology.

Exactly 50 years later, on September 3, 2004, I went to the airport place where I landed. The terminal building is gone, and the new passenger terminal was built at the opposite end of the runways. However the plane parking area is still used for chartered planes for important people. When I was there one of the Kerry-Edwards campaign plane was there. I of course took a photo of this plane and put on my web page entitled "Pittsburgh."

Indeed, in order to celebrate the 50th anniversary of may arrival in the United States, I created a new webpage. You may go to the page


and click on "Pittsburgh" at the bottom of the left frame. I intend to add many more photos in the future. The Univ. of Pittsburgh was and still in one of favorite universities for Koreans. My Pittsburgh page will be designed to entertain those Koreans who spent their years in Pittsburgh. Even though I did have any respect for this university when I was a student at Carnegie Tech, I will be very happy interesting photos of the Pitt campus, including the "Cathedral of Learning."

Another photo already on my Pittsburgh page is from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Pittsburgh's leading newspaper calling itself one of the most important newspapers in the world. On October 21, 1954, during my 7th freshman week at Carnegie Tech. My high school principal came to Carnegie Tech to visit his former students and the school officials. It was a news-worthy event for Pittsburgh newspapers.

The name of the high school principal was Kim Won-Kyu. He was a very influential person in Korea's secondary educational system. I often meet Koreans who claim to know him better than I do. Many people these days blame him for creating a hell-like atmosphere for the college entrance exams in Korea. However, the truth is that his ultimate goal was to educate Korean young people for the world stage, like Korean sports people interested in training young athletes for Olympic games.

Please visit this Pittsburgh page and see this newspaper photo. It is my gift to you. Your country wants you to become a world figure.

Organization man

Y.S.Kim (2004.9.23)

There are things I can do, and there are also things I cannot do. I know how to cook. Did you know this! But many people say that I do not know how to convey my message without telling exactly what I have in mind. Apparently, many Koreans can tell things without telling. I am quite stupid along this direction.

As far as I know, I am a physics researcher and I still write papers with new ideas (ideas nobody else can come up with). However, in order not to recognize this, my colleagues are telling me I am an excellent conference organizer. Yes, I am running three international conferences. If I do not know anything else, I certainly know how to organize things. If I have a talent along this direction, I should be able to tell who, among Koreans, are born organizers.

In recent history, Kim Jong-Pil is known as the organizer of the KCIA (Korean Central Intelligence Agency). I could follow what he was doing. Park Hun-Young was a brilliant organizer. He transformed Korean anti- colonialism (against Japan) into a formidable political power. Korea's recent anti-American sentiment can be traced to Park's work before 1945.

Cho Byung-Ok was also a good organizer. He was one of a very small number of Koreans who refused to adopt a Japanese name before 1945. Because of this, he was thoroughly persecuted by Japanese authorities. Yet, when he organized Korean police, he hired all the Koreans who had worked for Japanese police. For what he did, Cho is bitterly cursed as a pro-Japanese traitor these days.

I am not defending the traitors, but if Cho had not used those professionals trained in Japanese police, Korea would have been like today's Iraq, without any means to maintain security. In organizing Korea's police, Cho used Rhee Seungman as the central figure. Every police man should be personally loyal to Rhee. He was so successful in cultivating Rhee, the Korea's police later became the biggest stumbling block in his effort to gain political power against Rhee

Lee Bum-Suk was also a brilliant organization man. I do not know too much about his background. In case you did not know, Lee was the commander of the Kwang-Bok Goon. I assume he studied in one of Chinese military schools. On June 25, 1950, he was the only military man in Korea to have a realistic assessment of the strength of the North Korean army.

When the Korean government was established in 1948, he became the defense minister. When Rhee was having troubles with the national assembly in appointing his prime minister, Lee Bum-Suk helped him and became the first prime minister. When the assembly was attempting a constitutional amendment to take power away from the president, Lee organized an opposition to stop them.

However, due to a series of military mishaps and scandals in the defense ministry, he had to resign in 1949. He lived quietly after resignation. Next time, I will tell you what role he played during the political crisis of 1952.

Lee Bum-Suk's additional skill

Y.S.Kim (2004.9.30)

I said in my previous mail that Lee Bum-Suk was one of those Koreans born with organizational talents. His talent was not only recognized by the Korean provisional government in Shanghai, but also by Lt.Gen. John R. Hodge, the commander of the U.S. Forces in Korea. As I said before, Hodge was an excellent military man but an idiotic politician. He was not able to see the difference between Stalin's democracy and the Jeffersonian democracy practiced in his country.

After he came to Korea in 1945, he gave freedom to everybody including communists. As a result, Park Hun-Young's communist party became the strongest political force. In order to counter this communist group, Hodge asked Lee Bum-Suk to organize a "non-political" youth group, and gave him financial supports. Hodge also gave him a number of GMC trucks.

With Hodge's backing, Lee Bum-Suk organized a group called "Minjok Chung-Nyun Dan." This non-political group has a very stirring anthem and and gave a weekly radio program. I can still sing their group anthem. Lee used this opportunity to organizer his political group. His "non-political" political group was called "Jok-Chung" faction. You will be surprised to hear that his "Jok-Cung" people were the initial organizers of Rhee infamous party called "Chayoo Dang." I will talk more about this in later articles.

In addition, as the commander of the Kwang-Bok Goon, Lee Bum-Suk had a special military skill. Koreans have a tendency to glorify Kwang-Bok Goon as a great army, but the truth is that it consists mostly of self-claimed patriots who only knew how to shout. This army lacked military professionalism, without any supply system. The only viable military option was to wage terrorist attacks against high-ranking Japanese officials, like PLO these days. Lee Bong-Chang and Yoon Bong-Gil were their heros, and are still our heros.

Lee Bum-Suk of course was aware of this, and he has a deep knowledge of terrorist tactics. You will be amazed to hear that Rhee Seungman used this aspect of Lee Bum-Suk's talents to put the National Assembly under his control, which earlier attemped to oust him.

Shin Ik-Hee

Y. S. Kim (2004.10.3)

When the Korean government was set up in 1948, there were three major political groups, namely Hankook Minju Dang(Hanmin Dang), Dae Han Kookmin Dang, and independent politicians supporting Rhee Seungman. In addition, there was a party called Hankook Dogrip Dang (Handok Dang) consisting of Kim Koo supporters. But this party was against setting up a government in the South alone, and did not participate in the political process of the new Korean government.

Of course, those Kim Koo supporters consisted mostly of the people from the Shanghai Provisional government (called Imjung), but not all Imjung people were affiliated with Kim Koo's Handok Dang. They took a realistic pro-American approach and obtained prominent positions in the new Korean government. Among them were Lee Bum-Suk whom I talked about last time. In addition, there was a prominent politician named Shin Ik-Hee. He was the secretary general of the Imjung, and became the chairman of the National Assembly. He was widely respected and was regarded as a man who would become the president after Rhee.

After the government was set up, those assembly men thought Rhee was becoming dictatorial, and Hanmin Dang and Kookmin Dang decided to form a new united party called Minju Kookmin Dang (Minkook Dang). Shin Ik-Hee became one of the leaders of this new party. After becoming the strongest force in the Assembly, this party presented a motion for constitutional amendment which would curtail the presidential power by changing to a parliamentary system.

However, this motion was defeated by a very skilful campaign staged by Lee Bum Suk who was Rhee's prime minister at that time. To Rhee Seungman, Lee was a person who could deal with his problems with the National Assembly. During the political crisis of 1952, Rhee called him in and made him his minister of internal affairs, in charge of the national police and of appointing provincial governors.

Shin Ik-Hee knew Lee Bum-Suk well from the Imjung period and was able to sense what was going to come. He asked Rhee Seungman for a face-to-face talk. Shin asked Rhee whether he was planning to become a life-time president. Rhee did not say anything. This meant his answer was YES. Shin then told Rhee that everybody should obey the constitution. Rhee agreed. Rhee had in mind a constitutional amendment which would change the presidential election to a popular vote. According to the original constitution, the president was to be elected by the National Assembly. Rhee asked Shin whether he would support his proposal. Shin told Rhee Rhee that the National Assembly would never pass Rhee's motion.

There came to the moment of truth. Rhee has to change the constitution by obtaining a 2/3 majority in the Assembly. In order to do this, he had to liquidate the opposition from Shin Ik-Hee and the key members of Minkuk Dang. Lee Bum-Suk's job was to change their votes. At that time, Cho Byung-Ok was not in the Assembly, but was one of the leading members of Minkuk Dang with his organizational skills.

Cho organized the national police, but the police became under the command of Lee Bum-Suk who was capable of using Cho's police force to stage a terrorist war against those opposition politicians including Cho. We will see what happened next time.

In 1956, Shin Ik-Hee ran in the presidential election against Rhee Seungman, but he died from heart attack on a train during the election campaign.

Baek-Gol Dan

Y.S.Kim (2004.10.4)

On one morning in May of 1952, very strange wall posters appeared on the street of Busan (capital city of Korea at that time). The posters were accusing a number of politicians of selling the country, but the posters did not specify to whom they were attempting to sell the country. The posters said they came from "Baek-Gol Dan" (white skeleton corps). Next morning, there were different posters carrying nonsense stories aimed at a certain group of politicians. I remember reading a poster tellinh Shin Ik-Hee's daughter had a sex with an American soldier. This poster period lasted about 10 days.

I then saw the front door of the Minguk Dang headquarter covered with blood-colored painter. I also saw Cho Byung-Ok coming out from a restaurant with his face covered with mud. Indeed, there was a gangster organization calling itself "Baek-Gol Dan" harassing the politicians opposed to the constitutional amendment which will allow Rhee Seungman to serve four more years as the president. Those gangsters threw mud to Cho while he was consulting with political allies at the restaurant.

Those Baek-Gol gangsters kept making obscene telephone calls to those opposition politicians, some with death threats. During the nights, they broke into their houses acting as ghosts. To make things worse, those gangsters never told what they really wanted.

Many people, including myself, were wondering where those gangs were coming from and who was behind them. At that time, I had a rare privilege of listening to radio programs from Pyongyang using my shortwave radio. From Pyongyang, I was able to find out the true identity of this strange gangster group.

This group was organized by a newly appointed minister of internal affairs. His name was Lee Bun-Suk whom I talked about in my previous articles. Those gang members were not gangsters, but they were polic officers. Lee had enough organizational skill and terror skills to do stage this unusual campaign.

For Cho Byung-Ok, it was very easy to identify those Baek-Gol gangs. He could recognize their faces because Cho hired them while he was the police chief. From them, Cho learned an lesson. Korean police was totally loyal to Rhee Seungman, and it was not possible to take away the ruling power from Rhee. Cho then proposed a negotiation with the Rhee's faction. Both sides worked out a compromise solution to the problem, but Rhee was the winner. Rhee was going to get elected by a popular presidential election, while the National Assembly was going to gain a right to dismiss individual cabinet members.

One night in July of 1952, around 10 PM, I heard a breaking news. The National Assembly passed the constitutional amendment by stand-up vote. The Assembly was surrounded by an armed unit force organized by Lee Bum-Suk. There were only three who did not stand up to approve the amendment.

One of those three was the assembly woman named Park Soon-Chun. She was a very interesting character, and I talked about her in one of may earlier articles on the role of lady scientists in Korea. I hope I can talk about her again in the future.

Presidential election of 1952

Y.S.Kim (2004.10.5)

Immediately after the constitutional amendment, politicians started their election campaigns. There were three candidates I can recall now. Rhee Seungman was of course a candidate. Those politicians who had formed a opposition group to Rhee came up with Lee Si-Young. Lee was Rhee's vice-president, but resigned after the Keochang massacre in 1951. Another candidate I can remember was Cho Bong-Am. I talked about him in my earlier articles. He was a mentor of Kim Dae-Jung.

People did not take this election seriously, because they were not ready to change their president during the war time. Rhee was still enjoying a broad-based respect from all Koreans, and an absolute loyalty from the police organization. The issue was who was going to become Rhee's vice-president. The vice-president did not have any constitutional power, but the position was regarded as the successor to the president even though the constitution does not specify so. Rhee was an old man and getting older.

Lee Bum-Suk worked very hard for Rhee and brought about the constitutional amendment because he was interested in becoming the vice-president. He even published a poster carrying Rhee's photo and his own photo saying "president" and "vice-president." Lee Bum-Suk's most serious disadvantage was that he does not look like a generous person, in contrast to Rhee Seungman whose appearance as a great asset to him. Lee Bum-Suk looked like a mafia chief. The poster did not please too many people. There was one important person who disliked the poster. His name was Rhee Seungman. Rhee ordered all the posters be taken off.

People were wondering who will be his running mate. I found out earlier than most of the people from my favorite radio station. You guessed right. I was listening to Pyongyang. Unlike Seoul, Busan is some distance away from Pyongyang, and one needed a shortwave receiver to pick up radio signals from Pyongyang. I still remember their frequencies. They were 4.4, 5.7 and 6.25 Mhz. Rhee's vice-presidential running mate was Ham Tae-Young. He was totally nameless person even to me. My later research revealed that he was an lawyer who worked very hard and effectively to save Rhee's life when he was jailed on a treason charge in 1899. Ham was a do-nothing vice-president and this is the way Rhee wanted. Ham's main job was to preside marriage ceremonies, and he was very good at this job.

Ham was not a good politician if his grandson was any guide. He had a grandson named Ham Byoung-Choon who once served as the Korean ambassador to the United States. I am not disputing his qualification as a public official and he was very nice to me. But he made a couple of idiotic statements about Koreans in the U.S.A. It is true that Koreans in Washington constantly give hard time to the Korean ambassador. He once became very angry and said Koreans in the U.S. are not Koreans. He also said there are a number of Korean students in the U.S.A. who live lavishly, without mentioning the majority of Korean students studying hard under adverse conditions. Speaking of lavish life, he was one of those enjoying expensive cars and other luxury items when he was a student in Chicago and Boston. I heard rumors about him when I was a student. Ham Tae-Young's grand- son was not a good politician.

Here is the burning question. Why and how Rhee Seungman dump Lee Bum-Suk who saved Rhee's political life? Is it simply because the election poster?

Rhee's new political party

Y.S.Kim (2004.10.11)

In 1952, while Rhee's political crisis was going on, there were wall posters telling there will be a new political party simply called "Shin Dang." People were again puzzled about the origin of this new political group.

Ever since Rhee Seungman assumed his presidential duty, he had to go through never-ending feuds with the National Assembly. Rhee's original plan was to rule the country without his own political group assuming that he could get universal supports from all the people and from all the political groups. He was incredibly naive. He did not know how irrational Koreans, including himself, become when the Gamtu issue comes up. They fight like animals.

After suffering for four years, Rhee came to the conclusion that he had to have his own party occupying the majority in the Assembly. After seeing Lee Bum-Suk's "success" in organizing the Baek-Gol Dan gangster group, Rhee asked Lee to form a new party "Shin Dang." Lee Bum-Suk's reaction was very shift. He completed the initial organization within one month. Lee originally wanted the vice presidency, but became much happier with his new role. According to the constitution at that time, the vice-president does not become the president when the latter becomes incapacitated. The formation of the new party is the royal way to presidency.

How was Lee Bum-Suk able to do that? He had his personal clan which he had cultivated during the military rule (1945-48) called Minjok Chung-Nyun Dan (called Jok Chung). Was this enough. He needed money. Korea at that time did not have any industry, and was not able to collect funds from the industrialist (like these days). Where was the financial source for this new party?

Throughout the Korean War, the United States was pouring in relief materials to Korea, such as used clothes, canned food, and other materials not useful to Americans. At that time, the United States had a huge surplus of agricultural products, including wheat grains, cottons, sugar canes, which could not be consumed by the people. The government then has to sell those agricultural raw materials to Korean business people. The money collected in this way did not go to the national treasury, but was funneled to Lee Bum-Suk's new party.

After successful organization, Lee was tactful enough to ask Rhee to give a name to this party, and invited Rhee to become the head of the party. Lee Bum-Suk had no other choice. Rhee named this new party "Chayoo Dang" and became the head of the party. However, Rhee's Chayoo Dang was doomed to fail from the beginning. People knew that it was constructed from illegal money. To Koreans, Chayoo Dang was a party of bandits.

I will talk more about this ill-fated party.

Letters from Americans

Y.S.Kim (2004.10.14)

I often receive e-mails from American soldiers, both active and retired, who served in Korea. They write to me after visiting my "wisdom" page (http://ysfine.com/wisdom) or my "style" page (http://ysfine.com/style), which contains the "Korean Background" page. This style page is popular to them not only because it contains many photos of interesting people around the world, but also it has a number of photos of Russian and American tanks.

In order to make them happy, I intend to add more photos of American tanks. Already on my page are several versions of the Sherman tank. Today, I added an M-47 tank. I intend to add M-60, M-70, and M-1 tanks, as well as the Bradley armored vehicle.

I also maintain a website aimed at my physics colleagues. There, I add one article per month. My latest article is about Immanuel Kant and Albert Einstein. I explain there how my Korean background helped me in constructing a Kant-Einstein connection. I would like to invite you to visit my Einstein page at http://ysfine.com/einstein and look at my Kant article. I said this many times before. You cannot produce original research result by imitating others. You have to use your own background. Many Koreans say that they cannot do research because of their Korean background. I flatly disagree. Their Korean background should be their most valuable asset.

Let us go back to the question of American who served in Korea. I received the following letter from an American gentleman named Tim Cassey. He apparently lived in North Korea as a POW during the Korean War. He likes to know about some Americans who were in Korea before 1950.

Professor Kim,

I found your site while surfing for info about the Korean War and found it very interesting.

By any chance do you know of, or heard about a mining engineer who worked in pre-Korean war times by the name of William H. Evans or another engineer by the name of Chessman?

Evans was born to an American medical doctor who practiced in Japan circa 1899 and a Eurasian mother. He was educated in Japan. Then worked the mines in both North and South Korea in the 1930s and 1940s. He was married to a Korean woman and lived in Seoul. After the invasion of South Korea he was arrested by the North Korean Security Police and became a prisoner of war. He was interned with other foreign residents of Seoul: White Russians, Tatars, the French and British legation members, six or so South Korean politicians, French and American missionaries and finally the American soldiers who were captured in the first few weeks of the Korean War (July 1950). Evans died in a POW camp north of Manpo-jin, NK.

I would appreciate hearing from you if any of the above info sounds familiar to you. Please reply to my home e-mail address below;


Thank you in advance,

Tim Casey Command Sergeant Major
US Army-Retired
Record Keeper, Assoc of Korean War ex-POWs, Inc.

PS. I am also a ham radio operator.
Licensed since 1955. I have owned several old Hallicrafters receivers in my time.


This gentleman indeed has read my writings carefully. He seems to know I was playing around electronics and shortwave radios during my high-school days.

If you have information about those Americans mentioned in his letter, please send an e-mail to his address and send me a copy for the record.

Rhee gets rid of Lee

Y.S.Kim (2004.10.17)

After the presidential election of 1952, Lee Bum-Suk's dream was to become elected to the president in 1956, according to the constitution which limits the president to two four-year terms. Thus, Rhee had to retire and someone else has to succeed him. Lee Bum-Suk naturally appointed himself to this next-president position and worked day and night in the job of constructing a new political party called Chayoo Dang.

On the other hand, Rhee Seungman was interested in making this new party strong enough to gain a 2/3 majority in the National Assembly. The assembly election was scheduled for March of 1954. With the 2/3 majority, Rhee was planning to amend the constitution again to stay in power for the 3rd term and beyond.

Thus, these two men worked hard to build the party. The problem however was that there were not many professional politicians in Korea. This is true even these days. Thus, Lee's and Rhee's new party has to recruit ex-police officers and ex-local village chiefs. They were thoroughly trained to be loyal to Rhee Seungman, and it was very easy for him to get rid of Rhee Bum-Suk.

In addition, Rhee Bum-Suk had a tainted image due to his Baekgol Dan activity which brought about the constitutional amendment of 1952. In order to change the image of the party and gain a personal control of the party, Rhee Seungman had to get rid of Lee Bum-Suk. In July of 1953, Rhee advised Lee Bum-Suk to make a world tour in order to groom himself as the next leader of Korea. Lee happily agreed and went to Japan, Taiwan, the United States, and other countries around the world.

While Lee was away, Rhee Seungman fired all the people Lee Bum-Suk brought in, and gave the party control to his long-time friend named Lee Ki-Boong. Lee earlier established himself as a decent politician by cleaning up the mess created by the National Defense Army. As the defense minister he sent top five corrupt officers of NDA to a firing squad.

Lee Ki-Boong was a very nice person, and I once shook hands with him, but nobody regarded him as the presidential material. He was not even fit to lead a political party. However, he had a very ambitious wife called Park Maria. Since his Chayoo Dang consisted mostly of former local officials and police chiefs, it was very easy to arrange elections. In March of 1954, there was a national assembly election, the Chayoo Party gained an almost 2/3 majority.

I will talk more about comedic tragedies associated with this party in my future articles.

Lessons from Rhee

Y.S.Kim (2004.10.18)

Politics is an art of dealing with imperfect world. Korean scientists complain that there is too much politics in the academic/research world in the United States. Their complaints are justified. The question then is whether we should keep complaining or do something about it? In research world, like in all other areas, the name of the game is survival. You have to survive!!

I of course realize that my research products have not received full recognition from my scientific community. Should I keep complaining or do something about it? The crucial problem in the U.S. scientific community is how to control the flow of research money. It is almost impossible for Koreans to compete in terms of money. Then how else? You should find some other methods. This means that you should be able to defeat capitalism. In order to do this, you need wisdom. As I said many times before, one's wisdom comes from his/her own cultural background.

Let us start with the wisdoms I used to survive and expand in the hostile research world. First, Korean students in U.S.A. tell me they do not want to talk with me, because they are only interested in talking to famous American physicists. That is right, according to Korean wisdom, the best way to advance is to built a connection with famous people. Since I am also a Korean, I should be able to do exactly this. This is the reason why I am running three international conferences named after three famous physicists.

The first is one the Wigner Symposium series. The second one is the Int'l Conference on Squeezed States. The purpose of this conference is to establish my Dirac genealogy. The third conference series is the Feynman Festival. You would agree that I am pretty good in associating me with big names. If those young Koreans want to talk to only famous Americans, I can understand. They could however learn from me how to approach those famous people. My first advice to them is to learn how to speak English.

Koreans are not the only ones with the wisdom of associating themselves with big names. Since two of the three conferences are floating around the world, many people are tempted to make conspiracy with local organizers to throw me out from the conference organization. This is quite common among my closest friends. Their conspiracy is based on the assumption that I could not understand the Western world with my Korean background. The only way to solve this problem is kick them out before they throw me out. I am very good at taking advantage of their talents and resources before getting rid of them.

Unfortunately, I do this very often. In fact, this is my daily business. If you wondered how I was able to write so vividly about Rhee's political crisis of 1952, it is because my job is to deal with the crisis similar to what Rhee went through in 1952. In my stories to the world (go to www.physics.umd.edu/robot and click on "Interesting Stories."), there is a story entitled "Wilson and Poincare." In this article, I give a stern warning to my colleagues not to play funny games with me. I tell them that I learned all the evils of politicians from the Korean dictator named Syngman Rhee. I also tell them that he was a Princeton PhD, and his advisor was Woodrow Wilson. You will enjoy reading this article. I indeed bluff like a Korean.

Here is the lesson for our young people. Do not expect the research world to be an ideal scientific community. It is the most imperfect world you will face. You have to be prepared to deal with this strange world rather than avoiding it.

lee Byung-Chul

Y.S.Kim (2004.10.24)

Lee Byung-Chul is widely respected by Koreans as the founder of the Samsung Empire. How did he become so rich? I do not know too much about his background. I knew that he was a candy manufacturer before 1950. He became very prominent during the Korean War. How?

As I said before, during the war, the United States poured into Korea surplus agricultural products during the war period. Some of them, such as wheat flour and vegetable fats, could be used for food, and others were raw materials requiring finishing jobs in Korea. Among them were sugar canes. At that time, Korea did not have sugar refineries. As a candy manufacturer, Lee Byung-Chul needed sugar for his candies and he used to smuggle in his needs from Japan.

Lee decided to transform those sugar canes into table-top sugar, and managed to construct a sugar refinery by importing importing needed machines from Japan. He had to struggle to build the factory because there were no Korean engineers who could handle the problem. It was a triumphal moment in his life when his refinery started pouring out white-colored sugar granules.

Lee Byung-Chul managed his initial success well and became big enough to control Korea's consumer industry. He was so rich and powerful that he was regarded as an evil man by Koreans, but now his Samsunig empire is one of the prime industrial establishments in the world.

Korean economy was developed initially from consumer-oriented industries. The first Korean capital was Park Heung-Shik. While Korea was under Japanese occupation, Park developed a retail chain called Hwa-Shin and put up a tough competition against Japanese retailer called Mitszukoshi. The family of Kim Sung-Soo, using their agricultural riches, built textile factories in Seoul and Daegu. Their factories had to supply clothings to Japanese army. These days, those early Korean capitalists are cursed by Koreans as pro-Japanese traitors.

Japanese built a number of heavy-industry factories in the northern part of Korea (now called North Korea) before 1945. Among them were a hydro-electric power generator at Soo-Poong Dam and a nitrogen fertilizer factory in Heungman. In addition, there numerous factories designed to supply arms to their army in Manchu. Among them was a steel mill in Yong-Gang (west of Pyongyang).

This factory was thoroughly destroyed by American bombings during the Korean War. But, by July of 1954, one year after the cease-fire agreement of 1953, North Korean authorities restores the production capacity of this factory. I heard this news from my favorite radio station. You know which station I am talking about.

About the same time, the Korean Ambassador in the United States made a statement warning that the Korean reconstruction plans led by American agencies are failing. It has been 50 years since then. The situation is quite different. What made the difference? The bottom line is that Korea (south) was on the side of the United States. The North was following a failed ideology.

In my article about Kant and Einstein which is very popular among my American and European colleagues, I quote Karl Marx from a marble plate at the main hall entrance of Humboldt University in Berlin. Marx said "Philosophers interpret this world in various ways. There comes the question of changing the world." I add there my own statement "If Marx was talking about Vladimir Lenin as the person who would change the world, he was wrong. If Marx was talking about Albert Einstein, he was right!" You may visit http://www.physics.umd.edu/robot. If you click on "Jobmenu" there, you will be led to this job annnouncement.

Paek Doo-Jin

Y.S.Kim (2004.11.11)

Rhee's political party called "Chayoo-Dang" was originally constructed by Lee Bum-Suk, but he was replaced by Lee Ki-Boong. During this transition period, the party maintained its organization because the party's money was controlled by a man named Paek Doo-Jin. He started as an obscure mid-level official in the ministry of finance, but he became in charge of relief materials poured into Korea from the United States.

Those relief materials were mostly American surplus farm products. Of course, there were some table-ready food stuffs which the government had to distribute to ordinary Koreans free of charge in order to satisfy American eyes. But, most of those farm products needed additional processing like wheat grains, sugar canes, and others which cannot go to mouth directly. Those indirect materials were given to businessmen. In my previous article, I talked about Lee Byung-Chul who developed sugar refinery using those sugar canes.

How about others? Those wheat and barley product went to liquor industry. The Chayoo-Dang could make money by selling the law materials to them, and the government can later collect alcohol taxes after those liquor producers sell their final products. The wine made for Korean taste is called "Soju." Thus, during the war, Koreans had a plenty supply of Soju. While he was the finance minister, Paek awarded licenses to 160 Soju factories.

There was another reward to the government and the ruling party. The government has to make people happy in order to remain in power. The Korean government was able to calm people by intoxicating them. I do not know whether the government people knew this at that time. The Korean government was not the first to use this method to make their people happy. Traditionally, the Russian government provides vodkas to make Russians merry and happy. Unfortunately, Koreans and Russians are the two heaviest drinking people in the world.

To Rhee's eyes, Paek Doo-Jin did an OK job in managing the money, and he became promoted to Rhee's prime minister. In order to strengthen his grip on the Korean financial system, Paek carried out a currency re-domination in the spring of 1953. It was to knock off three digits in the money unit. One thousand Wons became one Hwan. This Hwan system lasted until 1962 when Park Chung-Hee converted 100 Hwans to one Won which is still the Korean monetary unit.

Did Paek Doo-Jin become rich during this process? I do not know, but his wife used to come to my house often. She went to high school with my mother. She used to be a very kind lady, but her attitude became so insolent after the currency reform that my mother told her never come to our house again. She used to be also very nice to me, but her attitude toward me also changed. She became openly contemptuous to me while bragging about her own children. This is something ordinary people do not do to the children of their friends and or even enemies. I do not know what her children are doing these days, but I will be very happy to buy them a drink if I meet them.

While Park Chung-Hee was in charge, he went through a number of economic difficulties. At one time (I do not remember the exact year), Park called in Paek Doo-Jin and made him his prime minister. Korean newspapers used to be careful about saying against whatever Park was doing. But they uniformly criticized Paek Doo-Jin as the symbol of Chayoo-Dang's corruption.

Yakob Malik

Y.S.Kim (2004.11.19)

Koreans always have someone to hate. The most hated person since 1910 has been Japan's Itoh Hiro-woomi (Yideung Bakmoon). We used to hate North Korea's Kim Il-Sung for many years. However, the most hated person during the crucial period of 1948-53 was Yakob Malik. Who was he?

He was the Soviet ambassador to the United Nations from 1948 to 1953. Like Lavrenty Beria, he was one of Stalin's most trusted servants. Like Beria, he lost his job shortly after Stalin's death in 1953. But, unlike Beria, Malik lived until 1980. He was a heavy Vodka drinker. His face was covered with steel, but he enjoyed a stylish life in his own way.

Why did Koreans hate him so much. The reason is that the Korean government was created by the United States under the trademark of the United Nations. Shortly after the inauguration of the government in 1948, the UN General Assembly passed the resolution recognizing the government in the South as the government for the entire peninsula. But, in the Security Council, Yakob Malik used his veto power to block the motions granting Korea's UN membership.

As we all know, American troops came to Korea in 1950 with UN flags. Then how was the U.S. government able to get a Security Council resolution to take a "police action" in Korea? Why couldn't Mailk block the resolution at that time.

Here is the answer. Shortly after the communist government was declared in Beijing on October 1 of 1949, Yakob Malik proposed replacing the Chinese seat in the Council by the communist China. The China seat had been occupied by the Nationalists exiled in Taiwan until 1979. But Malik's proposal was blocked by the Western powers. Malik became so angry that he refused to attend the UN activities until August of 1950. He came back to the Council to assume the chairman's position, which was a monthly rotating position according to alphabetical order. When the Korean War broke out in June of 1950, Malik was absent from the Security Council. That is how Americans could come under the UN flag.

Since then, Malik used to anger Koreans by many insulting remarks on the Korean government. In the spring of 1951, while he was resting at the estate of the Soviet UN delegation in Glen Cove (Long Island, NY), he made a passing remark to newspaper reporters about a possibility of ease fire in Korea. This became the starting point of the Panmunjom cease-fire talk which lasted from July 1951 to July 1953.

Malik angered Koreans again. Koreans were waiting for re-unification of the country. In December of 1950, the Chinese "Volunteer" army launched a massive offensive against the US Army in Korea, and the US 8th Army (the main combat unit in Korea) was thoroughly destroyed. To make things worse, on December 22, 1950, the commander of the 8th Armry died from a car crash. General Matthew Ridgeway came to Korea to reorganize the 8th Army, and he did a brilliant job. He was able to assemble enough fire power to beat back Chinese troops.

When Malik was talking about the cease fire, Chinese were retreating, and Koreans were quite hopeful about the unification. Malik's cease-fire talk stopped the advance of the U.S. and Korean troops' march toward the North. Malik was Korea's enemy again.

Many years later, Dean Rusk said the Korean cease-fire negotiation was initiated by Americans but he did not elaborate. Rusk was a career bureaucrat at the State Department and served as the secretary of state during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations (1961-68). Though Ridgeway's army was winning in the battle lines, Americans became tired of the war and were eager to get out of Korea after some agreement with Russians.

This was the beginning of the Panmunjon cease-fire negotiation, which was another humiliating event to Koreans. Where did Rhee Seungman stand on this issue?

Twenty Second Amendment of the U. S. Constitution

Y.S.Kim (2004.11.30)

The constitution of the United States was written 225 years ago, and the world is now quite different. Yet, Americans did not rewrite their constitution. Instead, they added a series of amendments. In 1951, Americans added their 22nd amendment. Its purpose was to limit the four-year presidential terms to two. The president can be re-elected not more than once. Since then, Eisenhower, Nixon, Reagan, Clinton and George W. Bush got re-elected to their second terms.

There were no limits on presidential terms in the original constitution, but George Washington chose not to run for his third term. This is the reason why all other presidents served not more than two terms, until Franklin Roosevelt who got elected to his fourth term in 1944. He died shortly after his inauguration in 1945. Before he died, he made a very serious mistake. In February of 1945, he asked Joseph Stalin of the Soviet Union to take care of the Japanese army in northern China. He did not know that the Japanese army there was not combat capable. A monumental intelligence failure! This mistake has was the cause of the division of Korea, the Korean war, and Kim Jong-Il's nuclear bluff.

If I tell Americans North Korea was created by Roosevelt, they become very angry and become hostile to me. Yet, one way or another, Americans learned from Franklin Roosevelt that one should not be allowed to live in the White House more than eight years. This resulted in the 22nd amendment to the constitution in 1951. At that time, Harry Truman was the president.

Truman was Roosevelt's vice president when he got elected in 1944. He came from a very humble background in Missouri and was a stranger to Washington's political establishment. He ran for the president in 1948, but nobody expected him to win, and the New York Times and other major East-coast newspapers declared Tom Dewey, Truman's opponent, as the winner in the evening of the election day.

This unexpected election victory made Truman very strong in American politics. With this "political capital," he was able to take make bold foreign policy ventures. The first venture was the disengagement from China in 1949. The second venture was to launch massive economic aid to Europe to save that region from the Soviet domination. This is known as the Marshall plan.

Truman's most controversial foreign policy decision was to intervene in the Korean conflict in 1950. I order to send troops to foreign lands the president needs a declaration of war from the congress. Truman did not obtain any form of congressional approval. Instead, he went to the United Nations and got a Security Council resolution for "police action" in Korea. American troops came to Korea as UN's police men to arrest North Korean criminals.

Nobody expected this police action would last that long, and Americans became tired of the war. This of course became the major issue in the presidential election of 1952. The 22nd amendment limits the presidential terms to two, but it had a provision that this limit is not applicable to the president in office at that time. Truman was eligible to run again not only because of this exemption, but also because he was not elected to his first term. He simply served Roosevelt's forth term. In either case, Truman decided not to run and gave his full support to Adlai Stevenson who ran against the Republican candidate named Dwight Eisenhower.

To Koreans, now and then, it is very important who becomes the president of the United States. I will continue the story next time.

It is interesting to note that it was easy for the president of the United States to control the United Nations than the congress of his own country in 1950. The Soviet Union was an evil country then because it was abusing its veto power in the security council. Thing are quite different these days. Informed Americans agree that this change in the United Nations is the biggest disappointment in American foreign policy.

The U.S. election of 1952

Y.S.Kim (2004.12.2)

In the presidential election of 2004 in the United States, the Iraq war was one of the major issues. George Bush of course was aware of this before sending American troops to Iraq. This is the reason why he managed to get a congressional mandate. He got this mandate easily because of the 9.11 incident in which major targets were attacked within the territory of the United States.

Before sending troops to Korea in 1950, Harry Truman by-passed the the congress and went to the United Nations to get an approval from its security council. He did so because he vastly under-estimated the strength of the North Korean army. He thought N.K. troops would run away as soon as they see American uniforms.

The first American military unit was the 24th infantry division which was based in Japan. Those American soldiers came to Korea as if they were going to a picnic. Some of them came with tennis rackets. They came also with sixteen hand-held anti-tank guns. Whey they fired their guns at the Soviet-made T-34 tanks approaching the city of Osan, the tanks were hit, but nothing happened. To make things worse, those North Korean tanks did not even fire back. This lack of greetings upset those Americans. They shouted "God Damn" repeatedly. Even these days, Koreas use the word "God Damn" when when things do not work out in the way they originally wanted.

The 24th Division was totally destroyed in the battle of Taejon, and its commander was captured by North Korean troops. As a consequence, the Unite States had to send its major combat units, including the the 7th Fleet, the 5th Air Force, as well as the elite army divisions. The infantry units included the 1st Cavalry Division (mechanized division), 3rd Infantry Division, the 1st Marine Division. Fifty four years later, these elite units went to Iraq and swiftly toppled down Saddam Hussein's regime.

As the Korean War became expanded after the Chinese intervention, there were as as many as 320,000 American troops fighting in Korea. The Korean war which started as a police action became a major war to Americans. Bush used the 9.11 incident to attack Iraq, but Korea was totally unknown place to Americans in 1950. Thus, the Korean War became Truman's war, and became a serious political liability to Truman and his Democratic party. Truman denies this, but it is generally agreed that he decided not to run again simply because of his war liability.

The Republican presidential candidate was Dwight Eisenhower, who was the supreme commander of the Allied Forces in Europe and accepted the surrender of the German army commanders. He was a war hero but did not know how to do politics. Unlike MacArthur, he maintained a very cordial personal relations with Truman. Yet, he had one important issue to make. He made a campaign promise to go to Korea personally to stop Truman's war.

His promise permanently angered Truman. Eisenhower was the president in 1960, and Winston Churchill visited the United States. Eisenhower invited Truman to the White House to have a dinner with Churchill, but Truman declined by saying he had a dinner appointment with his wife and daughter.

Here is the point. In 1952, even to Eisenhower, it was unthinkable for the president of the United States to go to Korea. This is the reason why Eisenhower chose to come to Korea two weeks in January of 1953, two before his inauguration. After the November election of 1952, Truman (still the president) offered his own presidential plane to Eisenhower to go to Korea by saying "If you still want to go."

Let me summarize. Korea was a very very low to American politicians during the Korean War. Korea was totally unknown to American public.

Nativity show in New York

Y.S.Kim (2004.12.23)

When Koreans go to New York, they like to stay in the Hotel New York Hilton located at the 6th Ave and 53rd Street. Not far from this hotel is the Rockefeller Center, and many other New York items. Also in that area is the Radio City Music Hall. This place is also very popular among Koreans. There, the women's dance group, called the "Rockettes," presents very exciting performances.

During the Christmas season, this theater produces the nativity show, the drama about the birth of Jesus. I think I watched the Radio City's nativity five times before I became 32 years old.

I am leaving for New York this morning to enjoy the New York life for a few days. If I can get into the Radio City Music Hall easily, I will be happy to watch their nativity drama again. New York is a show place! The Radio City puts up the greatest nativity show on earth, often with live animals. I think I once saw a camel on the stage.

Why am I interested in this show at my late age? Is it because old people become like babies? I think I have been behaving like a baby throughout my life. I sound as naive as a baby when I talk to ladies. This is the reason why they feel so comfortable with me. I would like to invite you to some of my new photos which I took while I was traveling last summer.

Here is the point. The more I travel, the more I become home sick. I am of course talking about the place where I spent the first eleven years of my life. This area is now under the control of North Korean authorities. I have never been there since I left in May of 1946, and it is unlikely that I could visit there in any foreseeable future.

What is so special about that place? This place is known as Sorae, and was the home for the first Presbyterian church constructed by Koreans in 1884. I have some photos of this Sorae Church on my webpages. They seem to be very popular among Koreans as well as non-Koreans. I intend to add more photos if they become available in the future. I also intend to write a series of stories about Sorae and its church.

As you know, Japan had a war with the United States during the years 1941-45. Japanese authorities allowed Sorae villagers to conduct Sunday worships, wedding ceremonies, and entertainment programs aimed at promoting their war efforts. But they did not allow them to celebrate Christmas. Their reasoning was that it was wasteful during the war time. They even took away the church bell as metal donation.

After the Japanese surrender in August of 1945 and before the communist started tightening up their grip in March of 1946 (their land reform), the Sorae villages held many "wasteful" festivities. One of them was the celebration of the 1945 Christmas! They of course produced their own nativity show according to what is written in the Bible. They had not seen nativity dramas played anywhere else. It was their original work.

I still remember some of the scenes. The three wisemen from the East present their gifts to the New King. Because these wisemen are called "Bak-Sa" (PhD) in Korean. They were wearing black academic caps and gowns commonly seen in graduation ceremonies these days. They looked very impressive, and I became a Bak-Sa sixteen years later.

There was also King Herod. He was dressed like the Japanese emperor, the evil king of the evil country to Koreans at that time. He was shouting like a mad man swinging his Japanese sword. It was a great scene! This mad scene became the seed for my invention of the word "Herod Complex" which is now commonly used my physics colleagues. I explain what this is in one of my webpages. I invented this word to restrain myself, and it helps my friends in the same way.

I hope you will enjoy your own Christmas and your own recollections.

Korean students in the United States

Y.S.Kim (2004.12.30)

As I said in my previous mail, I spent the Christmas day with my wife in New York. We managed to get the tickets to the Radio City Music Hall. The cost for each ticket was $105. I went there for the first time in 1960 when I was a graduate student. The ticket price at that time was $5.00. When I came to the U.S. in 1954, the first-class postage was 3 cents. These days, it costs 37 cents. A bottle of Coca-Cola from the vending machine used to cost 5 cents. These days, the standard price is one dollar.

There are of course things costing much less than before. The telephone rate is much lower, and we can routinely call Korea these days. The airmail postage to Korea in 1954 was 80 cents for one ounce, and 40 cents for one-half ounce. The postage to Europe used to be lower. These days, the postage is still 80 cents. This tells how close Korea became to the United States.

Next week, I have to visit my co-worker in Turkey. She used to come to Maryland to work with me. But, because of the 9.11 incident, it became quite troublesome for the citizens of Moslem countries to process visas to the United States. This forces me to go to Turkey. I will be back on January 15.

Indeed, because of the cumbersome visa process after 2001, the number of foreign students coming to the United States decreased by 30 percents. This is the reason why university presidents have to travel to foreign lands to recruit students. If the presidents of prestigious universities visit to Korea often these days, it is because they need top foreign brains for their graduate programs.

There are at two exceptional countries. One is Israel, and the other is Korea. These days, the Korean foreign ministry is a visa treaty with the State Department. The visa treaty which will allow Koreans to visit the U.S. without visa for three months. What does this mean?

If foreign students do not come to the United States, should Korean students follow the same trend? Stupid! More should come and enjoy the privilege they have relative to others. If top foreign students go to England or Germany, Koreans will face less competition in the United States. This is indeed the golden opportunity for young Koreans.

Speaking of competition, I have a short story to tell. I had a dinner on the Christmas eve at the French restaurant called "Les Halles" on Park Avenue and 28th Street in New york. Next to my table were two ladies from Israel. They are mother (about 60 years old) and daughter (about 30 years old). They are both professors. I of course enjoyed talking with them, so did they.

At one point, the mother said she likes me. I then proposed a photo with her. She then became shy and said I should have a photo with her daughter who is younger and prettier. The daughter's reaction was "I do not have tenure." We all laughed, and I said I take photo with only tenured professors. The tenure has nothing to do with photos. Yet, this tells the extent of the tenure pressure this young professor is feeling. Jewish people are always competitive. I enjoyed competing with them, thanks to my familiarity with the Old Testament stories.

Koreans are ferociously competitive before taking college entrance exams. I am not able to see whey they lose their competitive spirit when they get into their research stages. There are no excuses. Like Israelis, Koreans receive a very preferential treatment from the United States. In spite this and that, it is generally agreed that both Korea and the United State will benefit from their stronger ties.

The political agendas put forward by the present president of Korea seem to be quite controversial. I am not in a position to be for or against any particular politician, but I like two of the issues he is advocating. One is to strengthen the traditional tie with the United State while increasing economic engagements with the North. The other is to shut down Seoul National University.

Happy New Year!!