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Updated: 2018.1.19 00:21
 
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C-beams
[ Issue 159 Page 11 ] Wednesday, December 27, 2017, 23:31:01 Sangwook Ha Staff Reporter ha.sangwook@kaist.ac.kr

When I was a child, like children are, I always knew exactly the things I wanted. Local forays into the territories outside the warm walls of home to the nearby mall had me always in paths circular in nature. My dad would end up looking for me in the stores with the red Nike shoes, the Tintin comic book featuring Tintin being chased by a sleek black car, and the inexplicably attractive medieval game with details too graphic to reveal on paper.

You can always count on a murderer for a fancy prose style.

On days of mysterious blessings of generosity — usually the weekends — my parents would purchase one of the long awaited pieces of the puzzle to pure happiness with a swift magnetic swipe when they felt the human necessity to. The price tag always consisted of four Arabic numbers with a small dot separating the four into two adequate but unequal parts, followed by a letter which was neither an “e” nor an epsilon. The numbers often corresponded to an amount of coins that I would have never been able to carry in all of my pockets. I would explode in glee for I had never seen that many coins in any corner of our house and my father had just done something magical.

The delight from holding the gift in my hands in the car on the way back home was proof that knowing one’s desires was a trait with bliss as gifts. I clung onto this thought for a very long time. One of the things that seemed to separate the dreamy young from the adults was this childish and sometimes egocentric devotion to one’s needs. To lose it meant to age, to become old and slowly near the end of one’s life. Wasn’t the child the father to man? But sometimes, when the call remained unanswered, it cut deep, sundered by the very things we kept courting in our thoughts.

Looking back at how much of the memories of primary and secondary school years remain, I feel uncertain of how much of my college moments will end up mattering. Now it’s more equations and examples of scientific truth rather than Nike shoes or Tintin comic books. The poems of promises, the messy shoes after an afternoon of wet soil, and the colorful TV shows are all gone now, displaced by the choices made. The rationale had been that rational Science had been the hidden key, some kind of manifest destiny that had come to life at the same time as I had, and that pursuing it would guarantee the bliss I had treasured once. When asked what my strengths were and what distinguished me from others, I had always confidently answered that it was knowing what I wanted clearer than anyone else. Science.

With time, I finally learned that there were aspects of indecisiveness within me that had been unnoticed, and that there were things in life I had completely no clue of. It could be the same for people, and getting to know someone was not just understanding them but taking in the unexpected sides of them.

The first two years of college were somehow physical singularities. All aspects of life had collapsed into a region in spacetime by the laws of physics, underneath the event horizon of textbooks and exams of classical mechanics and electromagnetism. It did eventually change though, with time.

One more question: You’re watching a stage play — a banquet is in progress. The guests are enjoying an appetizer of raw oysters. The entrée consists of boiled dog.

Denis Villeneuve, the Canadian film director well known for his recent science fiction drama Arrival, said in one of his talks that his sequel to the original was a letter of love, an act of admiration. This would be for Blade Runner 2049 and for you, who made C-beams glitter in the dark.

Just a bad one.

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