While watching the popular Korean drama Reply 1994, people are having a deep longing for the past. Including the old-fashioned items, such as pagers and the Magic Eye book, that were introduced, everything shown in the drama is becoming a hot issue. Famous songs, popular fashion styles, college life, memorable sports games, most popular movies, and dramas of the year 1994 and other elements of the drama are a big hit. It brought back nostalgic memories to the older generations and gained admiration from the younger generations. In particular, the songs from the 90s are being recalled and adored by all generations. For the older generation, these songs evoke their sensibility of the past. Even the younger generations who have not experienced the 90s can be on the same page when listening to the music and feel the same sentiments. These songs and the elements of the drama that recall the past are becoming popular because people nowadays are yearning for the sensibility from the past.
There was another time when I was convinced that people are longing for the sensibility from the past. Last month, there was a small concert in the auditorium as singer Jin Ho Kim visited KAIST and performed a free show to donate his talent. He sang a few songs and gave good advice to cheer on and support young university students. One of the things he said was that he disliked fancy appearances from too much packaging and following extravagant trends that too many times tend to be missing important contents and instead, empty shells. He felt sorry that songs nowadays are too wrapped up with other additives that they are missing the important core that matters – the earnest sensibility that a good song should have. There is a saying that songs reflect the social conditions of the time, and I could easily relate to what he was trying to say with what I have been thinking these past few days. People miss having sincerity and a solid core in their lives. I could see that he definitely missed the sensibility from the past and I am sure all the audience in the auditorium were also in agreement, as they applauded the singer for giving such a nice speech.
What is so special about the sensibility from the past that people, rather than thinking trends of the past as old-fashioned, tend to like them more and more? I guess honest and pure emotions from the past, qualities which are so hard to find these days, are what make them so special. Not-so-special, artless sincerity is the key ingredient that makes people want to search for the things of the past more. It is not so hard to be artless or pure, but it is very hard to be honest when the core of sincerity is missing. As there are not enough contents in the interior, people put more efforts to make the exterior look better by adding fancy wrappers around what does not exist. If there is enough solid sincerity as the content, the wrapping paper does not have to be pretty, since what matters the most is the sincerity. We have to put more efforts to strengthen our genuine sincerity rather than focus more on the outside. Then maybe, we would not be overly enthusiastic about old sentiments, which we can fulfill only with old songs in the current society.