The past month has been a rough one for most across the nation, particularly for KAIST students. Accordingly, this month’s issue of The KAIST Herald delivers some sorrowful news. Tragedy upon tragedy has induced a seemingly permanent glum cloud over our heads, and with the cancellation of events such as the Spring Festival (see page 1), it has become even more difficult to bring back the cheer. The KAIST Herald presents three columns (see page 10) specific to the Sewol ferry disaster. Upon reading these articles, as well as the constant media and social network services (SNS) updates on who or what to blame, it was clear that all in all a deep mistrust has taken root in the nation.
This mistrust is not unaccounted for: a series of mishaps fueled by the administration’s impaired disaster control, the media’s inaccurate and disorganized portrayal of events, and the few individuals’ horrifying disruptions to the investigation, posing as families of the victims or providing falsified facts and SNS messages related to the disaster. What this sorry situation presents is the diminished value of truth.
Trust is something that is taught to be given and earned from an early age. But may it be time or experience, this teaching becomes displaced with another: it is safer to not trust. It is not to say that trust is gone from the very beginning, but rather that trust is not the easiest to maintain - eventually it becomes the safer choice to not give trust at all. Trust can be analogous to silver. Upon exposure after exposure, rust starts settling. If you think about it, rust is actually not that hard to remove - just wet the bristles of a toothbrush with toothpaste and the rust gently scrubs off. This type of care does require an effort, not a hard one but an effort nonetheless. But oftentimes, this effort is quickly abandoned, and the what-used-to-be precious silver loses its appeal. It is rusted, tainted, and uncared for - and eventually it gets thrown out.
The lesson to be learned is that more important that earning a trust is keeping it, and because the latter is more difficult than the prior, those who have the ability to do so leave a deeper impression and earn lasting respect. Not to mention, these people are the ones who are aware of what they have in front of them - the ones who can see the silver behind the rust is someone that has a good sense of its true worth.
Our society is currently a delicate society seeping with deep mistrust, and what claims to be the truth has become ambiguous and worthless. We need to reformulate a trust with the government, media, and even each other. And by perfect timing, the election season is on its way, giving all of us a chance to do so. Trust those who not only present you with the silver and ask one in return - trust those who will not throw it away and more importantly, those who do not recognize its worth afterwards.