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Jean Youn: Veterans Day and playing the castanets

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Photo courtesy Guest Blogger Jean Youn

Photo courtesy Guest Blogger Jean Youn

Today is November 11, “Veterans’ Day.” I want to salute all the veterans for their sacrifice and bravery for this country.

Veterans Day salute 2012

It is also 11.11 in Arabic numbers.

Looking at the numbers 11.11, what comes to your mind first?

People like me, growing up in a culture in which chop sticks are used, may think about them, chop sticks, before everything else.

Or the numbers may make some people think about the castanets.

The castanets are the musical instruments which make sounds by hitting two objects like clapping hands.

There is a verb in Korean, “Maht-jang-ku-chi-da,” the literal meaning of which is “to play the castanets.” It means to positively make agreeable responses to other persons’ thoughts or words.

For example, when you hear from your friend that he/she has had difficult time, you could say, “Oh! You really got through such a difficult time. I might not be able to get over it like you,” instead of saying bluntly, “Well, is that so?” Or when your friend is happy about something good, you could show a very positive response by saying, “Wow! That’s really wonderful. I would dance with joy!”

It must be a virtue to make agreeable responses to others’ thoughts and words, to share with their grief and to enlarge their happiness with positive responses. It would be even nicer if we do so especially to our spouses, children, or parents.

But, who do you think is the person with whom you should play the castanets most strongly? I think that the answer must be “none other than you and me, ourselves.” What do you think?

It might be the most important wisdom in life to encourage ourselves by saying, “Indeed, it was really tough. But, let’s cheer up. We got through it,” or “Good! How happy you are! Let’s enjoy this happiness.”


How about spending today on giving ourselves a thunderous clap?


Jean Youn is the owner of Value Village Cleaners at 912 West Glenoaks Boulevard in Glendale 91202. For details on services, coupons and more, check out the Value Village Cleaners website here .

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