Friday, June 25, 2010

National Identity.... and Soccer!

It's the World Cup season!  But the games are lackluster, and the French team is knocked out so that drama is over.  I wish they actually had qualified for the second round so that their implosion could implode again.

With the World Cup all about country vs. country, the question of national identity has attacked my life again.  Earlier, North Korea lost to Portugal by 7-0, and I received so many condolences.  So I had to tell them one by one that I'm from South, and kill the conversation.  And then they tell me how happy I must be that South Korea qualified.  A bit, but not so much.  It was just mildly pleasant. 

Having lived in so many places in my life, I have no national identity.  I was actually interviewed about this in my college newspaper.  Being glad about the attention I got, I sent my parents a copy, only for them to give me a worrying phone call. Here's the in-house-controversial article: 

Anyways, back to national identity and soccer, I've just read an article that shows how it's quite of a jungle.  It lists all these players who must have confused national identities.  Two thirds of the Swiss team are second-generation immigrants.  Four years ago, the Kalou brothers were about to play each other in different national teams, until Saloman's Dutch citizenship request was denied.  But to no avail, only four years later, the Boateng brothers have achieved it.  Just when the world thought, what an anomaly, it only took one more tournament for it to happen.  One of my favorite example is Owen Hargreaves, who was born in Canada, rose to fame in Germany, but plays for England because of parental heritage.

This globalization of soccer is multiplied by a ridiculous amount when we consider club football.  The money, sponsors, owners, viewers, not enough English players in England, Tanzanians fighting over who's going to win the top four, etc.  And now, globalization is deeply embedded in the sphere of national soccer teams, who are often the symbol of national pride.  It seems that Luis Figo complaining that the Brazilian born Deco was in the Portugese side, or Harry Redknapp vehemently opposing the chance of Manuel Almunia in the English national squad is anachronistic and absurd.

Being who I am, without a clear national identity, this is one of the most exciting part about the rather boring 2010 World Cup: finding out who is the product of globalization.


정태 said...

그리고 정대세의 정체성도 생각해볼 수 있겠지.
할아버지 세대는 한국에서 출생, 본적도 남한, 친형은 남한에서 축구선수.
자신은 어렸을 때부터 북한이 후원하는 학교를 다니고 축구선수의 꿈을 키움.
평생 일본에서 살면서 일본의 문화 속에서 성장한 재일교포 3세.
그리고 북한의 국가대표 선수.

TK said...


형 보고 싶어!!!