My last blog went viral. It just goes to show the power of words and indeed the power of social media. I was angry. I was outraged. A valued member of my community was racially bashed and we all felt it like a punch to the guts. It winded me with sorrow. Outrage is like a fire and it certainly fanned up a lot of angry responses.

But today’s blog is about something that probably won’t go viral because it isn’t about rage, it’s about forgiveness. The word itself viral suggests sickness. Certainly my blog was about a sickness, the disease of racism. Subjects that expose the ugly, the sick, the evil, they tend to spread like wildfire. Golly gosh, human beings love outrage. But the subject of forgiveness is about healing. And that’s the lesson I’ve learned through this awful local attack on good people.

Paul Shin has forgiven the boy who attacked him. That right there is the story. That right there is the diamond in this coal mine. A middle-aged Korean man was bashed, racially abused and had to cradle and comfort his wife who was also injured in the attack. Paul Shin has forgiven the boy who did this to them. I am tearing up and emotional just writing that.

They say forgiveness is like setting a prisoner free and the prisoner is the person doing the forgiving. After months of being targeted by unknown local arseholes, Paul Shin has set himself free by forgiving his seventeen year old attacker. He has said that the boy is at a crossroads in life and can take a good way or the dark way and he has encouraged the boy to take the good path in life.

Until you understand remorse you can’t really grasp true forgiveness. To have done the wrong thing and to have been forgiven is truly humbling. Remorse does not equal saying the word sorry. It must involve amends. Forgiveness is way harder to master than saying sorry.

I hope the boy involved in this crime (yes crime….not silly childish behaviour) understands the incredible gift Paul has given him. It is quite possibly the greatest gift he will ever receive. I hope with all my heart he doesn’t squander it. I hope his mother reinforces this with her son.

The local police officer quoted in my blog has now acknowledged there was a racial element to the assault which he finds disturbing and he sees Paul Shin’s acceptance of the boy’s apology as an incredible gesture of forgiveness. It is an incredible gesture and one we can all learn from – the community, the police, the media and the youths involved.

A racial assault on an innocent couple is more than just a mistake; it is a gaping cavern of awfulness. Paul’s forgiveness for that act is above all else showing that boy how to be a real and good and awe-inspiring man. Please, please, please young man, take heed, learn, be humbled, embrace your victim’s generosity of spirit and take it into the rest of your life.

The ball’s in your court kiddo. Grow up. Be a good man. Be like Paul.


Photo credit Brooke Rushton




  1. We punish bad behaviour but frequently forget to honour actions such as those displayed by Paul Shen. It would be nice if there was a process by which we could more publicly recognise the compassion shown here.


  2. I was witness personally to a lack of justice or consequences for a couple of “nice kids from good families”. A year ago my daughter’s car was stolen and taken for a joy ride by two local teenage morons who did $9,000 of damage before caught by police. I went with her to The Entrance Police Station to both make statements to police who told me don’t be too hard on these kids, they seemed to be good kids from decent families and there was probably no point in charging them. Then their parents phoned me to apologise (and ask me to drop the matter, saying their kids had been silly and actually were really good kids! Then a witness said the boys were off their faces when the finally crashed car outside her house but “boys will be boys and surely I didn’t want to take any action that would affect their futures. They weren’t breathalysed by police. I was made to feel as if they were the victims and I was the bad guy for standing up for my rights which seemed secondary. Fortunately insurance repaired the car which we were without for a month but I found the lenient, light-handed attitudes by the legal system and seemingly lack of consequences of for the thieves to be disturbing. Wondering how long it took for these idiots to do it again as we seem to have a system that justified youths behaving badly with no lessons learnt.


    1. Yes. It is very hard when faced with such terrible and criminal acts. I simply look at this situation in Terrigal now, heart-broken for the Shins and honour and respect their response and decision to embrace forgiveness. I don’t know this boy and I have to believe that this amazingly generous gift to him will turn his life around. I don’t think really that I’d be able to be so forgiving if I was in Mr Shin’s shoes. I feel very sorry for your awful experiences with these out-of-control youths….and I agree that there should be firm consequences….the aim is to get these kids onto the right track by whatever means….and I don’t really like the idea of having different justice for so called ”good kids from good families” as opposed to…what? I noted that in the paper the day of the report saying no charges, boy sorry….and so forth that beneath it was a story about a gang of Woy Woy thugs and got the impression the cops didn’t so much think of them as good kids from good families…and you’re right to think that many of these so-called good kids will feel like they are above the law and then grow up to be adults who think the same way. Thanks for sharing your experience and thoughts…cheers. nik x


    2. There are two narratives propagating from the left now:

      1. We can’t be too hard on aborigine kids
      2. We aren’t hard enough on white kids

      Which is it?


  3. @stephen

    But the left had made it very clear (for example stan grant’s speech) that we are too harsh on aborigines, especially the youth.

    But when a white boy commits a crime, we’re not harsh enough…

    That’s a blatant contradiction.


  4. Lovely article Nikki,
    I love the “Be Like Paul” comment but the world has not many people who will be like Paul and Paul of course would forgive him, it is his character, but this will not stop the pain and fear him and his wife will experience and while Paul has forgiven him he is still shutting up shop to be free of the dark spot in their lives.
    Everything about the incident was an absolute embarrassing clusterfuck of epic proportions; media, police, mother and degenerate youth. The only positives that came out of it was Paul and his wife and your article that united a lot of people.
    I wish Paul and his wife all the best and for their sake I hold out some form of faith in their influence on a young adult that disgusts me.
    All the best and keep up the great work

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank-you so much for your response. I wish Paul and his wife some measure of peace after all of this. Yes, for their sake we must hold out hope that the boy turns his life around, that his mother comes to understand more deeply the pain her son has caused and the media and police might think twice before ever trying to brush racism under the carpet again!!

      Warm Regards
      Nik x


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