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St. Patricks Day – Insadong, Seoul 2012

St Patricks Day – Insadong, Seoul – Help Needed!!!

Courtesy Tom Coyner

Winter in Amsterdam & Seoul

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Korean New Year

Just after the Koreans celebrated their Korean New Year they are already facing new challenges for the coming year of the Dragon. Kim Jong-Il passed away and his successor seems to follow-up the same political career just like his father. After some rocky times for North Korea everything seems back as usual and the world is now looking out for the coming national elections this year in South Korea.

Times are changing and so does the politics for South Korea. After the mayor elections for the city Seoul where the inhabitants has chosen for a more left-wing way(Park Won Soon). Also can be a forecast of what it will bring with the national elections for a new parliament this spring.

Knowing the Koreans they will after having seen their family during the Seollal, paying respect to their elderly and plenty of Korean Food, getting even more focused to stay on the highest platform of the global economy. Samsung HQ announced recently to invest 20 Billion Dollar in their extended business. Who can follow this up?

Have a great 2012!

Do women bring in some (hard)cash for the Korean Economy?

Korea Economic Slice 2012

Go to http://www.koreabusinesscentral.com/forum/topics/new-korea-economic-slice-dr-emanuel-pastreich-the-importance-of-w and find out what Professor Emanuel Pastreich´s opinion about women and the future of Korea.

Do you want to know more about this Professor? Go to his personal Blog: http://www.circlesandsquares.asia or http://www.asia-institute.org.

Half tuition fees: a tool for Korean politicians

Former teacher rejects half tuition fees

Cory Olson a former teacher gave me recently an article written by himself about tuition fees at Korean universities. O boy, when I read his article my heart started to jump! I LOVE controversy and this one was definitely one of those. The sky-high tuition fees drives every Korean parent NUTS! Unfortunately Korea does not have any natural resources like oil, minerals etc. we are depending heavenly on high skilled employees to compete on the world market.

Every Korean parent send his/her kids in the weekends for extra classes to so-called Hagwons. These unpopular weekend schools do exist to pump up the skills of each  child and to relief the working parents(6 days per week).  Korean parents pays a fortune on their kids for extra education including a preferred enrollment into the best Korean universities. These universities come often with very expensive tuition fees. These fees barely can be paid by the parents.

It´s not a surprise that with every elections the Korean politicians are advocating for half tuition fees. But Cory is wondering if that will be the right solution in an overcrowded job market in Korea. Too many high skilled academics and not enough jobs for them to offer a decent living. What are other involved parties are saying about this theme? Read it here.

Violins & Maestro Myung Whun Chung

Upstream Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra

Since late summer 2011 my 8-year old daughter is totally in love with violins and more. We took her to Concertgebouw a foremost prestigious concert hall in Europe. Personally I could not resist this special evening concert with Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Maestro Myung Whun Chung. For the first time this orchestra did a small European Concert Tour. Wow! How often can a real born Korean Ajumma see and hear Korean musicians in her second homeland Netherlands?! A chance I wouldn´t never ever throw away! After this concert I wrote a short review in a Korean paper: JoongAng Daily. Here my review quoted:

Last Friday, the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra played for the very first time for European classical music fans at the famous Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. This European concert tour marks a new level of Asian musicians performing western classics .
 Holding the hand of my 8-year-old daughter, we listened together for 2 hours to Maestro Chung Myung-hun as his orchestra took us into his wonderful musical landscape and offered a wide palette of colorful notes ending with a beautiful Rachmaninoff & Brahms.
The satisfied Dutch audience gave these Korean musicians a well-deserved applause and stood while the Maestro left the scene.

Well well now not only myself but also my little -eki- is wanting for more……thus this Omma is looking for a new violin. Don´t worry it wouldn´t be for me but for my -eki- who wants to take violin lessons. Maybe within 10 years I can see my kid playing in a professional (Korean)orchestra 🙂

Korean Government ~ Banana Republic??

Korean Politicians gone WILD

Very recently I read this in the Wall Street Journal about a korean politician throwing a teargas canister to his fellow policy makers. This -jolly- good fellow did not like to ratificate the KORUS-FTA in the Korean parliament. Isn´t amazing that in a democratic civilized country like Korea the politicians shows us peasants from abroad this astonishing theatre drama? Are we that violent as Asians or we just forget our Zen balance if it comes down to -fight- for our rights?

Korea the really younger smarter brother of China?

Korea vs China

This summer 2011 after a brainstorm session with lots of good wine on my office desk I decided to propose a new Korea Economic Slice for KoreaBusinessCentral.com. Ouch, easier said than done! Now I had to work out a shortlist of writers and to think about the themes. Immedately one theme came up in my mind  after watching a documentary about the rise and shine of China when communistic Chinese government decided to engage more with the western countries. Hey! Thats sounds familiar to me.

After the Korean War and entering the ´60s the Korean government paved the way for Korean companies to get rid off the heritage that their Japanese predecessors left behind and started developing the modern backbone of the arising Korean global economy: Chaebols, huge conglomerates with tentacles in every conceivable business venture. How lucky I was to get two writers who were interested in my theme: Is Korea really the younger smarter brother of China? Here the two writers short bio´s:

Robert Eberenz worked his way up from being an ESL teacher in Korea to take within a year(!) a quantum leap to become a Senior Analyst for a boutique Investment Firm Puji Capital in Shanghai, China mainland. He founded the first Korea Economic Slice. And oh boy he is doing very well. Young eager and ever sharp he produced within my deadline a solid piece with substantiated figures and numbers. Dang! That was were I was looking for! Are you merely curious now? Read his piece here: http://www.koreabusinesscentral.com/forum/topics/new-korea-economic-slice-robert-eberenz-is-korea-really-the-young.

Stephane Mot  came to Korea around 1991 for the very first time. After a position at the French Embassy in Seoul he also survived 3 major Business start-ups and started as one of the first Power Bloggers on the world-wide web about Korea. And if that is not even good enough he wrote on the side a book in french called: Dragedies. He lives for many years in Seoul and currently he holds a position as Senior Advisor of Seoul Global Biz Center. His article with my theme I forwarded it to Korea Herald who placed his article in paper version as well in online version. Read here his view on Korea vs China: http://www.koreaherald.com/national/Detail.jsp?newsMLId=20111127000277