I am not really sure what to make of this article by ThisDay’s editor (January 23, 2012). Apparently he came to Korea – business class – at the invitation of the Korean Cultural Centre and wrote this article filled with poetic prose(?) comparing Nigeria and the “Asian Tiger” - positive for Korea and somewhat negative for Nigeria.
The beauty of Seoul’s skyline was clearly defined by its skyscrapers that adorn the city in well defined geometric patterns. Architecture like the modern art forms of Isamu Nogushi in Japan, articulated the modernism of Seoul as a city of international business comparable with London, Paris or New York.
Seoul makes the Federal Capital Territory here look drab and ordinary. Is it part of the master plan of the FCT that there shall be no skyscrapers such as are seen in Seoul, in particular in the business district?
The editor was obviously well-entertained:
Driver Han drove into the exotic Lotte Hotel, which by all standards justifies its five-star status, where the high and mighty rulers of this world are quartered as guests of Korean presidents. At the roof top of Lotte, every weekend, Korea’s most famous chef threats his guests with unique native cuisines, choice wines and jazzy concerts. Dining in Lotte’s exquisite two restaurants every morning was part of the fun of this visit.
(I am going to assume that “threat” was a typo) And received some valuable Korean history lessons:
In the Seoul Museum you learn how 19th century Korea resisted Western culture with the invasion of foreign powers between 1866 and 1871. This was followed by a Treaty of Friendship between the government of Korea and Japan signed in 1876. Two schools of thought emerged – Confucianism and Buddhism creating a divide in Korean politics with the East adopting the Confucian philosophy led by Yi Hwang(1801-1570) and Seong Hone(1535-1598) leading in the West. The Japanese invasion of Joseon in 1592 preferred Confucianism to Buddhism.
And, of course, my favorite:
Here [World Cup Stadium] you learn that 1882 was the beginning of Korean football when sailors of a British warship docked at the Incheon Port and introduced the round leather game to Korean workers and natives.
Wasn’t this fable put to rest a couple of years ago? Who were they playing?
As to the purpose of the article and its rambling – the part about Jeju could have been polished up a little more – I am at a total loss. It is true that I am unfamilair with ThisDay’s readership but am I to believe that most Nigerians flying to Korea are doing so in business class and that they are staying at the Lotte Hotel? Do they all receive a tour of the media outlets by the Executive Director/International Relations who will assure them that Korea’s major television broadcasting network, largely owned by “government but commercialised and founded on a platform of unbiased reportage while representing the interest of government”?