Think you have been here for a long time? Except for a few years while at school, Dr. Fred Dustin has been in Korea since 1952! He has literally done it all: Military, English teaching, Mining, Copy Editing, Rainbow trout promoting, writing, voicing, poultry raising, agriculture, and, of course, The Kimnyoung Maze on Jeju Island.
Not only has Dr. Dustin done everything, he also knew everyone. Have any of you ever heard of the Koryo Club?
Seoul was a city in transformation and it was filled with interesting people. One such person was Ferris Miller, who arrived in Korea prior to the Korean War and returned in 1953 to work for the Bank of Korea. It was he who founded the Koryo Club – a group of Koreans and foreigners with an interest in Korea and its culture.
The meetings were held in Miller’s home and members were supposed to deliver papers on “things Korea” but Dustin, who was the youngest member, does not remember any specific papers every being delivered – only the large number of beer bottles that had to be cleared away the next morning.
But there were exchanges of ideas as evidenced by the names of the members – names that are now well-known in Korea studies: Edward Wagner (founder of the Korea Institute at Harvard), Richard Rutt (a former Anglican bishop who wrote many books on Korean poetry and his life as a country priest), William E. Skillend (the first professor of Korean at the School of Oriental and African Studies), Greg Henderson (diplomat and author), Chung Bi-seok (novelist), Cho Byung-hwa (poet) and Choi Byung-woo (Korea Times managing editor and reporter who died at the age of 34 on Sept. 26, 1958, while covering the Chinese Communist bombing of Quemoy and Matsu Islands).
All of these men had an impact on Dustin’s life.
“I look back in awe and with great respect upon those friends, role models and early mentors,” he fondly recalls.
You can read more about Dr. Dustin here in (Korea Times, Jan. 10, 2014). For those on Jeju Island – if you get a chance, stop by today and wish him a Happy 84th Birthday.