The Marmot's Hole

Korea... in Blog Format

Tag: South Korea

Another Saemanguem-style Money-Making Hub: Korean Coastal National Parks

After decades of leaving nature to itself, the government has decided that they need to “develop” Dadohae National Park into a “Northeast Asian Tourist Hub“, complete with new ports for cruise ships, hotels, and condominiums.

This idea of turning a national park into a means of making money is not a new idea. America has its debates regarding those business interests that want the money that tourism brings, however this is often balanced out by those who see the necessity in preserving nature and promoting responsible management. As in a recent NY Times blog “What would you designate (as) a National Park?“, one commenter notes:

Some of the most beautiful and unspoiled areas in the United States are beautiful and unspoiled precisely because they aren’t national parks and thus aren’t overrun with tourists and their dollars.

and another talks of the effect of commercialism upon natural wonders:

Sadly, one of our country’s–and the world’s–most iconic natural wonders missed out on the national park movement of the early 20th Century, and as a result, has been turned into something of a circus sideshow. Could it be restored to it’s natural glory? Who knows. But if any site deserves to be rated a national park, it would be Niagara Falls.

As a direct comparison with the “National Seashore” parks in America, not a single one allows for commercial development as proposed by the Korean Government for the existing parks, rather the goal of the National Park Service in the U.S. is to preserve rather than turn unspoiled areas to profit.

Apparently, based upon how this situation was explained to me, the local residents and government is more so behind this tourism effort and some have talked of having the Unification Church build a hotel in the area as well.

All this begs the question that is yet to be answered: can local government-sponsored tourism co-exist with responsible management of Korea’s natural resources? Considering what has happened at Seamanguem (50-100 year potential money-pit), there is more than a little reason to worry about what will happen if “Canal Fever” and its rush-to-riches zeal spreads to other areas of Korea without any clear centralized vision of Korea’s natural resources other than being mere sources of economic exploitation.

Solar Eclipse Wednesday

Looks like we’re going to get a dramatic high-% solar eclipse here tomorrow… It’s the New Moon, L-6.1, first day of the Sixth Moon. Here’s the Wiki page about it.    Post in the comments here if you know exactly what time it’ll be in Seoul, advice for viewing it, speculations, etc. (HT to iwshim)

My own latest activity: yet another academic-tourism conference, but this time at a beach-resort, and yet another amazing temple found out there, with great artworks…

100 Blows . . .

Punishment is a controversial topic in any land because there is either too much or not enough: Kim HyeJin of Globalvoicesonline writes of corporal punishment in Korean schools and how public sentiment is turning against the abusive bent that punishment has often taken therein.

The JoongAng Ilbo duly notes that famed Abe Lincoln impersonator Roh Moo-hyun is likely to be visited by the prosecutors office or maybe, he will visit them.

Likewise, in the US, principles of justice and ethics are nice things to have — even if one rarely uses them (government-sponsored torture and the unwillingness to prosecute widely acknowledged abuses of international law).

The Hub Could Use More Spokes . . .

Apparently the high rate of connectivity in the average Korean household may not be the real measure of how well connected Korea is. According to a Nokia/Siemens connectivity report for this last year:

page 11, para 1 . . . consider the case of Korea. Korea’s telecommunications industry has invested heavily—with substantial government encouragement — in very advanced technologies such as fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) broadband. Korea scores very highly on some indices that might have a similar aim as the Connectivity Scorecard, such as the International Telecommunication Union (ITU’s) Digital Opportunity Index (DOI), however, Korea is also a very heavily business-driven economy in that the levels of business investment and intermediate consumption (which is a measure of B2B activity) are very high compared to the level of consumption by the consumer sector. Thus, in our methodology, the business sector gets a very high weight for Korea, and it is on measures such as business spending on enterprise telephony, data services and the like that Korea’s performance might be termed “lacklustre.” Korea finished 11th out of the 16 countries that were studied in the 2008 Scorecard.

This is in stark contrast to its exalted position in the Digital Opportunity Index. It is our belief that because the business sector is especially important in Korea, connecting up the business sector and  encouraging businesses to spend more on ICT and complementary skills would have more of an impact on long-term economic performance than investing in residential technologies. Our intuition is that Korea is less “usefully connected” than several other OECD countries, and certainly less usefully connected than it could be. The Connectivity Scorecard ranking for Korea reflects that intuition. (see page 18 for the scorecard)

This would make sense since my personal experience has indicated that Korean businesses I have encountered have had connectivity issues in the past.  This also means that, according to this report, America scores higher in terms of business connectivity. Still, South Korea is quite good overall.

Where The Hot Spots Are in Korea . . .

2,029 reasons to view this blog while in Seoul or back in the hometown for Lunar New Years . . .

Skills? . . .

The NY Times reports on the lack of faith Koreans are experiencing with their president.  I guess the Ministry of Finance needs to put together a PR team for Korea as well as the foreign press.

Koreans Hold Anti-Beef Import Candlelight Vigil at Duke

A whopping thirty-something Koreans showed up in front of Duke’s chapel holding placards and chanting slogans for one whole hour. The Chosun Ilbo found this event newsworthy enough for a brief article, but the vigil seems to have received no coverage from the local press.

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