Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Changes in life

And so it is.

I got fed up with compliments about my work and my rising bills. If someone thinks that my job is good - well...

That would be all for now.

Next post is just maybe coming soon.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Differences diary cont

I have to go to Japan soon. Don't ask me why, I just have to. It's exciting trip. I have always wanted to go to Japan and now I am able to make this come true.

At first I have to schedule the trip in a very detailed way. I have to know where to prchase the tickets, where to find the terminal and many other things.

I have started asking my Korean friends about that and they don't know anything. They are in their late 20's studying at the best university in this part of the world but they are not able to advice me on those issues.

I can manage on my own and I took no offense. But this is just another example of differences between West and East. In the western cultures it is normal for young people to move away from their families and make everything independently. They know how to schedule the trip, pay taxes and manage with other affairs.

Here in Korea people in the age of 30 are not really independent. They have their life managed by their parents in every aspect i.e. education, personal choices, evening classes. And so on.

They become fully independent between 35 and 40, when they get first real jobs or get PhDs ( which starts to be the standard of education in this part of the world).

I am not sure if it is better or worse. It is just different. And cultural diversity is what has always excited me the most.

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Pusan film festival

Too late to write about that. I know.
Yet I need to write just that: polish adverstising industry in terms of diplomacy simply sucks.
There was a movie festival in Pusan, very famous in Asia, biggest one.
And Poland didn't really show the movies which would be spotted more.
"Zero" by Borowski was in the contest, but for the rest, was it really needed to show all the movies made in 2009? Aren't there any better ones, already awarded in previous years at other festivals just to show?

I don't know... but I really hope that next year I will watch some really good movies in Pusan, and not only there.
For instance "Tricks" or "Vinci".

In Pusan the main award went to the movie "Kick off" by Shawkat Amin Korki. The feature shows the life of Kurdish Irakis trying to survive in nowadays Iraq touched by war and full of trouble. This is another example of sensitivity in Korean society. Both FIPRESCI award and the Main Prize went to that picture.

So... maybe it's time to stop showing plastic comedies made by TVN or action movies like many other of them in the world and maybe just once for instance here in Asia show something like "General Nil"? There is no need of being afraid of showing off with martirology and struggle. Not here in Korea.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Poland - Korea 20 years passed...

On November 2nd 20 years have passed since Poland and Korea established officially bilateral ties. In Poland there is a special Korean cultural year celebrated, a lot of trade fairs and exhibitions have been opened as well. One of the most fruitful in enterprise followed was Korean Product Show held in Warsaw in June.

Here in Seoul with the occasion both sides have exchanged traditional diplomatic chit chat letters saying how wonderful it has been so far and how they intend it to be. Indeed they do not have to go too far to visit each other as Polish Embassy in Seoul is situated in the most prestigious spot - near the Special Presidential Area, next to Gyeokbongguk Palace ( if I spelled that right).

So far Korean companies like Samsung, Ssangyoung, and LG have invested more than 1.7 bln $ in Poland creating design and development centers and employing lots of people.
However diplomatic chit chat is one and reality is another. There is an anonymous unconfirmed rumour that all Korean industries are withdrawing from Poland within next year due to the special tax abolition period will have expired by then. Yet due to my current information this proves to be not true so far. We'll see what the officials from Poland tell me and when.

It is a good occasion to try to summarize similarities and differences between our two nations. Koreans are very intelligent, patriotic and conscious people. They like to drink a lot, too. They are not afraid to be loud in the evening at some bar or restaurant. And they know who Walesa was ( it's very good that they don't know who Walesa is today as they probably would be confused a bit).

Polish people... are lucky. Oh yes, they are hardworking too, when it is really needed, but they are mostly lucky. Like with that special spirit in the air watching over them for centuries and always sparing just from under the hammer of fate. Current state of polish economy is a little bit of both of that. After we joined EU most of young labor force not competitive on polish market fled abroad and started sending money home. And more money and more money. Sustainable central government policy towards state bonds management and transparent fiscal and bank legal system spared Poland from "financial crisis" inferno. Even after huge panic and mass foreign capital withdrawal and some hocus pocus of Goldman Sachs last year economy merely slowed down a bit by 2 to 3%.

Ill - considered currency hedges have hit some firms, some "end of the chain" companies suffered impact from old EU collapsing economy, but nevertheless 60% of big ones plan new investments this year.

How these circumstances are being used, that's different. If Poland learns - and I think that has learnd a lot by now - that wind of change never blows twice - then a little bit of hard work applied and success gonna last.

Looks like this is visible now by polish businessmen. They often complain about bailout plans and other stability magic techniques giving remark like Jozef Przyblwa, a hotelier in one of the Silesian towns, stating that the crisis has weeded out the "weak and reckless".
Polish central government despite of wishes or more brutal orders from old EU states like France or Germany which consistently try to impose "shut up and obey" policy towards Poland, keeps minding it's own business using whatever it takes to built the state of the future.

This is very similar to Korea as well. One of the most important factors which makes this country successful is good foreign affairs management and very determined strategy of economic patriotism within the global village of these days. With growing Japanese agressive attitude and constant threat from China is like modern Poland eclypsed between two non-friendly states trying not just to survive, but succeed.

Are there differences...? Oh yes. Polish people are veeeery individualistic. They do not obey much and must see own interest in any action taken. Where two Polish meet, there are 5 opinions - a common sense tells. Koreans are very collectivist and will always obey to the orders.
Despite of the differences, simmilarity of fate and history and some traits of mentality makes it all the way possible to cooperate.

This is all for now. Next post is coming soon.

Monday, 2 November 2009

Nonsense post

Just some nonsense.

Che Guevara

I am very busy lately. So busy that I did not have time to go out and catch images of the beautiful Korean fall and I am watching leaves slowly going down. Red, Yellow, half green, half orange...

Last week I went to the War Memorial. If someone wants to know what korean history really is about, should see that one. From exhibition to exhibition, window to window, one by one we go through the ages of constant struggle for independence.

Bizarre though, why this museum is not the one most advertised in the Korean folders for foreign visitors? Artificial rebuilt and boring palaces or the static and rather boring National Museum gets more recognition than this one.

It was there were I severely quarreled with a friend of mine. It started from perception of Poland in the modern EU and ended up with the bigger discussion between a liberal by heart and more than a socialist.

An intellectual clash between a liberal and a socialist is indeed a severe one. Like two totally different species tried to establish a union... and yet they fail because their inner nature is too different one from another.

French people have been fascinated by communism ever since the idea developed. Many of them married Russians or Ukrainians during Soviet times and went to experience the heaven on the Earth and enormous embrace of Uncle Joe. Never woke up, maybe only when they discovered weird diseases killing them one by one after May 1986.

Initially I wanted to say that it is not my fairy tale as I am polish. But is it so? Some of us recently dream the same illusion, would love to go back to the old good times of forever joy and peace.

I don't. But...
I was looking for arguments to support my theories and couldn't find sufficient ones. How to convince someone that the state aid is not something which makes most of the people in the world happy?

I will put it this way. A slave is not a someone I force and torture. It is someone fed and it is someone whose life is being organized but himself has not got anything to say. A slave is a model of a zoo animal. Because there are big spaces and this life is even comfortable but this is life ruled by somebody else.

I haven't met a single person who would envy the zoo animals for their life. If someone does then I recommend that person a trapped cage zoo experience. A free person must be self - reliant and responsible both cooperative with others towards the goals in life, not passively waiting for some authority to share goods by any "equality" meaning.

There was a small tale about two birds:

"Why do you cry? " - asked the young bird to the elder -
"You have a lot of food here and the shelter"?
" You were born in the cage that's your tomorrow
I was born free my dear and that is my sorrow"

How is it related to Korea? Maybe it isn't and yet maybe it is... In the War Memorial there is the entire stand about Korean troops protecting independence for whatever it takes. No matter what sacrifice it takes.