Saturday, 22 October 2011

Korean lady won International Violin Competition

Soyoung Yoon received 30 thousand € as a main prize in 14th International Henryk Wieniawski Violin Competition.
 Soyoung Yoon, winner. Photo from

Second Prize got also an Asian- Miki Kobayashi from Japan, and Third wento to Stefan Tarara from Germany.

International Henryk Wieniawski Violin Competition is the oldest and most prestigious of it's kind in the world.For the first time it was organized in 1935 and since then it is held every 5 years, always in Poland.

Jury leader, Maxim Vengerov allowed 46 competitors to the first phase of competition, 6 of whom qualified to the final phase. Before that he made personal individual rehearsals of 120 of them travelling around the world to Yokohama, Seoul, Quebec, Bergamo, Moscow, Brussels, London, Baku and PoznaƄ.

Soyoung Yoon admitted after receiving First Prize that it was the most important reward in her career by far. In the final phase she played Violin Concerto fis-moll op. 14 by Wieniawski and Violin Concerto d-moll op.47 by Sibellius.

To listen to Soyoung Yoon outstanding performance go to:

Congratulations to the beautiful Korean lady :)


Sidenote: this is a perfect example of public diplomacy, neglected by professional diplomats for centuries and successfully done by world class artists.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Korean Economy: end of the Golden Era?

Everyone wants to have a home. A place to stay where we secure a little bit of peace of mind and shelter from hostility of this world.

Such dreams are shared by at least two Korean generations who struggle to get to a good university, later struggle to get a good job and later get a mortgage loan to have a smaller or bigger apartment. After all, nothing bad in it, right?

Korean economy had been in a stable growth ever since President Park Chung-hee, with a small slowdown in 1997, when conglomerate welfare system had collapsed and huge reforms were ordered to be implemented by International Monetary Fund.

Recently Korean Won is getting weaker and weaker.  It already lost several hundred KRW in it's value year to year, however recently stopped losing.

But Korea is facing the very same fate as other countries do. Many countries in the world had believed that state investment can be endlessly covered by issuing bonds. USA believed that too, and foreign purchase of their bonds had more than doubled since early 1990's.  According to the Strategy and Finance Ministry Sunday, the country’s state debt is estimated to reach 448.2 trillion won, which is about $380 billion,  next year, up 25.5 trillion won from an estimated 422.7 trillion won in 2011.

The sad news for an average Korean is that about 222 trillion won of the government debt, accounting for 49.5 percent of the total, is to be repaid with taxpayer money, up from this year’s 48.5 percent to represent the highest level ever. The outstanding amount of government-guaranteed debt will likely reach a record high of 38 trillion won next year.

What an average citizen does not understand, is safe management of goods and income. Total amount of debts of all sorts cannot exceed 20% of monthly income of the household, otherwise if anything happens, they will be unpaid. Even in debt wise societies it is said that about 50% of mortgage loan holders won't be able to pay it after 15 years - half of a time of a loan. 

What is not helping, is an obsession to obtain higher degrees. The country does not need everyone to be a PhD for it's growth, it needs equal treatment of Bachelor's and Master's Degree holders. In average country everyone is needed, from a toilet keeper through a cleaning lady and bus driver up till an engineer. And not everyone needs to be educated like a professor of a university. 

I hope the best for Koreans, however I am afraid that we all have to reprioritise our lives globally. It is possible that there is no miracle ahead and unless new model of economy is implemented, nothing can be changed. 

In these circumstances it is an interesting question, who is a likely candidate to win presidential elections in upcoming year 2012. My next post will be about it, in about 3 weeks, as I go to a hospital now. 

Till then.