Before I begin this post, I want to express to my mom my best wishes for a Happy Mothers’ Day. I do hope that everything is well and that you have a peaceful and relaxing Sunday. I also hope that you get to spend this day with the family. I think of you and the family often. I wouldn’t say as it is easy being separated by such a vast sea. Internet and telephone calls only do so much. Saturday was Parents’ Day here in Korea, so I probably should include my father in the greetings. 어버이날 축하드립니다!
This week has been an interesting one on the international scene. All the newspapers are still plastered with images of North Korea’s “Great Ruler” (his title now is widaehan yŏngdoja nim) visiting Hu Jintao over in China. And yes, officials of the Ministry of Unification and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade are probably still steaming over it. The Ambassador from China, Zhao Xinseng, had to hear the collective unresolved resentment of the Korean government twice this week loudly expressed by the Ministry of Unification. All indications are is that Kim Jong-il is now back in North Korea, having taken his luxury train back. Like his father, Kim Jong-il has great fear of flying. So he travels in a mobile hotel which, according to the Reuters article, is chock full of every imaginable luxury along with some female companions to “share food, drinks, and perhaps a few other things” with the Great Ruler. If there were any justice, he would be on trial now in The Hague having been flown there on the rickety Soviet-era aircraft which has caused his nation’s airlines to banned from just about every airport in Europe. He made a promise to return to the talks, but anyone who trusts a promise from North Korea deserves what they are going to get. A bank in Taiwan is currently suing (in America, of course) a North Korean bank over a $5 million loan. Even if the courts side against the North Korean bank, does anyone think that they will pay? You can see that story here.
It is getting warm here. I had to turn on the air conditioning for a couple of days. I don’t really need it now as the humidity has subsided a bit. Needless to say, before too long, I probably shall resume pumping CFCs into the atmosphere at a frightening pace. I really enjoyed my trip over to Inch’ŏn this past week. There are some more places I want to see there, so I will probably be heading over there in the near future. One of them is the Cathedral. You can see some photos Dapdong Cathedral by clicking here. It is another lovely old French-designed building.
This weekend, I went over to the Cheong Wa Dae Sarangchae, a small museum devoted to the former presidents which is located right across from the presidential mansion. They are currently having an exhibition of photos from the Korean War. It is really amazing to look at the photos of Korean from sixty years ago. Back then, paved roads outside of Seoul were the exception rather than the rule. South Korea was a very poor country. In the 1950s, if anyone spoke of a Korean economic miracle, it was not South Korea to which they were referring. It still never ceases to amaze me how quickly Korea changed from being a very poor nation into one of the richest in the world. You can see some of the photos of NBC correspondent Frank Rich by clicking here. I know some of these places well. And were it not for some prominent landmarks, I wouldn’t even have recognized them at all.