It’s early morning. As the sun creeps over the horizon I am dressed and walking as people around me sleep. The eerie stillness of dawn is broken by a 50-year-old woman clad in bright pink jogging around the nearby playground. As she makes her approach to the swings, feeling eyes upon her, she turns to stare at me. Ignoring the glare I walk onwards to the bus stop.
Koreans care for their image. Walking down a high street you will see brands plastered over the citizens who have opted to buy luxury brands with their hard-earned cash.
Produced by Steven Bammel and hosted byTom Tucker.
May 20, 2011The Korea Business Interview Series
Peter Bartholomew "Promoting the Value of High-Tech Shipbuilding and Traditional Architecture in Korea"
Peter Bartholomew is Vice President ofIRC, Ltd.in Seoul, and supporter of efforts to preserve Korean hanok and other historical assets.
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There are few people more qualified to discuss the Korean economic miracle than Peter Bartholomew. Having arrived as a Peace Corps volunteer, he has remained in Korea almost continuously since 1968. Peter worked in a Korean company for almost a decade in the 1970s, and for the last 28 years, he has run IRC, Ltd. in Seoul, specializing in the shipbuilding and construction sectors.
In this interview, Peter shares deep insights about Korean business, including techniques for negotiating with Koreans, as well as about efforts to preserve traditionalhanokhomes, an area on which he is particularly passionate. He believes that a modern Korea should be compatible with maintaining the natural and historical assets of the past.
The island of Namiseom is an easy day trip from Seoul, and a chance to escape the mainland and enjoy some natural beauty – well, sort of.
The name Nami comes from General Nami, a brilliant military strategist who was falsely accused of treason during King Sejo’s reign (r. 1455-1468). His grave was never found, but there was a pile of stones where his body was supposed to be buried; taking a stone would supposedly bring misfortune to the thief’s house.
You’ll see only a couple signs of Nami, and no mention of that story – the more interesting story is more recent. After the construction of the Cheongpyeong Dam in 1944 made this place an island, a gentlemen named Min Byeong-do bought the island and planted thousands of trees. He then turned it into a resort town, which served as the backdrop for films and festivals including ‘Winter Sonata’.
During my morning scan of blogs and forums I came across an interesting thread on Waygook.org that pushed me to write a quick note about shopping for cameras in Korea. The first thread that I read was about a waygook that got scammed at Technomart in Seoul which stemmed from her earlier post where she was trying to get rid of a Canon 550D that she had bought a few weeks ago and felt that she did not need. The responses in the thread made her realize that she paid a lot more for the camera then she should have. From my estimate, she was over-charged about 400,000 to 500,000 won and that is never good.
Yesterday was, of course, the HBC Fest. It was very colourful, especially if you consider the busfuls of cops that turned up to help us out with crowd control. It’s good to see that our taxes are eventually getting their money’s worth, especially when it comes to the 5-O. Anyway, I’m sure that the prominence of the cops has well advertised on the Korean blogosphere. This suits this post perfectly as I don’t intend on sharing any pictures of the cops – although I did see one great picture of some guy standing in and helping out the cops as crowd control which was hilarious… Anyway more about the cops later…
It could be said that the biggest culture shock for white westerners coming to Korea is the sudden loss of majority status. Is the transition easier for westerners of color going from minority to minority? Marcus Williams writes of culture shock, white privilege and new paradigms.