An introduction to Korea by Hugo J. Smal
Since the Dutch Koi show Arcen 2003 I have travelled to the land of the morning calm, Korea, regularly. Luck? Could be, but my friends in Korea beg to differ: Hamel, Hiddink, Hugo. Three H’s, three Dutchmen of great importance to Korea. Of course, two are and one is not. However, I wrote a short introduction to the beautiful country: A garden called Korea.
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In 1653 the Dutch East India Companys “De Sperwer” shipwrecked on the coast of Cheju, an island south of the reclusive state Choson, which would later be known as Korea. The strict Confucian emperor decided to hold bookkeeper with the Dutch East India Company (VOC), Hamel and crew captive for the rest of their lives. They managed to escape however and Hamel wrote a book mentioning the country for the very first time in western literature.
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Hiddink caused a true revolution during his time as the manager of the Koreans national football team. He broke-through the Confucian relations within the Korean team (status and age became trivial, while skill started to matter) and managed to lead them to the semi-finals of the world cup.
Hiddink’s influence did not stop there. He managed to cause a revolution within the Koreans economic thought process, which awarded Hiddink a lot of prestige. Even within companies, Confucian thoughts were being questioned. The Koreans learned that being the eldest or the boss did not automatically mean they were also right. Knowledge, experience and creative thinking started to play a crucial role in whether you are right or wrong. In the meantime this made Hiddink a demi-god, with the Koreans naming two stadiums after him, providing him with a beautiful manor and a lifetime supply of beer.
So what about me? During my first journey to Korea, I immediately fell in love with the people, the country and the Korean culture. I studied them very accurately and invested in sturdy relationships. Also, I became a consultant for Kim Young Soo, Baedagol theme park, and the Goyang Koi farm he took me in as part of his extended family.
I wrote a brochure to give you a short intro to the land I love so dear. You can read, download and print the PDF here: PDF