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A garden called Korea

Knowledge and relationships

A free introduction of Korea by Hugo J. Smal

Since Arcen 2003 I have been travelling to the land of the morning calm, Korea, on a regular basis. Luck? Could be, but my friends in Korea beg to differ: Hamel, Hiddink, Hugo, three Hs, three Dutchmen of great importance to Korea.

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 de strict Confucian emperor decided to hold captain Hamel and his 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.

Hiddink caused a true revolution during his time as the manager of 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. Causes even within companies the 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. I became a consultant for Kim Young Soo,  Baedagol theme park, and he took me in as part of his extended family.

I did write 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

Hugo J. Smal

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