Thursday, April 27, 2006

up the mountain with a friend

Waking up at an uncharacteristic 6:20AM (when I'm on break, I usually sleep in, often to the double-digit hours), I walked up Namsan with my buddy Jang-woong this morning. He's happy to report that he's switched over to POSCO Steel from LG. He says the job ought to be less stressful: POSCO Steel is a giant in its field, with no serious domestic competition. LG, by contrast, has always been haunted by the specter of Samsung.

We got to see some falling cherry blossom petals (we ribbed each other about not being here with women; JW's married and his wife's expecting), and saw and heard several-- well, I'm not sure what they were. At a guess, wild turkeys. JW called them su-ggweong in Korean. Ah-- according to the online dictonary, it's a kind of pheasant. Looked tasty enough, but I didn't mention that fact to JW.

We talked a bit about the emerging world powers. JW said he'd recently read a magazine article that compared China and India. The article saw India, in the long term, as the more viable global power: it's already the world's largest democracy; it's already quite pluralistic; Indian families are very education-oriented (as a means for escaping poverty and possibly jumping caste), and so on. Both of us agreed that American supremacy was not forever, but JW seemed fascinated that the article clearly did not see China as the dominant power of the future. Koreans often hear about the rising importance of China; in fact, JW will be obliged to take Chinese classes once he starts at POSCO. Will the next generation of Koreans be trilingual?

I had sent an email to JW back when Dad had his heart attack, but JW said he never got it. We talked about our dads for a bit; JW's dad, who used to be a bigwig with the Korean broadcast system KBS and is now retired, is jockeying to become a member of some sort of media oversight commission-- I'm not sure about the particulars.

Other things were covered, including some matters of grave concern which won't be revealed here, but I have to say that, all in all, it was a better way to start the day than how I usually start it when I'm on break.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Actually, pheasant used to be a very popular dish in Korea, but not so much anymore. There is even a saying, "chicken instead of pheasant," which means making do with something inferior when you can't get what you really need/want.