Letter from Korea, September 2010

Yongin, South Korea

Dear Ireland

This month I came across a small article which made the front page of a leading daily newspaper, the Joongang Daily, here in Korea. It was one of the kinds of articles that make front page headlines for one day and the next day is forgotten, and in fairness its front page location is probably the only reason that I can remember it. The other reason that I remember it and that I’m bringing it up now is that right in front of me was a statistic that placed Ireland better than Korea and undoubtedly many of the other larger economies in the world!

It is far from often that the word ‘Ireland’ finds its way onto front pages of international newspapers and it is certainly less frequent in Korean newspapers. The last time I heard of Ireland making the headlines here was in relation to the selling of pork that was contaminated with some sort of disease. This event went so far as to stir up the anti-Irish brigade over here of, hmmmm let me think, zero people. The incident however was not isolated to Korea and many countries around the world were affected, the government promptly apologised and made efforts to not make the same mistake again. Business was probably damaged but not reduced to nothing, because let’s face it, the world loves diggin’ on swine. But before that? And after?

Continue reading