“ ON VISION OF NEW KOREA AND THE CRUCIAL ROLE OF KOREAN AMERICANS”
SPEECH AT KEUMGANG SAN HALL, FLUSHING, NEW YORK on Jan 20th, 2011.
Good evening ladies and gentlemen!
Happy, healthy and fast growing New Year as the jumping rabbit!
The rabbit year winter is very cold and has lots of snow, freezing brooks and rivers as the renowned poet Henry Longfellow (1807-1882) sang “ The day is ending, the night is descending, the marsh is frozen, the river dead. Through clouds like ashes, the red sun flashes on the village windows that glimmer red….”
No matter how cold the winter is, Korean Americans attending here are never frozen unlike the frozen river of the Charles River that Longfellow observed, in loving their mother country and wishing for the brighter future of Korea. This is the reason why this hall is crowded this evening, for which I humbly respect and appreciate.
Your passion, loyalty for Korea is deeply rooted in the long tradition of 5,000-years of glory and tragic history. The challenging and pioneer spirit must be emanated from Koguryo dynasty, knightly conduct and a spirit of reconciliation from Shila dynasty, virtue of respect and loyalty from Koryo, moral and ethical sentiments among friends, between junior and senior, between parents and children from 500 year old Lee dynasty.
Because of those moral sentiments and lofty spirits that sprang from the long history of tradition, Korea could be reborn and rose like a phoenix in the desert from the ashes of the murderous Korean War that broke out in 1950. The fresh idea of an economic planning of 5 year and 10 year by President Park enabled Korea to overcome the miserable poverty worsened by the war. The government planning for forced saving to increase an investment necessary for the targeted economic growth in the early 60s and 70s with a focus on export made possible today’s Korea that enjoy $20,000 of the per capita income from the then $80. The latest data on exports amounted to $ one trillion from $80 billion in the l960s, which made Korea rank as the 8th largest export country in the world and stand 13th rank in the world GDP. With this spirit, Korea could overcome the IMF currency crisis in 1999 implementing an efficient restructuring of the insolvent Business Corporation, and was successful in liquidating the bad debt and supplying a necessary liquidity to business. Because of this, New York Times lately published an article crediting Korea as a role model among developing countries in displaying wisdom and competence to turn the country out of the severe economic crisis that most countries are suffering still in the mire. Even in the area of sports, with the outstanding performance in demonstrating superb skill in games, Korea tremendously improved her image and reputation. In the world cup football game she ranked 4th from the 16th, 5th in the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, and ranked 2nd in the Asian sports contest by gaining 76 gold medals.
President Lee succeeded in inviting the 20 most advanced countries to have a G-20 Summit in Korea and showed those world leaders of how Korea has been successful in transforming the poor agricultural society to one of the fasting growing countries during the past 60 years, from the computer chip industry to globally competitive construction works, to digital and automobile industries.
Those miraculous achievements are of course attributable to 45 million Koreans home and abroad, who shed blood and sweats for the tumultuous 60 years after the bloody Korean War, and to the loyal patriotism of Koreans living abroad, along with many devoted political leaders. If North and South are united, the power of 70 million Koreans will be unimaginable in converting the small peninsula into a sparkling nation in the globe. As an economist Walter Rostow categorized the different stage of industrial revolution, Korea is now in the process of transforming the take-off stage into an advanced industrialization.
On the face of THREE-D age (Design, DNA, Digital), the power of New Korea is ready to jump as the rabbit does in this rabbit year. It will also depend on how Korea transform into the new stage of high-tech age its
Accumulated know-how, experiences, research and development without forgetting the lesson from the collapse of the Roman Empire and decay of the British Empire. As business cycles hover around up and down, Han River miracle will also be subject to fluctuation when the spirit and determination of future generation does not continue to be tenacious in creativity and continuous development of new idea and implementation of its idea.
The following recommendations are proposed for the sustained growth;
1. Continued pursuit of re-unification with the North Korea with the help of reinforced allied relationship with the United States of America.
2. With a voting right in general election of Korea the role of Korean Americans must be exercised in
Aggressively participating in the process of democratization.
3. Continued efforts to induce foreign investment into the ongoing national economic projects in Korea,
Along with revenue growth activities from foreign tourists.
4. Focus on maximizing the limited economic resources for sustained high rate of economic growth with
A linkage to developing high tech exports market around the world. Economic power of Korea will lay foundation to check against the competitive neighboring countries especially China, Japan and Russia.
5. Transforming an image from the aid receiving Korea into a helping neighbor country, economically,
6. Korean Americans are responsible for establishing a strong identity not only for the current , but also
Future generations with strong network.
7. New Power of Korea should be motivated to spread the spirit of Han Gook around the world by first
Promoting Korean language and Korean culture through network organized.
8. Task of producing a globally qualified political leader, who is ready for challenging and responsible to
A change in the global environment.
9. Koreans living abroad are conscious of playing an independent variables in the formulation and implement, suggesting and reflecting the will of Koreans abroad upon the policy making table.
10. Input into the process of policy formulation in domestic politics is indispensable for their benefit.
In combination of sacrifice of people home and abroad, selection of a qualified leader to lead globally South Korea and North Korea when united is crucially important in the competitive age of design, digital and DNA. The level of higher education, technological innovation, skilled labor and financial support and an efficient energy policy are major elements. Talking of a qualified leader with a superior governing philosophy may have to take a model from statesmen from the history of the United States of America, such as the founding father George Washington, and a father of law of justice Abraham Lincoln. Moral sentiments expounded in the Wealth of Nations by the British economist Adam Smith are essential elements in leadership. Even in running capitalism, Adam Smith emphasized moral and ethics even in trade to have an ever-lasting efficient system to increase the welfare of people, as economic transactions are getting more complicated. He put more emphasis on morality than on prosperity. Immensely influenced the thoughts in the Wealth of Nations, the founding father followed Smith’s way of thinking both before and after his presidency. President Washington even carried a small book of moral directives for guidance in dealing with different situations. Because of his strong moral and ethical character, he rejected any idea of being called king or Majesty from the beginning of his presidency. He strongly admonished his close aids Thomas Jefferson, then his Secretary of State, Alexander Hamilton, his Secretary of Treasury, who sought to elect him to a third term on the grounds that his seeking a third term, though, it was almost automatic to be elected then, would be very dangerous for the future of America. George Washington showed the virtue of humility by not accepting the job of Presidency those ideas of Jefferson and Hamilton. The famous scientist Albert Einstein showed his virtue of humility by not accepting the job of Presidency of Israel. The modern virtue of humility was proudly demonstrated by the reclusive Russian mathematician Gregory Ferelman, who solved a key piece in a century old puzzle know as the Poincare conjecture. For his unique solution of the conjecture, the International Congress of Mathematicians in Madrid invited Dr. Perelman as one of its Fields Medal winners equivalent to Nobel Prize, but he refused the award and $ l million dollars. In Europe the concept of Noblisse Oblige was used as a yardstick for moral conduct in the high-class society. Dr. Perelman’s virtue of humility shed a light on the rotten minds of today’s politicians and businessmen, who have been demoralized by only profit motives. By rejecting the opportunity of a third term, George Washington set up a precedent to make America a champion of the world democracy and the role model of the ideal republic.
The virtue of humility is also found in the life of Abraham Lincoln, who was brought up in rural Indiana and later settled in Illinois. He loved music of all types, from high opera arias to low down banjo tunes, from “ La Traviata” to “ Blue Fail Fly”. He loved theater, especially the plays of Shakespeare. He knows most of the great Shakespearean soliloquies by heart and would reel them off with professional skill. His love of theater may have been the reason he was assassinated at the theater. During the Civil War, he admitted that slavery was somehow the cause. Free the slaves too precipitously, he believed, and the Border States would join the Confederacy. Delay too long, however, and a great opportunity would be lost. Lincoln stated in his speech that what I do about slavery and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps save the union. Unlike his predecessor James Buchanan, Lincoln confronted political conflict and steered the nation toward a high moral purpose. In his public addresses at Gettysburg and in his Washington inauguration, he assured the people that in giving freedom to the slaves, we assure freedom to the free. He stressed equality and peace by saying that “Nobody is above the law:”Though Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation applied to slaves only within the Confederacy, it changed the moral and military course of the war that began in 1861 and lasted until 1865. His public addresses at Gettysburg and Washington became masterpieces of healing and compassion. The famous Gettysburg Address was so short, having only 271 words, that people were just beginning to listen when it was over. Among the many compassionate words, the following was very moving.” Freeing the slave is not merely for today, but for all time to come that we should perpetuate for our children’s children this great and free government, which we have enjoyed all our lives” His sentiment of how to govern reminded all that government must be “ of the people, by the people and for the people.
George Washington was America’s first hero and Abraham Lincoln practiced politics with a purpose. In the cold month of February, we should remember the statesmanship of these two great Presidents; Honesty, humility, integrity, morality, and superior leadership. According to “Lincoln” published by Richard Carwadine, Lincoln political leadership with moral, compassion and conscience became a cornerstone in establishing a virtue and spirit of the America’s conservative Party and his leadership transformed the Machiavellian Imperialism into the modern democratic imperialism. He lifted high the social justice, equality, vision of America manifested in US constitution. His adoption of Habeas corps, guarantee of freedom of press, law and order became a foundation of the law-abiding principle in the modern democracy.
The heroic leadership based on moral, ethics and conscience by the above statesmen became a heroic vision of American history in the relatively short 235-year tradition. That is why the gigantic four faces on the Rushmore mountain (George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Ted Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln”) were erected with engraved US constitution and the Declaration of Independence to bequeath the vision of heroic leaders to the future generation.
Following the example the two statesmen displayed in the short history of America could generate the power of New Korea. And the role of Korean Americans will play I crucially significant in supporting to produce such an equivalently qualified presidential candidate in the time to come.
When Korean Americans will be united in spirit in this task of selecting the qualified leader, the vision of Korea is bright and its responsibility will be greatly awarded by Korean people home and abroad.
With a production of such a statesman by the support of people home and abroad, the power of New Korea will upgrade the current low wellbeing index beyond 30, the improve 47th rank of GDP index to a higher level.
The power of New Korea also is able to realize the dream of “From the Cradle to the Grave “ by William Beverage (1879-1963), thus joining in rank of the five most advanced industrialized nations. This is the goal toward Korea’s imperialism.
A new vision for the future of Korea requires a creative, assertive, positive and multi-cultural approach to formulation and implementing agenda and platform for the following areas in order to generate a powerful reaction and support from people home and abroad. The vision should be focused on the role, purpose, policy and specific policy implementation, when system, organization and specific program are set up.
A future political leader of Korea is expected to be fully aware of expected elements in leadership in the following area beyond the party line.
1) Political matters
A leader that has political philosophy promoting a vision of Korean history, patriotism, international perception, caring for Koreans abroad, and accommodating multi-cultural, multi-racial characteristics. A leadership with moral and ethical sentiments that American founding father George Washington displayed.
2) Economic policy
Democratic market economy with central gravity upon competition and freedom as was promulgated by Adam Smith in the Wealth of Nations and in the “Serfdom to Freedom” by Friedrich Hayek. An economic policy should concentrate on protecting the middle class with easy credit, less tax and less regulation. Never be forgotten that Small business is the backbone of a national economy
Tax policy should focus on the mix or progressive and growth incentive one. Creativity, invention and patents promotion oriented policy will increase an economic growth and national wealth as was clearly stated in the Wealth of Nations. Lesson should be learned from China that why China targets 500,000 case filing with US patent Office this year and 500,000 new invention idea is nationally promoted. Its economic policy makes China the paramount economic power in this sense in the global market.
3) Social and Cultural policy
Artists, musicians, sportsman, entertainers with a creative idea will tremendously promote Korean traditional culture and make Korea’s brand name more sellable in the global market. By Equity and well-defined distribution policy, unequal income gap between regions, classes will be much more reduced. Bureaurocraticism should be gradually replaced with the western style democracy, which allows more individual freedom and civil rights.
4) The crucial role of Korean Americans
In providing an atmosphere for selecting a qualified political leader brimmed with the above qualifications to be born at this global age, Korean Americans should play an important role by exercising the bestowed voting right in domestic politics beginning this year. Korean Americans living especially in America have Abundant resources to influence the way domestic political process is carried out. With higher education, experiences and an internationally cultivated intuition in America, as in the case of Israel, will fulfill its mission with responsibility. And the flower of democracy as we expect will be blooming with the reinforced role of participation. And the cosmos under which we are living will enrich our life with a productive cycle of a vast field of energy, which gives us good health, safety, freedom, happiness, peace and global harmony with the universe.
With the attached policy goal in the area of political affairs, economic affairs, cultural affairs, diplomacy and re-unification policy, I will close my chapter of this lecture quoting the famous words by Marx Webber” If I asked a good question, half of answer is there “.
Hubert Hojae Lee, PH.D