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About Eunbin Ko

Here are my most recent posts

Do You Have Someone Who Sincerely Misses You?

We do not worry about poverty any more like in the past. However, many people are insecure. It is weird that the world is not becoming better as we learn more and become wealthier.

I think we can cure our mental sickness with a good education. Learning should be a tool for cultivating ourselves morally not carnally. The leader should be a teacher. If students love what a teacher teaches, they would never be sick mentally because they truly learn real value about an education.

I took some training for a teacher during a vacation, and there I met some junior teachers. I tried to pass on my knowledge to them as much as I can. However, sometimes I am disappointed that some are taking training and teaching students only for their promotion, which definitely cannot influence positively to their students. 

Six more years left until I can be with my students as a teacher. This makes me actively participate in the coming training. This is one of my happinesses in my life these days.

*To read entire articel in Korean: http://omn.kr/3wcg

30

08 2013

[Photo Essay] Who lives in the deserted house?

There is a deserted house on the way from Wol-jung sa to Joomunjin. This house was being destroyed when I passed by there. I was a little bit reluctant to go into the house because some construction workers might not allow me to get in there, but I did it to take a photo of the inside of the house. I could see a frame of the house without any furniture.

An owner must be impoverished looking through their old-fashioned TV, newspapers instead of wallpapers, and a dog’s bowl.

“Did you live in this house?” I asked some middle-aged woman who seemed to know about a story of this house.

“No, some old couple lived here but they all passed away.”

Originally, this house belonged to the middle-aged woman, but an old couple lived here without notice when she lived in another place. She kindly allowed them lived in her house. She did not remember when it was anyway when they passed away, and this house would be torn down in few days. 

A disappearing house that someone might have history, but this house will vanish in a trace. It is truly sad story.

* To read entire article in Korean :  http://omn.kr/3v66

18

08 2013

[Serial reports] A story of a restaurant server Klaus (1)

Klaus Petersen (56)

Klaus Petersen (56)

 

The reason why Danish waiters are much happier than Korean doctors

How is a waiter satisfied with his job in a restaurant? When you were waiting for your food, have you ever wondered this question looking at the person who carried the plates back and forth? Last April I started to notice a waiter. His service was fantastic, with his agile movements in spite of his old age; he looked the oldest among the servers in that restaurant.

He came up to my table and asked: “How can I help you, Sir?”

He did not have any particular facial expression, but he fascinated me. His charm might have come from a combination of humility and confidence. I truly felt that he really enjoyed what he was doing. I imagined his whole life while I was having the food he served.

When I left the restaurant, I walked over to him while he was busily serving his customers, I had lots of questions for him but I only asked a brief question – his age.

“Me? 56 years old. I am Klaus Petersen; I want to continue my job until I can walk with two feet”

I admired him and asked him to take a photo of us. When I came back to my accommodation I realized that I should have asked him to have an interview with me.

Two months later, at the end of June, I visited the restaurant again during my second visit to Denmark for my in-depth report. Luckily he was there and he recognized me instantly.

“You must be the reporter from South Korea?” he asked.

He was pleased to take an official interview this time.

“There are 30 staff members here in total, and I am the oldest one. I can have like 30 minutes for an interview because we aren’t so busy yet. This is a kind of senior’s benefit (Laughter).”

Now, here are the secrets of his happy life.

 

[Special lecture about happiness by Klaus①]  My life, do what you really enjoy

“You looked really happy” I said.

“Because I truly love my job now.” he replied.

“I have worked as a cook and waiter for nearly 40 years, since I was 17 years old. I thought I did not need to go to university so I got a job that I liked, in a restaurant as a cook and  waiter, and there I worked and studied at the same time.”

Working and studying at the same time is Denmark’s distinctive system; Danish workers enjoy vocational programs while working, for 10 weeks a year with government support.

“I took this kind of education for 7 years; during this time I had a chance to love my job more and more.”

He learnt not only labor skills but also the meaning of fruitful labor in a vocational program. That is why he really enjoys what he is doing now.

* To read entire article in Korean :  http://omn.kr/2xer (by Yeon-ho Oh)

27

07 2013

[Serial reports] A story of a restaurant server Klaus (2)

Klaus Petersen (56)

Klaus Petersen (56)

 

[Special lecture about happiness by Klaus②]  Don’t be discouraged, all occupations are equally honorable

Klaus has a son.

“He is 22 years old and works as a locksmith now.”

He was really proud of his son, but to be honest, I could not understand him, because normally in Korea, most of fathers who were waiters wanted their son to get further ahead in the world.

Instead, he said, “I never asked him to get a highly-paid, specialized job such as a judge, doctor or professor. Because I think that being a locksmith is also a valuable and necessary job in our society.”

I suddenly recalled an interview with a Korean executive in a big firm. He has a son who works for a medium enterprise, and he felt ashamed of him. Another friend of mine also has a similar attitude toward his son. My friend is a doctor, while his son did not go to a famous college and does not even have a decent job; this is the reason why he did not tell me about his son’s job until recently.

Klaus goes to his high school reunion every five years and he never hesitated to talk about his story and even his son’s. So, who is happier between the Korean doctor who is ashamed of his son, and the Danish waiter who is proud of his son? This is not the problem of a relationship between father and son, but rather a different attitude of valuing labor.

 

[Special lecture about happiness by Klaus③]  Live together, band together

Klaus has never worried about getting a raw deal because he is not the only one to be against it.

“We have a labor union for restaurant staff called ’3F’ in Denmark; I have been a member there since I graduated from high school. I’ve paid 200 dollars every month for last 40 years.”

There are about 300,000 members in the union and all of our staff members in this restaurant joined it.

“So there is no discrimination in our workplace, if it happens we can report the union and its representative can talk about the problem with the relevant owner.

Surprisingly, he never has experienced bad things in his workplace. Nevertheless he continuously pays 200 dollars every month to receive unemployment benefits later; 3000 dollars per month is the amount that both unions and the government together provide us for one and half years.

“We can also take unemployment benefits from the government for 2 years, but it is not enough to earn a living so we pay union fees, like purchasing insurance, so we do not have to worry about losing our job.”

Danish labor unions’ coverage reaches to around 70% now; the highest rate was once about 80%, while in Korea it is about 10% (the World average is around 23%)

* To read entire article in Korean :  http://omn.kr/2xer (by Yeon-ho Oh)

27

07 2013

[Serial reports] A story of a restaurant server Klaus (3)

 

[Special lecture about happiness by Klaus④] Being happy with transparent relationship and trust each other

Klaus cooperates not only with staff members but also together with his boss because they trust each other, and it comes from a transparent relationship.

“Our salary should be evaluated as 15% of daily total sales and we share them equally. So we have to help each other to increase our sales.”

He does not have any complaints about juniors and seniors having the same salary.

‘What is a senior’s benefit? I can have an interview with you during the work time without anyone’s permission, which is my benefit. (Laughter)”

 

[Special lecture about happiness by Klaus ⑤] No greed, enjoy today

Klaus confidently states that he is in the middle class. He not only has his own apartment downtown but also an individual summer house nearby Copenhagen.

“I enjoy my spare time there on the weekend or on vacation, it is good for me to cultivate various vegetables and fruit trees there.”

“Am I happy? Sure, I am really happy because I enjoy today and have no worries now.”

 

[Special lecture about happiness by Klaus ⑥] Do you want to be happy? Then create a better society

“In my father’s generation, there was some discrimination among careers, as well as the gap between the rich and the poor. However before we knew it, they disappeared and Denmark has become an equal society,” Klaus said.

Since the 1930s, the Danish government constructed stepping stones for a better society and after the 1960s, Danish political communities, labor and management buckled down to settle the welfare system together. On the basis of this, our present equal culture has been permeated into Danish society. Since the Danish government guarantees the people’s basic human rights such as education, medical treatment and employment stability, an equal culture has been settled.

There’s no free lunch. Denmark has achieved ‘the great social agreement’. The rich willingly pay over half of their belongings as a tax and normal workers like Klaus also pay 36% of their salary as a tax. Moreover, owners support the worker’s employee participation and workers make an effort to communicate with them by talking instead of strike actions; they even allow workers to be fired according to their business’s financial problems.

I could find the secret of a happy society through Klaus’ eyes. If you want to be happy, then you should contribute to your country a society that has the spirit of community.

* To read entire article in Korean :  http://omn.kr/2xer (by Yeon-ho Oh)

27

07 2013

A Good Example For Multi-Cultural Families

He-jung Yun(left) and Gyo-ho Hwang  (right)

He-jung Yun (left) and Gyo-ho Hwang (right)

 

“It is important for her to attempt whatever she wants to do, regardless of success.” Gyuo-ho Hwang said.

It is not a story about a parent who supports their child, but husband supporting his wife. Gyo-ho Hwang from Korea married He-jung Yun from Vietnam in 2006. They currently live in Korea.

The number of multi-cultural families has been on the rise in Korea for years. Most of the multi-cultural marriages are made between brides from Southeast Asia or China, and bachelors in rural farming communities. This phenomenon is largely due to the unwillingness of Korean women to marry rural farming bachelors. However, these rural farming communities find it difficult to fully embrace multiculturalism. It has been pointed out the conflicts between immigrant brides and their new family members are often due to a lack of mutual understanding of cultural differences.

That is why Hwang and Yun’s story has inspired many multi-cultural families. Mrs. Yun had never imagined that she could continue her studies in Korea, even after having two children. She had to drop out of high school in Vietnam, coming from a poverty-stricken family there.

“She really loves studying.” Hwang said.

Hwang noticed her longing for learning and has taken care of her. Her dream is to become a policewoman and she studies police administration at the University of Chung-yang. Someday, when she becomes a policewoman, she hopes to help her international friends who are suffering from domestic violence.

It transpired that Hwang could not finish school either, due to family reasons.

“There is a traditional Korean saying that it is not good for a woman to learn more than a man; however, I would really like to support my wife in her study, since I did not have that opportunity,” he said.

“It is important for her to attempt whatever she wants to do, regardless of success.” Gyuo-ho Hwang said.

* To read entire article in Korean : http://omn.kr/1w3n (Seon-ae Jang)

11

07 2013

OhmyNews Citizen Participatory Journalism Introduced to The International Communication Association Conference

International Communication Association conference

International Communication Association conference

 

A research paper regarding OhmyNews citizen participatory journalism with the motto ‘all citizens are reporters’ was introduced to the International Communication Association (ICA) Conference. In its abstract, OhmyNews was evaluated as one of the most successful and influential media companies in Korea, where similar examples of citizen participatory presses have failed.

An investigative team consisting of professor Deborah S. Chung and Seungahn Nah from University of Kentucky  visited OhmyNews in 2011 in order to examine its citizen participatory journalism program and conduct in-depth interviews with both citizen and professional journalists. Their paper was selected as one of the final papers related to investigative journalism at the annual ICA conference held in London on the 20th of June. Professor Jung presented the results of their study on behalf of their team.

In the paper titled ‘Collaborative, complementary and negotiated journalistic professionalism: A case study of OhmyNews in a participatory media climate’, they focused on citizen and professional journalists’perceptions of citizen journalistic activities using three relevant categories; cognitive dimensions, normative dimensions, and evaluative dimensions.

The research team conducted in-depth interviews with 16 citizen journalists, including professors, high school teachers, graduate students, college students, high school graduates, interior designers, managers of large companies, and retirees, and 9 professional journalists, including editorial staff members, publishing and education directors, political team leaders, and social media editors.

They are expected to present another paper titled, ‘Communicative Action and Citizen Journalism: A Case Study of OhmyNews in South Korea’ at the annual conference of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, held in Washington D.C from 8-11 August.

* To read entire article in Korean : http://omn.kr/1c0k (by Hyun-jin Hong)

06

07 2013

[Serial reports] A God-Given Workplace that Prepares Dinner for Employees’ Families

 Award Photo. Roche Denmark won first place on Great Place to Work in Denmark list in 2012.

Award Photo. Roche Denmark won first place on Great Place to Work in Denmark list in 2012.

 

Roche Denmark is located in Hvidovre, near Copenhagen. The building’s architecture is rather plain. It is a simple and clean three-story building with a not-so-impressive garden. However, this Roche Denmark, an affiliate of global Roche corporation, received a very special award in 2012. It was recognized as the No. 1 Best Workplace in Denmark. This is a prestigious award given by a global organization called the Great Place to Work Institute. Roche Pharmaceuticals employs about 100 people, including pharmacists, sales and marketing people, and more. It ranked No. 6 in 2006 on the same survey, but within 6 years, it has risen to the top.

While I was waiting for my visitor’s pass at the front desk of Roche Denmark, I started wondering, “I am entering a god-given workplace, a workers’ paradise. Since Denmark is happiest country in the world and this is the greatest place to work in Denmark, this must be the happiest workplace in the whole world. What makes this place so special?”

I cleared my head to stay more focused than usual. I wanted to figure out whether I could apply what I learn here to companies in Korea as well as to OhmyNews.

* To read entire article in English :http://omn.kr/1y5k  (by Yeon-ho Oh)

* To read entire article in Korean :http://omn.kr/1y5h (by Yeon-ho Oh and Min-ji Kim)

* To see relevant video: http://omn.kr/1xwz

02

07 2013

[Serial reports] A Second Divorce Helped Her to Find Real Happiness

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Interview with Sharmi: She prepared a delicious strawbery cake in a neat room of a 2-story white house.

 

How can a happy life and a happy society be possible? There is a woman who is trying to find the answer by waling a miles in the shoes of the Danish. American Sharmi Albrechtsen, in her late 30s, lives in Copenhagen with her Danish husband studying why Denmark is one of the happiest countries in the world.

I visited a wealthy village outside of Copenhagen to interview her. She is hosting me with a delicious strawbery cake in the living room of a 2-story white mansion house. She has been living in Denmark for 12 years, and writing essays on her blog for 3 years about the secret of happy Danes. She wants to publish a book about it in the near future. Why is she so dedicated to the question? She said ,”Because I was so unhappy.”

“Around 2009, there were some reports that Denmark was the happiest country in the world. The funny thing is, at that time I was getting divorced from my Danish husband. I was very unhappy, so I wanted to know much more about why they are happy. But no one has explained this. So I started my blog to find the answer.”

* To read entire article in English : http://omn.kr/ymm (by Yeon-ho Oh)

* To read entire article in Korean : http://omn.kr/ymd (by Yeon-ho Oh and Min-ji Kim))

19

06 2013

[Serial reports] Svanholm Story: Throw Greed Away and Find Happiness

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Are you feeling that you are controlling your greed? Mr. Brink said “Yes, somehow.”

 

Can you be happy if you can freely use only 20% of your income but have to share the rest with your community members? There are people who say “Yes” with no hesitation. Do you want to know who they are? If you open Google Maps and type this address(Svanholm Alle 2, 4050 Skibby, Denmark), you will find a small village surrounded by a forest of green trees. There are about 30 structures, small and large, including a 3-story apartment where 80 adults and 50 children live. This is the Svanholm community, which has been experimenting with economy-sharing and eco-friendly alternative life for the last 35 years.

During the 60-kilometer drive down to the southwest from Copenhagen to Svanholm, I could not find any trace of mountains. This is not surprising considering that the highest mountain in Denmark is just 173 meters tall. Just like the even landscape, the inequality index of Denmark looks very flat. According to recent OECD data, the income of the richest 10% in Denmark is 5.3 times that of the poorest 10%, the lowest among 35 countries. Compared to that of America, which is 15.9 times, you can grasp how narrow the gap is.

Even more equal is the Svanholm community, where the income gap between the haves and the have-nots is almost zero. There is no notion of the richest or the poorest, because 80% of an individual’s income belongs to the community. Several questions arose in my mind as I was driving to the village and looking at endless flatland through the window. What kind of people can control the greed called individual possession in this market economy-oriented planet? Why have these Danes started  experimenting with this kind of ‘extremely sharing’ community, even though they are living in one of the most equal and happiest countries? What  makes them think that current Danish society is not good enough? What energizes them to dream of a ‘perfect society’? So are they happy now?

* To read entire article in English : http://omn.kr/n5c (by Yeon-ho Oh)

* To read entire article in Korean : http://omn.kr/n0h (by Yeon-ho Oh and Min-ji Kim))

12

06 2013