[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)


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)


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)


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


07 2013

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


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))


06 2013

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


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))


06 2013

[Serial reports] Founding a co-operative in 45 minutes in Denmark (1)


Interview with Eric Christiansen (Head director of Middelgrund Wind Power Co-operative)

*This article is one in a series regarding where happiness comes from and what makes a happy society written by Yeon-ho Oh, who did an in-depth report in Denmark.

“Do you know where happiness comes from? Please listen to my words.”

The World Bank conducted some research and every year the top score, when it comes to happiness, is Denmark. On the fourth day in Denmark, I met Eric (56) who is a CEO of EBO consultants. He discussed happy Danes in detail with a Powerpoint presentation.

“We have a strong networking history. There is a saying that if you leave the central station in Copenhagen and go to the outskirts of Copenhagen, it is a 45 minute journey and if you have 2 Danes sitting and talking for the duration, they will establish co-operative before the final station. That’s the common attitude.” he explained.

He pointed out that there are neighbors who trust each other, which contributes to the creation of citizen-driven co-operatives and meetings in Denmark.

“My own son, he is a part time musician and his band is also part of a co-operative too. They trust each other so they make the rules on how to run the band. So it is something which is actually in our hearts from the very start of our lives.”

Eric compared this trust to social capital, which is one of the valuable factors in Denmark. He became a lawyer right after finishing school. However, before long he changed his career to be a co-operative manager. He is a CEO who runs a company of 11 workers, who also work for related co-operatives. In addition, he is a director of the Middelgrund Wind Power Co-operative and has volunteered in several co-operative projects. He volunteers for 2 hours for everyday; he works another 5 hours for his own company.

* For the original article in Korean: http://bit.ly/18tL5Br  (by Yeon-ho Oh and Min-ji Kim)


06 2013

[Serial reports] Founding a co-operative in 45 minutes in Denmark (2)

Mr. Cristiansen and Mr. oh

Mr. Cristiansen and Mr. oh


This writer was curious why he quit being a lawyer who earns lots of money and is socially prestigious, and instead directed his passions to co-operatives. His answer was clear.

“First I participated in an apartment house co-operative, because I lived in that town.”

From him, we can learn that joining co-operatives is not a rare occurence but simply their own culture. Then how could the Danish have this culture?

He explained. “Trust does not come from God. If you meet your neighbor and you have an idea, put them together and you will have confidence. A group of citizens made the first co-operative, the farmers made the first co-operative and they just met and were networking before they made this kind of co-operative. This has something to do with the tradition of networking and knowing people.”

Resident participation in Denmark contributed to a remarkable change in the energy industry environment. Denmark once imported 99% of their energy, but now they are over the figure of 100% self-sufficiency. Eric said that participation in the co-operative helped the Danish to have sense of ownership, which is also associated with democratic actions. Because regardless of the amount of their investment, they follow the principle of one man, one vote.

* For the original article in Korean: http://bit.ly/18tL5Br  (by Yeon-ho Oh and Min-ji Kim)


06 2013

[Serial reports] Founding a co-operative in 45 minutes in Denmark (3)

Head director of Middelgund Wind Power cooperative, Eric Christiansen

Head director of Middelgund Wind Power cooperative, Eric Christiansen


“All the authorities in Denmark can be trusted. No corruption. So it was a wonderful combination between the citizen’s initiative and the central parliamentary control by legislation. We influenced each other, and I think it is very important that citizens feel that they can influence politicians.” he said.

With these words, there are no complaints from the Danish against paying high taxes. Eric also pays 56% of his earnings. He added that he is paying it gladly because his education did not cost a single cent, and his children were also educated by a social welfare society.

This writer asked about the difference between the American and Danish dream and he answered without any hesitation, that the American dream is you can fulfill your own desires and you can do it if you work hard. but that’s not how Danish people work. The Danish say, “Of course I am interested in having a good life, but I am interested in living in a society where we take care of each other.”

* For the original article in Korean: http://bit.ly/18tL5Br  (by Yeon-ho Oh and Min-ji Kim)


06 2013

[Serial reports] A taxi driver is just as important as a doctor (1)




A taxi driver is just as important as a doctor

Why does Denmark rank first in happiness ratio all over the world? There are various factors from Danish society that support this status, and among them I could find a clue to the answer from taxi drivers who I met while staying in Copenhagen for a week. I met about 15 taxi drivers and they looked so tranquil and peaceful. Most of them said they were happy and only one person had a slightly different view, saying that he was not completely happy since he was from another country so he was a little bit homesick. In conclusion, there were hardly any taxi drivers who complained about Danish society itself.

Taxi driver Milbo

The most memorable taxi driver who I interviewed in Denmark was named Lasse Milbo (46); once he was an electrician and a worker for a moving company. He has driven a taxi for 22 years. He speaks English so fluently that many asked him why he did not have a more professional job in which he could use his English.

“Driving a taxi definitely isn’t well paid, but I meet everybody from all over the world, this is an interesting job. I am truly enjoying this job now,” Milbo said.

He works nearly 8 hours a day, earning $3310 per a month. This amount of money is less than that of trained workers, but more than those unskilled labors.

- Have you ever longed to be a doctor or a lawyer like your friends who got bachelor’s degrees?

“No, because one of the main reasons is that in Denmark we found out that both workers and employers are equally important. Of course, without any workers, the employer wouldn’t be there. And without the employer, the workers wouldn’t be there..”

* For the original article in Korean: http://bit.ly/10xqcmp (by Yeon-ho Oh and Min-ji Kim)


05 2013