BY BEN HABIB.
South Korea, what an interesting country! I have had the opportunity to visit fascinating nation on three occasions between 2002 and 2008, spending most of my time in Daegu, South Korea’s third largest city, as well as the capital Seoul and the southern port city of Busan.
The highlights of my journey were many. To name a few: visits to the ironically-named Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), the most militarized frontier on the planet; the historic Silla Dynasty capital at Gyeonju; Hayundae beach in Busan; the breathtaking 360-degree panoramic view of the capital atop Seoul Tower; the unique spectacle of the Cheongdo bullfighting festival; the serene beauty of buddhist temples at Palgongsan; the enviable community spirit of the friends I made in Daegu; the relief of cooling off in the waters of the river walk in downtown Seoul on a hot summer’s day; and most memorably the joy I shared with the whole nation as the South Korean football team advanced to the semi-finals of the 2002 FIFA World Cup.
Most of all, I’ve come to admire the proud and tenacious spirit of the Korean people, who have overcome much suffering and hardship over the twentieth century to make their nation one of the most advanced and prosperous countries in the world.
As the subway graffiti art below suggests, it was also interesting to see how South Koreans have adapted to such large-scale change over the past half-century as the country embarked on its rapid post-Korean War modernisation project. By comparison, industrialisation and modernisation in the West, disruptive as it has been, was strung out over two centuries.
The following is a photographic documentary of my travels in the Land of the Long White Cloud…
Dr. Benjamin Habib is a Lecturer in Politics and International Relations at La Trobe University, Albury-Wodonga. Ben’s research project projects include North Korea’s motivations for nuclear proliferation, East Asian security, international politics of climate change, and undergraduate teaching pedagogy. He also teaches in Australian politics and the international relations of the Middle East. Ben undertook his PhD candidature at Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia, and has worked previously for the Department of Immigration and Citizenship. He has spent time teaching English in Dandong, China, and has also studied at Keimyung University in Daegu, South Korea. Ben is involved with local community groups Wodonga and Albury Toward Climate Health (WATCH) and Transition Albury-Wodonga.
Ben welcomes constructive feedback. Please comment below, or contact Ben at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The views in this story are those of the author and not necessarily those of Our Voice: Politics Albury-Wodonga.